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Full text of "A history of Williams College"

STORY OF 



EGE 



ING 



A HISTORY OF WILLIAMS COLLEGE 




MARK HOPKINS 

PRESIDENT OF WILLIAMS COLLEGE 
1836-1872 



A HISTORY OF 
WILLIAMS COLLEGE 



BY 



LEVERETT WILSON SPRING 

EMERITUS PROFESSOR OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE 
AND LITERATURE 



WITH ILLUSTRATIONS 




BOSTON AND NEW YORK 

HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY 

<*fc tttoetfibe $re&* CambriDge 

1917 



$ 



COPYRIGHT, 1917, BY LEVERRTT WILSON SPRING 
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 

Published June igrj 



CONTENTS 

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 

APPENDIX 

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' 

Reply 329 

VIII. Williams Volunteers, Graduate and Non-Graduate, in 

the Civil War, and their Rank 332 

IX. Bill Pratt 333 

INDEX . . . ., .335 



369906 



ILLUSTRATIONS 

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 
WILLIAMS COLLEGE 



CHAPTER I 

THE FOUNDER 

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- 

i 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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. 

2 



THE FOUNDER 

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. 

3 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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 
Surveyor/' 

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. 

4 



THE FOUNDER 

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. 

5 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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 
Enemy/' l 

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. 

6 



THE FOUNDER 

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 
bill. 

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. 

7 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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 

8 



THE FOUNDER 

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. 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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. 

IO 



THE FOUNDER 

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. 

II 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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. 

12 



THE FOUNDER 

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 
disastrous ambuscade. 

"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, 

13 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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 
negative success. 

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. 

14 



THE FOUNDER 

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. 

15 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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- 
spicuous. 

1 Appendix II. * Mass. His. Society, Collections, vin, 48. 



CHAPTER II 

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. 

17 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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. 

18 



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 
away. 

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. 

19 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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.) 

20 



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. 

21 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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.) 

22 






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 
us." 2 

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. 

23 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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. 

24 



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. 
25 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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 
Learning." 3 

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. 

26 



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 
controversy." 

27 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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. 

28 



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 
granted. 

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. 

29 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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 
Directed." * 

The Legislature declined to interfere and the peti- 
1 Mass. Archives, LVIII, 586. 
30 



WEST TOWNSHIP AND THE FREE SCHOOL 

tioners failed to get "the aid and direction*' which 
they sought. 

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., 
1784-85- 

31 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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 
Berkshire, 410. 

32 



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, 

147.) 

2 Israel Williams, Letters and Papers, n, 183. 

33 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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- 
sources $12,785.58. 

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 

SCHEME OF 

WILLIAMSTOWN FREE SCHOOL 
LOTTERY 4 

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. 

34 



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. 

35 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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 
Eastern Massachusetts. 

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. 

36 



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 
Free School. 

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. 

37 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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. 

38 




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. 
39 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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. 

40 



WEST TOWNSHIP AND THE FREE SCHOOL 

however, was soon disposed of and the following an- 
nouncement presently appeared in local newspapers : 

THE 

ACADEMY AND FREE SCHOOL 
IN WILLIAMSTOWN 

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. 



CHAPTER III 

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 

42 



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. 

43 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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. 

44 



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- 
demic degrees. 

1 Vermont Gazette, August 16, 1793. 
45 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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 
that quarter. 

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. 

47 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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 Tutors 
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. 

' 48 



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. 
Bishop. 

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 
natural causes?" 

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. 
Stone. 

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. 
Collins. 

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 college. 

49 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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. 

50 



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 [1796]. 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 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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. 

52 



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 
East College. 

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, 
1852.) 

53 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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- 
son. 

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- 

54 



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- 
store: 

SAMUEL MACKAY 

Professor of the French Language in 
Williams College 

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 

STATIONARY 

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, 
309-11.) 

1 Records of the Trustees, September 4, 1798. 

2 Vermont Gazette, October 14, 1796. Western Star, October 16, 1797. 

55 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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- 
tury. 

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- 
stone 

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. 

