« הקודםהמשך »
of cholstery earers, period touch ull en
ment. And we ask, Is it in the terms usually employed in such certificates ? Does it bear witness to the accurate and businesslike manner in which the pecuniary affairs of the College had been conducted ? Does it testify to full entries, regular transfers, authorized orders, and faithful vouchers, for all sums paid out ? As it extends through a period of seventeen years, does it certify that the Treasurer's books and accounts had been annually and regularly examined and audited ? No; none of this. Mr. Nichols tells us that he examined “ all the accounts and vouchers of the Treasurer and Steward ;" i. e. he examined all the accounts and vouchers they had to produce. Well, how do these tally ? On this point Mr. Nichols says nothing. All may, or may not, have been square and regular. In the circumstances of the case, such a certificate, of itself, excites strong suspicions that there was something wrong. Mr. Nichols does not tell us that the Treasurer and Steward have regular accounts of all their receipts and expenditures; nor does he say that they have sufficient vouchers for the sums they profess to have paid out; nor does he so much as hint that the various expenditures and appropriations made by these gentlemen were in pursuance of votes of the Corporation. All this ground his certificate leaves untouched. The amount of information afforded by Mr. Nichols is, that “ satisfactory evidence has been furnished of the payment of the several sums charged by them, all the mistakes which have been discovered in the accounts are corrected, and the books regularly closed.” After nine months “ laborious and minute examination," the strongest certificate Mr. Nichols can honestly give informs us only that evidence had been produced sufficient to satisfy him of the payment of the several sums charged by the Treasurer and Steward. How many sums were received and not acknowledged? How many paid out, and not charged ? How many and how large unauthorized orders of the late President were paid ? How large a sum was paid by the Steward, without the concurrence of the Corporation, after the Corporation had expressly forbidden the President to draw on the Treasurer, and when the Steward must have known the fact ? Upon these points Mr. Nichols, with feelings very natural to a gentleman in his circumstances, observes a discreet silence. He must say something, and so he tells us that “ satisfactory evidence” has been produced that the late Treasurer and Steward actually paid the sums charged by them. “ Satisfactory evidence !" What was this evidence? Was it regular vouchers ? Most certainly not; for, had it been, Mr. Nichols understands his business too well to have given the lame and impotent certificate before quoted. Had such been the evidence, the late Treasurer, too, understands his rights too well to have accepted, still less to have been satisfied with, that certificate.
of thoseuch as the peridence did sa
But suppose this evidence did satisfy the mind of Mr. Nichols; was it such as the people of Massachusetts have a right to demand of those to whom are entrusted the immense funds bestowed by the Commonwealth upon the oldest and most cherished institution of the land ? If this evidence, which was deemed satisfactory by Mr. Nichols, was not the ordinary and appropriate evidence of vouchers, then let it be produced, that the people, whose money has been expended, may judge whether the evidence is also satisfactory to them. Let there be no blinking, no shrinking, no keeping back. Let all be above-board and open !o the face of day and the light of truth.
Mr. Nichols tells us, moreover, that all the mistakes which have been discovered in the accounts are corrected.” What were these mistakes? how large? how often occurring? what was their amountone thousand dollars, or five, or forty? But, many or few, great or small, they “ are corrected.” How were they corrected ? Were vouchers subsequently produced ? Or did the auditor take the word of the gentlemen, in place of vouchers ? Or was the result guessed at, and jumped at, according to the best light that could be obtained? But, finally, 6 the books are regularly closed.” “What does this mean? that the books had been fairly and accurately kept ? or only that, whether accurate or not, a result has at length been formed, and the work of examination finished? And who closed the books? the Treasurer, or the Auditor? It was the duty of the Treasurer to have all his accounts correctly cast, and wel} vouched, and his books regularly closed, before they went into the Auditor's hands. But here, it would seem that the Auditor, having corrected all the mistakes which he discovered, was left to close the books himself.” There is something wrong, something hollow, something rotten in this matter. The certificate of Mr. Nichols, on which the late Treasurer relies for his defence, is an unusual, a suspicious document. We ask all intelligent men of business to examine it closely, and then decide on its character and its intent. It was too evidently designed to patch up and plaster over a bad concern.
