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shall be, not the turning weather vane, but the unwavering mariner's needle.

Into your hands is now being committed the destiny of this commonwealth. The young men and women who come as pilgrims to this shrine will, in a few years, direct public affairs, the business and the social life of the State.

We feel that you understand the possibilities and that you are equal to the responsibilities of the great office to which you have been chosen. This goodly company, these educators, these distinguished visitors from other universities, these representatives of the colleges and the free schools of our State, this concourse of citizens are here to do honor to you and to give you encouragement in your great undertaking.

And now, speaking in the name of the Board of Regents and through them for the people of Texas. whose servants they are, I commit into your hands the office of President of The University of Texas, and their final word to you is "O, husbandman, look how white the harvest! Haste, haste to your work."



Dean Mezes: The Inaugural Address, by the President of the University, President Houston.




Most American commonwealths, like the Republic itself, were gloriously fortunate in having as their founders and early builders men of broad outlook and wise forethought. One who reviews the history of the founding of this imperial commonwealth will find

abundant evidence of the presence of men who, in high degree, ⚫ possessed those qualities. It may be doubted whether a parallel can be furnished to the performance of the men of the Republic of Texas from 1836 to 1845.

When the independence of the Republic was proclaimed on March 2, 1836, seventy years ago, the white population of Texas did not exceed thirty thousand; and it was less than 100,000 when, nine years later, the State became a member of the Union. This population had too recently made its way into the territory to have made anything like a permanent habitation for itself or to have surrounded itself with the comforts of civilized life. It was scattered in groups in Eastern Texas, resting in the main on the lower parts of the leading water courses. It had to conquer nature and to contest for this stern privilege with hostile foes of two races, the one using the agencies of a despotic, hybrid civilization, the other the primitive weapons of savagery. And yet this handful of people, in less than ten years, laid the broad foundation of one of the most enlightened of the American commonwealths and enacted many enduring laws. With certain hand they drew the outlines of civil government, gave us the principles of our jurisprudence, fixed our system of pleading, adding to the stability of free institutions, by introducing into our system the principles of homestead exemption; and against the clamor of selfish interests, took a long look into the future and located the Capital of the State several hundred miles from the settlements, near the fastnesses of the savages; planned the endowment of our free-school system, and laid the foundations of this University, even designating the site upon which its buildings should be erected.

We are in no danger of unduly exalting the wise foresight of the men of the Republic; their performance is unique. Cultured activities are usually the last to receive attention. Every State, in the beginning, busies itself with fundamental questions of existence, and individualism dominates thought and action. No State founders have been more sorely beset by internal and external difficulties than were those of Texas; and yet they not only entertained high cultural ideals, but also found time to take effective action looking to their fulfillment. The credit for those things belongs exclusively to no one man, but special honor will, by general assent, be accorded here to Mirabeau B. Lamar. Some

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of his contemporaries termed him a poet, a visionary, a political troubadour and crusader. It will take history a long while yet adequately to impress the truth that the dreamer, the far-seeing man, is the practical man in the larger affairs, of the world. Lamar dreamed a dream, of which our system of public education, including this University, is a partial realization. He embodied it in his annual message to the Congress of the Republic, December 26, 1838: "If," said he, "we desire to establish a republican government upon a broad and permanent basis, it will become our duty to adopt a comprehensive and well-regulated system of mental and moral culture. * * * It is admitted by all that cultivated mind is the guardian genius of democracy, and while guided and controlled by virtue, the noblest attribute of man. It is the only dictator that freemen acknowledge, and the only security which freemen desire. I feel fully assured that (it) this honorable Congress will, in that liberal spirit of improvement which pervades the social world, lose not the present auspicious opportunity to provide for literary institutions with a munificence commensurate with our future destiny. * * The present is a propitious moment to lay the foundations of a great moral and intellectual edifice which will, in after ages, be hailed as the chief ornament and blessing of Texas." Truly, the historian of Texas is justified in asserting that, considering all the conditions, no finer appeal to the noblest aspirations of a people can be found. How the honorable Congress responded to this appeal and how following Congresses, Legislatures, and constitutional conventions persisted through storm and stress in the execution of these high purposes till our present scheme of education was in full and efficient operation is too familiar to this audience to justify repetition.


