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President Tappan to Dr. Ford

Henry Philip Tappan
The Michigan Alumnus 7-8

Through the kindness of some of his old pupils, we take pleasure in 
publishing the following letter written by President Tappan from his Berlin 
home, after he had resigned the Presidency of the University, to Dr. Cory
don L. Ford, who became Professor in Anatomy in the University in 1854, a position which he held for forty years. Dr. Ford and his wife bequeathed
 to the University Library the Ford-Messer fund of $20,000 as a perpetual
 endowment. There are many touches in the letter which will, no doubt, 
 appeal to President Tappan's former pupils.


Berlin, (Matthai Kirche St No. 26.) Nov. 8th, 1865.


MY DEAR SIR: 


You wrote me a letter enclosed in one from Professor Evans months ago. I owe
 you an apology for my long delay in replying to you. I was absent from Berlin when
 your letter arrived; it was forwarded to me and I got it somewhere by the way. You
 desired me to write you at Pittsfield and so I waited until I thought you would have 
reached there. Then there came a gust of occupation or a gust of news from America
 which put me off again.

Then, next I heard that you were married and I was about 
to write to congratulate you, but then I heard again that it was a false report, and I
 came once more to a pause. 
 Then again I heard that you were married and I waited to hear the news confirmed. The news has been confirmed and now I have the pleasure to send you my 
hearty congratulations, in which all my family unite. I always thought your social
 and genial disposition peculiarly adapted you to the married state, that you were 
calculated to make some woman happy, and that your own happiness would be 
increased by such a union. 


And now I suppose you are quietly settled in your own home; you know now the
 full meaning of the sacred word home. You no longer occupy the lonely room in the
 Medical College in the neighborhood of dry bones. You have now another dwelling 
full of love, life, smiles and peace. May God bless you both and give you a full 
measure of happiness.

I recollect you purchased a lot in front of the Medical College. Perhaps, ere
 this, you have erected your dwelling there, and are rejoicing under your own "vine
 and fig tree." One of our greatest enjoyments is found in the cultivation of one's 
own garden and pleasure grounds. Trees and flowers become nurslings for which 
we cherish a real affection. The garden which I cultivated in the University grounds, 
 although not my own in an absolute sense, under a long occupation and care seemed 
very like my own, and afforded me many happy hours. I too had a great fondness 
for dogs and cats, pigs and poultry, cows and 'horses. The dogs and cats I never 
succeeded in perfectly reconciling, and was compelled after many trials, to give up 
the latter. The pigs and poultry it always pained me to have killed. So the dogs, 
 cows and horses gave me the most unalloyed satisfaction. My old dog Leo, who died 
the last summer I spent in Michigan, and whom I buried under a tree in my garden, 
 often conies up before me when I sit alone and he seems to lay 'his head on my knee
 again and to look up into my face with his gentle knowing eyes, and I {eel as one
 feels when he recalls the tender memory of a departed friend. I know not how 
far you have gone in these matters, or what your experience has been. To me, the 
relations between us and the domestic animals is a subject of deep interest and a 
home seems hardly complete without them. 


But all animals interest our human heart, indeed all living things, through our 
own consciousness of life and of the joy of life. "He prayeth best, who loveth best, 
 all things both great and small, for the dear God who loveth all, He made and
 loveth all." There is a huge old Elephant here in the Zoological garden whom I
 became very fond of after a short acquaintance. I fancied we understood each other. 
He certainly gave me many knowing nods. You would be delighted with Berlin. This Zoological garden would engage much of your attention and there is the Ana
tomical Museum and the Museum of Natural History so rich and so perfectly 
arranged, —these would be to you charmed places. I fear you would forget all ordinary
 wants and absolutely lose yourself. 


We have spent a very delightful summer in the region of the Rhine; and now
 we are here again in our Berlin home. This city, the literary capital of Germany and 
perhaps of the world becomes to me more and more attractive; and I am able to 
pursue here undisturbed my congenial studies. 


My family unite with me in kind regard to yourself and Mrs. Ford. 


I remain truly yours, 


HENRY P. TAPPAN.