The Michigan Alumnus 254
Alfred Henry Lloyd, 1864-1927
(Memorial Presented to the University Senate by a Committee Composed of Professors R. M. Wenley, Chairman, Arthur Lyon Cross, and DeWitt H. Parker.)
A Life devoted to philosophical reflection, and therefore active mainly in transfer of ideas to pupils by word of mouth or to a larger public by the printed page, is little likely to furnish many external details calculated to throw light upon the real person. Inevitably, then, the outward career of Alfred Henry Lloyd, if summar ized, would be unstirring enough. The incidents acquire significance only when touched to those larger human issues inseparable from development of character and of intellectual thrust.
The leal colleague whom we lament so genuine ly was born, with his twin brother, Arthur, on Jan uary 3, 1864, in Montclair, New Jersey, whither his father, Henry Huggins Lloyd, and his mother, Anna Badger, had migrated from their New England home at Blandford, Massachusetts, under the shadow of the Berkshire Hills. Eager for education, the father forsook the land and, at sacrifice of physical strength, achieved the training then necessary for qualification as a physician. This work proving too strenuous, he joined a firm who published maps. To no purpose, for tubercular tendencies rendered him a prey to pneumonia at the early age of thirty- eight. When he died, in 1868, the widow was left with four little boys and a fifth unborn. Fortunately, Mr. Daniel Badger, the maternal grandfather, happened to be a man of large means for those days, and the fatherless family were spared the addition of penury to bereavement. Sad to tell, this phase did not last. As contractor for the metal framework of the Grand Central Station, New York City, Mr. Badger lost half his fortune while, shortly before his death, in 1874, the mischances of associates, whose paper he had backed, made the ruin complete. Thereafter, from the time when Alfred was ten years old, a grim struggle lay ahead of the delicate mother and her young children, the more grievous that they had been immune from financial anxiety hitherto.
Some two years later, Mrs. Lloyd sent the twins to her brother-in-law, Mr. Myrom Lloyd, then prin cipal of a school in Westfield, Massachusetts. "High thinking and low living," full chiefly of veritable New England thrift, hardness and chores, were the order of the day here. There can be little if any doubt that Alfred's character was hammered to permanent temper by these conditions. It took on or brought forth qualities, which persisted re markably, as we shall see. About 1877 or 1878, Mrs. Lloyd removed from Montclair to Andover, Massachusetts, where living was less expensive. Records of the Andover years fail us; but we know that the twins attended the High School, find that they were pupils at St. Johnsbury Academy during 1881 and 1882. The St. Johnsbury outlay attests the stern discipline of harsh circumstances. It was exiguous in the extreme—$356.13 apiece for the entire two years! Small wonder that Alfred could not afford to visit his mother during Christmas va cation; rather he earned something by service on the school premises—not eating his soul out, but annealing it.
Meanwhile the prospect of college began to loom up. The lad had been entertaining thoughts of the ministry of the Congregational Church, in which he was born and bred. A prom inent and well-to-do co-religionist at St. Johnsbury, Fairbanks by name, offered to see him through Dartmouth College, on the understanding that he would pledge himself to adopt this ministry. But an older brother, Herbert, was earning his war through Harvard College and, drawn to this institution, Alfred proposed to emulate his example. Moreover, he felt that should he accept Mr. Fair banks' benefaction, he would be morally bound to become a preacher. Despite the urgent temptation, he declined to commit himself; here already we get a taste of the quality which we at Michigan came to know so well, and to value so highly, because we could rely upon it with entire confidence. Ac cordingly, availing himself of Mr. Fairbanks' good offices to the modest extent of a loan of $100, Al fred betook himself to Harvard College in 1882.
It is noteworthy that, during the four years of the college course, he drew upon family funds the incredibly small sum of $650. For the rest, his modest expenses were earned, tutoring and scholarships being the main sources of revenue. Thus, there was no wastage upon irrelevant trivialities and, an explicit end being in view, dumb brooding over bad luck or dismal privation never provoked useless resentment. For, monetary stringency de spite, the disposition distinctive of the mature man appears to have been discovered by his undergradu ate associates, who elected him President of the Y.M.C.A. During his incumbency a bitter dispute arose about the admission of Unitarians. In the issue Lloyd resigned, and it is well to mark, not merely his breadth of vision, but also that the uncharitableness of some who called themselves Christ ians had due effect in turning him from the min istry. With him, as with other fine, sensitive na tures, professionalism in religion acted as a deter rent. Probably he expected as much from the As sociation as he asked from himself, forgetful that a society cannot keep the level practicable for a few select spirits. Preoccupation with ecclesiastical matters did not debar other activities. Lloyd was a member of the "Signet" and, after the usual ap prenticeship, Editor-in-Chief of the Harvard Crim son. As fit crown to a valiant undergraduatehood, he took his A. B. degree summa cum laude.
