« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
demand and supply ; the geography of the sea, so far as concerns navigation ; a thorough knowledge of political economy in all its branches,-especially of finance, or the laws which govern the circulating medium; and last, but not least, a generous study of national and commercial law. To these may very properly be added a familiarity with modern languages, and with the history of civilized nations, especially since the era of the Reformation.
After completing his collegiate education, he entered the law school at Litchfield, Connecticut, then at the summit of its reputation. Having passed through the course of instruction pursued at this institution, he made the tour of Europe, and traveled extensively in our own country. While abroad, his object seems to have been, not so much to see sights, and walk through galleries, as to observe men, and acquaint himself with the habits and manners of merchants of distinction. I have heard him frequently refer to this period of his life, but I think never for any other purpose than to illustrate the modes of doing business in the several capitals which he had occasion to visit. Thus, from an extensive and minute observation, he formed his conception of the character of an accomplished mercbant. This ideal, it was the effort of his life to realize in his own person. It was thus that he strengthened that confidence in general principles, on which wise forecast and steadiness of judgment essentially depend; and cultivated that elevated sentiment of mercantile honor, for which he was ever preëminently distinguished.
Prepared, in this manner, for the career of life which he had chosen, he entered the counting-room and became familiar with the details of business, under the instruction of his father. In the year 1832, he became a junior member of the firm of Brown & Ives. On the death of his father, in 1835, the sphere of his duties became enlarged, and he was looked upon as the head of the house, and, by general consent, the leading merchant of Providence.
It would be interesting here, were it practicable, to unfold the maxims which he adopted in the transaction of business ; the investments which he chose, and those which he rejected, with the reasons of his preference, and the fulfillment or reversal of his predictions ; to mention the plans which he devised for the relief of his friends, in crises of financial embarrassment; and the aid which he rendered in carrying these plans into execution. These, however, are subjects unsuited for a discourse like the present; and, unfortunately, I am unable worthily to discuss them. I am, however, of the opinion, that he never became a party to any transaction which he had not maturely examined in all its bearings, and, for every contingency, of which he was not fully prepared. His judgments were formed, not on the expectation of extraordinary gains, but on a calm consideration of the history of the past. He turned instinctively, and from education, to the true rather than to the fanciful ; and never considered himself at liberty to use either his own property or that committed to his control, in such a manner that the safety of others, through any contingency which he could foresee, should be in any manner imperiled.
On all subjects related to his own profession, his knowledge was extensive and minute. With commerce and manufactures, in all their branches ; with the principles of finance ; with international and commercial law; his acquaintance was familiar. That such knowledge, aided by large practical experience and guided by a singularly unbiassed judgment, should have made him a preponderating mercantile authority, wherever he was known, might easily be anticipated. Hence, when any new project was contemplated, or any important improvement
suggested, one of the first steps taken among us was, to secure his coöperation. The soundness of his opinions had been so well tested, that we almost considered his leadership a guaranty of success. I believe the result has proved, that the opinion which we formed of him was correct. The projects from which he stood aloof, have generally failed; while those in which he earnestly engaged, have as generally proved successful.
To conduct his business only in conformity with the received rules of trade, by no means realized his conception of personal honor. He had formed his own opinions of mercantile morality, and to these opinions he endeavored to conform his actions. The rules by which he was governed, were dictated to him, not from without, but from within. Hence, all his friends knew that whatever he had promised would be done, if to do it was within the limits of possibility. I believe that he would have sacrificed any amount of property,—nay, that he would have periled his life,-rather than violate the smallest financial engagement. He went further than this. He was careful to avoid any contingency which would have put it out of his power to do what he had promised. He adopted, in this respect, the rule of the late Dr. Bowditch—“to have the chapter of accidents always in his favor."
In the discharge of the duties of a citizen, he approached more nearly to a model, than any man with whom it has been my privilege to be acquainted. His view of this relation, and of the obligations which it imposes, was as distinct as it was unusual. He had formed a definite conception of the responsibility which rests upon every man, both as a member of society, and as the citizen of a particular community. Having formed this conception, he admitted, in its fullest extent, its application, not only to his property, but to his personal service. He believed, for instance, that every able-bodied citizen should bear his portion of the labor required to protect the city from the ravages of fire. He, therefore, entered his name, as a private member of one of our fire companies ; and, for more than twenty years, discharged every duty of a fireman, with a promptitude, energy, and fearlessness, which could not be surpassed. When the peace of this State was in peril, in 1842, he thought the time had arrived, when liberty and law must look, for protection, to the right hand of every patriotic citizen. He never sought, nay, he would have scorned to accept a substitute. He, at once, entered the ranks as a private soldier ; was foremost in every arduous and perilous service ; and performed an amount of labor, during those days of sad agitation, of which hardly any other man among us was capable.
