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THE STORY OF HARVARD 




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Mollis H»ll tmd Stoughton HaU. FmnlitpHxe 



THE STORY OF 
HARVARD 



BY 

ARTHUR STANWOOD PIER 



WITH ILLUSTRATIONS BY 

VERNON HOWE BAILEY 



•• 






••:••: 

• • • r 
:.. 



• • ••. 

* • ••• 

• • • • 4 



BOSTON 
LITTLE, BROWN, AND COMPANY 



:•: 



• _ • 



• • •«• 



• • 



• • • 



Copyright, igij, 
By LiTTLi, Brown, and Company. 



All rights reserved 



Published, September, 1913 
Reprinted, December, 1913 



•• - : .'••,:• • •. t ••• 
• • * : * ••• :;••. 

..::..: •:•••• 

•• * : : ;•. ••• :•: : : 

> • • • 



8. J. Paskhill a Co., Bostoh, U.S.A. 



PREFACE 

From Benjamin Peirce's History of Harvard and 
from President Quincy's History of Harvard I have 
drawn much of the material for the earlier chapters 
of this book. For that contained in later chapters 
I acknowledge indebtedness particularly to Jo* 
siah Quincy's Figures of the Pasty Dr. A. P. Pea- 
body's Harvard Reminiscences j Harvard Memorial 
BiographieSy and Mn' William Roscoe Thayer's ad- 
mirable History and Customs of Harvard University. 
The selections from J. R. Lowell's works are used by 
permission of, and by special arrangement with, 
Houghton Mifflin Company, the authorized pub- 
lishers of his works. Acknowledgment is also due 
to Harper and Brothers for extracts from Letters 
of James Russell Lowell^ edited by Charles Eliot 
Norton, and to Little, Brown, and Company for 
the extracts from Francis Parkman's letters and 
from Josiah Quincy's Figures of the Past. 

A. S. P. 



CUBBERLEY UBRARY 




CONTENTS 



CHAPTER 

I. Past and Present 

II. The Beginning and the First President 

III. Harvard in the Seventeenth Century 

IV. Leverett and Wadsworth 
V. Before the Revolution . 

VI. The Revolution: Harvard in Exile 

VII. The Period of Readjustment . 

VIII. The Beginning of the Modern Era 

IX. Harvard under Quincy 

X. Ante - Bellum Days .... 

XI. Harvard in the War .... 

XII. President Eliot's Administration . 

XIII. Undergraduate Activities 

XIV. Freshman and Senior 



PAGE 
I 

26 

44 

58 

77 

97 
112 

128 

147 
163 

197 
209 

227 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

HoUis Hall and Stoughton Hall . . Frontispiece 

f ACXNG PAGE 

The Johnston West Gate 4 

Gore Hall 18 

Germanic Museum 34 

Harvard Hall 54 

The Union 74 

Massachusetts Hall 94 

University Hall no 

Hoi worthy Hall 132 

Divinity Hall 148 

Apple ton Chapel 164 

Memorial Hall 178 

The Lampoon Office and the " Gold Coast " .210 

The Weld Boat House 218 

The Stadium 224 

The Yard on Class Day , 246 



THE 

STORY OF HARVARD 

CHAPTER I 

PAST AND PRESENT 

LET US conceive of a Harvard graduate of 
twenty years ago, now revisiting his college 
for the first time, with no knowledge of the changes 
which it has undergone since his day. What would 
be his impressions? He would probably feel at 
first as if he were seeing a few old landmarks em- 
bedded in a new setting. The old Cambridge and 
the old Boston are transformed. Conveyed through 
a tunnel from Boston Common to Harvard Square 
in eight minutes, the returning patriarch emerges 
upon a college yard that he hardly knows. The 
wooden fence has disappeared; a high iron fence 
and handsome brick gateways have replaced that 
simple barrier, and exact of him as he enters a sense 
of uneasy formality. He is cheered by the sight 
of Grays and Boylston, the homely old familiars of 

1 rc'iCD^ ' 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

his youth, standing shoulder to shoulder in front 
of him; and when he passes them he finds the build- 
ings of the old quadrangle unchanged. But the 
quadrangle itself, with its elms all lopped to the 
shape of candelabra and its meager young red oaks, 
has a bare aspect that chills his spirits. 

The friendly pump, souvenir of more primitive 
days, has disappeared from in front of HoUis. A 
glimpse through an open window in Holworthy 
entices him; he climbs the stairs to the room that 
he used to occupy. The senior who welcomes him 
is hospitable and interested; the graduate is im- 
pressed by the luxury and comfort of the quarters. 
The pictures and the furniture suggest to him that 
the aesthetic sense of the undergraduate is more 
discriminating now than it used to be. The variety 
of medals and " shingles " upon the walls convinces 
him that the social life is more varied. The shower- 
bath that has been installed in what was once the 
" coal closet " informs him that a crude way of 
living is no longer tolerated. Unwilling to pay 
homage to the present at the expense of the past, 
he remembers with a manly pride the tin hat tub 
which it was his custom to drag from under the 
bed every morning. The room may have been of 
a frosty temperature, the water may have been icy 

2 



PAST AND PRESENT 

cold; but the graduate is of the opinion that to 
squat shivering in the hat tub was a tonic for 
virility such as the young hedonist who steams and 
streams in his warm shower can never know. 

Looking out of the window, he laments the fact 
that the low wire fences to protect the grass plots 
have been removed. In his day they aflForded 
pleasant opportunities for practise in walking the 
tight-wire. The graduate himself acquired pro- 
ficiency in that art; he tells the polite senior how 
once he made a wager that he could strip himself 
naked on the wire and then dress again without 
touching foot to the ground, and how, having 
chosen an early morning hour that would not expose 
him to public scandal, he successfully performed 
the feat. Something in the senior's polite manner of 
receiving this anecdote causes him to feel that 
Harvard men nowadays would regard such diver- 
sions as fit only to be practised at a fresh-water 
college. 

The graduate fears that the courteous and hos- 
pitable senior is getting bored, and so he takes his 
departure. If the quadrangle has altered in minor 
ways, the yard to the east of the quadrangle has 
altered a great deal. Along Quincy Street, flank- 
ing Sever on either side, is a series of new buildings. 

S 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

The graduate looks in vain for Shaler's picturesque 
old house — just as, alas, he looks in vain for pictur- 
esque old Shaler. He looks in vain for the Presi- 
dent's ugly old house; he sees instead a handsome 
new mansion. He looks in vain for Gore Hall, the 
library; it has been torn down, to give place to a 
much larger and finer library under another name. 
The graduate thinks it is right and fitting thus to 
honor the memory of the young Harvard man for 
whom the building is given; but he also thinks 
that it is rather rough on old Christopher Gore, 
who by his bequest of a hundred thousand dollars 
seventy years ago had become Harvard's most 
munificent benefactor. However, the senior has 
informed the graduate that Christopher Gore is to 
be compensated by having one of the new fresh- 
man dormitories named after him. 

" Freshman dormitories " — that is a new idea 
to the graduate. The senior who has outlined the 
scheme to him has expressed the skepticism to be 
expected of a conservative senior. He has ad- 
mitted, however, that since it is one of President 
Lowell's pet ideas, it may turn out all right; he 
confesses that President Lowell has so far " made 
good." (An expression, by the way, that annoys 
the graduate exceedingly.) His explanation of the 

4 




„l^rt^ 



The Johnston West Gate 



PAST AND PRESENT 

proposed scheme has interested the graduate; ap- 
parently there are to be three or four dormitories 
somewhere down by the river in which all freshmen 
are to be segregated; the rich and the poor are to 
live together, eat together, play together — if not 
spontaneously, why then by compulsion. The 
graduate thinks that in his day no such artificial 
spurs to democratic conduct were required, but he 
concedes, after a visit to the Gold Coast, that it may 
be diflFerent now. 

The Gold Coast he finds to be a section of Mount 
Auburn Street that has of late years been built up 
with luxurious and high-priced dormitories. By a 
fortunate chance, the class baby of the graduate's 
class, who lives in Claverly Hall, emerges just as 
he is passing that building. So the class baby takes 
the elderly gentleman — who is a friend of his as 
well as of his father's — in charge, pilots him on a 
tour of these habitations of the rich, shows him the 
swimming-tanks, the squash courts, offers him tea, 
and has in several of the most civilized young per- 
sons imaginable to meet him. 

When the graduate expresses a desire to see some 
of the athletic activities, he is escorted to Soldier's 
Field. There the huge Stadium, looming in the 
midst of spacious playing-grounds, excites his 

5 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

wonder. Within its horse-shoe, the Varsity foot- 
ball squad is practising; outside, on various grid- 
irons, the members of scrub and class elevens are 
trampling about, busily grinding one another into 
the earth. With pleasure and surprise the graduate 
notes that one of these filthy-faced participants is 
the senior who had entertained him in Holworthy. 
The graduate feels that young men who have warm 
shower-baths in their rooms are likely to be partic- 
ularly benefited if they eat their peck of dirt while 
still young. He regrets that the class baby does not 
play football. The graduate invites him and two 
of his friends to dine — wondering, as he does so, 
whether he ought to offer them champagne. He de- 
cides hastily that it will be expected, when the 
class baby in accepting the invitation amends it by 
suggesting that they go after dinner to see a show, 
and says that he will run them all in to Boston in 
his motor. 

After appointing the rendezvous, the graduate 
strolls off alone to revisit the scenes for which he 
has a particular affection. He is pleased to find 
that the Gymnasium has grown to more than 
double its former size. With what lies behind it he 
is profoundly impressed, but his emotions are not 
wholly those of pleasure. Holmes Field and Jarvis 

6 



PAST AND PRESENT 

Field, those arenas of athletic triumph or defeat, 
in football, base-ball, tennis and track, have been 
so built upon as to be unrecognizable. No vestige 
of the wooden bleachers whence rose the cheers of 
thousands now remains. Old John the Orangeman 
and his donkey have passed on — farther than from 
Holmes to Soldier's Field. The ancient silk hat 
garnished with a crimson bandage no longer goes 
nodding in front of the stands; no more is the 
amiable simian countenance turned upward to the 
customer; none of the present college generations 
have heard the mumbled greeting — "Aye, frind; 
yis, frind." 

The graduate turns aside and walks along quiet 
streets on which professors live in their modest 
houses. They offer a singular contrast to the arid 
splendors of the Gold Coast; with their trees and 
shrubbery they recall the Cambridge that he knew. 
But on the little side streets, inhabited no doubt by 
instructors and tutors and assistants, the houses 
seem small and dingy; the graduate regrets the 
obvious disparity in the way of living imposed on 
some officers of the college and that enjoyed by 
some of the undergraduates. For at the under- 
graduate time of life dignity in externals is especially 
impressive; the young man accustomed to luxury 

7 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

is not likely to detect worth in shabbiness. The 
freshman whose boots are blacked and whose fire 
is lighted before he gets out of bed will probably be 
more attentive to a lecturer who wears dove-colored 
spats and a fancy waistcoat than to one whose 
trousers show horizontal creases and whose coat 
droops from the shoulders. It is the opinion of the 
graduate that if the pay of all the lesser officers of 
the university could be doubled or tripled, there 
would be a higher average of scholarship along the 
Gold Coast than now exists, and that fewer of 
those who have put into its ports would be pre- 
maturely banished to cruise the high seas. But the 
graduate's theory is not likely to be tested; possibly 
the institution of freshman dormitories will pro- 
duce one of the results that he would like to see — 
not by improving the condition of the minor officers 
of the college, but by reducing the utterly false 
notions of personal dignity that are now entertained 
by many sons of multimillionaires. 

Engaged' in these reflections, the graduate" finds 
that he has reached that sequestered nook of Har- 
vard University in which the divinity students are 
congregated. The Divinity School, with its little 
chapel and dormitory and lecture hall, is now a 
quaintly unimportant corner of the university — 

8 



PAST AND PRESENT 

so at least the graduate thinks when he remembers 
that Harvard College was originally and primarily 
a divinity school. 

So at least he thinks until he spies beyond, in 
what used to be a section of Norton's Woods, a very 
beautiful, very large, very imposing and obviously 
ecclesiastical building — Norman-Gothic, of gray 
stone, with a lofty central tower. To a passing post- 
man he appeals for information. " The Andover 
Theological School," says the postman. " Now run 
in connection with the Harvard Divinity School." 

An interesting reversion, thinks the graduate — 
for in 1808, the Calvinists, outraged by the growth 
of Unitarianism at Harvard, forsook Cambridge 
and established their own theological school at An- 
dover. Just one hundred years later, back they 
come and rear this noble fane at Harvard's doors — 
not in mocking triumph, but lending their strength 
and their aid to what seems a humble and shrunken 
little school of divinity. 

As the graduate has now had enough of sight-see- 
ing, he sits down on the steps of Divinity Chapel 
and lets his mind dwell upon the early days of the 
college. These acres were then a jungle of whortle- 
berry bushes. Much of Cambridge, all of what is 
now Cambridgeport, was a treeless, marshy waste. 

9 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

The undergraduates over whom Dunster and 
then Chauncy presided were very young. They 
entered college at the age of twelve or thirteen — 
already devoted, most of them, to the ministry. 
Theology was the subject of universal interest to 
the community; the theologians were the important 
and influential persons. 

