Page images

thing more than a part of the experience that was appointed for him by a kind Father. Then with what kindness and broad charity he always spoke of his for. mer co-workers ! He seemed delighted to remember all the good and noble deeds and all the generous words which he had known of others, but to consign differences to oblivion. Many a silent blessing and inspiration has been carried from that noble, patient presence. He still lives in word and deed.


The funeral of Dr. Philbrick was at his home in Danvers, Feb. 4. The public schools of Boston were closed for the day as a token of respect to his memory. The day was one of the coldest and most uncomfortable of the season, and yet a large number of friends from Boston attended the services. Among them were the superintendent of schools, several members of the Board of Supervisors, a large number of the principals, and several former members of the School Committee who had served with Mr. Philbrick. In addition to these, many teachers from other towns, many business men, and a large number of neighbors and friends from Danvers were in attendance, so that the house was crowded with those desirous of honoring the distinguished dead.

The Boston masters showed their old-time love by taking with them a beautiful floral tribute in the form of a closed book, on the cover of which was a crescent of roses and lilies, and within the crescent the word CLOSED made of carnations. The casket was placed in the parlor beneath a fine oil portrait of the deceased. The portrait was entwined with smilax. The tribute of the Boston masters was placed at the foot of the casket.

The services were conducted by Rev. Charles B. Rice, of Danvers, Mr. Philbrick's pastor. He read from the Scriptures the solemn sentences for the dead, beginning with the passage, “ Lord, Thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations,” and following with the twentythird Psalm, and with other selections setting forth the Christian hope concerning the resurrection of the dead and the life to come. He made, also, a brief address, reviewing such portions of Mr. Philbrick's life as had come under his own observation, and touching upon the singular value of the services he had rendered to the public.



Mr. Philbrick's chosen work has all been in the line of the elevation of mankind. It has been, throughout, a work of enlightenment, and instruction, and guidance for

It was work of a higher order than that by which many persons gain for themselves distinction. Now that it is ended, his friends may review it with ample satisfaction and with gratitude.

His life was in many ways representative, also, of the best things in New England. There hangs upon the wall a picture of his early home, — the house in which he was born, - a typical New England farmhouse. From such homes have come many of the men who have been most conspicuous in the world, and whose lives have

He was

most adorned and enriched the land. Mr. Philbrick him. self had always a love for the place of his nativity, and for all the places associated with the events of his domestic life. He cherished this sentiment with respect to this spot and the house within which these funeral ob. servances are held. Near at hand is the schoolhouse in which one of his first schools was taught. Still nearer stands the ancient house in which he found the lady who became his wife. It was characteristic, therefore, and fitting with him, that he should retire to spend here his closing years.

The people of the neighborhood and town have taken great interest and satisfaction in his dwelling among them. He was himself, to a rare degree, a man of genial feelings and kindly sympathies.

He entered easily into the thoughts of children, marked as much by gentleness as by breadth of mind, His calls at the parsonage, - one of which he made on the last day of his going abroad for such a purpose, –are remembered with interest by all the household.

Mr. Philbrick had a wonderful enthusiasm and courage with respect to his work, holding on upon it in the face of serious and increasing bodily infirmities. His mental force was in these last years in no wise abated, and his literary ability was scarcely at all relaxed. He left off his labors only with his life.

There is need at such a time of the consolations and hopes of the Christian faith, since the end of every life, even the most successful and honorable, must be sad, if, indeed, all life ended with the present time. Mr. Philbrick was a member, from his youth, of a Christian church, a daily reader of the Bible, accustomed to recognize the hand of God in the disposings of human affairs and the orderings of nature, and a man having the deepest currents of his life devout, and reverent, and trustful.


It was my privilege to have formed an acquaintance with Mr. Philbrick at the outset of his college course. He was a member of a large class of nearly one hundred; yet of that number he was individualized by the same characteristics which would be recognized by those who knew him only in his subsequent profession and career. In this way his character, and the life flowing out of that mind and character, seem a unit. It is the same stream, only becoming broader and fuller with the added work of years.

No man in college was more noted than Mr. Philbrick for indefatigable industry. He was not a man of brilliant parts, but he was a man of steady aim, of strong motive power, of inflexible perseverance, so that he was certain to accomplish, and to accomplish well, whatever he might undertake. It was equally certain that he would never propose to himself any common result, yet his was not a vaulting ambition, but a strong, mature, solid purpose. It was thus with his college studies. In the second year of his college course, when the students were called upon to volunteer to take up the study of the differential and integral calculus, Mr. Philbrick was one of the first to go into it. Thę writer said to him, “ John,

what can you find in that which will be of any use? What can you do with it?” Mr. Philbrick replied, There is nothing that I can learn in this world that I cannot make use of somewhere and somehow.” And this high standard of the value of knowledge he showed always, from first to last.

His was not an allegiance to mere matters of intellect. He was a man of the strictest integrity, — a man of high moral principles in all the conduct of his life. He was as true to his convictions as the sun in its course. Mr. Philbrick always stood for what he deemed right, and, standing there, he never could be moved; he was a wall of strength. To the younger members of his class, who at one time embraced views opposed to what he believed true, he proved a great help; opposed to them in opinion, he labored so kindly, so faithfully, with a devotion so unyielding, that he led them to a deliberation upon the matter, and brought them to a thorough change of view.

The same sterling firmness of character was seen in his connection with the public schools of Boston. He had early decided to give his life to education. This choice of a profession dated as far back as his sophomore year, and he had great affection and loyalty to it as a profession, feeling that it demanded and rewarded all a man's best powers. His theories were never abstract views, but matters of vital interest and practical importance, and as such he grappled them “with hooks of steel.” We know how true he was to his convictions in educational decisions. He would rather suffer personal defeat than give them up, and he did endure defeat

« PreviousContinue »