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washer-woman came in the other, because he had no money to pay her. At close of sophomore year, funds being entirely exhausted, he obtained leave of absence, and became assistant to his brother, then principal of Light-street Institute, Baltimore; in addition to which he taught a night-school. In April, 1845, he returned to Carlisle, and in July passed up as a senior.
In his last year Dashiell had no competitor but Daniel Devinney, and a close strife divided honors equally. Devinney, five years older than Dashiell, mature, extraordinary in brilliancy and strength, intensely ambitious and studious, splendid, sensitive, and sad, ran a bright but brief career, which ended painfully. With this intense student Dashiell held an even position. In the society hall and on the chapel platform he was accorded the palm without dispute. He was the champion orator of the Union Philosophical Society, and always drew a crowded audience. His best friend in college was Dr. Emory, who impressed him more profoundly than any one else, and for whom his admiration knew no bounds. His room-mate, now Judge Robinson, of the Court of Appeals at Annapolis, after thirty-six years has not lost a similar enthusiasm, for he writes: “ Durbin, though not strictly speaking a scholarly man, was a great reader, and had a wonderful fund of information at command; but Emory was in every sense a much stronger man, with talents of the highest order, and but for his early death would have been one of the most distinguished men of the age.”
Emory, bidding Dashiell farewell after graduation, said, “Robert, I am not a judge of duty for others, but my iinpression is that God has work for you in his Church. If you hear a voice calling you to preach, beware of disobeying it.” In order to cancel his educational debt, the young graduate returned to his brother's Institute to teach, intending to go afterward into law and politics : but the parting words of Emory abode with him, and were re-enforced by Rev. L. F. Morgan and Rev. James Allen, until one morning he came down early into the library and said to his brother, who had insisted on his studying law: “I have spent a sleepless night in prayer, and my conviction is that it is my duty to preach the Gospel. Woe is me if I preach not.” This conviction he followed without delay. From Baltimore, about this time, three notable young men set out upon itinerant life: Otis H.
Tiffany, being a year in advance of the other two, and Alfred
One sunny April morning young Dashiell mounted his pony, “Harry Clay,” and rode from home to his first appointment, West River Circuit. When but a week an itinerant he writes in his journal, “ One prayer I shall put up daily—Lord, make me a good pastor rather than a brilliant preacher;" yet lie seems to relish preaching, for before he has been a month on the circuit he records that, one morning at “Friendship” Church, he preached an hour and a quarter. In 1850 he was sent to Loudoun Circuit, one of the most wealthy and cultured of rural sections, and, down to its desolation by the war, the story of his eloquence and unequaled popularity could be heard anywhere on the circuit. In 1852 he was appointed to Union Chapel, in the city of Washington, where large audiences and a considerable revival marked bis pastorate. The charge prospered abundantly. In 1854 he went to Wesley Chapel, Washington, as assistant to Rev. James H. Brown, devoting himself mainly to a new enterprise on Capitol Hill, which dedicated its edifice, “Waugh Chapel," before the close of his term. While in Washington, he met, received into the Church, and married Miss Mary J. Hanly, who now survives him, with three daughters and a son. The reports of his Washington pastorates are enthusiastic. In 1856 he was sent to Baltimore as one of four ministers on the “City Station,” comprising four churches, Light St., Eutaw St., Wesley and Spring Garden chapels. The four men rotated among the four churches. Divided labors and responsibilities did not work well. The personal magnetism of one man could not obtain much hold on thirteen hundred members operated upon continually by three others. The next two years Dashiell was at Charles St., following B. F. Brooke and a great revival. Finding prosperity in full tide, he increased it, and the church became the strongest in Baltimore.
In the summer of 1857, a boyhood friend, now Judge Irving, of the Maryland Court of Appeals, then residing in Cincinnati, happening to be in Baltimore over Sunday, went in the morning to hear Dashiell preach. He found the house crowded, with aisles full of benches and chairs. Notwithstanding his old friend was in a remote part of the house, the preacher
spied him, and as he closed his sermon, called on Irving to pray, saying, as the congregation was kneeling, “God converted us at the same time and has kept us faithful, you practicing your profession in a distant city and me preaching his everlasting Gospel.” This introduction, added to the unexpected call to pray, came near proving too much for the astonished lawyer. After twelve years in the Baltimore Conference, during which he attained first rank as pastor and preacher, he was transferred in 1860 to the Newark Conference, to occupy the pulpit of Central Church, Newark, one of the most cathedral-like buildings in Methodism, and which is still unsurpassed in the pure Gothic stateliness of its interior. Both church and pastor were in the glow and vigor of young life. A pastorate highly successful in all respects resulted. Then followed two good years at Trinity Church, Jersey City, during which he was instrumental in founding the Children's Home for the Education of Indigent Children in that city.