The graduate musing on the steps of Divinity 
finds it hard to visualize and comprehend the people 
of those days. Their apparent lack of human senti- 
ment, their callousness to affection, their insensibility 
to suffering and tragedy seem to him characteristic 
of the Chinese rather than the Anglo-Saxon race. 
Even in the households which were as happy as 
Calvinistic households could well be, the visitations 
of death appear scarcely to have disturbed the tran- 
quillity of those who survived. The readiness of 
persons and families to adapt themselves to bereave- 
ment and make the best of it strikes the tender- 
hearted graduate as amazing. He remembers that 
the conduct of Robert Harvard, father of John, in 
waiting a year and a half after the death of his 
first wife before contracting a second marriage was 
noted as exceptionaL Robert Harvard's widow, 
John Harvard's mother, was less patient; she 
married John Elletson five months after Robert 

10 



PAST AND PRESENT 

Harvard died; she married Richard Yearwood ten 
months after Elletson's death. John Harvard's 
widow had been his widow hardly a year when she 
married Thomas Allen. The graduate, who has 
dipped somewhat into diaries and letters of the 
time, has been struck by the fact that the loss 
of children seemed to cause their parents only a 
passing pang. The frequent mortality in Cotton 
Mather's offspring failed to detach that self-cen- 
tered fanatic for any considerable interval from 
the contemplation of his own spiritual experiences. 
Even so late as the middle of the eighteenth century, 
President Stiles of Yale hardly paused from his 
nightly astronomical observations to be present at 
the death of his infant son; his record of that event 
^ would indicate that he regarded it as one of the 
minor incidents of life. 

Such sternness of soul was perhaps required of 
the men who were to build up New England. And 
though among the early presidents of Harvard were 
many gentler spirits, the atmosphere of the time was 
not favorable to progress in the humanities. Disci- 
pline was severe without being just, duty was narrowly 
defined, individualism was repressed. Harvard Col- 
lege had its beginning in a period of reaction towards 
mediaevalism in thought and monasticism in conduct. 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

Her ideals of education were utterly divorced from 
those which had flowered in the Elizabethan age. 
So long as they prevailed, no great thinker or writer 
or poet could issue from her walls. Not until she 
had freed herself from the tyranny of the theocracy 
and embraced with the ardor of emancipated youth 
the liberal doctrines of the Revolution did she be- 
gin to feel and to reveal her powers. From having 
been, as it were, the devout watcher by the corpse 
of learning, tending the lights at head and feet, 
she has come forth to find herself in the presence 
of the living; instead of guarding dry bones and 
dust, she is quickening sensibility, inspiring senti- 
ment, and stirring imagination. 

The graduate has completed his meditations; 
he rises from the steps of Divinity and goes to meet 
the class baby and his friends. 



12 



CHAPTER II 

THE BEGINNING AND THE FIRST PRESIDENT 

IN 1636 the Massachusetts Bay settlement ex- 
tended for about thirty miles along the seacoast 
and less than twenty miles inland. West and north 
and south of thi^ small area stretched a wilderness, 
inhabited by hostile Indians. The people of the 
settlement were few in number and scattered. 
There were perhaps five thousand families. They 
had the Indians to fight or to pacify, a living to get 
from the soil, houses to build, and forests to clear. 
With all their toil and activity, with all the need 
for co-operation in facing their problems and perils, 
and in spite of the fact that they had exiled them- 
selves in a desire for perfect religious freedom, 
they found both time and inclination to engage in 
theological controversy with one another and to 
view one another with bitterness and suspicion. 
Infant baptism and the Antinomian theory were 
prolific causes of strife and dissension. Theology 
constituted their only intellectual interest; zealots 

13 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

and fanatics as they were, there was no unanimity 
in their non-conformity. 

But by one sentiment they were united — the love 
of learning. Long before there was any promise of 
prosperity, while they were still struggling in such 
poverty as few other pioneers have ever known, 
they were contributing freely from their scanty re- 
sources to keep alive the institution which remains 
to-day the first and greatest creation of the Puri- 
tans. 



In the autumn of 1636, six years after the first 
settlement of Boston, the General Court of Massa- 
chusetts Bay Colony voted to grant four hundred 
pounds for the founding of a public " school or 
college." Two hundred pounds was to be paid the 
next year, and the remainder of the amount when 
the building was finished. This was the first occa- 
sion, it is said, on which a community through its 
representatives voted a sum of money to establish 
an institution of learning. Twelve of the principal 
magistrates and ministers of the colony, among them 
Governor Winthrop and Deputy Governor Dudley, 
were appointed to carry through the project. 

They decided that the college should be at New- 

14 



THE BEGINNING AND FIRST PRESIDENT 

towne — "a place very pleasant and accommodate." 
In 1638, the year of the opening of the college, the 
name of this place was changed to Cambridge, 
many of the leading men of the colony being grad- 
uates of the old English university. Thus, before the 
college itself had received a name, it had given one 
to the town. 

In 1637, John Harvard, a young non-conformist 
minister who had graduated two years earlier at 
Emmanuel College, Cambridge, came over and 
settled in Charlestown. His life there was short; 
he died of consumption the next year. Apparently 
the plans for the college had awakened his interest 
and enthusiasm, for he left it half his estate — 
779 pounds, seventeen shillings and twopence — 
and also his library of 320 volumes. We may justly 
estimate the importance of this bequest if we con- 
sider that eight hundred pounds in those days 
would be equivalent in value to about thirty thou- 
sand dollars now. 

John Harvard's unexpected and munificent be- 
quest stimulated others to give freely. A list of 
some of the contributions is rather touching; it 
includes such items as a number of sheep, a quantity 
of cotton cloth worth nine shillings, a pewter flagon 
worth ten shillings, a fruit dish, a sugar spoon, a 

15 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

" silver-tipt " jug, one " great salt," and one small 
** trencher-salt." 

It was John Harvard's bequest that made the 
establishment of the college secure, and it was a 
just appreciation of this fact that led the founders to 
perpetuate his name. In March, 1639, it was voted 
that the college should henceforth be known as 
Harvard College. 

Although the exact site of the original college 
building is more or less uncertain, it was probably 
somewhere within the limits of the present Grays 
Hall. The building was primitive and poorly 
constructed. On the first floor were the hall, which 
was used for religious and literary exercises and for 
" commons," and the kitchen and buttery. The 
upper floors were given over to chambers; each 
chamber had partitioned off in it two or three 
studies about six feet square. Some of the cham- 
bers were calked and daubed with clay, others were 
ceiled with cedar, others were lathed, plastered, 
and whitened. The building was clapboarded and 
shingled, but was far from weatherproof; the win- 
dows were more successful in admitting air than 
light, for only a portion of each sash was glazed, 
oiled paper being used in the rest. In cold weather 
the small studies in the chambers were frigid, 

16 



THE BEGINNING AND FIRST PRESIDENT 

and the students all resorted with their books to 
the hall, where a fire was maintained " at the ex- 
pense of those who used it " — which probably 
means that those who did not contribute were not 
allowed to have places near it. In this room on 
cold nights the boys did their studying by the light 
of " the public candle." 

The pursuit of learning under such conditions 
was severe enough; it was rendered almost intoler- 
able by the character of the first master or professor. 
With all the munificence, devotion, and public spirit 
that attended the founding of Harvard College, 
its opening was not auspicious. The Rev. Nathaniel 
Eaton, appointed in 1637 the executive head, was 
utterly unfit for the post — although the General 
Court had such a high opinion of his capacities 
that they granted him five hundred acres of land 
on the condition of his remaining permanently with 
the college. He was both dishonest and violent; 
with the assistance of his wife, who acted as house- 
keeper and stewardess of the college, he cheated 
the students, and with his own hands he ill-used 
them. Moreover, he did not confine his cruel prac- 
tises to undergraduates alone. He quarreled with 
his usher, Nathaniel Briscoe, got two men to hold 
him, and then beat him over the head and shoulders 

17 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

with a club. Briscoe, thinking that he was to be 
murdered, began to pray, whereupon Eaton gave 
him some extra blows for taking the name of God in 
vain. The General Court, which had hitherto 
thought so highly of the master, dismissed him from 
office, fined him sixty-six pounds, and ordered him 
to pay Briscoe thirty pounds. An examination into 
the complaints made by the students followed; 
Eaton's wife made an abject and curious con- 
fession, admitting, among other things, that she 
had let the negro servitor sleep in John Wilson's 
bed. For this and other offenses she was severely 
censured; and then she and her husband, having 
been excommunicated by the church, took their 
departure from the colony. They went to Vir- 
ginia and then to England, where Eaton showed 
no improvement in either character or temper. 
After the restoration of Charles II, he conformed to 
the Church of England, obtained a living,* and pro- 
ceeded to persecute his former brethren with zeal 
and vindictiveness. In spite of his time-serving 
propensity he did not prosper; he was finally com- 
mitted to prison for debt, and there ended his 
days. 

This lamentable conduct on the part of the first 
executive did not discourage faith in the new insti- 

18 



THE BEGINNING AND FIRST PRESIDENT 

tution. People continued to make gifts to it, and 
in 1640 the General Court granted the college the 
revenue of the ferry between Charlestown and Bos- 
ton, amounting to about sixty pounds a year. The 
first printing-press north of Mexico, and for many 
years the only one in British America, was set up 
at the college; the first work from the American 
press was the " Freeman's Oath," issued in 1639. 
No one was appointed to succeed Eaton until 
^ugust 27, 1640, when the Rev. Henry Dunster, 
who had recently arrived from England, was elected 
president under that title. He had come over from 
Lancashire at the age of thirty-six with his wife and 
children to escape persecution for non-conformity. 
There is much that is wistful and appealing in the 
life of the young, light-haired first president. Ar- 
dent and enthusiastic, an idealist who knew no com- 
promises, generous of nature, tolerant of others but 
inflexible towards himself, Henry Dunster was the 
truest type of man to govern the destinies of a col- 
lege. He impoverished himself and wore himself 
out in the service of Harvard. Poor man though 
he was, he gave the college a hundred acres of 
land and contributed the greater part of the funds 
for building a house for the president; he secured 
liberal donations, besought the General Court for 

19 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

appropriations for improvements, and was himself 
teacher, preacher, and administrator. His salary 
was small and variable. In a letter to Governor 
Winthrop in 1643 he referred with resignation to 
" abatements that I have suffered, from 60 pounds 
to 50 pounds, from 50 pounds to 45 pounds, and from 
45 pounds to 30 pounds, which is now my rent from 
the ferry. I was and am willing, considering the 
poverty of the country, to descend to the lowest 
step, if there can be nothing comfortably allowed." 
Although his own living was so precarious, Dunster 
was quite successful in collecting money for the 
college; during his term as president, the donations 
amounted to at least one thousand pounds, besides 
annuities and grants of land. 

Unfortunately doubts as to the validity of infant 
baptism overtook him and so preyed upon his mind 
that at last he felt compelled to give them utter- 
ance; in the opinion of the influential persons of the 
community, this heresy terminated his usefulness. 
Cotton Mather wrote with sanctimonious regret 
that " he fell into the briers of Antipaedobaptism." 
Another devout person declared that " scruples and 
suggestions had been injected into him by Mr. 
Dunster's discourses," that he no longer dared 
trust himself within reach of their " venom and 

20 



THE BEGINNING AND FIRST PRESIDENT 

poison," and that it was " not hard to discern that 
they came from the Evil One." 

So in October, 1654, after fourteen years of un- 
selfish and devoted service, Dunster was compelled 
to resign from the college. In November he sub- 
mitted to the General Court " Considerations " 
which might induce them to let him remain a little 
longer in the president's house; they have a curious 
simplicity and pathos. 

" I. The time of the year is unseasonable, being 
now very near the shortest day and the depth of 
winter. 

" 2. The place unto which I go is unknown to me 
and my family, and the ways and means of sub- 
sistence to one of my talents and parts, or for the 
containing or conserving of my goods, or disposing 
of my cattle, accustomed to my place of residence. 

" 3. The place from which I go hath fire, fuel, 
and all provisions for man and beast laid in for the 
winter. To remove some things will be to destroy 
them; to remove others, as books and household 
goods, to damage them greatly. The house I have 
builded, upon very damageful conditions to myself, 
out of love for the college. . . . 

" 4. The persons, all besides myself, are women 
and children. . . . My wife is sick, and my youngest 

21 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

child entirely so, and hath been for months, so 
that we dare not carry him out of doors." 

The General Court was sufficiently touched to 
let him remain until March — not a much more 
seasonable time for moving in those days. The reader 
of this homeless and penniless man's appeal may 
reflect somewhat ironically upon the luxurious dor- 
mitory at Harvard which bears Dunster's name. 

The deposed president went to Scituate and be- 
came minister of the church there; his financial 
condition was still so straitened that the Corpora- 
tion of Harvard College, which had recognized 
the value of his services even while finding it neces- 
sary to ask for his resignation, appealed to the 
General Court to settle one hundred pounds on him 
to compensate him for losses that he had sustained. 
The General Court, however, neither felt under any 
obligation to do this nor was disposed to be gener- 
ous. Four years after leaving Cambridge, Dunster 
died in poverty. 

There were nine members of the first class that 
graduated from Harvard College — the class of 
1642. Most of them became ministers. Benjamin 
Woodbridge, the first scholar of the class^ returned 
to England and might have been Canon of Windsor 
if he had been willing to conform to the Church of 

22 



THE BEGINNING AND FIRST PRESIDENT 

England, but he would not. John Bulkley, son 
of the first minister at Concord, also went to England. 
He, too, became a minister, but was ejected from his 
parish in 1662. He then took up the practise of 
medicine in London — with considerable success. 
William Hubbard became minister at Ipswich, 
John Wilson at Medfield, and Nathaniel Brewster 
on Long Island. Samuel Bellingham and Henry 
Saltonstall took degrees in medicine in Europe. 
Of Tobias Barnard nothing is recorded. 

By far the most interesting and picturesque 
member of the class was George Downing — though 
he was not a man of whom the college can be proud. 
The ministry had no attractions for him; he entered 
the English Army and was scout-master general in 
Scotland. Afterwards he was in high favor with 
Cromwell, but with the Restoration he became a 
turncoat, had the merit of betraying several of the 
regicides, and was knighted in consequence. For 
this he was made a byword in New England; any 
man who betrayed his trust was spoken of as " an 
arrant George Downing." Samuel Pepys in his 
diary, March 12, 1662, wrote: 

" This morning we have news that Sir G. Down*- 
ing — lik6 a perfidious rogue, though the action is 
good and of service to the King, yet he cannot with 

23 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

a good conscience do it, — hath taken Okey, Corbet, 
and Barkstead at Delft in Holland, and sent them 
home in the Blackmore.^^ Five days later, mention- 
ing the arrival of the prisoners, Pepys has this 
passage: "The captain tells me, the Dutch were a 
good while before they could be persuaded to let 
them go, they being taken prisoners in their land. 
But Sir G. Downing would not be answered so, 
though all the world takes notice of him for a most 
ungrateful villain for his pains." 

