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The stated meeting was held on Thursday, the 10th instant, at three o'clock, P. M.; the senior Vice-President, SAMUEL A. GREEN, in the chair.
The record of the February meeting was read and approved; and the list of the donors to the Library during the last month was read by the Librarian.
The Recording Secretary, in the absence of the Corresponding Secretary, reported that Dr. J. Collins Warren had accepted his election as a Resident Member, and Edward Doubleday Harris his election as a Corresponding Member.
The Editor announced the deposit with the Society, subject
Harold Murdock, of Brookline, was elected a Resident
The senior Vice-President reported the appointment by the
Davis and Frederic Winthrop.
Messrs. Thomas Minns and James F. Hunnewell.
Professor CHANNING presented a copy of a pamphlet entitled “ Notes on the Plants of Wineland the Good,” by Professor M. L. Fernald, giving the results of his researches into the meaning of certain words used in the Norse Sagas.
The senior Vice-President said:
Since the last meeting William Everett, by seniority of election one of the oldest members of the Society, has died. A man of critical scholarship and great learning, and a person of marked peculiarities withal, there is now no one in the community to fill completely the niche left vacant by his death. Dr. Everett was both a preacher and a teacher, a scholar and an orator, and in all the activities of life he displayed a remarkable mentality and versatility. He was great wit and ever ready with an apt quotation from either the classics or from English literature.
He had strong views on most subjects and was always able to defend them. A graduate of Harvard College and of the Dane Law School, he was thoroughly versed in legal lore, and his fund of knowledge in every department of learning was vast and well-nigh inexhaustible. Admitted to the bar in Suffolk County, on April 8, 1867, he never practised law, and licensed by the Boston Association of Ministers to preach he never was settled over a parish.
Among Dr. Everett's latest literary efforts was his address before this Society on the Tercentenary of the birth of the great English Puritan, which was a masterly production and well worthy of the subject. It was a keen analysis of the character of a matchless poet; and the peroration was a noble and eloquent tribute paid by a scholar in close sympatlıy with the views of a defender of liberty against royal prerogative. He saw a vision representing Milton, about the age of thirty, visiting the Continent and passing considerable time in the chief cities of Italy.
Dr. Everett was chosen a member of the Society on March 8, 1876; and his death took place at Quincy on February 16.
Agreeably to a long usage on such occasions, the Reverend Dr. McKenzie, a classmate and for four years his college chum, will pay a tribute to the memory of our late associate; and Dr. James Schouler, another classmate, will also give his reminiscences of Dr. Everett.
Dr. MCKENZIE spoke substantially as follows:
I am glad that I can speak of my friend and companion, as I am asked to do. But it is not altogether easy to say all which I would, while I fear that in any case I should be obliged to talk of myself and more than I like. My knowledge of William Everett began at our entering Harvard. His father desired that he should be associated with one older than himself, and Dr. Taylor of Andover gave him my name, and referred him to Mr. Samuel Lawrence, in whose counting. house I was for four years. The result was that I was invited to Mr. Everett's house on Summer Street, where I met the father and the son. Mr. Everett gave me some account of William, who had, he said, at an earlier time possessed a phenomenal memory. As his years increased this distinction was lessened. This is the only fact which I now recall. More could have been said. Mr. Everett advised me to call on President Walker, whose account of William was not altogether assuring. He spoke of the hazing which was then in practice, and remarked, “ You will have no trouble; your chum may, for he is conceited and green." This was quite in the President's manner. But as a matter of fact we had no trouble worth mentioning. To have your window broken at night was not a serious disaster, especially as it was remedied the next morning as a matter of course. Mr. Everett had secured for us one of the best two freshman rooms, Holworthy 1, under Tutor Sophocles, and there our common life began. My chum proved a congenial companion. His character was complex to one outside of it, but it was simple in itself, There were times of quietness and times of very decided speech and action, as we have seen later. He was much like the deep sea, which keeps its identity while it changes its appearance. But there was no rudeness or thoughtlessness in his relations with me. I do not recall a rude word or an unkind act in the years we spent in the same rooms. For we remained together to the end. Mr. Everett said it was one of the rare instances in which two men lived in this mammer and came out friends. But friends we have been through these fifty years. He wrote to me freely and often, and always signed himself with a word of affection. His ability was unquestioned. I think he could easily have led
