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The True John Dickinson

The True John Dickinson

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Excerpt from The True John Dickinson: A Paper Read February 23, 1912, Before the Hamilton Library Association Carlisle, Pa

It would be a sufficient explanation, if any were needed, of the selection of "John Dickinson" as a subject of a paper before this Association, that his name has been identified with an institution that has been the pride of our ancient borough for more than a century and a quarter, and that has carried its name far beyond our borders, or even the borders of our state; for the names of Dickinson College and Carlisle are inseparably linked in the minds and memories of many who have gone forth from them to achieve prominence in the nation.

But aside from this purely local interest in the man, John Dickinson is worthy of our consideration on account of his high character as a Pennsylvania statesman, not simply conspicuous but of profound influence in his day in the councils of his country. The charter of the college, in naming it "Dickinson College," in recognition of this fact says: the name and title of which said College and the Constitution thereof, shall be and are hereby declared to be as is hereafter mentioned and defined, that is to say,

In memory of the great and important services rendered to his country by his excellency John Dickinson, Esquire, President of the Supreme Executive Council, and in commemoration of his very liberal donation to the Institution, the said College shall be forever hereafter called and known by the name of "Dickinson College."

But I have been led more particularly to the consideration of his character this evening, because there is, perhaps, no prominent statesman of his period who has been more completely misunderstood or more unjustly judged, or the study of whose character more essentially requires the historic perspective afforded by lapse of time for a just and complete estimate of him as a statesman and patriot.

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