On graduation he sought and obtained a post at Phillips-Andover Academy. With characteristic humour, he always enjoyed telling that, while his competence lay in mathematics and Greek, he found himself expected to teach English, Latin, history, botany, physical geography, physiography, and arithmetic. This scholastic venture lasted but one year.
In the autumn of 1887 he entered the Harvard Graduate School, specializing in philos ophy. Two years later he gained the distinction of appointment to the Walker Fellowship, and spent his "travel- years" at the Univer sities of Gottingen, Ber lin, and Heidelberg, forming a special at tachment for the last. Returning to the United States in the spring of 1891, he was called to the Michigan staff by Professor John Dewey, and came into residence at Ann Arbor the follow ing autumn. He married Miss Margaret L. Crocker, of Springfield, Massa chusetts, late in 1892.
After Professor Dewey's migration to Chicago, Dr. Lloyd acted as head of the Philosophical Department for two years, hold ing an Assistant Professorship till 1899, when he was advanced to Associate rank. He received a full Professorship in 1906. His kindly yet discreet solution of troublesome questions as Chairman of the Committee on Student Affairs marked him for wider responsibilities, and President Hutchins ap pointed him Dean of the Graduate School in 1915. Here again his sterling qualities told their tale, so much so that, on President Burton's death in February 1925, the Regents asked him to accept the Acting Presidency of the University. This choice elicited cordial approval on every side. His wise policy throughout that trying period is too fresh in memory to require comment. Dr. Lloyd served as President of the Michigan Alpha in Phi Beta Kappa for the first two years of its existence (1907- 09); as President of the Harvard Club of Michigan in 1909-10; of our own Research Club in 1914-15; of the Western Division of the American Philosoph ical Association in 1915-16. At the time of his death he was Secretary of the Association of American Universities. He received the honorary degree of LL.D. from the University of California in 1924. His sudden death last May made us aware of a grievous blank and, the closer we were to the man, the profounder our sense of loss.
Few, alas, merit and arouse such sorrow, fewer receive the tribute spontaneously from all sorts and conditions of men. These rarer souls commend themselves be cause they have the power to keep their heads and tempers be tide what may. With customary intuition, Carlyle has found words to describe their appeal. "A loving heart is the beginning of all knowl edge. This it is that opens the whole mind, quickens every faculty of the intellect to do its fit work, that of knowing." As a rule, one does not associate this tempera ment with that typical s on of New England, the Puritan. But remember his yoke-fellow, the Pil grim. Listen to the late Senator Hoar, who knew his kin right well:
The Puritan differs from the Pilgrim as the Hebrew prophet from Saint John. Abraham, ready to sacrifice Isaac at the command of God; Jeremiah, uttering his terrible prophecy of the downfall of Judaea; Brutus, condemning his son to death: Brutus, slaying his friend for the lib erty of Rome; Aristides, going into exile, are his spiritual progenitors, as Stonewall Jackson was of his spiritual kindred. You will find him where- ever men are sacrificing life or the delights of life on the altar of Duty. But the Pilgrim is of a gentler and lovelier nature. He, too, if Duty or Honour call, is ready for the sacrifice. But his weapon is love and not hate. His spirit is the spirit of John, the beloved Disciple, the spirit of Grace, Mercy, and Peace. His memory is as sweet and fragrant as the perfume of the little flower which gave its name to the ship which brought him over.
Puritan discipline, the result of financial dis aster and attendant circumstances, never effaced the Pilgrim strain in Lloyd. We infer this from the manner in which he won upon his contempo raries at school and college—exacting judges. We know it from his Note Books, written during the German sojourn. The following passage, for ex- ample, strikes the note that rang from his character down the Michigan years. "I had rather have it said of me, 'He is a Christian,' than be able to say of myself, 'I am a Christian.' The boast would only refute itself. But the praise would mean more than creed . . . What is the good? What is the true? What is the beautiful? What is the real? For each question the same answer: Life with hope and effort, or Love with charity and sacrifice." No doubt, he was dominated by strict moralism at this early stage. Untoward fortune wrung from him the bitter-sweet exclamation—"I cannot too strong ly reproach myself for selfishness, and I do it the more because I have known so well how to be un selfish." Keeping a firm hand upon a cheerful heart, he was building a soul which he could possess in patience. He records: "Worry is not helpful. Patience, perseverance, hope, trust—these are the right attitudes for all time of trouble." The youth is already wise at twenty-six; wise, however, far more as the result of virtuous balance than of prudential reason. Having learned how to respect self, he could afford to respect others. His "favorites— Faithfulness, Patience, and Peace"—taking him unawares, he walked with his fellows a fragrant, un blemished spirit. His conscientiousness, equal to larger and lesser affairs alike, had no trace of the fussy, being steadfast in search after justice.