Soon after the “ Communication" above quoted from Hon. John Davis appeared in the Daily Advertiser, Mr. Cooke addressed a pertinent and forcible letter to the Editor, which called forth a reply from the Hon. John Lowell, in his usual style. We would not trespass on the patience of our readers by any extract from this reply, or any remarks upon it, but that Mr. Lowell undesignedly tells more truth than he intended. The following quotation deserves attention.
“ Mr. Cooke charges me with having volunteered my services in defence of Dr. Kirkland, and this too, in face of my explicit declaration, that I had been expressly authorised so to do. If it had been true, all ingenuous minds would have commended me for the act. President Kirkland had been my cherished friend from our earliest youth. I had been his associate in the Corporation of Harvard College for thirteen years. He was absent, and an invalid. I had a right, and these circumstances imposed it upon me as a sacred duty, to defend my venerated and absent friend. But I had his written and oral request to perform this duty, and since my publication, I have received his express approbation of my conduct.”
On the publication of Mr. Cooke's pamphlet, and of Mr. Lowell's letters, Dr. Kirkland was absent, if we mistake not, in a distant part of the Union, in Kentucky or Louisiana. Yet Mr. Lowell informs us that he already, before any charge is urged against his " venerated and absent friend,” had his “ written and oral request” to defend him. Indeed! President Kirkland, then, before leaving Boston, must have anticipated such a charge as that Mr. Cooke has brought forward. Why? Let Mr. Lowell and those who would shield President Kirkland answer,—WHY? Innocence is not suspicious. Guilt may anticipate attack, and imagine a defence. Mr. Lowell, in the ardor of self-justification, has, to every reflecting mind, certified all that Mr. Cooke had insinuated or asserted. It is plain from Mr. Lowell's statement, and from President Kirkland's “ written and oral request," that rumors were abroad in the circle of their acquaintance, and among the friends of the College, unfavorable to Dr. Kirkland. Were not these rumors the same that had reached Mr. Cooke? We have a respectable opinion of President Kirkland's talents, but still we do not believe him a prophet. We suspect he had some data, besides the gift of vaticination, from which to anticipate a charge like that of Mr. Cooke, and to authorise his friend, by " written and oral request," to defend him. A defence, however, from Mr. Bowditch and Mr. Gray, who understand the facts of the case, and have some self-possession, would be quite as satisfactory to the public as any letter from the Hon. John Lowell. Will those gentlemen pen such a defence? Till they, or other gentlemen equally intelligent, honest, and honorable, who can speak from personal knowledge of the facts, shall offer such defence, we shall assume that there was ground for the reports which were in circulation before, and were published by Mr. Cooke after, the departure of Dr. Kirkland.
Mr. Lowell may insinuate what he will about the health of his “ cherished friend ;" he knows, and all behind the curtain know, that it was not the failure of health alone, which caused the resignation of Dr. Kirkland. There was dissatisfaction, deep and irremediable, on the part of some members of the Corporation, who were too clear headed to be bamboozled, and too upright to countenance what they could not but deem perversions, or gross misappropriations, of the funds and charities entrusted to their supervision and control.
like that the gift or a propresident Kirkland Mr.
more refineis no lonazes of mesots, flared
sonte President of he late Treasureed to his orders or the seve
Mr. Lowell may endeavor to enlist theological prejudices in behalf of his friend, but be much misjudges both his cause and this community, if he expects to shield any public agent, however high, and however respected, from responsibility, by any such device. Before the ardent imagination of Mr. Lowell “ the scenes of queen Mary” are revived, while faggots, flames and blood are seen “ dancing in all the mazes of metaphorical consusion.” He tells us, “there is no longer, to be sure, the corporal suffering, but the more refined cruelty of mental torture.” * But whence all this outcry about queen Mary, and the inquisition, and faggots, and flames? It results from the simple inquiry, whether the late President of Harvard College was duly and properly authorised to draw on the late Treasurer and Steward of that College for the several sums by them advanced to his orders; and whether he and they have proper and sufficient vouchers for the several sums which passed through their hands ? Does it indicate a truculent disposition, to require that public agents, through whose hands public monies to a very great amount are annually passing, should be responsible to that public, in the ordinary way, for the sums received and disbursed ? Let honesty decide the question. In the apprehension of Mr. Lowell, the sensibilities of the late President and Treasurer of Harvard College, are so exquisite as to endure 56 the refined cruelty of mental torture," at the bare imagination that they are to be called upon to produce the ordinary credible vouchers for the several sums of public money they have received and expended. How far they will engage the sympathies of a New England community is scarcely problematical. Mr. Lowell's attempt to throw the shield of theological prejudice between his 6 cherished friend” and public scrutiny will never do. Though the President of Harvard University be a Doctor of Divinity or a Doctor of Laws, he is not above nor beyond the reach of those Jaws which govern other men. Eminence of station communicates no exemption from responsibility.