56 



THE BEGINNINGS OF THE COLLEGE 

Erected in Memory 

of 
M[ar]ia Lo[uis]a Cha[rti]er de Lotbiniere 

wife of 
Capt. Sam[ue]l McKay U. S. Inf[ant]ry 

She died 
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 
Chartier Marquis 

de 

Lotbiniere died N. York 

Oct. 7th 1798 Aged 75 His remains 

were buried in Potters field 

This was inscribed 

at the 
special request 

of 

his departed daughter 

Now Mouldering 

in this 

dust. 

1 An Inaugural Oration, Delivered in the Chapel of Williams College, 
October 14, 1806. Monthly Anthology, January, 1807, 49, 50. 

57 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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. 
58 



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. 

59 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

Professor Silliman for a short time, and thereupon 
began to give instruction in the subject at Williams- 
town. 1 

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- 
cational world. 

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. 

60 



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 
smallpox." 

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. 

61 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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. 

62 



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. 

63 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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- 
gion." l 

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. 

65 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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." 

66 



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 
and facility. 

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- 

6? 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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. 

68 



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 
streets. 2 

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. 

69 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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. 

70 



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 
mischief. 

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. 

71 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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 
different States. 

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. 

72 



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.) 

73 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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. 

74 



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 
time. 2 

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. 

75 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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 
one. 

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. 
77 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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 
history. 

"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 
Library. 

2 MS. letter, Williams College Library. 

78 



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 
as follows: 

"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- 
brary. 

79 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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 
Library. 

80 



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 
not included. 

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 
movement. 

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. 
81 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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 
society. 

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 
meeting. 

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, 

82 



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 
earth. 1 

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 [1811]. 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. 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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 
Hawaii. 1 

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, 
279.) 

85 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

pieces, among which was a rather neatly turned ode of 
Horace: 

"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 
tutor. 

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). 

86 



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. 

8? 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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. 

88 



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 
Mason Good: 

"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. 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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 
valley." 1 

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- 
munity. 

" 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. 
90 



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 
Library. 

91 



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. 
92 



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- 
tened." l 

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. 



CHAPTER IV 

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. 
94 



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 
wild-fire." J 

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- 
petitors. 

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. 

95 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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. 

96 



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. 

97 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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 
I8I5-I82I 



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 
Western Massachusetts. 

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, 

99 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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, 
Dedication. 

100 



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- 
tory." 

IOI 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

"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. 

IO2 



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. 

103 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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 
3, 1818. 

104 



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 
newspaper correspondent. 

"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 
prove successful.' 

"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 

105 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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. 

106 



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 
College. 2 

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. 

107 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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. 
108 



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 
bushel." 2 

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- 
ion." 

109 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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 
his overtures. 

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. 

no 



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. 

Ill 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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. 

112 



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- 
tervene. 

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- 
shire. 

9 American Advocate, December 8, 1830. 

113 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

should be "held in grateful and affectionate remem- 
brance." 1 

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 
until 1825. 

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 
weathered. 

1 Records of the Trustees, September 7, 1831. 

2 Hampshire Gazette, August 24, 1819. ' Ibid., February 15, 1820. 

114 



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. 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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. 

116 



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 
adopted it. 

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. 

117 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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 
Plainfield School. 



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. 

119 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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 

1 20 



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- 
tinually." 

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 

121 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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. 

122 



WILLIAMSTOWN OR ELSEWHERE? 

of 1851, "and the noble language of Plato and De- 
mosthenes, though modernized, had a new charm and 
power." 1 

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.) 



CHAPTER V 

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. 

124 




EDWARD DORR GRIFFIN 
1821-1836 



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. 

125 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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. 

126 



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. 

127 



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- 

128 



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 
records : 

"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. 

129 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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- 
paign. 2 

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. 

130 



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 
Life." 4 

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. 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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 
declining." 2 

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 
following inscription: 

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. 

132 



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. 

133 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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. 

134 



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. 

135 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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. 

136 



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. 

137 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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. 

138 



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. 
139 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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 
ages." 2 

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 
lost. 

140 



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. 

141 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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. 

142 



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- 
use. 

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. 
143 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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 
encountered. 

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. 
144 



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 
Commencement. 

1 D. D. Field, Speeches, Arguments, and Miscellaneous Papers, n, 
300. 

2 Records, Philotechnian Society, -1832. 

3 Miscellaneous Collections of the Alabama Historical Society, I, 191. 

145 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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. 