Pepys, however, had always a warm feeling for 
success; and it was characteristic of him that in 
five years he should be writing: 

" The new commissioners of the treasury have 
chosen Sir G. Downing for their secretary; and I 
think in my conscience they have done a great 
thing in it; for he is active and a man of business, 
and values himself upon having things do well under 
his hand; so that I am mightily pleased in their 
choice/' 

And again: "Met with Sir G. Downing, and 
walked with him an hour, talking of business and 
how the late war was managed, there being nobody 
to take care of it, and he telling, when he was in 
Holland, what he offered the King to do if he might 
have power, and then, upon the least word, per- 

24 



THE BEGINNING AND FIRST PRESIDENT 

haps of a woman, to the King, He was contradicted 
again, and particularly to the loss of all that we lost 
in Guinea. He told me that he had so good spies 
that he hath had the keys taken out of De Witt's 
pocket when he was abed, and his closet opened and 
papers brought to him and left in his hands for an 
hour, and carried back and laid in the place again, 
and the keys put into his pocket again. He says 
he hath always had their most private debates, that 
have been but between two or three of the chief 
of them, brought to him in an hour after, and an 
hour after that hath sent word thereof to the King." 
Whether or not Harvard derived any benefit in 
England through the influential offices of this ras- 
cally earliest graduate does not appear. It is at 
least to be remembered to his credit that forty 
years after his graduation he contributed a sub- 
stantial sum of money to the building of the old Har- 
vard Hall; he must have had some feeling of affec- 
tion for his needy young Alma Maten 



25 



CHAPTER III 

HARVARD IN THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY 

SEVEN years after its founding, Harvard Col- 
lege adopted the seal and coat of arms which it 
now bears — three books spread open upon a shield 
and displaying the word Veritas. In 1650 the col- 
lege became by act of the General Court a corpora- 
tion, consisting of a president, five fellows, and a 
treasurer; in them all the property of the institu- 
tion was to be vested, and by them, under the super- 
vision of the overseers, its affairs were to be directed. 
This charter of 1650 is still the basis of the legal 
existence and organization of the university. 

The requirements for admission at this time seem 
at first glance to have been severely classical. 
" When any scholar is able to understand Tully 
or such like classical Latine author extempore, 
and m^ke and speake true Latine in verse and prose, 
suo ut aiunt Marte^ and decline perfectly the para- 
digms of nounes and verbes in the Greek tongue; 
Let him then, and not before, be capable of admis- 

26 



IN THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY 

sion into the College." But although these require- 
ments in Latin sound in one way rather formidable, 
and although the students were expected to recite 
at all times in Latin, the college course was in 
most respects very elementary. Its primary aim 
was to prepare students for the ministry. Besides 
Latin and Greek, Hebrew, Chaldee, and Syriac were 
the prescribed languages; logic, ethics, arithmetic, 
geometry, physics, metaphysics, politics, and di- 
vinity were also prescribed. The young man who 
went forth with more than a smattering in all 
these subjects was no doubt exceptional. Examina- 
tions were held frequently, especially before Com- 
mencement. The Commencement exercises, which 
from the very beginning were attended by the 
governor and all the chief men of the colony, con- 
sisted of Latin, Greek, and Hebrew orations, and 
of disputations upon theses. In spite of being dedi- 
cated to such forbidding displays of scholarship, 
Commencement came to be often a time of disorder 
and at various periods was made a subject of special 
legislation. 

Besides the frequent examinations, just before 
Commencement, there were held once a month 
public declamations in Latin and Greek, and logical 
and philosophical disputations. For three weeks 

27 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

in June students who had been in the college two 
years or more were subjected to a daily, four-hour, 
oral examination. During this period, visitors were 
made welcome in the classes and given the privilege 
of questioning the students. The learned bores of 
the colony greatly enjoyed this opportunity of pub- 
licly harrying the undergraduates. 

In the early days of the college there were no 
professors; the president was assisted in imparting 
instruction by two or three graduate students, 
" bachelors in residence." A bachelor in residence 
was called a Sir. Thus, in 1643 Sir Bulkley and 
Sir Downing were appointed " for the present help of 
the President," and received a salary of four pounds 
a year. Bulkley in 1645 went to England and gave 
the college an acre of land covering the site of Gore 
Hall. Samuel Mather, of the class of 1643, be- 
came a Sir and acquired great popularity. " Such 
^was the love of all the scholars to him that not only 
when he read his last Philosophy Lecture in the Col- 
lege Hall they heard him in tears, because of its 
being his last, but also when he went away from 
the College, they put on the tokens of mourning 
in their very garments for it." Mitchell, of the 
class of 1647, remained a tutor in the college for 
several years. In 1650 he married a young widow 

28 



IN THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY 

and ordered from the college commons " a supper 
on his wedding night." It was he who perceived 
that President Dunster's ideas " were from the 
Evil One." 

Throughout the college year, tasks or duties were 
assigned for practically every hour of the day, 
and the rules regulating conduct were strict. The 
college laws of 1650 forbade the students to use 
tobacco " unless permitted by the president with 
the consent of parents or guardians, and a good 
reason first given by a physician, and then in a 
sober and private manner." They also prohibited the 
joining of any military band " unless of known 
gravity, and of approved, sober, and virtuous conver- 
sation." 

There were, however, occasional quite shocking 
outbreaks on the part of individual students. James 
Ward, of the class of 1645, son of a clergyman, 
and Joseph Weld, son of another clergyman, bur- 
glarized two houses. " Being found out," writes 
Governor Winthrop, " they were ordered by the 
governors of the College to be there whipped, which 
was performed by the president himself — yet 
they were about 20 years of age. . . • We had yet 
no particular punishment for burglary." 

The Rev. Charles Chauncy, an elderly clergy- 

29 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

man of Scituate, succeeded President Dunster. 
He had nothing of the martyr spirit of his prede- 
cessor; he was quite willing to refrain from press- 
ing unwelcome views upon people. So far from 
sharing Dunster's inconvenient ideas about infant 
baptism, he went too enthusiastically to the other 
extreme to please the community; " it was his 
judgment not only to admit infants to baptism, but 
to wash or dip them all over." It was represented 
to him that if he continued to disseminate that 
doctrine, he could not be made president of Har- 
vard; whereupon he cheerfully agreed to desist from 
such an unwise contention. 

His weakness was of conviction perhaps rather 
than of character; at any'rate he seems to have been 
an excellent president. His administration was 
beset with difficulties, and he struggled with them 
manfully and on the whole efficiently. The financial 
condition of the college was precarious; the General 
Court, to which Chauncy appealed time and again, 
was not disposed to make any liberal grants towards 
its relief. As had been the case with Dunster, 
Chauncy's salary was paid chiefly in transfers of 
taxes; he had to collect the taxes himself, and then, 
as they were usually paid in Indian corn or other 
produce, he had to convert them into cash, usually 

30 



IN THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY 

losing a considerable part of their value in the 
transaction. 

The conversion and education of the Indians was 
much on the minds of the pious settlers. The press 
of Harvard College was kept busy turning out 
tracts for their enlightenment. A Society for the 
Propagation of the Gospel among them, which had 
its headquarters in England, was prevailed upon to 
contribute a sum of money for a college building 
to be known as the Indian College. This building 
was finished in 1665, but the aborigines made very 
little use of it. A few Indians were admitted to 
Harvard, but only one ever graduated, and he 
shortly afterwards died of consumption. The In- 
dian College was soon required for other purposes 
than those for which it was built. 

Both it and the original building — the first 
Harvard Hall — were poorly constructed; before 
the end of Chauncy's term they had become almost 
unfit for occupation. Partly because of this, partly 
because of the apathy of the General Court towards 
the welfare of the college, the number of students 
declined, the total funds of the institution amounted 
to only a thousand pounds, and its future was dark. 
The venerable president did not lose heart; he 
went about trying to awaken interest and enthusiasm. 

31 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

His efforts were successful; and soon the different 
towns were contributing funds to stay the decline. 
The town of Portsmouth was the first to come for- 
ward; it pledged sixty pounds a year for seven years. 
Other places and people emulated this public spirit, 
and eventually the subscriptions which came in 
were sufficient for the building of a new Harvard 
Hall. But this was not finished until 1682 — ten 
years after Chauncy's death. 

President Chauncy set his students a good ex- 
ample of industry; he rose every morning at four 
o'clock and was busily occupied every day until 
his death, at the age of eighty-two. 

" The fellows of the College once leading this ven- 
erable old man to preach a sermon on a winter day, 
they, out of affection to him, to discourage him from 
so difficult an undertaking, told him, * Sir, you'll cer- 
tainly die in the pulpit; ' but he, laying hold on what 
they said as if they had offered him the greatest 
encouragement in the world, pressed the more vigor- 
ously through the snowdrift, and said, ' How glad 
should I be if what you say might prove true! ' " 

It is pleasant to find that the old gentleman re- 
tained to the end certain youthful prejudices as well 
as pious enthusiasms; he frequently inveighed from 
the pulpit against the enormity of long hair. 

32 



IN THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY 

Upon Chauncy's death in 1672, the Rev. Leonard 
Hoar, a graduate of the class of 1650, was chosen 
president. Although his administration was brief 
and unsuccessful, he deserved a better fate; his 
writings show him to have been far more broad- 
minded than most of his contemporaries and in 
many ways ahead of his time. He wanted " a large, 
well-sheltered garden and orchard, for students 
addicted to planting; an ergasterium for mechanic 
fancies; and a laboratory chemical for those phi- 
losophers that by their senses would culture their 
understandings. . . . For readings or notions only 
are but husky provender." He was endowed with 
the rarest of all qualities among the members of 
his race and generation — a kindly humor. Thus, 
after giving a scapegrace nephew who was a freshman 
some excellent advice, he ended his letter as follows: 

" Touching the other items about your studies, 
either mind them or mend them and follow better, 
so we shall be friends and rejoice in each other; but 
if you will neither, then, though I am no prophet, 
yet I will foretell you the certain issue of all, viz., 
that in a very few years be over, with inconceivable 
indignation you will call yourself fool and caitiff, and 
then, when it is to no purpose, me, what I now sub- 
scribe myself, your faithful friend and loving uncle." 

33 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

One of such a temper must have found very 
distasteful some of the duties that his position 
imposed upon him. Samuel Sewall's Diary gives 
an interesting glimpse of college discipline. 

"June 15, 1674, Thomas Sargeant was examined 
by the Corporation finally. The advice of Mr. Dan- 
forth, Mr. Stoughton, Mr. Thacher, Mr. Mather 
was taken. This was his sentence: 

" That being convicted of speaking blasphemous 
words concerning the H. G." — certainly no ir- 
reverence was intended in the abbreviation! — 
" he should be therefore publicly whipped before 
all the scholars. 

" That he should be suspended as to taking his 
degree of Bachelor. 

" Sit alone by himself in the Hall, uncovered at 
meals, during the pleasure of the President and 
Fellows, and be in all things obedient, doing what 
exercise was appointed him by the President, or 
else be finally expelled from the college. 

" The first was presently put in execution in the 
Library before the scholars. He kneeled down, 
and the instrument, Goodman Hely, attended the 
President's word as to the performance of his part 
in the work. Prayer was had before and after by 
the President. July i, 1674." 

34 




//V— ^•'^ J^'h 



Germanic Museum 



IN THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY 

Corporal punishment was not uncommon in 
those days, and remained in force as late as the 
middle of the eighteenth century, though it was 
not often inflicted after 1700. Whether President 
Hoar resorted to it too readily or whether he gave 
the students other grounds of resentment, he became 
most unpopular — so unpopular that after a couple 
of years the undergraduates left the college in a 
body. There is some reason to suspect that the 
Rev. Urian Oakes, who was a member of the Corpo- 
ration and had himself wanted to be president, had 
a hand in fomenting the trouble. If this was the 
fact, his machinations were only too successful; 
Hoar resigned in 1675, broken in health and spirit, 
and did not long survive the disgrace. 

Oakes then received the appointment that he 
coveted, but his enjoyment of authority was also 
brief, and his administration was colorless. 

John Rogers, who bore a great reputation for 
piety, succeeded him, but only for a year. Of his 
incumbency the credulous Cotton Mather relates 
the following anecdote: 

" It was his custom to be somewhat long in his 
daily prayers with the scholars in the College Hall. 
But one day, without being able to give reason of it, 
he was not so long, it may be by half, as he used to 

35 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

be. Heaven knew the reason. The scholars, re- 
turning to their chambers, found one of them on 
fire; and the fire had proceeded so far that if the 
devotion had held three minutes longer, the College 
had been irrecoverably laid in ashes, which now 
was happily preserved." 

In 1685 ^he Rev. Increase Mather became presi- 
dent, and Harvard College was thrust prominently 
into politics. Mather was a many-sided person, of 
zeal and ability, a leader in the aifairs of the colony, 
as well as a theologian. He was, however, self- 
seeking, had a sharp eye always to his own advan- 
tage and advancement, and stubbornly resisted any 
encroachment on what he chose to regard as his 
prerogatives. He had also some of the superstitious, 
puling quality that was one of the numerous con- 
temptible traits of his son Cotton. With all his 
defects, he did on the whole render Harvard College 
and Massachusetts a considerable service. When 
Charles II had called on Massachusetts to surrender 
its charter, Mather had been stanch and outspoken 
in opposition. The charter was not surrendered, 
but it was annulled; first Dudley and then Andros 
governed the colony so tyrannically that at last 
Mather was sent to England to lay the grievances 
of the people before the king. He spent four years 

36 



IN THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY 

in England — with so much personal satisfaction and 
enjoyment that he was forever after laying plans 
to get back there — and finally he obtained a new 
charter for the colony from King William. This 
charter was in most essentials the negation of all 
that Mather had been sent to obtain; it practically 
abolished the power of the theocracy which had 
hitherto ruled Massachusetts. But Mather was 
diplomat enough to see that it was the best that 
could be had, and to introduce all the compensations 
possible. He secured the appointment of Sir Will- 
iam Phips as first governor, confident of his in- 
fluence over him. In fact, when Mather returned 
in 1692 with the new governor and the new charter, 
it was not as one who had been worsted at every 
point, but as one who had triumphed over obstacles 
and was sure of a welcome. 

