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A HISTORY OF WILLIAMS COLLEGE
PRESIDENT OF WILLIAMS COLLEGE
A HISTORY OF
LEVERETT WILSON SPRING
EMERITUS PROFESSOR OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE
BOSTON AND NEW YORK
HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY
<*fc tttoetfibe $re&* CambriDge
COPYRIGHT, 1917, BY LEVERRTT WILSON SPRING
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Published June igrj
I. THE FOUNDER i
II. WEST TOWNSHIP AND THE FREE SCHOOL . . . .17
III. THE BEGINNINGS OF THE COLLEGE 42
IV. WlLLIAMSTOWN OR ELSEWHERE? 94
V. A SECOND AND GREATER CRISIS 124
VI. HIGH TIDES IN THE CALENDAR OF THE OLDER WILLIAMS . 154
VII. A PERIOD OF TRANSITION 227
VIII. THE NEW WILLIAMS 243
IX. LOOKING BEFORE AND AFTER 277
I. Inventory of Ye Late Eph m Williams Chest . . .323
II. Ephraim Williams Library 324
III. New York and Vermont Stages 325
IV. Extract from an Old Letter 325
V. Williams College: an announcement 326
VI. Penalties or "Mulcts" according to the By-Laws of 1795 327
VII. Letter to President John Adams, and President Adams'
VIII. Williams Volunteers, Graduate and Non-Graduate, in
the Civil War, and their Rank 332
IX. Bill Pratt 333
INDEX . . . ., .335
MARK HOPKINS Frontispiece
WEST COLLEGE, FROM A DAGUERREOTYPE TAKEN FOR THE CLASS
OF 1848 38
WEST COLLEGE AS IT is IN 1917 38
ZEPHANIAH SWIFT MOORE 98
EDWARD DORR GRIFFIN 124
GRIFFIN HALL 132
SKETCH OF THE CAMPUS MADE BETWEEN 1828 AND 1837 H 6
MARK HOPKINS 154
From a daguerreotype taken probably in 1844
HOPKINS OBSERVATORY 164
PAUL ANSEL CHADBOURNE 228
FRANKLIN CARTER 244
THOMPSON MEMORIAL CHAPEL 248
JOHN HASKELL HEWITT 254
HENRY HOPKINS 256
HARRY AUGUSTUS GARFIELD 260
GRACE HALL AND WILLIAMS HALL 306
GREYLOCK AND THE HOPPER 312
FACSIMILE OF "THE MOUNTAINS" 318
A HISTORY OF
FOR the first two thirds of the forty years and six
months which comprise the lifetime of Colonel
Ephraim Williams, founder of the college, biographic
materials are few and meagre. The vital records of
his native town, the will of his grandfather, and an
unsigned "Sketch" in the eighth volume of the " Col-
lections" of the Massachusetts Historical Society
seem to be the only available sources of information.
It appears that April I, 1713, Ephraim Williams,
Senior, of Newton, married Elizabeth, daughter of
Abraham Jackson, a substantial and reputable towns-
man, and that their eldest son, Ephraim, Junior, was
born March 7, 1715, or, by old style, February 24,
1714. On the I2th of April, 1718, and a few days
after the birth of a second son, Thomas, Elizabeth
Williams died, and her two children were practically
adopted by their grandfather. From the date of his
mother's death until January 3, 1738-39, when Abra-
ham Jackson, "Being under the Decays and Infirmi-
ties of Age, But of perfect Mind and Memory, thanks
be given to God," executed his last will and testa-
ment, an interval of twenty-one years, no ref-
erence to the founder has been discovered in any
contemporary document or publication. Of this last
will and testament he was naturally one of the bene-
ficiaries: "I give and Bequeath to my Grandson
Ephraim Williams . . . the sum of Fifty Pounds in
Money to be paid . . . within Five years Next after
my Decease." Whatever the reason for discrimina-
tion may have been, and it is not now obvious, the
younger brother received a much larger share of the
estate than the elder. " I have expended a consider-
able Sum," the testator observes, "for bringing up
and educating my Grandson, Thomas Williams . . .
and have put into the hands of his Father . . . one
hundred and Forty Pounds in Money to be Im-
proved and laid out to the Best advantage of my
said Grandson." l
The "Sketch," printed nearly half a century after
the death of the founder, devotes only two sentences
to the long pre-Berkshire period of his career: "For
several years in early life [he] followed the seas; but
by persuasion of his father relinquished that business.
In his several voyages to Europe he visited England,
Spain and Holland; acquired graceful manners and
a considerable stock of useful knowledge."
Ebenezer Fitch, first president of Williams Col-
lege and heretofore supposed to have been sole author
of the "Sketch," had an important collaborator. "I
have received a letter," the former wrote the Secretary
1 Witt of Abraham Jackson, Registry of Probate, East Cambridge.
Thomas Williams, a prominent physician and surgeon, settled at
Deerfield in 1739 and died there in 1775. He entered Yale in the class
of 1738, but did not graduate. In 1741 Yale gave him the honorary
degree of A.M.
of the Historical Society, January 26, 1801, "from
the Rev. Dr. Miller of New York, requesting informa-
tion about the rise and progress of this institution, its
friends, Library, Apparatus, courses of instruction,
expenses of education, &c. In answering this letter
I have nearly drawn up the historical account you
desire. I wish to insert some further Memoirs of our
Founder. . . . These I have requested Dr. [Stephen]
West of Stockbridge to furnish. He married Col.
Williams' [hal^-sister. 1 1 expect his response this week.
I will improve the first opportunity after I get it to
complete the account and send it to you." 2 The
"further Memoirs," therefore, of the "historical ac-
count" embody the recollections and impressions of
surviving members of the Williams family.
It is not until November 3, 1742, that the biog-
raphy of the founder becomes definitely legible. On
that day a Berkshire Justice of the Peace made the
following entry in his records: " Personally appeared
Eph m Williams, Jun. the Surveyor . . . Joseph Allen,
one of the Chainmen, and made Solemn oath that
in their Several Capacities . . . they acted Honestly
and faithfully according to their best Skill and Judg-
ment. The other Chainman (Viz) Joseph Wattkins,
being removed to a Considerable Distance Could not
be Sworn." 3 The exact date of the arrival of " Eph m
1 Dr. West, a graduate of Yale, chaplain at Fort Massachusetts for
a year or more, vice-president of Williams College from 1793 to 1812,
was a prominent clergyman in the Berkshires for sixty years. He mar-
ried Elizabeth Williams, who died in 1804 at the age of seventy-four
years. Elijah Williams, half-brother of the founder, was also a resident
of Stockbridge at this time.
* Fitch, MS. letter, Mass. His. Society, 41 F. 207.
3 Mass. Archives, Maps and Plans, xxxin, 24.
Williams, Jun.," at Stockbridge an Indian Mission
where his father settled in 1737 is uncertain, but
when he appeared before the justice he had been in
that town long enough to become known as "the
After the lapse of eighteen months when no trace
of him survives, he reappeared and as representative
of Stockbridge at the General Court for the session
beginning May 30, 1744, and concluding the 25th of
the next April. 1 He served on two important com-
mittees, and "his politeness and address," it is said,
"procured for him greater influence than any other
person at that day possessed." 2 Then, in the summer
of 1745, he received a captain's commission and was
assigned to the command of Fort Shirley one of
the small military stations established along the
western frontier of Massachusetts. From thence he
presently transferred his headquarters to Fort Mas-
sachusetts, a later and more important post between
East Hoosac and West Township, renamed North
Adams and Williamstown, and continued in ac-
tive service until 1748 when the treaty of Aix la
Chapelle brought King George's War to an end.
During this desultory border struggle only one
local event has much present interest or importance
the capture and destruction of Fort Massachu-
setts by a few hundred French and Indians under the
command of Rigaud Vaudreuil, Town Major of Three
Rivers, Canada. The disaster occurred in August,
1746, and when Captain Williams was absent in Al-
1 Journal, Mass. H.R., July I, 1744.
* Mass. His. Society, Collections, viu, 48.
bany whither he had gone to take part in a projected
attack upon Montreal. 1 Two years later the fort
having been rebuilt meantime another skulking
band of hostiles made an unsuccessful attempt to re-
peat the exploit.
A few weeks before the second raid upon Fort
Massachusetts Colonel John Stoddard, of North-
ampton, died. He was the man whom Ephraim Wil-
liams characterized in his will as "my great benefac-
tor." This event a ministerial friend the Rev. Tim-
othy Woodbridge, of Hatfield made the occasion
of a letter in which he set forth with unmistakable
earnestness and perhaps with a shade of solicitude his
conception of that happy warrior,
''Whom every man in arms should wish to be."
"I cannot forget you at Fort Massachusetts, " so
this letter, written July 21, 1748, begins, "but fre-
quently paint you in my mind, sometimes laughing
and in a merry mood, sometimes thinking. ... It is
in the latter circumstances that I view you whilst
writing, and here suffer me to say that to do what
good we can in the Station which providence has as-
signed us is our indispensable Duty and [I] hope
Constantly governs you. The opportunity that either
you or I shall have to do any good in this world is but
short and . . . the Supreme Judge will one day demand
an account of our Conduct. Let us do nothing now
that we will then be ashamed of. ... You will allow
me to add that it is but part of the business ... of an
1 Stone, Life and Times of Sir William Johnson, I, 225. Sheldon,
History of Deerfield, I, 543.
officer to instruct his men in their Duty as soldiers
and see that they do it, but to suppress vice and . . .
immorality, to inculcate sobriety, temperance and
Christian virtue; . . . and I hope that you will leave
this witness in the breasts ... of your soldiers that
you have led them by your precepts and example
in the paths of virtue. What a noble Example has
Col. Stoddard left every military officer who had the
happiness to be acquainted with him. . . . Whilst I
mention that great man whose face we shall see no
more, I would Drop a tear with you over his grave. I
know his Death must sensibly touch you. . . . Let his
shining example continually live with us. I hope a
good providence will preserve health to you and your
Soldiers & save you from falling into the hands of the
The seven years of King George's War were fol-
lowed by seven years of peace. For the first half of
this latter period the years from 1748 until well on
into 1752 Captain Williams seems to have re-
mained at Fort Massachusetts, where life must have
been somewhat vacant and monotonous. He had the
respect and affection of the little garrison and that
was something. " His kind and obliging deportment,"
Dr. West wrote, "his generosity and condescension
greatly endeared him to his soldiers He frequently
entered into the pastimes . . . upon an equal footing
with them and permitted every decent freedom; and
again, when the diversions were over, he, with ease
and dignity, became the Captain." His official duties,
1 Israel Williams, Letters and Papers, I, 32.
2 Mass. His. Society, Collections, vni, 48.
such as making out muster-rolls, ordering supplies of
medicine, provisions, and New England rum, were
not burdensome. On one occasion the usual routine
was interrupted by the appearance of a deputation of
Indians, who claimed to own the land upon which the
fort stood and wanted to be paid for it. These enter-
prising aborigines did not succeed in collecting their
At least one parcel of books was forwarded to the
founder in the months of relative quiet. It would be
interesting to know something more about these books
than that he was impatient to get them and that they
were packed with care. "I will Do 'em up well," his
half-sister, Mrs. Abigail Sergeant, wrote Thomas
Williams, July 18, 1750, "Send 'em to ye fort [Massa-
chusetts] Next week. They shall Be Sealed with orders
not to Be Broke. Books gett much Damage by
Transport.' 1 *
Tiring of the petty round of garrison life, Ephraim
Williams spent the second half of this peaceful inter-
val partly at Stockbridge where a serious crisis in the
affairs of his family required attention, and partly
at Hatfield, the home of an attractive cousin, Eliza-
beth Williams, to whom, if a persistent tradition may
be trusted, he was by no means indifferent. But this
intermediate period, wherever he may have spent it,
was essentially a time of waiting and vacuum.
Viewed in their larger aspects these seven years
must be reckoned merely as a truce during the long
fight for North America, while the combatants took
breath and prepared to renew the undecided struggle.
1 R. H. W. Dwight, Collection.
In this critical time of suspense, when it became evi-
dent that hostilities would presently be resumed, the
most active and efficient leader among the colonials
was William Shirley, Governor of Massachusetts.
He drew up plans for fitting out four considerable
expeditions which were to attempt the capture of
as many French military posts Crown Point, on
Lake Champlain; Fort Beausejour, in Acadia; Fort
Duquesne, at the junction of the Allegheny and Mo-
nongahela Rivers; and Fort Niagara, dominating the
passage between Lakes Ontario and Erie. This com-
prehensive plan received the formal approval of a
council of war held in Alexandria, Virginia, April 14,
1755, at which General Edward Braddock, commander-
in-chief of His Majesty's forces, and five colonial
governors were present.
The only one of these campaigns with which we are
particularly concerned is that against Crown Point,
a fortified post of great strategic importance, as it
practically controlled the most practicable route from
New York to Montreal. Since several colonies
Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode
Island, and New York were to take part in the
expedition and jealousies abounded, it was not easy
to find a satisfactory leader. Governor Shirley solved
the problem by selecting a civilian for the position
William Johnson, who had lived in the Mohawk
country seventeen years and developed remarkable
skill in dealing with Indians. The Alexandria coun-
cil, fully persuaded that a man who could manage the
Six Nations would be able to capture Crown Point,
not only confirmed his appointment, but declared
him to be "the properest person to have command
of the expedition." 1 Johnson himself, however, was
not so sure about it and accepted the position with
some reluctance and misgiving. 2
The Massachusetts quota of troops comprised three
regiments, one of which Hampshire County, then
including the Berkshires, must furnish. Nobody in
that county could undertake the task of recruiting it
with any such assurance of success as Ephraim Wil-
liams. Every one liked and trusted him. "His ad-
dress/' Dr. West tells us, "was easy and his manners
pleasing and conciliatory. Affable and facetious, he
could make himself agreeable in all companies; and
was very generally esteemed, respected and beloved." 3
The four hundred and twenty "private men," whose
names appear on the muster-roll of this Hampshire
regiment, were readily secured. Commissioned as
their colonel March 28, 1755, Ephraim Williams en-
tered upon the final period of his military service
a brief period of twenty-three weeks and three days. 4
He seems to have perceived, indistinctly it may be,
the momentous nature of the issues involved in the re-
awakened struggle. Though he had probably never
heard of the ambitious schemes that fascinated dar-
ing spirits in the cabinet of Louis XV, schemes to
check the westward movement of English colonists
by a chain of forts from the Great Lakes to the Gulf
of Mexico, and perhaps ultimately drive them out
1 Documentary History of the State of New York, II, 379.
2 Correspondence of William Shirley, n, 169.
8 Mass. His. Society, Collections, vin, 48.
4 Mass. Archives, Muster-Rolls, xciv, 7.
of the continent, yet he did not fail to realize the
necessity of putting an end once for all to the French
peril. " I have a great desire," he wrote, " I have
a great desire Canada should be demolished." l
Albany, then a palisaded, frontier town of twenty-
eight hundred inhabitants, was the natural base for
the expedition against Crown Point, and on the 3ist
of May the Hampshire regiment began to move to-
ward this rendezvous "each man being allowed 6
days for his march" of fifty or sixty miles. By the
middle of July three thousand provincials and two
or three hundred Indians had reached the camp.
The personal letters of Colonel Williams, written
during the two months he remained in Albany, four
of which have been preserved, are unmistakably ap-
prehensive and despondent. Especially is this true
of the latest, dated Tuesday, July 22. Local condi-
tions what with the little army of undisciplined
yeomanry and Mohawk Indians mustered for the
expedition, the inadequacy of the commissariat, the
primitive means of transportation, and the obtrusive
evidence of confusion everywhere were sufficiently
unpromising, but during the preceding evening ru-
mors reached him that the expedition against Fort
Duquesne had met with a crushing disaster. Colonel
Williams was greatly depressed by the news, and in
this despondent mood wrote his final letter from Al-
bany: "It is to be feared that General Braddock is
cut to pieces and a great part of his army. . . . The
Lord have mercy upon poor New England." 2
The period of delay continued eleven days after
1 Israel Williams, Letters and Papers, I, 120. * Ibid., I., 156.
this black Tuesday. On the 2d of August, Colonel
Williams broke camp and set out for Great Carrying
Place, a military station on the Hudson River about
sixty miles above Albany. 1 He made slow progress,
and did not reach his destination until August 14.
It was a hard trip and the men are said to "have
been extremely beat out in hauling the battoes over
the several falls." General Johnson also arrived the
same day "with about 20 Indians fit for war," 2 and
remained until August 26, in doubt what to do next
whether to move northeast to Wood Creek or north-
west to the foot of Lake George.
Three of Colonel Williams* letters, written during
the time of hesitation at Great Carrying Place, have
been preserved. From the tenor of the first, dated
August 1 6, it would seem that some vague, undefined
presentment of evil haunted him. "I hereby mourn
with you in the loss of y'r Brother," he wrote Israel
Williams. " Pray God to sanctify itjio all of us, & fit
us for our own turns which will soon arrive how soon
God only knows. I beg your prayers for us all & me
in perticular." 3 In the last letter, dated August 23,
personal considerations give place to anxieties about
the conditions and prospects of the expedition, which
could hardly fail to be disquieting. Other adverse ele-
ments were plenty, but, in the opinion of Colonel Wil-
1 The post had an unusual succession of names. A letter from Moses
Porter captain in Ephraim Williams' regiment is " Dated at
the Carrying Place, alias Fort Nicholson, alias Lydius fort, alias
Tadmor in the Wilderness i6th of August." The next letter, however,
written at the same place two days later, gives his address as "The
Fort without a Name." (Porter, MSS. letters, Mass. His. Society.)
The modern name of the town is Fort Edward.
1 Israel Williams, Letters and Papers, I, 170. 8 Ibid., I, 170.
liams, General Johnson could not capture Crown Point
with his present force. Instead of three thousand men
there ought to have been ten or twelve thousand. " If
we should be beat," he wrote, "our country is lost." 1
General Johnson finally decided to proceed toward
Crown Point by way of Lake George and ordered the
pioneers to hew a passable road through the four-
teen miles of pine forest that lay between him and the
foot of it. 2 Leaving a garrison at Great Carrying Place,
he started Tuesday, August 26, with the rest of his
army for the new camp in a wilderness where "no
house was ever before built nor a rod of land cleared," 3
and reached his destination late Thursday afternoon.
The secular activities and emergencies of the situation
did not prevent a due religious observance of the two
following Sundays, as preaching services, attended by
Mohawks as well as colonials, were held on both of
them. But the enemy a mixed force of Indians,
Canadians, and French regulars under the command
of Baron Dieskau 4 did not spend these Sundays in
divine worship. Whatever they may have been about
on the first of them, on the other they " marched nine
leagues, always through woods and over mountains," 5
and reached the vicinity of the English forces. During
the evening of the second Sunday September 7
General Johnson learned, and evidently to his sur-
prise, that the invaders were in the neighborhood.
1 Israel Williams, Letters and Papers, I, 170.
2 Stone, Life and Times of Sir William Johnson, i, 507.
3 Documentary History of the State of New York, n, 689.
4 "An elderly man and very much of a gentleman." (Captain Peter
Wraxall, Documents Relative to the Colonial History of the State of New
York, VI, 1003.) 6 Ibid., x, 339.
After a council of war, held the next morning, he or-
dered Colonel Williams, who possessed his confidence
in a greater degree than any other officer of the staff, 1
to make a reconnoissance for the purpose of discover-
ing their whereabouts and intentions. The latter left
the camp, " between eight and nine o'clock," with one
thousand colonials and two hundred Indians. Though
an experienced frontiersman and familiar with the
tactics of border warfare, he failed to protect his front
and flanks with scouts and consequently fell into a
"My dear brother Ephraim," wrote Thomas Wil-
liams in a letter to his wife, ". . . was killed in the be-
ginning of the action by a ball through his head." 2
The provincials, thrown into confusion by the sudden
attack and the loss of their commander, fled toward
the camp, which the enemy, in hot pursuit, attempted
unsuccessfully to carry by storm. Though failing in
their first dash, they did not give up the fight on that
account. "The fire began between n and 12 of the
clock," wrote Seth Pomeroy, lieutenant-colonel of
Ephraim Williams' regiment, "and continued until
near five in the afternoon the most violent fire
perhaps that was ever heard of in any battle in this
country. Then we beat them off the ground." 3 This
1 American Review, VH, 602.
2 Historical Magazine, vn, 212. Thomas Williams was surgeon of
the Hampshire regiment. "It is said that one of our men, observing
an Indian taking his aim at Colonel Williams, fired his piece at the In-
dian and shot him dead upon the spot ; so that this worthy commander,
and his savage slaughterer fell at once and probably at the same in-
stant." (Niles, History of the French and Indian Wars, in Collections,
Mass. His. Society, Fourth Series, v, 393.)
* Seth Pomeroy, Diary', quoted in Trumbull's History of Northampton,
inconclusive victory was acclaimed far and wide
among the colonies. The Governor of New York ap-
pointed Tuesday, October 2, "as a day of public
Thanksgiving to Almighty God " * and Johnson him-
self received from King George " the dignity of a Baro-
net of Great Britain." One Massachusetts colonel,
Timothy Ruggles, who sometimes spoke his mind
with astonishing freedom, took a different view of
the situation. "General/' he said to Johnson after the
battle, "General, I hope the damnable blunders you
have made this day may be sanctified to your spiritual
and everlasting good." 2 The best that can be said
for the expedition is that it achieved a qualified and
The body of Colonel Williams remained undisturbed
on the spot where he fell until the morning after the
fight, when it was recovered and buried under a
neighboring pine tree. A week later Thomas Wil-
liams made an inventory of the contents of his army
chest. 3 Among the items in this inventory were not
only such articles of a Berkshire gentleman's ward-
robe as a pair of leather breeches, a broadcloth coat
with yellow metal buttons and a French bearskin
coat, but also eleven books a species of baggage
which none of the other New England colonels,
though two of them, Timothy Ruggles and Phineas
Lyman, were college graduates, seem to have in-
II, 269. " Our cannon . . . were heard down as low as Saratoga,"
Thomas Williams wrote, " notwithstanding the wind was in the north
and something considerable." (Historical Magazine, vn, 212.)
1 Documentary History of the State of New York, 698.
2 Jonathan Smith, in Proceedings, Mass. His. Society, XLVIII, 43.
8 Appendix I.
eluded in their outfitting for the campaign. What
were the books which Ephraim Williams did include
among his necessaries? Four of them a New Testa-
ment, the Psalms of David, an Annual, "The Court
and City Kalendar," and Eland's "Military Dis-
cipline" one might expect to find in the list, but
that is hardly the case with the others, "Roman
History . . . By way of dialogue," 1 the " Independent
Whig" in two volumes, and " Cato's Letters" in four.
The history is perhaps less surprising than the remain-
ing six books, written by Thomas Gordon and John
Trenchard, whose names can scarcely be called house-
hold words at the present day. They are a series of
vigorous, aggressive, hard-hitting essays on a great
variety of subjects social, political, theological, and
academic. While they may not rival the "Letters of
Junius" in declamatory invective, like them they
belong to the literature of protest, assailing in par-
ticular the High Church propaganda of the day and
in general anybody and everybody who "played the
devil in God's name." That they would stir up con-
troversy was to be expected. At least one " Fanatical
and Dissatisfied Clergyman" the Bishop of Sodor
and Mann " bellowed out his curse " 2 against them.
For Ephraim Williams these militant books must have
had special attractions or he would hardly have taken
the trouble to transport them over the rough, primi-
1 A New and Easy Method to understand the Roman History . . . By
way of dialogue; for the use of the Duke of Burgundy. Done out of
French. ... By Mr. T. Brown: pp. 324. R. Baldwin: London, 1695. 12.
Eighth edition, 1731. There is a copy of this book in the Collection of
Mr. R. H. W. Dwight.
* Independent Whig, I, xc.
tive highway from Stockbridge to Albany, up the
Hudson River to Great Carrying Place and through
fourteen miles of wilderness to Lake George. That
a colonial colonel, who on going to the wars put eleven
books into his army chest, became the founder of a
college, should not occasion surprise. 1
The memorable day in the forty years and six
months of Ephraim Williams' life was that black Tues-
day at Albany July 22, 1755 when he "made and
published" his last will and testament, declaring it
to be his ' ' Pleasure & Desire ' ' that his residuary estate
should be "Appropriated toward the Support and
maintenance of a free School (in a township . . . Com-
monly Called the west township) for Ever," provided
that it " fall within the Jurisdiction of Massachusetts
bay," and also that "the Governor & General Court
give the Said township the name of Williamstown." A
project of this kind had been long in mind. Dr. West
says that he "witnessed with humane and painful
sensations, the dangers, difficulties and hardships"
which the first settlers of the region encountered.
"To encourage them, he intimated his intention of
doing something liberal and handsome for them." 2
That "something," which took definite shape in his
will, gave distinction to a career otherwise incon-
1 Appendix II. * Mass. His. Society, Collections, vin, 48.
WEST TOWNSHIP AND THE FREE SCHOOL
I N J 755 West Township, the site of the proposed Free
School, was an insignificant hamlet on the southern
border of "a great and terrible wilderness . . . which
reached to Canada." 1 Only sixteen years had elapsed
since Ephraim Williams, Senior, and Thomas Wells
made the first survey of the region. Their work, prose-
cuted under serious difficulties, appears to have been
indifferently well done, and in 1749 the Legislature
directed Oliver Partridge and two associates "to
repair to the Province Lands near Hoosuck . . . with
a skilful surveyor and chainman under oath . . . lay
out Two Townships . . . and return a correct Plat." 2
April 6, 1750, a third legislative committee divided
the "Westernmost" of them into "63 Houselots,"
which the authorities sold two years later to forty-
six purchasers, thirteen of whom were soldiers at Fort
M assachuse t ts . 3
Ephraim Williams, Senior, thought that the new
town on the Hoosac was "very accommodable for
settlements," 4 but families in search of homes had
their doubts about it. Reasons for hesitation were
numerous the remoteness of the " plantation," the
1 Jones, History of Stockbridge, 78.
2 Journal, H.R., April 18, 1749.
8 Mass. Archives, cxv, 634. Perry, Origins in Williamstown, 382.
4 Mass. Archives, CCXLIII, 75.
evil reputation of the winter climate, and the still
more dissuasive circumstance that this region, across
which the Old Mohawk Trail ran, was notoriously
"vulnerable to the guns and tomahawks of Canada."
Though the French and Indian Terror came to an end
with the surrender of Montreal in 1760, the isolation
continued, with slow and grudging abatement, for
almost a century after that decisive event. West
Township, renamed Williamstown in 1765, had no
post-office until 1797. During this long period mail fa-
cilities were a matter of accident or personal favor.
In the last decade of it Simon Hough, who rode up
and down the county delivering to subscribers their
copies of the "Western Star" published at Stock-
bridge, acted on occasion as postman, but his weekly
visits did little to break the solitude. 1
There was, it is true, an early and ambitious at-
tempt to establish tri-weekly communications with
the outside world. Toward the close of the year 1796
"the proprietors . . . inform the Public that they
have started a Line of Stages from New York to
Bennington in Vermont," by way of the Berkshires. 2
These stages continued in operation at least a year,
since on the 6th of October, 1797, the postmaster
at Stockbridge announced that they had begun to
carry the mails. 3 But the enterprise was short-lived
1 From his rather frequent " Notices to Patrons," it would appear
that Simon often found collections slow. "I suppose the quarters
seem to be soon out to you, my friends," he said in one of them, " but
as I have to run in debt 20 dollars for your papers, and then tug around
thirteen weeks before I get my pay, it seems long enough to me."
(Western Star, June 30, 1795.)
2 Appendix n.
8 Western Star, October 17, 1797.
WEST TOWNSHIP AND THE FREE SCHOOL
and nobody attempted anything of the sort again
until 1826 when another tri- weekly line of stages
began to run from Bennington to Pittsfield. 1 In
1859 the opening of the Troy and Boston Railroad
put this line out of business, and then in a certain
limited sense former things may be said to have passed
While the paragraph in the founder's will which
contained the bequest failed to give definite instruc-
tions in regard to the character of the proposed school,
it was specific and positive upon two points West
Township must become Williamstown and remain
within the jurisdiction of Massachusetts. If these
conditions should not be "complied with/' the ex-
ecutors were directed to appropriate "the moneys
... to some pious and charitable uses." The change
of name gave no trouble, but a rather serious con-
troversy arose over the question of jurisdiction
whether the region now known as the Berkshires be-
longed to New York or Massachusetts a con-
troversy which was brought to the attention of the
General Court for the first time January 3, 1738-39,
when Thomas Wells, of Deerfield, presented a me-
morial protesting against the encroachments of " the
Dutch" upon the western borders of the province. 2
Ephraim Williams, Senior, and the complainant
were ordered to "view the Land on the Ousac
River" 3 and to lay out there two townships. This
was the survey of 1739 to which attention has al-
1 Field, History of Pittsfield, 24.
2 Journal, H.R., January 3, 1738-39.
8 Ibid., January 26, 1738-39.
ready been called. June 7 the committee made a
brief written report to the Legislature, in which they
regretted that some lines of the new townships could
not be "perfected" in consequence of "the Great
Opposition of Sundry Gent n from Albany." As they
intimated they would like to speak more in detail
about their experiences, the General Court decided
to hear them the next day, when "Captain Ephraim
Williams and Captain Thomas Wells," so the legis-
lative journal runs, "attending at the door . . . were
admitted in and gave a Particular Account ... of
the Treatment they met with from Some Dutch Gen-
tlemen of Albany while they were on the Land."
Evidently Ephraim Williams, Senior, got a very un-
favorable impression of them and his son did not pur-
pose to found a Free School at West Township for
their benefit. 1
Then only a few weeks before the founder made his
will there had been alarming disorders in the disputed
territory between the partisans of New York and
Massachusetts Bay disorders which resulted in
"the murder of William Rees," in the destruction of
considerable property and the arrest of " Rioters" by
the authorities of both provinces.
This regrettable border feud affected not only the
will of Ephraim Williams, but the military campaign
1 This Albany brand of people also grievously displeased an Indian
missionary whose post was a few miles west of Stockbridge, as appears
from the following entry in his diary: " Lord's- Day, Aug. 28 (1743).
Was much perplex'd with some irreligious Dutch-men. All their dis-
courses turned upon Things of the World. ... Oh! what a Hell it
would be to spend an Eternity with such Men." (Jonathan Edwards,
Life of David Brainerd, 79.)
WEST TOWNSHIP AND THE FREE SCHOOL
in which he was engaged. The chief New York claim-
ant of the lands in controversy was the proprie-
tor of "the Manor of Livingston/' and public sen-
timent among the Massachusetts settlers ran high
against him. May 6 a gang of them raided the iron
mills which he had built at Ancram, a town well
within the boundaries of New York, carried off
the workmen and locked them up in jail at Spring-
field. Livingston, writing to the Governor of New
York, June 23, said they were still there and his mills
idle. The raid, he continued, "has put it out of my
power to furnish . . . the Carriage wheels and . . . the
Quantity of Shot I engaged to deliver for the Expe-
dition to ... Crown point. ... As I had the Expedi-
tion very much at heart I ordered my Furnace to be
immediately repaired at a great Expense . . . that
I still might be able to furnish the Shott . . . that the
Expedition might not be retarded . . . but no workmen
yett so that I cannot proceed in the casting of them." l
The executors of the founder's will were his half
cousin, Colonel Israel Williams, of Hatfield, and Colo-
nel John Worthington, of Springfield. A vigorous,
brainy, dominating "river-god," the former became
a conspicuous figure in the Western Massachusetts of
his time. Unfortunately for his personal comfort and
local reputation he espoused the royalist cause at the
opening of the Revolutionary War. In a letter to
Governor Gage, August 10, 1774, ne asked for sup-
port against the fury of mobs which seemed to be
stirring in many places. 2 He had occasion for dis-
1 Documentary History of the State of New York, m, 484, 485.
2 Mass. His. Society, Collections, Fourth Series, x, 515.
quietude, as his indignant neighbors subsequently
attempted "to smoke him to a Whig" and the au-
thorities, considering this penalty inadequate, sup-
plemented it by confining him in jail at Northampton
for seven months. Colonel Worthington, the other
executor, was also a Tory, but of a less aggressive
type and escaped serious annoyance.
The estate of Colonel Williams turned out to be
a modest one, amounting to only 1733-8-10 or
$5788.07. Yet more than ten years elapsed before
the appraisal was completed and the inventory ap-
peared in three instalments the first of them dated
"May and June," 1756; the second, December 28,
1761 ; and the last, May, I766. 1 One item only in this
inventory requires any present notice the Stock-
bridge homestead of fifteen hundred and five acres
sold to the founder by his father, September 28, 1752,
for the sum of 1000. The purchase included also
certain rights of land in neighboring towns and three
slaves "my negro servant . . . Moni, my negro boy
. . . London, also my negro girl Cloe the latter
not to be for his use or service until after my own
and my wife's death." 2
Ephraim Williams, Senior, not only disposed of his
property in Stockbridge, but presently removed to
Deerfield where he spent the brief remainder of his
life. What led him to abandon the town with which
he had been so long and so prominently connected?
1 Registry of Probate, Northampton.
9 X 216 Registry of Deeds, Springfield. Another negro boy, J. Ro-
mano, was added by purchase to the establishment the following
February. (Sheldon, History of Deerfield, n, 903.)
WEST TOWNSHIP AND THE FREE SCHOOL
It should, perhaps, be mentioned, in passing, what-
ever connection this circumstance may have with his
change of residence, that during the spring of 1752
- five or six months before the transactions of Sep-
tember 27 he had a serious attack of what he calls
"numb Palsy." 1 Though he rallied from this attack,
his state of mind as well as of body gave friends occa-
sion for worry and alarm. " He went away from us,"
his daughter Mrs. Abigail Dwight wrote her brother,
Thomas Williams, November I, 1752, "about 3 weeks
past for Wethersfield. Prornised us he would go no-
where Else. But ye first News we had from him was
that He Rid all one Day in a bad Storm, got to
Wethers d late at Night. Sett out Next morning for
Newhaven, rid all ye Day in a hard South westerly
wind, there he got in ye Notion of treating with their
General Assembly Day after Day on Indian affairs,
then returns to Newington, there writes us He is go-
ing to Stonington, then to Deerfield, then to Boston."
Mrs. Dwight is especially anxious in regard to the pro-
posed visit to Boston "it will vastly disserve our
Public affairs & I know not but intirely ruin us."
Thomas Williams was urged to prevent the Boston
trip "by one wile or other. ... I Beg you Do all in
your Power to get him in ye mind of Coming Home
as Soon as may Be, if you have any love for him or
No doubt the anxieties which appear so unmis-
1 Some Old Letters, Scribner's Magazine, xvii, 294. These letters
were nineteen in number, the first dated January 16, 1749, and the last
March 30, 1754. (Appendix III.)
1 R. H. W. Dwight, Collection.
takably in the letter of Mrs. Dwight were in part oc-
casioned by her father's precarious state of health.
But another matter of large family importance con-
tributed materially to them certain "unhappy
differences" that had arisen at Stockbridge. These
differences grew out of an attempt on the part of
Ephraim Williams, Senior, aided by a little group of
friends, to get control of the local Indian school with
its considerable patronage and revenues. 1 As the
resident missionary, Jonathan Edwards, with whom
the Williams family had been on bad terms since the
recent ecclesiastical disturbances at Northampton,
stood in the way of their schemes, he must be pushed
out of it, and they did not mince their words in set-
ting forth his disqualifications for the post "an
unfit person, of no service, nor likely to be of service
in the work of the ministry in this place ... a trouble-
some person, a busybody in other mens matters, one
whom the Indians disaffect, whose preaching is short
and unintelligible." 2
Jonathan Edwards, though "unspeakably embar-
rassed" by the situation, did not propose to flee be-
fore his enemies, new or old. When aroused he was,
it is hardly necessary to remark, a controversialist of
the most formidable character. January 13, 1753, he
wrote Governor Pepperrell a letter in which he re-
viewed the whole question in dispute with victorious
clearness and force. And at the same time another
long and vigorous communication was sent to the
1 The school was established in 1734, with the Rev. John Sergeant
as the first missionary in charge. Jonathan Edwards succeeded him in
1750. 2 Mass. Archives, xxxn, 370, 371.
WEST TOWNSHIP AND THE FREE SCHOOL
authorities at Boston signed by twelve white men and
forty- two Indians, comprising the entire male adult
population of the mission except the little Williams
faction a communication describing at some length
the miserable and broken condition into which the
restless, haughty, and selfish conduct of that faction
had brought them. The missionary was not driven
away. He remained at Stockbridge until the great
treatises which gave him his reputation as a philo-
sophical theologian were written remained until
1758 and then accepted a call to the presidency of
the College of New Jersey, while Ephraim Williams,
Senior, leader of the opposition, left that town five
years before, and, if we may believe his enemies, "in
chagrin and mortification and entire loss of influence
and respect." l The latter removed to Deerfield, where
he died August n, 1754.
Like an early constable of England, Ephraim Wil-
liams, Senior, seemed to have two souls in one body.
The twelve white men and forty- two Indians of
Stockbridge who signed the accusing letter sent to
the authorities at Boston might denounce him as
avaricious, intriguing, unscrupulous, but his friends
saw him in a different light. The Rev. Mr. Ashley, of
Deerfield, preached the sermon at his funeral, and it
stands out in sharp contrast to the communication
of the twelve white men and forty- two Indians. Our
brother, said the clergyman, "always bore a testi-
mony against vice and held a disposition to terrify
the worker of iniquity. . . . He was the most delightful
companion in the world. ... In every relation his
1 S. E. Dwight, Life of Edwards, 518.
memory will be precious. . . . He was a lovely friend
and an excellent Christian." 1
If funeral eulogies happen to be under suspicion,
there remain "Some Old Letters" of the Senior Wil-
liams, wise, comprehending, affectionate, most
of them written during the Stockbridge troubles,
and with a single exception to his son Elijah, half-
brother of the founder and then a student in the
College of New Jersey. He was interested in the
studies of the young man and urged him to pay
special attention to his English. " You have made but
poor proficiency," he remarked, "in writing & Spell-
ing. If you don't mind: it would have been better
. . . that you had never gon to College: a scholar
that can neither write nor Spell nor Read is a terrible
Solecism: your brother Eph[rai]m earnestly desires
that you would mind in every article mentioned in the
Premises, or he says your sisters will be the Better
Schollars." 2 This letter was written in May, 1752.
A year later he resumed the subject "I observe
that you have minded much in your Wrighting, never-
theless you have left Room to Grow, therefore shall
continue my Instructions to you. . . . You must not
follow my Hand wrighting for an Example: for I am
apt to mistake: I never had but Common English
There would be little occasion to recall in these
pages the unhappy differences at Stockbridge, had
they not touched the younger as well as the elder
1 R. H. W. Dwight, Collection.
* Some Old Letters, Scribner's Magazine, xvn, 254.
* Ibid., xvn, 256.
WEST TOWNSHIP AND THE FREE SCHOOL
Ephraim Williams. A letter of the former on the
subject to the Rev. Mr. Ashley, May 2, 1751, has
recently come to light. It was printed for the first
time in an appendix to the second edition of Professor
Perry's " Origins in Williamstown." l " Mr. Edwards
lately wrote," said the founder in this letter, "to Mr.
Woodbridge of Stockbridge . . . that I have done all
I can to prevent his coming (to the Indian Mission).
I am sorry that a head so full of Divinity should be so
empty of Politics. I would not have him fail of going
for 500 pounds, since they are so set for him, not that
I think that he will ever do much more good than an
other, but on acct. of raising the price of my land.
Its true when they first talk d of settling him I was
against it, gave my reasons, & sent them to him like
an honest fellow, when to my certain knowledge some
in the place could say as much against him behind his
back, but darnt open their mouths in any shape to his
face. Perhaps you have not heard the reasons I had
to object to his coming which if you have not I will
let you know them." They are practically identical
with the list of shortcomings and disqualifications
which the Williams faction had already sent to the
authorities at Boston Mr. Edwards is unsociable,
too old to learn the Mohawk language, astray in his
theology and "a very great Bigot." "The above rea-
sons," said the writer in conclusion, "I sent to him
by Lt. Brown, who has since told me that he deliver d
1 Origins in Williamstown, 639. One afternoon in the summer of 1896
and before the publication of the second edition of his Origins, Profes-
sor Perry invited John Bascom and the present writer to his study and
read to them this appendix, as his " final word in the Edwards- Williams
to him verbatim, which I believe did not suit him/'
This letter, straightforward and downright, takes a
disagreeable coloring from the unfortunate contro-
versy at Stockbridge.
West Township showed little immediate interest
in the will of the founder. Two months before the
change of name the proprietors called a meeting of
the citizens to determine among other things whether
they "will Chuse a Committee to Geat a Coppy of
Colonel Ephraim Williams Jnr. Will out of Probate
Office in the County of Hampshire." 1 The committee
decided that a " Coppy" should be obtained and
"Chose Benjamin Simons to Geat it," for which serv-
ice he received 0-3-4. Among the articles in the
warrant calling a public meeting June 15 was one
"To Chuse a Committee on the Affairs of Colonel
Williams Willing Land or money to ward a free
School in West Hoosuck and Said Committee to
Prosecute the Same." The Proprietors, when the sub-
ject was reached at the meeting, "Voted to dismiss
this article." Somebody seems to have been dissatis-
fied with the curt, half-contemptuous treatment which
the article received and it reappeared in the next
warrant dated October 8: "To see if the Proprietors
will chuse a Committee to make application to the
Executors of Colonel Ephraim Williams, Jnr., to
See Whearse we may have the Benefit of the Donation
made this town by him." The Proprietors did not
change their minds in the intervening three months
and on the 22d of October again "Voted this article
Dismissed." 2 But in 1770 the wind blew from another
1 Proprietors' Book. 2 Ibid.
WEST TOWNSHIP AND THE FREE SCHOOL
quarter, and the Free School then appeared to them
as an institution so much to be desired that they
haled the executors before the Legislature, charging
them with neglect of duty because they had done
nothing to enable Williamstown to "reap the intended
benefit of so noble and worthy donation." l There
was a note of unmistakable anxiety in their appeal.
"The inhabitants not knowing where to apply for
relief, " they observed in concluding it, "by their
agents Do humbly represent their Case to this hon ble
Court and pray they would Grant them . . . aid
and direction." 2 The Legislature was in a friendly
mood and promptly ordered the executors to appear
before it on the second Wednesday of the next session
and "show cause," if they could, why the petition of
the worried and aggrieved inhabitants should not be
The executors had little occasion to be unhappy
over the issue of the controversy. In reply to the
charges they began by calling attention to the over-
looked fact that the petitioners "have no more In-
terest or Concern in the Devise or Donation referred
to than any other Members of the State. They might
indeed from their Local Circumstances very probably
receive more Benefit from Such School than others
. . . but as it was expressly ordered to be a free School
no Inhabitant of Williams Town could have any right
to enjoy the privilege of it to the exclusion of any
other english Subject whatever. The petitioners
therefore have no private reason to complain."
1 Israel Williams, Letters and Papers, n, 177.
2 Court Records, October 9, 1770.
After this preliminary observation the executors
passed to the consideration of the principal, and in
their judgment decisive, reason for the delay. "The
testator," they continued, "designed to set up a
School free for all the King's Subjects equally with-
out exception, but he designed his money should be
expended within the province. When he made his
. . . Will, he then well knew that the place where (on
certain Conditions) he ordered his School to be set
up was within the jurisdiction of this province, as it
is now, but he well knew that New York claimed the
Jurisdiction of it, that the Governor . . . had long
before made Patents of these Lands & that this prov-
ince and New York were then in Dispute about the
Jurisdiction. And the Testator had fearful apprehen-
sions then as his Executors have now that through the
Remissness of this Province & Vigilance of that, these
Lands would finally fall within the Jurisdiction of
New York. ... He determined not to have the money
expended there till the dispute was finally settled."
Further, they took occasion to say, and the obvious
threat must have awakened apprehension at Williams-
town, that they were "not satisfied how long they
ought to wait . . . before they proceed to the other
Method of Disposition & whether, having waited till
this time & fifteen years have elapsed since the death
of the Testator and the State of these Lands remain-
ing just the Same in regard to Jurisdiction . . . they
ought not to apply the Monies to the other Purposes
The Legislature declined to interfere and the peti-
1 Mass. Archives, LVIII, 586.
WEST TOWNSHIP AND THE FREE SCHOOL
tioners failed to get "the aid and direction*' which
The inaction of the executors continued until "the
anno domini of 1784," when they sent a communica-
tion to the Legislature announcing that they were
ready to make a final report. In this communication
they reviewed briefly the history of their administra-
tion of the trust, repeating substantially what they
had said in answer to the Williamstown petitioners of
1770. They also discussed another interesting sub-
ject and were the only contemporaries of Ephraim
Williams who had anything to say upon it. "By
reason of the Embarrassed Situation," they observed,
"in which the Testator was at the Time of Making
his last Will and Testament between having a Regi-
ment under his Command and marching on a military
Expedition the said Testator did not make Such Pro-
vision and Direction as were absolutely necessary in
order to effectuate his Charitable Intention and such
as by Advice and Assistance of Council he might and
doubtless would have made, had he not, in the Hurry
of a Military March, been deprived of Counsel, Op-
portunity and Leisure." 1 The executors now asked
the Legislature to pass an act declaring their duty in
reference to the Free School and creating a corpora-
tion of "Meet Persons" to carry into effect "the
pious and Charitable Intention of the Testator."
The Legislature decided that the bequest "ought to
be presently applied and appropriated" and on the
8th of March, 1785, incorporated "The Trustees of
1 Petition accompanying Chap. 49, Acts and Resolves of Mass.,
the donation of Ephraim Williams, Esq., for maintain-
ing a Free School in Williamstown." l
The "Meet Persons," nine in number and all
of Berkshire County, "elected and appointed"
as trustees, were the Rev. Seth Swift (Yale 1774), tne
" much esteemed, dearly beloved and very faithful and
laborious pastor" 2 of the church at Williamstown;
the Rev. Daniel Collins (Yale 1760), pastor of the
church in Lanesboro nearly fifty-nine years, moderate
loyalist who wore "the clerical wig and three-cor-
nered hat to the end of his days " ; Daniel Noble (Yale
1764), of Williamstown, able lawyer and man of af-
fairs, judge of the Court of Common Pleas for six
years; Israel Jones, of North Adams, member of the
Massachusetts Legislature, owner of the land on
which Fort Massachusetts stood, member of the com-
mission appointed by President John Adams to es-
tablish the northeast boundary between Canada and
the United States; Woodbridge Little (Yale 1760),
clergyman, lawyer, Tory, who in 1777 publicly took
an oath of allegiance to the United States, Represen-
tative in the General Court, and first individual con-
tributor to the funds of the college; John Bacon
(Princeton 1765), pastor of the Old South Church in
Boston, 1771-75, farmer in Stockbridge, judge of the
Court of Common Pleas, State Senator, Member of
Congress, a man of intellectual force and independ-
ence; Thompson J. Skinner, of Williamstown, car-
penter and builder, captain of a local military com-
1 Chap. 49, Acts and Resolves of Mass., 1784-85.
2 Records of the Church, quoted in Field's History of the County of
WEST TOWNSHIP AND THE FREE SCHOOL
pany, major-general of militia, member of both
branches of the State Legislature and of the Na-
tional House of Representatives, judge of the Court
of Common Pleas, treasurer of Massachusetts, 1806-
08; William Williams (Yale 1754) of Dalton, cousin
of the founder, moderate loyalist, State Senator,
clerk of the court of Hampshire County for twenty
years; Theodore Sedgwick (Yale 176s), 1 of Stock-
bridge, jurist and statesman, justice of the Supreme
Court of Massachusetts, Member of the Continental
Congress, of the Federal House of Representatives,
and of the Federal Senate.
At their first meeting held in Pittsfield, April 24,
the new board elected William Williams chairman and
the Rev. Seth Swift secretary, appointed a commit-
tee to "circulate subscriptions/' voted that no pupils
should be admitted to the school who had not "been
previously taught to read English well," and adopted
a resolution to the effect that the purpose of the
founder would be most fully realized by devoting his
whole gift to the enterprise in Williamstown. The will
provided that if any surplus remained after establish-
ing the Free School, it should be appropriated to " the
East Township where the fort now stands." Writing
Israel Williams, May 3, the chairman said with excel-
lent sense that "parcelling out the money between
the two towns would render both schools mean and
indifferent." 2 The funds turned over to the Williams-
1 J u $g e Sedgwick did not finish his course, but was restored to his
class and enrolled with it in 1772. (Dexter, Yale Biographies 1763-78,
2 Israel Williams, Letters and Papers, n, 183.
town trustees by the executors of the founder July 7,
1785, amounted to only 3383-3-7, or $n,277. 1 A
local subscription of $903.58 made the available re-
No further efforts to increase the endowment seem
to have been made until their meeting August 19, 1788,
when the trustees voted to petition the General Court
for the grant of a lottery to raise a sum not exceeding
twelve hundred pounds. " By the local situation . . .
our youth," the trustees urged, "are, in a great meas-
ure, excluded from the advantages which are en-
joyed by their fellow youths, whose happy lot is cast
in the interior parts of the state and near those seats
of literature which adorn and bless our world." 2
February II, 1789, the Legislature voted to grant
the petition and the trustees appointed three of their
number Messrs. Sedgwick, Skinner and Little
a committee to manage the enterprise, which was
shortly announced in the advertising columns of the
newspaper press: 3
NOTHING VENTURE NOTHING HAVE
NOT TWO BLANKS TO A PRIZE
WILLIAMSTOWN FREE SCHOOL
Occasional variations appear in the head-lines
"A Grand Chance" 5 and the more urgent "Now or
1 A List of the Debts due to the Executors, Mass. His. Society, 8i-G-8i.
2 Berkshire Chronicle, November 30, 1789.
3 Yale had resorted to a lottery for raising funds in 1747, Columbia
in 1754, and Harvard in 1722.
4 Western Star, January 19, 1790.
5 Massachusetts Sentinel, November 14, 1789.
WEST TOWNSHIP AND THE FREE SCHOOL
Never" * taking the place of the usual "Nothing
Venture, Nothing Have." Thirty-four hundred tick-
ets were offered at two dollars each. As the prizes
amounted to fifty-eight hundred dollars, the margin
of profit could not in any event have been very large.
Altogether eight " classes " were drawn, three of them
-the third, fourth, and fifth in Boston. This tem-
porary change of place was made, the managers said,
11 in order to gratify those in or near Boston who have
discovered a disposition to encourage a lottery . . .
for the sole purpose of promoting education." 2 in
a neglected part of the Commonwealth. The advent
of the Williamstown enterprise in Boston raised an
instant commotion. It made a Charlestown com-
mittee, who were supervising a local lottery, then in
operation, very nervous. In fact they were so much
disturbed that they published a belligerent " Address
to the Public" in order to discredit the unexpected
and irritating competitor. After eight " classes " of the
Charlestown lottery had been drawn, the angry com-
mittee explained, they decided to reduce the commis-
sion of agents. "One of them not only declined sell-
ing tickets but informed us ... that he intended to
use his influence" to bring the Williamstown lottery
to town. When the threat of the disgruntled agent
became a reality and this lottery from the western
frontier of the State announced a drawing four days
earlier than one advertised by the Charlestown com-
mittee, the latter, much perturbed, summoned a town
meeting to advise them in the emergency. The town
1 Western Star, February 16, 1790.
* Boston Gazette, February i, 1790.
meeting ordered them to change the date of the draw-
ings as often as they "thought prudent, but at all
events to precede the other lottery." l The Williams-
town managers promptly issued a counter-address
"To the Impartial Public," declaring that they came
to Boston "at the solicitation of several respectable
characters. . . . They are extremely sorry to find that,
while pursuing the line of their duty, they should
be obstructed by others whose interest cannot be
served by it. They would observe that as they have
undertaken this business they will pursue it with
firmness and integrity." 2 They did pursue it two
months or more and then printed a card in the news-
papers to the effect that the condition of their private
affairs, which had suffered during this interval, neces-
sitated their return to Williamstown. Probably the
fact that the town of Boston bought relatively few
tickets a fact not mentioned in the card was
the real cause of their abandoning the campaign in
Then in addition to other difficulties the managers
were embarrassed by the primitive currency to which
they reverted in their transactions. "A very great
failure," they announced December 21, 1789, "in the
sale of tickets in the second class of the Williams-
town Free School Lottery has obliged the managers to
postpone the drawing to the twelfth day of January
next. . . . The extreme scarcity of cash has also in-
duced them to determine upon making sale of the re-
maining tickets on contracts for neat cattle. . . . The
1 Massachusetts Sentinel, February 18, 1790.
2 Independent Chronicle, February n, 1790.
WEST TOWNSHIP AND THE FREE SCHOOL
managers had no view, when they published their
scheme, ... of proposing to the public the purchase
of their tickets with anything but money." * This
financial makeshift gave all concerned an infinite
deal of trouble. It complicated and embarrassed the
whole transaction, since managers and adventurers
had difficulty in agreeing upon the cash value of live-
stock payments. Some of the settlements dragged on
several years and provoked an uncomfortable amount
of dissatisfaction. But however various the sorts of
currency which must be reckoned with, consoli-
dated notes, new emission, old Continental money,
wheat or neat cattle, 2 the lottery prospered fairly
well and contributed $3449.09 to the treasury of the
At this second meeting, held August 3, 1785, the
trustees began a discussion concerning the site, di-
mensions, and architecture of "the house for the use
of the Free School," which continued intermittently
and indecisively until May 25, 1790, when the suc-
cess of the lottery had been assured. They then
voted that it should be built on the second eminence
as one enters the town from the east and in the
middle of the broad main street. During the following
year this "house " - a building eighty-four feet long,
forty- two feet wide, four stories high, and with an east
and west archway through the centre was sub-
stantially completed. To the committee of trustees
in charge of the enterprise Messrs. Skinner, Jones,
and Noble the board added an outsider Colonel
Benjamin Simonds, not only a prominent citizen of
1 Berkshire Chronicle, December 28, 1789. 2 Ibid.
the town, but a soldier at Fort Massachusetts and a
friend of Colonel Williams. 1 The committee entered
upon their task at once and pushed the work with
vigor. Only one contemporary notice of their opera-
tions appears to have survived and that is brief and
incidental. Monday forenoon, August 30, 1790, Wil-
liam Smith, Member of Congress from South Carolina
and afterwards Minister to Portugal, who was mak-
ing a brief tour in Southern New England, rode over
Stone Hill and his attention was attracted by what
might seem, for so small and remote a town, rather
unusual building operations.
" Fifteen miles from Lebanon," wrote the Con-
gressman, "we breakfasted at Sloan's Tavern at
Williamstown in Massachusetts. The principal part
of the town is about four miles further on where they
are building a handsome brick college; ... a dona-
tion from Mr. Williams . . . applied by his executors
to the erection of this college, which will be in a fine,
healthy country." 2
The house for the Free School plain, unpreten-
tious, yet having a certain quiet dignity withal
has been known for more than a hundred years as
West College. Originally it had a wide range of uses,
since it contained not only dormitories, but a kitchen,
dining-room, library, and chapel. Gradually these va-
riorum features were eliminated until finally noth-
ing but dormitories remained. There have been two
reconstructions and modernizations of the building,
one of them occurring in 1854 and the other in 1894.
1 Perry, Williamstown and Williams College, 190, 191.
2 New York Evening Post, May I, 1888.
WEST COLLEGE, FROM A DAGUERREOTYPE TAKEN FOR THE
CLASS OF 1848
WEST COLLEGE AS IT IS IN 1917
WEST TOWNSHIP AND THE FREE SCHOOL
October 26, nearly two months after the visit of
William Smith, the trustees appointed three of their
number William Williams, John Bacon, and Seth
Swift a committee "to provide a schoolmaster . . .
suitably qualified" to teach reading, writing, and
arithmetic. They were also directed "to employ, as
soon as may be after the building is completed, an
instructor" who should teach the more advanced
pupils and have charge of the whole enterprise. In
regard to the qualifications of the instructor they
were quite specific he must have a good moral
character of the Protestant type, all-round scholar-
ship, skill in teaching and managing schoolboys, pol-
ished manners, and "a mild disposition." One is a
little surprised that the last trait should have been
included in the catalogue of requirements. A distin-
guished contemporary of the trustees, however, seems
to agree with them about its pedagogic value. " Good
temper," wrote James Boswell, "is a most essential
requisite in a preceptor." 1
The schoolmaster could be easily found, but a com-
petent instructor was another matter. The committee
naturally repaired to New Haven and consulted Presi-
dent Stiles, who said that Ebenezer Fitch, senior tutor
in the college, was the man for them a conclusion
in which they, and subsequently all their associates,
concurred. He was formally elected to office, with
"the style of Preceptor," October n, 1791.
Ebenezer Fitch, a native of Norwich, Connecticut,
son of a prominent physician, graduated at Yale in
1777 and with the highest honors. Two years more of
1 Boswell, Life of Samuel Johnson, Birrell's Ed., 1, 67.
study followed and some months of teaching in an
academy at Hanover, New Jersey. Then he returned
to New Haven and references to him begin to appear
in the " Diary " of President Stiles. "This day," the
latter wrote January 1, 1780, " Mr. Fitch, Tutor- Elect,
arrived in town. I examined him in regard to his re-
ligious principles and found him sound." 1 His schol-
arship, which the President seemed to take for granted,
was quite as "sound " as his theology. He held office
until March, 1783, when he resigned in order to visit
Europe. Intending to abandon teaching for a mer-
cantile career, and forming a partnership with Henry
Daggett, Jr., of New Haven, he went abroad the fol-
lowing May to make purchases and returned with
a large stock of unsalable goods. The inevitable result
was bankruptcy and the burden of heavy, obstinate
debts. Writing a friend in 1797 eleven or twelve
years after the failure he said that these debts had
then shrunk to "a little more than six hundred dol-
lars," 2 and that he hoped to make a speedy end of
them an expectation which was not realized. On
the collapse of his business venture, he again became
a member of the Yale faculty, having been appointed
"Senior Tutor" in the autumn of I786. 3 This posi-
tion he held until the close of the college year 1790-91.
The preceptor reached Williamstown October 8. He
found much still remaining to be done, as the building
had not been finished nor had laws and regulations
for the school been drawn up. The preliminary work,
1 Stiles, Diary, January I, 1780.
2 Durfee, Sketch of the Rev. Ebenezer Pitch, D.D., 36.
3 Stiles, Diary, September 14, 1786.
WEST TOWNSHIP AND THE FREE SCHOOL
however, was soon disposed of and the following an-
nouncement presently appeared in local newspapers :
ACADEMY AND FREE SCHOOL
will be open for the admission of young
Gentlemen and Masters, on Monday the
24th day of October current. 1
When the new institution, with Mr. John Lester as
assistant master, actually began, it was two days be-
hind the programme. ''The 26th Ult.," wrote the pre-
ceptor November 3, 1791, "the Building was so far
in readiness that I entered on business; and with the
Master of the English Free School admitted ... 45
scholars. The Students in the Academy pass no ex-
aminations. . . . The number of these is as yet under
twenty, but it will probably be forty in a few weeks/' *
1 Western Star, October 25, 1791.
* Williams Centennial Anniversary, 263.
THE BEGINNINGS OF THE COLLEGE
EVIDENTLY Preceptor Fitch and the trustees looked
upon the Free School as a provisional and temporary
affair, since on the 22d of May, 1792, only seven
months after the opening, they sent a petition to the
Legislature praying that it " may be incorporated into
a college by the name of Williams Hall." In support
of this petition they urged various considerations
the quick and large success of the present venture; the
small cost of living which would bring a liberal edu-
cation " within the power of the middling and lower
classes "; the fortunate situation of Williamstown
"an enclosed place" free from "the temptations and
allurements . . . incident to seaport towns," and the
obvious advantages that would accrue to the neigh-
boring States of Vermont and New York.
This petition of May 22, 1792, was not the first of
the sort from Western Massachusetts. Thirty years
earlier a movement got under way there to establish
Queen's College at Hatfield, and the promoters of the
enterprise made a plausible appeal in behalf of it.
