If I had
written to you last Saturday, I should have written a very
different letter from this. I made an appointment to see certain persons
on Saturday afternoon at Boston. All things then looked favorable. But
the fire broke out before I had finished my remarks and darkness came
from the fire. First, the very persons from whom I had hoped to get
funds in Boston are burnt out. Secondly, a very unusual proportion of orthodox
Congregationalists are burnt out. Thirdly, some who would have been
our most liberal patrons are Trustees of Institutions which have suffered much
from the fire and these gentlemen will feel it necessary to give to the
institutions already on their hands, rather than to take new
institutions upon their hands. Thus, the Methodist College probably
loses nearly $1,000,000 and the Episcopal Seminary many thousands. I
fear the Methodists and the Episcopalians will not give anything at present.
Even Mrs. Claflin thinks it best not to say anything to the Governor about
becoming a Trustee. For these reasons I doubt whether we can rely on our
merchants in Boston for anything at present, perhaps not for a year or more.
For the same reasons, I doubt whether it is best to invite Mr. Lawrence
and such men to become Trustees. Such men are now confused,
perplexed; and they cannot tell how much they will be obliged to give to the
Institutions to which they are already committed. It seems to me now,
that nothing can be done this winter in Boston for Smith College,
and the future is doubtful; i.e. it is doubtful when we
can begin to operate in Boston. Is it not best to confine our
efforts to Northampton & vicinity for the months to come? Other
Institutions judge it unwise to calculate on Boston for a year
to come. It does seem to me, that we cannot safely promise much aid from
Boston, until the merchants shall have recovered from their present shock.
Meanwhile let me ask: Would it be well to appoint clergymen rather than laymen
to our Board of Trustees; Phillips Brooks, Rufus Ellis, Chandler Robbins, and
such men? They have not suffered from the fire. Would it be proper to
appoint Edward Everett Hale??? I wish you would talk on the subject with Prof.
Tyler. I do not know, but will think of the matter more. I did expect to
write you such a letter as you desired; but the fire burned up that
expectation. In your Northampton interview will it not be enough to point to
Amherst and Andover, towns which have been created by the Literary
Institutions in them. Gov. Sprague offered about $100,000 to Brown University,
if it would remove from its present location to the neighborhood of his farm:
i.e. he offered to give ten acres of land, valued at $100,000 about. The
interests of a town are promoted by such Institutions, as anybody can see.
Yours very truly,
Andover, Nov. 11, 1872
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