The new charter made freehold and property 
instead of chyrch membership the qualification for 
electing and being elected to office. The establish- 
ment of a religious faith was no longer to be the 
end and aim of civil government. The clergy were 
shorn of their temporal power. They were not 
disposed to be placated by Mather's representations 
that their loss was merely nominal. 

He remained a man of influence in the community, 

37 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

but no doubt the coolness of those who had been 
his warm friends and admirers was one of the causes 
of his consuming desire to return to England. His 
duties as president of Harvard did not aiford him 
complete satisfaction. The laws of the college 
required the president to expound chapters from 
the Old and New Testaments to the students twice 
a day. To Mather, who chose to live in Boston, 
where he could be in the midst of political activity 
and theological controversy, and who steadfastly 
refused to heed the recommendations of the General 
Court and take up his residence at the college, this 
duty was extremely irksome — so irksome that 
he quite consistently neglected it. Aside from the 
inconvenience of fulfilling it, it seemed to him a 
degradation of his talents and scholarship. In a 
letter to William Stoughton, who succeeded Phips 
as governor, he refers contemptuously to the under- 
graduates as " forty or fifty children, few of them 
capable of edification by such exercises." 

With the granting of a new charter to the colony, 
a new charter for Harvard College seemed to be 
required. That granted by the General Court in 
1692 was disallowed by the king, for the reason that 
It did not provide for the right of visitation by the 
Crown or the Crown's representatives. Mather 

38 



IN THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY 

immediately cherished hopes of being sent to Eng- 
land to adjust the difficulty about the college charter. 
He made public from time to time the fact that he 
was receiving intimations and assurances from on 
high of a great work that he had to do in England. 
His diary teems with such passages as the follow- 
ing: 

" Sept. 3, 1693. . . . Also saying to the Lord that 
some workings of his Providence seemed to inti- 
mate that I must be returned to England again 
and saying, * Lord, if it will be more to your glory 
that I should go to England than for me to con- 
tinue here in this land, then let me go; otherwise 
not,' I was inexpressibly melted, and that for a 
considerable time, and a stirring suggestion, that 
to England I must go. In this there was something 
extraordinary, either divine or angelical." 

" Oct. 29th. I was much melted with the appre- 
hension of returning to England again; strongly 
persuaded it would be so; and that God was about 
to do some great thing there, so that I should have 
a great opportunity again to do service to his name." 

" Dec. 30th. Meltings before the Lord this day 
when praying, desiring being returned to England 
again." 

" April 19th, 1694. My heart was marvellously 

S9 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

melted with the persuasion that I should glorify 
Christ in England." 

With all these meltings and with all Mather's 
active scheming to bring about such a divine end, 
he did not convince the General Court of the 
necessity for the mission. Cotton Mather, most* 
officious of busybodies, seconded his father's efforts, 
but to no purpose. In 1697 ^^^ General Court 
granted another charter, which was no more ac- 
ceptable to President Mather than the one of 1692 
had been to the king. More than ever did it seem 
to him desirable that he should be sent to England 
to obtain a royal charter for the college. If he could 
accomplish that, he could remain in England the 
rest of his life, and his son Cotton could no doubt 
succeed him in the presidency. 

The General Court grew weary of his importunity. 
April 1 6th, 1700, Cotton Mather wrote in his diary: 

" I am going to relate one of the most astonishing 
things that ever befell in all the time of my pilgrim- 
age. 

" A particular faith had been unaccountably pro- 
duced in my father's heart, and in my own, that 
God will carry him unto England, and there give 
him a short but great opportunity to glorify the 
Lord Jesus Christ before his entrance into the heav- 

40 



IN THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY 

enly Kingdom. There appears no probability of my 
father's going thither "but in an agency to obtain a 
charter for the College. This matter having been 
for several years upon the point of being carried in 
the General Assembly, hath strangely miscarried 
when it hath come to the birth. It is now again 
before the Assembly, in circumstances wherein if 
it succeed not, it is never like to be revived and re- 
sumed any more. . . . Now all on a sudden I felt 
an inexpressible force to fall on my mind, an afflatus^ 
which cannot be described in words; none knows 
it but he thai has it. ... It was told me that the 
Lord Jesus Christ loved my father and loved me, 
and that he took delight in us, as in two of his faith- 
ful servants, and that he had not permitted us to be 
deceived in our particular faithj but that my father 
should be carried into England, and there glorify 
the Lord Jesus Christ before his passing into glory. 

" And now what shall I say! When the aifair of 
my father's agency after this came to a turning 
point in the Court, it strangely miscarried! All 
came to nothing! Some of the Tories had so wrought 
upon the Governor that, though he had first moved 
this matter and had given us both directions and 
promises about it, yet he now (not without base 

41 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

unhandsomeness) deferred it. The Lieutenant 
Governor, who had formeriy been for it, now (not 
without great ebullition of unaccountable preju- 
dice and ingratitude) appeared, with all the little 
tricks imaginable, to confound it. It had for all 
this been carried, had not some of the Council been 
inconveniently called off and absent. But now the 
whole aifair of the College was left unto the man- 
agement of the Earl of Bellamont, so that all ex- 
pectation of a voyage for my father unto England, 
on any such occasion, is utterly at an end. 

" What shall I make of this wonderful matter.^ 
Wait! Wait!" 

But waiting did not give the pious son any fresh 
inspiration. He never saw anything but " base 
unhandsomeness," ** unaccountable prejudice," and 
" ingratitude " in the motives of those who denied 
his father the coveted trip to England. And al- 
though he was himself a member of the Corporation 
of Harvard College, from this time on his affection 
for the institution was at best intermittent and 
fluctuated with his prospects of being chosen presi- 
dent. 

The college was prospering; one event that made 
Increase Mather's administration notable was the 
gift by William Stoughton, lieutenant-governor and 

42 



IN THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY 

chief justice, of a brick building, which stood for 
about eighty years. This was the first Stoughton 
Hall. Stoughton, the " hanging judge " of the 
witchcraft trials, must always remain a dark and 
sinister figure. Few episodes in New England annals 
are more dramatic than that when Samuel Sewall 
rose and stood in his pew in the Old South Meeting- 
house while his confession of sorrow for the part 
he had taken in those monstrous and insane cruel- 
ties was read from the pulpit. But Stoughton, who 
with Cotton Mather had been the most relentless 
persecutor, sat grim and silent. He had nothing to 
confess, for he regretted nothing. But he was all 
through his life a good friend of Harvard College. 



4S 



CHAPTER IV 

LEVERETT AND WADSWORTH 

IN 1 701, since Increase Mather obstinately re- 
fused to take up his residence at the college and 
perform the duties of president in accordance with 
the General Court's conception of them, the legis- 
lature lost patience and requested his resignation. 
He gave it, not unwillingly; he saw now that the 
mission to England would never come to pass, he 
found administrative labors uncongenial, and he 
had hopes that his son would be appointed to suc- 
ceed him. But the Mathers, though eminent, were 
not too popular; to the Calvinistic party, which had 
hitherto been in power, a strong opposition was 
developing; and the General Court, unwilling to 
make Cotton Mather president and yet not quite 
ready to assume his enmity, temporized. Instead 
of appointing a president, the General Court asked 
the Rev. Samuel Willard, one of the Corporation, 
to take charge as vice-president. He served under 
this title for six years, during which period Cotton 
Mather exhibited considerable restlessness. 

44 



LEVERETT AND WADSWORTH 

The revolt against Calvinistic authority acquired 
greater strength, and in 1707 John Leverett, a lay- 
man, was chosen president of Harvard College. 
He had been a tutor in the college, and his liberal 
views were extremely obnoxious to the Mathers. 
Both Cotton Mather and his father assailed Gov- 
ernor Dudley violently for putting Leverett forward; 
Dudley bore their abuse with creditable dignity and 
good temper. In the bitterness of his resentment, 
Cotton Mather, though remaining a member of the 
Corporation, tried in various petty ways to thwart 
the plans for the college and to divert donations 
intended for Harvard to Yale College, which had 
recently been founded. In Yale he saw an institu- 
tion that promised more rigid adherence to orthodox 
Calvinism; he expressed a devout dread lest " the 
dear infant should be strangled in the birth." 

Leverett was an excellent president — able, act- 
ive, and broad-minded. Under his administration 
the college became a place where a liberal education 
might be secured. Hitherto, it had been primarily 
a divinity school; more than half its graduates were 
clergymen; its teachings were deeply tinged with 
the dark theology of the time. Now the number of 
tutors was increased and the importance of studies 
other than those bearing directly upon a theological 

45 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

education was recognized. In consequence, the 
number of students was so augmented that not- 
withstanding the building of the first Stoughton 
Hall less than twenty years before, a new building 
was required. The General Court appropriated 
thirty-five hundred pounds to provide this, and 
" a fair and goodly house of brick " was built in 
1720 and called Massachusetts Hall. It still stands, 
the earliest of the present college buildings. 

During Leverett's administration, the first cata- 
logue of books in the library was printed; it showed 
thirty-five hundred volumes — two-thirds of them 
theological works, most of the others in Latin. 
Bacon, Chaucer, Shakespeare, and Milton were 
on the list; but Dryden, Addison, Pope, Swift, and 
many others now regarded as classics did not have 
a place. It is to be said that the productions of 
these authors were at that time so recent as not 
fairly to have established their title to permanence. 

An entry in Leverett's Diary gives a glimpse of the 
college discipline: "A. was publickly admonished 
in the College Hail, and there confessed his Sinful 
Ebccess and his enormous profanation of the Holy 
Name of Almighty God. And he demeaned himself 
so that the Presid* and Fellows conceived great 
hopes that he will not be lost." 

46 



LEVERETT AND WADSWORTH 

The prayers at which these public confessions and 
admonitions were made were held at six o'clock in 
the morning. After prayers there were recitations 
until breakfast, which was at half-past seven. 

Leverett, for all his tact and wisdom, did not have 
an untroubled administration. Governor Dudley, 
who had been one of the advocates of his election, 
wished to have his son Paul made treasurer of the 
college. His wish. was not gratified, and the dis- 
appointment rankled in both father and son; for 
some time afterwards the two Dudleys were mis- 
chief-makers. They even encouraged one Pierpont, 
who had failed to get his decree, to prosecute the 
tutor who had flunked him and to appeal from the 
decision of the Corporation to the courts of com- 
mon law. The courts sustained the college and dis- 
missed the appeal. 

At this period the disorders at Commencement 
became so riotous that an act was passed " for re- 
forming the extravagancys of Commencement." 
It provided " that henceforth no preparation nor 
provision of either Plumb Cake, or Roasted, Boyled, 
or Baked Meates or Pyes of any kind shall be made 
by any Commencer," and that none should have 
" any distilled Lyquours in his Chamber or any com- 
position therewith," under penalty of a fine of 

47 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

twenty shillings and the forfeiture of the " pro- 
hibited Provisions." Acts were also passed " for 
preventing the Excesses, Immoralities, and Disorders 
of the Commencements." The Overseers recom- 
mended to the Corporation an act " to restrain un- 
suitable and unseasonable dancing in the College " 
and to prevent " the great disturbances occasioned 
by tumultuous and indecent noyses." 

These legislative attempts seem to have effected 
a very temporary improvement. At any rate some 
twenty years later three troubled fathers who had 
sons about to graduate offered to give the college 
one thousand pounds " if a trial was made of Com- 
mencements this year in a more private manner." 
The Corporation wished to accept this offer, but 
the Overseers — whose character must have changed 
since the time when they urged more drastic legis- 
lation — declined it. 

In Leverett's last years there was discord between 
the House of Representatives and the Corporation, 
which to some extent represented the aristocratic, 
royal government. The House made a vain attempt 
to alter the make-up of the Corporation. Leverett 
found himself in the uncomfortable position of hav- 
ing to oppose first one group of supporters, and 
then another. He and his family were dependent 

48 



LEVERETT AND WADSWORTH 

chiefly on grants from the General Court; these 
amounted to one hundred and fifty pounds annually. 
The cost of living had increased, and inflation had 
depreciated the currency. Under such stress of 
circumstances, it might have been politic for Lever- 
ctt to make concessions to the General Court and 
to uphold them in their differences with the Cor- 
poration. He was never governed by motives of 
self-interest, however; in 1724 he died bankrupt, 
and his children had to sell the mansion house of 
Governor Leverett, which had descended to them 
from their great-grandfather. 

Excellent president though Leverett was, the chief 
laudations of the historian of this period are not 
lavished upon him. Benjamin Peirce, the recorder 
of these early days, indulged his enthusiasm in the 
following marveling words: "The College had 
already begun to engage the attention of one of the 
most extraordinary families that Providence ever 
raised up for the benefit of the human race. It is 
scarcely necessary to say that I allude to the family 
of Mollis." 

The benefactions of this family began in 1 7 19 
with an invoice of twelve casks of nails and one of 
cutlery from Thomas Hollis, a London merchant. 
For the next nine years he made frequent and liberal 

49 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

gifts, sometimes of money, sometimes of books or 
other articles; in all he gave the college about 
two thousand pounds. He founded ten scholar- 
ships and begged the Corporation to beware of 
recommending for them " rakes or dunces." 

Thomas HoUis was about sixty years old when he 
first began to make gifts to Harvard College. He 
had formed a friendship by correspondence with 
Benjamin Colman, a tutor in the college and member 
of the Corporation, and in consequence of it " the 
main course of his bounty was directed towards New 
England, and particularly to Harvard College." 