Now, at last, after a century of border war, they
urged, a time of peace had come, a time "longed,
wished, and prayed for," but never seen before,
and, in order to save their children from growing up
"barbarous and uncivilized," they were seizing upon
THE BEGINNINGS OF THE COLLEGE
this favorable opportunity to establish a seminary of
learning in Hampshire County. 1
January 29, 1762, the memorial reached the Legis-
lature, and the House of Representatives, though by
a narrow majority, voted to grant it. In the Council,
however, after a long debate, it was defeated. The
promoters then appealed to Governor Bernard, and
persuaded him to issue a charter in the King's name
dated "at Boston the 27th day of Feb'y In the Sec-
ond year of Our Reign, Anno Domini 1762." After
some preliminary statements the document proceeds :
"We have accordingly, of Our Meer Motion, Certain
Knowledge & Special grace given & granted & by these
presents We do give and grant unto . . . Israel Wil-
liams, John Worthington, Oliver Partridge, Elijah
Williams, Josiah Dwight, Joseph Hawley, Stephen
Williams, David Parsons, Jonathan Ashley, Timothy
Woodbridge, Samuel Hopkins & John Hooker and
such others as shall be joined with them, in manner
hereafter mentioned, that they be & We hereby make
& incorporate them as a Corporation or Body Politic
by the name of the President & Fellows of Queen's
College in New England." 2 Two of these twelve
trustees, it will be observed, were Ephraim Williams'
executors, and among the other ten we find a son-in-
law, a brother-in-law, two cousins, and two towns-
men of Israel Williams.
The action of Governor Bernard awakened alarm
and protest at Harvard. It was feared that the found-
ing of another college in Massachusetts would prove
disastrous to the older institution. The Board of
1 Israel Williams, Letters and Papers, n, 178. * Ibid., 177.
Overseers held a special meeting to determine what
should be done to avert the impending calamity. This
meeting the Governor attended and brought with
him the charter, but the conference seems to have
been futile, since the Overseers subsequently issued a
formal Remonstrance in which they discussed the
subject under twenty-four heads. All these numerous
heads were variations upon a single theme the pro-
posed "seminary" in Hampshire County will hurt
Harvard, and tend to " make learning contemptible." 1
Then the oratorical "clamor" of young James Otis
converted the House of Representatives from a friendly
to a hostile assembly. 2 Even the ministers of Boston
joined in the senseless hue and cry, and the opposi-
tion finally reached such a pitch that Governor Ber-
nard was " terrorized" and revoked its charter. 3
The memorial of the trustees of the Free School was
presented to the Legislature in June, 1792, the
Senate appointing members of a committee to con-
sider it on the i8th and the House of Representatives
on the i Qth of that month. For some reason, not very
clear at the present day, the charter hung fire until
June 22, 1793, a year after the appearance of the
memorial at the State House. If the opposition that
killed Queen's College in 1763 again took the field in
1792 and fought this second attempt to establish a
college in Western Massachusetts, it won the barren
victory of a twelvemonth's hold-up.
The new institution, "to be known and called by
1 Quincy, History of Harvard College, n, 105-11, 464.
* Israel Williams, Letters and Papers, II, 180.
1 Journal, H.R., April 17, 1762.
THE BEGINNINGS OF THE COLLEGE
the name of Williams College, " established for the
very general "purpose of educating youth," and with
no theological conditions, took over everything that
belonged to the Free School trustees, plant, funds,
and preceptor now styled President everything
except the tutor, John Lester, who was succeeded by
Noah Linsly (Yale 1791). Four new members, in-
creasing the number to thirteen, were added to the
Board of Trustees the President of the College;
Henry Van Schaak, of Pittsfield, a wealthy business
man, who, to the disappointment of the corporation,
failed to remember the institution in his will; Elijah
Williams, of Stockbridge, half-brother of the founder;
and the Rev. Dr. Stephen West, his brother-in-law.
The charter provided that the membership of the
Board should never be less than eleven nor more than
seventeen, 1 and in 1794 it was raised to sixteen by the
election of the Hon. Stephen Van Rensselaer, of Al-
bany, New York, founder of the Polytechnic Insti-
tute at Troy; the Rev. Dr. Job Swift, of Bennington,
Vermont, in whose household Zephaniah Swift Moore,
second president of Williams, lived for a time ; and the
Rev. Ammi Ruhamah Robbins, of Norfolk, Connecti-
cut, pastor of the church in that town upwards of half
a century, chaplain in the Revolutionary army, suc-
cessful teacher of boys preparing for college. The cor-
poration was authorized to hold property yielding an
annual income not to exceed six thousand pounds;
to establish reasonable rules, orders, and by-laws for
the government of the institution, and to confer aca-
1 Vermont Gazette, August 16, 1793.
Six or seven weeks after the charter had been se-
cured, the corporation published a prospectus of the
college in local newspapers. 1 The terms of admission,
mostly imported from New Haven, were not difficult
judged by modern standards, as they included noth-
ing more than a passable acquaintance with arith-
metic and grammar, with Cicero's Orations, Virgil's
^Eneid, and the Evangelists in Greek or an approved
French author. The option which allowed the sub-
stitution of French for Greek was an unexpected and
not wholly explicable innovation. President Fitch in
his sketch of the college, written for the Massachusetts
Historical Society, remarks that students from Can-
ada attended the Free School when it opened in 1791.
The innovation, which flew in the face of academic
tradition, may have been a bid for patronage from
Students had an easy entrance into the college,
but when admitted, they found themselves in a much-
regulated little world where fines were a favorite
medium of discipline. The list of things they were
forbidden to do is long and curious, and the penalties,
if they were done, ranged from one penny to ten shil-
lings. 2 For other and graver offences, which fines did
not seem to punish adequately, the authorities had in
reserve such penalties as public confession, suspen-
sion, rustication, and expulsion. 3
1 Appendix III. * Appendix IV.
8 The Laws of Williams College, Stockbridge, 1795. President Fitch
followed New Haven presidents and adapted to his uses the Laws of
Yale College, 1787. During the eighteenth century fines played a promi-
nent part in college administration. At Harvard " pecuniary mulcts,"
ranging from one penny to two pounds and ten shillings, were the pen-
THE BEGINNINGS OF THE COLLEGE
Compared with the formidable system of rules, the
curriculum was a simple affair. A faculty of two mem-
bers, instructing a handful of crude undergraduates,
would quickly find anything else impracticable. As
the entire teaching staff and seven of the twelve trus-
tees were graduates of Yale, the precedents of that
institution would naturally be followed. Freshman
year was given up to the study of languages Eng-
lish, Latin, Greek, and French. In Sophomore year
geography, arithmetic, rhetoric, logic, algebra, and
"the mensuration of superficies and solids/' partly
replaced linguistic subjects. Junior year was devoted
to the higher mathematics, natural philosophy, astron-
omy, and chemistry. In Senior year, when the weekly
classroom exercises were reduced from sixteen to
twelve hours, the list comprised history, ethics, meta-
physics, theology, natural law, and civil polity.
Wednesday, October 9, 1793, the Free School
opened its doors as Williams College with a registra-
tion of eighteen undergraduates eleven Freshmen,
three Sophomores, and four Juniors. The transition,
though it turned out to be a matter of some impor-
tance, attracted no attention, and for the next two
years the new institution was seldom heard of. An
official notice or two, the announcement that Presi-
dent Fitch, on June 24, 1794, would preach " a sermon
alty for fifty-two offences. The greatest of these sins, measured by its
cost, was " tarrying out of town one month without leave," and the
least, " tardiness at prayers." (Quincy, A History of Harvard University,
II, 499.) Opposition to the system of fines began about the middle of the
century. (See " A Letter to a Member of the Lower House of Assembly,
New Haven, 1759.") Fines at Yale in the last three years according to
the anonymous author of this "Letter" amounted to 172-16-1.
before Friendship Lodge of Free and Accepted Ma-
sons," 1 and an account of a celebration July 4, 1795,
in which town and college joined, 2 are all one can find
during these years in the files of local newspapers.
As a sort of theological prerequisite to the decorous
performance of his duties at the first Commencement,
President Fitch was ordained to the ministry. The
event took place June 17, and the Rev. Ephraim Jud-
son, pastor of the Congregational Church at Sheffield,
delivered the sermon, in which he insisted that clergy-
men must "preach the word," whether the laity like
it or not. He had no doubt about the fate of unfaith-
ful pastors. "They go from the pulpit," he declared,
" to the tribunal of Christ and from the tribunal down
to hell." 3
Stockbridge and Bennington newspapers, the only
available sources of information, published with some
detail accounts of the graduating exercises in 1795:
Wittiamstown, Sept. 8th, 1795.
On Wednesday the second instant was celebrated here
the first Commencement of Williams College. About
eleven o'clock the procession moved from the college in
the following order:
The Scholars of the Academy
The Students of the College
The Sheriff of the County acting as Bedellus
The Reverend President and Vice- President and other
members of the Corporation
The Reverend Clergy and other respectable Gentlemen
1 Western Star, June 10, 1794. 2 Vermont Gazette, July 10, 1795.
3 Judson, A Sermon delivered in Williamstown, June 17, 1795, at the
Ordination of Rev. Ebenezer Fitch, President of Williams College.
THE BEGINNINGS OF THE COLLEGE
The exercises of the day were introduced by prayer by
the President and an anthem sung by students and ladies
and gentlemen of the town.
Order of Exercises
A Salutatory Oration in Latin, by Mr. Lusk.
An English Oration on the French Revolution, by Mr.
A Forensic Disputation, by Messrs. Lusk and Stone,
on the question, "Can the differences in the complexion
and features of the human race be accounted for by
An English Oration on the Government of the United
States, by Mr. Collins.
A Forensic Disputation, in the manner of Harvard, by
Messrs. Bishop and Collins, on the question, "Is a Re-
publican government like that of the United States as
well calculated as monarchy to promote the security and
happiness of a numerous and extensive people?"
An English Oration on female education, by Mr.
The Exercises of the afternoon were introduced by
Redemption, an Ode.
A French Oration on the oratory of the ancients and
moderns, showing the advantage of the latter over the
former, and the importance of oratory in general by Mr.
A Dialogue on the folly and impertinence of frivolous
conversation, by Messrs. Bishop, Lusk, and Stone.
An English Oration on the iniquity and impolicy of the
slave trade, by Mr. Lusk.
A Conference on the comparative importance to soci-
ety of three institutions, civil government, religion, and
marriage, by Messrs. Bishop, Collins, and Stone.
A short but truly Shandean Oration by Mr. Daniel
Dunbar, Preceptor of the Academy, since elected tutor of
The President pronounced a pathetic and excellent
valedictory Address to the candidates for the first degree,
in which he made many excellent moral and political
observations to them respecting their future conduct in
life, and then conferred the degree of batchelor of arts on
. . . Samuel Bishop, John Collins, Chauncey Lusk and
David Stone. 1
The graduates at this first Williams Commence-
ment had a strenuous day, since each of them spoke
four times. In 1796, when there was a Senior class of
six, nobody made more than three appearances on the
platform. Two years later there were twenty-eight
young gentlemen to be heard and this great increase
in numbers made a change of programme necessary.
Consequently the secretary of the Trustees an-
nounced that a part of them " would exhibit their
literary productions on the evening preceding Com-
mencement." In his opinion exercises of this sort
would furnish a "more rational and agreeable enter-
tainment than the idle show and parade usual at
colleges on such occasions." 2
Meanwhile two buildings had been added to the
campus a house for the President in 1794 an d the
old East College in 1798. The latter, situated on the
eastern "eminence" of the village, was of brick, four
stories high, one hundred and four feet long and
twenty-eight wide. In addition to recitation rooms
for Seniors and Juniors, it contained thirty-two dor-
mitories. These new student quarters, with their car-
1 Vermont Gazette, September 18, 1795. Western Star, September,
1795- No official programmes for the Commencements of 1795, 1796,
1798, 1 80 1, 1802, seem to be in existence.
2 Vermont Gazette, September i, 1798.
THE BEGINNINGS OF THE COLLEGE
petless floors, unpapered walls, and scant, rough fur-
niture, were scarcely more attractive than the older
ones in West College.
How the campus, in this first decade of its history,
impressed travellers we have little knowledge. Few of
them passed that way and the record of their journeys
is for the most part brief and casual. Six years after
the trip of William Smith, the South Carolinian,
from Lebanon Springs to Bennington, Thomas Chap-
man undertook a horseback "Tour of the Eastern
States*' and kept a diary:
" Tuesday, I3th of June . I went on [from
Pittsfield] 8 Miles to Halls Tavern in Ashford dined
& then proceeded 4 Miles to Rossetters Tavern in
[South] Williamstown where I slept.
"Wednesday, June I4th. Sett of in Company with
a Student in Williamstown College, and rode 5 Miles
to the thick Settled part of the Town where the
College is built. I understand from the Young Man
that his Uncle, Mr. Williams, at his Decease, about
4 Years agoe, bequeathed large Tracts of land for
Building and support of a Free Academy in this
Town, and these Tracts . . . being Sold by the
Trustees for a large Sum of Money, the Academy
is not only compleated and Indwed, but a great sur-
plus remaining the Legislature have Incorporated a
College and granted a Lottery, by the produce of wch
the Buildings are already so extensive as to admit 100
Students. At Present the Academy & College are
under one Roof, but they are now at Work upon an-
other Brick Building 100 foot by 40 so that it bids fair
to be an extensive Seminary of Learning. There is a
President & two Tutors, belonging to the College, but
no Professors as yet. There are two large Taverns in
this Town, at each of wch several of the Students
board & pay 10 Sh s PR week. The Town lays low and
is surrounded by high hills. From Williams Town I
went three Miles & past the Line into the State of
Vermont and breakfasted at Blins Tavern, 2 Miles
further in the Town of Poonal." l
After another six years had passed, a second dia-
rist the Rev. John Taylor of Deerfield visited
the Berkshires on his way to " the Mohawk and Black
River country" :
" Williamstown July 2Oth 1802: Rode from Deer-
field to this town 40 miles. Weather, extremely un-
comfortable from heat. . . . Proceeded from Cherla-
ment, on the turnpike, over Housic mountain. . . .
Having passed down the mountain I came into the
town of Adams. ... 5 miles from Adams is Williams-
town. The college consists of about 90 scholars a
president and 4 tutors. There are two elegant build-
ings standing on elevated ground about 40 rods
from each other. I put up with Dr. Fitch a valu-
able man and has an agreeable family." 2
Progress in equipment was quite as slow as in
buildings. The Trustees announced in the prospectus
for 1793-94 that "a decent library and apparatus
would be immediately procured." During the follow-
ing year the library was probably regarded as having
1 Historical Magazine, Second Series, vn, 17. The young man who
accompanied Thomas Chapman, Esq., from South Williamstown " to
the thick Settled part of the Town," told him a good many things that
were not so.
2 Documentary History of the State of New York, m, 673, 684, 685.
THE BEGINNINGS OF THE COLLEGE
reached that stage, since they then published a cata-
logue which showed that it contained three hundred
and sixty volumes. 1 In the prospectus for 1798-99
they content themselves with saying that it had been
"very well chosen." 2 For a long period after 1793,
when it consisted of a telescope with a wooden tube
constructed by Mr. Tutor Dunbar, 3 and what else
nobody knows, the apparatus seems to have remained
at a standstill. Not until 1814 does any reference to it
appear in official announcements, and then the au-
thorities ventured to say that it was " respectable."
To the very meagre equipment of 1793 there had been
added a water- tank with reservoirs for gases, a com-
pound blow-pipe, a slender stock of crucibles and re-
torts, a miscellaneous assortment of glass and earthen
ware for various substitute purposes, all of which was
installed in a little reconstructed "hat-shop," brought
from Spring Street and placed on the campus near
In regard to another matter of equipment, a college
seal, the Trustees followed the line of least resistance
and adopted that of the Free School with its legend,
E Liberalitate E. Williams Armigeri, and its device,
three scholars holding books in their hands standing
before their instructor who is seated in a chair. Sep-
tember i, 1802, they voted to procure a new one.
There was delay in making the change and they
did not actually "break and discontinue the former
1 Stiles, Diary, April 17, 1794. 2 Vermont Gazette, August, 1798.
3 Correspondence of Williams Review, April 16, 1874. " Voted that
Professor Hopkins may exchange the old telescope for the bones of some
animal found in Babylonia." (Records of the Trustees, August 16-18,
seal" l until 1805. Retaining the original legend they
adopted a device in which a globe, telescope, scroll of
manuscript, a sprig of laurel, and an ink bottle with
a pen in it appear the whole design illumined by a
burst of sunshine.
The history of Williams professorships began in
1794 when the Trustees established the chair of Law
and Civil Polity and invited one of their own number,
Theodore Sedgwick, to take charge of it. He declined
the position, which remained vacant until 1812, when
Daniel Noble, of Williamstown, accepted an appoint-
ment to it. His tenure of office was brief, as he died in
1815 and never had a successor. The first de facto
Williams professorship, however, which went into
operation in the autumn of 1795, was that of French,
and the first Williams professor in active service a
Canadian Samuel Mackay. In regard to the life of
this first professor before he came to Williamstown
comparatively little is known. He was born at Cham-
bly, near Montreal, in 1764, and may have been an
ensign for the two years 1784-86 in the Sixtieth Brit-
ish Regiment stationed on the island of Jamaica. 2
Whatever obscurity rests upon this military episode,
it is certain that he married a daughter of Marquis de
Lotbeniere 3 and in 1793 was living at Bennington,
1 Records of the Trustees, September 3, 1805.
2 MS. letter, administrators of the estate of Gordon Mackay, a grand-
3 Marquis de Lotbeniere, military engineer, had in charge the whole
system of Canadian defence from the defeat of Baron Dieskau at Lake
George in 1755 until 1758, when he was superseded. He urged the
authorities to fortify the heights of Quebec between Sillery and Anse-
des-Meres and was assured that they could not be scaled. "But,"
replied the Marquis, " I used to climb them and with no great diffi-
THE BEGINNINGS OF THE COLLEGE
Vermont. Possibly he may have taught French in the
then well-known local academy, Clio Hall, and at-
tracted the attention of the Rev. Dr. Job Swift, pas-
tor of the Congregational Church and a Trustee of the
college. At all events, whoever his sponsors were, he
became Professor of French in 1795 and held the posi-
tion until 1799.
Our knowledge of his Williamstown life is scarcely
less fragmentary than of that which preceded it.
One point in regard to it the advertising columns
of local newspapers make quite clear his salary,
which never exceeded four hundred dollars a year, 1
failed to meet his expenses, and he attempted to pro-
vide for the inevitable deficits by establishing a book-
Professor of the French Language in
Begs leave to acquaint his friends in particular and the
public in general that in order to obviate the inconven-
ience of the want of a BOOK STORE in this place he has
supplied himself with an assortment of
American and Imported BOOKS
and a general assortment of
Which he will sell at the lowest Boston or Albany prices
for ready pay only. 2
culty when I was a schoolboy." Subsequently General Wolfe also
climbed them. (N.E. Historical and Genealogical Register, 50, 54-59;
Francois Daniel, Histoire des Grandes Families Francises du Canada,
1 Records of the Trustees, September 4, 1798.
2 Vermont Gazette, October 14, 1796. Western Star, October 16, 1797.
At their meeting September 3, 1799, the Trustees
"voted to abolish the Professorship ... in French/'
and so effectively did they accomplish their purpose
that fifty-three years passed before it was reestab-
lished. Though reasons for this measure may have
been abundant, they did not think it necessary to give
any of them and there is nothing better in the way of
explanation than a "wavering conjecture." It seems
hardly probable that the action of the trustees was
inspired by hostility to Professor Mackay, since in
their prospectus for 1798-99 the last year of his
connection with the college he figured as " the able
and accomplished'* head of the French department,
and in 1801 they conferred upon him the honorary
degree of Master of Arts. Probably he was a victim
of the fierce anti-French sentiment which sprang up
in the country during the last two years of the cen-
Though his connection with the college was at an
end, Professor Mackay remained in Williamstown for
the next four or five years. Whatever may have been
the fate of his bookstore, he undertook some business
in local real estate, purchasing in 1800-03 not ^ ess
than eleven parcels of it. This business apparently
continued until the autumn of 1804, when all the
parcels with a single exception had been sold. 1 The
only present memorial of his Williamstown period is
found in the cemetery on Hemlock Brook a tomb-
1 Registry of Deeds, Adams. Professor Mackay's name appears in the
directories of Boston for 1807-15. During these years he published three
volumes of translations from the French.
THE BEGINNINGS OF THE COLLEGE
Erected in Memory
M[ar]ia Lo[uis]a Cha[rti]er de Lotbiniere
Capt. Sam[ue]l McKay U. S. Inf[ant]ry
July 10, 1802 Aged 41. l
After the retirement of Professor Mackay the col-
lege pulled along with instructors of no higher grade
than tutors until 1806, when one of them, Gamaliel S.
Olds (1801), was inducted into the new chair of Math-
ematics and Natural Theology. On this occasion he
delivered an inaugural oration, which attracted atten-
tion and made a favorable impression. 2
Unfortunately Professor Olds* connection with the
college was brief. It came to an abrupt termination
during the autumn of 1808 in connection with a disas-
trous undergraduate rebellion. This rebellion was the
second in the history of the college. Our knowledge of
the earlier disturbance, which grew out of some con-
1 This tombstone is also a memorial to Mrs. Mackay 's father:
The right hon ble
Lotbiniere died N. York
Oct. 7th 1798 Aged 75 His remains
were buried in Potters field
This was inscribed
his departed daughter
1 An Inaugural Oration, Delivered in the Chapel of Williams College,
October 14, 1806. Monthly Anthology, January, 1807, 49, 50.
troversy or other over the March examinations in
1802, is derived wholly from letters of President
Fitch. " Three classes in succession," he wrote, " were
in a state of insurrection. . . . For ten days we had a
good deal of difficulty; but the faculty stood firm and
determined to give up no right. At last, without the
loss of a single member, we reduced all to due obedi-
ence and subordination. Never had I ... occasion
for so much firmness and prudence not even in the
great rebellion of 1782 at Yale. . . . The present gen-
eration, I trust, will never burn their fingers again." l
President Fitch did not prove to be a very good
prophet. A second and more formidable " insurrec-
tion " was awaiting him barely six years after the date
of his triumphant letter. It seems that the two tutors
William Fitch Backus and Oliver Chapin fell
into such grievous disfavor with the Sophomore class
that a petition was prepared in the summer of 1808
and sent to the authorities, demanding their dismissal
at the close of the college year. This petition did not
please the President and Trustees. On the contrary,
they considered it a rank exhibition of impertinence
and retained the unpopular tutors. The autumn term
opened peacefully and the troubles of the preceding
summer might have remained quiescent if Professor
Olds, unwilling to let well enough alone, had not in-
sisted that the Sophomores, now become Juniors,
should send the tutors a formal apology. This they
emphatically refused to do, appealed to the President
and won him over to their side of the controversy.
For the tutors nothing remained but resignations, and
1 Durfee, History of Williams College, 85, 86.
THE BEGINNINGS OF THE COLLEGE
they were quickly forthcoming. 1 Professor Olds,
chivalrously making their cause his own, also retired,
and the college lost a fine linguist, a mathematician
of distinction, an attractive writer, and an inspiring
teacher. After leaving Williamstown he studied the-
ology and was settled from i8i3toi8i6as pastor of
the Congregational Church in Greenfield. In 1815 he
published a vigorous book designed to enlighten mis-
informed people of that town who were saying that
"nothing but ignorance prevented any intelligent
man from becoming an Episcopalian.'* 2 Subse-
quently he resumed teaching and in various institu-
tions, in the University of Vermont, in Amherst,
and the University of Georgia, but the Williams
rebellion of 1808 dealt him a rude blow, from the shock
of which he never fully recovered. And it also closed
the college itself until a new faculty could be secured
a period of four weeks.
Chester Dewey, of the class of 1806, who succeeded
Professor Olds, was tutor for two years and then pro-
moted to a full professorship. He taught the Juniors
mathematics, astronomy, and natural philosophy.
One would suppose he had little occasion to look fur-
ther for occupation. But, concluding that the cur-
riculum ought to include chemistry, he visited New
Haven, attended the lectures and experiments of
1 An entry in the minutes of the Trustees in regard to one of the
tutors, though not a matter of particular importance, may possibly be
worth quoting, since the incident occurred while he was under fire:
"Voted to reimburse Tutor Backus for a counterfeit five dollar bill
which had been paid him by the treasurer." (Records of the Trustees,
September 6, 1808.)
2 Olds, Episcopacy and Presbyterian Parity, Greenfield, 1815, IV.
Professor Silliman for a short time, and thereupon
began to give instruction in the subject at Williams-
Though full professors may have been few in the
time of President Fitch, tutors abounded there
were thirty-nine of them between 1793 and 1815.
Among the young men who had a temporary connec-
tion with the college faculty two Jeremiah Day
and Henry Davis achieved distinction in the edu-
Of student life on its intimate and personal side
relatively few contemporary data survive. The most
important document of this sort is the diary of a
Williams Senior, Thomas Robbins, begun January i,
1796, and continued with daily entries, not only to his
graduation the following September, but nearly half
a century beyond that event. It covers, therefore,
eight months of the college year 1795-96, and might
naturally be expected to present a semi-confidential
report of undergraduate Williams in the third year of
its history. But while unquestionably valuable, the
diary on the whole is disappointing. It contains much
scrappy, miscellaneous information. We find meteor-
ological records for forty-eight days of the eight
months. Then religious functions of various kinds
conferences, prayer meetings, Sunday services are
faithfully chronicled. Not less than eight mortuary
notices appear. Health conditions in town and college
get a good deal of attention and in this connection
three interesting items are noted :
1 Durfee, History of Williams College, 358. Correspondent of Wil-
liams Review, May 16, 1874.
THE BEGINNINGS OF THE COLLEGE
" March 28th. A number of scholars went to Ben-
nington to have small-pox.
" April i6th. Scholars in small-pox have it hard.
"April 31. Some of the scholars return from the
In Thomas Robbins' day students smoked, played
cards, and sometimes gambled diversions which he
regarded with great displeasure. Also they had such a
craze for dancing that President Fitch, on the 3Oth of
March, " put an entire stop " to a class in which it was
taught, and "acted very wisely." Then the fellows
celebrated the conclusion of examinations "by drink-
ing companies," and their festivities at the close of the
college year 1795-96 seem to have been unusually
hilarious. "Last night," wrote the grieved and dis-
gusted diarist, " the worst frolic here that I ever knew.
. . . My feelings exceedingly wounded by the carouse."
The feelings of the Rev. Jedediah Bushnell, who
graduated the next year, were also deeply wounded by
what he saw and heard in college where "the French
Revolution was very popular." While few of the stu-
dents may have been "in theory settled infidels," the
great majority considered themselves deists and their
morality was little better than their theology. 1
A Freshman, Timothy Woodbridge, grandson of
Jonathan Edwards, once widely known as the "Blind
Minister," wrote in 1799 that the state of college
morals was "decidedly low." Plenty of "vices"
abounded, though he mentioned none more serious
than smoking and card-playing. 2
1 Durfee, History of Williams College, no, ill.
2 Woodbridge, Autobiography of a Blind Minister, 44.
President Griffin, in his historical sermon at the
dedication of the New Chapel, September 2, 1828,
reviewed the early religious history of the college.
Among the graduates of the first six classes, according
to his statement, " exclusive of two . . . brought into
the church by revivals in Litchfield County," there
were only six professors of religion, and for seventeen
months of the academic years 1798-1800 the statistics
make a still worse showing, since in that interval
there seems to have been only one undergraduate
church-member in the institution. 1
Though enthusiasm for the sentiments and theories
of the French Revolution may have cooled percepti-
bly with the opening of the new century, the non-
religious tone persisted until a revival, beginning in
1805 and continuing intermittently for a considerable
period, changed the atmosphere and introduced a
new era. 2
Whatever this revival may have done for individu-
als and Gordon Hall was among the converts
there also grew out of it an institution, the Theological
Society, which had a long and important history. For
the next forty years it was a large factor in determin-
ing the tone and temper of the college. At the weekly
meetings the subjects discussed included many of the
toughest questions in the history of divinity, such as
"Has God reprobated a part of mankind ?" " Did
the human soul of Christ exist from eternity ?" " Are
1 Griffin, Sermon at the Dedication of the New Chapel, 19, 20.
2 There were two other religious quickenings in the time of President
Fitch, one in 1812 and the other in 1815, but they awakened no general
or continued interest.
THE BEGINNINGS OF THE COLLEGE
we strictly guilty of Adam's sin?" "Ought a person
to be willing to be damned to be saved?" " Is it con-
sistent with the character of God to allow wicked men
to work miracles?"
Members of the society bought some rather for-
midable theological treatises. Seven of them, for ex-
ample, were among the subscribers to the eight-
volume edition of Edwards* works published in 1808
a number not exceeded by the aggregate of under-
graduate subscribers in all the other New England
colleges. 1 Doubtless they generally accepted the doc-
trines set forth in these tremendous books cer-
tainly one of them, whose theology we know about,
accepted them without much qualification. In order
to enlighten or confound a troublesome objector he
wrote out a formal statement of his creed. " In con-
versation ... on the subject of religion," he said,
"you have suggested that the doctrines I defended
were more dangerous than infidelity, that I was en-
thusiastic, deluded, and uncharitable." He then pro-
ceeded to state his theological opinions and with
unmistakable point and vigor: " I believe that all men
are by nature depraved, incapable of performing a
single action acceptable to God or originating a single
good thought; . . . that the happiness or misery of
every individual of the human race was known and
determined by God from all eternity, yet without
destroying our accountability." 2 The unconvinced
objector persisted in the opinion that such doctrines
were worse than infidelity.
1 Edwards 1 Works, VIIL List of Subscribers.
2 Charles Jenkins (1813), MS. letter, June 17, 1812.
We are not to suppose that the Theological Society
never lapsed from the contemplation of high themes
of divinity. At times, and especially in later years,
some more practical and mundane subjects emerged
in the discussions, among which may be mentioned
the tainted money of slave-holders, preaching without
notes, the Bible as a college textbook, "the gloomy
and deplorable condition of the Aborigines of our dark
and trackless forests. " 1
Nor are the " Minutes" of the society wholly given
over to discussions theological, missionary, or educa-
tional. At times they lapse into such extraneous and
unexpected matters as the discipline of misbehaving
members. None of these young theologians ought to
have troubled Israel, but some of them apparently
had a defective sense of the proprieties. Two offend-
ers "Cooley and Lansing" according to the
records of June 17, 1813, "acknowledged their faults
to the society and were accepted." In 1814 " Plumb,
having been previously impeached and on being
found not guilty, . . . was acquitted by ballot." A
little later "Boltwood and Wing," a brace of refrac-
tory sinners, "were dismembered for refusing to pay
their fines, and on account of the disturbance they
made, the society wisely adjourned until the next
Lord's day evening." 2
But these matters of discipline are incidental curi-
ous, rather than important. " The society has held on
its way gloriously," said Albert Hopkins, in an anni-
versary address, November n, 1841, "through the
1 Minutes of the Theological Society, March 6, 1825.
2 Minutes of the Theological Society.
THE BEGINNINGS OF THE COLLEGE
changes which have alternately obscured and bright-
ened the prospects of the institution and of reli-
The Theological Society had the field to itself for
several years how many we do not know. It is
certain, however, that in 1820 another religious or-
ganization the Society of Inquiry was in exist-
ence, as it held an adjourned meeting June 7. In 1833
it became the Mills Society of Inquiry, and in 1849
this organization and the older one were united and
called the Mills Theological Society. That nomencla-
ture did not prove very stable. It was changed first to
the Mills Young Men's Christian Association and
then to the Williams Christian Association.
Nor is the history of the literary societies less inter-
esting or important. The earliest of them was the
Adelphic Union, a debating club, organized soon after
the opening of the college. In 1795 membership had
outgrown accommodations to such an extent that it
was divided into two subsidiaries the Philologian
and the Philotechnian societies. The Union survived,
but with changed functions. For a long period occa-
sional public debates and annual exhibitions were held
under its auspices with speakers representing the two
auxiliaries. Many distinguished men also delivered
addresses before it at commencement. The list of ora-
tors between 1850 and 1880 includes Rufus Choate,
Henry Ward Beecher, Edwin P. Whipple, Wendell
Phillips, Charles Sumner, William Lloyd Garrison,
George William Curtis, and Charles Francis Adams,
Jr. Though the Union still exists, its functions have
1 Boston Recorder, December 17, 1841.
shrunken to a formality to a sort of official patron-
age of the intercollegiate debating league.
At first and for reasons not very obvious, the debat-
ing societies held their meetings behind closed doors
protected themselves from the outside world by
means of tokens, badges, and grips, were pledged to
secrecy "on the honor of a gentleman." In spite of
this boyish nonsense the members gave themselves
seriously to the business in hand. They discussed
immigration, the liberty of the press, novel-reading,
lawyers, emancipation, universal salvation, the coun-
try town as the seat of a college, the utility of religion,
the relation of legislative representatives to their con-
stituents, the dismemberment of the Union, theatres,
a big navy, the conquest of Canada, divorce, the
French Revolution, the Louisiana Purchase, and the
education of girls. 1 These subjects, taken quite at
random, would seem to show that Williams students,
though living in a frontier settlement, were not
wholly out of touch with the world.
Concerning the classroom and its history in this
period our knowledge is much less than in regard to
what happened in the debating and theological socie-
ties. Though a scholar and lover of books, Thomas
Robbins contents himself with such barren entries in
his diary as the Seniors began to " recite" Paley's
" Moral Philosophy" January 2 and Vattel's " Law of
Nations" March 22. A 1799 Freshman, writing dur-
ing his autumn term, is a little more definite. He
thought that the lessons were too short and conse-
1 Records of the Philotechnian Society, passim. The Philologian
Records previous to 1817 were destroyed by " Philotechnian vandals."
THE BEGINNINGS OF THE COLLEGE
quently the students did not have enough to do. "I
often come up from morning recitation into my
room/' he said, " sling my great coat over me and get
my forenoon recitation before breakfast so that I have
nothing to do before recitation except what I please.
Sometimes I take up a Latin book that is out of our
course and study a while; sometimes I read a book of
travels and sometimes a novel. ... It is a dangerous
thing I think for a boy of fifteen to have a whole fore-
noon left to his own fancy." 1 This particular boy
could "get his recitations " with very exceptional ease
The college, in spite of its remoteness and seclusion,
did not escape political excitements. In 1796 there
was a violent contest over the election of a Repre-
sentative to Congress. The opposing candidates were
Thompson J. Skinner, Trustee and Treasurer of the
College, and Ephraim Williams, of Stockbridge, kins-
man and namesake of the founder. 2 Skinner fluent,
plausible, sharp- tongued had plenty of enemies
who laid to his charge such political sins as speaking
disrespectfully of George Washington and opposing
the treaty with England. These enemies also alleged
that his private character was "doubtful and ques-
tionable," and his friends thought that a "certificate"
vouching for him politically and otherwise might be
useful. President Fitch, asked to prepare one, good-
naturedly consented. 3 This "certificate" did not
1 Woodbridge, Autobiography of a Blind Minister, 45.
2 Western Star, August 30, 1796.
3 Skinner was a Trustee of the College, 1793-1809, and its Treasurer,
1 793-98. A committee appointed to examine his accounts reported,
September 31, 1799, that though he had kept them in "a singular man-
please Skinner's opponents and they expressed their
sentiments freely in the newspapers. "The President
of Williams College/' wrote one of them, "has been
duped." Another believed Mr. Fitch to be an honest
man, but thought he had "been seduced to do a very
weak and imprudent thing." * A third doubted
whether one could have much confidence in a man,
who after having been in public life eight or nine
years "requires a certificate from the President of a
College." 2 Mr. Skinner, however, managed to carry
the election in spite of the hostile newspaper pother.
The defeated candidate, we learn, suffered some dis-
advantage from the fact that he happened to be a
lawyer a fact which, in the opinion of "A True
Friend to his Country," was a serious if not fatal dis-
qualification. "We do not want so many lawyers in
Congress," wrote this high-grade patriot. . . . "They
live at hearts ease all their days men of pleasure
that scarcely bring in water to wash their own hands.
. . . We can never have things right in America until
we change . . . and send [to Congress] good, sensible
men of our own cloth." 3 The sort of cloth which this
"True Friend" had in mind was the homespun to be
found among the farmers of Berkshire County.
The great political crisis through which the country
passed in the last years of the eighteenth century had
ner" the funds were intact. The State of Massachusetts, of which he
was Treasurer, 1806-08, did not fare so well, as an investigation
showed a shortage of $70,000. The defalcation made a tremendous
sensation throughout the Commonwealth and must be reckoned among
the greater misfortunes that befell the college in the hard times of 1808.
1 Western Star, October 31, 1796. 2 Ibid., August 30, 1796.
3 Ibid., October 31, 1796.
THE BEGINNINGS OF THE COLLEGE
two distinct and appreciable consequences in Wil-
liamstown. One of them has already been considered
the summary action of the Trustees of Williams
College in bundling the French language and litera-
ture out of the curriculum. The other was a letter
dated June 19, 1798, from four Williams Seniors ad-
dressed to President John Adams. Speaking for the
entire undergraduate body they applauded his course
and offered their services in any emergency that
might arise. To this letter the President made an ap-
propriate and handsome response. 1 On the appoint-
ment of Washington as commander-in-chief of the
army three weeks later there was an enthusiastic
demonstration in Williamstown. The college build-
ings and private residences were illuminated and
noisy processions of students marched about the
The faculty and undergraduates were mainly Fed-
eralists a circumstance likely sooner or later to
provoke criticism. Whatever may have been said in
private the partisanship apparently did not attract
public attention until 1806, when the editor of the
"Pittsfield Sun" attended Commencement and was
so desperately displeased by the orations of the grad-
uating class that in speaking of them his rhetoric ran
wild. " It is with extreme regret," he wrote, "that we
have occasion to indulge in unfavorable strictures.
. . . The great sentiment of indignation excited . . .
by the indecent streams of political violence which
tarnished the annual Commencement at this college a
few years ago ... in some measure checked the rag-
1 Appendix V. 2 Vermont Gazette, July 19, 1798.
ing of that political mania which had so long infested
the institution. Since that period the streams . . .
were evidently less turbid and promised ere long to
fertilize and improve the country through which they
were destined to flow. The performances of the pres-
ent year, however, have dashed from our lips the
pleasing cup of expectation. And a fresh eruption of
combustible and noisome matter warns Republicans
to beware how they trust the education of their sons
on the burning sides of a political volcano." *
The following week the " Sun " printed a letter from
a correspondent whom the orations disturbed quite as
much as they did the editor, though he could not ex-
press his sentiments in the same extraordinary fash-
ion. "At this college," he wrote, "youth are taught to
be heady, to despise government and to speak evil of
dignitaries. ... No good Republican will retain any
further connection with that society." He thought
the Legislature ought to interfere and put an end to
the "baneful influences" of this notorious institution,
"on the morals and taste of our youth." 2
Whether in consequence of these criticisms or for
some other reason the orations of the young men in
1807 seem to have been quite different in sentiment
and temper from those of preceding years. The editor
of the "Sun" was in attendance to hear them and
went back to Pittsfield smiling. It gave him a lively
satisfaction that for once at Commencement "this
temple of science had not been prostituted to the low
purposes of calumny and slander." 3
1 Pittsfield Sun, September 18, 1806.
2 Ibid., September 25, 1806. Ibid., September 19, 1807.
THE BEGINNINGS OF THE COLLEGE
It was hardly to be expected that President Fitch
with his aggressive Federalism would escape criticism,
and some queer rumors got into the newspapers. One
of them gave currency to the story that he refused to
allow the students to celebrate the Fourth of July,
because, such was the evil plight of national affairs,
the day had become a curse rather than a blessing. 1
This old wives' tale, bruited abroad in the disastrous
year of the Sophomore rebellion, probably did some
Toward the close of his administration President
Fitch appears as the leader of a crusade against Sab-
bath-breaking and its attendant mischiefs in Western
Massachusetts. On the organization of a society at
Lenox, August 16, 1814, in the interest of this move-
ment, he delivered an earnest address. Alarmed by
present conditions and tendencies the promoters of
the crusade attempted to effect a reformation in
morals and manners throughout Berkshire County. 2
Their first demonstration was against Sunday travel-
ling, which had become quite general. Suddenly the
old blue laws against it awoke from their torpor.
Somebody interested in the crusade counted one
Lord's Day fifty "carriages, waggons and travellers"
on the Lenox turnpike. They were detained until
after sundown, and then allowed to proceed. Evi-
dently the men and women who went out walking or
driving on Sundays in the Berkshires a hundred years
ago must have been a good-natured generation. Very
few of them showed fight and there was little occasion
1 The World (Bennington, Vermont), July n, 1808.
2 An Address to Friends of Order, Morality, and Religion.
for prosecutions or fines. Of the large number over-
hauled at Lenox only two offered any defence. 1 Presi-
dent Fitch and his associates had a signal though brief
success in their propaganda. For three Sundays fol-
lowing November 18, it is said that the Lenox turn-
pike was practically deserted but a single traveller
venturing upon it. The crusade, however, soon spent
its force and the highways ceased to be a solitude on
the Lord's Day.
Not less than six hundred and eighty-nine students
entered college and four hundred and fifty of them
received degrees in the time of President Fitch. Two
graduates became United States Senators, thirteen
members of the National House of Representatives,
ten professors in colleges or theological seminaries,
and six justices of the Supreme Court in as many
One of the two Senators, Elijah Hunt Mills (1797),
of Northampton, who had been prominent as lawyer
and member of the State Legislature, was elected in
1820. After seven years of service his health failed
and Daniel Webster succeeded him. A man of refined,
scholarly, intellectual cast, his memory, if it survives
at all, is kept alive chiefly by " Selections from his
Correspondence," edited by Henry Cabot Lodge, and
published in 1881.
The career of the other Senator, Chester Ashley
(1813), a native of Amherst, presents many points of
contrast to the peaceful, unromantic life of Elijah
Mills. After graduation and the study of law, he
began the practice of his profession in Illinois. Two
1 Farmers' Herald, December 14, 1814.
THE BEGINNINGS OF THE COLLEGE
years later he settled in Missouri and stayed twelve
months. Then he removed to Little Rock, Arkansas,
where he arrived penniless and unknown. A man of
striking personality, 1 an effective stump-speaker, ab-
solutely sincere and trustworthy withal, he quickly
won recognition, and in 1844 had the great honor of a
practically unanimous election to the Federal Senate.
And in that body, though a newcomer, he was given
the important chairmanship of the Judiciary Com-
mittee. But his sudden death at Washington in 1848
cut short a career of brilliant promise.
The little town of Westhampton sent to Williams in
the first decade of the last century two students who
became men of prominence in their day. One of them,
Nathan Hale, son of the Rev. Enoch Hale, pastor of
the Congregational Church, was for many years a
prominent citizen of Boston editor of the " Daily
Advertiser/' promoter of public improvements, mem-
ber of the Legislature and of conventions in 1820 and
1853 for revising the State Constitution.
In the autumn of 1800, when Nathan, then sixteen
years old, was at work about the garden, his father
called him to the house, where he found Vincent Cof-
fin, college tutor, who had come to Westhampton in
quest of students. An impromptu entrance examina-
tion followed, and was passed without difficulty. The
next February the lad rode on horseback across Berk-
shire County and joined the Freshman class. He
graduated in 1804, and on the one hundredth anni-
versary of that event his son, Edward Everett Hale,
1 N. P. Willis said that Mr. Ashley " was the handsomest man in the
Senate, perhaps in the world." (Trowbridge, Ashley Genealogy, 148-53.)
was present and read a part of his father's Commence-
ment oration, in which he discussed the question,
" Has society for the last fifty years been in a state of
improvement?" The young optimist took a hopeful
view of things and concluded that "if a man were
called upon to point out a model of national happi-
ness, he would without hesitation name the last fifteen
years in the history of the United States." l
Justin Edwards, the other Westhampton boy and a
pupil of the Rev. Enoch Hale, went to Williamstown
in October, 1807, on foot a tramp of forty miles.
Though he devoted only eighteen months to his pre-
paratory studies and only three years to his college
course, at graduation in 1810 he took the highest
honors. The subject of his oration on that occasion
was "The Signs of the Times." Conditions had
changed somewhat since 1804 when his townsman,
Nathan Hale, discussed the same topic. In Europe
the tremendous disturbances of the Napoleonic era
still continued; in America there were ominous inti-
mations of trouble with England. The valedictorian
of 1810 found hope and reassurance chiefly in the new
missionary and humanitarian movement which a little
band of his college associates " prayed into existence"
on the banks of the Hoosac.
Though Justin Edwards evidently did not slight the
prescribed work of his college course, none of his class-
mates and few undergraduates of any period could
approach him as a reader of books. For the three
years of his residence in Williamstown the number
was upwards of two hundred volumes, and the list con-
1 Hale, A New England Boyhood. Memories of a Century.
THE BEGINNINGS OF THE COLLEGE
tains such substantial works as Hume's " England,
Gibbon's "Decline and Fall," the writings of Reid
and Stewart, Edwards "On the Will," and Black-
stone's "Commentaries." l The subsequent career of
this wide- reading undergraduate, fulfilled measurably
his early promise. A leader in temperance agitations,
pastor of prominent churches, President of Andover
Theological Seminary, he must be considered one of
the greater lights of the New England pulpit in his
The name of another clergyman of this period
Orville Dewey, a native of Sheffield in Southern Berk-
shire, valedictorian of the class of 1814 was once
"blown far and wide from the trump of fame." 3
Contemporary tribute to the charm of his personality
and to his oratorical genius are many and unqualified.
"God seems to have chosen Dewey," said Thomas
Starr King, "to speak in his own tongue." 4 "I have
heard," wrote the Rev. Dr. Morrison, "many of the
greatest orators of our time. But with the exception
of Daniel Webster and Dr. Channing in their highest
moments, Mr. Dewey was the most eloquent man
among them all." 6 The tribute of the Rev. Dr. Bel-
lows, pastor of All Souls Church, New York, president
of the Sanitary Commission in the Civil War, and no
mean orator himself, is pitched in the same key.
"Dewey," he wrote, "had every qualification for a
great preacher." 6
Gordon Hall (1808), a man of singular attractive-
1 Hallock, Life of Justin Edwards, 18. 2 Sprague, Annals, n, 579.
8 Bartol, The Preacher, the Singer and the Doer, 3. 4 Ibid., 4.
5 Autobiography and Letters of Orville Dewey, 148. fl Ibid., 358.
ness and ability, spent the brief years of his active life
as a missionary in India. A laborer on his father's
farm in Tolland, Massachusetts, until the age of sev-
enteen, he then began to prepare for college and en-
tered the Sophomore class. President Fitch, who lis-
tened while a tutor examined him orally for admission,
remarked, "That young man has not studied the
languages like a parrot, but has got hold of their very
radix"] 1 and he easily surpassed all his classmates in
scholarship. An intimate friend of Samuel J. Mills in
college and theological seminary, he came to the con-
clusion at an early period that his field lay in pagan
lands. Unquestionably he might have had a distin-
guished career as a preacher. " No, I must not settle
in any parish in Christendom/' he said. " O, there will
be left those whose health or pre-engagements require
them to stay at home; but I can sleep on the ground,
can endure hunger and hardship God calls me to
the heathen." 2 And this splendid physical vitality
made it possible for him to bear burdens of toil im-
possible for most men. "I ... am able to labor hard,"
he wrote in November, 1815, "about sixteen hours
from the twenty-four." 3 After fourteen years of
heroic and successful work he fell a victim to cholera.
The best scholar in the class of 1809 was Samuel
Austin Talcott and the poorest Samuel John Mills.
Talcott pronounced the valedictory under circum-
stances that had not happened before and probably
will not happen again. A most attractive and promis-
ing man, an admirable writer and eloquent speaker,
he unfortunately contracted during his college course
1 Bardwell, Memoir of Gordon Hall, 14. 2 Ibid., 249. 3 Ibid., 117.
THE BEGINNINGS OF THE COLLEGE
gross habits of intemperance. Classmates besought
him to suspend these habits at least on Commence-
ment Day. Their exhortations accomplished little,
since, not long before his turn to speak would come,
they discovered "he was n't in the church and found
him asleep in the Old Mansion House. They woke
him and ... he got up, dashed his head in a bowl of
water, straightened out his hair, started for the church
and went upon the stage. ... He wandered from his
prepared address, but gave a valedictory that was
never equalled in the old church. " 1
The scholarship of Samuel John Mills, a native of
Torrington, Connecticut, son of the Congregational
minister in that town, was so desperately poor that
the faculty did not allow him to take part in the grad-
uating exercises of his class. It was a case, not of
intellectual deficiency, but of preoccupation. The
cause which absorbed him and subordinated every
other interest was then comparatively new in the
American world the cause of foreign missions. A
mature young man twenty-two years old, he went to
Williamstown in the spring of 1806 to qualify himself
for service in that field. The curriculum and the class-
room were matters of minor importance. Finding no
missionary interest among the students at Williams
he set about the rather unpromising task of creating
The first organized effort in support of the propa-
ganda was a series of open-air prayer meetings in the
summer of 1806 prayer meetings so quietly if not
furtively conducted that the great majority of the
1 Danforth (1846), Boyhood Reminiscences, 112.
students had no knowledge of their existence. 1 The
Rev. Dr. Richard Salter Storrs, Sr., a prominent mem-
ber of the class of 1807, wrote in 1840, that he
never heard of them until after his graduation. 2 The
obscurities resting upon one of them, now known as
the " Haystack Prayer Meeting 1 ' and the most fa-
mous event in the early history of the college, were not
cleared up for almost half a century. It had long been
understood that such a conference was held and that
it led to the formation of the American Board of Com-
missioners for Foreign Missions, but a full account
of it, the details of place and circumstance, were not
recovered until 1854 when Byram Green (1808), the
only survivor of the five men in attendance, Mills
died in 1818, James Richards in 1822, Harvey Loomis
in 1825, and Francis Le Barron Robbins in 1850,
visited Williamstown and put on record the lost
"You request a statement of facts," Mr. Green
wrote Albert Hopkins in 1854, "in relation to the
prayer meeting which was held under the haystack by
some students of Williams College in July or August,
1806. That prayer meeting becomes interesting to
the Christian community, because it was then and
there proposed to send the Gospel to the pagans of
Asia and to the disciples of Mohammed. The stack
of hay stood northerly from the West College, near a
maple grove, in a field that was then called Sloan's
meadow. . . .
1 Rev. Chauncey Eddy, MS. letter, April 13, 1885, Williams College
2 MS. letter, Williams College Library.
THE BEGINNINGS OF THE COLLEGE
"The afternoon was oppressively warm. . . . We
went first to the grove . . . but a dark cloud was rising
in the west and it soon began to thunder and lighten
and we left the grove and went under the hay-
stack. . . .
"The subject of conversation under the stack be-
fore and during the shower, was the moral darkness of
Asia. Mills proposed to send the Gospel to that . . .
heathen land ; and said that we could do it if we would.
We were all agreed and delighted with the idea except
Loomis, who contended that it was premature; . . .
that Christian armies must subdue the country before
the Gospel could be sent to the Turks and Arabs. In
reply, it was said . . . that if the Christian public was
willing and active the work would be done; that on
this subject the Roman adage would be true, Vox
populi vox dei. 'Come, 1 said Mills, 'let us make it a
subject of prayer under the haystack, while the . . .
clouds are going and the clear sky is coming.'
" We all prayed . . . except Loomis, Mills made the
last prayer and was in some degree enthusiastic; he
prayed that God would strike down the arm, with the
red artillery of heaven, that should be raised against a
herald of the cross. We then sang one stanza. It was
"Let all the heathen writers join
To form one perfect book:
Great God, if once compared with thine,
How mean their writings look!" l
Since forty-eight years intervened between the
1 Byram Green, MS. letter, August 22, 1854, Williams College Li-
making and the writing of this history, the trust-
worthiness of Mr. Green's memory was called in ques-
tion, but he insisted that no event, however recent,
could be clearer or more unmistakable in his recollec-
tion. ''The rooms occupied by Mills and Loomis,
Bartlett and myself," he wrote in 1857, "the heat of
the day, . . . the shower that drove us from the grove
to the haystack, the small number who attended the
meeting, there being no one present from East
College, walking together from the stack to West
College, are all circumstances which appear fresh and
plain to my mind." 1
The second step in this missionary propaganda,
though less striking and picturesque than the first,
was scarcely less important the organization of a
secret fraternity called "The Brethren" in the au-
tumn of 1808. This fraternity, the constitution and
records of which were written in cipher, served as an
auxiliary and rallying-point in prosecuting the work.
Mills and four of his friends Ezra Fisk, James Rich-
ards, John Seward, and Luther Rice were the char-
ter members of it. When Mills entered Andover The-
ological Seminary in the spring of 1810 he took the
fraternity with him, and it survived the transplanting
sixty years. The members of this Williams- Andover
institution, not content with exhorting others, pro-
posed to go to pagan lands themselves.
A third step was the memorial signed by Mills and
three other Andover students Adoniram Judson,
Samuel Nott, Jr., and Samuel Newell to the Gen-
1 Byram Green, MS. letter, February 15, 1857, Williams College
THE BEGINNINGS OF THE COLLEGE
eral Association of Massachusetts which met at Brad-
ford in June, 1810, soliciting advice in regard to their
' 'attempting a mission to the heathen." 1 The me-
morial resulted in the organization, a year and a half
later, of the American Board, which then entered
definitely upon the work of christianizing the pagan
world by ordaining five young men at Salem, Feb-
ruary 6, 1812, and sending them forth as its repre-
sentatives, among whom for some reason Mills was
It would be a mistake to suppose that nobody had
given serious thought to conditions existing in the
pagan world before the day of the haystack prayer
meeting. Mills and his associates focussed a scattered,
unrelated interest already existing, and made it
available for a great humanitarian and evangelizing
But Mills, with all his interest in the foreign work,
was by no means indifferent to the claims of the home
field. He made two Western tours, one of them in
1812-13 and the other in 1814-15, and they were re-
markable achievements. They involved several thou-
sand miles of travel, for his itinerary extended from
Lake Erie to the Gulf of Mexico a vast region
which seemed to Mills as the valley of the shadow of
death. In these expeditions he struggled with bridge-
less creeks, dense cane-brakes, wretched fare, and the
thousand hardships of pioneer life, as well as with the
difficulties incident to the establishment of Bible soci-
eties and the distribution of tracts. He preached in
every sort of place in public halls, schoolhouses,
1 Strong, The Story of the American Board, 5.
and out of doors. On his second tour he reached New
Orleans just after the defeat of the British by General
Jackson. The town was full of soldiers, and he found
in the camps and hospitals abundant opportunities
for service of which he eagerly availed himself. One
direct and tangible result of these missionary expe-
ditions was the organization of a national Bible
The pagans of Asia figured in Mills* arguing and
praying under the haystack. He never saw that con-
tinent, but he did visit the western coast of Africa as
the representative of the American Colonization So-
ciety which proposed to establish there a republic of
free negroes. Accompanied by the Rev. Ebenezer
Burgess, lately professor in the University of Ver-
mont, Mills sailed, November 16, 1817. "We go," he
wrote, " to lay the foundation of a free and independ-
ent empire on the coast of poor, degraded Africa."
The toil and exposure of the expedition proved fatal
to him and he died on the homeward voyage, June
16, 1818, twelve years after the haystack prayer
At the Commencement of 1861, in an address be-
fore the alumni, the Rev. Dr. Emerson Davis, vice-
president of the college, spoke of the greater fame of
Mills compared with that of Gordon Hall, his asso-
ciate at Williamstown and Andover, as a strange
irony of fate. In his opinion the latter attractive
in personality, a brilliant scholar, an effective speaker,
and passionately devoted to the cause of missions
was by far the more noticeable man. The puzzled
vice-president may have been right in his contention,
THE BEGINNINGS OF THE COLLEGE
yet it does not follow that the work of Mills has been
overvalued. No man of his day knew the signs of the
times better than he had a clearer, more urgent
vision of the opportunities of the Church in foreign
lands, in the slums of cities and in the newer parts
of the country. And with this faculty of spiritual
insight there was associated a positive genius for ini-
tiative and organization, for procuring the best as-
sociates and helpers in the prosecution of his great
religious enterprises. Therefore, the influence of this
quiet, unobtrusive man, without popular gifts, who
never thought of himself, has gone to the ends of the
Of the two hundred and thirty young men who en-
tered Williams in the period of 1793-1815 but did not
graduate, one was the Rev. Edwin Wells Dwight,
pastor for many years of the Congregational Church
in the Berkshire town of Richmond. A classmate of
Mills, and belonging to his little band of intimates, he
usually attended the open-air prayer meetings which
they held in the summer of 1806, but missed the only
1 It ought to be said that he made a profound impression on some
of his fellow students. "Samuel J. Mills ... is here," wrote one of
them Timothy Woodbridge from Andover Theological Seminary,
March 20, 1810, "and is my room-mate. If I read him aright, he is an
extraordinary man." (Autobiography of a Blind Minister, 80.)
A year later the Rev. Jeremiah Hallock of West Simsbury, Connecti-
cut, made the following entry in his diary:
"May iyth . To-day Mr. Samuel John Mills, Jun. candidate,
preached for us. His first sermon was on depravity his second on
giving all to Christ. O Lord, make me thankful for thy mercy to thy
servant Mills in giving him such a son. . . . May my heart rejoice in the
good of others, and O wilt thou remember my poor Jeremiah!" (Life
of the Rev. Jeremiah Hallock, 103.) This "poor Jeremiah" became a
distinguished lawyer. There was nothing the matter with him except
that he declined to become a clergyman. Hence his father's tears.
one the world knows anything about. In his Senior
year he left Williams and entered Yale. At New
Haven he fell in with Henry Obookiah, a waif from
Hawaii, seventeen or eighteen years old, and under-
took his education. The young pagan made good
progress and soon announced that he would return to
his native land on a somewhat aggressive theological
mission "Owhyhee gods! they wood; . . . me go
home, put in a fire, burn 'em up. . . . We make 'em.
Our God, he make us."
The rather surprising success of this experiment led
to the opening, at Cornwall, Connecticut, in May,
1817, of a school to train pagan youth, who might
come to America, for religious work in their native
lands. Mr. Dwight was the first principal of this
school and held the position until May, 1818, when
there were twenty-three students in the institution
who spoke seven different native languages. Henry
Obookiah died during the preceding February, and
Lyman Beecher preached the sermon at his funeral.
11 Those feet," he said, " will not traverse the shores of
Owhyhee, that tongue will not publish salvation to
those for whom it uttered so many supplications. We
behold the end of his race and bury with his dust in
the grave all our high-raised hopes of his future activ-
ity in the cause of Christ." 1 But the good that Henry
Obookiah did was not interred with his bones at
Cornwall. A memoir of him, written by Mr. Dwight
1 Memoirs of Henry Obookiah, Elizabeth, New Jersey, 1819. This
edition contains besides the memoir and Dr. Beecher's sermon an
inauguration sermon by the Rev. Joseph Harvey, an inauguration
address by the Rev. Herman Daggett, and an inaugural address by the
Hon. John Treadwell.
THE BEGINNINGS OF THE COLLEGE
and published in 1818, sold, it is said, to the extent
of twelve editions and fifty thousand copies. This
book, so directly and intimately associated with the
haystack prayer meeting, was an important factor
in the movement that led to the christianization of
Another student of this time, William Cullen Bry-
ant, did not stay to graduate. Born at Cummington,
a little, out-of-the way hill town in Western Massa-
chusetts, he entered the Sophomore class in the au-
tumn of 1810 a slender, shapely, unaffected, and
attractive youth. He was the first, and so far as ap-
pears the last, candidate for admission to Williams
who had won distinction as a poet. In 1808 then
a boy of thirteen he published "The Embargo/' a
philippic against President Jefferson and his policies,
which attracted immediate and at first incredulous
attention. Interest in this precocious poem has con-
tinued to such a degree that in 191 1 a copy of the first
edition was sold at auction for $3350. Nor was "The
Embargo" Bryant's only pre-college poem. A second
edition of it in 1809 contained several additional
1 Memoirs of Henry Obookiah, Revised Edition, 1832.
R. H. W. Dwight, Springfield Republican, January 23, 1910.
" In the breezy morning we went ashore [at Kealakekua Bay] and
visited the ruined temple of the last god Lono. The high chief cook
of this temple the priest who presided over it and roasted the human
sacrifices was uncle to Obookiah, and at one time that youth was an
apprentice under him. . . . And this Obookiah was the very same sensi-
tive savage who sat down on the church steps and wept because his
people did not have the Bible. That incident has been very elabo-
rately painted in many a charming Sunday-school book aye, and
told so pathetically and tenderly that I have cried over it in Sun-
day-school myself." (Mark Twain, Roughing It, Hilcrest Edition, vm,
pieces, among which was a rather neatly turned ode of
"The man whose life, devoid of guile,
Is free from crimes and passions vile
Needs not the aid of Moorish art,
The bow, the shaft and venomed dart." l
This boy, whose precocity of genius was hardly less
remarkable than that of Cowley or Pope or Chatter-
ton, put on no airs when he came to Williamstown.
