LIFE AND LETTERS OF JOSEPH HARDY NEESIMA
300 LAST YEARS AND DEATH. departments, in the raising of the standards of instruction and the increase of material outfit was thoroughly aroused, and Mr. Neesima began at once to prosecute his plans with vigor. He had been the recognized head of the school from its foundation ; but, while accepting the responsibilities of his office as president, had always been reluctant to assume its rights and privileges, and could hardly be prevailed upon to occupy the president's chair on the chapel platform. In one of his letters he says : " Since I returned here I have found something hard to bear. The faculty call me president of the institution. I wish I could get rid of this name. It may be an honorable title to somebody, but I feel I am utterly unworthy to be called so." Two years later, on learning that the honorary degree of doctor of laws had been conferred on him by Amherst College, he writes : -" Some one told me of this while I was at Osaka. I said it must be a mistake. I could not believe in such a report. When I came to the seashore, where my wife was staying, I found there an official letter from the college. Then I began to understand it was a true fact. I was quite hesitating whether I could accept it or not. What shall I do with it? I felt I was utterly unworthy of it, and wrote to several friends asking their opinion. I was then thinking to decline it, but they advised me to accept it by all means. So I have decided to do so with a most grateful heart. I cannot discover any tact, power, or ability in me t;o come through the path of these last twenty years. When I think of it I am utterly overwhelmed, and at the same time I am encouraged to stand and face the world."