There were reasons why he should not have felt 
favorably disposed towards Harvard. He was a 
Baptist — a member of a sect that was abhorred 
by some of the college authorities and disliked by 
most of them. HoUis was well aware of the un- 
friendly attitude that prevailed in New England 
towards members of his denomination, and gave 
the college much wise advice as well as books and 
money. In making a gift to the library he wrote: 
" If there happen to be some books not quite ortho- 
dox, in search after truth with an honest design, 
don't be afraid of them. ... * Thus saith Aristotle,* 
* Thus saith Calvin,' will not now pass for proof in 
our London disputations." The largest settle- 

50 



LEVERETT AND WADSWORTH 

ments of Baptists were in Pennsylvania and New 
Jersey. " If any from those parts," he urged, 
" should now or hereafter make application to your 
college, I beseech the College to show kindness to 
such, and stretch their charity a little. It is what I 
wish the Baptists to do, though I have no great ex- 
pectation." 

The New England mind of the period was, how- 
ever, not capable of entertaining tolerant views or 
even of appreciating generosity of nature as well as 
of purse. When Hollis, among his other bene- 
factions, founded a professorship of divinity, which 
he expressly stipulated was to be non-sectarian, the 
Overseers took measures of a devious nature to 
frustrate his design and to exclude Baptists from 
ever occupying the chair that he had established. 
He saw clearly enough the object at which they 
aimed and which they tried by tortuous subter- 
fuges to conceal, and contented himself with ad- 
ministering a mild reproof. 

Even after such treatment at the hands of his 
beneficiaries, Hollis continued to assist the college. 
He had confidence in Leverett, and in Benjamin 
Colman, with whom he continued to carry on an 
interesting and pithy correspondence. Indeed, there 
is no one among the early Harvard worthies who 

51 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

appears through what is recorded and through his 
own written words in a more attractive light than 
this elderly patron overseas. When, on the acces- 
sion of George II, the Corporation felt moved to 
send an address to the king, brimming with pious 
expressions and assurances, they asked Thomas 
Mollis to have it presented. He wrote in reply: 

" I have showed your address to sundry persons, 
who say your compliments to our court now are 
fifty if not one hundred years too ancient for our 
present polite style and court. . . . What have 
courts to do to study Old Testament phrases and 
prophecies? " 

A request for his portrait drew a slightly satirical 
response. He wrote to Colman: 

" I have been prevailed on at your instance to 
sit the first time for my picture, a present to your 
I Hall. I doubt not that they are pleased with my 

: monies, but I have some reason to think that some 

I among you will not be pleased to see the shade of a 

Baptist hung there, unless you get a previous 
i order to admit it, and forbidding any indecencies 

to it." 

Eventually he sent his " shade " and wrote: 
i " Perhaps some among you will be pleased with 

the picture for the painter's performance, though 
i 52 



LEVERETT AND WADSWORTH 

others may secretly despise it because of the particu- 
lar principle of the original." 

A kindly, modest, generous gentleman was Thomas 
HoUis; he shines all the brighter by contrast with 
the Mathers of the time. And his son and his son's 
sons inherited his friendship for Harvard College 
and his generous disposition. 

Upon Leverett's death in 1724, the Corporation 
chose the Rev. Joseph Sewall to succeed him. Cot- 
ton Mather, who had lived on in expectancy, was 
moved to a fresh outburst of wrath: 

" I am informed that yesterday the Six men who 
call themselves the Corporation of the College met 
and, contrary to the epidemical expectation of the 
country, chose a modest young man, of whose piety 
(and little else) everyone gives a laudable character. 

" I always foretold these two things of the Cor- 
poration: first, that if it were possible for them to 
steer clear of me, they will do so; secondly, that if 
it were possible for them to act foolishly, they will 
do so. 

" The perpetual envy with which my essays to 
serve the Kingdom of God are treated among them, 
and the dread that Satan has of my beating up his 
quarters at the College led me into the former senti- 
ment; the marvellous indiscretion with which the 

53 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

affairs of the College are managed led me into the 
latter." 

Sewall felt unable to accept so ill-paid an office, 
and Cotton Mather's hopes of a chance to beat up 
Satan's quarters in the college were roused once 
more. But with the election of Benjamin Colman 
they were finally extinguished; in a last outcry of 
disgust, Mather exhibited his immeasurable ego- 
tism: 

" The Corporation of the miserable College do 
again on a fresh opportunity treat me with their 
accustomed indignity." 

Simply because they had failed to make him 
president! 

Colman followed Sewall's example and declared 
that he could not undertake the office unless a 
proper salary was fixed by the General Court. In 
the depreciated state of the currency, the president's 
salary of one hundred and fifty pounds a year was, 
as Leverett had found, too little to provide a living. 
But the General Court refused to have its hand 
forced, and Colman therefore declined the election. 

Next the Rev. Benjamin Wadsworth was offered 
the honor, and accepted it. Thereupon the General 
Court, which had not been amenable to suggestion 
or entreaty, did bestir itself to make some better 

54 




Harvard HaU 



LEVERETT AND WADSWORTH 

provision for the president. It undertook to build 
a house for him — of which the present Wadsworth 
House is a survival and amplification — and it in- 
creased his salary to four hundred pounds a year. 
Unfortunately the continued depreciation of the 
currency was proportionate to this increase, so 
that the measures for the president's relief were not 
particularly effective. The house that was begun 
for him was not finished; Wadsworth had to move 
into it when it was incomplete. 

The thirteen years of Wadsworth's administra- 
tion were not especially noteworthy. Before this 
time the tutors had acted in all matters of discipline 
on their own personal authority; each man had 
dealt with each individual case as it came before 
him. Under Wadsworth, however, they began to 
administer discipline and punishment as a board, 
no longer individually. The change was necessitated 
by the growing disorders of thp time. A reaction 
from the strict Puritanism of the earlier years was 
taking place, and the students were making the most 
of it. The Commencements were more lively than 
ever, and more than ever disturbing to the sober 
element of the community. 

In 1734 the president and fellows of the Corpora- 
tion issued some severe regulations in an attempt 

55 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

to enforce upon the undergraduates a more religious 
and studious life. 

" All the scholars shall, at sunset in the evening 
preceding the Lord's Day, retire to their chambers 
and not unnecessarily leave them; and all dis- 
orders on said evening shall be punished as viola- 
tions of the Sabbath are. . . . And whosoever shall 
profane said day — the Sabbath — by unnecessary 
business, or visiting, walking on the Common, or in 
the streets or fields, in the town of Cambridge, or 
by any sort of diversion before sunset, or that in 
the evening of the Lord's Day shall behave himself 
disorderly, or any way unbecoming the season, shall 
be fined not exceeding ten shillings. 

" That the scholars may furnish themselves with 
useful learning, they shall keep in their respective 
chambers, and diligently follow their studies; ex- 
cept half an hour at breakfast; at dinner from 
twelve to two; and after evening prayers till nine 
of the clock. To that end, the Tutors shall fre- 
quently visit their chambers after nine o'clock in 
the evening and at other studying times, to quicken 
them to their business." 

It does not seem as if, under such a system of 
vigilance and visitation, the students could fall 
into very dissolute ways. But a few years later, 

56 



LEVERETT AND WADSWORTH 

George Whitefield, an evangelist who was stirring 
up New England, visited Harvard College and ex- 
pressed his displeasure at the dissipated habits of 
the young men. He declared that the conditions 
at Oxford were no worse — a charge so damaging 
that it greatly disturbed and incensed the college 
authorities. 



67 



CHAPTER V 

BEFORE THE REVOLUTION 

IN 1737 the Reverend Edward Holyoke of 
Marblehead was elected to succeed Wads worth 
and entered upon an administration of more than 
thirty years. During that period, stirring events 
were taking place in the world outside which af- 
fected the tranquillity of the college. In 1745 and 
1756 the wars with France drew to the frontier 
many young men who would otherwise have been 
at their books. The provincial debt created by these 
wars was enormous and resulted as usual in an issue 
of paper money and general financial embarrass- 
ment. These causes reduced the number of students 
at Harvard; moreover, sectarian jealousies were 
instrumental in affecting temporarily the pros- 
perity of the college. And finally, at the end of 
Holyoke's administration, came the preliminary 
rumblings of the Revolution. 

One of the first matters that Holyoke had to deal 
with was the misconduct of Isaac Greenwood, the 

58 



BEFORE THE REVOLUTION 

first Hollis professor of mathematics. HolHs, who 
had known Greenwood in England, was not en- 
thusiastic over his appointment, but refrained 
from prejudicing the Corporation against him. Be- 
fore long Greenwood's intemperate habits were 
subjecting him to repeated admonishment, and at 
last, in 1738, since all his efforts to reform proved 
vain, he was dismissed from the college. Shortly 
afterwards the same fate overtook Nathan Prince, 
who was not only a tutor, but also a member of 
the Corporation. 

Possibly this behavior on the part of two members 
of the government was significant of a general lax- 
ness of conduct. At any rate, in 1740 a committee 
was appointed to inquire into the state of the college. 
From time to time this committee brought in cer- 
tain recommendations, and pointed out certain 
evils, as " the costly habits of many of the scholars, 
their wearing gold or silver lace, or brocades, silk 
nightgowns, etc., as tending to discourage persons 
from giving their children a college education." 

The practises of the seniors on the day when they 
met to choose their class officers drew a word of 
admonition which carried the wisdom of Dogberry: 
" It is usual for each scholar to bring a bottle of 
wine with him, which practice the Committee ap- 

59 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

prehend has a natural tendency to produce dis- 
orders." 

At the same time, the authorities showed a dis- 
position to modify the severity of some of the old 
laws. Thus, in 1759, it was voted that " it shall be 
no offence if any scholar shall, at Commencement, 
make and entertain guests at his chamber with 
punch." Two years later a still further concession 
was made: the limitation, "at Commencement," 
was removed, and it was announced that the schol- 
ars might " in a sober manner " entertain strangers 
and each other with punch, — " which, as it is 
now usually made, is no intoxicating liquor." 

This was certainly a naive admission, and like- 
wise worthy of Dogberry; it cannot be supposed 
that the undergraduates of Harvard have ever had 
a uniform and strictly temperance receipt for making 
punch. 

The fines for misconduct were as follows: 

s. d. 

Absence from prayers 2 

Tardiness at prayers i 

Absence from public worship 9 

Tardiness at public worship 3 
111 behavior at public worship, not 

exceeding 9 

Neglect to repeat the sermon 9 

60 



BEFORE THE REVOLUTION 

s. d. 

Absence from professor's public 

lecture 4 

Profanation of the Lord's Day, not 

exceeding 3 

Tarrying out of town without leave, . • 

not exceeding i 3 per diem. 

Going out of college without proper 

garb, not exceeding 6 

Frequenting, taverns, not exceeding i 6 
Profane cursing, not exceeding 2 6 

Playing cards, not exceeding 5 

Selling and exchanging without 

leave i 6 

Lying, not exceeding i 6 

Drunkenness, not exceeding i 6 

Going upon the top of the college i 6 
Tumultuous noises i 6 

" "2d offence 3 

Refusing to give evidence 3 

Rudeness at meals i 

Keeping guns, and going skating i 

Fighting, or hurting persons, not 

exceeding i 6 

Card-playing was apparently regarded as more 
than three times as bad as lying, profanity was 
nearly twice as bad as drunkenness, and fighting 
was only half as objectionable to the authorities 
as refusing to " peach " on one's friends. 

In spite of the not altogether prosperous condi- 
tion of the college, several buildings were added 

61 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

during Holyoke's administration. In 1737 Madam 
Holden, the widow of a London merchant, and her 
daughters gave four hundred pounds for the build- 
ing of the chapel which bears Holden's name. It 
•was soon devoted to other purposes than those of 
worship. In 1762 the Overseers presented a peti- 
tion to the General Court, pointing out that nearly 
a hundred of the undergraduates had to take rooms 
in private houses, and asking for an appropriation 
to build a new dormitory. Massachusetts Hall 
could receive only sixty-four students; a building 
at least one-third larger than that was therefore 
required. In accordance with this petition, the 
House granted two thousand pounds out of the 
public treasury, and the building thus erected was 
named Hollis Hall. 

Shortly after performing this friendly and gener- 
ous act, the General Court was driven out of Boston 
by an epidemic of smallpox. On January 16, 1764, 
it was adjourned to Cambridge and went into session 
in the old Harvard Hall. The college library, on the 
second floor of the building, was occupied by the 
governor and the council; the hall below by the 
representatives. On the night of January 24 fire 
destroyed the building with all its contents — li- 
brary, philosophical apparatus, and personal be- 

62 



BEFORE THE REVOLUTION 

longings. How important a calamity this was may 
be inferred from the account given in the Massachu- 
setts Gazette for February 2, 1764. 