146 



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. 

147 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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 
forever. 

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. 

148 



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. 
149 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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 
phrase. 

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. 

150 



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. 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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. 

152 



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. 



CHAPTER VI 

HIGH TIDES IN THE CALENDAR OF THE OLDER 
WILLIAMS 

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. 

154 




MARK HOPKINS 
1836-1872 



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. 

155 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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. 

156 



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- 



teen." 



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 
study." 2 

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 
Archibald Hopkins. 

157 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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. 

158 



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. 

159 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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- 
sachusetts 

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. 
160 



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. 

161 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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.) 

162 



HIGH TIDES IN THE CALENDAR 

and his successors supplied the village pulpit for a 
part of the time, the amount of service varying at 
different periods. 

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 

163 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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.) 

164 



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, 
180.) 

165 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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. 

166 



HIGH TIDES IN THE CALENDAR 

partment of Latin, founded in 1835 and merged the 
next year with that of Ancient Languages, in 1853 
were reestablished. 

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.) 

167 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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. 

168 



HIGH TIDES IN THE CALENDAR 

Gladden and dedicated to William Cullen Bryant 
was an immediate consequence of the new verse- 
making impulse. 

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 
day. 

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. 

169 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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- 
tions. 

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. 

170 



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. 

171 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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. 

172 



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. 
173 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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. 
174 



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 
Tatlock. 

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. 
7,8. 

175 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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. 

176 



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 
Colleges." l 

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. 

177 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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 
debating leagues. 

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. 

179 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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. 
1 80 



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 
College Library. 

181 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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. 

182 



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. 

183 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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. 

184 



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. 

185 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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 
oration. 

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 
prayer meeting. 

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. 

1 86 



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. 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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- 
general. 

188 



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 
thirty-seven. 

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. 

189 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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 
task." 1 

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- 
gomery's hymn 

"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. 

190 



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. 

191 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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 
Williamstown history. 

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. 
192 



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. 

193 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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. 

194 



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 
exposition. 1 

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. 

195 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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 
"Quarterly." 

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. 

196 



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. 
197 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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. 

199 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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. 

200 



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. 
2O I 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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 
Kansas educators. 

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 
in 1873. 

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. 
000 



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. 
203 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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 
know." 2 

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 
of ages." 

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. 

204 



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. 

205 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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. 

2O6 



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. 
207 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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 
enemies. 

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. 
208 



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 
sonnet 

'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.) 

209 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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. 

2IO 



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. 

211 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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. 

212 



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. 
213 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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- 
way station. 

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. 

214 



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 
citizen." 1 

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. 

215 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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. 

216 



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. 

217 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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. 
2X8 



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- 

219 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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. 
220 



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 
awaited him. 

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. 

221 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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. 

222 



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 
possible. 

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. 
223 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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. 
224 



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. 

225 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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 
excellence." 3 

1 Carter, Mark Hopkins, 105. 

2 Dwight, Memoirs of Yale Life and Men, 339. 

1 Hopkins, Miscellaneous Essays and Discourses. 



CHAPTER VII 

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, 
449. 

8 MS. letter, January 15, 1849. 

C27 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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. 
228 




PAUL ANSEL CHADBOURNE 

I872-I88I 



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. 
229 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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. 

230 



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. 

231 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

" 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. 

232 



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. 

233 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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 - 
234 



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 

235 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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 
site. 

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. 
236 



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. 

237 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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. 

238 



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. 

239 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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. 

240 



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- 
tive. 

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. 
241 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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. 



CHAPTER VIII 

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 

243 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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 
revolutionary administration. 

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. 

244 




FRANKLIN CARTER 



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. 

245 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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, 
1850. 
* Bronson, History of Brown University, 258-67. 

246 



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 

247 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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. 

248 



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 
College. 

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. 
249 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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), 

250 



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. 

251 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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. 

252 



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. 

ii 

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. 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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- 
cessfully managed. 

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. 

254 




JOHN HASKELL HEWITT 
I90I-I902 



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- 
255 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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. 

256 




HENRY HOPKINS 
1902-1908 



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 
exercises. 

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. 

257 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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 
educational values. 

ill 

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 
University. 

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- 

258 



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 
Wood (1909). 

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 
citizenship." l 

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. 
259 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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. 

