1910 Fredericton Encaenia

Address in Praise of Founders

Delivered by: Cox, Philip


"Call Laborers to Work in the Human Vineyard. Eloquent Address at Encoenia Exercises of Dr. Philip Cox in Praise of Founders" The Daily Gleaner (31 May 1910): 14.

May it pease Your Honor.

Gentlemen of the Senate of the University of New Brunswick.

Ladies and Gentlemen,--It seems meet and salutary that we should look backwards in the hey-day of life amid the enjoyment of prosperity and happiness, and try to realize how much of the success of the present is directly and indirectly the legacy of those who are now numbered with the dead. On this and other days of festivity, we unfold the Union Jack to the breeze as the time-honored symbol of liberty and personal and religious freedom; but this fluttering standard and all it stands fro we owe to countless heroes who fought, bled and died on land and sea for the sacred principles it represents. This heritage, ever widening and deepening, has thus come down to us through the ages marked and sealed by the lives, labors and sacrifices of statesmen, scholars and soldiers; so, if we happily breathe the air of purer freedom, or bask in security under the mighty standard of Britain, we are not to arrogate too much of the credit ourselves, but honestly acknowledge our indebtedness to heroic ancestors. Their loyalty  and devotion to posterity and the motherland should, moreover, inspire us with a determination to transmit to descendants this glorious heritage untarnished, so that age after age it may endure and expand in beauty and magnificence. Hence, to the memory of these sturdy sons, founders and preservers of British institutions, we bow in reverence whenever we look upon our imperial flag.

All these, however, dwelt not within the limits of the British Islands. Much of the recent development of the Empire is due to colonial statesmanship, to the genius and ability of loyal Canadians, Australians and South Africans, who are developing a family of young nations and shaping the institution of their countries after the best traditions of Britain.

Their remarkable growth in population, wealth and intellectual development, their loyalty to the Crown, and devotion to the Empire, are noble fruits of the wise policy of colonial statesmen.

In a young country whose destiny is to be shaped, natural resources developed, and commercial policy and relations with the mother country adjusted from time to time, its citizens must needs be well-informed, and capable of weighing intelligently public questions. Indeed, the duties and responsibilities of citizenship are in many respects greater than in the mother land, and hence the almost universal practice in Britain's dominions beyond the seas, of providing a free and liberal education for all, rich and poor. From the primary school to the University is the ideal which our best legislators and public spirited men have kept steadily in view in our province; yet, compared with other similar institutions, the University of New Brunswick, considering its generous equipment and provision for a broad and thorough course in arts and the applied sciences, is the least expensive of the young and expanding institutions of Canada.

Whether the province will be justified in offering more liberal inducements to intending students, will depend upon the University itself. If it continues to grow in popularity and demonstrate its worth as an up-to-date institution, ready and able to meet the demand for advanced culture and training in the various fields of applied science, the Province may open the doors wider, and deal with it in a more generous spirit. Such a policy must result in bringing to these halls a larger proportion of the more ambitious and energetic sons of labor, whose early training on the farms and in the busy hives of industry fits them in advance for successful careers as students and business and professional men. The more representatives of the various elements composing the citizenship of the province are thus attracted hither, the more potent becomes the influence of the University in promoting the general welfare, the growth of patriotism and pride in home institutions. To make it serve these noble purposes seems to have been the object of its founders and friends, who throughout its checkered and eventful career preserved its existence as the only state university in the province.