So, to-day, the sons and daughters of Texas are equal beneficiaries of a complex inheritance, an inheritance of liberal institutions and laws, of enormous natural resources, of generous endowments, and of high ideals and noble purposes. While fully appreciating the vastness and importance of our material inheritance, let us not fail to foster and increase the spiritual inheritance. It is the sacred duty of the young men and women, especially those of this University, and of the University itself, to perpetuate this inheritance of broad thinking and generous ideals, and to transmit it with large increase to succeeding generations.


The men who established and organized The University of Texas and those who, as official representatives of the State, the Regents, have directed its policies, have been worthy successors of the men who conceived it and laid its foundations. Under the law the regents possess wide powers and assume heavy responsibilities. It has been possible for them, at any time, to pursue policies that would have wrecked the University and have produced educational chaos. The steady development and the acknowledged rank which the University has taken among the institutions of the Union furnish the best evidence of their conservatism, moderation, and enterprise, and of their clear recognition of their function. The most powerful members of the University, they have been the least conspicuous. They have displayed no pride of authority, no disdain of advice, or resentment of criticism. Although taxed by a variety of pressing business and professional demands, they have freely given their time without remuneration to the handling of the University's large and complicated affairs.

But they have done still more admirable and difficult things. Having clearly perceived that a university can not exist where the mind is not free, they have suffered no instructor or student to entertain a doubt as to his right and duty to seek the truth and to utter it; and they have sought to protect this freedom by carefully avoiding the selection of men who might mistake license for freedom, and offer wild vagaries for the reasoned conclusions of science. They have stood like a stone wall against all assaults of prejudice, narrowness, bigotry, and time-serving. Of the people, in close touch with them, they have seen to it that the University has ministered to the social and spiritual needs of the people, while preserving the universal and catholic spirit of learning. Believing that, if democracy stands for anything, it stands for merit and its recognition, and that democracy is entitled to the service of its best talent in public place, they have made merit the supreme test for fitness for position. These ideals also may be reckoned among the most precious assets of the University. Their firm establishment has been made possible by reason of the fact that the governing board has been a containing body with steady purposes and a spirit which irresistibly transmits itself. For this happy condition, credit will be gratefully ascribed to the Governors of Texas, the appointing power, and back of them, to the people, who have

realized that rapid change of management is incompatible with continuity of purpose and that political taint would work disaster.


In view of this rare and inspiring struggle for the realization of cherished ideals, and in view of the certainty of overwhelming numbers seeking instruction here, it would be an offense to argue before this people the cause of higher education. There is no question of the desire or determination of the people of Texas to have here an institution that shall take a place in the front rank of American universities. A rare opportunity is presented for the execution of their purpose. The environment, physical as well as psychical, is unique. Fortunately situated in the midst of a phenomenally prosperous and rapidly increasing population, more than five hundred miles from any large and well-endowed institution of university rank, almost at the point of contact of two civilizations, at the head of an increasingly efficient system of public schools, cherished by an appreciative constituency, The University of Texas, one may confidently assert, in no spirit of boasting, will soon become one of the most considerable of the group of State universities, and will exert great power for good in a section of controlling influence. That this State itself will take a more and more conspicuous place in the councils of the nation is certain. The planning here, therefore, is of vast importance, not only to this State and this Southwestern section, but also to the Republic itself. It is with no less conception than this in mind that the regents, the faculty, and the student body must prosecute their high task.


Although colleges and universities have existed in this country for centuries, and might be supposed to have settled most of the essential problems, it is a fact that never before have their aims, progress, and methods been so unsettled or have engaged so much of the attention of thinking people, and especially of those on the outside. For a long time matters of higher education in particular, were left almost exclusively to the college and university experts; but of late the layman, the patron, has become interested, and has subjected the system in all its parts to a searching scrutiny. Although many questions are still unanswered, much progress has been made.

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