260 




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 

261 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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 

IV 

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 
Williams, 6. 

262 



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 

263 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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 [1865]. 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. 

264 



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 
realized. 

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- 

265 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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, 
397. 398. 

266 



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. 

267 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

unwearied than George Sorrow's for that of East 
Anglia. 

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- 
munity. 2 

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. 

268 



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. 

269 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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 
Stars." 

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 
service. 

1 Popular Astronomy, October, 1913. * Ibid. 

270 



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- 
erable circumstance. 

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 

271 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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. 

272 



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 
alumni. 

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. 

273 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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 
economic theories. 

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 

274 



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. 

275 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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. 



CHAPTER IX 

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. 

277 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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 

4-0-0 

Errors excepted. 

STOCKBRIDGE, JONATHAN EDWARDS. 

January 30, 1756. 

279 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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- 
lege, 350. 

2 Jenkins' MS. Diary, Notices, etc., December 23, 1818. 

280 



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, 
1822-23.) 

281 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

to do occasionally, I shall try to have a greater 
variety. " 

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). 

282 



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. 

283 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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 

284 



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. 

285 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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. 

II 

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. 

286 



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. 

287 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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 
enemies. 

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. 

288 



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. 

289 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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 
of Massachusetts, 

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 
dissolved. 

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- 
ing statement. 

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- 

290 



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 
interests. 



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 
years ago. 

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; 

291 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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 



in 

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, 
871. 

292 



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 

293 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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 
bought." 1 

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 
their own. 

iv . 

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. 

294 



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 
measure. 

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. 

295 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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. 

296 



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- 
ing." 2 

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. 

297 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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 
defeated. 



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 [1796]. The scholars clean the ground around college 
thoroughly." (Thomas Robbins, Diary, I, 9.) 

298 



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 
day." 1 

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. 
299 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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 
Gazette" :- 

"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. 
300 



LOOKING BEFORE AND AFTER 

INDEPENDENCE 

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 
Williams College. 

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 [1829] which will be followed by an address by Mr. 
G. B. Kellogg [1829] 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 [1829]. 

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. 
301 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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 
country. 

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. 

302 



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. 

303 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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. 

304 



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 

305 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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. 

306 



LOOKING BEFORE AND AFTER 

VI 

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. 
307 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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. 
308 



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 
Cambridge. 1 

VII 

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. 

309 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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 
significant. 

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- 

310 



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. 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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 

312 



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. 

313 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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- 
siasm/' 2 

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. 

315 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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 
mountains." l 

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. 

316 



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 
revelation." 2 

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. 

317 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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." 

VIII 

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. 
318 



[Facsimile] 



1 / r 

>**^L^ *+S 



f^4 



tnutt^ <JL*JL t 

r r 




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- 
ferences. 

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. 

319 



WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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. 
320 



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. 



THE END 



X 

APPENDIX 



INVENTORY OF YE LATE EPH M WILLIAMS CHEST TAKEN AT 
LAKE GEORGE SEPT 15 1755 &c. YE CHEST THEN SENT 
COL. LIDIUS'S. 

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 

4 Pillow 

Books 

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 

323 



APPENDIX 

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 

II 

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 
Williams' executors. 

324 



APPENDIX 

III 

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 



IV 

"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, 
and Enoch. 



325 



APPENDIX 

V 

WILLIAMS COLLEGE 

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 
School. 1 

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 
French author. 

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.) 

326 



APPENDIX 

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 



VI 

PENALTIES OR " MULCTS " ACCORDING TO THE BY-LAWS OF 

1795 

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. 

327 



APPENDIX 

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 

and six 
pence 

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 



328 



APPENDIX 

VII 

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 

329 



APPENDIX 

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. 

SAMUEL COWLS. 

SOLOMON STRONG. 

SILAS HUBBELL. 

Committee. 
WILLIAMS COLLEGE, June 19, 1798. 

PRESIDENT ADAMS' REPLY 

Gentlemen: 

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 
country. 

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 

330 



APPENDIX 

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. 