Again, it is not claiming too much to say that the University is becoming the head of our educational system. Many of its students were teachers before matriculating; many of its graduates enter the school service. They come here to pursue a broader, deeper and more scientific training than falls to the lost of the average man seeking to become an eminent and successful teacher. The history of human development and progress, man as a physical, mental and moral being, his personality and relation to the world, the philosophy of mind, its powers and possibilities, language, science, are--the course is extensive and scholarly; and when pursued earnestly and mastered in whole or in part, represents culture, scholarship and power, which must in a special manner energize educational thought and progress. Year by year, the number of distinguished graduates entering the school service is increasing, and to their presence and influence as principals and teachers of the leading schools of the province can be traced much of the growing popularity of this University itself. They prove themselves true and loyal sons of their Alma Mater by thus giving their best services to promote its developments and make it an institution of the people. I know distinguished graduates who, for a quarter of a century, have occupied prominent positions in the High Schools of this province, sending up year after year an increasing amount of the student body. Many students are here to-day because of the personal influence of men who are toiling day in and day out in the work-shops of humanity, re-creating, moulding, tempering and sending forth the intellectual and moral machinery of the world. The stem cannot continue to grow in beauty and strength without the vital support of the leaves and branches. This University must encourage by all means such devoted services by setting the seal of its approval on master-minds among teachers, and thus recognize the claims of distinguished services. What service can compare in grandeur with that which gives to a country an educated citizenship, inspired by high aims and lofty moral purposes, which finds dignity in labor and happiness in duty, fears God and loves its fellow-man?

I am aware a number of the young graduates of to-day intend to enter the teaching profession. I know their zeal and earnestness, and the high conception they have formed of the magnitude of the work to which they purpose giving their best services. To them I would say: You are on the threshold of a profession whose emoluments are few and limited, whose duties and exactions are many and arduous. Courage and faith in yourselves, and the consciousness of the salutary and enduring character of your work, will be your strength and inspiration from day to day. Whenever you feel discouraged, whenever the heat is heavy, look at your ward, the child, and picture it stretching its helpless arms towards you and begging for the light of a natural revelation, which, hand in hand with its greater sister, may guide it to happiness here and hereafter. And with the ears of faith you may hear, too, the consoling words: "As long as you did it for one of the least of these, my brethren, you did it unto me."

Such thoughts and reflections will come as glimpses of sunshine to dispel the gloom of the moment, and infuse fresh hope and courage.

Ever bear in mind you are laborers called to the human vineyard; what you are is nothing; what you do is everything. You may not be regarded as earth's greatest sons and daughters; your names may not be sounded in high places; even your presence and work may be barely noticed; you may toil here and there with sometimes little to cheer you, but that which fires you from within and beckons you from beyond. Be not downcast; you are doing a mighty work for the intellectual and moral uplifting of the world. It is a noble thing to be a teacher; it is a consoling thought in the evening of life that you have done your part well.

The tiny rain-drops fall and are lost in the trackless waters--an apparent waste of nature's energy; but they have done their part well in removing and burying in the vast ocean the dark cloud above, leaving the sun brighter, the sky clearer and the air fresher and more invigorating. So, let it be with us. We, too, my young friends, will fall each at his allotted period, and fade away in the oblivious roll of the ocean of time, but let us so order our life's work as to remove some of the ignorance, vice and prejudice of the world, and leave our fellow-creatures better, happier, more generous and charitable because we have lived.

To accomplish this good, we must bear in mind that character-building in the young is the grandest work of education, that education is only another name for self-help; that without the love and power of right-doing it becomes too often the dangerous and powerful ally of vice and crime, and that the happiness of the individual, the welfare of society, event he honored greatness of a nation, rest not so much on intellectual supremacy, as on right doing. It will be your great privilege to mold the future of this country, in molding and developing the young intrusted to you. You will ever keep in view that the mind is not unlike a fire--the moral and social natures with their endless desires, appetites and passions furnish the fuel, but the latter must be purified and developed according to the sanction of conscience and Christianity before education can become an angel of peace of mind, purity of soul, and guardian and proctor of the sacredness of home and family. Never forget, my young friends, that the tender word of encouragement, the smile of approval, the everyday warm sympathy with child effort are far more effective than all the rules and regulations of a Lycurgus. Kindness and sympathy are never lost, they are ripples every spreading, ever returning, but cheering and brightening always.

In this noble world you will be a great force, shaping the destinies of our beloved Canada and its people, and building up a young and giant nation which with its mighty arms upholding the flag of Britain and grasping the shores of the bounding oceans will ever stand forth as the exponent of human liberty to endure in magnificence and glory to the end of time.

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