"He was entirely modest and unobtrusive in his de-
portment, " said a classmate. 2
Relatively few details of Bryant's brief undergrad-
uate career have been preserved. We know that he
had little sympathy with the more turbulent side of
college life, such as appeared in the rough horse-play
called "gamutizing Freshmen," an early synonym for
hazing; that he found the debating societies inter-
esting; and that, in addition to preparation for the
classroom, he managed to do considerable reading in
general literature. On one occasion, it is said, he at-
tempted to declaim a selection from Irving's " Knick-
erbocker, " but as he proceeded the humor of it threw
him into convulsions of laughter and he was obliged
to sit down with his speech half unspoken to the
amusement of his classmates and the disgust of the
At Williamstown Bryant did not find himself in a
community wholly indifferent to the muses. A recent
graduate 3 had written an ambitious and creditable
1 Lib., i, Carm. xxn.
2 Quoted in Perry's Williamstown and Williams College, 338.
8 Aaron W. Leland (1808).
THE BEGINNINGS OF THE COLLEGE
tragedy in blank verse, " The Fatal Error,"
which was presented before the college, and poems
appeared not infrequently upon the commencement
programmes. Two translations "A Version of a
Fragment of Simonides," and an " Ode of Anacreon "
and " Descriptio Gulielmopolis," seem to comprise
the sum of Bryant's Williamstown verse. The " De-
scriptio," a boyish satire upon the college and town
and not to be taken very seriously, failed to get into
print until 1891, thirteen years after the author's
death. 1 It was a sort of mocking valediction when, at
the conclusion of a seven months' residence, he left
the Berkshire college with the expectation of entering
Yale an expectation that failed. This cynical, rail-
ing mood passed. " I regretted all my life afterwards,"
he wrote in his " Autobiography," "that I had not
remained at Williams." 2 Bryant's relations with the
college subsequently became very friendly. He was
restored by vote of the Trustees to membership in his
class and wrote a poem for the fiftieth anniversary of
it in 1863, reviewing the half-century "since a gallant,
youthful company went from these learned shades."
Sometimes he attended the annual dinners of the
alumni. Governor Emory Washburn, president of the
Boston Association, asked him to contribute a few
lines of verse for the meeting, New Year's Day, 1868.
In reply he said that he had come to the December of
life and that he had been ever ill at verse of the occa-
sional sort. "You write as if I had nothing to do, in
fulfilling your request, but to go out and gather, under
1 The Christian Union, June 25, 1891.
2 Goodwin, Life of Bryant, I, 36.
the hedges and by the brooks, a bouquet of flowers
that spring spontaneously, and throw them upon your
table. If I were to try, what would you say if it proved
to be only a little bundle of dead stalks and withered
leaves, which my dim sight had mistaken for fresh
green sprays and blooms?" 1 In 1869 he was elected
president of the alumni and made a happy speech at
Commencement dinner. As an after-piece of this
pleasant anniversary he sent President Hopkins five
hundred dollars for the uses of the college. "Strange
times we live in," wrote the latter in acknowledging
the gift, "when poets possess money and patronize
literature and make better speeches than anybody
else." 2 A newspaper correspondent caught a glimpse
of the poet in these Williamstown days of 1869: "The
venerable Bryant, looking with his long white hair
and beard like Homer come to earth again, as he
chatted quietly with some friend, while curious groups
scrutinized and noted. Though upwards of seventy
years old the author of ' Thanatopsis ' is straight as an
arrow and his step as light as a boy's." 3
Mr. Bryant attended Commencement for the last
time in 1876 and made a speech somewhat reminis-
cential at the alumni dinner. Since his student days,
he remarked, great changes had taken place. The
faculty consisted of three tutors for Freshmen and
Sophomores, a professor for Juniors, and President
Fitch. Stiff rows of poplar trees connected the main
buildings a great contrast to the spreading elms
1 Boston Daily Advertiser, January 2, 1868.
2 Godwin, Life of Bryant, n, 270.
3 Springfield Republican, June 25, 1869.
THE BEGINNINGS OF THE COLLEGE
and maples of to-day. He dwelt with enthusiasm on
the beauty of the town and the mountains that sur-
round it. One of the graduating orations in which the
speaker considered the problem of life and found it a
baffling mystery interested him. But, he continued,
we need no other solvent of doubt than that supplied
by nature, and then recited a poem written by John
"Not worlds on worlds in phalanx deep
Need we to tell us God is here;
The Daisy fresh from Winter's sleep
Tells of his hand in lines as clear." 1
When he sat down, the Rev. Dr. Prime asked him if
there were any truth in the tradition that he wrote
" Thanatopsis " while a student in the College. "Mr.
Bryant said that entering Williams in the Sophomore
class of 1810, he left in May, 1811, expecting to go to
Yale, but as his father's means did not permit it, he
returned to his home in Cummington, and there one
afternoon, after wandering through the woods, he
rested beneath a group of majestic forest trees and
wrote 'Thanatopsis."' 2
At the meeting of the Trustees May 2, 1815, Eben-
ezer Fitch "signified his intention to resign" 3 at the
close of the college year and was given leave of ab-
sence until Commencement. To him the break-up
1 Gregory, Life of J. M. Good, 381.
2 Springfield Weekly Republican, June 30, 1876. " My poem Thana-
topsis . . . was then a fragment beginning with the half line, ' Yet a few
days and thee,' and ending with the half line, 'And make their bed
with thee.' I am not quite certain whether this was in my eighteenth or
nineteenth year, probably the latter." (Bryant, Letter to the Rev. Cal-
vin Durfee, March 19, 1869. Obituary Record 1877-78.)
3 Records of the Trustees, May 2, 1815.
would seem to have been unexpected. "That spring
(1814) at Philadelphia," said the Rev. Dr. Griffin,
" I met the president, the revered tutor of my youth,
and found him cheerful and happy and with no other
thought than to lay his bones in this delightful
In the next twelve months the whole aspect of the
situation changed. For that unfriendly transforma-
tion the declining fortunes of the institution fur-
nished at least the occasion. The four classes on the
ground at the beginning of the college year 1814-15
graduated sixty-eight men, while the four classes a
decade earlier graduated one hundred and eleven. It
was a serious decadence and led friends of the college
to believe that it could not be kept alive in Williams-
town, and should, therefore, be removed to some more
promising location. Though not absolutely essential
to the success of such a project, the resignation of the
President would without much question facilitate it.
But the processes, whatever they may have been, by
which it came about disturbed and angered the com-
" It was with grief and indignation," wrote " Berk-
shire," prominent among the warring pamphleteers
of 1819-20, "the public saw an old and faithful serv-
ant, with a numerous family, driven from an insti-
tution which he had fostered to meet the buffets of
the world and the caprices of fortune. . . . Age, pru-
dent and timid, draws its fragile, weather-beaten bark
within shore. . . . But he was pitilessly pushed to sea
to find his grave in the deep, or to be stranded on
1 Griffin, Sermon at the Dedication of the New Chapel, 12.
THE BEGINNINGS OF THE COLLEGE
some unknown, inhospitable shore. " l The rhetorical
" Berkshire" may have done the Trustees scant jus-
tice. Yet, though they did not perhaps exactly "push
him to sea," their tears were few when he took passage
from Williamstown. But after his resignation had
been secured, they did not fail to treat the retiring
President handsomely. They praised his work four
complimentary adjectives were found to be necessary
in describing it, "long, laborious, able, and useful" 2
and presented him a purse of twenty-two hundred
dollars, a grant amounting to "more than one eighth
of our productive funds." 3 The money and the four
adjectives assuaged his griefs so effectually that he
went away from Williamstown " perfectly satisfied." 4
He removed to West Bloomfield, New York, where
for twelve years he was pastor of a small Presbyterian
church. But the early mood of content did not last
long. The ex-President could never make both ends
meet financially and the twenty-two hundred dollars
failed to afford any permanent relief. When after a
little funds ran low and he found that he "must be
indebted to the charity of friends for the education of
a son," he came to feel that he had not been "very
generously or even justly treated," 5 and requested
"an additional allowance," which the Trustees re-
fused. Though one may not be insensible to the pity
of it all, in the straitened financial condition of the
college, they could hardly have done otherwise.
1 Pittsfield Sun, August u, 1819.
2 Records of the Trustees, September 5, 1815.
3 Ibid., September 2, 1818. 4 Ibid., September 2, 1815.
6 President Fitch, MS. letter, October 5, 1816, Williams College
President Fitch died at West Bloomfield, March 21,
1833, and was buried in the local cemetery. Some
report having reached the Williams alumni at their
annual meeting in 1844 that his grave was in a neg-
lected condition, they appointed a committee of in-
vestigation. If this committee ever made a report,
nothing came of it. The matter dropped out of sight
until 1860, when an undergraduate who lived in West
Bloomfield printed a communication on the subject in
the " Quarterly." " I found the grave," he wrote, "in
a low, damp corner of the churchyard where the rank
weeds and swamp-grass vie with each other in impi-
ous luxuriance and marked by a broken slab. . . .
Even now decay has partially effaced the lettering,
. . . and in a few short years the crumbling stone will
mingle its dust with the marsh in which it stands." 1
There was a further delay of four years and then the
remains of the first President were rescued from the
West Bloomfield marsh, removed to Williamstown,
and interred in the college cemetery, where a suitable
monument had been erected to his memory. Immedi-
ately after prayers on the evening of July 5, 1864, the
faculty, three or four Trustees, a few graduates and
friends of the college gathered about the new grave.
Judge Henry W. Bishop (1817), of Lenox, made an
appropriate and touching address. "Among those
here ... I am the only one," he said, "who was a
member of the college during Dr. Fitch's presidency.
These relics before us bring back ... in full force the
sentiments of reverence, which the living presence
inspired. I see his dignified form again, his grave
1 A. C. Brown (1861), in Williams Quarterly, July, 1860.
THE BEGINNINGS OF THE COLLEGE
and benignant features, his courteous demeanor, his
happy smile, and feel again the veneration which the
lapse of half a century has not extinguished. ... I
have always regarded Dr. Fitch as the real founder
of this institution. ... He came here early a ripe
scholar . . . and eminently qualified to teach. He was
thoroughly equal to impart all that an education then
thought liberal required. . . . May he not, therefore,
be permitted to share, without impairing, the just
fame of him whose munificence is acknowledged by
the name with which the institution has been chris-
Thus, on a summer's evening, thirty-one years
after his death, the mortal remains of President Fitch
were interred in the cemetery of Williams College.
He brought to the service of the institution at the crit-
ical stage of its beginnings, not exceptional gifts of
intellectual brilliancy or executive vigor, but a sound,
ample scholarship a mild, courtly, gracious dis-
pensation of good sense.
1 Pittsfield Sun, July 20, 1864.
WILLIAMSTOWN OR ELSEWHERE?
MAY 8,1815, Professor Chester Dewey wrote a former
associate that the Trustees of the college, who met
Tuesday night of the preceding week, "held a session
till twelve o'clock," which they resumed " before
breakfast on Wednesday/ 1 continued all that day,
and finished Thursday morning. "They took hold in
earnest and labored like men." l The matter which
disturbed the Trustees so profoundly was a resolution
introduced by the Rev. Dr. Theophilus Packard, of
Shelburne, and finally adopted, that a committee of
six be appointed to consider the question of removing
the college from Williamstown. In this revolutionary
proposition the master spirit seems to have been the
shrewd, persistent, dogmatic, intellectual divine who
offered the resolution. Yet though the leadership
naturally fell into his hands, he did not originate the
scheme. That distinction belongs to Timothy Wood-
bridge, who happened to visit Williamstown in com-
pany with his brother Joseph, then a Trustee of the
college, some time during the year 1814. As they were
returning from this visit, the former, in the course of
a talk about the institution and its prospects, said
he thought that the location was unfortunate and
should be abandoned for some site like Amherst or
Northampton, near the middle of the State. "These
1 Dewey, MS. letter, Williams College Library.
WILLIAMSTOWN OR ELSEWHERE?
casual remarks/' he continued, "made a deep im-
pression upon my brother, and after reflecting upon
the subject he said to me, ' I shall take up the matter/
... At a meeting of the Board of Trustees . . . soon
after he opened the subject fully. The affair . . .
escaped from the secrecy of the Board and spread like
The appointment of the committee of six was nat-
urally regarded as a pretty certain indication that
the institution would not remain at Williamstown, and
a lively competition to secure it sprang up in Western
Massachusetts. At the next meeting of the corpora-
tion, September 5, communications were received
from four towns in Hampshire and two in Berkshire
all anxious to secure the college and pledging cer-
tain sums of money on that condition. 2 Stockbridge
with a tentative subscription of $13,000, and North-
ampton with one of $12,500, were the leading com-
These towns and all the others took one point for
granted the college was on the downward road to
extinction. What has Williamstown, it was urged,
"that can attract the attention of the public or that
can render a term of four years' residence agreeable or
pleasant? . . . Many scholars . . . having entered the
institution . . . soon became sick of the place and ob-
tained dismissions." 3 This discouraged view of the
situation was widely prevalent. " I perfectly agree in
sentiment," wrote a correspondent of the "Hamp-
1 Woodbridge, Autobiography of a Blind Preacher, 158.
* "X," in Berkshire Star, January 21, 1819.
8 Hampshire Gazette, July 5, 1815.
shire Gazette" a month earlier, "with many gentle-
men of both political parties in this country that it is
expedient not only to rescue this seminary of learning
from a natural death for want of support, but to
transplant it to the soil of the old county of Hamp-
shire." 1 Another interesting campaign document
"An Appeal to the Reverend Clergy" discussed
the question of "furnishings" proper for a college
town. "Above all," according to the "Appeal," "it
ought not to be in want of gentlemen in easy circum-
stances, of leisure and literary taste, of refined man-
ners, of moral and religious habits and of respectabil-
ity at home and abroad." Evidently the pamphleteer
meant to convey the impression that the Williams-
town of 1 8 1 5 was ' ' in want of gentlemen * ' of this type.
The competing towns also pushed their interests by
holding public meetings. Of these the largest and
most important assembled at Northampton June 24,
when the question of removal is said to have been
"dispassionately considered and ably discussed."
The conclusions, however, of this highly impartial
assembly were never in doubt.
But the mass meetings, the provisional subscrip-
tions, the appeals, and the letters to newspapers all
proved to be an idle rub-a-dub, since the committee of
six in their report, which the Trustees adopted, de-
clared the proposed removal inexpedient "at the
present time and under existing circumstances." 2
What considerations led the committee to this con-
clusion they neglected to explain. The facts appear to
1 Hampshire Gazette, June 7, 1815.
2 Records of the Trustees, September 5, 1815.
WILLIAMSTOWN OR ELSEWHERE?
have been that "some of the most respectable gentle-
men in Berkshire pledged themselves to raise the col-
lege from its present degraded condition if they might
have opportunity/* and the corporation concluded to
give the institution further days of grace "in the
place where it had stood since its establishment. " 1
The report of the committee of six put an end to
all official agitation for removal in the neighboring
towns as well as in the Board of Trustees. Yet it is
said to have been "a notorious fact" 2 that public
interest in the subject continued. Nor did the college
community lapse into indifference. July 14, 1816,
ten months after the motion of the Rev. Dr. Theophi-
lus Packard had been defeated, the question, "Ought
Williams College to be removed from its present loca-
tion?" was debated in the Philotechnian Society and
decided, after a spirited discussion with but one dis-
senting vote, in the affirmative. 3
The selection of a new President, which occurred
at the stormy May meeting of the Trustees in 1815,
seems to have been a wholly peaceable affair, un-
vexed by discussion or difference of opinion, and their
first choice was Professor Leonard Woods, of Andover
Theological Seminary. To provide against the con-
tingency that he might decline the offer, which he
proceeded to do without much delay, they elected
as a second choice Professor Zephaniah Swift Moore,
of Dartmouth College. The Rev. Dr. Theophilus
Packard visited Hanover to confer with the President
1 " Plain Dealing," in Hampshire Gazette, November 10, 1818.
2 Hampshire Gazette, October 27, 1818.
* Records of the Philotechnian Society.
elect, who accepted the position. What report in re-
gard to the condition and prospects of the college this
fierce, anti-Williamstown partisan would make, may
be readily imagined.
Born in Palmer November 20, 1770, President
Moore lived there until he was eight years old, when
he removed to Wilmington, Vermont, a raw, paltry,
half -inaccessible mountain town, where his father
undertook the rather unpromising business of farm-
ing. In this business, with its exacting toil and meagre
opportunity, Zephaniah was his chief assistant until
he reached the age of eighteen. Then he began to fit
for college at Clio Hall in the neighboring town of
Bennington. 1 Entering Dartmouth he graduated
with honor in 1793 three years earlier than his
friend Theophilus Packard. In 1798, after theological
studies lasting two years, he became pastor of the
church at Leicester, Massachusetts. His success in
the pulpit was quite beyond the ordinary. While not
exactly rhetorical, much less sensational, at times his
preaching was singularly impressive. A sermon of his
at the ordination of the Rev. Absalom Peters in Ben-
nington seemed, to one auditor at least, like "a new
revelation of the oracles of God." 2 He remained at
Leicester until 1811, when he accepted a call to the
chair of Latin and Greek in Dartmouth College. The
finale of his pastorate is a significant commentary on
the quality of it. When he left town his parishioners
assembled and many of them accompanied him sev-
eral miles on the way to his new field of labor. 3
1 Sprague, Annals, I, 642. * Vermont Gazette, July II, 1820.
8 Historical and Genealogical Register, I, 136.
ZEPHANIAH SWIFT MOORE
WILLIAMSTOWN OR ELSEWHERE?
President Moore was inaugurated September 3,
1815. His address on this occasion a clear, sound,
well-built discourse in which the studies which a col-
lege curriculum should offer were considered and
appraised 1 pleased the Trustees, who thought it
was " elegant " 2 and requested a copy for publication,
but for some reason it never got into print. There
was no reference in this discourse to the questions that
had been so seriously troubling Williamstown and all
The college year 1815-16 began with a new Presi-
dent and also with a new professor Ebenezer Kel-
logg, a graduate of Yale in 1810 and salutatorian of his
class, who was inducted into the recently established
chair of Ancient Languages. Only fifty-eight students
were in attendance a great falling-off from the
maximum figures one hundred and fifteen in
the preceding administration. Probably this omi-
nous shrinkage in registration, which alarmed Wil-
liamstown, did not displease President Moore and the
Rev. Dr. Theophilus Packard. It lent a color of plau-
sibility to their contention that the institution was in
the earlier stages of a hopeless collapse.
President Moore practically accepted conditions as
he found them and attempted little in the line of re-
form or innovation. There was, it is true, a revision
of the formidable college laws of 1795, which fills
thirty-seven pages in the "Records of the Trustees."
While the code may have been modified in details,
the old spirit and temper remained a fact made
1 Moore, MS. Sermon, Williams College Library.
2 Records of the Trustees, September 5, 1815,
unmistakably clear by the provision that some mem-
ber of the faculty must visit the rooms of students
twice every day during study hours. 1
The only other change of any importance was in
reference to the requirements for admission. Caesar's
Commentaries, Graeca Minora, and Cummins' Geog-
raphy were added to the list of them. With the excep-
tion of a rather indefinite scheme for occasional classes
in chemistry, law, and natural science, and a four-
years' course of theological lectures by the President,
which he did not find time to offer, there appears to
have been little change in the curriculum.
That the ordinary functions and processes of the
college should suffer in the interval of suspended hos-
tilities over the question of removal was inevitable.
As a matter of fact only one event of exceptional im-
portance occurred in the classrooms of 1815-21, and
that event the lectures of Amos Eaton (1799) on
Natural History was in a sense accidental. He had
been out of college eighteen years, and had devoted,
nominally at least, sixteen of them to the study and
practice of law. But after " struggling . . . against
difficulties almost ' insurmountable/ " 2 he aban-
doned his profession, removed to New Haven, and
put himself "under the direction of Professor Silli-
man in the year 1816. . . . Having received an invita-
tion to aid in the introduction of Natural Sciences at
Williams College in Mass. I commenced a course of
lectures at that institution in March 1817. ... Such
1 Records of the Trustees, September 5, 1815.
* Eaton, Index to the Geology of the Northern States, Second Edition,
WILLIAMSTOWN OR ELSEWHERE?
was the zeal at this institution that an uncontrollable
enthusiasm for Natural History took possession of
every mind; and other departments of learning were
for the time crowded out of College. The . . . author-
ities allowed twelve students each day (72 per week)
to devote their whole time to the collection of min-
erals, plants &c in lieu of all other exercises " 1 "I
have been told by students of that time," Albert Hop-
kins wrote, "that it would be difficult to conceive of
the enthusiasm which then prevailed in the pursuit
of science." 2
To prepare for the second course, which dealt with
the flora of the Northern States, the students no
publisher being willing to take the risk printed five
hundred copies of "A Manual of Botany," compiled
from the lecturer 's "manuscript system" an en-
terprise without precedent in the history of American
colleges. This "Manual" contained an enthusiastic
letter of appreciation addressed to Mr. Eaton and
signed by all the undergraduates with the exception
of one Sophomore and three Freshmen. 3
Amos Eaton devoted the years immediately suc-
ceeding his great successes at Williamstown to writing
books and to the lyceum platform. Of his numerous
series of lectures the course most talked about and
most important in practical results seems to have been
the one delivered before the Legislature of New York.
1 Eaton, Geological Text Book, Second Edition, 16.
2 Williams Quarterly, June, 1864, p. 261.
8 Ballard, Amos Eaton, 265. July 19, 1817, Mr. Tutor Charles Jen-
kins made the following entry in his Daily Notices, etc.: "Paid Prof.
Dewey $5.00 for Mr. Eaton, subscription to lectures on Natural His-
"In the winter of 1819, through the exertions of Dr.
Breck, seconded by Gov. Clinton ... I was employed
in giving a course of lectures on Geology and Chem-
istry with their applications to agriculture ... in the
rooms of the Society of Arts in the Capitol." 1 This
course of lectures awakened profound interest and
created in some large measure the sentiment that led
ultimately to the publication of "The Natural His-
tory of New York."
No one among the American pioneers in science
approached Amos Eaton in popular exposition, in
ability to awaken enthusiasm, whether he addressed
a country lyceum, the students of Williams College,
or the Senators and Representatives of the State of
New York. 2
The armistice in the war against Williamstown
came to an end in 1818. At a meeting of the Trustees
August 6, the Rev. Dr. Theophilus Packard intro-
duced a resolution to the effect that Williams College
be removed to Amherst and united with a projected
literary institution in that town. This unexpected
resolution created consternation among "the very
respectable men of Berkshire/' who had undertaken
to put the college upon its feet and thought they were
succeeding in the enterprise. "A fair contract,"
wrote one of them in 1818, "fully understood . . .
was entered into. . . . The most unequivocal evidence
is before the public that these efforts and sacrifices
were not in vain. The number of students was grad-
1 Eaton, Geological Note Book, Second Edition, 18.
2 From 1824 to 1842, the year of his death, Amos Eaton was " Senior
Professor" at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York.
WILLIAMSTOWN OR ELSEWHERE?
ually increasing, the reputation of the institution was
rising beyond the expectation of its most sanguine
friends . . . when the Amherst project burst upon the
college. " 1
Though President Moore favored the " Amherst
Project," the Trustees promptly rejected it. While
the rebuff scarcely pleased the Rev. Dr. Theophilus
Packard, he intimated that it was only an incident in
the campaign, regrettable, perhaps, but of no serious
importance, and that turned out to be the case. At a
special meeting of the Trustees November 10, a reso-
lution was adopted by a vote of nine to three 2 author-
izing the removal of the college from Williamstown
provided the Legislature should sanction the project
and sufficient funds be secured to finance it. This
resolution differed from the earlier one in leaving the
selection of the new site to a disinterested committee,
which was authorized "to view the towns of Hamp-
shire County and determine the place to which the
college shall be removed." 3
The Trustees shrewdly put this part of the business
into the hands of distinguished gentlemen who lent
dignity and importance to the transaction James
Kent, author of the famous "Commentaries on
American Law"; Nathaniel Smith, a judge of the
Supreme Court of Connecticut, and the Rev. Dr.
Seth Payson, of Rindge, New Hampshire.
At the November meeting two events occurred, no
1 "Plain Dealing," in Hampshire Gazette, November 10, 1818.
2 The Trustees who voted in the negative were Daniel Noble (1796),
of Williamstown, Israel Jones, of North Adams, and Levi Glezen
(1798), of Lenox.
8 Records of the Trustees, November 10, 1818.
record of which appears in the minutes of the Trus-
tees. One of them was the arrival of a committee
from Amherst with Noah Webster, the lexicographer,
for chairman. This committee wished to renew the
overtures which had been rather unceremoniously re-
jected in the preceding August, and especially to urge
serious consideration of the resolutions of a conven-
tion held at Amherst September 29 and attended by
delegates thirty-seven of them were clergymen
from many towns in the counties of Hampshire,
Franklin, and Hampden. And a single question only
came before the convention the question of es-
tablishing a college in Hampshire County. After an
exciting and prolonged debate the conclusion was
reached that such an institution should be estab-
lished in the town of Amherst. The other unre-
corded event was the presence of a committee ap-
pointed " at a meeting of a number of gentlemen from
various parts of Old Hampden ... in Northampton
on the twenty-second day of October" and directed
to collect such facts as might be helpful in the matter
of relocating Williams and to lay them before the
Trustees of that institution. 1 But neither Noah
Webster and his associates, nor the gentlemen from
Northampton, accomplished anything. What should
be done with the college, if it did not remain in Wil-
liamstown, was a question which James Kent, Na-
thaniel Swift, and Seth Payson would take under
advisement and in due time decide. Probably the
nine Trustees who advocated removal were divided
1 Hampshire Gazette, October 22, 1818. Franklin Herald, November
WILLIAMSTOWN OR ELSEWHERE?
the majority favoring Northampton. If we may trust
the evidence of a crude cartoon that some unknown
artist exhibited in Williamstown soon after the mem-
orable loth of November, President Moore and the
Rev. Dr. Theophilus Packard were partisans of Am-
herst. The cartoon attracted the attention of a casual
"As I was travelling not long since," he wrote, "in
the county of Berkshire], I called at a town in the
north part of the county, where I saw a very ingeni-
ous caricature painting. . . . On the canvas you have a
correct view of the college buildings. At one end . . .
a lazy-looking man in the dress of a clergyman, said to
represent Parson P[ackard] is mounted on a small, lean
pony . . . hitched to the building, whipping and spur-
ring the poor beast to draw. ... At a little distance is a
large, portly, smooth-faced gentleman in clerical dress
[President Moore] with apparently two faces, from one
of which goes a label pointing toward the Rev. Mr.
Pfackard] on which is written in capitals, 'Whip
up, Mr. P[ackard]. Now or Never.' From the other
face proceeds another label, pointing toward a small
collection of decent-looking people ... * I feel very
friendly to the college. I think our experiment will
"In the background . . . scarcely visible are one or
two sable-looking gentlemen . . . diligently at work
with crowbars, heaving at the building. In the fore-
front of the picture is seen a small squad of little fel-
lows with their faces toward A[mherst], each one with
a little sack. From the foremost proceeds a label . . .
' How far is it to A[mherst]? . . . Also a label from one
of the faces of the smooth-faced gentlemen, pointing
toward the squad of boys ... Be still and contented,
boys, the college will soon be at A[mherst].'" 1
This cartoon is probably the earliest in the reper-
toire of Williams undergraduates. Whatever may
be thought of its merits at the present day, some
contemporaries felt that the traveller ought not to
have sent an account of it to the newspapers. In their
opinion he showed bad taste, if he did not violate the
obligations of hospitality, by giving publicity to an
incident which one might laugh over in private, but
ought not to bruit abroad. 2
The dormant inter-town rivalry to secure the col-
lege now broke out afresh and with no loss of inten-
sity. Most of the previous competitors entered the
reawakened contest, and one community the town
of Greenfield that had been indifferent in 1815.
This newcomer easily outdid its rivals in hortatory
and oratorical fervor. "When we consider that the
future usefulness of such an institution . . . depends
in a great measure on being located in the right
place," it was urged, "and when we look at the several
places that have been proposed, and at the same time,
as far as in us lies, look with a single eye to the best
good of the present and all future generations, we
cannot avoid concluding that Greenfield is the most
available location for the college." 3 At a town-
meeting January 28, 1819, a committee of forty-one
members was appointed to raise funds a commit-
1 " A.B.," in Pittsfield Sun, December 30, 1818.
* " Decus," in Pittsfield Sun, June 20, 1819.
* Franklin Herald, January 12. 1819.
WILLIAMSTOWN OR ELSEWHERE?
tee representing not only Greenfield, but Deerfield,
Shelburne, Colerain, Leyden, Bernardston, Gill, and
Montague. This committee issued a second circular,
pitched on a higher rhetorical key than even the first
and addressed "To all who are in favor of having
Williams College located at Greenfield." "If you do
what you have the power, ability and opportunity of
doing," said these fluent promoters, "there is good
reason to expect that the college may be located
where you think it ought to be. ... If you suffer the
present opportunity to pass away unimproved, it is
very certain you will never have another. ... Be wise
for society be wise for yourselves, your children
and your children's children and all the people shall
say Amen." 1 In a few days the subscriptions
amounted to eight thousand dollars. If Greenfield
had secured the coveted "seminary of learning," the
name of it would have been changed to Washington
In the spring of 1819 the committee commissioned
"to view the towns of Hampshire County" set out on
their tour of investigation. Apparently they made a
careful survey of the field, visiting the competing
communities and listening to whatever statements
might be presented. Their report, stiff with the dialect
of legal phraseology, was as follows :
"To all to whom these presents shall come or may
concern Know Ye that we, the subscribers, having
by a resolution of the President and Trustees of Wil-
liams College been appointed a committee to view
1 Franklin Herald, February 2, 1819.
2 Thompson, History of Greenfield, I, 310.
the towns in the old County of Hampshire and Com-
monwealth of Massachusetts as far as might be
proper and to determine and fix the place to which the
said college should be removed, and having taken upon
ourselves the said trust . . . and having duly consid-
ered the subject Do determine and declare that the
place to which the said college ought to be removed
is the town of Northampton. ....,.-:/'**
June 22 the day after receiving the report
the Trustees issued an address to the public in which
they explained and defended their action. Williams-
town, they contended, with its inaccessibility, with
the lessening number of students, with the alarming
shrinkage of income, with the disastrous competition
lately sprung up in Vermont and New York, was an
impossible site, and the college must not be sacrificed
to the interests of that town. 2
Preliminaries having been settled, there was no
delay in beginning the contest. July 28, six days
after the report of Messrs. Kent, Smith, and Payson,
delegates from five counties Worcester, Franklin,
Hampden, Berkshire, and Hampshire met in con-
vention at Northampton to devise such measures as
might be necessary to secure the removal of the col-
lege to that town. President Moore attended the
gathering and was elected chairman. 3
Some delay occurred in holding the counter, pro-
Williamstown convention. It was not until the 6th of
October that it assembled at Pittsfield, passed appro-
1 Records of the Trustees, June 22, 1819.
2 Berkshire Star, July 29, 1819.
1 Hampshire Gazette, August 3, 1819.
WILLIAMSTOWN OR ELSEWHERE?
priate resolutions, and appointed a committee to fight
the Northampton scheme. This committee presently
published a belligerent pamphlet attacking the recent
manifesto of the Trustees.
In this second stage of the struggle it was now
Northampton versus Williamstown the campaign
of discrediting the latter as a practicable site for a
college was resumed. On that score, however, little re-
mained to be said the fields of abuse had been care-
fully gleaned. Perhaps one of the scoffers at the town
may have shown a trace of originality. He commis-
erated the lot of the Berkshire alumni unless some-
thing could be done for them. "They will find no
pleasure," he observed, "in years to come in replying
when asked the place of their education, 'There was
once a college called Williams . . . where I took my
degree/ ... It is unkind and unjust ... to permit its
name and its honors to be lost." 1 The most impor-
tant document, however, which the Trustees had in
hand, whatever may have been the value of friendly
communications in the newspapers, was a letter from
the late President Dwight, of Yale College, in which
he emphatically commended their plans. "At Wil-
liamstown," he said, "the college was put under a
One essential condition of removing the college to
Northampton was that .a fund of fifty thousand dol-
lars should be raised by citizens of that town to under-
1 Hampshire Gazette, August 10, 1819.
2 This letter was written June 23, 1815, and printed in the Hampshire
Gazette, January 5, 1819. "No man of the age," said the editor, " was
more competent to settle the question upon which he offered his opin-
write the enterprise. 1 November 2, 1819, the com-
mittee appointed to examine the subscriptions, having
made a favorable report, the Trustees voted that "it is
expedient to petition the legislature for the removal
of Williams College ... to Northampton." 2 Also,
President Moore was directed to sound the authori-
ties at Amherst in regard to the possibility of their
joining in the movement, but they would not listen to
January 17, 1820, the formal papers in the case
the petition of President Moore and nine Trustees,
the remonstrance of the three dissenting Trustees and
the town of Williamstown reached the Legislature
and were referred to a joint committee of the Senate
and House of Representatives. After holding pro-
tracted sessions and attending to "all that either
party had seen fit to offer," the committee concluded
that "it is neither lawful nor expedient" to remove
the college to Northampton. The discussion of their
report began in the Senate February 5, was resumed
on the 8th, and concluded with the adoption of it by a
vote of thirty to five. At least one vigorous and tell-
ing speech the pro- Williamstown speech of Josiah
Quincy enlivened the discussion. In the course of
a violent attack upon the nine Trustees who favored
removal, he drew a realistic picture of the local desola-
tion that would follow if they should succeed in their
campaign. "My honorable friend from Hampshire
[Mr. Lyman]," he said, "treated very lightly the
effects of removal. He forgot that though it might
1 Records of the Trustees, November 10, 1818.
* Ibid., November 2, 1819.
WILLIAMSTOWN OR ELSEWHERE?
be sport to Northampton it was death to Williams-
town. He spoke as though it were a simple agricul-
tural operation. . . . Then he told us what a soil that
of Northampton is, rich, strong . . . the delight of all
eyes, the desire of all hearts. The great rivers are
there and the great post-road. . . . The place was
adorned with all the beauties of Eden. . . . The only
thing lacking was a tree of knowledge. This they
asked permission to transplant. ... I then in imagi-
nation recrossed the mountains to look, if I may be
allowed the figure, at the hole out of which this great
tree was taken. I see its severed fibres, its shattered
roots, and the people of Williamstown sitting mourn-
ing . . . the pride of their plain gone!" l
The House referred the joint report to a committee
of the whole, which devoted three sessions to a con-
sideration of it. The contestants were fortunate in
their spokesmen Daniel Noble (1796) appearing
for Williamstown and Elijah Hunt Mills (1797) for
Northampton. To the reporter of the " Daily Adver-
tiser" - probably Nathan Hale (1804) the speech
of the former seemed " ingenious and impressive" and
that of the latter "very able and eloquent." 2 On the
last day of the hearing debate continued until eve-
ning, when the joint report was adopted by a vote of
one hundred and thirty-five against twenty-three.
The committee then arose and became the House of
Representatives, which after an ineffectual effort to
refer the question to the next Legislature, adopted the
report in concurrence with the Senate the final vote
1 MS., Williams College Library.
* Daily Advertiser, February 14, 1820.
being one hundred and twenty-seven in the affirma-
tive and twenty-four in the negative. 1
Various phases of the question were discussed in
the Boston newspapers during the progress of the de-
bate. The most important journalistic contribution
to the controversy was an anti-Williamstown edi-
torial, three columns and a half long, in the "Daily
Advertiser/' written by Nathan Hale (1804). "It is
with great reluctance," he said, speaking of the report
of the joint committee, "that we dissent, . . . and no
consideration but a sense of duty to the college would
induce us to offer any reasons for an opposite opin-
ion. . . . We enter upon the subject with the greater
freedom because from the rough experience of three
or four years* residence at the college in its present
position we feel competent to form a very decided opin-
ion." The village, he continued, is small, situated in
1 Journal of the House of Representatives. Columbian Centinel, Febru-
ary 16, 1820. While the struggle over the removal of Williams was in
progress the famous Dartmouth College litigation occurred. Here the
question turned upon the right of the Legislature to revoke the charter
of the college, notwithstanding the protests of the Trustees, and trans-
fer its funds to another institution, Dartmouth University. The Su-
preme Court of New Hampshire, at the November term, 1817, de-
cided against the Trustees, who carried the case to the Supreme Court
of the United States, which, in a decision rendered February 2, 1819,
reversed the finding of the State Court. The argument of Daniel
Webster, as everybody knows, won the case for the Trustees. Some
recently discovered correspondence shows a lurking fear in their minds
that he, single-handed, might not be equal to the emergencies of the
case! "We expect Mr. Webster to take charge of the action," wrote
President Francis Brown, of Dartmouth, November 15, 1817, to Presi-
dent Kirkland, of Harvard, " and should feel perfectly safe to entrust
it wholly to his management. But possibly he may request an associate,
or not improbably it may be thought expedient by our friends and board
that another able lawyer should join him." (Charles Warren, American
Law Review, September-October, 1912.
WILLIAMSTOWN OR ELSEWHERE?
a community of farmers "in a remote and thinly
populated corner of the State and near to a slightly
populated part of two neighboring States. . . . Within
the distance of fifteen miles . . . there is but one
settled minister ... of liberal education." In regard
to a single point Nathan Hale hesitated "whether
the college should not be allowed to die a lingering
death where it is?" Removal seemed to him the
only alternative, unless "some extraordinary aid,
which we have no reason to hope for," 1 should in-
The people of Williamstown won the fight, though
at a heavy cost. In order to show their faith by their
works and to put the college upon a better finan-
cial basis, they raised funds for it to the amount of
$18,186.15 2 under the circumstances a very large
sum. The leading spirit in their successful campaign
the man whose genius as organizer, pamphleteer,
and public speaker saved the day was their towns-
man, Daniel Noble, of the class of 1796. He died at
Portland, Maine, whither he had gone on business for
the college, November 22, 1830. The next morning,
at the opening of the session of the Supreme Court,
a member of the local bar, who "for nearly twenty
years . . . had the pleasure of his acquaintance and
friendship," announced his death in an appreciative
address. 3 The Trustees in their record of it said that
he had been "of vast service to the college," and
1 Daily Advertiser, February 4, 1820.
2 Trustees' Gift Book. Remarks on a Pamphlet of Citizens of Berk-
9 American Advocate, December 8, 1830.
should be "held in grateful and affectionate remem-
Anticipating an easy and certain victory, the col-
lapse of their campaign at Boston threw the Rev. Dr.
Theophilus Packard and his confederates into a very
sour mood. They denounced the report of the com-
mittee, which the Legislature adopted, as partisan
in its statements, fallacious in its logic, and calami-
tous in its consequences. 2 The situation was decid-
edly awkward. "We hear the enquiry often made/'
wrote the editor of the "Hampshire Gazette," "what
course will the trustees take? . . . We think there can
be no doubt about it. At present they are under the
censure . . . either of gross ignorance of the law and
constitution or a wanton attempt to violate both . . .
are under a strong and sacred obligation to procure a
reversal of the attainder which has been passed upon
them." 3 They attempted nothing of the sort. Not
one of them was in any hurry to offer his resignation
a much simpler and more practicable matter. Even
the Rev. Dr. Theophilus Packard remained in office
In those confused and uncertain days, considerable
division of opinion prevailed among the undergradu-
ates. Some of them were in sympathy with the pro-
posed removal, some opposed to it, and others unde-
cided. When it was determined that the college
should remain in Williamstown the excitement sub-
sided, and the crisis seemed to have been safely
1 Records of the Trustees, September 7, 1831.
2 Hampshire Gazette, August 24, 1819. ' Ibid., February 15, 1820.
WILLIAMSTOWN OR ELSEWHERE?
The period of quietude and recovery came to an
abrupt close. At morning prayers, early in the sum-
mer of 1821, President Moore announced that he had
received and accepted an offer of the presidency of the
Amherst Collegiate Institute. 1 This communication,
which was presented to the Trustees at their meeting
July 17, "fell upon the students like a thunderbolt." 2
There were about eighty in the institution, and at
least half of them proposed to leave Williams and go
to Amherst. Alarmed by the critical state of affairs
the Trustees immediately elected Professor Thomas
Macauley, of Union College, successor to President
Moore, and issued a reassuring address to the public.
And one of their number, the Rev. Dr. Alvan Hyde,
of Lee, calling a meeting of the students, urged them
to cooperate with the Trustees in their efforts to re-
habilitate the institution. All these activities the
address to the public, the prompt election of a new
President, and Dr. Hyde's conference with the under-
graduates occurred at the Senior examination, six
weeks before Commencement. For a time the tonic of
this stir was effective and a moderate degree of cheer-
fulness prevailed on the campus. But the hopeful
mood soon passed. Professor Macauley came to Wil-
liamstown, looked about, and concluded to remain at
Union. Then the Trustees asked Professor Chauncey
A. Goodrich, of Yale, to undertake the presidency,
and he declined. It seems that both of these gentle-
men were elected without being consulted. This
happy-go-lucky policy, which provoked a good deal
1 President Moore's letter of acceptance is dated June 12, 1821.
2 Cooke, Recollections, 35.
of criticism, was abandoned in the third quest for a
President, when there were no premature announce-
ments. At a special meeting of the Trustees, one of
their number, Thaddeus Pomeroy, of Stockbridge,
happened to mention the name of the Rev. Dr. Ed-
ward Dorr Griffin, of Newark, New Jersey. Catching
at the suggestion, they instantly sent him to visit
Dr. Griffin and offer him the presidency of the college.
Pomeroy conducted his mission so quietly that nobody
got wind of it.
Meanwhile, alarming signs of panic reappeared
among the students. It soon began to look such
was the despondency that set in as if Commence-
ment exercises must be abandoned. At this crisis the
Seniors called a class meeting to discuss the situation
and to settle the matter definitely. It was settled, and
by two of their number, Emerson Davis and Eras-
tus Cornelius Benedict, who declared that, rather
than allow the anniversary to fail, they would perform
their own parts and also those of their classmates. 1
These two young men saved the Commencement of
1821, which, in spite of all discouraging antecedents,
passed off creditably. President Moore presided with
grace and dignity, and a newspaper reporter thought
that the literary exercises had "on no occasion been
surpassed in excellence." 2
Out of the turmoil and confusion there arose one
new organization, suggested by a recent graduate,
Emory Washburn The Society of Alumni, "for the
promotion of literature and good fellowship among
1 Wells and Davis, Sketches of Williams College, 31.
2 Vermont Gazette, September 13, 1821.
WILLIAMSTOWN OR ELSEWHERE?
ourselves and the better to advance the reputation
and interest of our Alma Mater." 1 These expecta-
tions have been fully realized, the innovation proving
so successful that the whole college world presently
Some graduates during this brief and stormy ad-
ministration were well known in their day. Two of
them, members of the class of 1818, Ebenezer Em-
mons and William Augustus Porter, became profes-
sors in the college. Another member of that class was
Daniel Dewey Barnard, accomplished scholar, lawyer
of the first rank, member of the Legislature of New
York and of the National House of Representatives,
Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States at
Berlin, and friend of Alexander von Humboldt.
Emory Washburn, who graduated a year earlier,
was the last Whig Governor of Massachusetts, his
election occurring in 1854, 3 us t before the Know-
Nothing craze confounded all the old political parties.
Nominated "without his knowledge or anticipation
while . . . absent in Europe," he first learned what
had happened "as the steamer touched at Halifax." 2
When the Civil War broke out he was then Bussey
Professor of Law at Harvard and more than threescore
years old he joined a company of volunteers and
"cheerfully bore the fatigue and burden ... of mili-
tary drill." 3
Three prominent alumni of the period came from a
private classical school in the little village of Plain-
field. A year after his settlement there in 1792 as
1 Records of the Society of Alumni. Berkshire Star, August 25, 1821.
8 Mass. His. Society, Proceedings, xvn, 26. 3 Ibid., xvu, 30.
pastor of the Congregational Church, the Rev. Moses
Hallock, finding his salary inadequate, established
this school, maintained it until 1824, and prepared for
college one hundred and thirty- two young men, of
whom fifty became clergymen. 1 It was the only
school that could by any possibility be called a
"feeder" to the college. In 1815 two of his own sons
entered the Freshman class. The elder, William
Allen Hallock, valedictorian, became the correspond-
ing secretary of the American Tract Society, held that
office nearly half a century, read all the multitudi-
nous manuscripts submitted for publication, edited
the " Messenger " and the "Child's Paper," and occa-
sionally wrote books, one of which the "Life of
Harlan Page" had a large circulation.
The younger brother, Gerard, not only took a high
rank as a scholar, though he fitted for college in seven
months, but had the unique distinction of being
assigned a poem on the Commencement programme
of 1819. Yet it was as an editor rather than as a
maker of verse that he won distinction. For thirty-
three years from 1828 to 1861 he conducted the
"New York Journal of Commerce" and made it the
leading financial organ of the country. This long and
distinguished newspaper career, quite as noteworthy
in its way as that of his better known contemporaries,
Horace Greeley and James Gordon Bennett, came to
a sudden and involuntary close. A conservative,
fully persuaded that Civil War meant disunion, he
1 Yale, Life of Rev. Moses Hallock, 312. Dyer, History of Plainfield,
36. Old John Brown and William Cullen Bryant were pupils in the
WILLIAMSTOWN OR ELSEWHERE?
deplored coercive measures, at least until the re-
sources of diplomacy had been exhausted. " Why not
negotiate," he asked, though Fort Sumter had been
fired upon, "and fight if we must afterwards?" Talk
of this sort exasperated the public which was in no
mood for compromise. A grand jury presented the
"Journal," and the Postmaster-General excluded it
from the mails. Though he had never been disloyal in
word or deed, nothing remained for Gerard Hallock
but to retire from the editorship. "He could surren-
der his property but not his principles." x
Jonas King, whose struggles for an education as
well as his later history were exceptional, belongs to
this time. A farmer's son, born in Hawley, a little hill
town adjoining Plainfield in Western Massachusetts,
he "learned English grammar while hoeing corn, read
the twelve books of Virgil's ALneid in fifty-eight days
and the New Testament in six weeks." 2 Though
these inadequate days and weeks were supplemented
by a brief attendance at Moses Hallock's school, the
period of preparation for college was short and inter-
mittent. With this very informal preparation he visited
Williamstown and called upon President Fitch, who
asked him how long he had been studying and how
much Latin and Greek he had read. "I told him
frankly and he shook his head, saying he could give
me no encouragement of entering before another
year. ... I went out from his presence with a heavy
heart, but thought I would use one effort more; that
was to call on the tutors and hear what they would
say to me. I found two of them together. . . . One
1 Life of Gerard Hallock, 37. * Jonas King, Missionary, 21.
replied very shortly that it was out of all question to
think of entering and left the room. I then asked the
other if I could not be admitted for a while on proba-
tion. . . . Mr. E[merson] (the tutor) looked at me with
attention and then demanded if I had been studying
with the Rev. Mr. Wood of Halifax. I replied that I
had. 'If/ said he, 'you are the same young man of
whom I have heard him speak, I will guarantee that
you will be admitted before the close of the year.
Come on, and I will speak to the president in your
behalf.' This was like the dawn of morning to a night-
worn and weather-beaten sailor. ... I returned home
with a light and gladsome heart, packed up my books
and clothes which I had left there, and having re-
ceived the prayers and benedictions of my parents, set
out a second time for Williamstown. It was if I recol-
lect rightly some time in March (1812). A thaw had
taken place, the snow was rapidly melting, the roads
were filled with water and mud, which rendered it
extremely unpleasant and wearisome travelling. It
began moreover to rain, but at length I saw the lights
of the lamp of science beaming faintly on me through
the intervening darkness . . . and I marched on with
a quicker step and at about eleven o'clock reached an
inn near the college. The next day I began to reside
within the walls and was permitted to recite with the
members of the Freshman class who entered college
some time before I had read a single word of the Greek
Testament or Graeca Minora. 'Hie labor, hoc opus
fuit.' I was obliged to study night and day, to read
for the first time long lessons which they were review-
ing. Two hundred lines of the Georgics, seven or
WILLIAMSTOWN OR ELSEWHERE?
eight sections of Cicero's Orations, together with a
portion of the Graeca Minora, was a Herculean task
for one day. It often seemed to me that my head
would be crazed, or that I would sink into the earth
under the burden laid upon me." Neither of these
calamities happened. At the end of two months he
passed successfully a public examination and was ad-
mitted without conditions to the Freshman class.
The struggle continued through Sophomore year
and with such severity that King spent nine months of
it in teaching. "My college classmates used some-
times to rally me a little, saying I was a singular
genius to keep up with them and yet be absent con-
Junior year, though overshadowed at times by sea-
sons of religious despondency, was on the whole a
period of intellectual exaltation. " My mind was in a
state of perpetual enchantment. I felt as if I had en-
tered upon a new state of existence; that I had come
out of darkness into marvelous light. What I had
learned before seemed only as a pebble on the shore."
"In September, 1816," the Journals continue, "I
received my Bachelor's degree and a few weeks after
settled all my bills. Sophomore year I had received
from a friend twenty dollars; Junior year about the
same. Senior year sixty and fifty more from the Edu-
cation Society. In two instances I had received from
private friends about one dollar and a half or two
dollars, not more. This was all the aid I ever re-
ceived from the time I left my father's house till I
left college. I had furnished myself . . . with books,
clothing, board, everything except a suit of clothes
which my parents gave me at the age of twenty-one,
which was called my freedom suit. When I had stud-
ied one book, I sold that to purchase another, and at
the close sold all I had left to bear my part of the ex-
penses at Commencement.' 1 1
The latter career of Jonas King did not belie the
promise of his college days. Five languages he could
speak and had a working knowledge of six more. 2 He
wrote Greek, Arabic, and French as well as English
books. In 1867 he addressed the Evangelical Society
at Paris for nearly an hour in French, and his fluency of
diction, his mastery of accent and idiom are said to
have astonished the audience. Then he was no less
a man of affairs than of languages. He gave forty-one
years of unstinted missionary service to Greece, and
the opposition he encountered affords conclusive evi-
dence of its importance and power. The Areopagus
and Holy Synod attempted to drive him out of the
country. They ultimately failed, but it was not in
consequence of any lack of effort. One of their agents
wrote Dr. King an interesting personal letter. " I am
determined ... to pursue you through the whole
world under the sun," this thorough-paced hench-
man announced, "to set forth ... of what an utterly
wicked and devilish spirit you are." 3 The rage and
persecution gradually subsided and his last days were
relatively untroubled. " We heard a sermon from him
in Greek," said Professor Jacobus, of Allegheny Theo-
logical Seminary, writing from Athens in the spring
1 Jonas King, Missionary, 27-32.
2 Jessup, Fifty-three Years in Syria, I, 41.
1 New York Observer, May 22, 1861.
WILLIAMSTOWN OR ELSEWHERE?
of 1851, "and the noble language of Plato and De-
mosthenes, though modernized, had a new charm and
That Zephaniah Moore should not have lingered in
Williamstown is hardly surprising. On the morning
after Commencement, accompanied by his zealous
friend and ally, the Rev. Dr. Theophilus Packard, he
started on horseback over Hoosac Mountain for Am-
herst, where eleven days later "the Ceremonies of
Dedication and the Inauguration of officers of the
Collegiate Institute " 2 took place. A man of intellec-
tual parts and personal charm, an efficient executive
withal, he lacked only one thing as President of the
Berkshire institution confidence in its future.
1 New York Observer, July 17, 1851.
2 Williams made large contributions to the Institute, furnishing it
with a president, a professor, Gamaliel S. Olds, and fifteen under-
graduates in a total of forty-seven. Besides, a Williams alumnus the
Rev. Dr. Aaron W. Leland, of Charleston, South Carolina preached
the inaugural sermon. (Ford, Notes on the Life of Noah Webster, n, 503.)
A SECOND AND GREATER CRISIS
AN event not announced on the programme occurred
during the Commencement exercises September 7,
1821, the appearance of a stranger in the little
group of Trustees upon the platform, "a person about
fifty years of age, of most commanding figure and
presence." 1 This magnificent stranger was the Rev.
Dr. Edward Dorr Griffin, whom Thaddeus Pomeroy
had persuaded to visit Williamstown. Favorably im-
pressed by what he saw and heard, he accepted the
presidency of the college greatly to the relief of the
Trustees and to the surprise of the public.
A native of East Haddam, Connecticut, born
January 6, 1770, and a farmer's son, the successor of
Ebenezer Swift Moore graduated at New Haven in the
class of 1790. He was a scholar of high rank and
author of the comedy presented by the Linonian So-
ciety in I789. 2 Studying theology with the younger
Edwards, he entered upon his ministerial novitiate
June 4, 1795, at New Hartford, Connecticut. After six
years of successful service he accepted a call to the
First Presbyterian Church at Newark, New Jersey,
where his congregation is said to have been one of
the largest and most respectable in the United States. 3
This pastorate lasted until 1 809, a period of eight years,
1 Cooke, Recollections, 38. 2 Kingsley, Yale College, n, 315.
8 Sprague, Annals, iv, 29.
EDWARD DORR GRIFFIN
A SECOND AND GREATER CRISIS
when he accepted the chair of Pulpit Eloquence in
Andover Theological Seminary. He had scarcely
begun his work there when Park Street Church, Bos-
ton, recently founded in the interest of orthodox the-
ology, which the popularity of liberal preachers like
Buckminster and Channing had put somewhat on the
defensive, began to solicit him to undertake its pastor-
ate. This he finally consented to do, resigned the pro-
fessorship, and was installed as the first minister of the
church, July 31,1811. In his pastorate of three years
and nine months, whatever else may have been ac-
complished, he failed to restore Calvinism to its lost
seat of authority.
When Dr. Griffin left Andover and reentered the
ministry he did not, as it turned out, wholly sever his
connection with the educational world. "I have
lately become one of the overseers of Cambridge
College," he wrote the Rev. James Richards, May 2,
1812. "About the time of my coming here the So-
cinians got a law passed ... to disfranchise the six
towns 1 whose ministers were ex officio members of the
Board. . . . Last winter the Democratic Assembly re-
pealed the law . . . and Mr. Thacher and I rode in on
their shoulders." 2
But this academic episode contributed little to Dr.
Griffin 's happiness. The tone of satisfaction which
pervades his letter to the Rev. Mr. Richards is
wholly wanting in one to the Rev. Parsons Cooke
(1822) written after the lapse of sixteen years. In
1 The six towns were Cambridge, Watertown, Boston, Charlestown,
Dorchester, and Roxbury.
2 Sprague, Sermons by the late E. D. Griffin, D.D., I, 126.
this second letter he gives an account of his brief
experiences as a member of the Harvard Governing
Boards. It seems that notwithstanding the action of
the Democratic Assembly the secretary of the Board
of Overseers neglected to send him notices of meet-
ings. He waited two years and then it was at the
Commencement of 1813 ventured to attend one
of them. His unexpected advent made a commotion
and a committee was appointed to examine his "pre-
tentions." The committee could not agree on a re-
port and the Board appointed a day to hear Dr.
Griffin in his own behalf. He appeared before it at
the State House and spoke an hour spoke trium-
phantly, he thought. But his eloquence proved un-
availing. A bill was "slipped" through the Legisla-
ture "to alter the constitution of the Board, retaining
all the existing members except myself." l
Though the academic year began in October, Presi-
dent Griffin, detained at Albany by serious and pro-
tracted illness in his family, was not inducted into
office until the I4th of November. 2 On the day of
inauguration, "dark, chilly, rainy ... a handful of
students forty-eight all told . . . gathered with a few
townspeople into what was then one of the largest
and dreariest of country meeting-houses." 3 And
President Griffin's address did not show him at his
best. He regretted that the distractions of domestic
anxieties had made careful and elaborate preparation
for the occasion impossible. The most interesting part
of the discourse is the statement of the reasons which
1 Griffin, MS. letter, November 24, 1826, in Williams College Library.
* Albany Gazette, November 2, 1821. 3 Cooke, Recollections, 47.
A SECOND AND GREATER CRISIS
led him to venture into the wilderness and assume the
management of an institution whose "only chance of
life stood in the reputation of its president/ 1 l We
have no reason to believe that he would have under-
taken the desperate enterprise of rehabilitating the
Berkshire college had it not been for his fervid, half-
romantic interest in Samuel John Mills and the hay-
stack prayer meeting. 2
The depression which clouded the inauguration
soon passed and a season of fair weather began. Ap-
parently the tide had turned the registration of
students rising from eighty-four in November, 1822,
to one hundred and eighteen in October, 1823, an
increase of forty per cent. But the early sunshine
days were brief. Scarcely more than a year elapsed
when the Amherst Institute sent a petition to the
Legislature asking for a college charter. The Williams
Trustees took instant alarm and drew up a protest to
the effect that a second college in Western Massachu-
setts would destroy the one already established. 3 They
disclaimed all personal feeling on the subject. With
a single exception they were not residents of Williams-
town. To them the location of the college was a mat-
ter of indifference, but it should have the support of
the whole neighboring section of the Commonwealth. 4
Harvard and Brown as well as Williams opposed
the charter and succeeded in blocking it for upwards
of two years. The slow-paced controversy did not
1 Cooke, Recolkctions, 44.
2 Griffin, MS. discourse, in Williams College Library. Cox, New
York Evangelist, August 21, 1856.
8 Records of the Trustees, November 19, 1822.
4 Mass. Archives, Memorial of the Trustees of Williams College.
enter upon its final stages until the loth of June, 1824,
when a committee of investigation began hearings at
Amherst, continued them a fortnight, then recom-
mended that the charter should be granted and the
Legislature adopted their report.
Upon one point the Williams Trustees and the leg-
islative committee agreed Western Massachusetts
could not adequately support two colleges. The latter
hoped and believed that at some future and happier
period, when present controversies had been forgotten,
they would be united and in the town of Amherst.
For this reason the committee advised and the
suggestion pleased the Legislature that a section
should be incorporated in the charter providing for
the ultimate union of the colleges. 1 Nor was the senti-
ment exactly a passing legislative mood. In 1827
Amherst and Williams both solicited grants of money
from the State and failed to get them. The committee
which had the business in charge included in its report
a vigorous protest against the two-college folly. 2
In Williamstown the Amherst charter created a
panic which, said President Griffin, " seized the public
mind and extended to the college. About thirty took
dismissions in the spring and summer; and at com-
mencement a class came in of seven. . . . Our number
sunk from 120 to 80. ... The heavens were covered
with blackness; and during the awful syncope that
succeeded in vacation, we often looked up and in-
quired l Is this death?'"*
1 Mass. Archives, Report of the Committee, January 8, 1825.
* Ibid., February 19, 1827.
8 Griffin, Sermon at the Dedication of the New Chapel, 27, 28. Am-
A SECOND AND GREATER CRISIS
The college and its fortunes had, indeed, come to a
desperate pass students "taking dismissions," the
faculty showing ominous signs of disintegration, and
a legislative committee recommending a union with
Amherst. President Griffin perceived that the chief
source of trouble lay in the persistent talk about
removal and that something must be done to stop it.
He thought that if twenty-five thousand dollars
should be raised a new professorship established
and a new building added to the campus the mis-
chievous talk would cease.
All the plans and hopes would probably have failed
had it not been for the intervention of an ex-
traordinary, perhaps we may say unexpected, event.
Soon after the opening of the college year in the
autumn of 1825, when conditions seemed at the worst,
a great religious awakening began. For a considerable
period it pushed aside every other interest and dom-
inated the community. Even the exercises of the lit-
erary societies were opened and concluded with
prayer. Under the date of December 7, 1825, an un-
wonted paragraph appears in the Philotechnian
"Owing to the high state of religious feeling in Col-
lege, several were excused from fulfilling their appoint-
ments. As it is from the Almighty that we receive the
mental powers by which we are enabled to pursue
science and literature . . . the secretaiy does not deem
it out of place to record here the humble acknowledge-
ments that are due to God for the glorious displays of
herst opened in the autumn of 1825 with a registration of one hun-
dred and fifty-two students.
divine grace and mercy which he is now manifesting
among us. ... When all learning shall be of no ac-
count; when all that genius and art have done shall
decay, and this society be numbered among the vast
assemblage . . . around the judgment seat of the great
Eternal, then shall we view the scenes which are now
here exhibiting with unspeakable interest then
shall we render higher ascriptions of praise to God."