His philosophy, which this is not the occasion, even could we command the mood, to estimate, was redolent of the man. He says: "Philosophy, however indifferent, however matter of fact, leads to an ought . . . Thus, when we speak of philos ophy, we refer rather to an activity behind the reality of the investigation or theory than to the investigation or theory itself ... It comes to the reader or hearer like a picture, which at first may seem meaningless, but in the end gets a meaning from the personal demands of the observer." Avow als of the kind presage his affiliations later. Take as an example his admiration for Spinoza, upon whom he became an authority. "No one felt this ought more strongly than Spinoza, but Spinoza made a fact, a present reality of it, instead of a process to an attainment . . . This, though as near ly true for him as it ever was probably for any man, is far from true for most of us ... To do a thing well we must first begin by doing it poorly. " In maturity, when he had strung his bow and was not merely trying to bend it, so to speak, he could afford to blend humour with gravity; indeed this grew more and more usual with him. Conscience, though still carrying "some of the freightage known to men," had ceased to overweigh him. The quota tion hints that we are reminded of George Mer edith's Comic Spirit. But Lloyd did not descry "a peep-show and a Punch's at the corner of every street." His humour sported with the paradoxes besetting human thought rather than with the eccentricities that almost make men contortionists. Blest with pietas, he contemplated the human scene in mild surprise, desirous to see it whole. Paradox lent him opportunity for justice, because it deployed both sides of a case. Moreover, he sought his clues in men more than in Nature, and this genial choice led to elastic vision at last. In short, the play of his humour, suffused with friendliness as it ever was, came to rid paradox, not of alienation indeed, but of inimical or cold irony. He saw that the comedy of human thought ended in no hocus-pocus; on the contrary, it presaged a continuous effort after complete satisfaction, whereof his fellows were the sole hopeful instruments, even when they strode small or foolish parts on the huge stage of a universal drama.
Revealing the high humour of it all, he says: "In the real world there can be but one life and one death, and we individuals, whatever our cen tury, divide the labour of both . . . Hence great men make history, but they make it only because they are alive in it before their birth and survive in it, in its doing and in its thinking, after they die." Do not forget that the village Hampdens, the mute inglorious Miltons, and the Cromwells guilt less of their countries' blood, participate also. What paradox, but what truth! What equable judgment all round!
Further, and most characteristically, Lloyd realized that human ignorance prostrates itself before the blind god, Chance. And he smiled, be cause he knew that the ignorance was no wise hope less; it might well be surmounted were folk able to divine that the rules of the game of life become arbitrary only when the players mistake their own opinions for inviolable principles. Thus, with per fect guilelessness, he could banter and, pity breth ren who had contrived to persuade themselves that their obvious stupidities count for cardinal vir tues. Able to smile, he escaped a certain habit of didacticism, often the sin of those whom morals entice to the exclusion of other aspects of exper ience.
Never blown about by passing winds of doc trine, he attached himself to no school, preferring to keep his ethical outlook free from the shackles of a system. True to the American temper, he would be the architect of his own philosophical fortune. You must not expect to encounter his name in myopic primers replete with lists of partisans adept in de tection of all fallacies save their own. Running straight to his Yankee heritage, he is not apt to "crook the pregnant hinges of the knee" to "establish reputations." Nevertheless, for this very rea son, he remains an optimist ready, nay, anxious, to place faith in the nature of the common man and its capacity for progress, if only it will tie to the plain verities proven in conduct. Moreover, unlike some with whom he might be classed in tidy man uals, he never permitted his masterful grip on moral order to diminish respect for learning or for re ligion. Hence, the five books and five dozen articles bearing his signature hint that he may have complicity in the new era lying beyond contemporary polemics. Be this as it may, his disposition in clined him to seek and to find truth wherever gen uine insight prevailed, and therefore to minimize differences in the hope of cooperative advance based on conciliation.
We scarce dare trust ourselves to attempt the more intimate characterization which these qualities as a man and a thinker invite. The truth is, Lloyd was the exceptional person who stands in no need of idealization, who, on this account, al most escapes verbal description. His placid toler ance caused familiars to wonder. Indeed, there were times when they inclined to judge it weakness; but, in the long run, it always came full circle, jus tified by the event. He set himself to detect the strain of good in the excitable or intrusive busy- body, in the sonorous official, in the pettifogging knave, even in the plain liar of the workaday world. Similarly, he could suffer gladly, if with a wry face sometimes, the fools of the learned or would be learned world—the querulous precisian, the dumb victim of trifling "research," the pontificating ass, even the presumptuous egotist. They struck him as varieties of self-deception. Brushing aside their peculiarities, limitations, nay, vices, he preferred to divine the spark of humanity they had, thinking of them humanely. This selflessness tied his friends to him with bands stronger than steel; so much so that they fear, however wistfully and sadly, they can scarce expect to look upon his like again.