Public Exercises 587
Coming to his main theme he devoted his discussion largely to the effects of
geography and climate on human development as sufficient to produce the various
racial characteristics of the Asiatic, the African and the European. Skillfully
harmonizing the science of his day and the Bible, and thus gaining the good will of
his hearers, he proceeded to declare his belief in the unity of the human race. From
this premise he developed his theme, and got to his main purpose, which was to
demonstrate that the Negroes were inferior to the whites, so much inferior and with
so little promise of early improvement, that slavery was their natural state, and that
only under the tutelage of the whites could they ever hope for racial betterment.
With much historical illustration he made his way step by step, probably as well as
any other had ever treated the same theme. In the last part of his speech he praised
America as the land whose physical features and climate favored the highest
development, and urged the young men to improve the great opportunities that the
country offered.
The address at the Commencement of 1859 was by Dr. Edward
Warren, then of Edenton, but later of Raleigh.21 The title of his
address was "The Rule of Life," in which he developed the thesis that
while men should not repress the desire for self-realization they
should not be led by selfishness but by self-love. Dr. Warren showed
himself a clear and profound thinker, and with a little more restraint
his style would have been as pleasing as it is elegant. He was
somewhat poetic as may be seen in his exordium in which he depicts
with much eloquence the eagerness of young men to be out in the
world of active life. A portion of this is as follows:
21Warren was a physician, and, according to the notation in Battle's History of the
University of North Carolina, was both a Doctor of Medicine and a Doctor of Laws.
He was a Trustee of the University in 1862-63. In 1862 Governor Vance appointed
him Surgeon General of North Carolina, in which position he had the important
duty of getting medicines through the blockade. Connor, North Carolina, II, 181.
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