This revival, in which about seventy of the eighty
students enrolled were converted, saved the college
saved it by the faith and hope imparted to the only
man in the world who could have raised the twenty-
five thousand dollars. To secure at that time and in
the depressed financial condition of the country so
large a sum for an institution, generally thought to
be misplaced and "struggling in the agonies of
death/' 1 was an almost hopeless task. President
Griffin undertook the task and accomplished it. But
he declared in the most emphatic manner that with-
out the push and inspiration of the revival he " could
never have been wrought up to so mighty a work/'
Had it not inspired him with "a sweet and sustaining
confidence" he would have turned back a hundred
times during the progress of the money-raising cam-
The twenty-five thousand dollars were secured,
and the Trustees at their meeting December 5, 1826,
appropriated fifteen thousand dollars to endow a
professorship of Rhetoric and Moral Philosophy and
"the remainder (if so much be necessary) to the
1 Griffin, Sermon at the Dedication of the New Chapel, 31.
* Ibid., 30.
A SECOND AND GREATER CRISIS
building of a chapel." l It is evident from an advertise-
ment of the contractors which appeared in the local
newspaper that this remainder did not consist wholly
of money; as they requested all who had made sub-
scriptions in timber, plank, and boards to deliver
them by the 1st of June. 2
The Trustees appointed the President, Dr. Lyndon
A. Smith, and Daniel Noble a building committee,
who carried forward the work with so much energy
that the corner-stone was laid June 27. On that inter-
esting occasion Dr. Griffin "made a short but very
eloquent address ... in which he remarked that the
permanence of the college might, from the erection of
another edifice, be considered as established beyond
a doubt." He hoped that "the foundation of the
building would remain unmoved until the last con-
vulsion of nature." 3 In the corner-stone a box was
placed containing the names of the Trustees, the fac-
ulty, and the students, together with those of the
architect, the carpenters, and the building committee.
President Griffin said that "he sent the names down
to posterity and if they should not be brought to light
till the final consummation of all things he hoped
they might be found registered in the Book of
The new chapel, now called Griffin Hall, beautiful
in the harmony of its proportions, exhibiting all the
"sweet symplicity" which Carlyle said distinguishes
the architecture of Sir Christopher Wren, was dedi-
1 Records of the Trustees, December 5, 1826.
1 American Advocate, April 24, 1827.
1 Ibid., July 4, 1827. 4 Ibid.
cated September 2, 1828.* It was the end of an era
a despondent era of debate and uncertainty. To all
arguments of sceptics a practical and conclusive an-
swer had now been made. The victorious energy
which built the chapel and endowed the professorship
would be able to cope with the emergencies of the
future. As for the chapel it was financially, architec-
turally, and in all other respects the creation of the
man whose name it now bears. "If you knew how
much has come upon me," he wrote, regretting his
inability to speak at the anniversary of the Education
Society, "in consequence of building the new chapel
(the direction of everything in doors and out) in addi-
tion to my other cares you would not wonder at my
A noticeable group of men came into the faculty
during the third administration William Augustus
Porter (1818), Ebenezer Emmons (1818), Mark
Hopkins (1824), Albert Hopkins (1826), Joseph Alden
(Union 1829), and Edward Lasell (1828). These men
all continued in the service of the college long after
the date of President Griffin, with a single exception.
1 In 1904 Griffin Hall was moved a few rods northeast from its orig-
inal position to bring it into line with Thompson Memorial Chapel,
and the Trustees caused a tablet to be placed upon the walls with the
1828 Griffin Hall 1904
A monument to the faith and skill of
President Edward Dorr Griffin
Moved, reconstructed, and furnished
as a tribute to his Alma Mater by
Francis Lynde Stetson
of the class of 1867
* Griffin, MS. letter, November 12, 1828.
A SECOND AND GREATER CRISIS
Professor Porter, elected to the chair of Ancient
Languages in 1826, and transferred the next year to
that of Rhetoric and Moral Philosophy, died April 2,
1830, greatly lamented by his colleagues and the
whole community. 1
In 1827 the teaching staff suffered serious loss in
the resignation of Chester Dewey an event which
drew from the Trustees a colorless and inadequate
resolution, thanking him for his "long, faithful, and
laborious service." It had been all that and a great
deal more. By his energy and scientific aptitude, by
his ability to get the most out of a meagre, primitive
apparatus, 2 and by his effective gifts of speech he
made natural science a prominent feature in the intel-
lectual life of the college during the seventeen years
of his professorship. Whether fully appreciated at
Williamstown or not, he was rated in Europe and
America as the highest authority on sedges.
In the curriculum no important or unusual changes
occurred. The Catalogue of 1822-23 announced
courses for graduate students, but they appear to
have been discontinued at the end of the year. Though
the chair of Political Economy was not established
until 1836, lectures on the subject began in i827. 3
Another and passing innovation also belongs to that
year " extra-mural " instruction in Spanish by a Mr.
Casas, whoever he may have been. The only informa-
1 American Advocate, April 7, 1830.
2 Blackboards were not known in any college course, Professor
Dewey drew his illustrations and worked his problems with chalk on the
floor of the recitation room." (William Hyde (1826), in the Athenceum,
May 21, 1881.)
3 Records of the Trustees, September 5, 1827.
tion available about the matter is a paragraph in the
local newspaper. "On Monday last/' wrote the re-
porter, " the Spanish class in Williams College was ex-
amined before the faculty." l During the last year of
the third administration the year 1835-36 there
were two events of some importance which directly or
indirectly affected the curriculum. One of them was
the establishing of a chair of Latin which previously
had been included in that of the Ancient Languages.
The other was the reorganization of the society now
called the Lyceum of Natural History. It seems to
have had two earlier names, the Linnaean Society
and Phi Beta Theta, but the records have been lost
and our knowledge of them is mostly conjectural. Not
content with local work, in this year of reorganization
the society sent an expedition to Nova Scotia for
scientific purposes, which was the first enterprise of
the sort undertaken by any American college. The
party, consisting of three members of the faculty,
Professor Albert Hopkins, Dr. Emmons, and Mr.
Tutor Calhoun, fifteen undergraduates, and "one
or two young men of liberal curiosity," 2 sailed from
Boston August 25, and had considerable success in
making collections for the museum.
What of Williams students in the fifteen years of
the third administration? According to the Rev. Dr.
Prime, a prominent graduate of the class of 1829, the
reputation of the institution as the seat of a vigorous
revivalism had unexpected consequences. "At that
time," he said, speaking of conditions in 1826-29,
1 American Advocate, August 2, 1827.
2 American Traveller, November 13, 17, 20, 1835.
A SECOND AND GREATER CRISIS
" there were in the lower classes of the college some of
the wickedest youth I ever knew. . . . Parents who
had profligate sons sent them here that they might
come under the power of divine grace." 1 And Dr.
Prime's statement seems to be confirmed by Albert
Hopkins, who deplored the lawless, in some cases
sacrilegious undergraduate activities, which preceded,
and after no very long interval followed, the great
revival of i825. 2
The vicious young men, sent to Williamstown as a
promising reformatory, found themselves in a com-
munity where religious services abounded. From the
opening of the college year until the 1st of May the
day began with prayers in the chapel, "at sunrise or a
little before." 3 Vespers came late in the afternoon
the faculty, dissatisfied for some unknown reason
with the existing schedule, voted in November, 1831,
that they " should begin exactly at sundown." 4 On
Sunday there were religious services morning, after-
noon, and evening, with attendance required at the
first two. How the experiment turned out, what
effect life at Williams had upon those "wickedest
youth," Dr. Prime fails to tell us.
We are not to suppose that prayer meetings and
revivals supplanted the ordinary machineries of disci-
pline, though President Griffin was not particularly
skilful or successful in managing these machineries.
On the contrary, except in periods of revival, they
were in active operation. Some rather serious offences
1 Prime, Autobiography and Memorials, 167.
1 Durfee, History of Williams College, 224-25.
8 President Griffin, MS. Notebook, 1827.
4 Records of the Faculty, 1821-36.
are noted in the meagre records of the faculty such
as desecrations of the chapel, assaults upon the houses
of professors and upon a "citizen of the town,"
" offering personal violence and great indignity to a
fellow-student" and "setting fire to a college build-
ing." For these graver offences summary expulsion
was the penalty. Other and lesser misdeeds were ex-
piated by suspension, rustication, confession in the
chapel, or "a solemn talk" with members of the fac-
ulty. One young man who declined to answer ques-
tions "concerning some late riotous proceedings in
college was directed to go home to-morrow." An
enterprising fellow who "took spirits from Professor
Kellogg's room . . . where it had been placed by the
professor himself," got off with nothing worse than a
public admonition. For the great majority of trans-
gressions, however, fines were still the favorite penalty. 1
Occasionally a student, who had been disciplined,
retaliated. There was an astonishing instance of
counter-attack in the case of Alexander Hanson
Strong. His misfortunes began with participation
in "a riot," which was followed by an unusual see-
saw of experiences rustication and pardon, then
expulsion and a second pardon. At the conclusion of
this unhappy series of events, the young man, who
denied most of the charges against him, returned to
college, "with a bitterness that never lost the sweet-
ness of its gall," and patiently awaited an opportu-
nity for redressing his heavy wrongs and exposing ' ' the
drivelling subterfuges of the faculty." 2 That oppor-
1 Records of the Faculty, 1821-36, passim.
2 Strong, The Expelled, An Oration, Second Edition, 1843.
A SECOND AND GREATER CRISIS
tunity came at the exhibition of the Adelphic Union
July 15, 1835, when he delivered the valedictory
oration and assailed the faculty with a sophomoric
fury. He declared that the institution, piloted by
superannuated bigotry, was driving straight upon the
rocks, and regretted that he could not tarry to witness
the approaching catastrophe. " Most gladly," he an-
nounced, "would I remain to hear the last groans
of its dividing timbers," but circumstances compelled
him to forego that satisfaction.
Two editions of the oration were printed, the first
of them appearing in 1835, the second in 1843. The
latter contained a note to the effect that conditions
at Williamstown had radically changed for the better
and that the college was then to be applauded rather
than "cursed out." *
Though some undergraduates in the second and
third decades of the last century may have been sent
to Williamstown as a moral sanitarium, the great ma-
jority were clean, earnest, studious fellows, who got
their education at the cost of no little resolution and
self-denial. Nor should the fact be overlooked that
in spite of all the distractions of the period they made
a creditable intellectual record. As in the case of their
1 None of the contemporary newspapers mentioned this event in
their accounts of the Commencement of 1835. According to traditions
in the Strong family the young man did not finish his oration, but was
removed from the platform vi et armis by the faculty. That may have
been a reason for its immediate publication.
The trouble is said to have grown out of disturbances in a village
prayer meeting which was broken up one evening by a volley of pickles,
some of them quite soft, wickedly fired through an open window at the
officiating clergyman. Though Strong denied any participation in the
affair, the faculty brought him to book for it. He was a fine, sensitive,
high-strung, brilliant fellow sadly mismanaged.
predecessors the "minutes" of the debating societies
exhibit an interesting phase of it. The members of
these societies discussed political, Biblical, and philo-
sophical questions, though not to the exclusion of per-
sonal and local matters, and reached some rather
unexpected conclusions; such as, Christianity has been
unfavorable to the development of literature; the
society of ladies should be avoided by undergraduates ;
students who "know of scrapes " ought to report
them; and "people of color" should not be admitted
to "the colleges of New England." l
The last question was debated in the Philotechnian
Society, June 9, 1834. Some time in the administra-
tion of President Fitch the exact date of the event
is unknown the Trustees found themselves in a
position where they must not only discuss the ques-
tion, but take action in regard to it. Lucy Prince, a
colored woman and a verse-maker of some reputation,
appeared before them and made a vigorous plea for
the admission of her son to the institution. 2 Though
her request was not granted, yet we should misjudge
these Trustees if we rated them as exceptionally
1 Records, Philotechnian and Philologian Societies, 1821-36. The
young men, it seems, sometimes failed to observe the conventions of
propriety at the meetings of the societies. For all offences there appears
to have been a uniform penalty of six and a quarter cents, though they
ranged through a considerable scale of objectionable qualities. A par-
tial and random list of them between October 30, 1830, and March 26,
1836, comprises reading during the exercises, whispering, disorderly
conduct, eating chestnuts, making various and uncouth noises, lying
down, snoring, pulling Helmes' hair and beating his head with a cane.
October n, 1832, a bylaw was passed declaring that it " shall be con-
sidered disorderly and ungentlemanlike ... to stamp on the floor dur-
ing the time of meeting."
2 Sheldon, History of Deerfield, n, 900.
A SECOND AND GREATER CRISIS
conservative. Long after the advent of Lucy Prince
in Williamstown, an attempt to establish a training-
school for negroes in New Haven was defeated on
the ground that it would hurt Yale; the Trustees of
Phillips Andover suppressed an anti-slavery society,
which the boys, stirred by the eloquence of George
Thompson, had organized; and Harvard dismissed a
professor because he was an abolitionist.
Whatever the dominant sentiment among the
Trustees may have been in the time of President
Fitch, and however the adverse vote of the debating
society may be explained, Williams students, in the
third and fourth decades of the nineteenth century,
were not unfriendly to the negro. On the contrary,
under the lead of Professor Chester Dewey, they es-
tablished the first anti-slavery society in Massachu-
setts. This was in I823, 1 eight years before William
Lloyd Garrison began to publish the "Liberator."
A majority of the students belonged to the organiza-
tion. They held annual meetings for a considerable
period at least until 1831 on the Fourth of July,
listened to appropriate orations, and sang original
odes. One of the latter, written for the anniversary
of 1830, is a fair specimen of this occasional verse:
While millions hail the joyous morn
When freedom rose in all her pride;
While shouts that welcome its return
Swell with the breeze that sweeps the tide;
Why sounds from far the cry of woe?
Why blends the voice of joy and pain?
1 Noble, Centennial Discourse, 30.
Oh, who this day can sorrow know,
Or wear, when all are free a chain?
The light of Freedom, broad and fair,
Meets not the slave's benighted eye;
He hopeless groans in dark despair
In fetters forced to toil and die. 1
Then follows a stanza to the effect that America
should never be called the land of liberty until slav-
ery has been destroyed.
The society was invited to send delegates to the
annual meeting of the " American Convention for
Promoting the Abolition of Slavery and Improving
the Condition of the African Race," held at Philadel-
phia in 1826, but found it more practicable to send
a communication. And this document, moderate in
tone, inclined to projects of gradual colonization
rather than of immediate emancipation, is positive
enough on the general issue. "The question/' we are
told in the concluding paragraph of the communica-
tion, "the question whether the negroes shall be
free is settled; for the Almighty will undertake their
cause. What remains to be developed is whether in
the mysteriousness of His ways, he designs to visit
our nation in wrath and suffer the history of its ruin
to be written ... for the admonition of all succeeding
1 American Advocate, July 7, 1830.
2 Minutes of the American Convention, 1826. The officers of the Wil-
liams Society for 1826 were Professor Chester Dewey, president, Joseph
Merrill Sadd (1827), vice-president, and Fordyce Mitchell Hubbard
(1828), secretary. All the records of the society appear to have been
A SECOND AND GREATER CRISIS
In 1827 another reform began a vigorous student
movement against the use of intoxicating liquors.
The need of reform was evident and had been for a
long period. Emory Washburn said that in his day
4 ' everybody drank. ' ' Some undergraduates then kept
liquor in their rooms and " indulged in its use . . .
without concealment or disguise." He insisted, how-
ever, that nothing "like a prevailing vice of drunken-
ness" existed, and he did not believe that any of them
carried away from Williamstown "a habit of intem-
perance contracted there." l Probably conditions
were not then essentially different from what they
had been during the twenty preceding years and con-
tinued to be in the decade that followed. " Drunken-
ness," said Albert Hopkins in reference to his under-
graduate days, which began in 1824 and came to an
end in 1826, " was an experience not infrequent; . . .
the gravest men in college, certainly with one or
two exceptions did not scruple to drink (or at least
drank) on set occasions." 2
Emory Washburn wrote his " Introduction" to Dr.
Durfee's "History" in 1859, forty-two years after his
graduation. That "most favorable change," to which
he called attention, "in the matter of intoxicating
drinks," dates from Sunday, July 8, 1827, when the
Rev. Henry G. Ludlow, 3 of New York City, preached
in Williamstown on the subject of intemperance, and
preached so effectively that the students immediately
1 Durfee, History of Williams College, 24.
* Ibid., 216.
1 American Advocate, July 19, 1827. At the following commence-
ment the college conferred upon the Rev. Mr. Ludlow the honorary
degree of Master of Arts.
formed an anti-drinking association with fifty-seven
members, and called it The Williams Temperate So-
ciety. They adopted a constitution which prohibited
the use of ardent spirits and wine except " for wounds,
in case of sickness, by the advice of a physician, at
the sacrament, or when necessary for the preserva-
tion of life." Some of the undergraduates objected to
this pledge as extreme and impracticable. "It is
true," said the advocates of it, "we were ahead of
public opinion. . . . But we are not of the number of
those who idly pretend that we must merely keep
pace with the public . . . and not attempt to lead it." 1
The dissatisfaction resulted in the formation of a
second organization, The New Temperance Society
of Williams College, in the spring of 1828, with a
milder constitution. At its annual meeting the next
year this society passed a resolution declaring "that
the use of ardent spirits in any quantity by the stu-
dent is most sincerely to be deprecated." Members
of the older organization denounced this resolution as
a dangerous heresy and read its supporters out of the
ranks of temperance workers a proceeding which
enraged the New Society people. "We have met
with opposition," they said in their annual report
for 1829, "from those whose babblings we fear not and
whose praise would disgrace us. ... The effects of
their bigotry will recoil on themselves. We would
smile on their malice if we did not pity the ignorance
that produces it!" 2
These societies soon passed, but the faculty pres-
ently took the field. For a considerable period every
1 American Advocate, July 15, 1829. * Ibid., July 8, 1829.
A SECOND AND GREATER CRISIS
student was required to sign a pledge to the effect
that he would neither drink intoxicating liquor him-
self nor supply it to others while residing in college. 1
This stringent regulation had a longer life than the
temperance societies, but gradually fell into dis-
The honor roll of Williams graduates in the period
of President Griffin is a creditable one. Besides the
names of Mark and Albert Hopkins and of others who
became essential factors in the subsequent history of
the college, it contains those of Calvin Durfee (1825),
historian and necrologist; of Parsons Cooke (1822),
formidable theological controversialist, founder of the
" Puritan Recorder*' newspaper, author of the " Re-
collections" of President Griffin; of Nicholas Murray
(1826), popular preacher, once famous as the ''Kir-
wan" whose letters to Archbishop Hughes created a
world-wide sensation; of Samuel Irenaeus Prime
(1829), author of many books, editor of the "New
York Observer" for more than forty years; and of
Simeon Howard Calhoun (1829), tutor, 1833-36, prin-
cipal of a seminary for boys at Mount Lebanon, Syria,
unsurpassed among the missionary graduates of the
college in consecration, in attractiveness of person-
ality, and in intellectual force.
All these men were clergymen, but some prominent
alumni of the period failed to take orders. The lay-
man of largest fame among them was David Dudley
Field (1825) "for at least a third of a century . . . the
most commanding figure at the American bar." Yet
in a sense the practice of his profession was incidental.
1 New York Evangelist, July 8, 1847.
The purpose, which ruled his career from early man-
hood to the day of his death in 1894, * s happily re-
corded on his tomb in Stockbridge:
To codify the common law;
To simplify legal procedure;
To substitute arbitration for war;
To bring justice within the reach of all men. 1
This greater work of his life, to which he devoted
more than forty years of incessant toil, was his code
of civil and of criminal procedure. Twenty-four
States have adopted the former and eighteen the lat-
ter, and these facts would seem to be a sufficient
answer to the ridicule and abuse which the reform
No alumnus of the college had a more romantic
affection for his Alma Mater than David Dudley
Field. Scenery, campus, instructors, classmates, all
appeared to him in a glorified light. "The sight of
these faces, of these old roofs and halls, of these mea-
dows and streams and of these encircling hills," he
said in an oration before the Adelphic Union, fifty
years after graduation, "so quickens the inward
sense that it sees forms that have vanished, and hears
voices that are silent. I behold my classmates as I
beheld them filing into the chapel, or gathered at reci-
tations, or sauntering along the walks, or resting
beneath the trees. I mark their gait, I hear their ear-
nest debate, their hearty laugh, and I recall the strifes,
the greetings and the partings of those far-off days.
I look into the sky it is the sky of my boyhood; the
1 H. M. Field, Life of David Dudley Field, x.
A SECOND AND GREATER CRISIS
stars, clear and silent, shine upon me and seem to say
We shine upon you just the same as we shone fifty
years ago." 1
In the autumn of 1830 an astrayed Georgian, Wil-
liam Lowndes Yancey, entered the Sophomore class.
The Northern episode in his career, which lasted
twelve years, came about in consequence of two events
the death of his father in 1817 and the subsequent
marriage of his mother to the Rev. N. S. S. Beman,
who became pastor of a Presbyterian church at Troy,
New York, in 1822. Of his three years in college few
details have survived. He joined the Philotechnian
Society immediately and took an active interest in its
various exercises debates, critiques, and orations.
October 17, 1832, the year of an exciting Presidential
campaign, he was the leading disputant for the nega-
tive in a discussion of the question " Would the
election of General Jackson tend to destroy the
Union? " and lost the debate. 2 Later, at an exhibition
of his class he was Senior Orator, and at one of the
Adelphic Union First Orator. In the publication of
"The Adelphi" 3 he seems to have been a leading
spirit, and that may explain partly the rather sur-
prising freshness and vigor of that earliest and short-
lived Williams periodical. He might have had a
degree, but did not remain to take it financial
troubles sending him back to Georgia immediately
after the Senior examinations and six weeks before
1 D. D. Field, Speeches, Arguments, and Miscellaneous Papers, n,
2 Records, Philotechnian Society, -1832.
3 Miscellaneous Collections of the Alabama Historical Society, I, 191.
Some vague prophecy of the Yancey that was to be
emerged at Williamstown. Local politicians in the
Presidential campaign of 1832, it is said, discovering
that he could speak effectively, included him in the
list of their " spell-binders." This Berkshire experi-
ence on the stump brief, tentative, almost acci-
dental, the record of it dimly preserved by tradition
may be regarded as a sort of prelude to his real life.
Though his reputation is now somewhat faded, he
must be conceded "a place among the half-dozen men
who have had most to do in shaping American history
in this [nineteenth] century." 1 He was the original
apostle of disunion, championing it as a practicable
escape from a more grievous calamity, the subversion
of state rights and the destruction of slavery. The
political theories of the Georgian stepson present a
violent contrast to those of his Puritan stepfather. No
Southern heresies got a footing in the creed of that
aggressive and intellectual Presbyterian divine, the
Rev. Dr. N. S. S. Beman. " Democracy and slavery,"
he exclaimed in a Thanksgiving sermon, "what a
brotherhood. It seems to me like an alliance between
Jerusalem and Sodom ... a treaty of amity and com-
mercial and mutual defence between heaven and
hell." 2 And even in the South Yancey 's extreme the-
ories did not find immediate acceptance. His pre-
mature proclamation of the doctrine of secession cost
him twenty years of political ostracism. A splendid
though long-delayed triumph awaited him at the
Democratic Convention of 1860 in Charleston, since
1 Brown, The Lower South, 117.
2 Beman, Thanksgiving Sermon, November 18, 1858.
A SECOND AND GREATER CRISIS
"his epochal speech " on that occasion "became the
Southern platform." 1
Yancey's contemporaries regarded him as "the
greatest orator ever heard in the South." 2 He had a
voice of singular sweetness, clarity, and compass
"the most perfect voice," it has been said, " that ever
roused a friendly audience to enthusiasm or curbed to
silence the tumults of the most inimical." 3 Natural
in gesticulation, given to none of the arts of the dema-
gogue, sincere in his convictions, felicitous in state-
ment, and unsurpassed in invective, he swayed his
audiences with a mastery seldom attained by the ora-
tors of our own or any other time. His native genius
for public speech undoubtedly received no small stim-
ulus from the finished elocution and impressive rheto-
ric of President Griffin. 4 That stimulus may have
been the chief contribution of Williams College
toward the making of "the orator of secession."
In 1833 it began to be evident that the day of Dr.
Griffin was almost spent. "The health of the Presi-
dent," wrote an undergraduate the next year, "is
very poor. He cannot perform the duties of the col-
lege as they ought to be performed." 5 August 18,
1835, having reached the same conclusion himself, he
handed his resignation to the Trustees, who concluded
to do nothing until "the indications of Providence
shall better enable them to act thereon." They did
1 The South in the Building of the Nation, xn, 578.
2 Flemming, Civil War and Reconstruction in Alabama, 13; Brown,
Lower South, 118.
8 Quoted in Brown, Lower South, 148.
4 Du Bose, Life 'and Times of Yancey, 31.
6 W. G. Brown, MS. letter, December 4, 1834, Backus Library, Boston.
vote, however, "after much consideration, " that Pro-
fessor Mark Hopkins "be requested to take the en-
tire charge of the classical work of the Senior class." 1
In 1836 the indications of Providence had become
unmistakable, as President Griffin's health then ap-
peared to be shattered beyond all hope of recovery,
and the Trustees accepted his resignation. He left
Williamstown on the morning of September 28 for
Newark, New Jersey, where he resided with his son-
in-law, Dr. Lyndon A. Smith, until his death, Novem-
ber 8, 1837. His departure was attended by demon-
strations of appreciation and affection on the part of
the college. It is to the credit of students and faculty
that they were not indifferent when the man who
saved the institution from serene anchorage "amid
the sunk reefs of oblivion," 2 was passing from its life
The qualities which made success possible for Presi-
dent Griffin in the desperate Northern Berkshire
enterprise were various. No doubt his genius as a
preacher, to which there is abundant contemporary
testimony, counted largely among them. "We had
the pleasure for the first time," wrote the editor of a
free-lance Boston periodical, wholly out of sympathy
1 Records of the Trustees, August 18, 1835. " It is known to many that
the health of the distinguished Head of this Institution has been very
much impaired the last two years. . . . His place in the Senior Class will
be supplied by Dr. Hopkins, the very able and popular Professor of
Moral Philosophy and Rhetoric. Dr. Hopkins will be assisted in his
duties as Professor of Rhetoric by the new Professor of Latin, the Rev.
Joseph Alden, a gentleman already advantageously known as a man of
talents and an experienced teacher." (Correspondent, American Trav-
eller, August 19, 1835.)
2 Rev. Dr. S. H. Cox, in New York Evangelist, August 14, 1856.
A SECOND AND GREATER CRISIS
with orthodox theology, "of attending Park Street
Meeting House on Sunday last, and a sincere pleasure
we experienced, for we witnessed in the delivery of the
preacher all the various . . . powers of oratory. A
strong, clear voice, capable of every modulation from
the thunder of denunciation to the softest tones of
persuasion an action at one moment commanding
and impressive, at another softening into . . . endear-
ment and affection composed part of the accom-
plishments of this interesting preacher.'* 1
Nor were President Griffin's sermons at Williams-
town less brilliant or effective. To the Rev. Dr. Prime,
writing many years after his student days, they still
seemed to be "surpassingly eloquent. ... I heard . . .
the most celebrated discourses which have been pub-
lished since his death and remember all the splendid
passages and the manner in which he rendered them." 2
The most remarkable description of President
Griffin's preaching during the Williamstown period,
however, appeared in "The Adelphi." It is an under-
graduate poem of four stanzas in blank verse, two of
which the second grim and realistic as the vision of
hell chiselled upon the facade of the cathedral at
Orvieto are as follows :
He spoke of heaven ! and on the listening
Ear enraptured, fell the symphonies of
Paradise, awaked by Gabriel's ever
Tuneful lyre on the admiring vision
Burst the dazzling throne the angel choir the
Tree of life, where happy spirits bathe, and
1 Something, March 24, 1810.
* Prime, Autobiography and Memorials, 163, 164.
Drink immortal fulness in the fields of
Light, where freed from sin and pain, delighted
Rove the ransomed heirs of bliss.
He spoke of Hell ! and with instinctive dread
The affrighted heart recoiled. Despair's last
Agonizing shriek ascending pierced the
Soul and drunk its spirits up the never
Dying worm with closer grasp embrac'd its
Victim and deeper thrust its deadly fangs
The lurid fires that quenchless burn, arose
In forky flames, and threw their painful light
Upon the drear abode, where restless toss
On raging seas of flame the sinner lost,
While on their heads the wrath of God in one
Eternal storm descends. 1
At the present day nobody reads President Griffin's
sermons, once famous in Williamstown and elsewhere.
Students in modern schools of theology do not study
them as models of pulpit eloquence. Lacking range
and depth of thought and the distinction of style
necessary to great literature, dwelling too constantly
upon the terrors of the law, these sermons had only
an immediate and passing mission, and that in spite
of their admirable clearness, their driving force, their
resounding rhetoric, and not infrequent beauty of
Then the personality of Dr. Griffin made a profound
impression upon young men who came to Williams-
town. "The first time I saw him," wrote one of them,
"was at the . . . Commencement of 1822. ... I was
1 W. L. in The Adelphi, May 10, 1832. The author of this dreadful
verse may have been Willis Lord (1833), afterward a distinguished Pres-
byterian theological professor.
A SECOND AND GREATER CRISIS
then entering college and not qualified to appreciate
the literary character of his performances on that
occasion; but I had never felt such reverence at the
sight of any man as when I saw Dr. Griffin in his high
chair in the pulpit, presiding over the public exercises.
His hair was . . . white, and his gigantic and sym-
metrical person, his rich, full and penetrating voice,
and the formal dignity of his movements, altogether
peculiar to himself, gave what seemed to me a wonder-
ful majesty to the occasion." l
Nor was this enthusiasm confined to Subfreshmen.
The Rev. Dr. Samuel H. Cox, well known in his time
as a clergyman, theological professor, and orator,
attended the Commencement of 1828 and published
an account of his impressions. " Once only," he wrote,
"had I the pleasure of witnessing the scenery of Com-
mencement when Dr. Griffin presided . . . conferred
the degrees, and figured as the master of the assem-
bly with a grace and awe-inspiring presence, not only
unsurpassed, but never equalled by any other person-
age, so far as I have had opportunity to observe. I
have . . . witnessed many occasions of Commence-
ment in different places, as well as Speakers and Presi-
dents in Congress, in legislatures and on special occa-
sions, administering order and ceremony with eleva-
tion and felicity of manner; but for entire success and
almost histrionic power of display and influence, I
always recur to that scene at Williams, though all
raining and storming without, in 1828 as ... the cli-
max of majesty, propriety, and excellence." 2
1 Sprague, Annals, iv, 41.
8 Presbyterian Quarterly Review, vi, 588.
Moreover, in certain exercises of the classroom
President Griffin did not appear to less advantage
than in the pulpit or upon the Commencement stage.
This became apparent during his brief service on the
teaching staff of Andover Theological Seminary.
"Our professor of sacred rhetoric, Dr. Griffin, is a
man of genius," wrote Timothy Woodbridge, then a
student in the institution, February 10, 1810. "He is
unrivalled as a teacher of elocution. Professor Stuart
says that in regard to the composition and delivery
of sermons he is the best critic in the United States." 1
Another Andover colleague was quite as positive
in his eulogy "It quickly became evident," said
Professor Woods, "that Dr. Griffin possessed extraor-
dinary qualifications for the work he had under-
taken. . . . Had he devoted himself without interrup-
tion to his official duties in the Seminary he might
have reached the highest eminence and usefulness
both as a critic and a lecturer." 2
And at Williamstown there were illuminated hours
in the classroom of President Griffin, one of which
occurred during a weekly exercise in elocution and
literary interpretation which he conducted stu-
dents making their own selections for the reading. On
this occasion a member of the class chose the passage
from the third book of " Paradise Lost," beginning
Hail, holy Light, offspring of Heaven first-born!
" During the reading he seemed in rapture with the
poetry and . . . after some remarks ... he asked for
1 Woodbridge, Autobiography of a Blind Preacher, 78.
a Woods, History of Andover Theological Seminary, 149, 150.
A SECOND AND GREATER CRISIS
the book, erected himself in his chair ... his counte-
nance suffused, his voice mellow and tremulous . . .
and read the passage with an effect, which, I am sure,
no member of the class can ever forget." 1
In the situation at Williamstown there were strik-
ing contrasts and anomalies. Here we find a man of
magnificent physique he was six feet and three
inches in- height and weighed two hundred and fifty
pounds a cultivated, polished, distinguished gentle-
man - " any party or social circle in the world might
have felt enriched by the accession of his companion-
ship and presence" 2 set down in a remote, primi-
tive country town to attempt a task which his
predecessor had abandoned in despair. But whatever
anxieties, struggles and failures a retrospect of the
closing period of his active life may have disclosed,
the satisfaction of knowing that he had accomplished
the work which brought him to Williamstown the
establishment of the college upon a permanent foun-
dation was not denied to President Griffin.
1 Sprague, Annals, iv, 42.
2 Rev. Dr. S. H. Cox, Presbyterian Quarterly Review, vi, 591.
HIGH TIDES IN THE CALENDAR OF THE OLDER
ONE would naturally infer from the records of their
meeting August 17, 1836, that the Trustees, on re-
ceiving President Griffin's resignation, instantly
elected Professor Mark Hopkins as his successor.
These reticent records afford no hint that he was a
second and reluctant choice; that they offered the
position to the Rev. Dr. Absalom Peters, a man inex-
perienced in college work, who fortunately declined
it. 1 What caused their hesitation? They undoubtedly
thought that the President of the college should be a
clergyman, and as the professional studies of Professor
Hopkins had been medical, that circumstance might
tell against him. Or possibly, since he was only thirty-
four years of age, they considered him too young for
the post. If scruples of this sort troubled them, they
should have remembered that two famous contempo-
raries Eliphalet Nott of Union and Francis Way-
land of Brown became college presidents at the
earlier age of thirty-one and thirty respectively.
The hesitation of 1836 was not the first. Six years
earlier, when the death of Professor Porter made a
vacancy in the chair of Rhetoric and Philosophy,
1 Perry, Williamstown and Williams College, 496. Dr. Peters, then
Secretary of the American Home Missionary Society, was afterwards
pastor of the Congregational Church in Williamstown.
HIGH TIDES IN THE CALENDAR
President Griffin and some of the Trustees wished to
fill it by the election of the Rev. Azariah Giles Orton
(1813), alumni orator at the Commencement of 1830.
When the matter came before the Board the speech of
a recent member of it, Colonel Henry W. Dwight, of
Stockbridge, is said to have defeated the opposition
and carried the election in favor of Mark Hopkins.
It was not a speech in the Board of Trustees which
broke the second hesitation, whatever the cause of it
may have been, but a communication from the Sen-
iors of 1836. The teaching of Professor Hopkins, they
remarked in this communication, had impressed them
profoundly and they ventured to make the suggestion
that future classes also ought to have the benefit of it.
" If the boys want him," the Rev. Dr. Shepard, vice-
president of the Board, is reported to have said when
the letter was read, "let them have him." 1
In 1826 the election of Francis Wayland to the
vacant presidency of Brown University was urged by
leading Baptists, by prominent Congregationalists,
by influential newspapers in New York, Massachu-
setts, and Connecticut. 2 The chief partisans and
sponsors of Mark Hopkins ten years later were the
thirty- two young men in the graduating class of 1836.
The long career of the new President, in spite of
numerous and urgent calls to important positions
elsewhere, lay almost wholly in Berkshire County.
He was born at Stockbridge in 1802, and like his two
immediate predecessors was the son of a farmer. At
1 Perry, Williamstown and Williams College, 496. Carter, Mark
Hopkins, 60. " The appointment meets with the approbation of every
student." (American Traveller, August 23, 1836.)
2 Murray, Francis Wayland, 62.
the age of four he began to attend school. Though he
is said to have astonished his teacher by a precocious
ability to read, arithmetic gravelled him badly. "I
well remember when I commenced the study," he said
in an address at Lenox on the "Effect of Common
Schools," " taking my slate the first day to the master
to have him set me a sum. He immediately wrote six
or eight long rows of figures. I took the slate and for
several days, in the intervals of reading and writing,
looked upon that sum in silent despair without know-
ing how to begin. ... On reaching at last compound
addition I well remember the mysterious look of those
figures placed over the denominators by which I was
to carry without knowing why or scarcely what carry-
ing was. The same feeling of mystery and difficulty
was continued more or less through the book." l
In 1816 the Rev. Edwin W. Dwight, author of the
"Life of Obookiah," visited the Hopkins family at
Stockbridge and was attracted to the eldest son, then
fourteen years old. " Mark," he wrote, " is a fine boy,
grown very much, a noble scholar, and I suspect ought
to be educated." 2 Five years and a half elapsed be-
fore the date of his matriculation in college. How
much of this period he devoted to preparatory studies
is uncertain, as other vocations interrupted them. For
a time he lived at Green River, a town twelve miles
from Stockbridge, which took its name from the lit-
tle stream, "lonely, lovely and still," celebrated in one
of Bryant's earlier poems. Here he was in the serv-
ice of the blind minister, Timothy Woodbridge. "I
1 American Advocate, November 17, 1830.
2 MS. letter, April 18, 1816, in R. H. W. Dwight's Collection.
HIGH TIDES IN THE CALENDAR
always kept a gentle and efficient horse, " the latter
wrote, "and a boy to drive, who had also been well
educated, so that he could read and write for me.
Everybody who depends on hearing reading knows
that a boy is commonly a poor reader and a worse
writer; but I was very lucky. . . . My first boy . . .
at Green River was Mark Hopkins . . . and nobody
will doubt his ability to read and write well at seven-
In the spring of 1820 the blind minister's boy went
to Mecklenburg, Virginia, where for eighteen months
he taught a private school. At first this new experi-
ence interested and contented him. " I need nothing
that any mortal can give me," he wrote July 4, 1820,
"except money." But the isolation and remoteness
of the place "There is not a person of my age with
whom I am acquainted and would associate within
ten miles ' ' and the fact that the school was small
and elementary the exercises soon becoming a
"dull iteration" led inevitably to weariness and
discontent. And toward the close of the eighteen
months his last letter is dated August 17, 1821
he wrote that "I see comparatively nobody" and
"have sunk into a state of indifference in regard to
Returning from Virginia, Mark Hopkins entered
Williams as a Sophomore in the autumn of 1821 and
graduated in 1824 with the highest honors. The next
year he spent in teaching at Stockbridge and in the
1 Woodbridge, Autobiography of a Blind Minister, 167.
2 Mark Hopkins, ten manuscript letters, in possession of Colonel
study of medicine at Pittsfield. Then from 1825 to
1827 he was tutor in the college and brought his first
period of academic work to a close with a Master's
oration on " Mystery." This oration, though scarcely
appealing to the average auditor, the reporter of
the local newspaper failed to notice it in his account
of the exercises, interested Professor Silliman, of
Yale, who happened to be present, and was subse-
quently published in his "American Journal of Sci-
ence and Arts." After a period of study at the Berk-
shire Medical Institution he received the degree of
M.D. and began the practice of medicine in New York
City. The death of Professor Porter and his election
to the chair of Rhetoric and Moral Philosophy turned
the current of his life in another direction. 1
The induction took place Thursday, September 15,
1836, the first day of the college year. A small
audience, made up of Trustees, professors, students,
and people of the village, assembled in the chapel.
The Rev. Dr. Field, of Stockbridge, offered prayer;
Daniel Noble Dewey, of Williamstown, read the min-
utes of the Board; the Rev. Dr. Shepard, of Lenox,
"performed the act of inauguration" and delivered
the charge. It was a quiet, undemonstrative, local
affair, in sharp contrast to the exaggerated modern
custom of inaugurating college presidents "with a
degree of ceremonial pomp that suggests a world
event of the first magnitude." 2
The subject of Dr. Hopkins' address on this pro-
1 " Dr. Mark Hopkins, of the City of New York, formerly a tutor in
the College, was appointed to the Professorship of Moral Philosophy
and Rhetoric." (American Advocate, September 8, 1830.)
* New Republic, September 25, 1915.
HIGH TIDES IN THE CALENDAR
vincial and unacclaimed occasion was "Education in
general, and more particularly . . . collegiate educa-
tion, as adapted ... to meet the wants of the com-
munity." 1 If the latter be properly organized and
adj usted, he said, ' ' we shall have physical vigor, knowl-
edge and intellectual power, refined taste and moral
excellence; in other words, we shall have formed the
mind to the love and pursuit of truth, of beauty and of
holiness." 2 After setting forth "the high mission"
of colleges, he proceeded to inquire how far they ful-
filled it, and to consider certain adverse views which
had become current. These adverse views were that
they impair the physical vitality, cultivate a vision-
ary, impracticable temper, follow aristocratic ideals,
and "do not teach manners." In regard to the last
objection he confessed that "this is not one of the
things for which we give a diploma." Yet he did not
underrate their importance, and doubtless would have
concurred with Viscount Haldane, who, addressing
the Associated Societies of the University of Edin-
burgh in 1913, urged all their members to read Emer-
son's "admirable essay" on this subject. 3
A sober, comprehending, unelated tone pervades
this prelude to Mark Hopkins' career as President of
Williams College. "I enter upon it," he was careful
to say, "with no excitement of novelty, with no buzz
of expectation, with no accession of influence from
abroad." To build up "what would be called a great
institution" never entered into his plans. That
"here may be health and cheerful study and kind
1 Hopkins, Miscellaneous Essays and Discourses, 232.
* Ibid., 243. Haldane, The Conduct of Life, 19.
feelings and pure morals " was the consummation he
devoutly wished. 1
Certain important questions did not come to the
surface at all in the inaugural questions of endow-
ment, of buildings, and of apparatus. President Hop-
kins knew well enough that the college had urgent
need of all these things, but he rated his genius as a
solicitor of funds very low. This disagreeable business
he hoped to transact eventually by indirection by
building up an educational institution of such repute
that the public would voluntarily provide an ade-
quate support. In 1836 the theory was not practi-
cable, and barely four months after the inauguration
he went to Boston for the purpose of securing state
aid. The legislative committee to which his petition
was referred made a favorable report. But before any
action had been taken another Berkshire petition, of
a different complexion, appeared on Beacon Hill:
To the Hon. Senate and House of Representatives Of the
Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Your Petitioners Inhabitants Of the Town of Williams-
town County of Berkshire and Commonwealth of Mas-
Do Petition to you Hon. Body to Repeal the Law that
Exemps the College Corporation from Taxation as there
is Near one hundred thousand Dollars In s'd town of
Williamstown Exemped from Taxation Belonging to the
s'd Corporation it having in Lands, Mortgages, Moneys
&c and that the taxes in s'd town are Oppressive on the
Taxible Inhabitants of s'd town. Your petion there-
fore Prays that they may be h heard Concerning the
Same. . . .
1 Hopkins, Miscellaneous Essays and Discourses, 253.
HIGH TIDES IN THE CALENDAR
Col. Waterman Sir Pleas present this to the house as
soon as you Receive it
It is Signed by
John P. Jordan & 95 others. 1
March 25 the Legislature voted that it was "inex-
pedient to legislate" upon the subject of college taxa-
tion, and four days afterwards postponed indefinitely
the request of Williams for state aid. 2
Notwithstanding this rebuff, President Hopkins in
1839 again sought financial assistance from the Legis-
lature. The second petition, as well as the first, is in
his handwriting and dated January 12. In their re-
port, the committee in charge of it rehearsed with con-
siderable detail the history of the college. " It is situ-
ated," they remarked, "in a part of the State which
enables it to afford peculiar facilities for giving the
means of education to the middling classes and at the
same time is beyond the sphere of the rich." The
petition was finally referred to the next Legislature
a decorous method of killing it.
Whatever financial emergency there may have been
in 1837 and 1839, a more serious and alarming one
arose in 1841, when the old East College burned
down. Though recent experiences could hardly be
thought reassuring, President Hopkins appealed to
the Legislature once more in behalf of the college
which, he said, was "much resorted to for education
by individuals of small pecuniary means." His peti-
tion, dated Boston, January 14, 1842, was accom-
panied by nine auxiliary petitions from citizens of as
many Berkshire towns Great Barrington, Peru,
1 Mass. H.R. Fiks (1837), 229. Ibid., 310.
Stockbridge, Sheffield, Pittsfield, Lenox, Plainfield,
Lee, and Williamstown. But the formidable array of
documents failed to accomplish anything. The legis-
lative committee recommended an appropriation of
$12,000, which the Legislature refused to make. 1 In
this grave emergency graduates and friends of the col-
lege came to the rescue and raised $8949, a sum which,
with an unexpected gift of $5000 from Amos Law-
rence in 1844, carried it safely over the crisis. 2
Though relatively a secondary matter during the
fourth administration, the campus was by no means
wholly neglected. Nine new buildings were then
erected the Hopkins Astronomical Observatory
(1837), South College (1842), East College (1842),
Lawrence Hall (1846), Kellogg Hall (1847), Jackson
Hall (1855), Alumni Hall Chapel (1859), Goodrich
Hall (1864), and College Hall (1872). Of the last five
buildings in this list, four became obsolete and were
pulled down after an average life of hardly more than
fifty years, and the single survivor among them
Alumni Hall Chapel has lost its original name and
most of its original uses. In 1905 it became Goodrich
Hall and is now devoted chiefly to recitation and
seminar purposes. On the completion and dedication
of this chapel the college withdrew from its connec-
tion with the village church, which had continued
with little interruption since I793. 3 President Fitch
1 Mass. H.R. Files (1842), 1159.
2 The Trustees made two subsequent appeals to the Legislature for
aid and succeeded in both of them, securing $25,000 in 1849 and $75,000
in 1868. The college first and last has received from the State $150,500.
(Trustees' Gift Book.)
8 Dr. Durfee says that "in 1809 public worship was attended on the
Sabbath in the chapel." (History of Williams College, 99.)
HIGH TIDES IN THE CALENDAR
and his successors supplied the village pulpit for a
part of the time, the amount of service varying at
None of the earlier buildings have histories of spe-
cial interest except Kellogg Hall and the Hopkins
Astronomical Observatory. The former stood a few
rods southeast of West College an inconsiderable
brick structure three stories high, the first of them
containing two large rooms where the recitations of
the Freshmen and Sophomore classes were held for
many years. If the experiences, academic and other,
associated with them could be fully recovered, the
story would not be a dull one. James Hulme Canfield
recalled some of them in his preface to "The Class of
1868 after Thirty-Five Years." "Do you remember
our first recitation," he wrote, "in the room on the
ground floor west side improperly lighted with
hanging kerosene lamps? Or the afternoon of the
early fall when the Sophs broke all the windows, and
we poured out of the west door led by Horace Henry
... our first conflict? Or the morning of the next
June, when we found the room full of hay, stored
there during the previous rainy night, in our desire
to 'save it* for the college? Can you ever forget the
recitations in the room on the east side, in Sopho-
more year? when Latin and Greek first came to have
position ; when Perry took us through Wilson's ' Out-
lines of History ' concluding with his four lectures
and the renowned enquiry as to the whereabouts of
one Grouchy, on a somewhat memorable occasion;
when 'Tat' was alternately locked out or barred in,
by a class which always presumed upon his patience
and good humor. And do you remember the weekly
class prayer-meetings held in each of those rooms;
in which the boys, first as strangers, then as friends,
came very near to each other, and we talked together
soberly and earnestly, if not altogether wisely, of the
better life and the higher thoughts and the more gen-
erous service . . . possible in even the weakest of us,
under the love and providence of God?"
The Astronomical Observatory was begun in 1836
and dedicated the next year. Professor Albert Hop-
kins visited Europe in 1834 an d bought of Trough ton
a transit instrument. But there was no building in
Williamstown suitable for the uses of this instrument
and he immediately set about the task of providing
one. He succeeded in raising four hundred dollars in
Boston for the enterprise and that gave him sufficient
encouragement to begin the work. "The practical
part was commenced by several of us shouldering
our implements and proceeding to a flint quarry em-
bedded in a spur of the Green Mountains lying a mile
or two northeast of the college. The impression at the
time was that the observatory, like some of the old
castles, was to crown the summit of the mountains.
This idea, however, was relieved by our returning
with a load of stone, which was thrown off in the col-
lege yard." l At their annual meeting in 1839 the
alumni passed an eminently appropriate resolution to
the effect that the new building finished and dedicated
in 1837, should be called the Hopkins Observatory. 2
1 Boston Courier, March 30, 1841.
2 The observatory cost, exclusive of fixtures, $2075. Of this sum the
Trustees furnished $1200, the " liberal-hearted " Boston friends $400, and
Professor Hopkins himself, $475. (Records of the Trustees, August 20, 1 839.)
HIGH TIDES IN THE CALENDAR
It barely missed the honor of being the first in the
United States that distinction belonging to one,
fairly furnished, though unsubstantial and tempo-
rary, which the University of North Carolina built
in 1831. 1
Sunday, October 17, 1841, an alarm of fire broke up
the afternoon services at the village church serv-
ices which the students attended. It turned out that
the old East College was burning. The suites all had
fireplaces and some careless fellow, who lived on the
fourth floor, " having used the broom before leaving
set it in the wood-closet with fire in it." 2
The young men, reaching the scene, made a wild
dash to save the contents of the building. In the ex-
citement books, clothing, and furniture were handled
roughly thrown into a promiscuous heap on the
green. The disaster, though sufficiently grave, did not
interrupt the usual exercises of the college for more
than a single day. October 27, the Trustees met and
voted to erect two buildings South and East Col-
leges and in the course of the next year they were
completed. In 1905 South College was modernized
and renamed Fayerweather Hall.
On the whole the college fared better in the matter
of buildings than of equipment. The latter was still
meagre. An incident, which belongs to the year of the
fire, 1841, illustrates one phase of the struggle to en-
1 Battle, History of the University of North Carolina, I, 335, 336.
2 Records of the Trustees, October 22, 1841. " Last Sabbath went to
Pownal. On my return saw East College burning. Felt an affection for
the building where I had so many happy occasions." (Albert Hopkins,
Diary, October 27, 1841, in Sewall's Life of Professor Albert Hopkins,
large it. "I have incurred an expense of near $800, "
wrote President Hopkins, "for a manikin." l The
Trustees advanced this sum on the security of his per-
sonal note, and he attempted to raise money to pay
it by a series of public lectures, the first of which was
delivered at Stockbridge. He made the trip from Wil-
liamstown, a journey of thirty miles, on a winter day.
The box containing the manikin "so filled up the
sleigh that the lecturer had to ride with his feet hang-
ing outside of the vehicle." 2 While the lectures inter-
ested those who heard them, they do not seem to have
been a pecuniary success, and the Trustees voted a few
months later to cancel the eight-hundred-dollar note. 3
Requirements for admission during the period were
gradually increased algebra through simple equa-
tions being added to them in 1842-43; Greek prosody
in 1846-47; two books of the Anabasis which dis-
placed the Greek Testament in 1856-57; one book of
the Iliad or Odyssey in 1858-59; two books of geom-
etry and the first twelve chapters of Arnold's Latin
Prose in 1861-62; the third and fourth books of the
Anabasis and Outlines of Greek and Roman History
in 1871-72. Then the growth of the curriculum pro-
ceeded along natural lines and by easy stages. The
department of Political Economy was established in
1836; of Astronomy in 1838; of American Literature
in 1842; of Geology in 1852; of German in 1854; and
of Mineralogy in 1859. Moreover, the French depart-
ment, summarily "abolished" in 1799, and the de-
1 Mark Hopkins, MS. letter to the Rev. Dr. Rufus Anderson, Octo-
ber 9, 1841.
f Carter, Mark Hopkins, 65.
1 Records of the Trustees, August 16, 1842.
HIGH TIDES IN THE CALENDAR
partment of Latin, founded in 1835 and merged the
next year with that of Ancient Languages, in 1853
A serious effort to stiffen the courses, old and new/
took the shape in 1855-56 of written biennial exanv^
inations at the close of the Sophomore year. These
examinations, held in Alumni Chapel Hall every other
day for a fortnight, lasting four hours and including
all the studies pursued in the first half of the college
course, were a source of anxiety if not disaster to
eleven generations of Sophomores. 1 Great was the
contrast between the beginning and the ending of the
ordeal. On the first morning of the dreaded fortnight
the class marched to the Hall in procession, two
abreast, singing "Biennial is a bore" to that melan-
choly old tune "Lenox." At the conclusion of it there
was a "Jubilee Supper," for which appropriate origi-
nal songs must be provided. Eighty-eight are still
extant, most of them being of no present account, as
they ring changes upon narrow and transitory themes
suggested by the scenes, incidents, and consequences
of the examinations. Other notes were sometimes
heard ; as
Towering around us
The mountains stand,
Lifting their summits
Massive and grand;
Resting in beauty
The green valley lies,
1 " If any student of the present thinks it was particularly easy to get
through the Williams of fifty years ago, let him try to pass these exami-
nations at the end of his Sophomore year." (Raymond, Fiftieth Anni-
versary Report, Class of '62, n.)
Spanned by the glory
Of azure skies.
Peaceful the summers
Glide on their way;
Glorious the mountains
E'en in decay;
Gentle the breezes
Of the gladsome spring;
Joyful the pleasures
The winters bring. 1
When the biennials were abolished in 1866-67, the
Sophomores of that year celebrated the event in a
triumphant ode of eight stanzas, the last of which ran
on this wise:
Biennial f s dead and we are free,
Biennial 's had its day,
There's not a man in all the class
Who wished for it to stay. 2
Whatever effect these examinations may have had
in stimulating scholarship, and it seems to have
been considerable, they certainly induced "Pega-
sus to take the air." If Williams students could write
satisfactory biennial songs, why should they not
write other sorts as well? Their earlier repertoire had
been almost exclusively a borrowed one. It com-
prised little more than "Gaudeamus Igitur," " In-
teger Vitae," and a few jingles like "Landlords, fill
your flowing bowls," and "Go tell Aunt Nancy her
old grey goose is dead." "Williams Songs" a thin
volume with forty-eight pieces, edited by Washington
1 Biennial Songs of the Class of '61, II.
* Cooley, The Class of '69 after Forty Years, 9.
HIGH TIDES IN THE CALENDAR
Gladden and dedicated to William Cullen Bryant
was an immediate consequence of the new verse-
When college began in the autumn of 1836 there
were five full professors on the faculty staff Eben-
ezer Kellogg, Ebenezer Emmons, Edward Lasell,
Joseph Alden, and Albert Hopkins, all of whom came
down from the former dispensation.
In 1844 Professor Kellogg, who had been at his post
twenty-nine years, was compelled by ill-health to re-
sign. An accurate, painstaking scholar, a writer of
ability, greatly useful in the executive affairs of the
college, he lacked the intellectual scope and vigor, the
clarity and attractiveness of speech necessary to give
the classics special prominence in the Williams of his
Edward Lasell (1828) died in 1852, after twenty-
one years of service as tutor and professor of chemis-
try. He was a man of attractive personality, who
brought to his work contagious enthusiasm and effec-
tive gifts for exposition. Moreover, having bought
the " Sloan place," now the President's house,
he lived in a style quite new to the time and commu-
nity. According to Judge Danforth " he was the first
man to set up an establishment of horses and carriages
in town with a colored driver." 1
The name of Ebenezer Emmons, a pupil of Chester
Dewey and Amos Eaton, appears in the annual cata-
logues as lecturer or professor from 1 828 to 1 863. Dur-
ing these thirty-three years he taught chemistry, nat-
ural history, geology, and mineralogy. Yet he gave
1 Danforth, Reminiscences, 95.
only a part of his time to college work. In 1836 Gov-
ernor Marcy appointed him one of four experts to
make a survey of the State of New York, and the
great work was not completed until 1854. I* 1 con-
nection with the survey he not only brought the
Adirondack region to the attention of the public, but
also announced a discovery in geology, which he
called the "Taconic System." This alleged discovery
quickly blew up a tempest of dissent and ridicule. " I
told the Doctor on one occasion/* said Albert Hop-
kins, " that all the authorities were combining against
him. He answered in his dry way, ' I shall floor them
yet.'" l And the confidence of the good doctor was
not wholly misplaced. Though changes may have
been made in terminology and classification, later
investigations confirmed the accuracy of his observa-
A quiet, unpretending, homespun sort of man,
Professor Emmons was not an effective teacher for a
class of miscellaneous students. To them his exposi-
tions in geology or mineralogy, however clear, method-
ical, and learned, seemed remote and dull. He had
all the disabilities of the specialist dealing with imma-
ture and indifferent scholars. 2 But in the field, ac-
companied by a few interested students, he was an-
other man. The prosy lecturer of the classroom now
became an enthusiast, quick in perception, fluent in
speech, felicitous in description and generalization.
On one occasion his zeal led to what might have been
a serious accident. " Attracted by a vein of fluor-spar
1 Williams Quarterly, June, 1864.
* Yeomans, Pioneers of Science in America, 349.
HIGH TIDES IN THE CALENDAR
on a cliff overhanging a lake he climbed to it and con-
tinued the strokes of his chisel to detach the spar, until
the whole superincumbent mass gave way and he was
precipitated with it into the lake twenty-five feet
below. The great depth of the water probably saved
his life. Presently, when the cloud of dust subsided,
his companions saw him come to the surface, and
strike out for the shore which he reached compara-
tively uninjured." *
In 1851 Dr. Emmons was appointed State Geol-
ogist of North Carolina, and published three vol-
umes of valuable reports, one of them appearing in
1856, another in 1858, and the last in 1860. But the
agitation which preceded the Civil War began to dis-
turb him. "I cannot but look with great fear," he
wrote a Northern friend, "upon the results of agita-
tion and it unfits me for work." 2 The anxiety and
isolation doubtless shortened his life, for he died at
Brunswick, Georgia, October I, 1863. His place
among the greater men of science would seem to be
secure, since, in the words of Jules Marcou, he was
"the founder of American stratigraphy and the first
discoverer of primordial fauna in any country." 3
Joseph Alden, a graduate of Union College in the
class of 1829, student of theology in Princeton Sem-
inary and tutor in Princeton College, came to Wil-
liamstown in 1834 as pastor of the Congregational
Church. The next year the Trustees elected him
Professor of Latin and the year following transferred
him to the chair of Political Economy, which he
1 Albert Hopkins, in Williams Quarterly, June, 1864, 261.
* Marcou, American Geologist, 14. 3 Ibid., i.
occupied until 1854, when he became President of
Lafayette. A man of culture, an attractive speaker,
and a considerable author, the list of his publica-
tions, mostly Sunday-School books and short sketches,
during the twenty years of his residence in Williams-
town, reached a total of fifty-four titles, he was also
a progressive and stimulating instructor. "Your
counsel and encouragement/' he wrote in dedicating
one of his books to Joseph White (1836), the Secre-
tary of Education in Massachusetts, "led me to
give in my college teaching greater prominence to
studies calculated to prepare young men for their
duties as citizens than is usual." l And William Cullen
Bryant, who contributed an introduction to another
volume, called attention to Professor Alden's singular
"facility in teaching his pupils to think." 2
In the gallery of Williams professors, Albert Hop-
kins is a striking and distinguished figure "tall,
erect, dignified . . . with a frame that would have
suited an athlete, and a head such as the Greek sculp-
tors gave to their great orators . . . and eyes of un-
matched brilliancy." 3 The words of President Chad-
bourne at his funeral in 1872 should stand unabated
and unqualified: "In later life when age had whitened
his locks, and moral conflicts and triumphs had deep-
ened the lines upon his face, he stood before us a form
of dignity and beauty which no ideal of patriarch or
prophet ever surpassed." 4
1 Science of Government in Connection with American Institutions, 1866.
2 Studies in Bryant, 7.
3 Professor J. L. T. Phillips, quoted in Perry's Williamstown and
Williams College, 582.