We have seen by Mr. Lowell's letter, that before President Kirkland left this part of the country, rumors were in circulation, relative to his accounts, of an unfavorable nature. His anxiety is such as to anticipate a charge, and not only by an oral, but by a written request, to authorise Mr. Lowell to appear in his defence. He did not request Mr. Bowditch, nor Mr. Gray, nor any of the existing Corporation, who could have spoken calmly and advisedly upon the subject, to do him this favor. He better knew his man
But we have other evidence, besides that of Mr. Lowell, showing the existence of suspicions and rumors; evidence, which we deem it important to adduce for the special consideration of the Board of Overseers of Harvard College. The following queries first appeared in in the Boston Statesman. They were subsequently
re-published in a pamphlet, entitled “ Facts and Documents in relation to Harvard College,” p. 80.
"HARVARD COLLEGE.-As the Corporation of this venerablo institution has lately elected a President, and as the state has a deep interest in the prosperity of the oldest and best endowed University in our country, it cannot be deemed unsuitable that the public should be satisfied on the following subjects.
1. Has there been a regular account of the pecuniary affairs of the College, specifying the sources of income, the actual receipts and the payments prepared from year to year, laid before the Corporation and the Board of Overseers ?
2. Have any of the permanent funds of the College suffered encroachment or loss, by unskilful management, negligence, bad investments, or any other cause ? and if so, how is a rec:Irrence of the same evils to be prevented hereafter?
3. Have there been large balances in the hands of the most important agents of the College, which could not be accurately accounted for, however honestly these agents may have conducted themselves in the performance of their duties?
Let it be understood, that there are good reasons for proposing these questions; that the people of Massachusetts have a right to demand that they should be answered; that the Commonwealth has done more for the College during the period of one hundred and ninety years, than has been done by the public for all the other Colleges of New England ; and that Legislators of the Commonwealth, are now, and ever have been, the proper visitors of the College.
A TRUE FRIEND OF THE COLLEGE. January 23, 1829." What reply was then, or ever, made to these queries ? Nonebut that from voiceless silence. We know not the writer. But it is plain that there were queries proposed by some clear-headed, intelligent gentleman, who had access to sources of information, from which the public generally were excluded. The date of their appearance was, if we mistake not, a week previous to the publication of Mr. Cooke's pamphlet. Would the Treasurer of any large monied institution in Boston, whose books and accounts had been regularly and properly kept, suffer such queries to be proposed in a public paper, and to go unanswered and unnoticed ? When similar suggestions were subsequently made by Mr. Cooke, Mr. Lowell and the Treasurer endeavor to retreat behind the prejudices of a religious party. We would yet hope there is too much intelligence, and too much integrity, in the Unitarian members of the Board of Overseers, to be the dupes of such an artifice.
We introduce an additional evidence, that every lingering doubt may be dissipated, and the subject present itself with such light and force as shall arrest the attention of those whose duty it is to see that the Republic receive no detriment. Our extract is from a communication dated January 29, 1829, and which appeared in the Boston Recorder with the signature of “Hollis."
" It is reported, apparently on good authority, that the funds of the College have not been managed, at all times, with the best economy. On this subject, orthodox people, of course, have no knowledge. If this report have any foundation, a thorough investigation might make disclosures which would not fully satisfy that community, who have been so profuse in bestowing their bounties.