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get. It was on an occasion during the Pittsburgh meeting of the Institute of Mining Engineers, when a few personal friends of Mr. Holley who had been engaged with him one way and another in the study, erection, and working of the modern Bessemer steel plant, desired to present him with a beautiful and costly piece of plate. The presentation was to take place at the elegant country seat of William P. Shinn, at that time the president of the society. It came at the close of several days of most enjoyable meetings and excursions ; but, as the evening upon which it was to take place came on, there came with it a drizzling rain-storm. Mr. Holley, who had not been well during the meetings, seemed quite used up, and making up his mind to forego the pleasure of the evening reception, went to bed at his hotel. So quietly and carefully had the projected presentation been planner, that neither Mr. Holley nor his wife, and but a very few members of the Institute had any suspicion or knowledge of what was about to be done. With the rain falling outside, and Holley sick in bed, the promoters of the scheme were at their wits' end. At last, as they saw no possible way out of it, they took Mrs. Holley into their confidence, and told her all that they had hoped to do, and how disappointed they all were. Realizing as she did the generous feeling and love for her husband, which prompted the act, and seeing, too, how sadly disappointed they all felt over the situation, she promised to see what could be done. Going to the bedside of her husband she told him how disappointed Mr. and Mrs. Shinn were that he could not attend their reception; and that many of the members, hearing that he would not be there, were half inclined to stay away also. Holley heard her in silence. At last, with an effort he roused himself, and, thinking only of his disappointed friends, said, “Help me to dress, and send down word that we are coming." A close carriage was procured, and, carefully wrapped up, he made the journey and appeared in the parlors of his friends amid a wild huzza of delight from all present. I need not recount the strategy by which he was at last brought up to the table, whereon, inclosed in a beautiful case, the still more elegant present lay enshrined. I could not, much as I might desire to do so, repeat the beautiful and touching address made him by Mr. Shinn in behalf of the donors. As he closed, and, uplifting the cover, revealed the testimonial beneath, enriched as it was with the memories that clustered about the names written thereon, Holley was for a moment silent; the everready tongue failed to interpret his thoughts: at length, amid a silence that was profound, he began his reply. He spoke of the love he had for his profession, and of his earlier efforts as an engineer; then, coming to a later period of his life, he accorded high and generous praise to those friends who had so much aided, and encouraged him in his various undertakings. As he proceeded, it seemed as if a gleam of the future opened up before him; and he spoke of his work as about accomplished; then casting, as it were, a retrospective glance over the past, thinking doubtless, as indeed we all must at times think, how it might have been purer, better, there flashed across his mind the beautiful simile of the converter, the converter about which he had so much dreamed, and planned, and he remembered how it, taking the impure and crude materials of the earth, earthy, through its alchemy, transmutes them, purified and purged from all defects, into a pure and noble metal. So, too, of our lives; might not they, chastened, purified, and freed from all earthly dross and stains, come at last to be remolded anew into higher and nobler forms? But words fail to convey the beauty of his thoughts. The pathos of his voice, the pallor that was on his cheek, the far-away look that was in his eyes, will never be forgotten by those who with tear-dimmed eyes stood grouped about him. But he is dead; and as a warm friend and an eminent writer has well said: “Tears shed for such a man are no evidence of weakness. The world will go on, and another will take up the work he has left unfinished; but Holley's place in the hearts of his friends will never be filled.”
ACTION OF THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF THE RENSSELAER POLYTECHNIC INSTITUTE,
TROY, N. Y.
At a meeting of the Board of Trustees, held Friday, February 10, 1882, the following resolution was adopted.
Resolved, That the accompanying memoranda respecting Alexander L. Holley be adopted, and that they be entered on the records of this Board, and that a copy of them be sent to his family.
Alexander L. Holley was born at Lakeville, Conn., in 1832, and died at Brooklyn, N. Y., January 29, 1882. Having become temporarily a resident of this city, he in 1865 was elected a member of this Board, which position he held until his resignation, two years later. He was again elected a trustee in 1870, and served in that capacity until his death. His connection with the Bessemer manufacture, commencing in the autumn of 1862—when, being in England, he became convinced of its great importance—and extending through his whole subsequent career, has given him a place, among iron scientists, of high honor, and distinguishes him as the most efficient among those who have developed the Bessemer process in this country
In Mr. Holley's character were combined thought and use, in well-balanced proportion. Every theory which followed as the evolution of thought, was tried in the alembic of resultant use, and was either abandoned, modified or adopted, in accordance with the event. Thus it happened that men came to place confidence in his opinion, whenever he gave to it expression, and to value his judgment above that of every contemporary in this broad land, in all matters pertaining to the process already named. Beneath his manipulation, the deification of iron among metals has been rendered complete.
While connected with this Board, he undertook a great part of the labor of preparing the “Report of the Committee of the Trustees," concerning the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, which report was published in 1870. This very thorough treatise exhibits at once the
logical character of Mr. Holley's mind, and manifests his power of presenting a given subject in varied aspects and with aggregation of valuable suggestion. Starting with the statement that "the objects for which the Institute exists are, not merely to provide young men with a knowledge of mathematics, and to familiarize them with learned text-books, but to qualify them for the practical application of science to the useful arts ”-starting with this comprehensive definition of the work of the Institute, the report, with admirable clearness, developed step by step the most efficient modes of realizing and effecting this “ practical application.”
Endowed by nature with a pleasing person, which enshrined mind to which came easily and gracefully the development that follows a lofty training; respected and beloved among men for his manly, noble and definite avowal, under all circumstances, of devotion to right principles and right action ; renowned among scientists for the thoroughness of his investigation in fields of novel research, and for the certainty with which he builded upon theories which he had adopted; cheerful, modest, brave and determined ;—thus realizing his gifts and his acquirements, and knowing his great worth, we ask the young men of this generation, and especially the young men of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, to study his career and reflect upon the valuable work he has accomplished during a well-spent life.
ACTION OF THE CENTURY ASSOCIATION, NEW
At a meeting of the Century, held February 4, 1882, the following resolutions, offered by Mr. R. W. Raymond and seconded by Mr. O. Chanute, were, after appropriate remarks by Messrs. S. H. Wales and Charles Macdonald, unanimously adopted :
Resolved, That in the death of Alexander Lyman Holley the Century Association deplores the loss of one of its most honored and beloved members, whose varied accomplishments and great achievements commanded the admiration, as his tireless activity and stainless honor won the respect, of all; while to innumerable friends, privileged to know in cordial intercourse his brave, joyous, generous character, the sense of public and professional bereavement is hidden in the deeper shadows of personal grief.
Resolved, That the Secretary be instructed to enter these resolutions in the minutes of the Association, and to communicate them to the family of Mr. Holley, together with the assurance of our heart-felt sympathy.