4 Chadbourne, The Hope of the Righteous, 17.
HIGH TIDES IN THE CALENDAR
This younger brother of Mark Hopkins joined the
teaching staff of the college in 1827 and continued in
service the rest of his life a period of forty-five
years. In the early part of this period, at least, he
threw himself with enthusiasm into the work of his
department, organized the scientific expedition to
Nova Scotia in 1835, and built the Astronomical
Observatory in 1837. Later, and partly in conse-
quence of heavy domestic sorrows, his enthusiasm
waned and his classroom did not always escape the
blight of dulness. The quality which set Albert Hop-
kins apart from all Williams professors, past and
present, was a certain indubitable strain of religious
genius refined, poetical, intense. A striking and
tangible evidence of this genius is seen in the noon
prayer meetings which he began in 1832. Antedating
by two years the organization of a college church, it
was hoped that they might prove a defence against
the easily besetting sins of indifference and worldli-
ness. The first in the long series was held one pleas-
ant day in June with an attendance of five students.
"Numbers were on the green and under the shade of
the maples as these brethren . . . passed ... to the
conference room." 1 Professor Hopkins always con-
ducted the meetings and the simple programme never
varied stanzas of a familiar hymn, texts of Scrip-
ture, brief prayers, a word of exposition or exhorta-
tion by the leader, and then a concluding hymn. They
continued for the space of thirty-nine years, and were
in the opinion of John Bascom the most efficient
means of promoting the spiritual life that he had ever
1 Durfee, History of Williams College, 232.
known. 1 In later times, when interest in them had
begun to slacken, he became absorbed in neighbor-
hood mission work. In this field his monument is the
reformed White Oaks, where his labors effected some
such social transformation as the ministry of Richard
Baxter at Kidderminster.
At times and under favoring circumstances, when
the tremendous spiritual intensities slumbering in his
nature were awakened, Albert Hopkins was an extra-
ordinary preacher. He had the dramatic sensibility
of the greater Hebrew prophets. Now and then during
periods of religious quickening flashes of imaginative
splendor burst forth in his speech and with startling
effect. None of his few printed sermons afford much
evidence of what may have happened when they were
delivered. They are the ashes of a burnt-out fire.
John Tatlock, a native of North Wales, who came
to the United States in 1830 at the age of twenty-two
years, valedictorian of the class of 1836, has the honor
of the first appointment to the teaching staff in the
administration of Mark Hopkins. For the two years
following his graduation he was tutor, then became
Professor of Mathematics, and held that position,
with the exception of a single year when he taught the
ancient languages, until 1867. He had unusual in-
tellectual quickness and versatility together with a
bright turn for humorous speech. But some malign
influence blighted what ought to have been a career
of more than ordinary note the isolation of the
college, the absence of stimulus, the mischiefs that
wait on great mental facility and a temperament lack-
1 Berkshire His. Society, Collections, I, 42.
HIGH TIDES IN THE CALENDAR
ing initiative and lapsing readily into indolence.
Yet in the biennial songs of the eleven classes that
wrote such verse, no member of the faculty is cele-
brated so constantly or so affectionately as Professor
The second name on the list of these first appoint-
ments is that of Nathaniel Herrick Griffin (1834)
a sound scholar, a competent teacher, and an inter-
esting preacher of the reflective, cultivated, polished
order. He gave the college thirty-two years of varied
and efficient service as tutor, librarian, and Professor,
first of the Ancient Languages, then of Greek. To a
student of his, writing after an interval of sixty years,
he seemed "rare, refined, gentle, beauty-loving ... a
Southern rose, transplanted to the sterile granite soil
of New England, fading in color, wasting its perfume,
shedding its petals on our northeast winds." 1
Three professors, elected later than John Tatlock
and Nathaniel Herrick Griffin, whose term of service
did not outlast the administration of Mark Hopkins,
were Isaac Newton Lincoln (1847), Professor of Latin
and French, 1853-62, a vigorous advocate of the doc-
trine that college ought to be a place for serious work
and consequently incurring some misplaced disfavor
among under-class men; John Lemuel Thomas Phil-
lips (1847), Professor of Greek, 1857-68, able to inter-
est his classes in the grammar, dialects, and sentence
structure of Homer, Xenophon, or ^schylus; William
Reynolds Dimmock (1855), Professor of Greek, 1868-
72, attractive, scholarly, chafing overmuch perhaps
1 Norman Seaver (1854), Williams Alumni Review, April, 1911, pp.
against conditions at Williamstown, and inclined to
radical if not impracticable remedies.
Another group of men, seven in number, were
elected to various chairs in this period, men who
bulked large in the immediate and subsequent history
of the college, Paul Ansel Chadbourne (1848);
John Bascom (1849); Arthur Latham Perry (1852);
Sanborn Tenney (Amherst, 1853); Franklin Gilson
(1855); Cyrus Morris Dodd (1855); and Franklin
Carter (1862). Probably no better teaching could be
found in any New England college than in Williams
during the last twenty years of Dr. Hopkins' admin-
istration. President Angell makes a similar claim for
Brown in the preceding decade and fortifies it by quo-
tations from the " Recollections " of Senator Hoar and
the "Autobiography" of Andrew D. White in regard
to classroom conditions at Harvard and Yale. 1
The two debating societies, with pleasant quarters
in South College and libraries of four or five thousand
volumes each, quite held their own. A large majority
of the questions discussed at their meetings were polit-
ical, and some of the decisions handed down have a
queer look at the present day, since they announced
that "the nullification act" of South Carolina was
" justifiable"; that old John Brown deserved hang-
ing; that the fugitive slave law ought not to be re-
pealed; that it would be impossible to restore the
Union at the close of the Civil War (September 17,
1862); and that Abraham Lincoln should be defeated
in the campaign for reelection (February 10, 1864).
These debating society findings touched educational
1 Reminiscences, 37.
HIGH TIDES IN THE CALENDAR
as well as political questions. In 1839 they declared
that the present Williams curriculum did not tend
to develop the mental powers, and in 1850 that "the
recent course of study*' advocated by President
Wayland of Brown "is not adapted to American
The Philologian Society abolished the office of
Reader in 1840. It seems that this office, the chief
function of which was the presentation of volunteer
communications, had been in existence a number of
years and on the whole served an amusing and useful
purpose. But it was this sort of thing that readily lent
itself to abuse. From the beginning there had been
complaints of varying intensity and volume. The
character of the communications finally fell so low
that the Reader asked to be relieved from duty. His
request was granted, the office discontinued, and the
secretary directed to draw up and spread upon the
records a statement of reasons for the summary ac-
tion. "The pieces in this department," said the secre-
tary in his affluent indictment, " tend directly to foster
vice; to excite hatred, animosity, revenge, and the
like; to blunt the moral perceptions; to make enemies
of friends." 2 Evidently the Philologians of 1840 had
ample reasons for abolishing the wicked office.
In these later times of indifference and collapse the
fierce rivalry which existed between the debating
societies appears childish and absurd. A trivial mat-
ter sometimes produced violent disturbance. The
Philotechnians to cite an illustration of this in-
1 Records of the Philologian and Philotechnian Societies, passim.
* Records of the Philologian Society, April 15, 1840.
flammable temper were surprised at their meeting,
October 9, 1850, by the entrance of two former mem-
bers of the society, President Hopkins and Professor
Tatlock. Naturally they were asked "to make some
remarks" and accepted the invitation. This innocent
visit roused instant and tremendous indignation
among the Philologians. At a special meeting held
forthwith they passed resolutions denouncing the visit
as an act of favoritism to a rival society "unprece-
dented since our connection with the college. . . . We
must and do unanimously protest against all such
interferences as most unwise and ungenerous." * A
committee, appointed by the society, presented a
copy of the resolutions to President Hopkins and
Professor Tatlock. Their interview with these gentle-
men must have been interesting, but no report of it
has been preserved.
Occasionally there were great internal commotions.
One of them, and presumably the worst, convulsed
the Philologian Society in the autumn of 1843. The
occasion of this phenomenal rumpus was an election of
speakers for the Adelphic Union Exhibition hardly
a matter of supreme importance. Just what caused
the trouble is not clear, but great confusion prevailed.
"Shouting, hissing, clapping, stamping mingled in
one wild uproar." 2 The next week a vociferous dis-
cussion instantly sprung up over the legality of the
election and raged "until near eleven o'clock," when
"President Hopkins came slowly into the room and,
having made some conciliatory remarks, suggested
1 Records of the Philologian Society, October 10, 1850.
2 Ibid., October 25, 1843.
I 7 8
HIGH TIDES IN THE CALENDAR
the propriety of adjourning." 1 After an ineffectual
motion or two the society accepted his advice. The
feud, however, was not yet finally composed, as the
discussion blazed up afresh at the next meeting, and
with such fury that President Hopkins again inter-
vened and proposed that the matter at issue should
be submitted to arbitration a suggestion which the
fiery belligerents adopted. Two professors, Albert
Hopkins and Joseph Alden, and Daniel Noble Dewey,
Treasurer of the college, were appointed referees.
They prepared a written report which President
Hopkins himself carried to a meeting of the society.
He said he did not know what the referees had done
and hoped neither side would make any demonstra-
tion when the report was read, and this violent tem-
pest in a teapot subsided.
Foolish rivalry and tumult at elections, however,
did not interfere very seriously with the proper work
of the societies. In general it may be said that they
reached the point of culmination about the middle of
the century, and that a decline then began, which
continued until 1914, when they became practically
extinct. 2 Their successors, so far as they have any,
are courses in argumentation and intercollegiate
In these years the relations of faculty and students
were generally peaceful. The following extract from
the diary of an 1843 Freshman is probably a fair
statement of the usual status: "Called on the Presi-
dent and two or three of the Professors to-day. Was
1 Records of the Philologian Society, November I, 1843.
2 Springfield Republican, March 3, 1914.
struck with the[ir] affable and familiar manner. How
different from my old Academy teacher who used,
when I called upon him, to assume the dignity of a
Turkish Sultan. The instructors here, on the con-
trary, seem to consider the students as young gentle-
men, desirous of an education and themselves as their
friendly guides, not sentinels nor police officers. The
result is that the students almost universally regard
the faculty as their friends."
It is not to be supposed that the reign of peace was
perpetual. As a matter of fact occasional interrup-
tions of it and one or two of them were rather
serious did occur. The overshadowing popularity
of President Hopkins continued from first to last
with little fluctuation, but his colleagues sometimes
encountered seasons of rough weather. Anonymous
publications, like the "College Reflector" of August,
1 851 , now and then appeared and gave vent to passing
phases of ill-temper. There were also sporadic epi-
demics of lawlessness. One of them, which occasioned
considerable disturbance, broke out shortly after the
inauguration of Mark Hopkins. "We have had re-
markable times here of late," wrote a Sophomore,
November 6, 1836. "The spirit of innovation rages
beyond anything ever witnessed before. The Dare-
Devil Club (shame to Old Williams) makes tremen-
dous havoc among the Freshmen and Townspeople.
Freshmen rooms are haunted by Ghosts and Devils.
Their windows are broken and shattered shockingly.
Their keys are laid up in 'highways and hedges.*
Their halls are ornamented with the feathers and skel-
1 Wells and Davis, Sketches of Williams College, 73.
HIGH TIDES IN THE CALENDAR
etons of chickens. Townspeople are tormented . . .
in ways too numerous to mention. Professor Kellogg
has a regular court for bringing culprits to justice
2 hours per day for three weeks. The cunning of the
Dare Devils has as yet baffled the wary old man. I
hope they will soon be cast out of the synagogue.
Such doings are unprecedented here." 1
The only serious interruption of friendly relations
occurred in 1868 when the students at a college meet-
ing, November 10, passed without dissent a resolution
severing their connection with the institution. What
desperate grievance provoked this ordinance of seces-
sion? Nothing more than the rule, announced No-
vember 5, that any absence from recitation, " whether
excused or unexcused, will count as zero in the record
of standing." Some question arose, during the final
deliberations of the faculty, in regard to the practical
enforcement of this rule. "It will execute itself,"
Professor Bascom explained. "Perhaps," retorted
Professor Carter, "it will execute the college first."
And that was what very nearly happened. The stu-
dents lost no time in denouncing the new regulation
and in demanding that it should be "annulled," but
the faculty declined to make any concessions what-
ever. Then followed secession and a total suspension
of college exercises. It was an awkward situation.
Yet, though intense excitement prevailed, Williams-
town was outwardly peaceful. No acts of violence
attended this revolution. The students agreed to re-
main in the neighborhood and to refrain from "all
1 W. W. Mitchell (1839), MS. letter, November 6, 1836, in Williams
objectionable conduct " until some settlement of the
controversy should be effected. " We feel proud that
a body of young men," said a spokesman for them,
"have been found in this generation, who proceeded
carefully, consistently, and unanimously against in-
justice and tyranny." 1
Both parties, faculty and students, anxiously
awaited the return of President Hopkins, who had
gone to Marietta, Ohio, to preach an anniversary ser-
mon. He returned Saturday, November 14, preached
Sunday morning in the chapel, and at the conclusion
of the services announced that a college meeting
would be held the next morning. It was a large gath-
ering which then assembled and included many
friends of the institution, drawn to Williamstown by
alarming reports of the revolt. When President Hop-
kins rose to speak there could be no doubt that he was
master of the situation. 2 With consummate tact, with
a logic, a fairness and lucidity which compelled con-
viction, he argued that the laws of the institution must
be maintained, and that there were wiser methods for
redressing supposed wrongs than rebellion and seces-
sion. This felicitous and persuasive address, the great
prestige of Dr. Hopkins, and the knowledge that he
favored some modification of the new rule brought
the ugly crisis to a peaceful end. At this time of day
appraisal of the controversy presents no serious diffi-
culties. While the evils the faculty sought to sup-
press were real, it was a mistake to attempt a sudden
and radical reformation in the President's absence. 3
1 Williams Vidette. 2 Perry, Williamstown and Williams Colkge, 644.
8 Carter, Mark Hopkins, chap. V.
HIGH TIDES IN THE CALENDAR
The rowdyism of 1836 and the rebellion of 1868
were emergencies that must be met by special meas-
ures. In the ordinary administration of discipline the
ancient penalty of fines still held a prominent place.
Of the offenders punished by this penalty there was
one who failed " to recite on the morning after thanks-
giving"; another who "went to Troy when excused
to go to Bennington " ; and a third who "put up a flag
on the Sabbath" -that particular Sabbath being the
4th of July, I84I. 1
Celebrations of three important anniversaries took
place in Dr. Hopkins' time. The first of them was the
semi-centennial commemorated Wednesday, August
16, 1843. It fell upon a period of depression, as only
two years had elapsed since East College burned
down, and the struggle to rebuild it was still in prog-
ress. The authorities attempted little in the way of
decoration and display the total expenses for the
anniversary amounting to only $i97,i6. 2 Like the
inauguration of Mark Hopkins, it was a modest,
sober, undemonstrative affair and attended by no
delegates from other institutions. The solitary dis-
tinguished guest in attendance seems to have been
Marcus Morton, Governor of the State. But the
alumni came in relatively large numbers- "prob-
ably not far from three hundred " 3 of them, one third
of all the living graduates. Wednesday morning at
eight o'clock they held a meeting for greetings and
reminiscences, "a most delightful family gathering."
1 Records of the Faculty, 1836-72, passim.
f Records of the Trustees, August 20, 1844.
8 Durfee, History of Williams College, 251.
The enchanted Long Ago
Murmur'd and smiled anew.
Then at ten o'clock they formed in procession,
marched to the Congregational Church at the head of
Main Street and heard President Hopkins and the
Rev. Dr. Thomas Robbins. The oration of the former
on the "Law of Progress" was the chief event of the
anniversary an event that lifted it high above all
routine, commonplace, or provincialism. Not more
than two or three of the baccalaureate sermons which
gave distinction to subsequent Commencements rival
it in intellectual force, in breadth of thought and
felicity of phrase.
Thomas Robbins, the second speaker, a slight,
quaint, picturesque figure in the small-clothes of the
preceding century, said his address was " too long
an hour and forty-five minutes but kindly
heard." l This highly respectable address, in which
the obligations of educated men to the community
were considered, had the misfortune to follow one of
much greater brilliancy and power.
After the exercises in the church came the banquet.
Tables were spread in "a spacious booth" on East
College campus and the festivities continued until
evening. Samuel R. Betts (1806) presided and intro-
duced Governor Morton, who made a happy response,
congratulating the college particularly upon its situa-
tion, which seemed to him to be " in some respects . . .
unrivalled." 2 Addresses by alumni followed, only
two of which have been preserved, those of Charles A.
1 Robbins, Diary, n, 705.
8 New York Observer, August 26, 1843.
HIGH TIDES IN THE CALENDAR
Dewey and Emory Washburn, and they dwell upon
various phases of college history. Dr. Alonzo Calkins
(1825) offered the parting sentiment:
" O fortes, peioraque passi
Mecum saepe viri, nunc risa pellite curas;
Cras ingens iterabimus aequor." l
The one-hundredth anniversary of the death of
Colonel Williams occurred in 1855. His name had
not been very constantly in mind during the sixty-
two years since the founding of the college. So early
as 1812 the Trustees felt that something should be
done to rescue it from the gathering shadows. At
their meeting, September I, they appointed a com-
mittee "to devise some plan to perpetuate the mem-
ory of it." After considering the subject a year this
committee reported that a marble tablet, "with suit-
able inscriptions thereon in the chapel which it is
the intention of the board to build, . . . would be the
most eligible method." The Trustees approved of the
suggestion and then voted to postpone the sub-
ject "for the present." 2 But this "intention of the
Board" did not become a reality until 1828 fif-
teen years later when the new chapel was erected
and the proposed tablet placed upon its walls. A
quarter of a century elapsed before anything more
was done. At their annual meeting in 1853 the
alumni appointed a committee to remove the remains
of the founder to the college cemetery and " to erect a
monument to his memory. . . on the spot where he
1 Horatii Carmina, i, vn, 30-32. The second line Dr. Calkins
emended by substituting risa for vino.
2 Records of the Trustees, September I, 1812, and August I, 1813.
fell." l The first part of their commission the com-
mittee found it impossible to execute, since, some
twenty years earlier, the grave had been opened by a
member of the Williams family, who is said to have
carried off a part of the remains. 2 But they did erect
the monument "an honorable memorial" of grey
marble with suitable inscriptions. Then, at the Com-
mencement of 1855, the centennial anniversary of the
founder's death was observed, when Edward W. B.
Canning (1834) read a well-turned poem and James
White (1836) pronounced an eloquent historical
The visit of Byram Green to Williamstown in 1854,
of which some account has already been given, had
two immediate and relatively important results
the purchase of Mission Park, "the most sacred of
God's temples in the Western world," 3 and the cele-
bration of the fiftieth anniversary of the haystack
It was intended that the exercises of the Jubilee
should be held in the open air and on the ground
where Mills and his companions prayed in 1 806. Not
only seats, but, in order to visualize in some vague
yet suggestive fashion the connections of past and
present, a haystack and bungalow were erected in the
grove. 4 A violent rainstorm, however, which "con-
tinued almost without interruption through the ...
day and evening," 6 made it necessary to hold the
exercises in the church. Albert Hopkins delivered the
1 Durfee, History of Williams College, 269. 2 Ibid., 270.
3 Williams Quarterly, Editor's Table, December, 1856.
4 Missionary Jubilee, 12.
6 Williams Quarterly, December, 1856.
HIGH TIDES IN THE CALENDAR
principal oration and discoursed impressively, with
characteristic touches of humor, upon the times and
men of the famous prayer meeting. A series of short
addresses, thirteen in number, followed this principal
oration. The exercises, broken only by an intermis-
sion of fifteen minutes, lasted six hours, and in spite
of their length stirred to enthusiasm that keen, vet-
eran observer and critic, the Rev. Dr. Samuel H. Cox.
"Old men said," he remarked, '"We never saw the
like,* and I say, 'Beat it if you can, O ye scholars of
the coming age, in your centennial celebration.'*' 1
These scholars did not and could not beat it in elo-
quence, though they surpassed it in pomp and cir-
cumstance. Wednesday, October 10, 1906, a great
multitude of people gathered in Williamstown the
annual meeting of the American Board was held there
and in North Adams to celebrate the centennial.
The programme included a sunrise service in Mission
Park, addresses in the Thompson Memorial Chapel
and in the Congregational Church during the fore-
noon, and an open-air meeting at the park in the after-
noon. A cold, heavy rain partly broke up the sunrise
service, but some remained in spite of it to offer their
prayers on the ground hallowed by Mills and his
companions. A thousand people attended the " aca-
demic" service in the Thompson Chapel, where three
college presidents Hopkins of Williams, Tucker of
Dartmouth, and Hyde of Bowdoin and the son of
a famous missionary, the Rev. Dr. Edward Judson,
of New York, spoke on various phases of the haystack
prayer meeting and its consequences.
1 Cox, New York Evangelist, August 14, 1856.
For the afternoon service a platform had been
erected and chairs provided on the north side of Mis-
sion Park, where there is a natural amphitheatre ad-
mirably adapted to the purposes of a great outdoor
assembly. Twenty-five hundred people attended this
service. Beautiful autumnal sunshine followed the
cloud and storm of the morning, and the exercises
were not unworthy of their splendid setting, espe-
cially the addresses of ten young men, converts in
mission fields, "all the way from Europe and Africa
to Hawaii and Mexico." 1 The first commemoration
awakened comparatively little interest, but the sec-
ond was one of the great religious anniversaries of the
year. " Meetings in five continents this Wednesday,"
some one then said of the haystack men, "celebrate
their centennial." 2
There was no hesitation or uncertainty in the re-
sponse of Williams men to the calls of patriotism
during the great national crisis of 1861-65. Three
hundred and seventeen of them entered the Federal
service, two hundred and forty-nine graduates
and sixty-eight non-graduates, representatives of
thirty-eight classes from 1825 to 1870. In this esti-
mate thirty-six volunteers for work in the Christian
or Sanitary Commissions are not included. 3
Little happened on the campus during the war
which is of present interest or importance. News that
1 Missionary Herald, November, 1906, p. 520.
2 The Haystack Centennial, 96.
3 See Appendix. Eight non-graduates entered the Confederate army.
One of them, William Farley Storrow Lovell (1849), reached the rank
of inspector-general, and another, Joseph Lovell, that of brigadier-
HIGH TIDES IN THE CALENDAR
Fort Sumter had surrendered to the South Carolinians
reached Williamstown April 15 the last day of the
second term of the college year. This news, wrote a
Junior in his journal, "caused intense excitement"
- "the students all swear they will enlist." l First
and last twenty-nine of them seem to have left college
to join the army. But the shrinkage in the registra-
tion of Freshmen was a more serious and alarming
matter. For the four years preceding the Civil War it
had averaged fifty-nine for the next four it fell to
When the third term began, in the spring of 1861
after a vacation of two weeks, the undergraduates
organized themselves into a battalion, and drilled an
hour daily. Subsequently the faculty took the busi-
ness in charge and made military training a required
exercise with a schedule of three hours a week. At
the Commencement of 1863, the battalion, mustered
in front of Griffin Hall, listened to a stirring address
by Governor John A. Andrew.
Another interesting event of this Commencement
was a poem written by William Cullen Bryant and
read at the fiftieth anniversary of his college class.
In this poem the great war its causes and inevi-
table outcome were his theme
"Fierce is the strife,
As when of old the shining angels strove
To whelm, beneath the uprooted hills of heaven,
The warriors of the Lord. Yet now as then
God and the Right shall give the victory."
1 Raymond, Fiftieth Anniversary Report, Class of '62, 17.
A few days before Commencement yet another
event, of no particular importance, it may be, caused
considerable excitement on the campus. "Mrs.
McClellan, who spends her summers here," wrote a
member of the graduating class, "had a letter from
her son own cousin of General McClellan in the
Rebel army, wanting to know where her property in
Washington is, that he may protect it when the cap-
ital falls into Rebel hands. She thinks her two sons
in General Meade's army quite as competent for the
Perhaps the most touching event in local history
during the war was the reinterment of the remains of
Lieutenant Edward Payson Hopkins, the only son of
Albert Hopkins, who fell May 4, 1864, in a cavalry
charge at Ashland, Virginia. After a futile attempt
early in June to recover them, the stricken father re-
turned home "grown ten years older than when he
went away." His second expedition proved success-
ful, and, December 31, 1864, they were buried in the
college cemetery. Chaplain Henry Hopkins made a
touching address at the funeral exercises in the Con-
gregational Church, and the choir, of which the gal-
lant young soldier had been a member, sang Mont-
"Go to the grave in all thy glorious prime." 2
The patriotic enthusiasm of the Berkshire students,
which marked the beginning of the Civil War, was no
less demonstrative at its conclusion. Recitations were
i S. W. Dike, MS. letter, July 11, 1863.
* Prentiss, Life and Letters of Elizabeth Prentiss, 228.
HIGH TIDES IN THE CALENDAR
in progress when they heard that Lee's army had sur-
rendered at Appomattox Court House. Without wait-
ing for the formalities of dismission, they rushed with
tumultuous cheers to the chapel and sang " America "
and the "Doxology." x
Thirty Williams men lost their lives in the war. A
monument, erected on the campus to their memory,
was dedicated July 28, 1868, one graduate of the
class of 1825, the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Porter, offering
the consecrating prayer, and another graduate of the
same class, David Dudley Field, pronouncing the
oration. "The statue which we this day uncover,"
said the latter, " is a tribute and a memorial. It is the
tribute of this generation to patriotism, fidelity, and
heroic virtue. It is the memorial to future generations
of a great war and a great peace. . . . Such a war and
such a peace deserve a memorial that shall last as
long as yonder mountains shall look upon this valley.
. . . Here let it remain . . . standing like a sentinel at
the dawn of morning, at noon, at eventide, in the soft
moonlight and beneath the stars." 2
Upwards of fifteen hundred Williams graduates re-
ceived their diplomas from Mark Hopkins and the
registration of non-graduates in his time reached at
least half that number. Many of them, men of note
in business, in the professions, in scholarship, or in
literature, deserve a recognition which the compass of
the present volume does not permit. Nothing more
can be attempted than short sketches of a few who
became widely known and are no longer living.
1 Williams Quarterly, June, 1865.
2 D. D. Field, Speeches, Arguments, and Miscellaneous Papers, n, 275.
One non-graduate, Eugene Field, prepared for col-
lege at a private school in Monson, under the care of
a genial, old-fashioned master, the Rev. Mr. Tufts,
who seems to have been his friend as well as teacher.
He entered the Freshman class in the autumn of 1868
and remained a member of it about eight months.
Apparently the boy gave little attention to his proper
duties in these months and developed certain "excen-
trisities" which so much disturbed the orderly life at
Williamstown that President Hopkins is said to have
advised Mr. Tufts to take him out of college. There
was no official reprimand or dismissal he simply
withdrew. 1 In two other institutions, Knox Col-
lege and the University of Missouri, where he was
a student for a time, he repeated substantially his
What Eugene Field got out of his varied academic
experience is uncertain. Nor has the final rating of
this whimsical, rollicking, improvident, brilliant lit-
terateur, whose books were put together out of contri-
butions to Denver or Chicago newspapers, as yet
been fully settled. His " Love-Songs of Childhood "
quite as finely imagined and quite as free from grown-
up qualities as Stevenson's "A Child's Garden of
Verses" have the best promise.
Another non-graduate, Edward Payson Roe, came
to Williamstown in 1859. During the winter term of
Freshman year some eye-trouble grew so serious that
he became discouraged and was about to leave col-
lege. Calling upon President Hopkins, he told him his
perplexities and fears. " Never can I forget how the
1 Thompson, Eugene Field, 81.
HIGH TIDES IN THE CALENDAR
grand old man met the disheartened boy. . . . The
half-hour spent with him [was] the turning point of
my life." l He joined the Senior class the next autumn,
thus becoming a University or partial-course student.
The instructions of that Senior year were, he said,
invaluable to him.
Whatever the worth of literary criticism by the
event may be, and Professor Saintsbury is inclined
to take issue with Dr. Johnson's hostile dictum on
this question, in the case of Edward P. Roe's
books the event was a sale of 1,400,000 copies in his
lifetime and a considerable subsequent vogue. To
professional critics these books seem crude, ill-made,
and lacking in essential qualities of literary art. But
multitudes of intelligent men and women, English as
well as American, read them with pleasure and profit.
He wrote for the masses, and gloried in his mission
scarcely less than a once well-known contemporary,
who declared that "he would crawl on his hands and
knees until he sank if he could write a book which the
plain people would read and love." 2
Stephen Johnson Field (1837) was valedictorian of
the first class that graduated under Mark Hopkins.
Few Williams men have had a more varied or roman-
tic career. In 1829, then a boy of thirteen, he accom-
panied his sister and her missionary husband, the
Rev. Josiah Brewer, to Smyrna for the purpose of
qualifying himself as a teacher of Oriental languages.
The project did not succeed and was followed by four
years at Williams College, by the study of law and
1 Roe, Autobiography, Lippincotfs Magazine, October, 1888.
2 Plunkett, Josiah Gilbert Holland, 43.
partnership with his brother, David Dudley Field,
in New York. Later he joined the great migration
of "forty-niners" to California and settled at Marys-
ville, a town eight days old, with a single adobe house
and one thousand inhabitants ! 1 This pioneer period
continued until 1863 and abounded in such uncom-
fortable incidents as disbarment, imprisonment for
contempt of court, and challenging a scoundrel, who
did not keep the appointment, to fight a duel. On
another occasion, happening to be in a saloon with
David C. Broderick, subsequently United States
Senator, the latter suddenly thrust him through an
open door and shut it much to his astonishment
and anger. Broderick explained afterwards that as
they were standing at the bar a desperado with a
grievance against Field entered the saloon and was
drawing a pistol to shoot. 2 The feuds of these turbu-
lent times pursued him long after their date. In 1889
he visited California and an old-time ruffian nearly
succeeded in assassinating him. His service to that
Commonwealth in the early chaotic period of its
history was very great. As a member of the first
Legislature and then of the highest State Court, he
probably had more influence than any other man in
settling the vexed legal questions which arose over
disputed mining claims.
In 1863 President Lincoln appointed Stephen Field
an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the
United States, and he held that position thirty-four
years and seven months, surpassing all the records in
1 Field, Early Days in California, 223.
2 Strong, Landmarks of a Lawyer's Lifetime, 185.
HIGH TIDES IN THE CALENDAR
tenure of office. And certainly none of his associates
came up out of such turbulent experiences. One sel-
dom finds a more striking contrast than that between
the fighting "forty-niner" in California and the spec-
tacled, silk-gowned justice in Washington, with his
flowing beard, his massive figure, his courtly bearing,
his refined and strikingly intellectual face. And his
career on the bench of the Supreme Court was distin-
guished not only by length of days, but also by fear-
less independence, ample learning, devotion to prin-
ciples rather than rules, and rare power of creative
Samuel Green Wheeler Benjamin (1859) had a
longer, more intimate connection with the Orient
than Stephen Field. The son of a missionary, he was
born in Argos, on the southeastern coast of Greece,
where he spent the first seven months of his life. Then
for the next seven years he lived in Athens; then, and
until he entered Williams College at the age of eighteen ,
in Trebizond, Smyrna, or Constantinople.
Benjamin had a versatile genius, since he was a
diplomatist, an artist, a journalist, and a man of let-
ters. His service as a diplomat was in Persia, where he
held the office of United States Minister from 1883 to
1885, when a change of administration at Washington
brought it to a close. A partial list of his paintings in
his autobiography contains one hundred and thirty-
seven titles. Besides contributing many articles to
the magazines, he published sixteen books, some of
which were praised by the critics and had considerable
sale. His first venture as an author he made during
1 Some Accounts of the Work of Stephen Johnson Field, 1881.
Freshman year in college, when he offered an article
to the "Williams Quarterly." That he should then
have aspired to the honor of becoming a contributor
to it was probably due, he said, to his "extreme ver-
dancy," but he took the chance and knocked early
one morning, manuscript in hand, at the door of the
sanctum, which was opened by James A. Garfield, a
member of the editorial board. "He was putting on
a clean shirt . . . and good-naturedly invited me to
enter. ... I modestly declined, apologized for intrud-
ing at such an hour, and placed in his hands a poem.
He took it politely and replied that he would carefully
read my manuscript. There was, however, a quizzi-
cal, half -humorous look in his eye at the assurance of
a Freshman who ventured ... to invite inevitable
rejection." l The poem, two hundred lines of blank
verse about the Bosphorus, seems to have pleased
Garfield and his associates and they printed it in the
Two graduates David Ames Wells (1847) and
Samuel Warren Dike (1863) were men of mark in
the field of economics and sociology. It was by a
paper, "Our Burden and Our Strength," read
before a literary club in Troy, New York, that Wells,
then an unknown young man, first attracted atten-
tion. The paper was an examination of our national
resources to determine our ability to bear taxation, 2
and when brought to the attention of Mr. Lincoln, it
led to his appointment first as Chairman of the Reve-
nue Commission and subsequently as Special Com-
1 Benjamin, The Life and Adventures of a Free Lance, 140.
1 Godkin, Harvard Graduates' Magazine, vn, 353.
HIGH TIDES IN THE CALENDAR
missioner of Revenue, positions which he held from
1865 to 1870. During this period he visited Europe in
search of information, became a free-trader, and con-
sequently laid himself open to charges of having been
bought with British gold. These charges, to which
Horace Greeley gave a wide and emphatic publicity,
depressed his reputation for a time, but the recovery
has been substantial.
While Wells published a great number of scientific
works and they had an immense sale, he won his most
distinctive and brilliant success in the field of taxa-
tion. Contrary to what one might have anticipated,
his discussion of the subject attracted more attention
abroad than at home a fact amply attested by the
extraordinary honors which foreign societies and uni-
versities conferred upon him. 1
David Wells' first book " Sketches of Williams
College" was an undergraduate venture, written
in collaboration with his classmate Samuel Henry
Davis. The preface has the date of "June, 1847"
a date belonging to the last weeks of his Senior year.
"We have clothed the facts given us," the authors
modestly explained, "in the best garments to be
found in our scanty wardrobe."
The most interesting and valuable part of the book
is the chapter on college life, composed largely of ex-
tracts from a student's journal. It may be pretty con-
fidently assumed that Wells himself was the diarist.
He made his first entry "Tuesday 10 o'clock P.M.,"
when he had been a member of the Freshman class
one day, and the last at the close of Senior examina-
1 Godkin, Harvard Graduates' Magazine, vn, 355.
tion with Commencement only six weeks away. What
had the Williams of 1843-47 done for the diarist?
This question occurred to him as he was bringing his
journal to a close and he answered it "I believe I
have gained some facility in directing and fixing my
powers on a specific object. ... I can look longer and
steadier than I could four years ago. I have not
richly freighted my ship, but I trust I have acquired
some little skill in managing its helm and sails ; I know
where the freight is, where my course lies, where the
rocks are hid, and I humbly hope I may reach the
port towards which I steer." 1
Samuel Warren Dike died in 1913 at the age of
seventy-four. Having a hurried and indifferent prepa-
ration for college, he said that he was enabled to enter
Williams only "by the very generous consideration
then given to poor scholars who seemed to be in ear-
nest/' In spite of this original handicap his grades were
so good at the close of the course that the faculty as-
signed him the Metaphysical Oration, then one of the
most coveted honors. Graduating from Andover
Theological Seminary in 1866, he entered upon the
work of the ministry and continued in it until 1881,
mainly in Congregational churches at West Ran-
dolph, Vermont, and at the neighboring town of
Royalton, when he became corresponding secre-
tary of the National League for the Protection of the
Family, and held this position for the thirty-two re-
maining years of his life. Though he did not write
books, his annual reports, his addresses before learned
societies, and his papers in magazines and quarterlies,
1 Wells and Davis, Sketches of Williams College, So.
I 9 8
HIGH TIDES IN THE CALENDAR
written in perspicuous English with "a strong home
touch," gave him wide reputation as a sociological
expert. "Marriage is a subject I should be afraid to
handle," wrote Goldwin Smith, replying in 1890 to a
correspondent. "So much special knowledge is re-
quired. The best authority on it, so far as the United
States are concerned, is the Rev. Samuel W. Dike." 1
First and last he gave addresses at sixty colleges, uni-
versities, and theological seminaries visiting some
of them repeatedly. According to the late Professor
Herbert Adams, of Johns Hopkins, a certain trip of
his to educational institutions in the eighties of the
last century did more to stimulate the study of social
science than any event in the history of the country
up to that time. 2
James Hulme Canfield (1868), orator at the cen-
tennial commemoration of the college, after some ven-
tures in business, studied law and began practice at
St. Joseph, Michigan, which continued until 1877,
when he accepted a call to the chair of English and
History in the University of Kansas, where he had
among his contemporaries on the teaching staff or
Board of Regents six Williams alumni. Though he
entered upon his new vocation without special prepa-
ration, his alertness, magnetism, and genius for rapid
work carried him triumphantly through the Kansas
novitiate. This new vocation continued for twenty-
one years fourteen of them as a professor in the
University of Kansas, four as Chancellor of the Uni-
versity of Nebraska, and three as President of the
1 Goldwin Smith, Correspondence, 224.
* MS. Autobiographic sketch.
Ohio State University. At the conclusion of these
twenty-one years he removed to New York and be-
came librarian of Columbia University. "And there
he remaineth till this day," he wrote in April, 1903,
"and his office hours for '68 men are from seven in
the morning till midnight." 1 He was a man of various
and signal gifts genial, resourceful, in sympathy
with all that made for progress, an effective writer
and teacher, an admirable after-dinner speaker, and
an unsurpassed raconteur.
John BoydThacher (1869), "a man of marvellously
vivid and most lovable personality," 2 was twice
Mayor of Albany, New York, and once State Senator.
An ardent supporter of Grover Cleveland, he can-
vassed the State during his first campaign, travelling
in a boat through the Erie Canal and addressing what-
ever audiences could be collected along the banks.
In 1896 he declined the Democratic nomination for
Governor. His deeper, more abiding interests, how-
ever, were literary, not political. A bibliophile of the
first rank, his invaluable "Collection of Incunabula,"
now in custody of the Library of Congress, contains
eight hundred and forty titles. His writings comprise
a slender volume of "Little Speeches"; " Charlecote,
or the Trial of William Shakespeare," a brochure
in which "we have run the Landorean thread in and
out of our poor loom"; "The Continent of America,
its Discovery and its Baptism " ; " The Cabotian Dis-
covery " ; " Christopher Columbus," and " Outlines of
the French Revolution."
1 The Class of Sixty-Eight after Thirty- Five Years, 12.
2 Catalogue of the John Boyd Collection of Incunabula, 17.
HIGH TIDES IN THE CALENDAR
Three graduates of the period William Keith
Brooks (1870), Frank Huntington Snow (1862), and
William Dwight Whitney (1845) spent their lives
in university work and made substantial contribu-
tions to the sum of human knowledge.
Professor Brooks, who died in 1908, was perhaps
"the greatest American zoologist, at least from the
viewpoint of philosophical thinking." 1 His most im-
portant contribution to this phase of the subject is
"Foundations of Zoology," published in 1898. On
the practical side of it he did notable work in connec-
tion with the Maryland Oyster Commission. What-
ever his native genius may have been, and it was not
small, pertinacity of purpose and a stubborn industry
contributed largely to his success. At Williams he
absorbed "everything that stuffy old Jackson Hall
had to offer, and lived out of doors and knew all the
fauna and flora around." 2
Frank Huntington Snow, valedictorian of the class
of 1862, an attractive teacher and successful execu-
tive, had been connected with the University of
Kansas forty-two years at the time of his death in
1908 eleven of them as Chancellor and the remain-
der as Professor of Natural History. During this term
of service, and in addition to the current tasks of
teaching and administration, he conducted twenty-
six summer expeditions for scientific purposes, visit-
ing various Western regions Colorado, New Mexico,
and Arizona and collecting a large amount of valua-
ble material. Incidentally he discovered a parasite
1 Leading American Men of Science, 432.
1 G. Stanley Hall (1867), Gulielmensian, XLI, 7.
deadly to the chinch bug and a practicable method of
distributing it. Though he published no books, he was
the author of one hundred and sixty papers and pam-
phlets, mostly on scientific subjects. While there has
been much turmoil in the Sunflower State over the
award of political credits, no one will question the
claims of Frank Snow to a conspicuous place among
The undergraduate life of William Dwight Whitney
first scholar in the class of 1845, professor in Yale
University from 1854 to 1894 can hardly be con-
sidered a prophecy of his subsequent career. Neither
the ancient nor modern languages, that are so con-
spicuous in his later activities, had any prominence
among his undergraduate enthusiasms, which centred
chiefly about Albert Hopkins and the Natural His-
tory Society. "No small part of my time in college/'
he said, in the " Forty Years' Record" of his class,
"was spent in roaming over the hills and through the
valleys collecting birds . . . and setting them up." *
This impulse toward out-of-door things was not
exactly a passing mood. It persisted for a consider-
able period, as we find him taking part in the survey
of the Lake Superior region in 1849 and of Colorado
Professor Whitney spent the four years immediately
succeeding graduation in his father's bank at North-
ampton. He did not resume his studies until the
autumn of 1849, when he went to New Haven, joined
President Woolsey's class in Thucydides and Pro-
fessor Salisbury's in Sanscrit. These men quickly
1 Forty Years' Record, 176.
HIGH TIDES IN THE CALENDAR
perceived that he " had the scholar's gifts and nature."
Following their advice he spent three years in study
at the universities of Tubingen and Berlin, returning
to the United States in 1853. The next year he began
his long and distinguished Yalensian career in the
department of Sanscrit and Comparative Philology.
The bibliography of Professor Whitney's publica-
tions contains three hundred and sixty titles, and
these publications brought him abundant recognition
at home and abroad. In 1870 he received the first
Bopp Prize, awarded by the Berlin Academy of Sci-
ence for making within the three preceding years the
most important contributions to Sanscrit philology.
On the death of Thomas Carlyle in 1881 he succeeded
him as a member of the Prussian Order of Merit.
While the general public may have known him chiefly
as the editor of the " Century Dictionary," no man of
his time did more to stimulate and develop American
scholarship. A great light went out in that world
when, on the 7th of June, 1894, an d at the age of
sixty-seven, he passed away.
Samuel Chapman Armstrong, an educator of quite
another type than the three university professors,
came directly from the Sandwich Islands, the place
of his birth, to Williamstown, and entered the class
of 1862 at the beginning of the Junior year. "You
must ... see my new chum," said John Henry
Denison (1862) to a classmate. "Who's he?" "A
savage, a genuine savage . . . just caught. You ought
to see him knock me down when I try to box with
him but he 's intensely interesting." 1 It was a total
1 Raymond, Fiftieth Anniversary Report, Class of '62, 26.
change in environment and civilization this emi-
gration from the tropics to Northern Berkshire. "I
remember well," wrote another classmate, "standing
by his side as he caught and curiously examined the
first snowflake he had ever seen." 1
Though Armstrong wished to go to New Haven,
he never regretted that he had been overruled in
the matter. "I am more and more thankful," he
said twenty years after graduation, "that I went to
Williams College. . . . For a man's own upbuilding
. . . Dr. Hopkins' teaching is the best human help I
Entering the army in 1862, he continued in active
service until the close of the war and reached the
rank of brevet brigadier-general of colored troops.
Then followed his appointment as Assistant Commis-
sioner of the Freedmen's Bureau at Fortress Monroe,
a position which he relinquished in 1867 to undertake
the founding of Hampton Institute. "I have a re-
markable machine," he wrote to the secretary of his
class in 1874, "f r the education of our colored
brethren. . . . Put in a raw plantation darkey and he
comes out a gentleman of the nineteenth century.
The problem is to skip three centuries in the line of
development and atone for the loss and injustice
The attempt to set up this remarkable machine
was regarded in some quarters as a blunder. "I'm
sorry for Armstrong," said one of his classmates. " If
he had stayed in the Freedmen's Bureau, he might
have risen to a high government position, but now
1 Noble, Report of '62 to 1902, 11. 2 Noble, ibid., 13.
HIGH TIDES IN THE CALENDAR
he's thrown up all his chances and gone down there
to teach in a small, insignificant darkey school." 1
This classmate lacked the modest prescience of
Shakspere's Egyptian soothsayer:
"In nature's infinite book of secrecy
A little I can read."
He could not read at all in that book. So far from
throwing up his chances, Armstrong inaugurated at
Hampton one of the great educational movements of
the nineteenth century.
Ranald Slidell Mackenzie (1859), whom General
Grant considered "the most promising young officer
in the army," 2 entered Williams in the autumn of
1855. "I think," wrote his classmate Washington
Gladden, "he could not have been more than sixteen
when he entered college and wore roundabouts a
kind of Eton jacket. Very quiet, modest to shyness,
and with a little lisp, Ranald was a good fellow; we
all loved him and were both sorry and proud when the
appointment [at West Point] came to him. ... He
left us early in our Junior year, but we did not . . .
forecast his future; he had not at that time given any
indications of the kind of character he was to de-
velop." 3 Subsequent indications did not leave the
matter in doubt. He graduated from West Point,
June 17, 1862, number one in his class, entered the
army immediately as second lieutenant, and was
brevetted for gallant conduct at Manassas, Chancel-
1 Raymond, Fiftieth Anniversary Report, Class of '62, 26.
2 Grant, Personal Memoirs, n, 385. The Century Co., N.Y. 1895.
8 Washington Gladden, MS. letter, July 15, 1913.
lorsville, Gettysburg, Cedar Creek, and Petersburg.
And he had no charmed life on the battle-field. At
South Mountain he was "left for dead . . . plundered
by the rebels, but managed to crawl off the field."
Later he lost a hand, " had a bullet through his lungs/ 1
and in the frontier campaigns subsequent to the Civil
War was " variously perforated by Indian arrows." l
Though Mackenzie's military career began when
the war had been in progress a year, he won advance-
ment on merit alone, with no help from outside
sources, to the grade of brevet brigadier-general in
the regular army and brevet major-general of volun-
teers the youngest officer of his rank in the service.
Two graduates of President Hopkins' time John
James Ingalls (1855) and James Abram Garfield
(1856) won fame in political life. For a year they
were contemporaries at Williams. Then their paths
lay apart until 1873 when they renewed the inter-
rupted acquaintance as Members of Congress.
On the completion of his legal studies in 1858,
Ingalls removed to Kansas, and in 1873 was elected
United States Senator. He held the position eighteen
years and became a conspicuous figure in the upper
house of Congress. Senator Hoar, of Massachusetts,
regarded him as one of the most intellectual men
whom he had known in the course of a long and varied
experience. 2 When Ingalls was announced to speak
the galleries of the Senate were thronged by expectant
auditors. His clear, incisive, polished oratory often
rose to a stately and noble eloquence.
1 Reports, Class of 1859, January i, 1863, July 23, 1877.
2 Hoar, Recollections of Seventy Years, II, 86.
HIGH TIDES IN THE CALENDAR
For a long period he was President pro tempore of
the Senate and performed the duties of that office,
whether ordinary or occasional, with a high-bred,
distinguished air and dignity. A function of the spe-
cial sort occurred on one 22d of February. In the
first Administration of Cleveland, Senator Hoar, of
Massachusetts, offered a resolution that Washington's
"Farewell Address" should be read that day. As the
Vice- President had died, Ingalls, "with his frock
coat buttoned tightly about him, his linen like snow,
and his resonant voice at its best, stood forth at the
hour of noon" and read the "Address" with such
elocutionary and interpretative power that the Senate
made the custom perpetual. 1
In 1891 Ingalls was defeated in his candidacy for a
fourth senatorial term by the Farmers' Alliance j(
an organization that grew up overnight, threw to the
discard a man of national reputation, and put in his
place an unknown and negligible successor. This dis-
aster might have been avoided if he had been willing
to pay the price of success. Friends of his, it seems,
quietly and without consulting him bought up enough
representatives of the Alliance to insure his reelection.
When these very practical friends called at his quar-
ters and reported what had been done, he paced the
floor in silence for a time, and then said: "No, I don't
have to go back to Washington, but I do have to keep
my own self-respect. The whole sordid deal is off."
Fourteen years later and five years after Ingalls'
death, which occurred in 1900, Kansas was in a re-
pentant mood and made all the atonement then
1 Boston Transcript, February 21, 1916.
possible for its political folly by placing a bust of him
in Statuary Hall. This bust was received and ac-
cepted by Congress January 2, 1905. On that occa-
sion no less than eighteen members of the Senate and
House of Representatives paid tribute to his memory. 1
One uncomfortable trait a penchant for sarcasm
was a prolific source of trouble to Ingalls all along
the line from Williamstown to Washington. In his
undergraduate days nobody on the campus Mark
Hopkins always excepted escaped the lash of his
satire. This early phase of it is seen at its worst in
" A Brace of College Characters" an essay in the
" Quarterly" describing two fellows who belonged
to the deplorable race of "vitalized tailor's models,
animated wig-and-whiskers blocks, having just soul
enough to keep the body from decomposition." 2 The
bad habit persisted to the close of his college career
and there was a flagrant exhibition of it in his gradu-
ating oration on " Mummy Life." Samuel Bowles,
editor of the "Springfield Republican," who attended
the Commencement of 1855, said it was "bitter and
sarcastic, but beautifully written." 3 In Washington
his genius for biting speech did not fail to make
Yet it would be a mistake to suppose that Ingalls
was only or chiefly a satirist. Carlyle often concluded
his outbursts of invective with a loud guffaw, as much
as to say, "See what a sad dog I am." 4 The Kansan's
violences of language need some such key to their
1 Senate Docs., 58th Congress, 3d Session, xvi.
2 Williams Quarterly, September, 1855.
8 Springfield Weekly Republican, August 18, 1855.
4 Redesdale, Memories, n, 650.
HIGH TIDES IN THE CALENDAR
interpretation. At all events, they represent only a
fraction of the man. That he was no inconsiderable
poet one could argue confidently from such verse as
" Opportunity," or "The Sculptor to his Statue." 1
Of landscape beauty he had the keenest appreciation.
Riding early one day up the left bank of the Kaw, a
Topeka friend whom he was visiting relates, "We
came upon a glorious stretch of bluff and meadow,
such as can be seen only in Kansas. Ingalls raised
his hand and repeated Shakspere's thirty-second
'Full many a glorious morning have I seen,
Flatter the mountain-tops with sovereign eye,
Kissing with golden face the meadows green,
Gilding pale streams with heavenly alchemy.' " 2
One number of the "Williams Quarterly " the
number for September, 1855 affords a good illus-
tration of Ingalls' dual nature, as it contains the sav-
age "A Brace of College Characters" and also a poem
of his subdued, pensive, almost spiritual "Thre-
nodia ; A Tribute to the memory of Chester Butler' ' :
"The God-beloved die young, but not in vain
Their early fate, their incompleted years;
For hope survives the grave, the loss, the pain,
Though memory smite the Horeb heart to tears."
James Abram Garfield, born November 19, 1831,
came to Williamstown from the Eclectic Institute at
1 A Williams Anthology, 9-11.
* G. R. Peck, in Ingalls' Writings, Addresses, and Orations, 17. In-
galls was a man of "nervous, romantic, poetic, and artistic tempera-
ment." (Senator J. W. Daniel, of Virginia, in Senate Docs., 58th Con-
gress, 3d Session, xvi, 45.)
Hiram, Ohio, just at the close of the college year
1 853-54. The son of a frontier farmer, he had encoun-
tered abundant vicissitudes and hardships in pursuit
of an education. Having decided to take the last two
years of his undergraduate course at some Eastern
institution, he wrote letters of inquiry to several col-
lege presidents. A friendly, personal touch in the
reply of Mark Hopkins brought him to Williamstown,
where he attracted immediate attention. "What do
you think of that Westerner? " one student is reported
to have asked another soon after his arrival. "He is
not a slave to fashions, I conclude/ 1 "No, . . . but
he is none the worse for that. Put him into a tasty
garb and he would be a splendid-looking fellow." l
A new epoch had begun for Garfield. In the first
place, the scenery of Northern Berkshire threw a spell
over him which never grew less. Writing a friend in
the summer of 1866 about a recent visit to the region,
he said it had washed out the footprints of ten years
and would be for him a fountain of perpetual youth. 2
Then his two college years there were a time of eager,
inspiring work. He at once took high rank as debater,
writer, and scholar. For the first time and with ab-
sorbing interest he read some of the great master-
pieces of literature. But, after all, the principal thing
for him in Williams was the President. Nothing that
he ever said or wrote has been more widely quoted
than his epigrammatic declaration on the subject
"A pine bench with Mark Hopkins at one end of it
and me at the other is a good enough college." He
1 Thayer, From Log Cabin to the White House, 331.
2 Bundy, Life of Garfield, 44.
HIGH TIDES IN THE CALENDAR
made this declaration at a Williams alumni dinner in
New York January 18, 1872. 1
Garfield's undergraduate contemporaries did not
forecast for him a distinguished political future,
until near the close of his college course. They sup-
posed he would be a teacher or clergyman. John
James Ingalls retained a vivid impression of him
when his life at Williamstown was half finished, re-
calling "with photographic distinctness his personal
appearance on the occasion of his delivery of an ora-
tion ... at the close of Junior year, in the summer of
1855." 2 He noted every peculiarity of physiognomy
and dress the bony, muscular frame, the florid
complexion, the mirthful eyes, the sparse, blond beard,
scarcely concealing the jaw and mouth, the yellow
hair falling back from a brow of unusual height, and
the ill-fitting, country-tailored clothes, but he did not
detect in this unconventional Junior speaking on the
platform of the old chapel in Griffin Hall the making
of a great orator. No occasion had as yet arisen which
afforded any unmistakable indication of the future.
Such an occasion came in May, 1856, nearly a year
1 Gladden, Recollections, 72. Dr. Gladden was present at the dinner,
heard Garfield's speech, and quotes "what he actually said." A con-
temporary report of the speech appeared in the Williams Vidette, Jan-
uary 27, 1872: " Offer him the finest college buildings, the largest library,
and the most complete physical apparatus, and he would rather have
Dr. Hopkins in a brick shanty than them all." "The last time I saw
him alive," said Senator Ingalls, " it was in the early summer of 1881
he alluded to the pleasure with which he anticipated his visit to
Williamstown and repeated in substance the declaration of 1872
1 A pine log with the student at one end and Doctor Hopkins at the
other would be a liberal education. ' " (Ingalls' Writings, Addresses,
and Orations, 405, condensed.)
2 Ingalls 1 Writings, Addresses, and Orations, 398.
after Ingalls graduated, when news of the assault
upon Charles Sumner reached Williamstown. An
indignation meeting was called and Garfield's speech
on that occasion made an extraordinary impression.
Undergraduates who heard it revised their earlier
impressions and began to predict for him a place
among the masters of public speech. 1 This prophecy
had a splendid fulfilment. A single illustration of it
will answer all present purposes. October 28, 1878,
the great hall at Ithaca was filled to its utmost ca-
pacity the attendance of Cornell students is said
to have been "enormous" to hear Garfield upon
financial questions then agitating the country. " How
did you like my speech? " he asked his host, President
Andrew D. White, who replied "I have known
you too long and think too highly of you to flatter
you, but I will say what I would say under oath: it
was the best speech I ever heard." 2
On an occasion like that at Ithaca, with a great
audience, a congenial subject, and ample prepara-
tion, no orator of the time could outdo Garfield in
eloquence. He was less at home in the rough-and-
tumble of congressional debate where Roscoe Conk-
ling and James G. Elaine were past-masters.
The first public demonstration of Williams students
in honor of Garfield was in 1856, the second twenty-
four years later. On the 8th of June, 1880, the Repub-
lican National Convention at Chicago nominated him
as candidate for the Presidency of the United States,
and getting the news during the afternoon of that day,
1 Thayer, From Log Cabin to the White House, 344.
2 White, Autobiography, I, 188.
HIGH TIDES IN THE CALENDAR
they speedily assembled en masse before the Presi-
dent's house, called for a speech, which they did not
fail to get, and which they received with tremendous
applause. And the applause reached a grand cli-
max when in conclusion Dr. Chadbourne announced
an immediate holiday for further celebration of the
event. Thereupon the enthusiastic young men pro-
ceeded to Alumni Hall and organized a Garfield club.
In the evening they marched to North Adams and
stirred up that town. Returning at a late hour they
brought the celebration to a close with a great bon-
fire on the campus in front of West College. 1
The last scenes in Garfield's Williamstown history
stand out in dark, tragic contrast to all the sunshine
that had preceded them. Saturday morning, July 2,
1 88 1, a student, evidently agitated by some unusual
excitement, was noticed running at full speed from
the telegraph office toward the President's house, and
on reaching it knocked violently at the front door
which his daughter happened to open. He asked ex-
citedly for Dr. Chadbourne, who was found at the
rear of the house, talking with the old ex-slave, Abe
Bunter. " Father," said the daughter, "there is a
student in the library to see you. He looks as if some-
thing dreadful had happened." The agitated student
brought news of the assassination of President Gar-
field. On that Saturday morning, accompanied by
Secretary Elaine, Garfield left the White House and
drove down Pennsylvania Avenue in his carriage to
take the train for Williamstown, where he would re-
vive the inspiring memories of his college days, with-
1 Williams Athenceum, July 2, 1880.
out the faintest premonition of impending calamity.
Mr. Elaine said that, in all the twenty years of their
acquaintance, he had never seen him in such high
spirits, in such exuberance of almost boyish happi-
ness. 1 A disappointed office-seeker, by the name of
Guiteau, shot and mortally wounded him at the rail-
It was inevitable that the tragedy should dominate
the Commencement of 1 880-81, the twenty-fifth an-
niversary of Garfield's graduation. "The shock...
the grief, the disappointment and suspense," Mark
Hopkins wrote, "were frightful." 2 Senator Ingalls,
who delivered the oration before the Adelphic Union,
prefaced it with an eloquent eulogy of his college
contemporary, 3 and President Chadbourne began his
baccalaureate sermon in a similar strain. 4
President Garfield died at Elberon, New Jersey,
September 19, and John James Ingalls was designated
as one of the Senate committee to receive the remains
at the Capitol and attend the funeral at Cleveland.
The afternoon scene in the Rotunda at Washington
seemed to him "impressive beyond precedent. . . .
By the catafalque sat the new President, chief bene-
ficiary of Guiteau's bullet. . . . Near by were the cab-
inet ministers, their dreams of power, their plans of
aggrandizement, about to be entombed with their
dead chieftain. Across the space was Grant, his im-
passive, resolute, sphinx-like face bent forward, in-
tensely pensive . . . Elbow to elbow with him was
1 Ingalls 1 Writings, Addresses, and Orations, 406.
* Carter, Mark Hopkins, 341.
8 Springfield Republican, July 5, 1 88 1. 4 Ibid., July 4, 1 88 1.
HIGH TIDES IN THE CALENDAR
his successor Hayes. . . . Farther on were Sherman
the soldier and Sherman the Senator . . . and Sheri-
dan, the victor of Winchester, and a great host
of heroes and statesmen such as had seldom as-
sembled around the unconscious dust of an American
Measured on the scale of numbers the administra-
tion of President Hopkins, which came to an end at
the Commencement of 1871-72, achieved no extraor-
dinary success. His ambitions lay in other direc-
tions. Fifty students a year, two hundred altogether,
he once said, contented him. In only ten of the thirty-
six years of his presidency did the numbers exceed
these figures and then by a small margin. Beginning
in 1836-37 with a registration of one hundred and
nineteen, they slowly increased until 1849-50, when
the maximum, two hundred and forty, was reached.
From this point a gradual decline set in, which con-
tinued to the close of the administration. The regis-
tration of the final year repeated that of the first,
one hundred and nineteen, a coincidence which
might seem to illustrate in some curious fashion the
subject discussed in the baccalaureate of 1871-72,
"The Circular and the Onward Movement." 2
It is in his books, addresses, and classroom rather
than in executive work that the chief sources of Dr.
Hopkins' fame, past and present, must be sought.
Here he stands out in obvious contrast to the great
leaders of the new educational movement that began
1 Ingalls' Writings, Addresses, and Orations, 411-12.
2 The registration in the first year of President Chadbourne's admin-
istration, 1872-73, was 119.
during the last years of his administration Gilman
at Johns Hopkins, White at Cornell, Angell at Ann
Arbor, and Eliot at Harvard. Their larger work lay
in the field of organization and development which
had little attraction for the Williams President. 1
The bibliography of Mark Hopkins' publications
contains ninety titles. 2 With few exceptions these
publications were written to be spoken. Only five
"The Evidences of Christianity, " "Moral Science,"
"The Law of Love and Love as a Law," "An Outline
Study of Man," and "The Scriptural Idea of Man "
are properly books, and they were originally delivered
as courses of lectures all but the last in Boston
before the Lowell Institute. 3
"The Evidences of Christianity" had a history
which is worth recalling. As the lectures of which it
is composed were not to begin until January, 1844,
President Hopkins thought he could easily prepare
them during the preceding college vacation. When it
came he found that his mind was in a state of collapse.