In 1864 he returned to Newark as pastor of St. Paul's Church. The industries of the city were paralyzed by the war.
The church had small congregations, was in debt twenty-one thousand dollars, and sorely depressed. He addressed himself at once to the debt, and in seven months the whole amount was raised. In the winter about one hundred were added to the church, many of whom are now its most active members. His three years at St. Paul's opened a new era for the church, and two pastorates in Newark gave him an honored name and wide influence among its citizens. In 1867 he became pastor at Orange, N.J. The degree of Doctor of Divinity was conferred on him simultaneously by Rutgers College and Wesleyan University. On Sept. 8, 1868, he was chosen President of Dickinson College, to fill the vacancy made by the death of Dr. H. M. Johnson.
The situation of Dickinson at this time was critical, and required a president of peculiar qualities. He must give promise of being able to regain for the institution its lost constituency. His history and affiliations must be such as to propitiate both Northern and Southern sentiment. These necessities asked for a man from the border who might be in himself a bond of union. Dashiell, whose life had been divided between Maryland and New Jersey, and whose influence was thus outlying in both directions, suited Dickinson's need. The presidency
must have a man of wide access to the general public and to men of influence and wealth. Such considerations of policy largely determined the selection and outlined the work of the
Dr. Dashiell went to Carlisle in the prime of his manhood, with a successful record and a wide acquaintanceship, to undertake a difficult task. The affairs of the college were at a low ebb. It had suffered immensely from the war. In ante-bellum days the pro-slavery element among trustees and students had alienated Northern sympathy; the war cut off all patronage from the South; and the college, unsupported by either, was in imminent peril of sinking forever. The speech of welcome made to him in behalf of trustees and faculty said, “Your old mother, Dickinson, for some years has been struggling along with palsied limbs in poverty and neglect. One who came before you to steady her tottering steps sank under the burden and we buried him. Put your strong arm around her and hold her up."
To this not over-cheerful address the new President responded in happiest vein. His first words were to the “young gentlemen," whom he told with winning lightsomeness and felicitous witchery of expression how, when aroused that morning by the familiar tones of the old college bell, he had seemed to awake to one of his own student days, and was on the point of calling his chum, when he remembered that student-life was twenty-two years gone, and far different days had come. Then, turning to his associates of the faculty, he spoke reverently and touchingly of Emory, and invoked that the mantle of that illustrious model might fall on him. A member of the faculty writes, “ With a heart full of kindly instincts, at once dignified and affable, quick and skilled in knowledge of human nature, intelligent and prompt as an officer in the dispatch of his proper business, he brought high qualities to his office."
Bending his energies promptly to the scanty and urgent situation, he did much to rehabilitate the fortunes of his alma mater. With fine executive abilities he gave faithful attention to details. He raised funds for extensive repairs and improvements to college buildings. From Saturday to Monday he was usually away, spending Sundays in Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, Pittsburg, and elsewhere, preaching and seeking to gain friends, funds, and students for the institution.
The rest of the week he devoted closely to the internal work of the college. The number of students gradually increased, and in his last year more entered than in any year of his or the previous presidency. He made every effort to stimulate interest in college life. The citizens were invited to weekly open-air concerts on the campus during the appropriate season. The custoin of planting class-trees for the beautifying of the grounds was revived. Half-holiday excursions to the springs, caves, and spurs of the Blue Ridge mountains were encouraged. He organized the poorer students into a club, the table of which he kept largely supplied by mysterious arrivals of provisions from Philadelphia and Baltimore, reducing board to a mere trifle. Sick students, rich and poor, were fed from the president's own table. He strove to keep alive among the students a high sentiment of manhood, and to work that sentiment upon the side of college regulations. In this he so far succeeded that it was considered “a shame to lie to Dr. Larry.”
Instead of putting college societies under ban, he became their patron and made them arms of power to his administration, holding each fraternity responsible for the honor of its members, and calling the attention of the best men in each to the misdoings of any, that it might protect itself from the disgrace of having its members disciplined. He acted the part of a pastor to the students, visiting, conversing, and sympathizing with them. In his inaugural address he told them that while he came as a college officer, he came as a personal friend to every one, and thenceforth every student knew that if he needed a friend he would find one in the president.
Dashiell inclined more to kindness than to discipline. He has been known to conceal a young man's misdeeds from the faculty, laboring secretly meanwhile to win the misdoer to amendment; saying to himself, “I am going to save that boy, law or no law.” When the martinets of the faculty remonstrated against some stretch of kindness which they thought relaxed unwisely the discipline of the college, he would say,
Well, the pastor got the better of the president." Yet his government did not expose itself to contempt. College rebellions ended in the triumph of authority. The Sophomore and Freshman classes combined against a member of the faculty, and were suspended. On Saturday morning the president, after his