" Cambridge, January 25, 1764. 
" Last night Harvard College suffered the most 
ruinous loss it ever met with since its foundation. 
In the middle of a very tempestuous night, a severe 
cold storm of snow, attended with high wind, we 
were awakened by the alarm of fire. Harvard Hall, 
the only one of our ancient buildings which still 
remained, and the repository of our most valuable 
treasures, the public Library and Philosophical Ap- 
paratus, was seen in flames. As it was a time of va- 
cation, in which the students were all dispersed, not 
a single person was left in any of the Colleges, 
except two or three in that part of Massachusetts 
most distant from Harvard, where the fire could 
not be perceived till the whole surrounding air be- 
gan to be illuminated by it. When it was discovered 
from the town, it had risen to a degree of violence 
that defied all opposition. It is conjectured to have 
begun in a beam uiider the hearth in the Library, 
where a fire had been kept for the use of the General 
Court, now residing and sitting here, by reason of 
the smallpox at Boston; from thence it burst out into 

63 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

the Library. The bcx)ks easily submitted to the 
fury of the flame, which, with a rapid and irresist- 
ible progress, made its way into the apparatus 
chamber, and spread through the whole building. 
In a very short time this venerable monument of 
the piety of our ancestors was turned into a heap 
of ruins. The other Colleges, Stoughton Hall and 
Massachusetts Hall, were in the utmost hazard of 
sharing the same fate. The wind driving the fla- 
ming cinders directly upon their roofs, they blazed 
out several times in different places; nor could they 
have been saved by all the help the town could 
offer, had it not been for the assistance of the gentle- 
men of the General Court, among whom his Excel- 
lency the Governor was very active; who, notwith- 
standing the extreme rigor of the season, exerted 
themselves in supplying the town engine with 
water, which they were obliged to fetch at last from 
a distance, two of the College pumps being then 
rendered useless. Even the new and beautiful 
HoUis Hall, though it was on the windward side, 
hardly escaped. It stood so near to Harvard that 
the flames actually seized it, and, if they had not 
been immediately suppressed, must have carried it. 
" But by the blessing of God on the vigorous 
efforts of the assistants, the ruin was confined to 

64 



BEFORE THE REVOLUTION 

Harvard Hall; and there, besides the destruction 
of the private property of those who had chambers 
in it, the public loss is very great, perhaps irrepa- 
rable. The Library and the apparatus, which for 
many years had been growing, and were now judged 
to be the best furnished in America are annihi- 
lated." 

The library thus destroyed contained five thou- 
sand volumes. Of the three hundred and twenty that 
John Harvard had bequeathed, only one was saved 
— " The Christian Warfare Against the Devill, 
World, and Flesh." The intrinsic value of the 
books and the " philosophical apparatus " has 
been many times replaced, but we must even now 
feel a sentimental regret for the loss of practically 
all that identified the college with the personality 
of its earliest benefactor. 

Prompted possibly by some sense of responsibility 
for the disaster, the General Court at once voted 
a sum of money for rebuilding. The Overseers 
appointed a Committee of Correspondence to 
obtain contributions from England as well as from 
the colonies for the purchase of books. Subscrip- 
tions were immediate and liberal. Thomas Hollis, 
a great-nephew of the first benefactor of that name, 
was the largest contributor. 

65 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

Harvard Hall, rebuilt, was finished in 1766; it 
stands on the site of the burned building. The 
library occupied the western half of the upper 
story; the eastern half was divided into rooms for 
the philosophical department and for a museum 
of natural and artificial curiosities. On the lower 
floor, the eastern half was used for commons, the 
western for prayers. The total cost of the build- 
ing was about sixty-nine hundred pounds. 

Massachusetts Hall and HoUis Hall soon proved 
inadequate to house all the students. Therefore, in 
June, 1765, the General Court passed an act " for 
raising by Lottery the sum of 3200 pounds, for build- 
ing another Hall for the Students of Harvard College 
to dwell in." This was the first attempt to secure 
money for the institution by a method which became 
for some years popular. The preamble to the act 
stated " that the buildings belonging to Harvard Col- 
lege are greatly insuflicient for lodging the Students 
of the said College, and will become much more so 
when Stoughton Hall shall be pulled down, as by its 
present ruinous state it appears it soon must be. 
And whereas there is no Fund for erecting such 
Buildings, and considering the great Expense which 
the General Court has lately been at in building 
HoUis Hall, and also in rebuilding Harvard College, 

66 



BEFORE THE REVOLUTION 

It cannot be expected that any further provision for 
the College should be made out of the Public Treas- 
ury; so that no other resort is left but to private 
Benefactions, which it is conceived will be best 
excited by means of a Lottery." 

Shares in this attractive enterprise were readily 
disposed of, and in a short time the proceeds enabled 
the college to build another brick dormitory near 
Hollis Hall. By the time that it was finished, the 
dilapidated old Stoughton Hall was ready to be 
demolished, and the new building received the old 
building's name. 

Some of the more important text-books used in 
the courses at this time were Virgil's iEneid, Cicero's 
Orations, Homer, the Greek Testament, Euclid's 
Geometry, Watts's Logic, and Locke's " On the 
Human Understanding." The committee on the 
state of the college made various recommendations 
for broadening the instruction; the most important 
was that the tutors, instead of teaching more than 
one subject or group of subjects, should henceforth 
specialize in one. 

On account of the unsatisfactory food to be had 
at the commons, many of the students preferred 
to board at private houses. This was displeasing 
to the Overseers, who in 1757 suggested to the Cor- 

67 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

poration " that it would very much contribute 
to the health of that society," — the undergrad- 
uates, — " facilitate their studies, and prevent ex- 
travagant expense, if the scholars were restrained 
from dieting in private families." They recom- 
mended, as a concession and inducement, " that 
there should be pudding three times a week, and 
on those days their meat should be lessened." 
Not until 1765, however, did the Corporation 
impose these recommendations upon the college. 

The students did not submit to them meekly. 
There were " great disorders, tending to subvert 
all government." That delightful historian, Ben- 
jamin Peirce, writing some time later, yet at a 
period when uprisings against the quality of food 
were frequent, makes an impassioned defence of 
the commons : " Their beneficial effects are ex- 
tended beyond the walls of the College. To a great 
degree, the Commons, it is believed, regulate the 
price and quality of board even in private families, 
and thus secure in the town a general style of living 
at once economical and favorable to health and to 
study. But the very circumstance which is their 
chief recommendation is the occasion also of all 
the odium which they have to encounter; that 
simplicity which makes the fare cheap and whole- 

68 



BEFORE THE REVOLUTION 

some and philosophical renders it also unsatisfactory 
to dainty palates; and the occasional appearance 
of some unlucky meat or other food is a signal for 
a general outcry against the provisions." 

In 1746 " breakfast was two sizings of bread and 
a cue of beer," and " evening Commons were a 
Pye." " As to the Commons," wrote an old 
gentleman of the class of 1759, " there were in the 
morning none while I was in College " — the stu- 
dents had then formed the habit of breakfasting 
at private houses. — " At dinner we had, of rather 
ordinary quality, a sufficiency of meat of some kind, 
either baked or boiled; and at supper we had either 
a pint of milk and half a biscuit, or a meat pye or 
some other kind. We were allowed at dinner a cue 
of beer, which was a half-pint, and a sizing of bread, 
which I cannot describe to you. It was quite suf- 
ficient for one dinner." Each student carried to the 
dining-room his own knife and fork, and when he 
had dined wiped them on the table-cloth. In 1764 
it was decided " that it would be much for the 
interest of the Scholars to be prevented breakfast- 
ing in the townspeople's houses;" and breakfast 
at the commons was made compulsory. 

About one adjunct to the commons, Peirce has 
a dithyrambic passage: "The Buttery removed all 

69 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

just occasion for resorting to the different marts of 
luxury, intemperance, and ruin. This was a kind 
of supplement to the Commons, and offered for 
sale to the Students, at a moderate advance on the 
cost, wines, liquors, groceries, stationery, and in 
general such articles as it was proper and necessary 
for them to have occasionally." 

That so meritorious an institution should have 
' been permitted to pass out of existence the modern 
undergraduate must regret. The Co-operative store, 
though filling a useful function in undergraduate 
life, does not supply even " at a moderate advance 
on the cost " all the essentials that were furnished 
by the buttery, nor can it be said in any sense to 
compete successfully with " the different marts of 
luxury, intemperance, and ruin.'* 

Besides fulfilling the useful purposes above de- 
scribed, the buttery was an office where records were 
kept of absences from the college. The students 
of the present day would no doubt find the intro- 
duction of a grog shop into the office of the recorder 
delightfully incongruous, but in the middle of the 
eighteenth century such a juxtaposition apparently 
excited no wonder. The butler, who was a college 
graduate and received a salary of sixty pounds a 
year, dispensed the potables, kept the records, 

70 



BEFORE THE REVOLUTION 

rang the bell, and saw that the hall was kept clean 
and in good order. He was bar-keeper, stationer, 
recorder, bell-ringer and janitor, all in one. 

The price of board at the commons was between 
seven and eight shillings a week. A committee ap- 
pointed in 1766 to investigate the disorders found 
" that there has been great neglect in the Steward 
in the quality of the Butter provided by him for many 
weeks past," but that " the act of the Students in 
leaving the Hall in a body and showing contempt of 
the Tutors was altogether unwarrantable and of 
most dangerous tendency." The students were 
somewhat impressed by the committee's recom- 
mendations and censure; but in 1768 disorders 
again broke out. The committee reported " that 
a combination had been entered into by a great 
number of the students against the government; 
that in consequence great excesses had been per- 
petrated; that on one Saturday night brickbats 
were thrown into the windows of Mr. Willard the 
Tutor's room, endangering the lives of three of the 
Tutors there assembled, and that for this audacious 
act four Students, who were discovered to have 
committed it, were expelled." Later, although 
President Holyoke protested, the Corporation and 
Overseers reinstated them, because " many who 

71 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

have been great friends and benefactors to the 
Society have condescended to intercede in their 
behalf." 

" A Description of a Number of Tyrannical 
Pedagogues," by a student who signed himself 
Clementiae Amator^ was published in 1769. The 
opening invocation, 

" Begin, O Muse! and let your themes be these: 
Tutors forever should their pupils please," 

expresses a perennial undergraduate sentiment. The 
poet laments that at Harvard this is not the case: 

" The tutors now instead of being free, 
Humane and generous as they ought to be, 
An awful distance, dictatorial, keep. 
And mulcts and frowns on all their pupils heap." 

Then follows the description of one: 

" Before his pupils he will scowl and flout, 
And with importance turn his chair about. 
There strut and then display a lofty crest. 
To strike a terror into every breast." 

Another 

" spits his venom with sarcastick wit 
And grins in laughter at the object hit." 

And of yet another the poet complains, 

72 



BEFORE THE REVOLUTION 

" Instead of acting with an open soul 
He peeps unmanly into every hole, 
And sometimes listens at his pupil's door, 
Then runs back tiptoe as he came before." 

Finally the lover of mercy exhorts his brethren: 

" I would advise the sons of Harvard then 
To let them know that they are sons of men, 
Not brutes, as they would to the world display 
By their ill usage and unmanly way; 
Then cast contempt upon the demigods. 
Their frowns, their mulcts, their favors and their 
nods." 

The indignant lines possibly fomented the up- 
rising which took place when the faculty announced 
that excuses for absence would not be received un- 
less offered beforehand. The students met under 
a tree which they called the Tree of Liberty, and 
declared the faculty's rule " unconstitutional." 
They then proceeded to smash windows and break 
furniture; several rioters were expelled. The senior 
class were so aggrieved at this that they asked the 
president to transfer them to Yale in order that they 
might get their degrees at that institution; the 
other classes asked to be discharged. Neither re- 
quest was granted, and at last the revolutionists 
accepted the " unconstitutional " legislation. 

73 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

Some of the rules and prohibitions of the period 
were as follows: 

" No Freshman shall wear his hat in the College 
Yard, unless it rains, hails, or snows, provided he 
be on foot and have not both his hands full. 

" No Freshman shall speak to a Senior with his 
hat on. 

" All Freshmen . . . shall be obliged to go on 
errands for any of their Seniors, graduates or under- 
graduates, at any time, except in studying hours, 
or after nine o'clock in the evening. 

" When any person knocks at a Freshman's 
door except in studying time, he shall immediately 
open the door without inquiring who is there. 

" The Freshmen shall furnish bafts, balls and 
footballs for the use of the students, to be kept in 
the Buttery. 

" The Sophomores shall publish these customs to 
the Freshmen in the Chapel, whenever ordered by 
any in the Government of the College, at which 
time the Freshmen are required to keep their places 
in their seats and attend with decency to the read- 
mg. 

The class of 1798 was the first freshman class to 
be emancipated from this condition of servitude. 
Joseph Story, who was then in college, was one of 

74 




--wtA-t 



The Union 



BEFORE THE REVOLUTION 

the leaders in bringing about the reform. He took 
an unprecedented step when he invited his fag 
into his room and made him his friend. 

Harvard was not an especially democratic in- 
stitution in those days — far less so than at pres- 
ent. Both the college authorities and the under- 
graduates themselves showed a great regard for 
rank; students were placed in class according to 
the rank of their parents. " Scholars were often 
enraged beyond bounds for their disappointment 
in their place,'* writes a graduate of the period. 
" Often it was some time before a class could settle 
down to an acquiescence in their allotment. The 
highest and the lowest in the class were often as- 
certained more easily than the intermediate members 
where there was room for uncertainty whose claim 
was best, and where partiality no doubt was some- 
times indulged. The higher part of the class had 
generally the most influential friends, and they 
commonly had the best chambers in College as- 
signed to them. They had also a right to help 
themselves first at table in Commons. The fresh- 
man class was placed within six or nine months 
after their admission. The official notice of this 
was given by having their names written in a large 
German text, in a handsome style, and placed in 

75 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

a conspicuous part of the College Buttery, where 
the names of the four classes of undergraduates 
were kept suspended until they left College. If 
a scholar was expelled, his name was taken from 
its place; or if he was degraded — which was con- 
sidered the next highest punishment to expulsion 
— it was moved accordingly. As soon as the fresh- 
men were apprised of their places, each one took 
his station according to the new arrangement at 
recitation, and at Commons, and in the Chapel, 
and on all other occasions. And this arrangement 
was never afterward altered either in College or in 
the Catalogue, however the rank of the parents 
might be varied." Fortunately this snobbish custom 
was soon to be abolished; in 1772 the students were 
placed in alphabetical order. 

However aristocratic in its manners and cus- 
toms Harvard College may have been at this time, 
revolutionary ideas were in the air there as else- 
where. Among the public disputations at the 
Commencement of the class of 1740 we find the 
following: 

" Whether it be lawful to resist the Supream 
Magistrate, if the Common Wealth cannot other- 
wise be preserved. 

" Affirmed by Samuel Adams." 