"I knew enough about myself and about medicine,"
he once said, "to understand that I must stop. I had
been doing the work of three men. If my physical
strength had not been great so that I was able to carry
heavy burdens I do not see how the college could have
lived at all. The vacation was short, and when the
term opened in the autumn my duties would be exact-
ing. But I dropped everything and went into the
woods for three weeks. That saved me. I came back
and wrote the lectures."
1 The Nation, April 6, 1916. * Carter, Mark Hopkins, 367-70.
8 Smith, History of the Lowell Institute.
HIGH TIDES IN THE CALENDAR
Commencement Day in 1843, the year of the semi-
centennial, was August 17. He could not have re-
turned from "the woods " much before the middle of
September, and he delivered the first of the lectures
Tuesday evening, January 16. No abler defence of
Christianity appeared in their day. The rise of the
higher criticism, however, which had scarcely been
heard of in 1844, made trouble in the orthodox camp
of apologetics and antiquated a good deal of its offen-
sive and defensive armament. Take the case of the
once formidable "Analogy" of Joseph Butler. It
"has the effect upon me, as I contemplate it," Mat-
thew Arnold wrote, "of a stately and severe fortress,
with thick and high walls, built of old to control the
kingdom of evil ; but the gates are open and the
guards gone." 1 In 1879 Dr. Hopkins made a resurvey
of the fortress which he had built thirty-five years
before for the same general purpose and thought it
needed attention. "I am reading upon the evidences
of Christianity," he wrote, "or rather on the changes
in them since my book was published. ... I would
like to add a few pages, if I can in that way bring the
work down to the present time." 2 The new edition,
with a supplement of fifteen pages, was published in
1 Arnold, Last Essays in Church and Religion, 140, quoted in Seth's
English Philosophers, 207.
2 Carter, Mark Hopkins, 299. Lieutenant-Governor Bross, a Wil-
liams graduate in the class of 1838, established at Lake Forest Uni-
versity the "Bross Foundation" for the publication of Christian apolo-
getics and similar works. It was his request that the "Evidences" of
his "dear friend and teacher, Mark Hopkins," should be reprinted as
volume I of the Bross Library. Accordingly the trustees of the Founda-
tion purchased the copyright and issued a "Presentation Edition" of
the book in 1909.
1880, but he did not wholly succeed in shutting the
gates or bringing back the guards.
The other four volumes contain President Hopkins'
contributions to philosophy. Between the first and
the last of these volumes twenty-one years elapsed.
Yet they show little change or modification in sub-
stance of doctrine. An interesting episode occurred
toward the end of this period the newspaper con-
troversy with President McCosh of Princeton. This
controversy turned upon the question, " What is the
foundation of obligation? " According to Dr. McCosh
"an action is right because it is right" and that ends
the matter. In 1830, when Mark Hopkins began to
teach philosophy, he held the same opinion. The doc-
trine of an ultimate right, however, proved to be only
a provisional stage in the settlement of his ethical
theories. He finally rejected it and concluded that a
reason could always be given why an action is right -
because it leads to "a good" or to. "the good." 1 Dr.
Hopkins reached his conclusions independently and
hence in a personal sense they are original. Yet con-
sidered historically they had been substantially antici-
pated by the utilitarian school of writers, Shaftes-
bury, Hutcheson, Paley, Bentham, and the Mills,
the most brilliant school of British thinkers and the
only one that made any important contribution to
philosophic speculation. It is true that Dr. Hopkins
did not like the term "utilitarian," but his theories
can hardly escape classification under it.
The controversy in which a scholar educated in
the schools pupil of Sir William Hamilton was
1 Carter, Mark Hopkins, 165.
HIGH TIDES IN THE CALENDAR
matched against a man of ethical and philosophical
genius, with no special equipment of erudition, at-
tracted much attention. President McCosh had such
advantages as a large knowledge of books affords. For
Dr. Hopkins, whatever his inclinations and aptitudes
may have been, the life of a scholar was impossible.
During the first twenty years of his administration,
in addition to the inevitable executive work, he
"taught all the studies of the Senior class, corrected
all their literary exercises, and preached every Sun-
day " an exacting routine leaving little time or
strength for scholastic investigation. The majority
of teachers that get attention in the educational
world secure it by research rather than by the inde-
pendent action of their intellectual powers. Mark
Hopkins belongs to the class of great men who are
relatively independent of books and reading.
During the first half of the last century questions
of theology awakened quite as much public interest
as debates upon philosophical problems. New Eng-
land college presidents of the period could hardly
neglect these questions and few of them were disposed
to do it. Yet Dr. Hopkins was primarily and essen-
tially a philosopher a philosopher of the cheerful,
expectant, optimistic type. The dogmas of the older
creeds, which dwell upon the wrath of God and the
everlasting perdition of the impenitent, never ap-
peared with any prominence in his sermons, books,
or classroom. Commencement Sunday in 1864, when
what might be called "The Battle of the Hymns"
was fought, affords an interesting illustration of the
tone and temper of his theological world. The key-
note of the sermon preached at the morning service
was given, with no uncertain sound, by the hymn that
immediately preceded it:
"Go preach my gospel, saith the Lord,
Bid the whole earth my grace receive;
He shall be sav'd that trusts my word,
He shall be damrTd that won't believe."
In the afternoon President Hopkins delivered the
baccalaureate and the hymn which he read as his
prelude to the discourse had quite another pitch:
"My soul, repeat His praise
Whose mercies are so great,
Whose anger is so slow to rise,
So ready to abate.
"High as the heavens are rais'd
Above the ground we tread;
So far the riches of His grace
Our highest thoughts exceed." *
The sermons, which for a long series of years Dr.
Hopkins preached Sunday mornings in the college
chapel, were always extemporary. " I saw very soon
after I took up the work here," he once said, " that I
must learn to think and talk on my feet. ... To write
a sermon every week was out of the question, so I was
driven to speaking without notes." He acquired an
ease and facility in this sort of discourse which served
him well on a great variety of occasions for exam-
ple, at the annual meetings of the American Board,
of which he was president thirty years. These meet-
1 Springfield Weekly Republican, August 6, 1864.
HIGH TIDES IN THE CALENDAR
ings, attended by delegates from every part of the
country and from foreign lands as well, began Tues-
day and closed Friday. On Thursday evening an
address was expected from him; and this address,
always unwritten, with its felicity of diction and in-
tellectual force, its breadth of outlook and touches
of local color, soon came to be recognized as one of
the important events of the occasion. Yet at the
outset he had doubts about his call to this particular
field. "I am the more diffident," he wrote the sec-
retary of the Board, who asked him to make an
address in 1838, " as I have never spoken at one of the
larger anniversaries and may find that they are not
my place at all." 1 No such uncomfortable experience
Unlike the Thursday evening addresses at the
annual meetings of the American Board and the Sun-
day morning sermons at the college chapel, the bacca-
laureates, which continued to be a capital feature of
Williams Commencements from 1837 to 1872, were
fully and carefully written out. So also were the nu-
merous discourses delivered at ordinations, anniver-
saries, and other public functions. All these occasional
addresses moved in the higher ranges of thought
which seemed to be President Hopkins' natural
sphere. Then his style was quite as noticeable as his
thinking. He belonged to the relatively small group
of philosophers whose writings have claims to be re-
garded as literature. The style of Paley, if we may
accept the dictum of distinguished critics, was "as
near perfection in its kind as any in'our language," and
1 MS. letter, April 12, 1838, in possession of the American Board.
that of Berkeley is remarkable "for grace as well as
lucidity of expression." 1 And in the style of Dr.
Hopkins these luminous, eighteenth-century types
reappear. John Bascom, hardly disposed to over-
rate his merits, calls him "a rhetorician of the no-
blest order." 2
Yet, after all has been said of his sermons and
addresses and books, the present-day fame of Dr.
Hopkins is mainly associated with the classroom. No
doubt a plausible argument could be made to prove
that the author builds upon surer foundations than
the teacher that the latter has slender advantage
over the actor who passes quickly into the haze of
tradition when he is no longer seen and heard before
the footlights. But it is also true that the author,
dealing with high themes of ethics and philosophy,
has an uncertain hold upon public interest. Litera-
ture of that kind does not as a general rule improve
by keeping, and later generations seldom read it with
a " modern joy."
Though Dr. Hopkins, unlike President Wayland,
who fought against "the harmful tyranny of the [old]
curriculum," was not distinctly an educational re-
former, yet some important and significant innova-
tions, relating to the order, method, and scope of his
work, are apparent. Starting with the physical man
he endeavored "to give an idea of every organ and
tissue of the body." After these preliminary studies
he proceeded to consider the intellectual, moral, and
emotive nature. Then followed a survey "of constitu-
1 Seth, English Philosophers, 123, 222.
. * Bascom, Things Learned by Living, 105.
HIGH TIDES IN THE CALENDAR
tional history and of the rights and duties of American
citizens," and the work of the year was concluded
with a consideration of "natural theology and the
analogy of the natural to the moral government of
God." l The purpose of it all, the end in view, was not
primarily to communicate knowledge, but to set his
students "intellectually on fire." While he had re-
markable success in this mission, there was in every
class a remnant with which little could be done. This
remnant he quickly recognized, allowed it to drift
along, and get out of the course whatever might be
In Dr. Hopkins* classroom the scheme of study
must be reckoned a subordinate matter, of small
account compared with his personality. The enthu-
siastic words of Theodore Parker in reference to
Daniel Webster might be transferred to him, and
those who knew the man will hardly bring charges
of exaggeration "Since Charlemagne I think there
has not been such a grand figure." He was large-
framed, with a head of massive, strikingly intellectual
mould. At times this personality seemed to have a
sheer, downright, half-inarticulate power. "I rang
the bell Senior year at the end of the hour," said a
member of the class of 1862, "and sat near the door
in the recitation room back of the new chapel and
quite on the left of the President. One day he turned
half about in his chair, looked inquiringly and ex-
pectantly at me, and asked a question. I have no idea
what that question was or what answer I gave, but
the incident made an impression upon me which the
1 Hopkins, Miscellaneous Essays and Discourses, 279.
intervening years there are fifty-three of them
have not obliterated." l
There was also the spell which waits upon brilliant
and available intellectuality. Yet, however extraor-
dinary and unmistakable this intellectuality might
be, however frank and luminous in certain aspects,
students were well aware that they knew Mark Hop-
kins only in part. His ethical doctrine, the processes
of his philosophical thinking, were in the clear day-
light; but there was a world of reticence and reserve,
the world of his inner and spiritual self, concerning
which he seldom spoke. On one winter evening during
the last year of his life the old habit of silence gave
way for a moment. Referring to the poetry of Robert
Browning, he said that it did not attract him; that he
liked clearness and had little patience with obscure,
clouded verse, in which one must beat about persist-
ently and painfully to find the meaning. "But," he
continued, and there came over his face a spiritual
and illuminated expression, as if he actually saw "the
light that never was on sea or land," "but I too
am a mystic." This man, who to the casual observer
might seem to view life from the cool, dispassionate
standpoint of the intellect and to have little commerce
with the countries of dream-land, claimed kindred
with Thomas a Kempis and Bernard of Clairvaux.
In order that his students might not be wholly un-
prepared for the discussions of the classroom, Presi-
dent Hopkins always used textbooks. Early in his
work as Professor of Philosophy he introduced three
new manuals Whateley's " Logic," Wayland's
1 Rev. E. E. Lewis (1862), MS. letter.
HIGH TIDES IN THE CALENDAR
" Moral Science," and Butler's " Analogy." These
manuals served as points of departure for the discus-
sions furnished the students with some knowledge
of the subjects that would be considered. He had the
rare art of going directly to the heart of them, and his
progress thither was accompanied by an illuminating
play of thought. 1 This art was supplemented and
made extraordinarily effective by a genius for asking
keen, stimulating, instructive questions. Though a
gladiator of the first order, he was not disposed to
make any display of his power. "I hear that you
cornered several Seniors in your recitation this morn-
ing," some one once said to him. " I never do that
I never corner men," was the almost indignant reply.
A conceited student might occasionally get an ugly
fall, but by his ever-present sense of humor the Presi-
dent generally managed "to relieve the immediate
embarrassment of the mishap."
The most memorable occasions, however, in the
history of his classroom were not those in which ques-
tions and answers figured. Now and then Dr. Hop-
kins, roused beyond his wont by some phase of the
discussion, broke away from the usual routine, and
entered upon an exposition of his own opinions. One
of these remarkable hours belongs to the year 1852,
when the subject of discussion was the first question
in the Assembly's Catechism "What is the chief
end of man?" Professor Perry, then a member of the
Senior class, said he could never forget the President's
astonishing "display of rhetorical and moral power" 2
1 Bascom, Things Learned by Living, 106.
2 Perry, Williamstown and Williams College, 515.
on that occasion. A similar experience, which is on
record, occurred ten years later. In 1862 the question
under debate was Hamilton's definition of faith. " Dr.
Hopkins/' wrote President Carter, "spoke in refuta-
tion of it for nearly half an hour. ... It was the most
impressive incident of my college life." 1
In his relations to members of the faculty Mark
Hopkins was uniformly courteous, considerate, and
liberal. He had no ambition for personal domination
never dreamed of applying the methods of a ma-
chine shop to an educational institution. Though he
might have little sympathy with theories which some
of his associates advocated with the intuitionalism
of John Bascom or the free-trade propaganda of
Arthur Latham Perry he never attempted to lay
restrictions upon their intellectual freedom.
The administration of President Woolsey one of
the great eras in the history of Yale was chiefly
distinguished by "the higher ideal of scholarship
which it introduced." 2 In the Williams of Mark Hop-
kins another goal appears not technical scholar-
ship, but "intellectual power, refined taste, and moral
1 Carter, Mark Hopkins, 105.
2 Dwight, Memoirs of Yale Life and Men, 339.
1 Hopkins, Miscellaneous Essays and Discourses.
A PERIOD OF TRANSITION
PAUL ANSEL CHADBOURNE, fifth President of the col-
lege, was born at North Berwick, Maine, October
25, 1823. The death of his mother in 1836 1 broke
up the family, and he went to live with a neighbor,
Josiah Frye, said to have been " a farmer, a maker of
ploughs and a carpenter." 2 Here he remained three
years, during the winter months of which he attended
school. Removing to Great Falls, New Hampshire,
he became a druggist's clerk and medical student.
This period, also, like that in the household of the
versatile Josiah Frye, lasted three years. Then, hav-
ing prepared for college at Phillips Academy, Exeter,
he entered Williams as a Sophomore and graduated
in 1848 valedictorian of his class. A few weeks later
he began to teach at Freehold, New Jersey, where his
success was instant and unmistakable. " I can hardly
go out of doors on pleasant evenings now," he wrote
Albert Hopkins, " without being followed by boys to
ask some question in regard to the stars." 3 The enthu-
siasm of these boys and a growing passion for science
led him to reconsider the question of his proper voca-
tion. Heretofore he had taken it for granted that the
pulpit was the proper place for him. But now a time
1 Chadbourne Genealogy, 36.
2 J. M. Barker, Mass. His. Society Proceedings, Second Series, XVIH,
8 MS. letter, January 15, 1849.
of doubt set in and he was greatly perplexed. "I
found it impossible ... to decide myself and I wrote
. . . President [Hopkins] and he advised me unquali-
fiedly to enter the Seminary. . . . Consequently,
unless something unexpected occurs, I shall enter
Andover in the Spring." 1 But this advice, though
direct and positive, did not exactly "carry a quietus
with it." "Perhaps," he added in a postscript, -
"perhaps my love of science was given me for a trial.
I wish I could feel clear ... it was an indication I
ought to pursue." Pulmonary troubles drove him
from Freehold, and after a brief period of rest and
recuperation he entered the Theological Seminary at
East Windsor Hill, Connecticut. But presently his
health broke again, and the disaster led to the aban-
donment of his studies for the ministry. Rallying
from the attack he became principal of the High
School at Great Falls, New Hampshire, in the spring
of 1850 and held the position until the Williams
Trustees in August, 1851, elected him to a tutorship.
The following winter a recurrence of pulmonary
troubles broke up his work and compelled him to take
refuge in the South, where he remained until the next
spring, when he returned to East Windsor Hill and
took charge of an academy recently established there.
The Williams Trustees, however, had not lost sight of
Principal Chadbourne, and in August, 1853, elected
him to the chair of Chemistry and Botany. He gave
up the chemistry at the close of the college year 1857-
58, and was transferred to the chair of Natural His-
tory. This position he held until 1867, when the
1 MS. letter, January 15, 1849.
PAUL ANSEL CHADBOURNE
A PERIOD OF TRANSITION
Trustees " reluctantly accepted " his resignation "with
grateful acknowledgments of his eminent service to
the college." l Since the work at Williamstown occu-
pied only half of the year he spent the remainder of it
elsewhere at Bowdoin College, the Maine Medical
School, Mount Holyoke College, Berkshire Medical
Institution, or Western Reserve College.
Professor Chadbourne went from Williams to the
presidency of the new State Agricultural College at
Amherst in the autumn of 1867. He was interested in
the project and entered upon the consideration of
ways and means with characteristic ardor. "It is
most difficult," he said in a speech before the Massa-
chusetts Board of Agriculture, December n, 1866,
"to decide what is to be done. . . . However, the
ground has been well mapped out. ... I shall feel it
my duty to see the experiment fairly tried, if I never
receive a cent for my services if I have to go abroad
and lecture ... in order to make a living. . . . For
the first class that comes here I expect to do a great
deal of the teaching myself, and if necessary and I
cannot get any one ... to help me, I will do it all." 2
But his work at Amherst came to a sudden close.
Only seven months had passed when the persistent
demon of ill-health intervened and sent him from
New England to Wisconsin, where, as President of
the State University, a position which he held
two years, he found a large and inviting field. His
push and versatility, his attractiveness and skill as
a teacher, and his ready gifts of eloquent speech in
1 Records of the Trustees, July 30, 1867.
1 Mass. Board of Agriculture, Report, 1866-67, 32.
public assemblies won general applause. The univer-
sity entered upon a new and signal era of progress,
" mainly due to his ability, energy, and incessant
labors." l But the strain of the position and some
chafing against Western conditions and tendencies
brought his prosperous administration to an end in
1870. After leaving Wisconsin he spent nearly two
years among the Rocky Mountains in the pursuit of
health and the investigation of mines. Returning to
Williamstown in 1872, he followed Mark Hopkins as
President of the college. Though there were other
candidates, he would probably have been elected in
any event, but the fact that he was the choice of his
predecessor made the succession inevitable. 2 No
doubt the offer of the position gratified him, yet de-
pressing reflections accompanied the acceptance of it.
" Probably I shall undertake the work," he wrote to a
friend. "I am sorry to do so. I prefer freedom -
much prefer it to mix more freely with men than I
can as president of a college. But if I take hold of the
work I must do my best. The college needs hard work
and I must be prepared to devote to it at least ten
years of ... my life. I have already given it fifteen."
The inauguration took place July 27, 1872. Ap-
praised by the temper and quality of the exercises
it was a notable occasion. The speakers were all
Williams men the retiring President, representa-
tives of the Trustees, the faculty, the alumni, and the
undergraduates. In a certain sense the address of
1 Carpenter, Historical Sketch of the University of Wisconsin, 53.
Regents' Report, 1870, 54.
2 Perry, Williamstown and Williams College, 654-56.
A PERIOD OF TRANSITION
Mark Hopkins dominated the exercises. He was tak-
ing leave of a position in which he had won great dis-
tinction, and naturally on such an occasion he looked
backward as well as roundabout. Glancing over the
now completed history of his own administration and
discussing briefly some present-day problems of edu-
cation, he gave his successor a gracious and reassur-
ing welcome. Scarcely less notable was the address
of John Bascom in behalf of the faculty an address
dealing with the theories and conditions of successful
college work. James Abram Garfield spoke for the
alumni and paid a tribute to Mark Hopkins so fer-
vent and unlimited that it grated somewhat on the
sensitive ears of his successor. The undergraduate
representative, Robert Meech Chamberlain (1873),
struck a different note, blending cheerful prophecies
of what shall be with appreciation of what has been.
"The past," he said, "is rich in legacies of inspiring
memories. Its record is a grand one. . . . But, Sir, on
the . . . scroll of the future there is yet to be inscribed
a history more glorious. Into your hands we give the
scroll with faith in the result." l
In his inaugural a vigorous and telling address
President Chadbourne discussed "the new educa-
tion," which was then "in a transition state, ... to be
tried and wrecked or pass to a higher life." 2 We are
met, he said, by antagonistic demands. Some think
the college has fallen behind the times and needs a
radical reconstruction, while others are equally confi-
dent in reaching opposite conclusions. As for himself
he saw no occasion for sweeping and radical reforms.
1 The Inauguration of President Chadbourne, 20. * Ibid., 25.
" In my judgment the instruction in Williams College
has, upon the whole, afforded as true a type of high edu-
cation as that of any college in our land." l The great
need, he insisted, was enlargement, not revolution.
When the old order changes, the era of transition is
seldom found to be altogether pleasant. The difficul-
ties at Williamstown were serious. Some annoyances
of a personal sort could not be escaped. President
Chadbourne succeeded an extraordinary man, and
comparisons, whether odious or not, were inevitable.
For a generation the sermons of Dr. Hopkins at Com-
mencement had been famous. What impression would
the sermons of his successor make? Could he sustain
the traditions of the time and place? As President
Chadbourne rose Sunday afternoon, June 29, 1873,
a slender, alert figure, his face refined and intellec-
tual, with keen, restless eyes gleaming through gold-
bowed spectacles, and a grey, flowing beard, to begin
his first baccalaureate, he confronted an audience
friendly, perhaps, but questioning and half sceptical.
Weighed in the balances of this ordeal he was not
found wanting. "Those who had the pleasure of lis-
tening to the sermon," wrote the editor of "Vidette,"
"regarded it as a clear, impressive, and vigorous ef-
fort, worthy of President Chadbourne and the repu-
tation of the college. If any anxiety was felt as to
his ability to meet the occasion, this feeling was soon
dissipated and all recognized that the college had at
its head a man of power fully adequate to ... the
exigencies of the position." 2
1 The Inauguration of President Chadbourne, 27.
2 Williams Vidette, September 20, 1873.
A PERIOD OF TRANSITION
A far more serious matter than the exigencies of
Baccalaureate Sunday was the fact that the last three
or four years had been a period of depression and
alarm. Ghosts of old controversies over removal,
which were thought to have been effectually laid,
showed signs of life. "Williams," said a writer in the
"Review," "is not what she should be. ... She has
scarcely more than half the students she once had.
... Is there any secret malady preying on her vitals? " 1
"Will it pay," asked a writer in the same magazine
three days before President Chadbourne delivered
his first baccalaureate, "will it pay to retain the
college at Williamstown? Shall we not be more
central, have more ad vantages . . . if we could receive
an offer of beautiful grounds and assistance (and this
is not impossible) in the flourishing town of Pitts-
field?" 2 One member of the faculty, however, had
little sympathy with the croakers. He was confident
that they misunderstood the situation. "We take it
upon ourselves to assert in the strongest terms,"
wrote Arthur Latham Perry, "that the college is not
going down, but steadily coming up. . . . Now at
length ... a first-rate education in all departments
can be gained upon this ground." 3
Moreover, another matter had been disturbing the
college. It was nothing less than a formidable effort
to transform it into a coeducational institution. At
their meeting in 1871 the alumni appointed a com-
mittee on the subject. The next year two reports were
made, one by a majority of the committee Francis
1 Williams Review, November 6, 1871.
8 Ibid., June 24, 1872. 8 Ibid., June 27, 1870.
Henshaw Dewey ( 1 840) , Clement Hugh Hill ( 1 856), and
Henry Hopkins (1858) against the proposed inno-
vation, and a minority report favoring it by John Bas-
com and David Dudley Field. A final decision was not
reached until the Commencement of 1873, when the
alumni adopted the majority report a disposition
of the question satisfactory to President Chadbourne
and to nine tenths of the friends of the college.
In the plans and forecas tings of President Chad-
bourne the faculty had the first place. "Professors,"
he said in his inaugural, "are sometimes spoken of as
working for the college. They are the college." Of
this doctrine he had long been a vigorous advocate.
"An institution," he declared six years earlier in an
address before the Massachusetts State Board of
Agriculture, "is made up of its president and faculty.
Give us that and ... a barn to work in if you please." l
And President Chadbourne had immediate occasion
to put his theories into practice. The resignation of
three prominent members of the faculty in 1 872
Arthur Williams Wright, William Reynolds Dimmock,
and Franklin Carter necessitated its partial recon-
struction. And he was fortunate in securing as their
successors Ira Remsen (College of the City of New
York, 1865) for the chair of Physics and Chemistry;
Orlando Marcellus Fernald (Harvard, 1864) for that
of Greek, and Edward Herrick Griffin (1862) for that
of Latin. Nor did he fall below this high standard in
subsequent appointments like those of George Lan-
sing Raymond (1862); Truman Henry Safford (Har-
vard, 1854), an( l Lewellyn Pratt (1852).
1 Reports, 1866-67, 4 6 -
A PERIOD OF TRANSITION
While no radical changes disturbed the curriculum,
it was considerably amplified and enriched. A wider
range of work appears especially in the sciences, in
the classics, and in modern languages. Requirements
for admission were stiffened by the addition of four
books of Caesar, one book of Homer, elementary
Greek prose, and tests in English composition. On
occasion, however, the earliest and mildest require-
ments might suddenly displace the later and severer
code. An illustration of this sort of renaissance oc-
curred the day before the opening of the fall term in
1879, when a young man from Salem arrived in
Williamstown to enter the Freshman class. His first
business was to see Dr. Chadbourne, whom he found
at the chapel superintending a gang of workmen and
addressed as " Mr. President." "How did you know I
was a President? " " I thought you looked like one,"
was the quick reply. Either the compliment or some-
thing else put him in a good-natured mood, led him
to forget all the rules printed in the catalogue, and
to accept one of the briefest and most informal cer-
tificates in the history of the institution. This certifi-
cate was written on a half-sheet of small note-paper
and contained one sentence of six words "Henry
Lefavour is fitted for college. "
Though the interests of the teaching staff held the
first place, it was obvious enough that the treasury
needed more money and the campus new buildings.
President Chadbourne struggled to increase the en-
dowment, but without much success. The financial
depression, which began in 1872 and continued until
1880, frustrated all his plans. Yet much was done to
improve the appearance of the town fences in front
of the houses were removed, sidewalks built, and
lights placed in the streets at night. Three small
buildings the Field Memorial Observatory, a gym-
nasium, and Clark Hall were added to the equip-
ment of the campus. Of these buildings the observ-
atory alone survives. The gymnasium, a slight,
wooden, provisional affair, collapsed in a gale which
swept through the region during the Commencement
of 1883. Clark Hall, becoming unsafe through some
structural defect, was taken down, and its name
transferred in 1908 to another building on a different
A popular instructor and professor, Dr. Chadbourne
entered upon his duties as President with the good-
will of the undergraduates. But this early harmony
did not continue unbroken. He was in temperament
and theory a disciplinarian. "I do not believe/* he
once wrote, "in tolerating or ignoring the vices and
follies of young men." l The preceding administration
had been one of easy-going, paternal methods and the
change to a more vigorous policy of supervision and
control was sure to make at least temporary trouble.
For a considerable period he took personal charge of
the whole vexatious business of discipline, but at the
beginning of the academic year 1877-78 he transferred
a part of it to the faculty. " I desire to be relieved, "
he said, "of a portion of that responsibility which I
have found it necessary to exercise since I came here/' 2
A formal police system was put in operation and mem-
1 Williams Athenceum, February n, 1882.
* Records of the Faculty, 1877-78.
A PERIOD OF TRANSITION
bers of the faculty served as " officers of the day/'
The system had a brief, troubled life, and the early
abandonment of it must have been a welcome relief
for all concerned, as one may readily perceive from
an editorial paragraph in the "Athenaeum": "The
faculty do not now . . . patrol the town, nor go out
after dark and lose their hats and canes, nor have to
be taken home by sub-freshmen. ... It seems per-
fectly absurd . . . that the whole faculty should re-
solve itself into a police force." l
But the early irritations and disturbances gradually
subsided and a happier, more appreciative era suc-
ceeded. "Students have often complained," wrote
the editor of the "Athenaeum" in 1880, "of President
Chadbourne's severe i kindergarten ' policy, but on
the whole it has turned out to be a good one." 2 The
great and regrettable mischief of undergraduate criti-
cism lay in its effect upon the victim of it. He did
not succeed in hardening himself against this new
experience and lost somewhat of that splendid, con-
tagious enthusiasm which heretofore had character-
ized his work.
One heavy calamity befell President Chadbourne
in the summer vacation of 1877 and darkened his sky,
upon which, only a few weeks before, not a cloud, he
said, could be seen the sudden death of Professor
Sanborn Tenney, while on a scientific expedition in
the Rocky Mountains. "I desire," he remarked in
his touching memorial address, "here to express pub-
licly . . . the sense I have of irreparable loss. ... He
1 Williams Athenceum, June 14, 1879.
1 Ibid., September 25, 1880.
was a man to meet me cordially and give me his sym-
pathy and support in all the trying days of my early
administration . . . his very presence was a comfort
... a constant source of strength." l Undoubtedly this
calamity tended to dishearten him, to abate his inter-
est and hopefulness in the work at Williams town.
During the Commencement of 1880 Dr. Chad-
bourne announced that he should retire from the presi-
dency at the close of the next academic year. "The
news . . . came as a bolt out of a clear sky . . . and is
quite universally deplored." 2 He made no definite
statement of the reasons which led him to take this
step. On the contrary, he intimated that such a state-
ment would then be premature. A variety of elements
doubtless entered into his decision the heavy and
irritating burden of executive responsibility ; certain
Williamstown friendships, once intimate, now cooled
and strained ; perplexities in business enterprises ; dis-
turbances of a native restlessness and passion for
change, and the attractive call of what seemed to be
an important and lucrative literary venture.
A committee of the Trustees, to whom President
Chadbourne's resignation was referred, reported that
"every possible effort had been made to induce him
to withdraw it." 3 "If you will remain," said one of
the committee, "as the executive officer, being re-
lieved of all teaching and preaching . . . this seems to
me . . . the right thing for the college and for you." 4
And the chairman of this committee wrote in the
1 Chadbourne, In Memoriam, 17.
2 Springfield Republican, July 8, 1880.
8 New York Observer, February 17, 1881.
4 F. H. Dewey, MS. letter, December 24, 1880.
A PERIOD OF TRANSITION
same strain " If you will stay there is no other man
to be mentioned or thought of for a moment." l
All the dissuasive efforts failed and President
Chadbourne preached his final baccalaureate Sunday
morning, July 3, 1881. He began his discourse with
reflections upon the calamity at Washington and con-
cluded it in a reminiscent, half -wistful, personal strain.
"It comes to you and me," he said, addressing the
graduating class, " to go forth from college at the same
time and begin a new work in the world .... Thirty
years ago I sat as you now sit to listen to last words of
instruction. I go forth with devout thankfulness to
God for the years he has permitted me to labor and
with the hope of still more abundant labors in the
years to come. But whether the time for me is to be
measured only by days or by decades ... I wish to
publicly record my thanksgiving to my heavenly
father for the blessing of life itself and for the daily
rewards that have come to me in all my work re-
wards compared with which the trials, losses, disap-
pointments of life are ... as nothing." 2 The time for
him was not measured by decades he died Febru-
ary 23, 1883, at the age of fifty-nine, "leaving a deep
sense of an unfinished career." 3
In the formalities of parting there was one event of
more than routine significance. At a meeting of the
Trustees, the Rev. Dr. Prime, veteran editor of the
"New York Observer," after reading the resolutions
they had passed, turned to President Chadbourne
1 E. C. Benedict, MS. letter, September 9, 1880.
2 Springfield Republican, July 4, 1881.
3 Mass. His. Society, Proceedings, xx, 107.
and said: " Among the illustrious names that will live
in the history of the institution, yours will now take
its place, and whatever may be the glory of the future
no brighter record of prosperity will be found on any
page than that made brilliant by your administra-
tion." 1 This record was not one of new buildings or
large endowments, but of revived faith and courage.
The tide, which for years had been running against
the institution, turned. Gratifying and conclusive
evidence of changing conditions appeared in the reg-
istration of students, since it rose from one hundred
and nineteen in 1872 to two hundred and twenty-
seven in 1 88 1 a relative growth surpassing that of
any other New England college. Three hundred and
fourteen men were graduated during these nine years,
many of whom have done or are doing good service
in the world's work. An unusual proportion of them
became educators nearly eleven per cent occupy-
ing professors' chairs in medical schools, theological
seminaries, colleges and universities. One of the most
distinguished of these educators died in 1909, Charles
Gross (1878), Gurney Professor of History and Polit-
ical Science at Harvard, and "the first authority in
the English-speaking world upon a wide range of
questions ... in constitutional history." 2 A more
indefatigable and universal student never came to
Williamstown. His roommate is said to have regu-
larly left him at his desk when he retired at night and
found him there in the morning. 3 He seems to have
1 Inauguration of President Franklin Carter, 6.
2 Emerton, Mass. His. Society, Proceedings, XLIII, 190.
8 Haskins, Ibid., XLIX, 161.
A PERIOD OF TRANSITION
been on terms of intimacy with President Chadbourne,
and wrote from Paris thanking him for the very "kind
answer to my last letter. ... I regard your advice . . .
as words of wisdom which the wise must unhesitat-
ingly heed." 1
Paul Chadbourne was the most versatile and inces-
santly active of Williams Presidents. It is quite pos-
sible, as Mark Hopkins hinted at his inauguration,
that a little more concentration would have been wise.
He had considerable business interests at Williams-
town and North Adams. In 1865 and again in 1866
he was a member of the Massachusetts Senate; in
1876 a delegate to the Republican National Conven-
tion, and in 1880 a Presidential elector at large. His
publications, mostly on scientific, ethical, agricul-
tural, and educational topics, comprise more than fifty
titles. He delivered one series of lectures before the
Smithsonian Institution, and three before the Lowell
Institute. A volume of his baccalaureates was pub-
lished in 1878. While they may have lacked the philo-
sophic depth and scope which characterized those of
Mark Hopkins, they were direct, pungent, and effec-
Like his immediate predecessor, President Chad-
bourne was at his best in the classroom. An incident
related by Dr. Carter, though taking place elsewhere,
shows what might be expected in it. ' ' Two or three
years ago I went to him with ... a botanist who had
found on these hills new appearances of plant life.
They were not in flower, and there was no way of
determining their belongings except by laying them
1 Gross, MS. letter to President Chadbourne.
before one who knew them well. Dr. Chadbourne
knew them all either by touch or by taste or by smell,
and we saw how every one of his senses was trained
to test the facts of the physical world, and as one after
another fell into its right class, and his memory that
had been stored with a multitude of other facts . . .
brought out name after name and he said with a
smile, ' It is a long time since I have analyzed these
flowers,' we were deeply impressed with the native
force of his mind and his ardent love of nature." l
Here he was on familiar ground, but if an emergency
arose, nobody could meet it with greater success.
While lecturing on chemistry at Bowdoin College, a
sudden vacancy occurred in the department of Phi-
losophy and some one suggested that the work should
be turned over to Dr. Chadbourne. "He has never
made a study of that subject," it was objected.
"Perhaps not," was the reply, "but he'll not teach it
to the Seniors six weeks before half the class will
think him the best instructor of the subject in the
country." 2 And the prophecy was literally fulfilled.
The classroom lectures of President Chadbourne
were often of a high order. Clear and logical in method,
seizing upon interesting and vital points of a subject,
handling his material with apparent ease, he rose at
times from the ordinary, didactic plane into regions
of illuminated and impassioned speech.
1 Carter, MS. address at the funeral of President Chadbourne.
* Raymond, Fiftieth Anniversary Report, Class of '62, 43.
THE NEW WILLIAMS
IT is not always easy to fix upon exact dates in proc-
esses of evolution, but the New Williams may be
said, with sufficient accuracy, to have begun July 6,
1 88 1 , when Franklin Carter was inaugurated successor
to President Chadbourne. To him belongs the honor
of getting the latter-day college under way. Born at
Waterbury, Connecticut, September 13, 1837, a grad-
uate of Phillips Academy, Andover, entering Yale in
the class of 1859 and its first scholar, failure of health
compelled him to leave New Haven at the close of the
Sophomore year and to abandon all college work until
the autumn of 1860. He then entered the Junior class
at Williams and graduated in 1862. Three years later
and after a period of study abroad he returned to his
Alma Mater as Professor of Latin and French, hold-
ing the latter position until 1868 and the former until
the close of President Hopkins' administration in
1872, when he resigned and accepted the chair of
German at Yale.
While the inauguration could not wholly escape
from the heavy shadows of the tragedy at Washing-
ton, yet it was an interesting and hopeful occasion.
For the first time a representative of another college
President Noah Porter of Yale took part in the
induction of a Williams President. Paul Ansel Chad-
bourne gave his successor a sobered but cordial wel-
come. An unmistakable note of friendliness and ex-
pectation pervaded the addresses that followed
the addresses of Edward Herrick Griffin (1862), of
Francis Lynde Stetson (1866), and of Thomas Sars-
field Pagan (1882), who spoke for the faculty, the
alumni, and the undergraduates respectively. In his
inaugural a vigorous, penetrating, and scholarly
address President Carter discyssed the relation of
the college to the university and defended the old-
fashioned doctrine that "the studies of the ancient
languages and the mathematics . . . should constitute
a large part of undergraduate work." 1 This conserv-
ative inaugural was the unprophetic prelude to a
If the college were to have any considerable future
the endowment must be largely increased, and Presi-
dent Carter entered at once upon a money-getting
campaign. For this sort of thing he had as little liking
as Mark Hopkins. " He told the writer . . . that after
reaching the residence of the first man to whom he
applied for a large donation, he walked round the
square on which the house was situated three times
before he could summon courage enough to enter
it." 2 But notwithstanding his distaste for the busi-
ness, he secured during the twenty years of his ad-
ministration funds to the amount of $980,000 a
sum which raised the endowment to $i,ioo,ooo. 3 Be-
1 Inauguration of President Carter, 25.
2 Raymond, Fiftieth Anniversary Report, Class of '62, 41.
8 Noble, Class of '62, 31.
THE NEW WILLIAMS
sides, $600,000 were spent upon the campus. The
first building in the era of reconstruction "a mas-
sive pile, solid and substantial, . . . beautiful and
symmetrical ... a genuine product of our hills "
was erected by one "who left this county fifty years
ago a poor boy'* Edwin Denison Morgan, Governor
of New York, and United States Senator, and bears
his name. Other important buildings, six in num-
ber, followed Lasell Gymnasium, Hopkins Hall,
the three Thompson Laboratories, and Jesup Hall.
While funds and buildings were to be provided,
President Carter realized quite as clearly as his pred-
ecessor that the most important matter in the fur-
nishing of a college was the faculty, and he reinforced
the teaching staff with four new professors Samuel
Fessenden Clarke, Richard Austin Rice, Leverett
Mears, and John Haskell Hewitt 1 who continued
in service during the whole of his administration and
were important factors in its successes. At the close
of it the number of instructors had doubled and the
registration of students showed an increase of sixty-
eight per cent.
Further, there was the question of the curriculum.
With the exception of William and Mary, a rigid, in-
elastic, "required" system prevailed in American
colleges from colonial times to the close of the first
quarter of the nineteenth century. Harvard broke
the old order by the introduction of elective studies
in 1824. This new policy continued for twenty-five
years, when it encountered the hostility of President
1 Professor Hewitt, who was in Europe when elected, did not take up
his duties until the autumn of 1882.
Sparks, and a reaction set in so strongly that the
curriculum of 1849-50 permitted only six "hours"
of optional work during the four years. Leadership in
the movement for educational reform then fell to
Brown University. President Wayland published in
1850 his "New System," which permitted the under-
graduate to "study what he chooses, all he chooses,
and nothing but what he chooses." 1 This proposition
struck the great majority of educators as quite too
radical and the reform continued somewhat in abey-
ance until Charles William Eliot, elected President of
Harvard in 1869, espoused the cause and finally se-
cured the adoption of a curriculum in which English
A was the only required subject.
At Williams, with the exception of the eight years,
1864-72, the course of study had not been absolutely
inelastic, at least since 1822-23, when instruction in
Hebrew was given to "such as wish it." The next
year, and until 1828-29, the elective studies included
Hebrew, French, mineralogy, and botany, which were
offered to "select classes." In 1828-29 another revi-
sion took place and then Ty tier's Elements of His-
tory or French might be taken "at the option of the
student" the third term of the Sophomore year and
Hebrew, fluxions, or French the third term of the Jun-
ior year. The Sophomore elective studies continued
until 1837-38, when they were abandoned. For those
of the Junior year there was a longer lease of life,
as they appear in every catalogue in the twenty-two
1 Wayland, Report on Changes in the System of Collegiate Education,
* Bronson, History of Brown University, 258-67.
THE NEW WILLIAMS
years from 1828-29 to 1860-61, and with only one
important change the substitution of German for
Hebrew in 1846-47. During the two years 1861 to
1863 all elective work was shifted to the first and
second terms of the Senior year and restricted to
French or German. Then followed a reversion to the
old required curriculum a reactionary period which
came to an end in 1873-74, when mathematics, Latin,
or Greek were offered as Junior options and Greek or
Latin might be substituted for analytical geometry
the third term of the Sophomore year.
But notwithstanding these possible variations the
modern Williams curriculum began in 1881 when
elective courses were offered to Seniors "from the
first of November until June in astronomy, chemis-
try, French, German, English literature, Latin, Greek,
and calculus." Subsequently the system was extended,
until at the close of the administration in 1901 the
list of optional studies offered to Sophomores, Juniors,
and Seniors all the work of the Freshman class
was required amounted to thirty-six year and
twenty-one half-year courses.
A second and no less significant modification of the
curriculum followed presently. " I should be willing/'
President Carter remarked in his Report for 1882-83,
"if our resources allowed it, to make some substitu-
tion for Greek in the form of modern languages or
sciences." In May, 1894, the faculty struck it from
the list of subjects required for admission. Though
the immediate consequences of the step seemed un-
important only four candidates entered college the
next autumn without it the new option was the
beginning of a great educational change. The num-
ber of non-Greek men, relatively negligible in 1894,
included eighty-five per cent of the Freshman class in
A third innovation the adoption of the honor
system in examinations was brought about in 1896.
On the whole it seems to have worked well during the
twenty years it has been in force and there appears
to be little inclination toward a revival of the old
proctorial system of supervision.
One long and troublesome controversy vexed the
administration of President Carter. The petition of
"John P. Jordan & 95 others " in 1837, asking per-
mission to tax college property, was not the last enter-
prise of the kind. In 1896 the assessors of Williams-
town withdrew from the exempted list certain college
lands and dwelling-houses. The trustees paid the
assessments under protest, brought suit to recover,
and lost their case. A general alarm in academic cir-
cles followed upon this decision. If taxes could be
levied on college property in Williamstown, they could
also be levied elsewhere. Then followed a period of
committee hearings and legislative bills. Advocates
of taxation dwelt upon the " burdens " which the
1 Anti-Greek sentiment is not exactly a recent phenomenon in the
educational world. Goldsmith's Philosophic Vagabond, hearing that
there were not two men in the university at Louvain who understood
Greek, resolved to travel thither " and live by teaching it." But his
hopes proved illusory. " ' You see me, young man,' said the principal to
whom he offered his services, 'I never learned Greek and don't find that
I have ever missed it. I have had a doctor's cap without Greek; I have
a thousand florins a year without Greek, and in short,' continued he,
' as I don't know Greek I don't believe there is any good in it.' " (Gold-
smith's Works, Bohn's Edition, I, 164.
THE NEW WILLIAMS
presence of a college or university in any community
imposed upon it, burdens which the State ought to
share, while their opponents contended that the
pecuniary and other advantages of these institutions
to the towns and cities in which they happened to
be located greatly exceeded their cost. What would
Williamstown have been without the college? Prob-
ably what it was for a long time "a scraggy and
struggling little hill town." 1 When the corner-stone
of the Thompson Memorial Chapel was laid in 1902,
Judge James Madison Barker, of the Board of Trus-
tees, delivered an elaborate address in which he re-
viewed the history of two Berkshire towns Lanes-
boro and Williamstown both incorporated the
same year. At the outset the prospects of the former
seemed the brighter and more assured, but after the
lapse of a hundred and thirty-seven years, it still
remains an obscure hamlet, while the name of the
latter is known far and wide as the seat of Williams
January 4, 1900, the Supreme Court of Massachu-
setts handed down a decision in the case of Har-
vard University against the City of Cambridge which
practically reversed the Williamstown decision. The
outcome of the long and disquieting agitation was a
compromise, by the terms of which the college agreed
to make some annual contribution toward the ex-
penses of the town and amicable relations continued
until 1913, when the assessors of the fire district
levied taxes upon college property. The coup did not
succeed, as the Supreme Court held that they had
1 Boston Transcript, April 12, 1898.
exceeded their authority and the interrupted compro-
mise went into effect again.
Another episode in the time of President Carter
the commemoration of the centennial in 1892
stands out in pleasant contrast to the litigation over
the question of taxation. It was, as by all the canons
of fitness it should have been, the most elaborate and
splendid celebration in the annals of the college. The
buildings were effectively decorated with bunting
the name and date of each being placed above the main
entrance in letters of gold on a black background
and at night the campus was brilliantly lighted.
One scheme of illumination, dear to the heart of the
late Horace E. Scudder, great beacon fires burning
on conspicuous points of the surrounding moun-
tains, was reluctantly abandoned as impracticable.
The list of delegates and invited guests comprised
Governor William E. Russell, Lieutenant-Governor
Roger Wolcott, Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, Bishop
William Lawrence, representatives of seven acade-
mies, three theological seminaries, eighteen colleges and
universities. Of the alumni not less than four hun-
dred and fifty were present. And external conditions
could hardly have been more fortunate the three
days having been seldom surpassed even among the
Berkshires in glory of sunshine and color.
The formal exercises began October 8 with an in-
spiring sermon in the Congregational Church by the
Rev. Dr. Henry Hopkins on the "Connection of
Religion and Education." Sunday afternoon "The
Relation of Christianity to Applied Science" was con-
sidered in addresses by Charles Cuthbert Hall (1872),
THE NEW WILLIAMS
John Bascom (1849), Henry Martyn Field (1838),
Charles Augustus Stoddard (1854), William Mercer
Grosvenor (1855), and George Alfred Ford (1872).
While all these addresses were worthy of the occasion,
no one of them was more characteristic in temper of
thought and quality of phrase than that of John
Bascom. He lamented the absence of "the divine
afflatus" in college life, comparing it to the ground
hemlock "a fresh, clean, wide-leaved and inviting
shrub, which flattens itself out over the earth, and
never . . . carries a crown into the sky." *
Monday morning was devoted to an " Educational
Conference" a new departure in the programme
of college centennial anniversaries 2 with papers
by Henry Pratt Judson (1870), James Caruthers
Greenough (1860), Edward Herrick Griffin (1862),
Frank Hun tington Snow (1862), Charles Gross (1878),
Truman Henry Safford (Harvard, 1864), and Gran-
ville Stanley Hall (1867).
On Tuesday, the last day of the anniversary, the
exercises opened with an academic procession which
formed in front of the library and began to move soon
after ten o'clock. This procession was arranged in the
following order the chief marshal and his aides,
the chairman of the committees of the Trustees and
the presiding officer, the orator and chaplain, the in-
vited guests, the Selectmen of Williamstown, the
Trustees, the faculty, the alumni, and the under-
graduates. The line of march lay along Main Street
past the gymnasium, Morgan Hall, Jesup Hall, the
science buildings, and West College, to the park;
1 Centennial Anniversary, 74. * Ibid., 140.
crossed Main Street and proceeded up the north side
of it to the Congregational Church, halting a mo-
ment at the President's house for Dr. Carter and the
Governor of the State.
James Hulme Canfield (1868) delivered the centen-
nial oration, in which he set forth "the origin and the
spirit and the life of the college." 1 This oration -
direct and forcible in style, fortunate in illustration
and historical reference, abounding in humorous
turns and eloquent periods made a profound im-
pression upon the great audience. It was observed
that even the gentlemen of the Governor's staff,
"veterans of many a long and monotonous hour of
sermon and oration," listened "with smiling faces to
the very end." 2
A luncheon, which concluded the programme, suc-
ceeded the exercises in the Congregational Church.
It was served in a temporary building erected on
the lawn of the Sigma Phi Fraternity. President
Carter presided at this function, introducing with
grace and felicity the long list of speakers Gov-
ernor Russell, Captain Ephraim Williams, President
Dwight of Yale, Bishop Lawrence of Massachu-
setts, President Tucker of Dartmouth, President
Eliot of Harvard, Senator Lodge, President Andrews
of Brown, Mr. Andrew Carnegie, President Taylor
of Vassar, President Gilman of Johns Hopkins, and
Professor Briggs of Union Theological Seminary.
Captain Ephraim Williams, of the United States
Army, grandnephew and namesake of the founder,
1 Centennial Anniversary, 240.
3 H. W. Mabie, in The Outlook, October 21, 1893.
THE NEW WILLIAMS
sitting in full uniform among the distinguished guests
upon the platform, imparted to the occasion an effec-
tive touch of historical realism.
In 1901 the health of President Carter became so
much impaired that he felt compelled to resign. "I
lay the work down with a sense of relief," he wrote,
"and yet sorry that I could not have had the power to
go on five years more." 1 But the term of service,
which he would have been glad to extend, was long
enough to permit the reorganization of the institution
and the readjustment of it to the changed times. And
the "list of his positions, activities, and doctorates"
during this time shows that the world bestowed its
honors upon him with a liberal hand. Nor was the
number of his publications inconsiderable. Profes-
sor Raymond's bibliography 2 contains forty-nine
titles of books, addresses, magazine and newspaper
articles. And, what certainly was a matter of no less
importance, during his epoch-making administration
he fully maintained in the classroom the greater tradi-
tions of his predecessors.
President Carter, in his letter of resignation, May 9,
1901, asked to be relieved from duty on the 1st of the
following September. " I have fixed upon that date,"
he wrote, "in the belief that the intervening period
may be sufficient time for the selection of my suc-
cessor." It soon became evident that this interven-
ing period would prove too short for the task in hand,
1 Noble, Class of '62, 29.
* Raymond, Fiftieth Anniversary Report, Class of '62, 39.
and consequently the Trustees appointed an Acting-
President Professor John Haskell Hewitt who
had occupied a similar position at Olivet College and
Lake Forest University. In this ad interim adminis-
tration, which continued through the academic year
1901-02, the affairs of the college were ably and suc-
January 17, 1902, the interval of indecision came
to an end with the election of the Rev. Henry Hop-
kins, D.D., preacher at the Centennial Anniversary,
successor to Dr. Carter. Graduating in the class of
1858, then studying theology at Union Seminary, he
entered the army as chaplain in 1861. The office had
not then been created, and he received a personal
commission from President Lincoln. One of the most
important Federal hospitals was at Alexandria, and
managers of the Sanitary Commission, anxious to
secure a competent chaplain for the post, asked
Professor Henry B. Smith, of Union Theological
Seminary, New York, to help them. "I hope I have
found the man," he wrote. "Young H., son of Presi-
dent Mark Hopkins, has just been in and will think
of it. If he can and will accept it, he is as near being
just the man as needs be." 1 He accepted the post and
remained at Alexandria from May 31,1 862, to May 25,
i864. 2 These two years were a period of sympathetic,
unstinted, and efficient service, by no means limited
to the ordinary routine. He conducted, for instance,
an ambulance corps under a flag of truce to the battle-
fields of Chantilly and Bull Run, and brought a large
1 Letters of a Family during the War, 1861-65, I, 163.
2 Mass. Commandery, Loyal Legion, Register, 1912.
JOHN HASKELL HEWITT
THE NEW WILLIAMS
number of wounded soldiers to the hospital. " We cut
their clothes from them . . . stiff with their own blood
and Virginia clay," he wrote a friend, "and move
them inch by inch into their rough straw beds. Some
of these fellows I love like brothers and stand beside
their graves for other reasons than that it is an official
duty." l The last year of the war he was in the field
as chaplain of the One Hundred and Twentieth New
York Infantry. "I met your President for the first
time," said General Horace Porter, speaking at the
Williams Commencement of 1908, "in the trenches
before Petersburg." After the conclusion of the war
there followed thirty-six years of successful pastoral
work fourteen of them at Westfield and twenty-
two at Kansas City, Missouri.
The new President, then sixty-four years old and
without experience in academical affairs, naturally
hesitated somewhat about entering upon the untried
vocation. His father, Mark Hopkins, devoted him-
self primarily to the business of teaching. For him
that was the chief, the most important, factor in the
presidency. But the scope and ideals of the office had
changed were becoming essentially executive
and the successful conduct of important parishes
might be a not ineffective preparation for it. What-
ever hesitations may have disturbed him while the
question was under advisement, the enthusiastic
reception he received in Williamstown inauguration
day r Tuesday, June 24, 1902, ought to have quite
reassured him. The registration of alumni surpassed
that of any previous Commencement and delegates
1 Letters of a Family during the War, 1861-65, n 475-
from twenty- three educational institutions were pres-
ent. The addresses of welcome reflected the universal
sentiment of friendliness and expectation Judge
James Madison Barker speaking for the Trustees,
Acting-President Hewitt for the faculty, George
Frederick Kurd for the undergraduates, and Henry
Loomis Nelson for the alumni. The inaugural dis-
course a stirring appeal for scholarship and service
"was greeted with . . . applause at its opening and
throughout its delivery." 1
Though the new administration had a brief day its
achievements were of large importance. First there
was a substantial increase in the salaries of professors. 2
Then came a scheme of retirements and pensions
the retirements possible at the age of sixty-five, com-
pulsory three years later, and the pensions not to
exceed fifteen hundred dollars. 3 A discussion and re-
vision of the curriculum took place in 1902-03 and
resulted in the adoption of a moderate group system.
Further an active and persistent propaganda for
small classroom divisions resulted in a growth of the
teaching staff, which broke all the records a growth
from twenty-six at the beginning of the period 1902-
08 to forty-nine at the close of it. The relative increase
of students fell much below this ratio there were
three hundred and eighty-one in 1902 and four hun-
dred and seventy in 1908.
Great activity also prevailed upon the campus.
1 Springfield Republican, June 25, 1902.
2 The maximum salaries during the period 1912-13 were for pro-
fessors, $3000; for assistant professors, $2000; for instructors, $1500.
(Garfield, Report, 1913, Appendix B.)
8 Williams pays its pensions irrespective of the Carnegie allowances.
THE NEW WILLIAMS
Goodrich Hall and Jackson Hall, the one being unsafe
and the other obsolete, were pulled down. Griffin
Hall and the chapel of 1859, the latter renamed
Goodrich Hall, having outlived their original uses,
became recitation and seminar buildings, and South
College, enlarged and modernized, exchanged its first
name for that of Fayerweather Hall.
To this time also belong the central heating plant,
Berkshire Hall, Currier Hall, the rebuilt Clark Hall,
and considerable purchases of real estate. But from
an architectural point of view the most important
addition to the campus was the chapel, erected by
Mrs. Frederick Ferris Thompson, "to the glory of
God" and in memory of her late husband. The dedi-
cation of this beautiful edifice with its tower, which
adds a new glory to the landscape, took place June 21,
1905, and representatives of six religious denomina-
tions participated in the elaborate and impressive
When Dr. Hopkins accepted the presidency he
seems to have set the term of six years, at the conclu-
sion of which he would have reached the age of seventy,
as the period of his service. On the completion of this
period he resigned, and a college official has seldom
retired amid more general or sincere demonstrations
of affection. Though his health had suffered under the
unaccustomed strain, it was thought that a sea voyage
and a year of travel in Europe might restore it. But
hopes were delusive and he died August 18, 1908, at
Rotterdam, Holland. His remains were brought to
Williamstown and funeral services held September 20
in the Thompson Memorial Chapel. Dean Edward H.
Griffin, of Johns Hopkins University, and Professor
John E. Russell, of the college, delivered appreciative
and felicitous addresses the former dwelling upon
the happy conditions in which President Hopkins
had been placed so that his life was rounded out into
a completeness rarely attained; the latter upon the
openness and kindliness of his nature, the nobility of
his ideals, and the sureness of his instinct in appraising
Harry Augustus Garfield was elected successor to
Henry Hopkins June 25, 1907, a year before the
administration of the latter came to an end. The new
President, eldest son of the late James Abram Gar-
field, a graduate of Williams in the class of 1885, after
professional studies in New York, London, and
Oxford, entered upon the practice of law at Cleve-
land, Ohio, which continued until 1903 when he
accepted a call to the chair of Politics in Princeton
The induction took place October 7, 1908 the
one hundred and fifteenth anniversary of the found-
ing of the college. On this occasion the attendance of
invited guests and representatives of educational
institutions exceeded that at any previous academic
function in Williamstown. The events of the day
began with prayers in Thompson Memorial Chapel,
conducted by the Rev. Dr. Daniel Merriman, of
Boston, and the Rev. Dr. Harry P. Dewey, of Minne-
apolis, both members of the Board of Trustees. Then
followed the exercises of the inauguration at the Con-
THE NEW WILLIAMS
gregational Church the invocation by ex-President
Carter; the induction by the Rev. William Wisner
Adams, D.D., Chairman of the Board of Trustees;
the acceptance by the President of the college; and
congratulatory addresses by President Woodrow
Wilson; the Rev. John Sheridan Zelie (1887); Pro-
fessor John Haskell Hewitt, and Ernest Hosmer
In his inaugural address President Garfield dis-
cussed with admirable clearness and point the ques-
tion, "What is the chief end of the American college? "
It must be an object, he urged, which does injustice
neither to the past nor to the present; that appeals
to students of every type and inspires them with new
and higher conceptions of life. "Such an object,"
he continued, "is expressed by the word citizenship.
America's great need is that the men and women of
the United States comprehend all that citizenship
imports. . . . Hence I venture to assert that the chief
end of the American college is to train citizens for
After the exercises of induction came the luncheon
in Lasell Gymnasium, with Hamilton Wright Mabie
as presiding officer and a distinguished array of speak-
ers President Eliot, of Harvard University; Presi-
dent Alderman, of the University of Virginia; Presi-
dent Van Hise, of the University of Wisconsin;
Ambassador Bryce, and Curtis Guild, Governor of
Massachusetts. And to all the other happy fortunes
of the occasion were added the charms of beautiful
weather. "Over the rare day arched a Berkshire sky
1 Induction of President Garfield, 39, 40.
of unflecked blue and every augury was propitious for
the new departure at Williams." l
To attempt any detailed survey of the administra-
tion begun under such favorable conditions does not
fall within the scope of the present volume. It is only
necessary to say that the subsequent progress of the
institution has not discredited the happy promise of
this new departure. The registration of students rose
from 487 in 1908-09 to 552 in 1915-16. Although so
lately as 1903-04 the curriculum had been diligently
revised, in 1908-10 it was pronounced obsolete and
replaced by a radical group system with an elaborate
scheme of prerequisites. A Student Council, estab-
lished in 1914, took over the management of extra-
curriculum affairs a decided step toward under-
graduate self-government. Nor has the campus, now
containing not less than two hundred and forty acres,
been neglected. Among recent improvements Smed-
ley Terrace, Stetson Road, the Thompson Infirmary,
Williams Hall, and Grace Hall may be mentioned.
To complete the immediate programme of reconstruc-
tion only one other building an adequate library
seems to be needed. That building, when provided,
will be the fourth stage in its history. During the
first stage, which lasted from 1793 to 1828, it was a
West College room, so small that one standing in the
centre of it could reach any book on the shelves. 2
Then it was removed to Griffin Hall, and the second
makeshift continued until 1846, when Amos Lawrence
built the quaint, octagonal hall which bears his name
1 Springfield Republican, October 8, 1908.
2 Durfee, Williams College, 345.
HARRY AUGUSTUS GARFIELD
THE NEW WILLIAMS
and for seventy years has been the college library.
Though twice enlarged, the original capacity was
thirty-four thousand volumes, it does not afford
adequate facilities for the uses of a collection of books
which in 1916 numbered 83,909.
