restricted access Opening of Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, November 10, 1869
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Opening of Swarthmore College, 1869 195 6. With Cooper, LM had been a member of the Joint Indian Committee, an 1839 effort by Genesee, New York, Philadelphia, and Baltimore Yearly Meetings to help the Seneca fight removal efforts in New York State (Faulkner, 134). 7. From John Bunyan, Pilgrim’s Progress (1758). 8. In 1868 the Pennsylvania Peace Society planned to petition the state legislature to abolish capital punishment (Bond of Peace, March 1, 1868). Opening of Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, November 10, 18691 LUCRETIA MOTT followed, expressing her deep interest in the College,2 and her hope that it would never degenerate into a mere sectarian school, but that its teachings would be so comprehensive and free from theological bias, that those who receive them will be prepared to recognize good wherever found. The voice of Truth is so plain, and so universally applicable, that all may hear it in their own tongue in which they were born. She also referred to the skepticism which sometimes grows out of the study of Science when unaccompanied by religious faith, and feelingly recited the following lines of Cowper: . . . Never yet did philosophic tube That brings the planets home into the eye Of observation, and discovers, else Not visible, His family of worlds, Discover Him that rules them; such a veil Hangs over mortal eyes, blind from the birth, And dark in things divine. Full often, too, Our wayward intellect, the more we learn Of Nature, overlooks her Author more; From instrumental causes proud to draw Conclusions retrograde and mad mistake. But if His word once teach us, shoot a ray Through all the heart’s dark chambers and reveal Truths undiscovered but by that holy light, Then all is plain. Philosophy, baptized In the pure fountain of eternal love, Has eyes indeed; and viewing all she sees As meant to indicate a God to man, Gives Him his praise, and forfeits not her own.3 PD “Inauguration of Swarthmore College” (Philadelphia: Merrihew & Son, 1869), 16–17 * * * * William Dorsey4 also spoke, who was followed by Lucretia Mott. The brief notice of her remarks in the Press account of the proceedings,5 ascribes to her a phraseology which formed no part of her utterance. In that portion of her address specially addressed to the pupils, she counseled proper and watchful heed to the 196 Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society, 1870 “inner light” as an inestimable source of instruction, at the same time directing their attention to the value of the teachings of such good men as Elias Hicks, and the beautiful and simple truth taught by Jesus of Nazareth. In the course of her happy remarks she quoted a passage from Cowper, appropriately adapted to the spirit and tenor of her remarks, in which these lines occur: — “Philosophy, baptiz’d In the pure fountain of eternal love Has eyes indeed; and viewing all she sees As meant to indicate a God to man, Gives him his praise, and forfeits not her own. Learning has born such fruit in other days On all her branches; piety has found Friends in the friends of science, and true pray’r Has flow’d from lips wet with Castilian dews.”6 PD “Our Philadelphia Correspondence,” National Anti-Slavery Standard, November 20, 1869 1. Two separate, conflicting accounts of LM’s remarks follow. 2. When it opened, the co-educational Swarthmore College had 180 students. LM’s daughter, Anna Hopper, was on the board of managers. At the ceremony, LM planted two oak trees in memory of JM, who had died on January 26, 1868 (Palmer, 424). 3. From Cowper’s “The Task” (1785). 4. William Dorsey (1811–1874) was a Philadelphia Hicksite and merchant. 5. “The venerable Lucretia Mott exhorted those present to carry out the objects of the college, so plainly set forth; spoke of the necessity of institutions like Swarthmore; rejoiced in the simplicity of the course of studies proposed, and hoped that truth would ever prevail; and the divine mission of the Lord Jesus Christ would never be forgotten” (Philadelphia Press, November 11, 1869). 6. From “The Task.” Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society, Assembly Buildings, March 24, 1870 The President Lucretia Mott opened the Meeting with a few appropriate remarks . She said that at this, the last meeting, an address to the people assembled might be expected; but her heart was so full that there was room only for a feeling of thankfulness. Remembering the time when this Society was formed she rejoiced to see...