76 



CHAPTER VI 
THE revolution: harvard in exile 

PRESIDENT HOLYOKE died in 1769; during 
the last few months of his life the college was 
the center of political strife and ferment. In 1768 
the students of the senior class had unanimously 
voted to take their degrees " in the manufactures 
of this country," and at Commencement in July 
they all appeared in clothes of American manu- 
facture. The contumacy of the colony had exas- 
perated the British government, which now pro- 
ceeded to coercive measures. In November, 1768, 
two British regiments of infantry and a part of a 
regiment of artillery were landed in Boston. A 
military guard was stationed in State Street; can- 
non were pointed at the door of the State House. 
The feelings of the legislature and of the people were 
outraged; and when it became apparent that this 
military rigor was not to be relaxed, the House of 
Representatives declared to Governor Bernard that 
an armament by sea and land investing this me- 

77 



u 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

tropolis, and a military guard, with cannon pointed 
at the very door of the State House where this 
Assembly is held, is inconsistent with that dignity, 
as well as that freedom, with which we have a 
right to deliberate, consult, and determine/' 

The royalist governor was not particularly ac- 
cessible to such a protest, but when it was repeated 
in even more pressing terms, he replied that al- 
though he had no authority to remove the troops, 
he would immediately adjourn the legislature to 
Cambridge. 

So in May, 1769, the General Court took pos- 
session of Harvard College, to the great excitement 
of the students, by act of sovereign authority. 
It went into session in Holden Chapel and remained 
in session until after Commencement; on that 
day the House of Representatives dined with the 
Corporation in the college hall. In the spring of 
this same year, the students formed a military 
organization, which they called the Marti-Mercurian 
Band. They held frequent drills and had a striking 
uniform — blue coats faced with white, nankeen 
breeches, white stockings, top-boots, and cocked hats. 

The Rev. Samuel Locke of Sherburn was cho- 
sen president in December, 1769; his adminis- 
tration was short and ineffectual. In those stirring 

78 



THE REVOLUTION: HARVARD IN EXILE 

days, the young men at Harvard found it hard to 
fix their attention on their books; the most de- 
termined president and faculty probably could not 
have curbed their restless spirit. They lived in 
the midst of distracting and agitating influences. 
The legislature continued to meet in the college 
halls; in March, 1770, Lieutenant-Governor Hutch- 
inson, Governor Bernard being absent in Europe, 
prorogued the General Court from Boston to Har- 
vard College. There it remained until the last 
week in April. Then Hutchinson caused writs 
to be issued convening the General Court in May 
again at Harvard College. The Corporation now 
protested and expressed " their deep concern at 
the precedent, and the inconvenience already intro- 
duced." 

Indeed the undergraduates must have chafed 
more and more at their lessons and recitations, must 
often have shirked them and slipped into Holden 
Chapel instead, where they might hear Samuel 
Adams and James Otis and gaze with admiration 
upon the resplendent and majestic figure of John 
Hancock. The debates and the oratory of those 
days may not have qualified the students particularly 
for their degrees, but probably no classes since that 
time have left Harvard with a clearer understanding 

79 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

of the great contemporaneous problems or a more 
vivid interest in the affairs of state. The Rev. 
Andrew Eliot wrote to Thomas Hollis: 

" The removal of the General Court to Cambridge 
hinders the scholars in their studies. The young 
gentlemen are already taken up with politics. They 
have caught the spirit of the times. Their dec- 
lamations and forensic disputes breathe the spirit 
of liberty." 

The protest of the Corporation did not go un- 
heeded. Instead of exercising their sovereign 
authority, the governor and council made a formal 
application for the use of the college halls on the 
day of the general election. The Corporation, " on 
due consideration of the circumstances of the case," 
granted the request. To show their further scru- 
pulous regard for the rights of the college, the House 
of Representatives, meeting on May 30, declared 
" that they did not choose to enter the chapel of 
the College without the concurrence of those with 
whom the property and care of it is betrusted." In 
reply, the Corporation at once passed a vote " sig- 
nifying their consent to oblige the House, in such 
a case of necessity." 

The sympathies of the Corporation and the col- 
lege were strongly with the popular cause. Never- 

80 



THE REVOLUTION: HARVARD IN EXILE 

theless, when Hutchinson received his appointment 
from the Crown as governor, the Corporation gave 
a dinner in his honor at the college and congratu- 
lated him upon his commission. Hutchinson re- 
plied to the congratulatory address, which, he 
said, " expresses so much piety and loyalty to the 
King " — a sentiment that the most careful reading 
fails to detect — and declared his earnest desire to 
" encourage this ancient seat of learning." An 
alumnus of the college, he was popular with the 
undergraduates; on the occasion of one of his 
visits, a choir of students sang an anthem in this 
strain: " Lo! thus shall the man be blessed who 
fears the Lord! For thus saith the Lord, From hence- 
forth, behold! all nations shall call thee blessed; 
for thy rulers shall be of thy own kindred, your 
nobles shall be of yourselves, and thy Governor 
shall proceed from the midst of thee." 

Feeling perhaps that the courtesy which they 
had shown Hutchinson might be misinterpreted, or 
else repenting it and desiring to affront him, the 
Corporation now conferred an unprecedented honor 
on John Hancock, who, of all the patriots of the 
day, was most obnoxious to the governor. They 
voted formally that he " be invited to dine in the 
Hall whenever there is a public entertainment 

81 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

there, and to sit with the governors of the College." 
Their enthusiasm, for this popular hero carried 
them further; desiring to heap honors upon him, 
impressed by his wealth, and overlooking his prod- 
igality, they elected him Treasurer of Harvard. A 
more unfortunate choice they could not possibly 
have made. 

At the end of 1773, President Locke resigned, 
and was succeeded by the Rev. Samuel Langdon 
of Portsmouth, an ardent member of the patriot 
party. The prevailing sentiment was so strongly 
revolutionary that no one who held loyalist views 
could have been considered for the presidency of 
the college. Yet even then there were a few Tories 
among the undergraduates, who advertised their 
convictions and their loyalty by bringing " India 
tea " into the commons and drinking the detested 
stuff — a practise that provoked frequent dis- 
orders. 

Immediately after the fight at Lexington, April 
^9> ^77 Sj ^he militia of Massachusetts and the 
neighboring colonies began to concentrate in Cam- 
bridge for the siege of Boston. The students were 
obliged to leave the college and go home — which 
it may be believed under such circumstances they 
did most unwillingly. Some of the buildings were 



THE REVOLUTION: HARVARD IN EXILE 

turned into barracks for the troops, and officers 
were quartered in the president's house. The 
books were removed from the library in Harvard 
Hall to.Andover. 

On July 2, Washington arrived in Cambridge 
and took command of the American Army. On 
July 31, the Corporation of Harvard College met 
at Fowle's Tavern in Watertown and voted that 
since " on account of the confusion and distress of 
the times '* a public Commencement was imprac- 
ticable, degrees should be conferred by general 
diploma. A few weeks later the Overseers voted 
" that the education of the scholars of Harvard 
College cannot be carried on at Cambridge while 
the war in which we have been forced to engage for 
the defence of our liberties shall continue: and 
therefore that it is necessary some other place shall 
be speedily appointed for that purpose." Concord 
was chosen, and there in September the college 
opened its temporary quarters. 

Both branches of the legislature now passed a 
vote " reconjmending to the Corporation and Over- 
seers not to appoint persons as governors and in- 
structors but such whose political principle they 
can confide in, and also to inquire into the prin- 
ciples of such as are now in office and dismiss those 

83 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

who by their past or present conduct appear to be 
unfriendly to the liberties and privileges of the 
Colonies." The principles of all the officers of 
instruction and government appeared upon in- 
spection to be sufficiently correct. 

The British troops evacuated Boston on March 
17, 1776. On April 3 the Corporation and Over- 
seers met at Watertown and voted that the degree 
of LL. D. be conferred on George Washington as 
an " expression of the gratitude of this College 
for his eminent services in the cause of his country 
and to this society." Washington was the first 
person to receive the degree of LL. D. from Har- 
vard. On the day that they passed this vote, the 
Corporation appealed to the Council and House of 
Representatives to make good the damages sus- 
tained by the college during the occupation of its 
buildings by the American army. Immediate 
compensation was requested in order that the 
students might return to Cambridge as soon as 
possible. The students themselves, who were most 
discontented with their quarters in Concord, likewise 
petitioned the legislature. Although the question 
of damages remained unsettled, the students reas- 
sembled in Cambridge on June 21, 1776, after an 
absence of about fourteen months. 

84 



THE REVOLUTION: HARVARD IN EXILE 

After the actual outbreak of the Revolution, 
there seems to have been in the college but one 
British sympathizer. This individual had absented 
himself from the college during its sojourn at Con- 
cord; now he applied for re-admission and was 
refused, on the ground that he " had been found 
guilty, and imprisoned by the General Court for 
frequent clamoring, in the most impudent, insulting 
and abusive language, against the American Con- 
gress, the General Court of the Colony, and others 
who are and have been exerting themselves to save 
the country from misery and ruin." 

For nearly sixteen months after the return of the 
college to Cambridge, the damages to the buildings 
remained unestimated and unrepaired. In October, 
1777, the Overseers appointed a committee to con- 
fer with a committee of the General Court about 
the matter; but now fresh difficulties arose. 

Burgoyne surrendered at Saratoga on October 
17. His army was ordered to Cambridge, to remain 
there until it could be transported to Europe. 
General Heath, who had been charged with the 
duty of providing for the troops, could not find 
quarters for them all in Cambridge and applied 
to the Corporation for possession of one or more 
of the college buildings in which to house the British 

85 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

officers. He also made a similar application to the 
Council of the Province, who laid it before the Over- 
seers. The Overseers advised the Corporation to 
consent " that one or more buildings might be al- 
lowed to the said officers, until they could be accom- 
modated elsewhere, upon full security given that all 
damages accruing to the buildings, by fire or other- 
wise, should be repaired." 

The Corporation felt that the Overseers were un- 
duly impressed with the necessity for such measures 
as they recommended, and consented only that 
" the house they had lately purchased for the resi- 
dence of the students should be employed for that 
purpose, containing twelve rooms, upon reasonable 
terms, if the object could not otherwise be accom- 
plished." 

T^is cautious offer did not satisfy General Heath 
at all. On November 19 he peremptorily directed 
the governors of the college to remove the students 
and their possessions as soon as possible and to pre- 
pare to receive the officers of Burgoyne*s army. The 
Overseers again advised the Corporation to comply 
with his demands. Accordingly, about the first 
of December, the students were dismissed and in- 
structed not to return until the first Wednesday 
in February. 

86 



THE REVOLUTION: HARVARD IN EXILE 

Nevertheless the Corporation really did prevail 
in the dispute. Burgoyne's troops had arrived 
in Cambridge early in November and were quar- 
tered in barracks on Prospect Hill and Winter Hill. 
The officers had been lodged in private houses; 
and the college building to which Burgoyne himself 
and some of his staff were now transferred was that 
house which the Corporation had offered — Ajv 
thorp House, as it is known to-day. The students 
returned at the beginning of February, as had been 
appointed, and in May the library was replaced 
in Harvard Hall after an absence of more than two 
years. 

Burgoyne's army was shipped back to England 
in November. Its presence in the little town 
of Cambridge had been a serious embarrassment 
to the college. The usual public Commencement 
had to be omitted that year, owing to " the want 
of necessary accommodations, the houses being 
crowded with British officers." 

In 1779 the convention to frame a constitution 
for Massachusetts drew up three articles confirming 
the ancient rights, privileges, and government of 
Harvard College. This section in the constitution 
of Massachusetts is entitled " The University." 

Langdon resigned the presidency in 1780. He 

87 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

had not been wholly successful; in a period over- 
shadowed by such grave difficulties no man could 
have been wholly successful. Langdon had un- 
fortunately lost the confidence of a number of the 
students and of some men connected with the 
government of the college. There seems to have 
been an intrigue against him; a meeting of the 
three upper classes was called and a memorial to 
the Corporation drawn up, charging Langdon with 
" impiety, heterodoxy, unfitness for the office of 
preacher of the Christian religion, and still more 
for that of President." In spite of the offensively 
canting and hypocritical cast of these resolutions, 
they were passed unanimously — a fact discredit- 
able enough to the whole undergraduate body. 

Twelve students were appointed to wait upon 
Langdon and invite him to resign. The interview 
took place on a Saturday; until he read the reso- 
lutions which were now presented to him, he had been 
quite unaware of the extent of his unpopularity. 
He was deeply wounded. The following Monday 
he addressed the students after morning prayers, 
announced to them that he would resign in accord- 
ance with their desire, and added with emotion 
that he and his family would then be thrown desti- 
tute on the world. The students were moved to 

88 



THE REVOLUTION: HARVARD IN EXILE 

some degree of compassion; the three upper classes 
held another meeting, rescinded the resolutions 
that had reflected on Langdon's piety, and stated 
merely that thpy believed him to be unfit for the 
office of president. 

Langdon's subsequent career warrants the be- 
lief that he was the victim in some measure of 
undergraduate caprice. He became pastor of a 
church near Portsmouth, was chosen in 1788 a 
delegate to the state convention, and played an in- 
fluential part in bringing about the acceptance of 
the Federal Constitution. 

The embarrassments of Harvard during the 
Revolution were greatly increased by the conduct 
of the treasurer, John Hancock. An aristocrat of 
wealth and boundless " patriotism," he was the 
most popular man in Massachusetts; his election 
to the office of treasurer in 1773 was thought to be 
a glorious stroke of policy on the part of the Har- 
vard authorities. He had made over to the college 
five hundred pounds from his uncle's estate; it 
was well known that the elder Hancock had in- 
tended to make this gift to the college, but had 
died without doing it. John Hancock's act in 
carrying out the expressed desire of his uncle, whose 
entire fortune he inherited, was extolled in the 

89 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

highest terms as a mark of rare nobility; the gift 
redounded to the credit of the nephew rather than 
of the uncle, and no condescendingly generous rich 
man was ever bespattered with more fulsome lauda- 
tion. 