March 31, 1916, the real estate and equipment of
the college were estimated by the Treasurer at a valu-
ation of $1,837,193.51, and the securities and funds
amounted to $2,185,206.65, making the total assets
$4,022,400.16. The income for the year 1915-16, in-
cluding that of the Corporation and of special funds
and donations for current expenses, was $236,217.46.
Since the academic year 1905-06 the expenses of
administration have exceeded the income the
deficits ranging from $15,534.72 to $37,302.85 annu-
ally. To provide for these deficits, to increase the
salaries of the teaching staff, and to establish such
new professorships as may be advisable, the Trustees
authorized, in May, 1913, the raising of two million
dollars. July I, 1916, the subscriptions and legacies
applicable to the proposed fund amounted to approxi-
mately one half of that sum.
The bicentenary of the birth of Ephraim Williams
occurred March 7, 1915. In Williamstown there were
two celebrations of the event, the first, February
20, by the local alumni association and the other,
March 6 by the college. Professor John Haskell
Hewitt was the principal speaker before the associa-
tion and ex-President Carter before the college. We
find in their admirable addresses some revision of
earlier interpretations of the character and career of
the founder. For example, Professor Hewitt took
issue with the dictum of the centennial orator in 1893
that he was nothing more than "a fair exponent of
the average life of his day," and made it pretty clear
that the orator had " failed ... to portray the real
Ephraim Williams. ' ' 1 Ex-President Carter was in sym-
pathy with the protest, and happily characterized him
as "a true gentleman, a lover of humanity, a patriot
soldier, and an early martyr to human liberty." 2
Many of the graduates, who served on the Board
of Trustees, and have died since the inauguration of
President Carter in 1881, were well-known men:
Henry Lyman Sabin (1821), for more than fifty years
a prominent physician in Williamstown and the
Northern Berkshires; James Denison Colt (1838),
Justice of the Supreme Court of Massachusetts; Henry
Martyn Hoyt (1849), Brevet Brigadier-General of
United States Volunteers and Governor of Pennsyl-
vania; Francis Henshaw Dewey (1840), Justice of the
Superior Court of Massachusetts; Robert Russell
Booth (1849), Director of Union and of Princeton
Theological Seminaries, Moderator of the Presby-
terian General Assembly; William Wisner Adams
( J 855), pastor of the First Congregational Church in
Fall River, a preacher notable for his prayers as well
as for his sermons; Horace Elisha Scudder (1858),
man of letters, editor of the "Atlantic Monthly,"
author of the "Life of James Russell Lowell," and
1 Alumni Review, April 15, 1915, n.
* Address at the Two Hundredth Anniversary of the Birth of Ephraim
THE NEW WILLIAMS
many other books; James Madison Barker (1860),
Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Massachu-
setts, author of a sketch of Paul Ansel Chadbourne,
in the " Proceedings" of the Massachusetts Historical
Society; William Rumsey (1861), Associate Justice of
the Supreme Court of New York, writer of books on
the Practice and the Codification of Law; Joseph
Edward Simmons (1862), President of the Chamber
of Commerce and of the Board of Education in New
York; Daniel Merriman (1863), pastor of Broad-
way Church, Norwich, Connecticut, and of Central
Church, Worcester, an efficient administrator and
executive, a vigorous, scholarly preacher, singularly
happy in the liturgies of pulpit service; James Robert
Dunbar (1871), Associate Justice of the Superior
Court of Massachusetts from 1888 to 1898, a man
whom "nature fitted ... for a judge'*; Charles Cuth-
bert Hall (1872), President of Union Theological
Seminary, Barrows lecturer to India and the Far
East, preacher at the dedication of the Thompson
Memorial Chapel, a religious leader whose earnest,
comprehending words touched the lives of young
men to finer issues in many colleges and universities.
The name of another Trustee, Frederick Ferris
Thompson, a man of sunny disposition, quaint and
original in speech, easily winning confidence, admira-
tion, and affection, who died in 1899, will always
be associated with the college. Five of the twenty-
three buildings on the campus bear his name. He
wrote a half -humorous account of himself for the
fortieth anniversary of his class: " You want to know
something about me. . . . Story? Lord bless you, I Ve
none to tell. 1 I was only a quodam member of '56, of
two years' presence in college and a thorn in the fac-
ulty of that day. ... I served my time in the war
without any distinction. I was captain in the 37th
New York volunteers which never saw a battle. . . .
I made some money in my banking business and
promptly gave it away to the college to which I owe
the best years of my life." If he had told his "story,"
a certain incident, related in Caroline Richards'
charming "Diary of a School Girl," should certainly
have been included in it:
"April 26 . Mr. Fred. Thompson went down
to New York last Saturday and while stopping for a
few minutes at St. Johnsville, he heard a man crow-
ing over the death of the President. Mr. Thompson
marched up to him, collared him, and landed him
nicely in the gutter. The bystanders were delighted
and carried the champion to the platform and called
for a speech, which was given. Quite a little episode.
Every one who hears the story says: Three cheers for
F. F. Thompson."
Two "officers of administration" passed away in
this period. Charles Henry Burr (1868), after suc-
cessful pastorates in New York and elsewhere, ac-
cepted the position of librarian in 1888 and held it
until his death, November 28, 1910. Ex-President
Carter delivered a pathetic address at his funeral. It
was a lamentation over brilliant prospects blighted
by illness that shattered "his superb physical health"
and filled his later years with conflict and suffering. 2
1 Class of 1856, 33.
2 Carter, Williams Alumni Review, December, 1910, p. 26.
THE NEW WILLIAMS
Eben Burt Parsons (1859), pastor of the Presby-
terian Church at Baldwinsville, New York, for
twenty-two years, became secretary of the faculty
and Registrar of the college in 1888. He had been
invited to Williamstown long before and declined the
call. "Here is the sort of thing we used to call an
1 M. H.,'" he once remarked to the present writer and
handed him an old, yellowed letter. The "M. H."
proved to be the initials of Mark Hopkins and the
letter one which he wrote to Dr. Parsons in the sixties
of the last century offering him the chair of Mathe-
matics. He discharged the exacting duties of his posi-
tion with unflagging patience, courtesy, and industry.
As necrologist from 1882 to 1909 he prepared obituary
notices of more than eight hundred graduates. Shat-
tered in health, he might often be seen in his last days
- he died January 24, 1913 wandering half bewil-
dered about the familiar campus as if in a world not
The most conspicuous name in the death-roll of
members of the faculty was that of Mark Hopkins,
whose long life of eighty-five years came to a close
June 17, 1887. Funeral services, attended by a large
number of alumni and by representatives of many
institutions, religious and educational, were held in
the Congregational Church at Williamstown, June 21.
President Carter delivered an appreciative and elo-
quent address which forms the concluding chapter of
his "Mark Hopkins" published in 1892.
A year later, at the Commencement of 1888, David
Dudley Field pronounced an oration before the alumni
upon his boyhood and lifelong friend, the late Presi-
dent. He was then in his eighty-fourth year, but stood
upon the platform with the poise and confidence of
middle age a magnificent incarnation of physical
and intellectual vigor and delivered, without man-
uscript, never hesitating for a word, an impressive
address. Mark Hopkins, he said, "was to me a
brother. We started on the voyage of Life together.
. . . Now from my bark still lingering on the sea, I
wave my parting salutation to him safely landed on
the shore." 1
In this time two former members of the faculty
passed away Addison Ballard (1842) and Lewellyn
Pratt (1852). Both of them retired from service many
years ago and that of Addison Ballard was brief
tutor, 1843-44, and Professor of Rhetoric, 1854-55.
His academic career, however, in other institutions
in Ohio University, Marietta College, Lafayette Col-
lege, and New York University extended over a
period of thirty-eight years. He was a crisp, vigorous,
suggestive writer. Dying December 2, 1914, in the
ninety-third year of his age, he retained to the last a
surprising physical and intellectual vigor.
Lewellyn Pratt had a longer and more recent
official connection with the college, since he was
Professor of Rhetoric from 1876 to 1881 and Trustee
from 1884 to 1889. Then for thirteen years he taught
in other institutions. But the greater part of his
long workday he died in 1913 at the age of eighty-
one was spent in the pastorate. A man of striking
personality, ready to take any amount of trouble for
1 D. D. Field, Speeches, Arguments, and Miscellaneous Papers, in,
THE NEW WILLIAMS
others, refined, cultured, undogmatic, with rare
gifts of speech, it is not strange that he should win
the hearts alike of students and parishioners.
Charles Franklin Gilson (1853), Professor of Mod-
ern Languages, came to the end a few weeks before
the inauguration of President Carter. He fought
chronic invalidism heroically for years, holding with
Stevenson that "it is better to live and be done with
it than to die daily in the sick-room." 1 At times al-
most helpless, students carried him to the recitation
room in their arms. Once there and seated in his chair
all signs of weakness disappeared. The charm of his
personality, the vigor of his intellectual processes,
and the high standards of scholarship he insisted
upon, compelled admiration as well as affection. Nor
did his associates fall behind the young men in appre-
ciation. " The world is sensibly less habitable for me,"
wrote John Bascom, " now that he has gone from it." 2
Cyrus Morris Dodd (1855), one of the truest, most
genuine, and lovable of old-fashioned men, died in
1897. He taught Williams Freshmen and Sophomores
mathematics for twenty-eight years and did his work
well, though it was hardly congenial. The real enthu-
siasm of his life lay in the field of literature and
aesthetics. Fine editions of the old poets, English and
classical, were a joy to him. Every year he re-read
Scott's novels and the poetry of his friend William
Cullen Bryant. And another trait quite as strong as
the love of good literature was an enthusiasm for the
scenery of Northern Berkshire, no less intense and
1 Stevenson, Travels and Essays, Scribner's Edition, xm, 105.
2 Bascom, Things Learned by Living, 129.
unwearied than George Sorrow's for that of East
James Ingraham Peck (1887), Assistant Professor
of Biology, who died in the autumn of 1898, was a
young man of great promise. An associate, writing to
a friend shortly after his funeral, said: "He loved his
work and had unusual ability to interest others in it.
... I met him on the street a few days before the end
came and talked with him about his health. He said
that he felt spent; . . . that his heart had gone back
on him in an alarming fashion. I encouraged him as
well as I could, but he looked badly." 1
Luther Dana Woodbridge (1872) belonged to an
ancient Massachusetts family one ancestor being
a graduate in the first class at Harvard and another
an early trustee of Yale. After a period of service as
instructor in his Alma Mater and in Robert College,
followed by medical studies in New York, London,
and Vienna, he accepted the professorship of Anat-
omy and Physiology at Williams and entered upon
his duties in 1884. A man of immense vitality, a suc-
cessful physician, a thorough and enthusiastic teacher,
his sudden death in 1899 left a great void in the com-
Truman Henry Safford, born in Royal ton, Ver-
mont, a graduate of Harvard (1854), successor of
Albert Hopkins as Professor of Astronomy at Wil-
liams in 1876, belonged to the class of mathematical
prodigies sometimes called "lightning calculators."
At the age of six he could solve mentally the problem
1 MS. letter, December 4, 1898.
2 Carter, In Memoriam Luther Dana Woodbridge, 14.
THE NEW WILLIAMS
How many barleycorns are there in 1040 rods?
Before reaching his tenth year he had studied algebra,
geometry, trigonometry, and astronomy, and pub-
lished an almanac with original computations. 1
The extraordinary calculating powers of another
Vermonter, Zerah Colburn, diminished as he grew
older. No such decline appears in the case of Professor
Safford. A classroom incident at Williams in 1891,
when he was in his fifty-sixth year, would seem to
make that point plain. "One of the students gave
him this problem during a recitation ' Supposing I
was born at a certain hour, minute, and second of a
certain day, how old would I now be in seconds?'
The professor put his head slightly on one side in a
characteristic way, walked up and down before the
blackboard once or twice, and then gave the an-
swer. 'No,' said the student; 'that is not correct,
for I have worked out the problem and the answer
is different.' ' What was your answer? ' On being told,
he resumed his walk before the blackboard and pres-
ently exclaimed, 'Oh, you forgot the leap years.'" 2
Professor Safford must be included in the small
class of lightning calculators who, like Ampere, Gauss,
and the Bidders, were also men of great intellectual
ability. Many of these prodigies appear to have been
"reckoning machines" and nothing more. Professor
Philip Fox, in an address at the celebration of the
semi-centennial anniversary of the Chicago Astro-
nomical Society, said that in an effort to make a bibli-
ography of Professor Safford's work he had found "a
1 Bruce, McClure's Magazine, September, 1912, p. 592.]
1 Professor Milham, MS. letter.
vast number of papers, many of general interest, but
most of them concerned with star positions." 1 At
Williamstown his best-known publications were
"Mathematical Teaching and its Modern Methods,"
a discourse on "The development of Astronomy in
the United States," and a " Catalogue of North Polar
In the classroom Professor Safford's mental proc-
esses were so rapid that the average student found it
difficult to follow them. Though fairly patient with
dull and stupid men, he whimsically lamented at
times the scarcity of "fool-killers." It must be ad-
mitted, however, in justice to the lower half of his
classes, that with all his dazzling intellectual equip-
ment he had little aptitude for oral exposition. In
November, 1912, it was "the happy privilege" of the
Chicago Astronomical Society to dedicate in his honor
a bronze tablet. 2
Orlando Marcellus Fernald, Lawrence Professor of
Greek, died in 1902. A graduate of Harvard, he was
called from the Springfield High School to Williams-
town in 1872, and thirty successive classes had the
drill and discipline of his keen, thorough, insistent,
sham-hating tuition. Nor was his work less ungrudg-
ing or valuable in matters of administration, and his
service did not fail to receive emphatic official recog-
nition. In 1901 the Trustees conferred upon him the
degree of LL.D. an honor which with a single ex-
ception had never before been conferred upon a mem-
ber of the teaching staff during the period of active
1 Popular Astronomy, October, 1913. * Ibid.
THE NEW WILLIAMS
Henry Loomis Nelson (1868) entered upon his pro-
fessorial career of six years in 1902 at the age of
fifty-six. His success in this belated vocation affords
a striking illustration of the fact that for undergradu-
ate work the personality of the instructor may be of
more importance than scholastic degrees. It is to be
noted, however, that as Professor Nelson's depart-
ment was Government, his long connection with the
newspaper press in Boston, New York, and Washing-
ton afforded a sort of graduate course in preparation
for his new career. A large, breezy, intellectual sort of
man, positive if not aggressive in his opinions, abun-
dantly qualified for admission to Dr. Johnson's com-
munity of good haters, skilful in the use of material
which a wide acquaintance with the world had given
him, his advent in Williamstown was a very consid-
Arthur Latham Perry, one of the most popular of
Williams professors, retired in 1891. His final serv-
ice was the conduct of prayers at the chapel the last
Saturday morning of the second semester. " I will
read for our Scripture lesson," he said, "the passage
which I selected when thirty-eight years ago I con-
ducted these exercises for the first time."
Though Professor Perry taught German from 1854
to 1868, his principal work lay in the field of history
and political economy. A sharp contrast of methods
characterized his handling of these subjects. Follow-
ing a custom then quite general among New England
colleges, he made the recitation in history practically
a memoriter exercise. Calling up some member of the
class he asked him to begin a summary of the pages
assigned in the textbook for the lesson. When he had
finished, a second student was expected to take up the
narrative, and so on to the end the recitation pro-
ceeding in an automatic fashion. 1 This scheme cer-
tainly meant serious work for conscientious students.
So much at least may be said in its favor. It is also
true and a matter of some importance that if by any
chance the textbook happened to be literature, the
scheme had a tendency to dull if not destroy their
perception of this important fact. One of the text-
books Green's "Short History of England" was
literature, but apparently the Sophomores of 1879
never found it out. A member of that class, and prob-
ably not a misleading representative of current opin-
ion, denounced it in the college paper "as spun out
by a verbose and flowing elaboration. . . . Let us
have no more of Mr. Green!" 2
Professor Perry not only taught but wrote history.
His "Origins in Williams town," published in 1894,
belongs to the class of works sometimes called " monu-
mental." It contains a detailed and authoritative
account of Fort Massachusetts, of West Hoosac, and
of Williamstown to the opening of the Revolutionary
War. In this volume also he endeavored with notable
though not absolute success to write a definitive
biography of Ephraim Williams. His "Williamstown
1 President J. B. Angell, in his Reminiscences (p. 29), says that this
method prevailed in Brown University when the subject permitted it.
" 1 think that nearly one fourth of the men in my class in Senior Year
(1849) used to learn in two hours and that after an indigestible din-
ner in Commons fifteen pages of Smith's Lectures on History so
that they could repeat them with little variation from the text."
2 "Diogenet," in the Williams Athen&um, March 29, 1879.
THE NEW WILLIAMS
and Williams College/' published five years after the
"Origins," from a literary point of view is the best of
his books, but it abounds in criticisms of three suc-
cessive Presidents of the institution Mark Hop-
kins, Paul Ansel Chadbourne, and Franklin Carter
which provoked sharp and general protest among the
It was in the field of economics that Professor Perry
won special distinction. His first treatise on that sub-
ject " Introduction to Political Economy" ap-
peared in 1865, passed through many editions, and
gave him an international reputation. Certainly
before the date of its publication no more important
work had been done in the United States not at
Yale by Woolsey, nor at Columbia by Lieber, nor at
Harvard by Bowen. 1 A radical free-trader, who as-
sailed the theories of protection in newspaper articles
and public addresses as well as in his books and class-
room, he could not fail to offend many alumni and
friends of the college. In 1882 fourteen of them sent
a communication to the Trustees denouncing his
"Cobdenism" as "most inexpedient, unwise, and un-
just." 2 The Trustees declined to interfere.
In teaching political economy Professor Perry did
not expect the textbook to be memorized. The class-
room hour was devoted quite as much to discussion as
to recitation. If any inquiring or belligerent student
wanted a hearing he got it. Sometimes he risked a
tilt with the professor an adventure in which he
seldom achieved any success to speak of. Dr. Perry
1 Professor C. J. Bullock, MS. letter.
* Perry, Williamstown and Williams College, 698.
stated his own views with a positiveness that some-
times verged upon dogmatism. While modest enough
about matters beyond the scope of his special studies,
and willing to be instructed by any one who under-
took the task, his meekness and docility disappeared
when on ground he had made his own. And as for
practical results, the great majority of students, im-
pressed by his sincerity, enthusiasm, and gifts of
forceful speech, accepted at least provisionally his
John Bascom, who died at Williamstown, October
2, 1916, at the age of eighty-four, was a member of
the faculty as tutor, lecturer on Sociology, Professor
of Rhetoric or of Political Economy, thirty-seven
years. These years, with the thirteen from 1874 to
1887, when he was President of the University of
Wisconsin, made a total of half a century of active
service in academic work. It was a curious irony of
fate that none of the subjects which he taught during
the long Williamstown period greatly interested him.
They were all subordinate to his passion for phi-
losophy, a subject which he never taught except dur-
ing the relatively brief Wisconsin period. That was
the golden era of his teaching when theme and occa-
sion conspired to put him at his best.
Yet we are not by any means to suppose that it
was a mere affair of routine at Williams when he criti-
cised undergraduate essays, or conducted classes in
Campbell's Rhetoric and Spaulding's History of Eng-
lish Literature, or expounded his theories of sociology
and political economy. Many Williams students, like
Washington Gladden, have felt that no other member
THE NEW WILLIAMS
of the faculty contributed so largely to their intel-
lectual life. 1
Dr. Bascom wrote more than a score of books and
they deal with a variety of subjects, such as politi-
cal economy, aesthetics, rhetoric, English literature,
sociology, theology, and philosophy. These books,
characterized by originality of thought and an excep-
tional turn for phrase-making, ought to have had a
more general recognition than was accorded to them.
They failed to afford his theories, speculations, and
ideals that wide " reflection in words we so often prize
more highly than the thing itself." 2 In the " personal
memorabilia" published after his death, he comments
upon the fact that none of them sold to any consider-
able extent. One class of critics, he said, thought that
he had written too much, and his reply to them is
characteristic "Life must be left to lift itself, to de-
clare itself as it is and where it is." 3 Another class of
critics, who complained that his style is obscure, might
quote this reply in proof of the charge. However that
may be, many readers have found "it hard to keep
step with his discussions." This difficulty puzzled
him the reasons for it, he said, are " not obvious to
me." Possibly the fact that his style is compounded
out of the language of poetry and philosophy, that it
gravitates toward inverted and eccentric construc-
tions, may be a partial explanation of the trouble.
But these uncompromising books, with all their
unique and striking qualities, did not so fully exhibit
the man as the lectures and obiter dicta of the class-
1 Congregationalism October 21, 1911.
* Bascom, Things Learned by Living, iv. ' Ibid., 180.
room. It was a dull, out-of-place student who failed
to feel the push and stimulus of his personality, the
contagion of his unworldly idealism and the uplift of
his pungent talk.
LOOKING BEFORE AND AFTER
EBENEZER FITCH considered "the situation of the
college . . . highly favorable to the improvement and
morals of the youth " and hoped that the same "happy
consequence" would continue "through every suc-
cessive generation of students. " 1 Notwithstanding all
the disagreeable things that were said about Williams-
town in the hard-fought campaign for removal, disci-
ples of the first President were to be found among the
undergraduates long after the close of his administra-
tion. The student historians, David Ames Wells and
Samuel Henry Davis, who published the "Sketches
of Williams College/* preferred the situation of the
institution "in all respects to that of any other."
Climate, scenery, and isolation in a secluded country
town were wholly to their mind. 2
The spell of remoteness touched not only these
student historians, but editors of the "Quarterly" as
well. In 1854 rumors of the possible advent of a rail-
road got abroad. Whatever the general sentiment of
the community may have been, these editors bewailed
the prospect of having the world too much with them.
"The quiet rural character of our little village," they
lamented, "is about to be changed. The stages,
1 Mass. Hist. Society, Collections, vm, 53.
* Sketches of Williams College, 53-56.
which now carry into town heaped loads of students
at the beginning of every term, seeming to cut us off
from the big, bustling world and to leave us alone
among the solemn old hills will soon be remembered
only by old graduates. . . . Already the road is sur-
veyed. . . . Perhaps it is wise . . . (and) will benefit the
college. But we ... doubt." l The depressed spokes-
men for seclusion agreed with a prophet of evil who
declared in a letter to the " Quarterly" that nothing
in the fortunes of a country town could be more " de-
testable" than the advent of a railroad.
Whatever charms and fascinations the solitude of
Williamstown may have had for dreamy and poetic
undergraduates three quarters of a century ago, it
could not continue indefinitely. The growth of the
country in population and resources must inevitably
modify the conditions and patronage of the college.
Classified on the basis of the statistics of the first
graduating class it was literally a neighborhood insti-
tution. Then followed a gradual though fluctuating
enlargement in the geographical area of its constitu-
ency. From 1793 to 1815 sixty per cent of the gradu-
ates came from Massachusetts and twenty-five per
cent from Connecticut New York, Vermont, New
Hampshire, and Virginia furnishing the remainder.
In the troubled times of President Moore the percent-
age of Massachusetts rose to seventy-five and that of
Connecticut fell to fifteen. During the administra-
tion of Dr. Griffin one half of the graduates were Bay
State men, and New York succeeded Connecticut in
the second place. Since the academic year 1851-52,
1 Editor's Table, Williams Quarterly, February, 1854.
2 7 8
LOOKING BEFORE AND AFTER
New York has sent more students to Williamstown
than any other Commonwealth the percentage in
1916 being thirty-five when the constituency em-
braced twenty-nine States and one foreign country. 1
At the outset, and long after, Williams was em-
phatically a poor man's college. The founders of it
proposed to establish that sort of institution, In their
petition to the Legislature for a charter which should
transform the Free School into "a seminary of a more
public and important nature/' they laid particular
stress upon the fact that the small cost of living at
Williamstown would bring "the means of a liberal
education . . . within the powers of the middling and
lower classes." And, as was proper in view of their
avowed purpose "to lessen expenses," they put col-
lege bills at the moderate figure of one hundred shil-
lings or sixteen dollars and sixty-six cents a year. And
they were careful to say in the prospectus announcing
the opening that "the victualling of Academy boys
had not exceeded eighty-three cents a week." 2 The
1 According to Professor Hewitt Alumni Review, February, 1911
about seven per cent of Williams graduates came from Williams-
town. In 1914 fourteen per cent came from within a radius of fifty
miles, twenty-three per cent from within that of one hundred miles.
Ninety- four per cent lived east of the Mississippi and north of the Ohio.
(The General Education Board, 1902-1914, 130.)
2 Vermont Gazette, August 16, 1793. The following bill (Mass.
Archives, xxxu, 705) throws some light on the cost of living in the
Berkshires thirty-seven years earlier:
Prov. of Massachusetts to Jonathan Edwards of Stockbridge Dr.
To timber for building the Fort about the Minister's House at
Stockbridge which cost me 205 L M 1-0-0
To 180 meals to Indians that wrought at the Fort at 4^ 3-0-0
STOCKBRIDGE, JONATHAN EDWARDS.
January 30, 1756.
upshot of the whole matter was that until the nine-
teenth century was more than half spent, "the mid-
dling and lower classes'* and scarcely anybody else
patronized the college.
Annual catalogues previous to 1822 contain no
estimates of student expenses, and information from
other quarters is not abundant. Charles Frederick
Sedgwick, a graduate in the class of 1813, wrote
after the lapse of sixty-eight years "The common
boarding-houses charged 9 shillings ($1.50) per week.
... I think the cash paid ... for (my college) edu-
cation . . . was about $600. ... I kept a horse during
the last two summers . . . which I could pasture for
34 cents a week." l Another member of the class of
1813, Charles Jenkins, tutor in 1816-19, boarded at
President Moore's during the autumn term of 1818
a period of thirteen weeks and his bill was
The catalogue of 1822 contains the first official
statement in regard to expenses since the announce-
ment of the opening of the college in 1793. Prices had
advanced somewhat during the intervening twenty
years. If the "victualling" of Free School boys cost
eighty-three cents a week, that of students in 1822
ranged "from one dollar to one dollar and thirty-four
cents." The lower rate could be secured "by walking
a mile." And the term bills for the year amounted
"to about thirty dollars." Attention is called to the
fact that "the best wood is sold for one dollar a
1 Letter, March I, 1881, in Perry, Williamstown and Williams Col-
2 Jenkins' MS. Diary, Notices, etc., December 23, 1818.
LOOKING BEFORE AND AFTER
cord" and that "from twelve to seventeen cents a
week is paid for washing." 1
In the catalogue of 1828-29 there is a more formal
tabulation of expenses. The minimum figures were
then $79 for the college year. When Mark Hopkins
became President in 1836-37, they had risen to $92,
and during the next decade or two they increased
rather slowly. Yet this modest scale of living over-
taxed the resources of some students and drove them
to heroic measures of economy.
"I boarded myself five weeks," wrote one of them
in 1832. "The first two weeks I lived entirely on
bread and milk, I afterwards got a little butter and a
few pounds of rice for variety and for 3 or 4 of the
last days I lived ... on bread and cheese. My fur-
niture, consisting of a pitcher, plate, bowl, spoon,
knife and fork cost me 37^ cents. ... I have lived
tolerable comfortable on my i^ pounds of bread and
quart of milk a day but found at the end that the
bones began to appear from my pale visage. My
board cost me 2 or 3 cents over half a dollar per
week." This intrepid young man was not discouraged
at all by his lean five weeks of semi-starvation. "If
I board myself again," he continued, "as I intend
1 Catalogue, November, 1822. There were eight men in college under
the patronage of the American Education Society during the academic
year 1822-23, and their expenses, including clothing and incidentals,
averaged $161.71. The expenses of "Beneficiaries" of the Society in
seven other institutions were in Middlebury, $106.22; in Amherst
$112.92; in Dartmouth, $151.67; in Yale, $180.16; in Union, $200.06;
and in Harvard, $251.55. Board at Williamstown cost $1.20 a week
the cheapest in New England except at Amherst, where it was fifteen
cents a week less. The eight Williams students earned $2.36 by teaching
and $59 by manual labor. (Report of the American Education Society,
to do occasionally, I shall try to have a greater
Martin Ingham Townshend, Member of Congress,
Regent of the University of the State of New York,
wrote an account of his college times --the years
1829-33 for the " Gulielmensian " of 1895:
" My father resided three miles south of the college.
He had an excellent farm, fairly stocked, clear of debt,
but nothing more. Until the day of my graduation J
never had an article of woolen clothing which was not
spun and completed and made upon the farm from
the wool of our own sheep, and I never wore a boot or
shoe that was not made from the hides of our own
herd, slaughtered on our own farm. Three years of
the four of my college life I boarded at home; I occu-
pied a dormitory at the college. We arose early, at
the sound of the bell, attended prayers and morning
recitations and then I walked three miles to my home,
breakfasted, and returned with my dinner and supper
in a basket upon my arm. I chopped my wood in our
own groves, in vacation, into twelve feet lengths, and
drew it to college and piled it upon the green and pre-
pared it for the fireplace with saw and axe in the leisure
hours of the term. The preparation of their own wood
was largely practiced by students." 2
Samuel James Andrews, author of the "Life of Our
Lord upon Earth,'* for many years a standard author-
ity in theological circles, who graduated six years after
Martin Ingham Townshend, sent a letter of reminis-
cence to the Hartford Alumni Association in 1906:-
1 L. H. Pease (1835), MS. letter, November 22, 1832.
2 Gulielmensian, xxxix, 20, 21 (condensed).
LOOKING BEFORE AND AFTER
"In my day . . . the village of Williamstown was
small and straggling, the college edifices few and rude,
the scenery alone was varied and grand; . . . The stu-
dents were for the most part ... the sons of farmers.
... It was eminently a poor man's college one in
which the student might receive a good education at
the least cost. There was little of the social conven-
tionalities or of the irritating inequalities which the
display of wealth brings. My classmates were . . .
obliged to live very economically , wearing homespun l
and minimizing expenses in every way." 2
In 1911 a former President of the University of
California, Horace Davis (1848), gave an address
before the students of that institution, on " the condi-
tions of Williams College in ... 1845-46":
" Sixty-six years ago ... a boy fourteen years old
stepped into the office of President Hopkins . . . and
said he had come to present himself to pass the exam-
ination to enter Sophomore. He was turned over to
Professor Tatlock. ... As his diary kept at that date
. . . said 'I read a passage in Livy ... a section in
Herodotus and did two sums in Algebra and that was
all.' . . .
" I am going to begin with the morning and go
through the day. . . . The warning bell . . . rang at
half past five in the summer and at six in the winter.
In the summer that was all right because the sun was
up and it was reasonably warm ; but in winter it rang
an hour before the sun came up, and when the ther-
1 William Hyde (1826) wore a coat in his Freshman year made out of
his mother's wedding gown. (Springfield Republican, July 8, 1850.)
1 Andrews, MS. letter, December 25, 1906.
mometer was down to fifteen below zero it was pretty
tough. . . . Then we had to light the lamp and per-
haps it would not burn because the oil was frozen;
and then try to start a fire; and then perhaps have to
draw water from the well before we could wash our-
selves. One morning . . . the well itself was frozen.
. . . The second bell tolled half an hour after the first.
. . . signified that we had to be in Chapel at prayers.
As soon as I got my clothes on ... I started out. Per-
haps it had been snowing during the night and I
had a quarter of a mile to beat my way through drifts
before I reached the Chapel ... a room which had
absolutely no fire, a room where the thermometer was
down below zero again and again in the morning . . .
no carpets on the floor, no cushions on the seats. . . .
One of the professors would read a chapter in the
Bible and then offer a prayer. ... I have seen the
light go out while he was reading because the oil was
frozen in the lamp. They always provided against
that contingency by keeping one lighted candle on
the reading desk. . . . When the lamp went out the
professor would quietly shut his Bible and offer his
prayer by the light of the candle. . . .
"The recitation rooms of the lower classes were in
the West College. We had about a quarter of a mile
to run to get there and we were always sure to find a
room well-lighted and well-warmed because a fellow
slept in it and was allowed his rent in consideration of
building the fire and keeping it in order. He had a
kind of folding bed against the wall. . . . There we
spent an hour at recitation. Then came breakfast.
. . . From nine to eleven occurred what we called
LOOKING BEFORE AND AFTER
study hours and it meant business. We had to be
in our rooms and attending to the study end of it.
. . . Then came the second recitation. . . . Dinner
at twelve o'clock. . . . From two to four . . . more
study hours. ... At four o'clock we went through our
third recitation. . . . No lectures, these were all reci-
tations. ... At six came supper and after supper our
time was our own." 1
The Williams of 1793-1846 left little to be desired
in the matter of a poor man's college. Yet, improbable
as the transformation might seem, long before the end
of the last century rumors began to be current that
the institution was abandoning its original mission to
"the middling and lower classes" and becoming a
rich man's college. These rumors disturbed President
Carter so much that he devoted considerable space in
his "Report" for 1887-88 to a discussion of them.
"I believe," he said, "that this college, in spite of
the increasing elegance of its surroundings and society-
buildings, is as democratic a college as exists in New
England. ... It is not praise but a misrepresentation
that 'the college has become a place for rich men's
sons.' It is no more a place for rich men's sons than
it was thirty years ago. ... If there is one purpose
running through the entire management of the col-
lege it is to secure to every student, whatever may be
his belongings, all the privileges and inspirations that
the college offers to her sons." 2 What President
Carter said in 1888 may be said with no less emphasis
in 1916. For students who must partly support them-
1 Davis, University of California Chronicle, xiv, no. I.
2 Carter, Report, June, 1888.
selves a small country town has obvious disadvan-
tages. Naturally they drift to the larger communities
where opportunities to earn money are more abun-
dant. But the principal thing is the spirit of the insti-
tution not the architecture of the campus or the
bank account of undergraduates.
College fraternities, which have developed from
"an irresponsible group of boys" 1 into a great and
firmly intrenched system, began at Williams during
the academic year 1832-33. The first project of this
sort an attempt to organize a chapter of the Phi
Beta Kappa Society 2 failed, but in the autumn of
1833 the Kappa Alpha Fraternity and a few months
later the Sigma Phi were established. Whatever the
cause of it may have been jealousy, questionings
in regard to the principle of secrecy, or recent anti-
Masonic demonstrations the innovation awakened
a hostility general and aggressive enough to cause the
formation in November, 1834, of a society, called at
first the Sociable and later the Equitable Fraternity,
with the avowed "purpose of counteracting the evil
tendency of secret organizations." 3 For twenty-nine
years this fraternity fought them and then gave up
the contest as a lost cause. Though the long cam-
paign failed, it was marked by some signal successes.
In 1838 two thirds of all the students in college be-
longed to the anti-secret order and for the next decade
1 Cyclopedia of Education, n, 688.
2 The Williams Chapter was not established until 1864. (Williams
Quarterly, vin, 275, 276.)
5 Records of the Equitable Fraternity.
LOOKING BEFORE AND AFTER
the membership seldom fell below one half of them.
Feeling between the factions often ran high, especially
in the earlier years, and occasionally broke out into
disorder. An instance of the ruder collisions occurred
in 1839. Late at night a company of anti-secret men,
angered by the defection of some of their number,
"assaulted" the quarters of the Kappa Alpha Society
on Water Street. 1 "One of our number," wrote a
participant in the melee, "seized an old Queen Anne
musket and another an ancient sabre and we all sal-
lied forth and drove the gang to the top of Consump-
tion Hill, where we suddenly found ourselves con-
fronted by Albert Hopkins," 2 whose appearance upon
the scene such was his prestige as an athlete with
whom nobody should venture to meddle brought the
noisy affray to an abrupt conclusion. That species of
hostility soon died out, but the warfare of discussion,
of controversial pamphlets, and personal appeals con-
tinued. In November, 1855, two Greek-letter frater-
nities the Kappa Alpha and Alpha Delta Phi
challenged "the Oudens" 3 to a public debate on the
question, "Resolved, that the Anti-Secret Society in
college is uncalled for and inefficient." The Equi-
table Fraternity promptly accepted the proposal and
appointed James Abram Garfield, Andrew Parsons,
and Charles Augustine Stork as its representatives.
Formal articles of procedure were drawn up, but the
affair never got beyond that point. The representa-
tives of the Greek-letter fraternities finally withdrew
1 Kappa Alpha Record, 100.
1 James S. Knowlton (1842), MS. letter.
8 The anti-secret men were generally called "Oudens" at that time.
from the contest which they had proposed, pleading
in apology " want of time to do justice to the subject,"
and reluctance "to make an excitement in college." 1
Under the circumstances they probably decided
wisely. Why should they take the risks of a public
discussion when, with James Abram Garfield leading
the opposition, the prospects of forensic success were
not particularly bright? Besides, the drift of college
sentiment had now become unmistakable and the end
of all organized hostility was not far away. October 6,
1864, the handful of surviving members passed a vote
" declaring the Anti-Secret Society of Williams Col-
lege dissolved." 2 Some twenty years later it was
revived as "a chapter of the Fraternity of Delta
Upsilon" and now lives at peace with its foretime
After the collapse of the Equitable Fraternity there
seems to have been a period of truce, which continued
until the summer of 1868, when George Field Lawton
and other students sent a petition to the Trustees
" asking for the abolition of secret societies in col-
lege." 3 This petition, referred to a committee con-
sisting of the Rev. Dr. John Todd, the Rev. Dr.
Robert Russell Booth, and the Hon. Joseph White,
was never heard of again. George Lawton's petition,
however, must be rated a mild, negligible demonstra-
tion compared with a sermon which John Bascom
preached in the college chapel, one Sunday afternoon,
six weeks later. " I have seen these societies," he said,
"on the inside and on the outside, have enjoyed their
1 Records of the Equitable Fraternity, 1856. 2 Ibid., 1864.
1 Records of the Trustees, July 27, 1868.
LOOKING BEFORE AND AFTER
advantages and marked their evils. ... A society in
college can have no worthy, ostensible end to which
secrecy is a fit, natural and necessary means. . . . You
have nothing which you have the least occasion to
keep secret excepting always mischief. ... If I
could dissolve these fraternities back into their orig-
inal atoms and leave them to rearrange themselves
once more under the free elastic affinities of honest
sentiments, open, manly purposes and an unbiassed
sense of duty, I would no more hesitate to do it, than
I would to break down a monopoly, overturn an aris-
tocracy, subvert a superstition or dissolve any exclu-
sive, tyrannical league." l
After this brief revival the discussion again became
quiescent until the Commencement of 1880. It then
broke out with considerable violence at the meeting
of the alumni. David Dudley Field declared that the
secret societies ought to be " cut up by the roots," and
that, if he were a Trustee, the thing should be done;
Martin Ingham Townshend did not see his way to
anything more radical than to "beg the boys to be
considerate " ; while Erastus Cornelius Benedict (1821)
said he had been assured by four of the most distin-
guished educators in the country that, on the whole,
the influence of fraternities was good. 2
Occasionally the Greek-letter societies have had
troubles of their own which attracted attention
troubles for which neither the Equitable Fraternity,
nor the crusading sermon of John Bascom, nor the
hostile talk of David Dudley Field was responsible.
1 Bascom, Sermon, Williams College Chapel, September 12, 1868.
1 Springfield Republican, July 7, 1880.
Something of this sort happened in 1840. The event
itself was nothing more than an ordinary case of dis-
cipline, but so badly managed that it blew up a
tremendous tempest in college:
The Alpha of the Sigma Phi Society
At a meeting held July 14, 1840, unanimously
adopted the following resolution:
Resolved, That SAMUEL G. WHEELER, JR., in
wilfully violating the rules of our fraternity for-
feits all claim to our fellowship and respect, and
that all connection between us and him is wholly
A second and unofficial edition of the circular soon
appeared. This edition was a reissue of the first with
an addendum signed by seventeen of the twenty-five
members of the class of 1840, four of whom belonged
to the Kappa Alpha Society:
The circulation of such an affair as that upon
the other side of this leaf, without note or com-
ment, where parties and circumstances are un-
known, might bring an unpleasant, and perhaps
injurious, notoriety to the individual whose
name is thus made use of; therefore, we, the
undersigned members of the Senior Class, actu-
ated by a desire to prevent injury in the present
case, entirely uninvited, subscribe to the follow-
From the time S. G. Wheeler, Jr., became a
member of the Sigma Phi Society in this college,
(a year since) he has derived neither pleasure nor
profit, as he asserts, and as some of us have rea-
LOOKING BEFORE AND AFTER
sons of our own to believe, from his connection
with it. For about six months he has been indif-
ferent to it, and its interests. This, and the fact
that he refused to wear his badge at the Adel-
phic Union Exhibition on the fifteenth of July,
are the only alleged grounds for this burlesque
expulsion. We say burlesque, for we who know
him and the Society, regard it as an affair both
creditable to his character and fortunate for his
The man, whom the Sigma Phi Society disfellow-
shipped with such public and overdone emphasis, was
valedictorian of the class of 1841, a successful lawyer
in the City of New York, and a contributor to the
funds of the college. The incident is of importance
chiefly as an illustration of the fierce and sudden
storms that sometimes swept over the college seventy
The bill of indictment against Greek-letter societies
drawn by the Equitable Fraternity and later oppo-
nents revolves mainly about four points they are
often conducted upon an unacademic scale of lux-
ury; create mischievous jealousies; tend to lower the
standard of scholarship, and to destroy the democracy
which ought to prevail in a college community. What-
ever may be said in support of this bill of indictment,
it has been of little practical effect. The obvious
advantages which the societies afford have pushed
aside all arguments of dissent.. These advantages may
be summarized as an attractive college home; the
companionship, and, it may be, especially at the out-
set, the watchful guardianship, of congenial friends;
an entree into the exclusive circles of student life and
the assurance of recognition and welcome whenever
after graduation alumni members return to their Alma
Mater. If one would fully realize the futility of all the
warfare upon them at Williams, it is only necessary
that he should make a tour of the college campus.
When John Bascom delivered his philippic there were
six fraternities, three of which the Sigma Phi, the
Delta Psi, and the Alpha Delta Phi owned inex-
pensive chapter houses. In 1915 the number of these
organizations had increased to fourteen and accord-
ing to Baird's " Manual" for that year the valuation
of their chapter houses was $548,000 an average of
The domiciliary history of the faculty presents some
parallels, but more contrasts to that of the fraterni-
ties. At an early date October n, 1791, fifteen
days before the opening of the Free School the
Trustees voted to build a house for the Preceptor.
Finished in 1794, standing originally on the site of
Hopkins Hall and removed a little to the north of it
in 1888, this house was occupied by President Fitch
and his successors until 1858, when the Corporation,
at the suggestion of Nathan Jackson, who accom-
panied his advice with a gift of six thousand dollars
toward the purchase, bought the " Sloan Place/' a
beautiful colonial mansion, which ever since has been
the President's house. Mark Hopkins occupied it
1 Baird, Manual of American College Fraternities, Eighth Edition,
LOOKING BEFORE AND AFTER
from 1858 until his resignation in 1872, when he
removed to a house built for him by the late William
E. Dodge, of New York, on the site of Grace Hall,
from which it was removed in 1910 to become an
annex of the Williams Inn. These houses and two
others one of them a small, indifferent affair taken
down to make room for the old Alumni Hall Chapel
and the other built for Professor Lewellyn Pratt in
the seventies of the last century comprised the resi-
dential resources of the Corporation for almost a
hundred years. In this long period the professors
made what shift they could for homes some of
them buying such houses as were in the market and
others building new ones. Toward the close of it,
when the teaching staff had outgrown the narrow
tenan table resources of both town and campus, new-
come professors were liable to depressing experiences.
The wife of one of them, visiting Williamstown in the
spring of 18 to look up quarters, wrote: "I have
seldom been so homesick as I was last night. It rained
hard when I stepped off the train and everything
seemed forlorn. . . . The next morning I went to
the Kellogg House Professor called and
was thoroughly polite. I shall always think of him
as a friend in need. He went all about with me. We
looked at a place called, I think, College Hall, the
first story of it being used as a student boarding-house
and the second as a dormitory. I almost cried when I
saw the rooms, they were so desolate and unhomelike.
It did not help much to be told that one of the pro-
fessors had lived in them for a time. Then we visited
a tiny cottage on Street which distressed me
close to barns, cheaply built, and surrounded by
all sorts of debris. When that is cleared up the place
may seem different. The prospect can never be quite
so black again. . . . There is nothing here. The only
homes are those which the professors have built or
Times have changed for the better since the rainy
and forlorn May evening of 18 . In 1916, the college
owned fourteen dwelling-houses, and not less than
thirteen professors and instructors whose names
appear in the catalogue of that year had homes of
Athletic sports at the present day presuppose a
well-equipped gymnasium, which is a comparatively
recent addition to the college campus. There was an
effort both at Harvard and Yale to provide something
of the sort in 1826. Williams followed their example
the next year when President Griffin and Mr. Tutor
Mark Hopkins were appointed a committee to man-
age the business and authorized to expend one hun-
dred and fifty dollars for apparatus. 2
The first Berkshire gymnasium was an out-of-doors
affair and the making of it attracted the attention of
a newspaper man who chanced to be in Williams-
town. "Upon a portion of the college grounds," he
wrote, "I perceived one day a large number of stu-
dents at work, headed by their venerable president,
1 MS. letter.
2 Records of the Trustees, May 8 and September 5, 1827; Records of
the Faculty, September 18, 1827.
LOOKING BEFORE AND AFTER
and upon examination found they were preparing
a gymnasium." l
With what equipment this open-air institution of
1827 may have been furnished is uncertain, but it
must have been meagre, since twenty years after-
wards the inventory of gymnastic apparatus com-
prised only a horizontal bar, a sliding-pole, a ladder
for hand-climbing, and three swings. 2
For a long period it lasted more than half a
century recreation at Williams was some random
diversion, which could readily be taken up and readily
discarded. The talk of the campus revolved about
such academic, classroom questions as who was the
best debater, or the first scholar, or the most promis-
ing writer questions always discussed with interest
and sometimes with passion. Inter-class football ap-
pears to have been the first athletic sport to awaken
any considerable interest, and that presently fell into
such grievous disfavor with the faculty that they
passed a vote prohibiting it. A recent game between
the Junior and Sophomore classes, which degenerated
into a rough-and-tumble fight, provoked this drastic
The old, accidental, miscellaneous athletic era came
to a close in 1859, when Williams played its first inter-
collegiate game a game of baseball at Pittsfield
with Amherst and was defeated. John Bascom,
who attended it, said that the Berkshire players
showed the "alertness and skill" which may be
acquired "under moderate practice," while the vic-
1 American Traveller, September 18, 1827.
1 Porter, Reunion of the Class of 1850, 20, 21.
torious Amherst players "had made a beginning in
those careful rules which have taken the game from
the region of sport and carried it into the region of
exact and laborious discipline." 1 The following year
and on the 4th of July the teams of these colleges met
at Westfield for a second contest, which resulted in
another Amherst victory. One might naturally sup-
pose that the Williams men would have been eager to
avenge the defeat of the preceding season, but they
neglected even "the moderate practice" that was in
evidence at Pittsfield. "Not until eight days before
the match," wrote a local chronicler, "were the play-
ers selected, and not until the Saturday before the
fourth did they all meet together . . . and not even
then, for their captain was absent from college." 2 A
period of apathy and inaction followed a period
lasting until July 29, 1864, when Williams defeated
Harvard at Worcester, the score being nine to twelve
in favor of the Berkshire men.
No formal discussion of questions which the con-
quests of athletic sports in the college world have
raised will be undertaken. It is only necessary to say
that these sports are a modern phase of traits and
tendencies as old as the human race. That great ad-
vantages attend them is plain enough. They afford
vent for the enthusiasms of youth, promote physical
vigor, enforce rigorous discipline, stimulate college
spirit and the sense of institutional unity. The evils
1 Bascom, Williams Alumni Review, October, 1910, p. 13. The game
at Pittsfield seems to have been the first instance of inter-collegiate
baseball. Perhaps it should be said that this game and the one at
Westfield were the earlier "Massachusetts" type of it.
2 Williams Quarterly, July, 1860.
LOOKING BEFORE AND AFTER
accompanying them arise partly from their limited
scope, since for the great majority of students they
make little provision beyond a series of spectacular
exhibitions in which a few highly trained athletes
compete, and partly from the easy liability of college
communities to forget that all their "outside activi-
ties" should be subordinated "to the use and mastery
of mental power."
To mitigate the first of these evils a somewhat
elaborate scheme of intra-mural athletic sports has
been undertaken at Williams and promises well.
Already they occupy a prominent place in the life of
the college and more students participate in them
each year. 1
In regard to the second class of evils the menace
of athletic sports to the intellectual work of the col-
lege the administration has announced its attitude
and policy in unmistakable terms. " If the trustees
and faculty," said President Garfield in his " Report"
for 1914, " . . . insist that the college must be first and
always an educational institution and if on the other
hand undergraduates place social and athletic inter-
ests first . . . there is presented an issue which sooner
or later must be fought out and for which there can
be no compromise. . . . Now it is clearly perceived,
and I am convinced that the undergraduates in large
proportion believe, that Williams is and must con-
tinue to be primarily an institution devoted to learn-
One interesting event in the athletic history was
the adoption of college colors. That event happened
1 Garfield, Report, June, 1915. * Ibid., 1914, p. 7.
in 1865 when the team was leaving for Cambridge to
play the last game in a series with Harvard. Two
young ladies who were spending the summer in town,
learning that Williams had no college colors, hastily
purchased some purple ribbon, made small rosettes
of it, pinned one of them on each member of the team,
and said, "Let this royal purple be the Williams col-
ors and may it bring you victory." 1 Harvard was
Of extinct college customs there is a considerable
and not uninteresting list Chip Day, Gravel Day,
Chestnut Day, May Day, the Burial of Euclid, the
Freshman Wake, the Shirt Tail Parade, and the Cane
Contest. These customs, with the exception of the
last three, which the faculty summarily suppressed,
made unnoticed exits. Some of them rivalled the col-
lege itself in antiquity Chip Day, for instance, de-
voted to removing the debris that accumulated about
the dormitories during the winter months, 2 and
Gravel Day set apart for mending the "slimy" side-
walks which offended the fastidious author of "Dis-
criptio Gulielmensis." A lively description of the
1832 Chip Day appeared in the "Adelphi" and the
conjecture that it may have been written by William
Lowndes Yancey probably does not go astray: "At
length it came, and a beautiful one it was. The
laughing sun shone brightly and not a cloud darkened
1 E. M. Jerome (1866), Alumni Review, April, 1910. Williams
Quarterly, August, 1865.
* " May I4th . The scholars clean the ground around college
thoroughly." (Thomas Robbins, Diary, I, 9.)
LOOKING BEFORE AND AFTER
the azure concave. . . . 'Hurrah! hurrah!' echoed
through the halls. 'We have the day, hurrah, hurrah!'
The big, disfiguring piles of rubbish were quickly re-
moved. A procession followed in which the late chip-
men became a martial troop, brooms and brushes
served as flagstaff's, and sheets and handkerchiefs as
floating pennons. Our quiet, beautiful town of the
vale has not seen so imposing a sight this many a
These practical, unromantic customs are quite in
contrast with others, like the Burial of Euclid and
the Freshmen Wake, which belong to a later time.
In general they disappeared after a brief and often
troubled existence. They were the occasion of spec-
tacular parades and doggerel of high and low degree.
For example, at their burial of Euclid the class of 1852
sang this unlamenting ode:
"Euclid is dead, joyful are we.
Come let us sing, be merry and free.
He 's gone at last, his reign is o'er,
Then a hy ! ha ! ha ! He '11 bore us no more.
Euclid was borus,
And he was dry,
He used to floor us,
He ought to die."
The list of abandoned college functions, patriotic,
social, or academic, which might not be classified, per-
haps, as college customs, is a considerable one, em-
bracing Fourth of July celebrations, Junior, Senior,
and Adelphic Union Exhibitions, and anniversaries of
temperance and anti-slavery societies.
1 Adelphi, April 26, 1832.
In the earlier Fourth of July celebrations college
and town united. Later the Sophomore class became
responsible for a proper observance of the day, and
their programme generally comprised the reading of
the Declaration of Independence, an oration on some
appropriate subject, and one or two original odes
which were sung by the students. The first of the
earlier celebrations seems to have been in 1795 and
the following account of it appeared in the " Vermont
"At twelve o'clock a battalion of infantry and a
company of cavalry, with a numerous body of citizens
and members of college, walked in procession from
the green of East College to the meeting-house. A
well-adapted address to heaven was made by the
Rev. President Fitch and an elegant and patriotic
oration delivered by Mr. Tutor Dunbar, which was
received with great applause by the audience." Then
followed a dinner at which fifteen "benevolent and
patriotic toasts" were drunk, the series concluding
with the sentiment "Williams College, may it long
continue to be the seat of the liberal arts and sciences,
of religion and virtue." l
The last and most elaborate of these joint celebra-
tions, which had come to include anniversaries of
local temperance and anti-slavery societies, was held
in 1829. Not less than three committees participated
in the preliminaries one composed of nine citizens,
another of six Sophomores, and a third of six repre-
sentatives of the college at large and they prepared
an ample programme :
1 Vermont Gazette, July 10, 1795.
LOOKING BEFORE AND AFTER
The fifty-third anniversary of our National Independ-
ence will be celebrated in an appropriate manner at the
North Village in Williamstown on the 4th of July inst.
The procession will form in front of Major Hickox's
Hotel precisely at half past nine A.M. under the direc-
tion of Major A. Hanson, Marshal, and Mr. S. Johnson,
Assistant Marshal. The procession will move to the
New Chapel [Griffin Hall] where the usual Fourth of
July oration from the Sophomore class will be delivered
by Mr. William Rankin, Jr. (1831). The procession will
reform in front of the Chapel at half past ten and pro-
ceed to the Meeting House where an Oration will be
delivered by Daniel N. Dewey, Esq., after which an
address will be delivered before The ["Old Constitution "]
Temperance Society by Mr. Lowell Smith (1829) of
A dinner will be provided by Major Hickox.
After the dinner the procession will reform in front of
the hotel and proceed as before to the New Chapel where
an Oration will be pronounced by Mr. Simeon H. Cal-
houn  which will be followed by an address by Mr.
G. B. Kellogg  to the Anti-Slavery Society of
Williams College. The services of the day will close by
an Address to The [New] Temperance Society in Williams
College by Mr. S. B. Morley .
The inhabitants of adjacent towns are respectfully
invited to join in the celebration. Seats will be particu-
larly reserved for the ladies and a full band of music will
attend on the occasion. 1
Since three temperance organizations the col-
lege furnishing two of them and the village one
took part in the anniversary, the dinner committee
allowed, and very properly, "no other liquor than
1 American Advocate, July I, 1829.
cider and water ... on the table." The dinner com-
mittee had reason to be gratified with the results of
their prohibitory policy. "Only one man was seen
intoxicated and he came from a distance to show that
he was opposed to temperance societies. Some time
before sunset the people repaired to their own homes
and there was no more appearance of a celebration in
our streets at 7 o'clock than there is on the Sabbath
two hours after meeting/' l
At their annual meeting in 1910 the alumni of the
college sent the Sophomore orator of 1829, William
Rankin, an illuminated scroll containing their con-
gratulations on his one hundredth birthday. 2 He
died in 1912 the oldest college graduate in the
With the exception of Commencement none of the
surviving academic functions have any considerable
antiquity. The oldest of them the Jackson Festi-
val, a birthday celebration in honor of the founder
was established in i857, 3 by Nathan Jackson, donor
of the hall which bore his name. In the early years
this festival consisted of a supper at the village hotel,
after which there were speeches by members of the
faculty and representatives of the four college classes.
Occasionally something happened that gave unex-
pected variety to the programme. An event of this
kind occurred at the Festival of 1858. The exercises
proceeded smoothly and according to schedule until
the spokesman for the Senior class was half through
his address when he fell to the floor in a dead swoon.
*. American Advocate, July 8, 1829. 2 Gulielmensian, 1914, p. 30.
3 Williams Quarterly, March, 1857, p. 287.
LOOKING BEFORE AND AFTER
His sudden collapse naturally created a good deal of
confusion. "With the presence of mind usually dis-
played on such occasions a crowd was formed which
made it almost impossible for a well man to breathe.
One Sophomore fainted and a good many more would
have made less trouble if they had fainted too. . . .
Our friend recovered sufficiently to leave the room
his temper unruffled ... by the novel proceedings "
and the hot coffee " thrown in his face by some enthu-
siastic person who had joined in the general effort to
revive him." l
While Class Day, established in 1861, continues to
be very much what it was at first, great changes and
transformations appear in the processes of Commence-
ment. On the forenoon of the first Wednesday,
September 2, 1795, a slender procession of academy
boys, college students, instructors, Trustees, and vis-
itors formed at West College and marched to the
"scandalous" village meeting-house at the head of
Main Street, where the graduating exercises were
held. In 1798 a new meeting-house, built on the site
of the old one, was finished and in it sixty-eight suc-
cessive Commencements were held. From almost
unnoticed beginnings they came to be a sort of
Northern Berkshire gala occasion. In the third dec-
ade of the last century it is said that farmers laid
their plans " to finish haying " in time to attend them. 2
These farmers and their friends were out in force, for
example, at the Commencement of 1837 the first
in the administration of Mark Hopkins. Edward
1 Williams Quarterly, June, 1858.
* Danforth, Boyhood Reminiscences, 42.
Everett, Governor of Massachusetts, delivered an
oration before the Adelphic Union on that occasion.
A chief magistrate of the State had never been in
attendance before and his presence naturally awak-
ened general interest throughout the neighborhood.
Entertained by President Hopkins at a social party
the evening preceding Commencement, the Governor
discovered that "half of the country had come in,"
and that the elaborate, scholastic oration prepared
for the occasion would be out of place. Accordingly
it was supplanted by, or at least transformed into, an
address on the "' Relations of Frontier Towns to the
History of the World/ ... As the assembly paraded
out of the church Clifford [a member of the Governor's
staff] met in the porch one of the fine old Berkshire
sachems, a gentleman of position and cultivation. . . .
Clifford said to him, 'And how do you like our
Governor?' 'Like him? I am only thinking what a
fool I am. I talked to him an hour at the President's
party, and by Jove I was simply telling him things he
knew better than I do.' The simple truth was that
. . . the Governor had been pumping the Berkshire
man for local detail which the next morning had been
reflected on the Berkshire audience." l
Nathaniel Hawthorne, happening to be in North
Adams during the next anniversary, drove over to
Williamstown and found the village thronged with
people from the vicinity, who came thither in all
1 Hale, Memories of a Hundred Years, n, 14-16. Governor Everett
closed his address with a tribute to Ephraim Williams that " drew tears
from many eyes." (New York Observer, August 26, 1837.) The published
oration seems to be the original version not the extemporized and
crammed version which astonished the old Berkshire sachem.
LOOKING BEFORE AND AFTER
kinds of vehicles buggies, barouches, and chaises.
In the open spaces back of the big white meeting-
house where the orthodox exercises of the day were
proceeding with a programme of twenty-two orations,
he found another and larger audience listening to
the unconventional eloquence of pedlers, hucksters,
hawkers, and venders of divers sorts. One of them,
who sold his wares at auction, amused Hawthorne so
much by his lively tongue and original elocution
"a queer, humorous recitative" that he could have
stood and listened to him all day. Another man in the
crowd caught his attention "a round-shouldered,
hulky, ill-hung devil" by the name of Randall, who
was the better or worse for liquor and made no little
disturbance. Indeed, the out-of-doors attractions
were so great that apparently Hawthorne did not go
inside the church. This old order has changed. Gone
are the booths, the hucksters, the auctioneers, and the
" ill-hung devils." If Nathaniel Hawthorne could
have attended the Commencement of 1916, held in
the splendid audience room of Grace Hall and with
elaborate academic ceremonial, he would have found
himself in a Williamstown world which had not been
discovered in 1838.
The miscellaneous crowd that attracted Hawthorne
was mostly composed of relative strangers drawn to
the campus for the day. But other singular folk there
were, not less interesting, who had a more permanent
connection with it and contributed a distinct touch
of local color. These now extinct folk may properly
be called "characters," though of a type unknown to
Theophrastus or Sir Thomas Overbury. First in the
brief list is Thomas Cox, "tall, lank, withered," 1
who entered upon his career as " professor of dust and
ashes" in 1817 and continued it half a century. A
simple, kindly, unpretending man, content and faith-
ful in his humble duties, he appealed to the affections
rather than to the laughter of Williams students.