the class in rank. But he was not, in the phrase of those times, what was known as a "dig.” He learned readily and trusted to his rapid survey of his lessons. Sometimes he relied too much on his superficial work, and was tripped at some point which he had regarded too hastily. He was cheerful, and inclined to be playful, but he had no particular college sports. His favorite game was checkers, which outranked chess in his regard. His close companion in this pursuit was Frank Hopkinson, and they had much in common. He carried himself in a friendly way toward his classmates, though he had a habit of expressing himself with unnecessary force concerning some lapse in learning, like a false quantity in Latin. But he was not unkind, nor did he make any parade of his iuherited name and reputation. He felt the dignity of his house, but was not eager to assert it. He had high rank, but made no display. He was of the eight who had orations at Commencement, and his theme is a suggestion of his habitual thought. It was “ Athens, the Universal Teacher.” The reporter described it as “an able and thrilling performance, full of emotion and enthusiasm."
I presume it is Everett's abrupt and at times severe manner of speech which will be best remembered by those who had only an acquaintance with him, and possibly not even that. This was characteristic, as we all know - whence he received it I cannot say. I doubt if the psychologists could explain it. It is a common opinion that a young man is greatly affected by those with whom he is in close association. William Everett was the son of his father, who was the perfection of courtesy and quietness. He was intimate with his father, They talked and walked together, and the son learned many things. It would seem inevitable that he should unconsciously come under the control of one whom he so greatly reverenced. Yet two men were never more unlike. Whether he inherited a different manner from some other source I cannot say. Dr. Andrew P. Peabody might bring the instance under his theory of a succession of inheritances, so that when one was spent the other could assert itself. Mrs. Everett I saw but once, when she walked with me in the garden at Medford, and was full of kindliness. The problem is interesting, but is quite bevond me.
That William did derive much knowledge of men and
events from his father is beyond question. He could talk English history as if he had been a part of it. Many of its men he had seen, and all of them he knew. Yet there seemed nothing of conceit in his conversation and addresses. He never seemed to regard it as remarkable that he knew 80 much.
His comments and opinions on general subjects were distinctive. The sentence which he would almost readily throw out had a good basis of truth and reason. I have had an increasing confidence in his judgment. If I have not followed it as of authority, I have felt its sustaining force. I have found myself falling back upon it, and when he was talking with a friend the manner of his counsel was convincing.
His career after leaving college is well known: his study at the English Cambridge, his return to Harvard as a teacher, his term in Congress, and then the later years. His life has been called a tragedy. It had that aspect, but I regard it rather as a disappointment. He would have liked to tread in his father's steps. lle turned naturally to the Christian ministry. When we were together we had daily prayers in which we al ternated as leaders. This was an extension of his home life. Theology we never discussed. Whether his father had cautioned him against this, or whether it was his own good sense, I do not know. Afterwards he consulted me upon his thought of obtaining ecclesiastical authority for preaching. I advised him to get it, and he did, and he filled my own pulpit more than once. I think he would gladly have become a parish minister had he been asked to do so.
It was with this feeling that he entered on his latest work as the principal of a boys' school. He believed in his boys and loved them, and took all pains to serve them. He was a religious teacher. He prepared sermons for the school, writing many of them with great care. They are good sermons, rich in thought and even more rich in a controlling purpose to help the boys to be men. For this he cared most. You could not more readily provoke him than by a careless question, “How many boys do you send to college, this year?" Then he would storm. * That's what they all ask: how many boys do you send to college ?” That was not the great thing with him. Numbers he could not control. It was the kind of boy he sent, and his equipment, which most concerned him.