With such views of the duty of a citizen, it may well be believed that Mr. Ives took a deep interest in the cause of education, in all its departments. With every improvement in our common school system, his name is identified. From the date of the reform in our public school organization, until the failure of his health, he was a member of the school committee, and gave his time, without reserve, to the duties of this office. On no member of that committee, did a greater responsibility rest; and no one discharged that responsibility with a more single eye to the highest interests of the public. The principles by which he was governed, are aptly illustrated by the advice which he gave to the then, (N. Bishop, Esq.] superintendent of the schools of the city. Meeting him, soon after his appointment, he said : “Never spend a dollar, unless it will advance the cause of education; and never withhold a dollar which will tend to this result. I do not care, in the least, how much I am taxed. The common schools of the city of Providence must prosper."
In Mr. Ives, the cause of liberal education found a faithful and unwearied supporter. In 1822, he was elected a member of the Board of Trustees, and in 1825, the Treasurer of Brown University. For thirty-two years, he discharged the onerous dutics of this responsible office. During the twenty-nine years of my connection with the university, I do not remember an examination, at some of the exercises of which he was not present—unless detained by sickness-and in which he did not take a lively interest. As Treasurer of the university, he was brought more into intimate relations with the officers of instruction. No one of them will, I am sure, forget the fraternal care with which he watched over their interests. Was any of them sick,-he was the first person to visit him, with offers of assistance. Was any one borne down with labor, and in need of relaxation,-he was the first to suggest the remedy, and the most active in providing the means for its accomplishment. In all the efforts made, for the last thirty years, to increase the library, and improve the facilities for education, he ever bore a prominent part. His interest never flagged, when any thing could be suggested to improve the condition of the institution which he loved so well. If, in any respect, Brown University bas gained in favor with the public; if it has taken a more honorable rank among the colleges of New England; if its means of education have been rendered, in any respect, ample, and its Board of Instruction such as would adorn any similar institution in our country; to no one are we more indebted for all this, than to the late Treasurer of the university.
In Sabbath Schools, Mr. Ives took a deep interest. He considered all our education worse than useless, unless it be thoroughly imbued with the element of Christianity. Hence, his contributions for this object, were always large. In the last year of his life, he learned that the facilities for Sabbath School instruction, in the congregation which he attended, would be greatly increased by some expensive improvements in their house of worship. No sooner had this come to his knowledge, than he entered into the project, with his accustomed energy ; contributed largely of his means ; aided it by his personal superintendence ; and rejoiced greatly at its accomplishment. He frequently remarked, that in no manner could wealth be better appropriated, than in providing for the instruction of the young, in the principles of the gospel.
In the establishment of the Butler hospital for the insane, Mr. Ives took a prominent part. From the commencement of the institution, until his death, he was its Treasurer; and devoted no small portion of his time to the management of its concerns. From time to time, as he saw any opportunity for improving its condition, or alleviating the sorrows of its patients, his band was ever open, and his devices ever liberal. Every woe that afflicted humanity, touched his sympathies; and he cheerfully proffered his wealth and his personal service, to lift off the load of sorrow that presses everywhere so heavily upon it.
In the discharge of the relative duties of life, there was much in the character of Mr. Ives, well worthy of imitation. Here I should do wrong, did I not, first of all, allude to his filial piety. The affection and reverence with which he was acoustomed to speak of his parents, must have been frequently observed by his friends. Even to the close of his life, he seemed to take delight in carrying out, as far as he was able, the wishes of his father. He never alluded to him, or to his principles of action, without the profoundest respect and veneration.
Upon the death of his father, he assumed the principal care of his mother's establishment, and, with unceasing vigilance, watched over her comfort, with the
tenderest assiduity; anticipating every wish, and alleviating every sorrow. As her health declined, his attentions were redoubled. For some years before her death, her eyesight became impaired, until, at last, she was afflicted with total blindness. During this period, it was remarked that Mr. Ives attended public worship only on the morning of the Sabbath day. This deviation from his usual habit, occasioned some surprise ; but the surprise changed to admiration, when it accidentally became known, that he spent the afternoon of every Lord's day in reading the Bible and other devotional books, with his aged and venerated mother. Such acts were, with him, matters of daily occurrence ; but they were hidden from the public with the most scrupulous sensitiveness.
A touching incident, which occurred a few days before the death of Mrs. Ives, is too characteristic to be omitted. She had been couched for cataract, and, at the proper time, the bandages were, for a moment, removed, in order to discover the result of the operation. Her sight was restored. Her only exclamation was, “Let me see my son!” He stood before her, and, for the first time in several years, she looked upon his face. The bandages were instantly replaced. In a few days, paralysis ensued, and her eyes were closed forever.