Another "character" was an old negro with a
phenomenally thick skull. His specialty lay in bunt-
ing boards, planks, or barrels for a small considera-
tion. Hence he became known as "Abe Bunter,"
though his real name was something else. Probably
no more formidable battering-ram of this species could
be found anywhere. A queer, outre, barbaric figure,
with his one tremendous "talent," he haunted the
campus for a long series of years.
The most distinguished member of this vanished
community was "Bill" Pratt, "the saw-buck phi-
losopher." His fame grew out of the singular oratory
which on occasion lent variety to the prosaic routine
of his customary vocation sawing wood and black-
ing stoves. This oratory was a jargon of wild, reso-
nant, elementary nonsense, streaked with occasional
shrewdness of observation and accentuated here and
there by a curious yell of his own invention. "Bill"
won a place, not only in the ephemeral talk of the
campus, but in the pages of the "Quarterly" and
the "Proceedings" of Alumni Associations. What is
more, two graduates John Sheridan Zelie (1887)
and Carroll Perry (1890) wrote a book about him. 2
1 Benjamin, Life and Adventures of a Free Lance, 148.
2 " A new edition with new matter," edited by Talcott Miner Banks
(1890), was published in 1915. See Appendix IX.
LOOKING BEFORE AND AFTER
Williams undergraduate periodicals began with the
"Adelphi," a semi-monthly "published by Ridley
Bannister nearly opposite . . . West College," the
first number appearing August 18, 1831, and the
last July 9, 1832. It contained six pages of reading
matter four of them devoted to original essays and
selections from various authors, and the remainder to
poetry and news items. Gibbon's " Decline and Fall
of Rome/' the philosophy of novel-reading, "Alas,
Poor Yorick," Bulwer's works, the poems of Whittier,
Willis, Bryant, Henry Kirke White, and Sir Walter
Scott are some of the topics discussed in the original
essays. The young men who undertook this venture
in college journalism William Lowndes Yancey is
said to have been a leading spirit among them did
their work surprisingly well, whether we consider it
from the standpoint of style or substance.
Twelve years passed before the "Adelphi" had a
successor. In July, 1844, the publication of the
"Williams Monthly Miscellany" was begun with an
accompaniment of unnecessary apologies. "If our
productions are crude," said the editors, "so the
authors are in a measure (large or small)." x This ven-
ture survived scarcely longer than its predecessor.
It suspended publication after one number of the
second volume had been issued.
A third periodical, the "Williams Quarterly," con-
ducted by an editorial board of five Seniors, and con-
taining about a hundred pages of reading matter,
1 Williams Miscellany, i, 2.
appeared in 1853, and came to an end in 1872. Digni-
fied, serious, inclining perhaps to sacrifice form to
substance, yet occasionally brilliant, the old " Quar-
terly" was a worthy literary exponent of the last half
of the Mark Hopkins era. 1
Also in 1853 the Sophomore class undertook the
publication of an annual, the " Williams College
Index." Besides reproducing the official catalogue
it contained considerable miscellaneous information,
such as the programmes of Adelphic Union Exhibi-
tions and the names of students who belonged to the
debating societies, the fraternities, and other organi-
zations. In 1857 the name of the annual was changed
to the "Gulielmensian," and the Junior class as-
sumed the responsibilities of publication. Little
change in its general character and make-up occurred
until 1871 when illustrations began to appear. Then
followed what is known in the slang of the campus as
" grinds." While the editors might solemnly announce
that it would be " supremely ridiculous to take offence
at anything in these pages," 2 the professors and stu-
dents who happened to have been " roasted " were apt
to take a different view of the subject. In 1910 this
feature of the annual was definitely abandoned, since,
in the judgment of the editors, a recently established
monthly, the "Purple Cow," had "proved itself well
able to fill the place of the so-called Gull humor. . . .
We yield our copyright on laughter."
The list of subsequent papers and magazines com-
prises the " Vidette," 1867-75, published every other
1 McClure, American College Journalism, 40.
- 2 Gulielmensian, xxi, 5.
LOOKING BEFORE AND AFTER
week and devoted mainly to college news; the "Wil-
liams Review," 1870-74, which appeared once in
three weeks and gave considerable space to essays and
discussions ; the "Athenaeum," 1874-85, a monthly ; the
"Argo," 1882-85, a fortnightly; and the "Weekly/ 1
1887-1904. Current publications in 1916 were the
"Literary Monthly," 1885-; the "Record," 1904-, a
semi- weekly which became a tri- weekly in 1912; the
"Purple Cow," 1907-, a monthly; and the "Williams
Alumni Review," 1909-, issued five times a year.
It is not proposed "to pick and choose for com-
mendation" among these undergraduate publica-
tions. They are, and in the nature of the case must
be, essentially tentative and ephemeral. Some of the
verse, however, is distinctly above the average. The
editors of "A Williams Anthology," published in
1910, rated it for the last six years "as second to none
... in the inter-collegiate press." An earlier observer,
"a well-known historian and critic of literature," did
not hesitate to say that Williams and Dartmouth
were then writing better verse than Oxford and
Renan thought it was the scenic grandeur of Mount
Sinai that converted "the Jewish people from Egyp-
tian idolaters to reverent monotheists." 2 In the pres-
1 Gulielmensian, xxxix, 24 (1895). Alfred Noyes made a similar
claim twenty years later for undergraduate verse at Princeton. (The
Nation, New York, April 13, 1916.) Possibly Gilbert Murray may be
right in saying that a spirit of satiety has made the English univer-
sities "an evil seed-ground for poetry." (Oxford Poetry, 1910-13, xx.)
2 G. Stanley Hall (1867), Gulielmensian, XLI, 7.
ent era, when the drift of educational theories seems
to be against the country and in favor of the town as
the seat of a college, the question is at least pertinent
What has the landscape of Northern Berkshire
done for Williams students? It should be remembered
in considering this question that there was no general
recognition of the "physical charm" of the region
until a comparatively recent period. The limitations,
struggles, and hardships of pioneer life put the
aesthetic sensibilities out of tune. Did the founder
appreciate the glories of mountain and valley in West
Township? We cannot tell, but we know that he pos-
sessed a copy of La Pluche's "Nature Displayed," in
seven volumes. These volumes are a series of dia-
logues on natural history, on forests, meadows,
pastures, mountains, rivers, and a great variety of
kindred subjects, and the fact that he had them is
So far as we can learn from the scanty remains
of their prose and verse from "The Fatal Error" of
Aaron Leland and the "Descriptio Gulielmopolis "
of William Cullen Bryant the earlier generations of
students took little note of the aesthetic features of
their environment. Nor does any trace of them ap-
pear in the controversy over the question of removing
the institution to Northampton. And the enthusiasm
awakened by the lectures of Amos Eaton expended
itself upon the botany and geology of the region, and
without touching the canons of landscape beauty.
The Rev. Dr. Samuel Hanson Cox, in a letter to
the " New York Evangelist," attributed the aesthetic
awakening, at least so far as college circles were con-
LOOKING BEFORE AND AFTER
cerned, to the influence of President Griffin. "His
mind," said the former, "had much of native poetry
as well as eloquence," and he it was who discovered
for the people of Williamstown "the picturesque and
classic glories of their gorgeous valley, with its mighty
mountains . . . and all their young family of little
hills, that inspire the scholar, wake the poet and al-
most educate the Freshman and the Sophomore half
way to his diploma. . . . Griffin set that orb of senti-
ment in motion." 1 To him the Williamstown land-
scape was a constant and intense delight. A favor-
ite horseback trip of his lay up Main Street, past
the Congregational Meeting-House, across Hemlock
Brook, and half a mile westward. "Well do I remem-
ber," Judge Keyes Danforth relates in his "Reminis-
cences," "his black horse with a white stripe in the
face. He used to ride up to the home of my boyhood
and say, ' Sonny, please open that gate so that I can
ride to the top of the hill and get the view.' " 2 And
this view from the top of the hill, which embraced the
mountain ranges from Greylock to the Dome and the
picturesque valley they enclose, with the village of
Williamstown in the foreground and glimpses of "the
peaceful river ' ' and shadowy towns beyond, he thought
the most beautiful in the world.
This nature cult of the third administration had
two definite, tangible consequences. One of them was
Mountain Day, the only existing college custom of
any considerable antiquity. When the new holiday
began is uncertain, but it must have been previous to
1 The Evangelist, August 14, 1856.
1 Danforth, Boyhood Reminiscences, 168.
1827, since in President Griffin's manuscript ''Journal
Containing the Code of Common Law" for that year
the following memorandum appears: "About the
24th of June a day to go upon the mountain."
Another consequence was the construction, on the
1 2th of May, 1830, of a bridle path to the top of
Greylock. A correspondent sent an account of the
expedition to the "American Advocate":
"About 5 o'clock in the morning there was a gen-
eral mustering of all who felt a disposition to assist in
the accomplishment of what some were pleased to
call 'a visionary scheme.' The students of the college,
by leave of the faculty, equipped themselves with . . .
axes, bush-hooks, crow-bars, hoes and dinner bas-
kets. . . . The company, to the number at least of a
hundred, the students forming a majority, arrived at
9 o'clock at Mr. Bacon's, a short distance south of
what is called the 'Hopper.' ... All hands [then] set
about the work with determined vigor. Some plied
the axe, felling the larger timber such as could not
be well avoided without changing too much the direc-
tion of the route others assisted in grubbing up
the underbrush &c and at about 1 1 o'clock the whole
company arrived at ... the pinnacle of Saddle Moun-
tain [Greylock], having cut a road through the woods
three miles in length and passable for travellers on
horseback. ... By the way 't was not a little pleasing
to witness the labors of the students, as they sweat
and tugged at the huge trunks of trees, some com-
plaining of blistered hands, others of torn pantaloons
and scratched shins ... as they clambered along
through the thicket, over the scraggy hemlocks blown
LOOKING BEFORE AND AFTER
down by the wind perhaps half a century ago. . . .
The party commenced building an observatory on the
pinnacle with the base about twenty-five feet square,
and before leaving they had raised it twelve feet. It is
contemplated to carry it forty or fifty feet higher." l
The observatory was completed and dedicated
May 26, when "about one hundred citizens of this
town visited the summit of Saddle Mountain*' and
Dr. Henry Lyman Sabin delivered "a spirited and
eloquent address.'* 2 - - ra *-
Traces of the new landscape gospel also began to
appear in publications which had no official connec-
tion with the college. During the summer of 1829 " A
History of the County of Berkshire by Gentlemen of
the County Clergymen and Laymen," was published
under the editorial supervision of the Rev. Dr. David
Dudley Field, of Stockbridge. Among these "Gentle-
men," twenty-four in number, were two members of
the faculty. Ebenezer Kellogg wrote the sketch of
Williamstown, painstaking and valuable, but unre-
sponsive to the beauty of its situation. Chester Dewey
contributed "A General View of the County," which
comprises one hundred and ninety-seven of the four
hundred and sixty-eight pages in the book. As one
might expect, special attention is paid to natural his-
tory in his " View," - forty- two pages of it being de-
voted to a catalogue of plants, but the attractions
of the landscape are not wholly neglected. Three other
contributors the editor, the Rev. Edwin Dwight,
of Richmond, and the Rev. Dr. Shepard, of Lenox
had something pleasant to say about the scenery.
1 American Advocate, May 19, 1830. * Ibid., June 2, 1830.
It is not to be supposed that Edward Dorr Griffin,
whose residence at Williamstown began in 1821, had
no predecessors in appreciation of Berkshire scenery.
One of the earliest among them was a young lady
Miss Eliza S. Morton, afterwards Mrs. Josiah Quincy
who visited Madam Dwight 1 at Stockbridge in
1786. "When, on the morning after our arrival," she
wrote, "the window-shutters were opened, the Val-
ley of the Housatonic . . . seemed to my enchanted
vision like a fairy-land. I exclaimed, 'O Madam
Dwight ! it looks like the Happy Valley of Abyssinia.
There is the river and there are the mountains on
every side. Why did you never tell me of this beauti-
ful view/ My friend seemed surprised at my enthu-
The itinerary of President Timothy Dwight's
famous vacation " Travels " included Williamstown.
Accompanied by Ebenezer Fitch and Israel Jones, a
Trustee of the college, he made the ascent of Grey-
lock "Tuesday October fifteenth/' 1799. "When I
proposed this ride ... I was astonished to learn that
the only person here who had been known to ascend
this mountain was Mr. [Daniel] Nfoble] . . . and that
even he had ascended it to accompany a stranger . . .
whose curiosity had led him to undertake the enter-
1 Madam Dwight, nee Abigail Williams, married Joseph Dwight after
the death of her first husband, Rev. John Sergeant. In 1 786 she was ' ' up-
wards of sixty years of age, tall and erect, dignified, precise in manner,
yet benevolent and pleasing. Her dress of rich silk, a high-crowned cap
with plaited border and a watch ... all marked the gentlewoman and
inspired respect. She was a new study to me and realized my ideas of
Mrs. Shirley in Sir Charles Grandison." (Quoted in Life and Letters of
Catharine M. Sedgwick, 16.)
2 Memoir of Eliza S. M. Quincy, 47.
LOOKING BEFORE AND AFTER
prise. " The trip was accomplished without much
difficulty. On the summit the excursionists found a
growth of trees so thick and tall that it completely
shut out the prospect. If they were to get a view of
the landscape, nothing remained for them "but to
climb to their tops" -a feat which the two college
Presidents and the college Trustee successfully ac-
complished. "The view," in the words of President
Dwight, "is immense and of amazing grandeur. . . .
The village of Williamstown shrunk to the size of a
farm ; and its houses, churches and colleges appeared
like the habitations of martins and wrens." l
Three years afterward another traveller, the Rev.
John Taylor, set out from Deerfield on a horseback
trip to Central New York. "When I came to ye west
side of ye [Hoosac] mountain," he tells us in his diary,
" I found before I began to descend the most sublime
prospect I had ever seen. The high mountains . . .
the scattered fields upon those mountains the
blooming appearance of vegetation and the valleys
below filled with houses ... sunk so low as to be
almost invisible . . . led me into a train of elevated
and agreeable reflections." 2
Among the undergraduates of his time President
Griffin had two enthusiastic disciples. One of them
was Albert Hopkins. A touching illustration of his
sympathy and communion with the changeful moods
of earth and sky is found in a letter which he wrote
January 2, 1866, giving an account of the interment
at Williamstown of the remains of his son killed in the
1 Dwight, Travels, m, 241, 242, 244, 245.
2 Documentary History of the State of New York, in, 684.
Civil War. "The night before there was every appear-
ance of a heavy . . . storm. But Sabbath morning it
was calm. As I went to church I noticed that the sun
rested on the Vermont mountains . . . though with a
mellowed light as though a veil had been thrown over
them. In the after part of the day the open sky
had spread southward so that the interment took
place when the air was as mild and serene as spring,
just as the last sun of the year was sinking toward the
The other disciple, David Dudley Field, was
scarcely less sensitive to the moods and messages of
the Berkshire Hills. " I shall never cease to congratu-
late myself," he said in an oration before the Adelphic
Union on the fiftieth anniversary of his graduation,
"that my sense of beauty was trained within the
circle of these mountains; that the evening light
gilded for my eyes the sides of Greylock; that I saw
at noon the sun standing over this endless variety of
wood, meadow and stream; that the evening twilight
heightened while it softened the beauty of the noon;
and that, when I looked from my window into the
moonlight it lay like a transparent, celestial robe upon
the sleeping valley and the waking hills." 2
During the fourth and fifth decades of the last cen-
tury began what may be called the second period of
nature-worship at Williams. Among the disciples of
the cult in that period were Paul Ansel Chadbourne,
John Bascom, David Coit Scudder, James Abram
Garfield, Cyrus Morris Dodd, Washington Gladden,
1 Prentiss, Life and Letters of Elizabeth Prentiss, 229.
8 Field, Speeches, Arguments, and Miscellaneous Papers, II, 302.
LOOKING BEFORE AND AFTER
and George Lansing Raymond. We can reproduce in
these pages the words of only two or three of these
enthusiasts. "When I went to college/ 1 said John
Bascom, "I met for the first time with mountain
scenery and it has yielded to me ... the most skil-
fully concocted cup of physical and spiritual pleasures
that I have anywhere found in life." 1
Washington Gladden wrote for the " Williams
Weekly" in 1893 an account of the beginning of his
acquaintance with the Berkshire landscape:
"I shall never forget that evening when I first
entered Williamstown, riding on the top of the North
Adams stage. The September rains had been abun-
dant and the meadows and slopes were at their green-
est; the atmosphere was as nearly transparent as we
are apt to see it; the sun was just making behind
the Taconics, and the shadows were creeping up the
slopes of Williams and Prospect; as we paused on
the little hill beyond Blackinton the outlines of the
Saddle were defined against a sky as rich and deep as
ever looked down on Naples or Palermo. ... To a
boy who had seen few mountains that hour was a
This revelation was at the beginning of Washington
Gladden's college course. Near the close of it another
flashed upon him. "One winter morning walking
down Bee Hill," he said, " the lilt of the chorus of 'The
Mountains' came to me. I had a little music paper in
my room in the village and on my arrival I wrote
down the notes and cast about for words to fit them
1 Things Learned by Living, 44, 45.
* Williams Weekly, Centennial Number, 1893.
and the refrain 'The Mountains, the Mountains' sug-
gested itself. I wrote the melody of the stanza next
and fitted the words to it: 1
"The mountains, the mountains! we greet them with a song!
Whose echoes, rebounding their woodland heights along,
Shall mingle with anthems that winds and fountains sing,
Till hill and valley gaily, gaily ring."
Though Williams, unlike the pre-Revolutionary
colleges of New England, had a secular origin, it is
not to be supposed that the first President and the
first Trustees were out of sympathy with current the-
ories about the place of theology in any properly con-
stituted scheme of collegiate education. On the con-
trary, they looked upon it as a matter of the gravest
importance. A controversy which broke out in the
Board at the meeting, September 7, 1796, over the
retention of the Rev. Dr. Samuel Hopkins' " System
of Doctrine" as a textbook, would seem to leave no
doubt on the point. This textbook a " new school "
treatise of remarkable intellectual vigor and independ-
ence, published in 1793 the Trustees, by a vote of
nine to six, "expunged," and put in its place the more
conservative and orthodox "Lectures" of Philip
Doddridge. The nine opponents of the "System"
were all laymen and the six defenders all clergymen.
Two years later the latter renewed the fight and
failed again. "The corporation had a hard struggle,"
wrote Thomas Robbins in his diary September 7,
1798, "to reintroduce Dr. Hopkins' system as 2,
1 Gladden, Recollections, 81.
1 / r
tnutt^ <JL*JL t
LOOKING BEFORE AND AFTER
classic, but could not do it." 1 President Fitch was
more successful with another theological textbook
Vincent on the Catechism which he adopted from
the Yale curriculum, and it was retained in the
course of study until 1886, a period of ninety-three
years. No other textbook at Williams has approached
it in longevity. Some chapter of it furnished the topic
for the recitations of the Senior class on Saturday
mornings. Whatever may have been the character of
these recitations in the earlier periods, during the
fifty years from 1836 to 1886, when Mark Hopkins
conducted them, they ranged over wide fields of in-
quiry and were surpassed in interest by no other
classroom exercises of the college year. A Department
of Religion which offers courses in its history and
philosophy succeeded these Saturday morning con-
Contrary to what one might expect, the college
church has been a small factor relatively in the reli-
gious history of the institution. It was organized in
June, 1834, with fifteen members Mark and Al-
bert Hopkins, professors; Simeon H. Calhoun, a tutor,
and twelve undergraduates. The induction of the first
pastor, Mark Hopkins, into office took place immedi-
ately after the inauguration in 1836, and his term of
service continued until 1883, when he was followed by
John Henry Denison (1862), who retired in 1889.
Since that time the office has been vacant, different
preachers occupying the pulpit each successive Sab-
1 Robbins, Diary, i, 64. This controversy has a certain local color,
as Dr. Hopkins was pastor of the Congregational Church at Great
Harrington for twenty-six years, and Dr. Stephen West, Vice-President
of the college from 1793 to 1812, wrote his life.
bath. For the year 1915-16 they were thirty-four in
number. Attendance of all students is required at
religious exercises Sunday forenoon and evening and
at morning prayers every weekday. A few years ago
considerable opposition to this compulsory policy
sprang up and a lively controversy followed, but the
general sentiment of undergraduates as well as of
alumni was then found to be hostile to any change.
While the newer type of piety at Williams may be
less definitely theological than the older, it is quite
as sincere and efficient. The work of the Christian
Association, successor to all the earlier religious and
theological societies, comprises a Sunday evening serv-
ice, Bible and mission study, neighborhood schools,
boys* clubs and scout work, educational classes, and
an employment bureau. 1
Aside from a brief and incidental alliance with the
Berkshire Medical School, the alliance began in
1823 and came to an end in 1837, Williams has
been a detached college. That somewhat is gained by
isolation by standing apart from the university
may be pretty confidently affirmed. The university
aims to make scholars, pursues knowledge as an end,
and endeavors to enlarge its boundaries; while the
liberal college finds its mission in the field of general
mental development, and proceeds upon the theory
that as a consequence of this development students
will secure not only a larger, richer intellectual life,
but also ampler capacity for practical service. Differ-
ences in purpose and mission involve differences in
type and method of teaching. Professors, qualified
1 Report of the Williams Christian Association, 1915-16.
LOOKING BEFORE AND AFTER
to undertake the specialization and research of uni-
versity work, are often, perhaps commonly, useless
in undergraduate classrooms, where breadth, mag-
netism, imagination, gifts of exposition and interpre-
tation are of the first importance.
As to the future of the liberal college, when one
considers the present bias toward commercialism,
and the passion for quick returns, possibly he may
hesitate to say that it is secure. Yet it is hardly con-
ceivable that any coming civilization will venture to
risk the consequences of abandoning those human-
istic educational institutions which take the things of
the mind the assimilation of learning into culture
to be their province.
INVENTORY OF YE LATE EPH M WILLIAMS CHEST TAKEN AT
LAKE GEORGE SEPT 15 1755 &c. YE CHEST THEN SENT
2 pair of striped Linnen Trowsers
2 spotted Woolen vests
I wigg Box & comb & I wigg
I French Bearskin coat white Mettal Buttons
1 broad cloth coat yellow Mettal Buttons
5 check'd shirts
2 white Linnen Do
3 Diaper Napkins
A new Roman History by Quest n & Answers
Bland's Military Discipline
4 Vols of Cato's Letters
2 Vols of Ye Inpend* Whigg
2 red Woosted Caps
Razors & Apparatus &c.
2 Linnen Caps
2 pair Leather Stockings
2 " Yarn Do
4 " Woosted
i " Linnen
I pair Indian Shoes Beaded
3 plain Towels
3 Silk Handkerchiefs
I pair Flannel Holsters
i Beaded Belt
I pair Leather Breeches Silver Buttons
I " Black knit Do
i Sword Belt
Ivory Mem d Book Silver Leaves
I Silver Spoon & Tea Do mark d M. P.
I Psalm Book I Testament
Silk purse I johanns & 3 dollars 40 coppers not sent
I pen knife court & city register not sent
I pair shoe buckles silver pair Knee Do
I " White Metal shoe Do & Knee Do
i Japan d Snuff Box l
Colonel Williams had a suit of "scarlet cloth" made shortly
before he left the Berkshires for the camp at Albany. The
tailor's bill, which has been preserved, is dated June II, 1755,
and amounted to 16-5-2, or #48.65. 2
EPHRAIM WILLIAMS LIBRARY
Maundrell's Journey from Aleppo to Jerusalem, a Life of
Oliver Cromwell, Bishop Burnet's Travels, La Pluche's Nature
Displayed (seven volumes), a Book on Manners, The Reflector,
The Spectator (nine volumes), Pope's Works (seven volumes),
The Guardian (two volumes), Salmon's A Modern Gazetteer,
The Court and City Register, Anson's A Voyage Round the
World, An Universal History from the Earliest Account of Time
(twenty volumes), Rapin's History of England, Chambers' Die-
tionary, Ridgley's A Body of Divinity, Harrington's Oceana,
Jacob's Law Dictionary, Delany's Revelation Examined with
Candour, The Independent Whig (two volumes), Cato's Letters
(four volumes), Roman History by way of Dialogue. 3
1 R. H. W. Dwight, Collection.
2 Mass. His. Society, MS. 81, G 71.
8 Inventory, Registry of Probate, Northampton. These books with a single
exception the Universal History appear in the inventories of Colonel
NEW YORK AND VERMONT STAGES
The Proprietors . . . inform the Public that they have
started a Line of Stages from NEW YORK to BENNINGTON
in Vermont by way of Kings-Bridge, White Plains, Bedford,
Salem, Franklin . . . Sheffield, Great-Barrington, Stockbridge,
Lenox, Pittsfield, Lanesborough, Williamstown to Bennington
which commenced running on Monday the seventh day of
November instant ; they start from New York and Bennington
every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at six o'clock in the
morning. . . . The fare for each passenger through the line
NINE DOLLARS; FIVE CENTS per mile for Way Passen-
gers; 4 Ib. baggage gratis; 150 Ib. equal to a passenger. . . .
N.B. The above route is the shortest and most direct . . .
through to Canada and far the best for the distance known in
New York or Massachusetts. 1
"I was all in a moment's time seized with a fit of numb
Palsy, which deprived me of all sense & strength on my left
side from head to foot and all most deprived me of Speech for
some time; but by the Blessing of God on the means used I am
so far recovered as to be able to sett up and write a little
and walk the room some little." 2
1 Western Star, November 28, 1796.
8 Some Old Letters, Scribner's Magazine, xvn, 254. These letters of
Ephraim Williams, Senior, were addressed with a single exception to the
" Dear Child," Elijah. After the death of his first wife, Elizabeth Jackson,
he married Abigail Jones of Weston, and they had seven children,
Abigail, Josiah, Elizabeth, who died in infancy, Judith, Elizabeth, Elijah,
The public are respectfully informed that at a meeting of
the corporation of Williams College in Williamstown on the
sixth day of August, 1793, Mr. Ebenezer Fitch was unani-
mously elected President; the Rev. Stephen West, D.D., Vice
President; Daniel Dewey, Esq., Secretary; Mr. Noah Lindly,
Tutor, and Mr. Nathaniel Steele, Master of the Grammar
Among other regulations, the following were adopted by the
President and Trustees of said College :
That candidates for the Freshman, Sophomore and Junior
Classes will be examined on the first Tuesday of September
next and at the end of Vacation and afterward as they shall
make application. The qualifications for admission will be the
same with those required by the laws of Yale College except
only that in case any person shall choose to study the French
language instead of the Greek, he must be able, in order to his
admission into the Freshman Class, to read, pronounce and
construe, with a good degree of accuracy, in some approved
The first public Commencement will be on the first Wednes-
day in September in the year 1795 and afterwards on the first
Wednesdays of September annually.
There will be three vacations annually, viz: from the first
Wednesday in September five weeks and from the third
Wednesdays in January and May three weeks.
A large and convenient College Edifice is provided for the
accommodation of students; a decent library and apparatus
will be immediately provided. Victualing has not hitherto
exceeded 5 shillings a week. The students must provide them-
selves with bedding. A Grammar School with an accom-
1 The Grammar School was continued until 1808 when only three stu-
dents were in attendance and then discontinued. (Ledger of the Treasurer.)
plished instructor is connected with the College. The same
branches of literature, which were taught and the mode of in-
struction which was pursued in the Academy will be continued.
At a meeting of the said corporation, Ordered, That the
secretary be directed to communicate the foregoing to the
several Printers in this and the neighboring counties, within
the Commonwealth and the adjoining states and request them
to insert the same in their respective papers for the information
of the public.
Attest: DANIEL DEWEY, Sec. 1
PENALTIES OR " MULCTS " ACCORDING TO THE BY-LAWS OF
Tardiness at prayers One penny
Absence or egress from prayers Five pence
Indecent or irreverent behaviour at prayers Three shillings
Disorderly conduct before or after prayers Three shillings
Profanation of the Sabbath by walking in
the fields, streets, &c Three shillings
Absence from public worship One shilling
Coming to public worship after the first
singing Six pence
Employing a barber or hair-dresser on
Lord's Day Two shillings
Second offence Four shillings
Frequenting any tippling shop or house of
ill-fame in Williamstown Six shillings
Drunkenness Three shillings
Cursing, fornication or singing obscene
songs Ten shillings
Playing at cards, billiards or any game of
chance Five shillings
Second offence Ten shillings
1 Vermont Gazette, August 16, 1793. Western Star, August 27, 1793.
Selling or bartering books &c above twelve
shillings in value without permission Five shillings
Breaking open a chamber or any thing
under lock and key Five shillings
Fighting with, striking or wilfully hurting
any person Five shillings
Keeping a gun or powder in college One shilling
Hunting or fishing without leave One shilling
Firing a gun on the campus Two shillings
Bonfires, fireworks or indecent noises Five shillings
Lying Two shillings
Refusing to give evidence respecting any
breach of College laws Six shillings
Neglect in coming when sent for Five shillings
Presuming to act in or to attend stage-
plays Five shillings
Absence from chambers in study-hours or
after nine o'clock at night Six pence
Unexcused absence under a week, each
night One shilling
Unexcused absence for a week Nine shillings
Unexcused absence for more than a week,
each night One shilling
Neglect to cover a library book with paper,
each day One pence
Detaining a book beyond the limited time,
each week Six pence
Lending a library book Three shillings
Every spot of ink on a library book Two pence
Every leaf penetrated after the first One penny
Turning down a leaf One shilling
Failure to reside statedly in the chamber
assigned Three shillings
LETTER TO PRESIDENT JOHN ADAMS
Sir, Though members of an infant Institution and of
little comparative weight in the scale of the Union, we feel for
the interest of our country. It becomes every patriotic youth
in whose breast there yet remains a single principle of honour,
to come forward calmly, boldly, and rationally to defend his
country. When we behold, Sir, a great and powerful nation
exerting all its energy to undermine the vast fabrics of Religion
and Government, when we behold them inculcating the dis-
belief of a Deity, of future rewards and punishments ; when we
behold them discarding every moral principle and dissolving
every tie which connects men together in Society, which
sweetens life and renders it worthy enjoying; when we behold
them brutalizing man that they may govern him, as friends
to Humanity, as sharers in the happiness of our fellowmen, as
Citizens of the world, our feelings are deeply affected. We
commiserate the fate of our European Brethren ; we weep over
the awful calamities of anarchy and atheism.
But when we behold this Nation, not contented with its
vast European dominions, but endeavouring to extend its
Colossean empire across the Atlantic, every passion is roused;
our souls are fired with indignation. We see that their object is
universal domination ; we see that nothing less than the whole
world, nothing less than the universal degradation of man, will
satisfy these merciless destroyers. But be assured, Sir, we will
oppose them with all our youthful energy and risk our lives in
defence of our country. Untaught in the school of adulation, or
the courts of sycophants, we speak forth the pure sentiments
of Independence. We give you our warmest approbation. We
behold with true patriotic pride the dignified conduct of our
Chief Magistrate at this alarming crisis. We are highly pleased
with the moderation, candor, and firmness which have uni-
formly characterized your administration. Though measures
decisive and energetic will ever meet with censure from the
unprincipled, the disaffected, and the factious, yet virtue must
eternally triumph. It is this alone that can stand the test of
calumny; and you have this consolation, that the disappro-
bation of the wicked is solid praise.
At this eventful period our eyes are fixed upon you, Sir, as
our political Father, and under Providence we rely on your
wisdom and patriotism, with the cooperation of our national
Council, to perpetuate our prosperity ; and we solemnly engage,
that, while our Government is thus purely and virtuously
administered, we will give it our whole Support.
These, Sir, are the unanimous sentiments of the Members of
Williams College, who, though convinced of the evils of War,
yet despise peace when put into competition with National
Freedom and Sovereignty.
Signed by a Committee in behalf of one hundred and thirty
Students of Williams College
DAVID L. PERRY.
WILLIAMS COLLEGE, June 19, 1798.
PRESIDENT ADAMS' REPLY
I have not been less surprised than delighted with an address
from 130 students of Williams college, presented to me by the
President pro tempore of the senate, Mr. Sedgwick.
So large a number in so recent an institution, as it shows the
flourishing circumstances of our country at present, affords a
most pleasing prospect of young citizens in a course of educa-
tion, for the future government, instruction and service of the
The composition of your address, shows a respectable sam-
ple of your literary talents, as the principles and sentiments it
contains do honour to your heads and hearts.
It is impossible for the unperverted mind of youth, to see the
world filled with violence, as it was before the flood, and every
virtue and every principle trampled under foot, without feeling
his soul fired with a generous indignation. Your readiness to
oppose the torrent, with all your youthful energy and risk your
lives in defence of your natural right, is greatly to your honour.
The testimony of your opinion, in favor of the candor, firm-
ness and moderation of my administration, is the more valu-
able, as you have not been educated in the school of adulation,
and speak the pure sentiments of independence.
When your eyes are fixed upon me, as your political father,
you at once excite all the affections of my heart, and make me
sensibly feel my own insufficiency for the arduous duties of that
important character. With the cooperation of the National
councils, and the virtues of our citizens, I despair not, of the
continuance of our national prosperity. The talents and ener-
gies of the rising generation are a sure pledge of our safety
and the growing importance of America.
JOHN ADAMS. 1
PHILADELPHIA, June 29th, 1798.
1 Hampshire Gazette, July 25, 1798.
WILLIAMS VOLUNTEERS, GRADUATE AND NON-GRADUATE, IN
THE CIVIL WAR, AND THEIR RANK
Brevet Major-Generals 2
Brevet Brigadier-Generals 10
Brevet Colonels 10
Assistant Adjutant-Generals 6
Assistant Surgeon-General I
Brevet Lieutenant-Colonels 5
Medical Director I
Majors 1 1
Brevet Majors 5
Assistant Surgeons 24
Paymasters * 5
Brevet Captain I
Provost Marshal I
Sergeants and Corporals 8
Volunteer Aide I
Medical Cadets 3
Christian and Sanitary Commissions 36
1 Two paymasters, Edwin Stewart (1862) and Theodore Strong Thomp-
son (1862), were retired after forty years of service with the rank of Rear
The first attempt at a pen-and-ink sketch of Bill was made
by Washington Gladden in the Editor's Table of the "Williams
Quarterly" for March, 1859:
Scene East College Yard. Time Morning at Six.
Dramatis personae A boy and a stout man.
Wood-pile in the background ; boy counting stix,
Man sawing and shouting as loud as he can.
Hen! blast it, roll on! Wot ye sittin' there for?
'Lectricity ! lightnin' ! you 're wuss than a stun !
Gable ends! sistimony! come, grab that ar saw!
There is time fur to rest when yeou git yer work done.
Boy yawns. Enter African, grown somewhat grey.
"That he know, so ye know that he know, Mr. Pratt,
For I mean, sa ye know can ye tell me I say
I mean can ye tell me, sa, what noise is that?'*
Man pauses Polidity, voice o* the spheres!
Excommunicate Cicero! (that's a good saw)
Brest-bone of futurity ! times running gears
On the diaphragm ! suicide ! Berkshire ! aw haw.
Adams, John, letter of Williams stu-
dents to, 69, 329; his reply, 69,
Adams, William W., 259, 262.
Adelphic Union, 65.
Alden, Joseph, 132, 171-72, 179.
Alderman, Edwin A., 259.
Alumni Association, first, 116.
Ancram, iron mills, raided, 21.
Andrew, John A., 189.
Andrews, E. Benjamin, 252.
Andrews, Samuel J., letter of, 282.
Angell, James B., 176, 216, 272.
Anti-Slavery Society, Williams, 139-
Apparatus, 52, 53, 165-66.
Armstrong, Samuel C., enters Junior
class, 203; classmates quoted, 203,
204; in the Civil War, 204; founds
Hampton Institute, 204, 205.
Arnold, Matthew, 217.
Ashley, Chester, 72, 73.
Ashley, Jonathan, eulogy of Ephraim
Williams, Sr., 25; letter of the
founder to, 27.
Astronomical Observatory, Hopkins,
Athletics, 294-97; college colors and,
297; President Garfield on, 297.
Backus, William F., 58, 59.
Bacon, John, 32, 39.
Ballard, Addison, 266.
Barker, James M., 263; address at
dedication of Thompson Memorial
Barnard, Daniel D., 117.
Bascom, John, 173, 176, 181, 222,
231, 251, 295; address at the in-
auguration of President Chad-
bourne, 231; address at the cen-
tennial, 250; president of the
University of Wisconsin, 274; his
books and literary style, 275; as a
teacher, 275; on Greek letter fra-
ternities, 288, 289; lover of nature,
Beecher, Lyman, sermon at the
funeral of Obookiah, 84.
Beman, Nathan S. S., 146.
Benedict, Erastus C., 116, 289.
Benjamin, Samuel G. W., 195, 196.
"Berkshire," on the resignation of
President Fitch, 90.
Berkshire Medical School, 320.
Berkshire scenery, appreciation of,
Bernard, Governor, 43, 44.
Betts, Samuel, 184.
Biennial Examinations, 167, 168.
Bishop, Henry W., address at the
reinterment of the remains of
President Fitch in the college
cemetery, 92, 93.
Elaine, James G., 212, 213.
Booth, Robert R., 262, 288.
Braddock, General, 8, 10.
Briggs, Charles A., 252.
Brooks, William K., 201.
Bross, William, 217.
Brown, Augustus C., 92.
Bryant, William C., 169, 172, 310;
enters the Sophomore class, 85;
precocity of, 85, 86; college career
of, 87; poem at the fiftieth anni-
versary of his class, 87; letter to
Governor Washburn, 87; at com-
mencement in 1869, 88; newspa-
per reporter's description of, 88;
speech at the commencement of
1876, 88, 89; Thanatopsis, 89.
Bryce, Ambassador, 259.
"Bunter Abe," 306.
Burr, Charles H., 264.
Bushnell, Jedidiah, 61.
Calhpun, Simeon H., 134, 143, 301.
Calkins, Alonzo, toast at the semi-
Canfield, James H., 163-64, 199-
Canning, Edward W. B., 186.
Carnegie, Andrew, 252.
Carter, Franklin, 176, 181, 234, 262,
264, 265 ; interview with President
Chadbourne, 241; professorships,
243; elected president, 243; induc-
tion and inaugural address, 244;
problem of funds, 244; rebuilding
the campus, 245; new professors,
245; introduction of the elective
system, 245-47; Greek withdrawn
from entrance requirements, 247;
taxation of college property, 248,
249; centennial anniversary, 250-
253; "Is Williams a rich man's
college?" 285; resignation, 253;
publications, 253; bi-centenary of
the founder, 261.
Cartoon, anent the removal of the
college, 105, 106.
Catechism, the Shorter, 225, 319.
Cato's Letters, 15.
Centennial of the college, 250-53.
Chadbourne, Paul A., 172, 176, 213,
316; early life, 227; enters Wil-
liams, 227; teaches in preparatory
schools, 227, 228; ill health, 227;
professor at Williams, 228; presi-
dent of Amherst Agricultural Col-
lege, 229; president of the Univer-
sity of Wisconsin, 229; president
of Williams, 230; inaugural ad-
dress, 232; difficulties of the situ-
ation, 233; changes in the faculty,
234; terms of admission and cur-
riculum, 235; theory of discipline,
236; resignation, 238; Dr. Prime
and, 239; progress of the college,
240; final baccalaureate, 239;
characteristics, 241, 242.
Chamberlin, Robert M., 231.
Chapels, 130, 162, 257.
Chapin, Oliver, 58.
Chapman, Thomas, diary of, 51.
"Characters," 305, 306.
Civil War, the college and, 188-91;
dedication of monument to Wil-
liams men killed in the war, 191;
table of the rank of volunteers, 332.
Clarke, Samuel F., 245.
Class Day, 303.
Classroom, methods and require-
ments, 66, 152, 224, 225.
Co-education, the college and, 233.
Coffin, Vincent, 73.
College church, 319.
College customs, 298-306.
College laws, 46, 49, 327.
Collegiate Institute at Amherst, 102,
104, 123, 127, 128.
Collins, Daniel, 32.
Commencement, 48-50, 69, 70, 116,
Committee on relocation of the
college, 103; report of, 107, 108.
Cooke, Parsons, 143; on the induc-
tion of President Griffin, 126.
Cox, Samuel H., quoted, 148, 151,
Cox, Thomas, "professor of dust and
Crown Point, 8.
Curriculum, 47, 100, 133, 166.
Danforth, Keyes, 311.
"Dare-Devil Club," 180.
Dartmouth College case, 112.
Davis, Emerson, 82, 116.
Davis, Henry, 60.
Davis, Horace, on the Williams of
Davis, Samuel H., 197, 277.
Day, Jeremiah, 60.
Debating societies, 66, 138, 176;
commotions in, 177-79.
Denison, John H., 319.
Dewey, Charles A., 185.
Dewey, Chester, 59, 139, 140, 313;
letter of, 94; resignation, 133.
Dewey, Daniel N., 158, 179, 301.
Dewey, Francis H., 234, 262.
Dewey, Harry P., 258.
Dewey, Orville, 75.
Dieskau, Baron Ludwig August, 12.
Dike, Samuel W., 198, 199.
Dimmock, William R., 175.
Discipline, 46, 99, 135, 136, 180-82,
Dodd, Cyrus M., 176; lover of rare
books and Berkshire scenery, 276,
Dunbar, Elijah, 53.
Dunbar, James R., 263.
Durfee, Calvin, 143.
" Dutch Gentlemen from Albany, "20.
Dwight, Abigail W., sends books to
Ft. Massachusetts, 7; letter to
Thomas Williams, 23; pen-and-
ink portrait of, 314.
Dwight, Edwin W., 83-85, 156, 3 13.
Dwight, Henry W., 155.
Dwight, Timothy (1752-1817), on
the removal of the college, 109;
ascends Greylock in 1799, 314.
Dwight, Timothy (1828- ), 252.
East College, 50; burned, 165; rebuilt
and renamed, 165.
Eaton, Amos, his lectures and influ-
Edwards, Jonathan, controversy with
the Williams family, 24-25, 27; bill
for boarding Indians, 279.
Edwards, Justin, 74, 75.
Elective system, 245-48.
Eliot, Charles W., 216, 246, 259.
Emerson, Samuel M., 120.
Emmons, Ebenezer, Adirondack sur-
veys and, 170; in the classroom,
170; narrow escape of, 171; state
geologist of North Carolina, 171.
Entrance requirements, 46, 100, 166,
Equitable Fraternity, 286-88.
Everett, Edward, address at the
Commencement of 1837, 304.
Executors of the founder's will, 21,
22; defense of against charges of
delay, 29-30; final report of, 31.
Expenses of students, 279-83.
Faculty, students and, 58, 137, 180,
Fayerweather Hall, 165.
Federalism in the administration of
President Fitch, 69-70.
Fernald, Orlando M., 234, 270.
Field, David D., his Codes, 144; ad-
dress at the dedication of the sol-
diers' monument in Williamstown,
191; address at the semi-centen-
nial of graduation, 144; in eulogy
of Mark Hopkins, 265; on Greek
letter fraternities, 289; Berkshire
scenery and, 316.
Field, Eugene, 192.
Field, Henry M., 251.
Field, Rev. Dr., 188, 313.
Field, Stephen j., life in California,
194; Judge of the Supreme Court
of the United States, 194, 195.
Fines, 46, 47, 138, 327-28.
Fitch, Ebenezer, 314; letter to Rev.
Dr. Miller, 3; Preceptor of the
Free School, 39; early life, 40;
president of Williams College, 45;
ordination, 48; first Commence-
ment, 49, 50; rebellions of 1802
and 1808, 57, 58; Jonas King
and, 119; in local politics, 67, 71;
crusade against Sabbath-breaking,
71; resignation, 89, 90; President
Griffin and, 90; the trustees and,
90, 91; his death, 92; remains re-
moved to Williamstown, 92; Judge
Bishop on, 92, 93; situation of the
college and, 277.
Ford, George A., 251.
Fourth of July, 48, 300-02.
Fox, Philip, 269.
Fraternities, Greek letter, introduc-
tion of, 286; opposition to, 286-89;
a case of discipline, 290; present
status of, 291, 292.
Free School, 16, 68; incorporated, 31,
32; first meeting of trustees, 33;
lottery for, 34-37; schoolmaster
and Preceptor for chosen, 39;
opened, 41 ; becomes Williams Col-
lege, 44, 45.
French, an entrance optional for
Greek, 46, 247.
Garfield, Harry A., elected president,
258; induction, 258, 259; inaugural
address, 259; progress of the col-
lege, 260, 261.
James A., 206, 231, 287;
enters Williams, 210; student im-
pression of, 210, 211, 212; Mark
Hopkins and, 210, 211; Ingalls on,
21 1 ; the assault upon Sumner and,
21 1 ; Andrew D. White quoted,
212; as a debater, 212; nominated
for the presidency, 212, 213; as-
sassination of, 213; funeral service
in the Rotunda of the Capitol, 214.
Gifts of the State, 162.
Gilman, Daniel C., 216, 252.
Gilson, Charles F., 267.
Gladden, Washington, 169, 205, 274,
316; "The mountains, the moun-
Glezen, Levi, 103.
Goldsmith's "philosophical vaga-
bond" and Greek, 248.
Goodrich, Chauncey, 115.
Goodrich Hall, 162.
Gordon, Thomas, 15.
Gravel Day, 298.
Great Carrying Place, II.
Greek, entrance requirements and,
Green, Byram, on the Haystack
prayer-meeting, 78-80, 186.
Green's Short History, 272.
Greenfield, 106, 107.
in 1799 by Presidents Fitch and
Dwight, 314, 315.
Griffin, Edward D., 62, 116; elected
president, 124; earlier career, 124-
26; induction, 126; the tide turned,
127; petition of Amherst Institute,
127, 128; panic in Williamstown,
'128; the great revival, 129, 130;
raises $25,000, 129, 130; builds
Griffin Hall, 130-1-32; corner-stone
laid, 131; dedication of, 132; resig-
nation, 148; characteristics, 149-
Griffin, Edward H., 234, 244, 258.
Griffin, Nathaniel H., 175.
Griffin Hall, corner-stone laid, 131;
dedicated, 132; rebuilt, 132.
Gross, Charles, 240, 241, 251.
Grosvenor, William M., 251.
Guild, Curtis, 259.
Gymnasium, 245, 294, 295.
Hale, Edward E., 73.
Hale, Nathan, 73; advocates re-
moval, 112, 113.
Hall, Charles C, 250, 263.
Hall, Gordon, 62, 76, 82.
Hall, G. Stanley, 251.
Hallock, Gerard, 118, 119.
Hallock, Jeremiah, 83.
Hallock, Moses, school at Plainfield,
Hallock, William A., 118.
Hawthorne, Nathaniel, 304.
Haystack prayer-meeting, Byram
Green and, 78-80; semi-centennial
of, 1 86, 187; centennial, 187, 188.
Hewitt, John H., 245, 259, 261, 279;
Hill, Clement H., 234.
History of the County of Berkshire,
Hoar, George F., 176, 206.
Hopkins, Albert, 132, 135, 165, 170,
179, 287; personality of, 172; in
the classroom, 173; astronomical
observatory, 164; expedition to
Nova Scotia, 134, 173; noon
prayer-meeting, 173; semi-cen-
tennial of the Haystack prayer-
meeting, 1 86, 187; White Oaks
and, 174; as a preacher, 174; sym-
pathy with nature, 315.
Hopkins, Edward P., 190.
Hopkins, Henry, 187, 190, 234, 259;
chaplain in Civil War, 254,
255; pastorates, 255; centennial
preacher, 250; elected president,
254; inauguration, 255, 256; prog-
ress of the college, 256, 257;
death of, 257, 258.
Hopkins, Mark, 132, 182, 230; tutor,
158; professor, 158; elected presi-
dent, 155; early life, I55~57; at
school, 155; Rev. E. W. Dwight
and, 156; secretary to Timothy
Woodbridge, 156; teaches in Vir-
ginia, 157; enters college, 157; ora-
tion on "Mystery," 158; studies
medicine, 158; induction as presi-
dent, 158; inaugural address, 159,
160; the legislature and, 160, 161;
the campus, 162; equipment, 155,
156; enrolment of students, 215;
oration at the semi-centennial,
184; publications of, 216; Evi-
dences of Christianity, 216, 217;
controversy with President Mc-
Cosh, 218, 219; the Battle of the
Hymns, 219, 220; his speaking
without notes, 220; his baccalaure-
ates, 221; literary style, 221, 222;
scheme of study, 222 ; in the class-
room, 222-26; reticence of, 224;
relations with the faculty, 226;
goal of his teaching, 226; death of,
Hopkins, Samuel, 318, 319.
Hough, Simon, 18.
Hoyt, Henry M., 262.
Kurd, George F., 256.
Hyde, Alvan, 115.
Hyde, William De Witt, 187.
Independent Whig, 15.
Indian School at Stockbridge, 24.'
Ingalls, John J., 214; U.S. Senator,
206; President pro temper e of the
Senate, 207; defeated in 1891, 207;
bust of in Statuary Hall, 208;
penchant for sarcasm, 208; love of
nature, 209; poems, 209.
ackson, Abraham, will of, I, 2.
ackson, Elizabeth, I.
ackson Hall, 302.
ackson Supper, 302, 303.
acobus, Professor, quoted, 122. ^
ohnson, Sir William, expedition
against Crown Point, 8; at Great
Carrying Place, n; proceeds to
Lake George, 12; repels attack of
ones, Israel, 22, 37, 103.
ordan, John P. and others, 160.
udson, Adoniram, 80.
udson, Edward, 187.
udson, Henry P., 251.
Kellogg, Ebenezer, 99, 169, 181, 313.
Kellogg, Giles B., 301.
Kellogg Hall, 162, 163.
Kent, James, 103, 104.
King, Jonas, struggles for an educa-
tion, 119-21; remarkable linguist,
122; missionary in Greece, 122.
Landscape, Northern Berkshire,
309-18; the founder and, 310;
President Griffin and, 310; early
Lasell, Edward, 132, 169.
Lawrence, Amos, 260.
Lawrence, William, 250, 252.
Lawton, George F., 288.
Lawyers as congressmen, 68.
Lefavour, Henry, 235.
Leland, Aaron W., 86, 123, 310.
Lester, John, 45.
Letter of students to President John
Liberal college, the university and,
320; future of, 321.
Libraries, 52, 53, 260.
Lincoln, Isaac N., 175.
Linsly, Noah, 45.
Literary societies, 65, 138, 176-79.
Lodge, Henry C., 250, 252.
Loomis, Harvey, 256.
Lotbeniere, Marquis de, 54.
Lottery in aid of Free School, 34;
drawings of in Boston, 35; cur-
rency troubles of, 36; results, 37.
Ludlow, Henry G., 141.
Lyceum of Natural History, 133, 134.
Mabie, Hamilton W., 259.
Macauley, Thomas, 115.
Mackay, Samuel, elected professor,
54; early life, 54; book-store, 55;
his chair "abolished," 56; tomb of
his wife, 57.
Mackenzie, Ronald, Gladden's letter
about, 205; military career, 205,
Mark Twain, quoted, 85.
McCosh, James, 218.
Mears, Leverett, 245.
Merriman, Daniel, 258, 263.
Mills, Elijah H., 72, ill.
Mills, Samuel J., scholarship, 76;
absorbing interest in missions, 77 ;
Haystack prayer-meeting and, 77-
80; "The Brethren," 80; at An-
dover Theological Seminary, 80;
General Association of Massachu-
setts and, 81; home missionary,
81-82; visits Africa, 82; sources of
his power, 82, 83.
Mohawk Trail, 18.
Moore, Zephaniah S., elected presi-
dent, 97; early life, 98; inaugura-
tion, 99; advocates removal, 103,
105; resignation, 115; inaugurated
president of Amherst Institute,
Morley, Sardis B., 301.
Morton, Miss Eliza S., on Berkshire
Morton, Marcus, 183, 184.
Mountain Day, 311.
Murray, Nicholas, 143.
Nelson, Henry L., 256, 271.
Newell, Samuel, 80.
Niles, Samuel, on the death of the
Noble, Daniel, 32, 37, 54, 103, in,
Northampton, 95, 96, 109, in.
Nott, Eliphalet, 154.
Obookiah, Henry, 84, 85.
Olds, Gamaliel S., inaugural address
as professor, 57; rebellion of 1808
and, 58; pastorate at Greenfield,
59; his professorships in various
colleges, 59, 123.
Orton, Azariah G., 155.
Otis, James, 44.
Packard, Theophilus, 94, 97, 98, 102,
105, 114, 123.
Parker, Theodore, 223.
Partridge, Oliver, 17.
Payson, Seth, 103, 108.
Peck, James I., 268.
Penalties, 46, 99, 138, 183, 327.
Periodicals, student, 307-09.
Perry, Arthur L., 176, 233; methods
of teaching, 272, 273 ; publications,
Perry, Carroll, 306.
Peters, Absalom, 98, 154.
Phillips, John L. T., 175.
Political excitements, 67-71.
Pomeroy, Thaddeus, 116, 124.
Pomeroy, Seth, on the battle of Lake
Porter, Jeremiah, 191.
Porter, Moses, letter of, II.
Porter, Noah, 243.
Porter, William A., 132, 133.
Pratt, "Bill," 306, 333.
Pratt, Lewellyn, 234, 266.
President's house, 50, 292.
Prime, Samuel I., 89, 134, 143, 240.
Prince, Lucy, the trustees and, 138.
Professors' houses, 293, 294.
Professorships, 54, 56, 57, 99, 133,
Programme at the first Commence-
Prospectus of the college, 1793, 326.
Publications, student, 307-09.
Bueen's College, 42-44.
uincy, Josiah, speech against re-
moval, no, in.
Rankin, William, 301, 302.
Raymond, George L., 234, 253, 317.
Reader Philologian Society, resigns,
Rebellions, 57, 58, 182-83.
Religious societies, 62-65.
Removal of college, committee of
trustees on, 95; interests neigh-
boring towns, 95, 96; resolutions
for, 94; report of committee, 95,
96; authorized by trustees, 103;
committee on location, 103; inter-
town contests, 104, 108, 109; ad-
dress of trustees, 108; legislative
struggle, 110-12; defeated, in;
trustees assailed, 114.
Remsen, Ira, 234.
Revivals, 62, 129-30.
Rice, Richard A., 245.
Robbins, Ammi R., 45.
Robbins, Thomas, 60; Diary, 60, 61,
66; address at the semi-centennial,
Roe, Edward P., interview with
President Hopkins, 192; literary
Ruggles, Timothy, 14.
Rumsey, William, 263.
Russell, John E., 258.
Russell, William E., 250, 252.
Sabin, Henry L., 262, 313.
Safford, Truman H., 234; mathe-
matical genius, 268; publications,
270; in the classroom, 270; dedi-
cation of a tablet to, 270.
Scudder, David C., 316.
Scudder, Horace E., 250, 262.
Seal, college, 53, 54.
Sedgwick, Charles F., 280.
Sedgwick, Theodore, 54.
Semi-centennial of the college, 183-
Sergeant, Mrs. Abigail, 7; see
Dwight, Mrs. Abigail.
Shepard, Samuel, 158, 313.
Shirley, Governor, campaign plans
of, 8; William Johnson and, 8.
Simmons, Joseph E., 263.
Simonds, Benjamin, 37.
"Sketch " of the college and founder,
Skinner, Thompson J., 22, 37, 67-68.
Smith, Henry B., 254.
Smith, Lowell, 301.
Smith, Lyndon A., 141, 148.
Smith, Nathaniel, 103.
Smith, William, 38.
Snow, Francis H., 201, 202, 251.
Society of Alumni, 116, 117. ,
Society of Inquiry, 65.
Spanish taught in 1827, 134.
Stages, New York and Vermont, 18,
Stetson, Francis L., 244; rebuilds
Griffin Hall, 132.
Stiles, Ezra, 39, 40.
Stoddard, Charles A., 251.
Stoddard, Colonel, 5, 6.
Strong, Alexander H., troubles with
the faculty, 136-37-
Stuart, Moses, 152.
Student enrolment, 72, 90, 99, 127,
215, 240, 256, 260; geographical
distribution, 278, 279.
Student life, 61, 62, 141.
Sunday blue laws revived, 71.
Swift, Job, 45, 55.
Swift, Seth, 32, 39.
Talcott, Samuel A., 76-77.
Tatlock, John, 174, 178.
Taxation of the college, 160, 248,
Taylor, James M. f 252.
Taylor, John, 52, 315.
Teaching in Williams, 1852-72, 176.
Temperance societies, 141-42.
Tenney, Sanborn, 176, 237.
Thacher, John B., 200.
Theological Society, 62; questions
discussed in, 62-63; discipline of
Thompson, Frederic F., "story" of,
263; a defamer of President Lin-
coln and, 264.
Thompson Memorial Chapel, 257.
Todd, John, 258.
Towns competing for the college, 95,
96, 106, 107.
Townshend, Martin I., 282, 289.
Trenchard, John, 13.
Troy and Boston R.R. opened, 19.
Trustees of the college, original
Trustees of Free School, 32; first
meeting, 33; lottery and, 34; elect
Ebenezer Fitch Preceptor, 39;
secure a college charter, 42, 45.
Tucker, William J., 187.
Van Hise, Charles R., 259.
Van Rensselaer, Stephen, 43.
Van Schaak, Henry, 45.
Vaudreuil, Rigaud, 4.
Vincent on the Catechism, 225.
Washburn, Emory, 116, 117, 141,
Wayland, Francis, 154, 155, 222,
Webster, Daniel, the Dartmouth
College case and, 112.
Webster, Noah, 104.
Wells, David A., economist, 196,
197; history of college, 197, 277;
appraisal of college course, 198.
West, Stephen, 3; the founder and,
3, 6, 9.
West College, 37; reconstructions of,
West Township, first survey, 17;
"accommodable for settlements,"
17; renamed, 18; isolation, 18;
controverted jurisdiction, 19, 20;
disorders in, 20; will of the founder
and, 16, 28-30.
Wheeler, Samuel G., 290.
White, Andrew D., 176, 216.
White, Joseph, 172, 186, 288.
Whitney, William D., 200, 202, 203.
Williams, Elijah, 45.
Williams, Mrs. Elizabeth (Jackson),!.
Williams, Ephraim, the founder,
early life, 1-2; arrival at Stock-
bridge, 3; member of the General
Court, 4; in command of border
forts, 4; the seven years of peace,
6-7; Colonel of Hampshire regi-
ment, 9; interest in projected cam-
paign, 9; at Albany, 10; letters, 10;
at Great Carrying Place, 1 1 ; let-
ters, n, 12; killed in a skirmish,
13; contents of army chest, 14,
323; his will, 16; purchases the
Stockbridge homestead, 22; letter
to Rev. Mr. Ashley, 27; his library,
324; amount of estate, 34; cen-
tenary of his death, 185, 186; bi-
centenary of his birth, 261.
Williams, Ephraim, grandnephew of
the founder, 252.
Williams, Ephraim, Sr., marriage, i;
settles at Stockbridge, 4; sale of
his estate, 22; ill-health, 23, 325;
anxieties of his family about, 23;
letters of, 26; his death, 25; a
funeral eulogy, 25.
Williams, Israel, executor of found-
er's estate, 21 ; a tory, mobbed and
imprisoned, 21, 22.
Williams, Thomas, I, 2; on the death
of the founder, 13; inventories
contents of founder's army chest,
Williams, William, 33, 39.
Williams Christian Association, 65,
Williams College, charter, 42-44;
first board of trustees, 45; non-
sectarian, 44, 45, 318; prospectus,
46, 326; terms of admission, 46;
laws, 46, 327-28; first commence-
ment, 48-50; a poor man's college,
279-85; a rich man's college, 285;
mission of, 320, 321.
Williams Quarterly, 277, 307.
Williams songs, 168.
Williams verse, 309.
Williamstown, controversy over as
site for a college, 95-96, 109, 112,
Wilson, President, 259.
Wood, Ernest H., 259.
Woodbridge, Joseph, 94.
Woodbridge, Luther D., 268.
Woodbridge, Timothy, of Hatfield,
letter to the founder, 5-6.
Woodbridge, Timothy, blind preach-
er, 66, 67, 83, 152, 156; removal of
the college and, 94.
Woods, Leonard, 97, 152.
Worthington, John, 21, 22.
Wraxall, Peter, 12.
Wright, Arthur W., 234.
Yancey, William L. f college career,
145; apostle of disunion, 146.
Zelie, John S., 259, 306.
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