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Fuller's inaugural address urges seniors to act as exemplars and uphold the reputation of the Dialectic Society; he encourages members of the other classes to redeem the character of the debates, be united in their actions, and avoid factions.
Before entering upon the duties of the office to which your kind partiality has elevated me, It devolves upon me in accordance with the requirements of our Constitution to address you on some suitable subject. I am perfectly conscious of my inability to discharge this pleasing, though in many respects responsible duty in a manner befitting the high dignity of the station which I now for a time occupy, and well aware that this my imperfect effort is not worthy to fill2 a place in your archives beside those of the talented and gifted individuals who have from time to time administered to you from this place words of warning, of reproof or of encouragement.
Your memories still with pleasure recall the past and your breasts
swell with just pride when you recur to those occasions when
Bear with me Gentlemen, if for a very brief space I address myself particularly to the members of my own class. Fellow Members of the Senior Class, an important change has taken place in us within the short period of a few months. Those to whom it was our privilege to listen and upon whose accents we have so often hung with the livliest emotions of pleasure have gone hence to mingle with us no more. Upon us has devolved the conduct of the Hall, the administration of the laws, and the heavy responsibility which of necessity attaches to those, who by their position, are rightly considered exemplars.
Shall it be said of us when we too in our turn have left these halls
endeared to us by so many pleasing recollections and hallowing associations,
that we finished our course with honor and delivered into the hands of our
successors the reputation of our
with reason look for examples of diligence and faithfulness in the discharge of
our duties, have been recreant? Gentlemen it rests with you to answer these
questions, to realise the hopes concieved respecting you.
Nor while I thus urge upon my classmates the necessity of action,
would I have you Fellow Members, of the lower classes to remain inactive. The
character of our debates the lethargy and supineness which each succeeding
night is exhibited here have been animadverted upon freely and frequently
enough. It becomes us then to redeam the character3 of
the debates, to awake from this lethargy, to arouse from this supineness which
has for so long a time deadened our faculties and weakened our energies. But
can this be effected? Can we hope in the short space of one session or one year
to counteract the evil which has so long been brewing? The answer is plain it
can be done, but in one way only. It cannot be
accomplished by individual effort, but it may be
secured by unanimity of action.
It is true of nations, but pre-eminently so of literary institutions
like ours that "in union there is strength". We are connected by ties
stronger than these of men friendship for we owe to one-another "the
performance of all duties that may be required of us in a social capacity"
"From the very nature of our union" it is declared "we must all
participate in the honor or share in the disgrace of each individual
We have many, very many causes for self-gratulation in that for a number of years past we have not been rent by contending factions, those who once did sow the dragon's teeth have passed from this scene of action to display their capacities in a wider field. We are fortunate in that our lives have fallen unto us in more pleasant places and more peaceful times, let us then not "look mournfully into the past" for we wish not to recall it, but let us "wisely improve the present for it is ours".4
In conclusion Fellow Members allow me to return my thanks for the honor which you have done me, and to assure you that the duties of my office shall be discharged with fidelity and zeal. And I must ask of each and all a hearty co-operation with me in the administration of our laws.
w Fuller d Augt 1850."
fill on top of f.
r has been written on top of an
Hyperion, Book 4, Chapter 8 (1939)