The College and Reconstruction 53
the whole will rest upon the head of him who is faithful to duty. Adversity proves
men, and makes them. Many a true spirit we should never have known, but for the
fires of adversity, and if great sorrows are the heritage of some generations, sorrow
brings discipline, and is the laboring mother of many and joyous children.
Yes, the world is the same world, is God's world, and God is good. And ours is a
noble land. She will not long be depressed. Changes indeed will come. The beaten
track will be deserted. The old files, now that the high roads are broken up, and the
waters are out, may afford no precedent, and while adapting ourselves to new
conditions we may suffer loss. But recuperation will come. Cotton and tobacco, and
tobacco and cotton, may not hold their kingdom. Vine-clad hills and valleys
teeming with fruits, or fields of blooming clover with the humming of bees and the
lowing of herds may-who can tell?-may usurp the dominion. And no matter who
shall find fault, so the good time is coming. And with our vast territory the good
time is coming. This is no contracted Poland, or pent up Ireland surrounded and
priestridden. The scope stretching away from the Potomac to the Rio Grande is too
broad, the air is too balmy, the dear land is too pleasant, the men and women are too
much the beloved of a great Father's care, for our own Sunny South long to lie
prostrate. Recuperation must come. Enterprise will quicken the springs of our life
and to those who are prepared there need he no want of cheer.
Those whose minds and habits are fixed may, indeed, be behind almost useless;
but those who hold in their hands, or in their heads, the means of adjustment, who
can turn with alertness to this or that requirement of an age so full of change, need
have no fears. The tide which taken at its flood leads on to fortune may be already
rising. Who shall use it? Old men? No, their race is run; they cannot again begin the
course. The middle aged? Alas, the time may have passed with many of these for a
successful struggle in a new direction.
But young men with minds and bodies fresh and strong, these may fill all the
requirements of the age. And shall they not be in great demand? But whence shall
the supply come? Many of our noble institutions are on the point of yielding in
despair. Our halls of learning are well nigh deserted. And so many of the youth who
repair to these acquire but a smattering and hasten away. The practical is so much
the cry-getting ready for tomorrow-with our broken fortunes, how can we wait?
And then counting our fingers over in arithmetic, we rush to the thoroughfares of
life. But in a little while, I repeat, the thoroughly trained young men shall be called
for. May we in our love for the practical turn merchants, wholesale merchants, and
import them? In the past we imported our teachers, male and female, our
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