A HIGH CLASS FIREBUG.
Some time ago, it will be remembered Pardee hall, a costly adjunct to Lafayette college, Easton, Pa., was mysteriously burned down, and most of its valuable contents destroyed. It was not then suspected that an incendiary’s hand had caused the ruin. Subsequent acts of vandalism, however, in the college chapel and elsewhere, and the discovery of a deliberate attempt to burn the chapel changed men’s minds, and detectives were put upon the case. A watch was set and in a short time those on guard captured a man sneaking into the building by night. After some resistance it was found that the prisoner was George H. Stephens, till recently adjunct professor of Ethics and Logic at the institution. On being arrested he admitted that out of hatred to President Warfield, whom he blamed for his dismissal from the college, he had, amongst other acts of desecration, set fire to Pardee hall. He said he came to Easton in the afternoon of December 17, 1897, for the purpose of setting fire to the building. He saw no one and was recognized by no one while in town. He thinks it was about 2 o’clock in the morning of the eighteenth that he unlocked the door of the building and set fire to it. On the top of the pile of rubbish to which he set fire he placed a motto which Professor Davison had hung on the wall. It read: “Study Nature, not Books.” His story told how he had applied the match. It was matches that suggested firing the building. He was in an hotel and saw the box of matches in his room Instantly the thought came to him to use them to carry out his plan for revenge and to further hi« belief that in destroying the college he would destroy Dr. Warfield.
Carrying out his i lea he took advantage of a matter within his own knowledge, and that was that once Dr. Moore, of the faculty, had expressed the opinion that the incubator or experimental machine in Professor Davison’s room was likely to catch fire and might cause trouble unless carefully guarded. Professor Davison exercised this care. But Stephens cunningly realized that a fire started there would reflect on P.ofessor Davison, whom he hated, and incidentally on Dr. Warfield. A day or two after the fire he returned to Easton, and inspected the ruins of Pardee hall, lie says he felt at that time a deep sense of satisfaction over the results. He rejoiced in the blow to the college. The man is undoubtedly mad, and has been committed to Easton jail in default of $6,000 bail.