[The following beautiful summary of the private character of Mr. Ives, is from the pen of Prof. Gammel, in the Providence Journal of August 12th, 1857.]
Such, is an imperfect outline of the manifold services which Mr. Ives has contributed to the highest and most important interests of this community. They were always performed, it should be added, with a modesty and disinterestedness which imparted to them a singular beauty and glory. He had no personal ends to accomplish, and, in every association with which he was connected, he preferred, if possible, to serve in the common ranks—without titled authority or official position. To him, the post of honor was always the private station; and we believe that he was never induced, though often solicited, to accept any office, whether political, social, or financial, merely of honor or emolument. He was always content faithfully to do the work, and was entirely willing that others should bear the honors, and receive the rewards.
In his personal character were blended, in singular harmony, rare and some. what diverse moral qualities,—a heroic firmness of purpose, an unflinching courage, and an unswerving integrity, with a delicate respect for the feelings of others ; a tender sympathy for every form of human suffering, and a lively interest in the good of all around him. While he will long be mourned by those who knew him, in the circles of society or the walks of business; his memory will, also, be gratefully cherished in many a home of poverty or misfortune, for deeds and words of kindness which the world knew not of.
It is in the retired sphere of private and domestic life, that the true man most reveals the lineaments of his moral being, and bears the choicest fruits of his endowments and his culture. Into that sphere of his best affections and his selectest joys, we presume not to follow him. All who ever met him there, will yividly recall the genial courtesy, the elegant hospitality, and the high bred, social spirit, which he delighted to spread over every scene.
Endowed by nature, with a constitution of unusual strength, and practiced in every manly exercise that could develop its powers, he had, until a comparatively recent period, scarcely known the experience of disease. In the month of May last, he was suddeuly withdrawn from active pursuits, by the progress of the fatal malady which was already preying upon the organs of life. In his days of
health, however, he had not been neglectful of preparation for the inevitable hour ; and, in the solitude of his own thoughtful mind, he had, for several years, cherished that Christian faith, which bore him, in calm submission to his Heavenly Father's will, to the gates of death. With every thing around him that earth can supply to make life attractive and desirable, with pious resignation, he cheerfully surrendered it all; and, in the serenity of a Christian hope and trust, he bowed to the appointment of Him who “ doeth all things well."
Russell HUBBARD, whose name deserves honorable mention in these pages, as a liberal benefactor of education, was born in Norwich, Connecticut, February 7th, 1785. On his mother's side he was descended from Elder Brewster, of the Plymouth colony. On his father's side his ancestry has been traced no further than to Daniel Hubbard, who was graduated at Yale College in 1727, and was a tutor in that institution for three years. Russell Hubbard, the son of Daniel Hubbard, and grandfather of the subject of this notice, was graduated at Yale in 1751, and died at Norwich, August 5th, 1785. Thomas Hubbard, the father of the subject of this notice, was the first publisher of the Norwich Courier. His son, Russell, on attaining his majority, became a partner with his father in the publication of the Courier, and in 1808, on the death of his father, became sole proprietor of the Courier, which he continued to publish until April, 1822. He also carried on a general business in bookselling and publishing, in conneotion with the publication of his paper ; and, engaged, to a limited extent, in the manufacture of paper. In 1822 this last mentioned department of bis business seemed to claim his exclusive attention, and he accordingly relinquished his interest in publishing and bookselling, and continued actively engaged in the manufacture of paper for fifteen years. In 1837, he listened to a proposition from his brother, Amos Hallam Hubbard, who was engaged in the same business, for the formation of a partnership, and thus originated the well known firm of R. & A. H. Hubbard, which continued, until it was terminated by the death of the senior partner, on the 7th of June, 1857.
In early life Mr. Hubbard's educational advantages were limited. His parents, who were driven from New London during the war of the Revolution, were able only to afford such opportunities of education to their children as came within the reach of the great majority of youth at that period. The dissolution of war gave little opportunity for the acquisition of any thing more than a strictly elementary and practical education. The means which were thus afforded him appear to have been most faithfully improved, and though he never laid any claim to a literary character, he was well informed, and, in the common branches, accurate far beyond the majority of business men. His early life was marked by industrious application to business, and the constant practice of those moral virtues which lie at the foundation of strong and virtuous character. He was, what is commonly termed, a self-made man. He was the architect both of his fortune and his character ; and his fortune may be said to have been the result of his character. He adopted, from the outset, principles of the strictest integrity in the transaction of business, and profit was always held subservient to the maintenance of correct principles. This policy was not at once attended with what is commonly termed great success, though his course was always marked by thrift. Although he sustained losses, and, at one time, even severe losses, he never was obliged to avail himself of the provisions of a bankrupt law, or of any other accommodation with a creditor, than punctually and completely satisfying his claim.