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school. He lectured in Williams College and at New Haven. It has been my good fortune to meet two men who were his pupils before the founding of the Institute. One of them is Hon. Elias Leavenworth of Syracuse, who, as a legislator, has always appreciated science. The other is Judge Parker of Albany, always interested in scientific men. Mr. L. considers his effort to advance science one of the brightest ornaments in his escutcheon.
To establish a school of science the. Professor had the enthusiasm, but not the means, and in that respect was like nearly all men of science. Stephen Van Rensselaer had, and with a wise provision he established this school. Taking a small number of students, it gave special instruction, and the students were required to tell to others, in groups of .five or six, what they knew. To young men intending to teach, this was important. In the lectures of Prof. Eaton at Utica came the teachings which resulted in the scientific interest of Prof. Dana, and Prof. Gray, and Prof. Torrey, our greatest botanist. In the progress of civilization, it is not the slow, uniform motion of the great masses that helps it forward, but the few men who come out from them and strike a new key. Prof. Eaton taught us the manipulations in science with the simplest materials, so that a student could go into the forest and construct a pneumatic trough, or a balance, and perform there his experiments in chemistry or physics. To his memory we owe much. His name has been neglected before the public, but cherished in the bosoms of those who knew him, a man capable of interesting young men, having a brain onefourth larger than the mass of mankind, and that brain devoted to the service of science. If we with great means do what he did with small, we shall deserve well of. coming generations.
Prof. H. B. Nason then spoke as follows, concerning the moral and religious character of Prof. Eaton:
The death of Prof. Eaton occurred on the 6th of May, 1842. Nearly the last words that fell from his lips were: "I submit to my Heavenly Father's will "—words uttered without doubt in the greatest sincerity, and words expressive of that calm, peaceful, loving, child-like submission which have so often been uttered by those who have had a firm, unswerving faith in the forgiving, tender mercy of an ever indulgent Heavenly Father. The same sentiment has been expressed by the high and the low, in the palace, in the hovel, before the glitter of the executioner's axe, surrounded by blazing fagots, as well as when life has gently closed like a summer's day. "Thy will be done!" "Father, I trust in Thee!" "Into Thy hands I commit my spirit!" "It is well!" Each dying sentence breathes the same trusting faith. Sir Humphrey Davy, whom science has always been pleased to honor, once said: "I envy no quality of the mind or intellect in others; not genius, power, wit or fancy; but if I could choose what would be most delightful and I believe most useful to me, I should prefer a firm religious belief to every other blessing." From what I have been able to learn from those who knew him best, Prof. Eaton was a firm believer in the Christian religion, and was sustained and comforted by its truths amid trials and afflictions which seldom fall to the lot of man. Being called away very frequently from home, he was in the habit of writing often and with great frankness concerning his thoughts and views of religious subjects. In one of these letters, written to his wife after some deep affliction, he says: "I feel that these trials are but the chastisement of a Father, which, though seemingly severe, are designed to eventuate in my more substantial good. My faith in Divine revelation and in the immediate agency of an all-seeing God is greatly strengthened."
Again he writes: "I think He who formed all hearts has pierced mine with a true conviction of my lost and sinful state. My little office has become to me a house of prayer. I can close my work by strenuous exertion so as to gain two or three hours each day for reading of the Scriptures, contemplation and prayer, vigorously struggling to be relieved from my heavy burden of sin." "At last," he adds, in speaking of his conversion, "I seemed to consent to all the terms of the Gospel, and to throw myself wholly upon Divine mercy without reserve. I called aloud upon the Redeemer as an elder brother in the flesh, who had influence with our Heavenly Father, to present me as a candidate for mercy. I have^faith to believe that he heard my prayer, and gave my soul its first moments of real peace for eighteen years. I could not refrain from solemnly committing my wife and children to the hands of the God who gave them, and dedicating them to the service of the Father of Mercies."
Again, when absent from home, he says: "I rarely neglect to address the Throne of Grace for my family and myself morning and evening." Years afterwards, in referring to the period of his conversion to religion, he says: "Though I have daily good reason to reproach myself for want of zeal in so important a cause as religion, I hope I have never lost sight of the great duty of man, for any considerable period of time."
In all his religious writings he seems to show a feeling of deep dependence upon divine strength and wisdom, and a sincere repentance for his shortcomings and failures. A desire to know and perform his whole duty, at whatever cost or sacrifice, was often expressed. In making application for admission to one of our churches, after stating his views, he writes: "I wish to be directed on the ground of duty alone. I beg of you to view it both with regard to my individual duty and the general interest of the great cause of religion. I can readily bring my feelings to cordial acquiescence in whatever duty commands. But I cannot consent to be viewed by you as an enemy of religion."
There are those present to-day who can tell you from personal experience of the many qualities of mind and heart which made Prof. Eaton one of the best and truest of friends. Although perhaps at times somewhat rough in his appearance and manner,yet whenever occasion required, the big generous heart within prompted deeds and actions which can never be forgotten. Perhaps nowhere were these traits better seen and appreciated than in his own family.
One of his children who has honored the memory of her father by a zealous devotion to the cause of the education of her own sex and who honors us and this occasion with her presence to-day, says in a recent letter, "I was blessed by the genial, loving Prof. Amos Eaton's tenderest care and influence." One who often visited.in his family told me that nowhere was there ever seen a better exhibition of true parental care and affection, and no one ever mourned with deeper sorrow the loss of those near and dear to him of his own family.
There seems to be a principle in the human heart which leads us ever to speak kindly of the dead, and with them to bury anything of wrong that may have existed in their lives or their character. And to-day as we recount the many virtues of the truly great man whose remains repose beneath us, let us draw the mantle of charity over any weakness of nature, and trust that the record of an earnest life is inscribed against his name, and not only the tear of the recording angel, but the all-saving blood of a forgiving Saviour purified that soul from the dross of earth and made it a fit inhabitant of heaven.
As in ancient times the brows of bloodless victors were crowned with a myrtle wreath, so to-day as we dedicate this block of granite to the memory of Amos Eaton we place upon it the wreath of myrtle. True it will soon wither and die, but the good deeds, the noble actions and words of the teacher will live on in the hearts of those he instructed, and their influence shall be felt when this massive block of granite shall have crumbled to dust; yea, till time shall be no more.
The exercises then closed with the benediction, pronounced by Rev. Dr. Brinsmade.
Miss Sara Cady Eaton, for many years Principal of the Rochester Female Seminary, and Mrs. S. L. Marsden, of New Haven, Conn., daughters of Prof. Eaton, also a grandson, S. Arthur Marsden of New Haven, were present at the dedication.
The monument is a cubical block of light gray Granite, measuring four feet six inches, by five feet, and bears the simple inscription, " Prof. Amos Eaton, born May 17th, 1776, died May 10th, 1842." The stone was taken from the quarry of George Marks on Clark's Island, coast of Maine, and weighs eleven tons. It was cut by Messrs. W. H. & L. L. Dyer, of Troy.