Hearst: Lord of San Simeon

By Oliver Carlson; Ernest Sutherland Bates | Go to book overview
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CHAPTER XVI
Patriot Redivivus

HEARST probably felt that he had been very unjustly used by Senator Norris when the latter accused him of trying to foment war with Mexico. How could anyone believe that he desired war with any nation? Had he not that very year, in listing the blessings of modern civilization, said, "The most important achievement of all would seem to me the abolition of the utterly uncivilized and wholly savage institution of war"?

This had been uttered at Oglethorpe University, Georgia, where his son John Randolph was in attendance. John Randolph, who was later dismissed from Harvard for low grades, wasn't much of a student and got no further than the sophomore year even at Oglethorpe, but the "university" was duly grateful for having a millionaire's child in its catalogue, and so bestowed the degree of Doctor of Laws upon the millionaire himself. Not to be outdone in gratitude, Hearst, after a suitable interval, bestowed upon the college a four-hundred-and-fortyacre wooded tract. In this matter of honorary degrees, a college can always trust a millionaire, if he is a gentleman, sooner or later to do the right thing. Hearst's gratitude was doubtless quite sincere; henceforward, even though he had been unable to obtain an A.B. from Harvard, he could boast that he held an LL.D. from Oglethorpe University, Georgia.

It was at the time of his investiture in the purple hood that he made the optimistic remark quoted above in regard to the abolition of war. But he also, in his speech on that occasion, made another even more surprising observation. "The time is

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