331 



APPENDIX 



VIII 

WILLIAMS VOLUNTEERS, GRADUATE AND NON-GRADUATE, IN 
THE CIVIL WAR, AND THEIR RANK 

Major-General I 

Brevet Major-Generals 2 

Brigadier-Generals 2 

Brevet Brigadier-Generals 10 

Adjutant-Generals 4 

Colonels 15 

Brevet Colonels 10 

Assistant Adjutant-Generals 6 

Inspector-General I 

Assistant Surgeon-General I 

Lieutenant-Colonels IO 

Brevet Lieutenant-Colonels 5 

Medical Director I 

Majors 1 1 

Brevet Majors 5 

Surgeons 25 

Assistant Surgeons 24 

Paymasters * 5 

Captains 45 

Brevet Captain I 

Provost Marshal I 

Adjutants 4 

Lieutenants 23 

Sergeants and Corporals 8 

Volunteer Aide I 

Medical Cadets 3 

Privates 67 

Chaplains 26 

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 
Admiral. 

332 



APPENDIX 

IX 
BILL PRATT 

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. 



INDEX 



Adams, John, letter of Williams stu- 
dents to, 69, 329; his reply, 69, 

Adams, William W., 259, 262. 
Adelphic Union, 65. 
Albany, 10. 

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- 

40. 

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, 

164. 
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 
Chapel, 249. 

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, 
316. 



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, 

309-15- 

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- 
centennial, 185. 

Canfield, James H., 163-64, 199- 
200, 252. 

Canning, Edward W. B., 186. 

Carnegie, Andrew, 252. 

Carter, Franklin, 176, 181, 234, 262, 
264, 265 ; interview with President 



335 



INDEX 



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, 

303-05. 

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, 
187, 310. 

Cox, Thomas, "professor of dust and 
ashes," 306. 

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 

1845-46, 283-85. 
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, 

183, 236-37. 
Dodd, Cyrus M., 176; lover of rare 

books and Berkshire scenery, 276, 

316. 

Drinking, 141. 
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. 



336 



INDEX 



East College, 50; burned, 165; rebuilt 
and renamed, 165. 

Eaton, Amos, his lectures and influ- 
ence, 100-02. 

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, 

235. 

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, 
181-82, 236. 

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. 
Garfield, " 



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- 
tains," 318. 

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, 
46, 247. 

Green, Byram, on the Haystack 
prayer-meeting, 78-80, 186. 

Green's Short History, 272. 

Greenfield, 106, 107. 

Greylock,firstpathup,3i2; ascended 



337 



INDEX 



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. 
Gulielmensian, 308. 
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, 
118. 

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; 
acting-president, 254. 

Hill, Clement H., 234. 

History of the County of Berkshire, 

313. 

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, 
265. 

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 



338 



INDEX 



Lake George, 12; repels attack of 

Dieskau, 13. 
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 
enthusiasts, 310-18. 

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 
Adams, 69. 

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, 

206. 

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, 
123. 

Morley, Sardis B., 301. 

Morton, Miss Eliza S., on Berkshire 
scenery, 314. 

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 

founder, 13. 
Noble, Daniel, 32, 37, 54, 103, in, 

113. 

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. 
Pensions, 256. 

Periodicals, student, 307-09. 
Perry, Arthur L., 176, 233; methods 

of teaching, 272, 273 ; publications, 

273, 274. 



339 



INDEX 



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 

George, 13. 
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, 

134- 

Programme at the first Commence- 
ment, 48-49. 

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, 
177. 

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, 

193- 
Roe, Edward P., interview with 

President Hopkins, 192; literary 

career, 193. 
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- 

85. 
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, 

2, 3- 

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, 

19. 
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, 
249. 



340 



INDEX 



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 
members, 64. 

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 
board, 45. 

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, 

185. 
Wayland, Francis, 154, 155, 222, 

246. 
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, 

38. 
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, 



14,323,324: 
r ilha 



Williams, William, 33, 39. 

Williams Christian Association, 65, 
320. 

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, 

113- 

Wilson, President, 259. 
Wood, Ernest H., 259. 
Woodbridge, Joseph, 94. 
Woodbridge, Luther D., 268. 



341 



INDEX 



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. 



CAMBRIDGE . MASSACHUSETTS 
U . S . A 



UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA LIBRARY 
BERKELEY 

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- SEP 6-72 M' 
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JAffig1973 

4 



<r 



04829 



3G9906 



UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA LIBRARY