After Hancock had held the office of treasurer 
for about a year, during which he had persistently 
ignored all its duties, the Corporation became uneasy. 
From November, 1774, to April, 1775, through 
President Langdon, they kept entreating him for 
a statement and settlement of accounts. To most 
of these appeals he vouchsafed no reply whatever. 
When, however, they deferentially suggested that 
he deliver the books and papers of the college to 
a committee, he showed great resentment and 
practically defied the Corporation to remove him. 
This they did not dare to do; Harvard College 
could not afford to incur John Hancock's displeasure; 
his following throughout the country was altogether 
too large and powerful. 

In April, 177s, without having made the account- 
ing that had been asked for, he went to Philadelphia. 
There he was elected President of the Continental 
Congress, and there he continued to ignore the ap- 
peals of Harvard and Langdon's supplications. 
At last the Corporation ventured to suggest in the 

90 



THE REVOLUTION: HARVARD IN EXILE 

most delicate and flattering way possible that with 
his vast and weighty public duties, he must find 
the office of treasurer of the college irksome; but 
he would not take the hint. Instead, in May, 1776, 
he proceeded to an amazing step; he had all the 
papers, bonds, and notes of the college brought 
from Cambridge and delivered to him in Phila- 
delphia. After getting these safely into his posses- 
sion, he declined more firmly than ever to make a 
settlement. 

The Overseers then took a hand in the matter 
and dispatched messages to him, without eliciting 
any response. After about six months of futile 
pleading with him, the Corporation sent a special 
messenger to Philadelphia to bring back the papers 
and an accounting. The messenger was successful 
to this extent: he returned with bonds and notes 
to the amount of sixteen thousand pounds, but he 
had been unable to obtain any accounting or state- 
ment of the balance that remained in the treasurer's 
hands. In March, 1777, the Overseers advised the 
Corporation to elect another treasurer. This put 
the Corporation into a great flutter. They held 
three meetings, preparing a twenty-eight page let- 
ter to Hancock, in the hope that it would mollify 
any resentment that he might entertain on account 

91 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

of their ungraciousness, and also in the hope that 
it might induce him to resign. This letter he never 
answered. So, in July, 1777, the Corporation 
screwed up their courage and elected Ebenezer 
Storer treasurer in place of John Hancock. 

This action angered Hancock so much that the 
Corporation were quite terrified. His political 
influence with the legislature, on whose bounty 
the college depended for the support of its presi- 
dent and professors, and his vindictiveness of 
temper, made him a dangerous person to af- 
front. Therefore the Corporation took steps to 
conciliate him. In January, 1778, they passed a 
vote, requesting him " to permit his portrait to be 
drawn at the expense of the Corporation, and placed 
in the philosophy chamber, by that of his uncle." 
Hancock had not the graciousness to reply. 

Throughout the year 1778 both Overseers and Cor- 
poration tried all their persuasive arts on Hancock; 
they wanted to obtain a settlement from him, and at 
the same time not to give him further offence. In 
February, 1779, they got to the point of threaten- 
ing to bring suit. This drew from Hancock the 
announcement that as soon as the General Assembly 
should adjourn, he would settle his accounts. The 
General Assembly adjourned, and he did not settle 

92 



THE REVOLUTION: HARVARD IN EXILE 

his accounts. A motion in the Board of Overseers to 
bring suit against him was rejected. As he was 
in the height of his popularity and power, the major- 
ity of the Board did not dare to attack him. 

He was elected Governor of Massachusetts in 
1780. The Corporation continued to pursue their 
pusillanimous course by making a complimentary 
address to the chief magistrate and expressing " their 
happiness that a gentleman is placed at the head 
of the General Court and of the Overseers who has 
given such substantial evidence of his love of letters 
and affection to the College by the generous and 
repeated benefactions with which he hath endowed 
it." If the college authorities entertained any 
expectations that the governor's conscience would 
be stirred by this undeserved tribute, they were 
disappointed. In March, 1781, Hancock took his 
seat, ex officio^ as president of the Overseers, but 
left his accounts still unsettled. 

Two years later the committee on Treasurer 
Storer's accounts had the hardihood to state at a 
meeting over which Hancock presided that " it 
is not yet known what sums the late Treasurer had 
received and paid, his accounts being still unsettled." 
Hancock was silent. Soon after that, the Overseers 
met again, and, finding that Hancock was absent, 

93 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

unanimously voted that at their next meeting they 
should come to a final resolution respecting the 
measures necessary to effect a settlement of the late 
treasurer's accounts. At the next meeting Hancock 
presided, and nobody ventured to bring up the 
subject. 

After having been elected governor five times 
in succession, Hancock, in January, 1785, announced 
his intention to resign — which he did in February. 
In this interval he made a statement of accounts, 
showing that there was due from him to the college 
ten hundred and fifty-four pounds. From that 
time until Hancock's death in 1793, Harvard College 
struggled vainly to get this money. Some years 
after his death, his heirs reluctantly discharged the 
debt, but could not be persuaded to pay interest on it. 

From the foundation of the college to the year 
1707, the payments from the public treasury to 
those who held the office of president never exceeded 
and probably never equalled one hundred pounds 
a year. During Leverett's presidency, the grant 
did not average one hundred and eighty pounds a 
year. Wadsworth received four hundred pounds a 
year — forty pounds from the rents of Massachu- 
setts Hall. Holyoke received uncertain annual 
grants. 

94 




Massachusetts Hall 



THE REVOLUTION: HARVARD IN EXILE 

In 1777 the college funds were invested in Con- 
tinental and state paper, which continued to de- 
teriorate in value, so that by 1786 the college had 
lost more than half its capital. 

The damage done to the college buildings by the 
American troops in 1775 was estimated at four 
hundred and forty-eight pounds; this sum was al- - 
lowed and paid by the General Court, but in de- 
preciated currency which was worth exactly one 
quarter of the claim. During the Revolutionary 
period, the president derived his support from the 
rents of Massachusetts Hall — now sixty pounds — 
from an annual grant of two hundred pounds from 
the General Court, and from fees; his total in- 
come was about three hundred pounds. Each pro- 
fessor received about two hundred pounds annually. 

The Reverend Joseph Willard was elected presi- 
dent in 1 78 1. More than eighteen months elapsed 
after his inauguration, and no grant was made either 
to him or to the professors, who by that time were 
in serious financial difficulties. The Corporation 
appealed then to the legislature, which granted the 
president one hundred and fifty pounds and the 
professors about one hundred pounds each, but 
intimated that such patronage of the college must 
soon cease. This grant by no means relieved the 

95 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

professors from all financial embarrassment; the 
Corporation therefore made loans to them, in 
the expectation of being reimbursed by the legis- 
lature. For two years the Corporation continued 
to make loans to its needy officers; then the legis- 
lature made its last grant. By 1792 the loans 
amounted to three thousand pounds. As the State 
was then more prosperous, the Corporation ap- 
pealed to the General Court for indemnification. 
The General Court ignored the appeal, and the 
Corporation cancelled the indebtedness of the 
professors and submitted to the loss. During all 
this period the wise judgment of the treasurer, 
Ebenezer Storer, and of James Bowdoin and John 
Lowell, two members of the Corporation, served 
Harvard well, and together with gifts from with- 
out, enabled her to restore her shattered fortunes. 



96 



CHAPTER VII 

THE PERIOD OF READJUSTMENT 

THE success of the patriot cause greatly im- 
proved the financial standing of Harvard 
College. The funds of the college had been invested 
chiefly in Continental and Massachusetts certifi- 
cates; the life of the college had been virtually 
pledged to the struggle for independence. In 
1793 the appreciation in the securities of the college 
was such that its total endowment amounted to 
one hundred and eighty thousand dollars as con- 
trasted with an endowment of about eighty thou- 
sand dollars, at the beginning of the Revolutionary 
War. By 1800 the endowment had been raised to 
nearly two hundred and fifty thousand dollars. 
The college no longer needed to appeal to the State 
for regular support; it had entered upon the era of 
prosperity which has continued and increased to the 
present day. 

Medical professorships — the foundation of the 
Medical School — were established in 1782. Not 

97 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

until 1 8 14, however, was any other special pro- 
vision made for the students of medicine. Then 
Holden Chapel, which had already been put to 
many varied and temporal uses, was set apart for 
medical lectures; " and costly wax preparations 
were purchased to supersede the necessity of dis- 
secting human subjects." 

The Phi Beta Kappa Society, which was founded 
at William and Mary College in Virginia, was es- 
tablished at Harvard in 1781. Its objects were 
" the promotion of literature and friendly inter- 
course among scholars." Worthy as such a purpose 
might appear, it did not win universal commenda- 
tion, and a number of students presented a petition 
to the authorities, complaining against the society. 
A committee of Overseers, headed by John Hancock, 
proceeded to investigate, and reported that " there 
is an institution in the University, with the nature 
of which the Government is not acquainted, which 
tends to make a discrimination among the students." 
This report was not acted upon; and the scholarly 
society was permitted to survive. 

In 1786, to lessen the expense of dress, a uniform 
was prescribed, the color and form of which were 
minutely set forth. The classes were distinguished 
by means of frogs on the cuffs and button-holes; 

98 



THE PERIOD OF READJUSTMENT 

silk was prohibited, and home manufactures were 
recommended. The idea was unpopular and had 
to be enforced with severe penalties; in 1797 it had 
become so obnoxious and difficult of enforcement 
that it was radically modified, and soon abandoned. 

Washington visited the college in 1790; no pic- 
turesque account of the occasion is preserved. He 
received an address from the Corporation and in 
reply expressed his hope that " the Muses may long 
enjoy a tranquil residence within the walls of this 
University." 

From 1789 to 1793, Number 8, Hollis Hall, was 
occupied by Charles Angier, concerning whom Mr. 
John Holmes, the too little known brother of Dr. 
Holmes, has a pleasing passage: 

" He conceived the grand idea of a perpetual 
entertainment and a standing invitation. The 
legend says, * His table was always supplied with 
wine, brandy, and crackers, of which his friends 
were at liberty to partake at any time.' We take 
upon us, in the absence of historical evidence, to 
vouch for the constancy of Mr. Angler's friends. 
No better goal of pilgrimage for a graduate of con- 
vivial turn can be imagined. The shrine is gone, 
but the flavor of a transcendent hospitality will 
always pervade Number 8." 

99 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

Joseph Story and William Ellery Channing were 
members of the class of 1798, and through their 
eyes we have been given a glimpse of the college 
life of the time. Amusements, books, resources 
were few. " Two ships only plied as regular packets 
between Boston and London, one in the spring and 
one in the autumn, and their arrival was an era in 
our college life. They brought books and periodi- 
cals from England." 

The social life of the undergraduates was re- 
stricted: "different classes were almost strangers 
to each other. The students had no connection 
whatever with the inhabitants of Cambridge by 
private social visits. There was none between the 
families of the president and professors of the Col- 
lege and the students. ... A free and easy inter- 
course with them (the professors) would have been 
thought somewhat obtrusive on one side and on the 
other would have exposed the student to the im- 
putation of being what in technical language was 
called a * fisherman' — a rank and noxious char- 
acter in college annals. . . • Invitations to social 
parties in Boston rarely extended to college circles." 

Yet a little anecdote has come down to show that 
the professors of those days could be kindly and 
human. Washington Allston, who was then an 

100 



THE PERIOD OF READJUSTMENT 

undergraduate, was as clever at mathematics as 
he was with his pencil, and at his room Channing 
stopped one day to get help on a problem that 
puzzled him. Allston furnished him with the solu- 
tion, and Channing was so amused by it that he 
audaciously presented it at the recitation. " It 
consisted of pyramids of figures heaped upon one 
another's shoulders in various attitudes, each of 
which was a slightly caricatured portrait of the 
professors and tutors." 

It is not quite clear how even the accomplished 
Allston could give a portrait value to mathematical 
symbols, but we must take the chronicler's word for 
it, and for the fact that the professor laughed 
heartily over the caricature and permitted the class 
to share his amusement. 

Channing and Story were both members of the 
Speaking Club — afterwards called the Institute 
of 1770, under which name it still exists. The prin- 
cipal aim of this society at that time was improve- 
ment in elocution and oratory. The members were 
chosen from the sophomore and junior classes, 
twelve or fifteen from each. They met in the evening 
" at some retired room," and took turns in de- 
claiming. Each orator, after his performance, was 
subjected to frank criticism. 

101 






J • ^ 






THE STORY OF HARVARD 

The Hasty Pudding Club, which was organized 
in 1795 with about twenty members from the junior 
class, was a literary society, and admission to it 
was partly on a basis of scholarship. Meetings were 
held on Saturday evenings; the members ate hasty 
pudding and molasses and closed the exercises by 
singing a hymn. The Porcellian Club, which had 
come into existence a few years earlier, was from the 
beginning " of a more luxurious and convivial cast." 

Story writes that in 1798 " badges of loyalty to 
our own government and of hatred to France were 
everywhere worn in New England, and the cockade 
was a signal of patriotic devotion to * Adams and 
liberty.* It was impossible that the academical 
walls could escape the common contagion." One 
hundred and seventy Harvard students — practi- 
cally the entire undergraduate body — offered an 
address to President Adams, which was drawn up by 
Channing and began as follows: 

" Sir: We flatter ourselves you will not be dis- 
pleased at hearing that the walls of your native 
seminary are now inhabited by youth possessing 
sentiments congenial with your own." It ended with 
the solemn offer of " the unwasted ardor and un- 
impaired energies of our youth to the service of our 
country." 

102 



... • t 






THE PERIOD OF READJUSTMENT 

Shortly after composing this impassioned ad- 
dress, Channing was chosen to give at Commence- 
ment an oration on " The Present Age." The sub- 
ject appealed to his excited soul; but when the 
president told him that in treating it he must avoid 
all political discussion, Channing felt outraged, and 
declared that under such conditions he would de- 
liver no oration — even though the refusal should 
cost him his degree. His incensed and sympathetic 
classmates applauded his determination. 

" I could join you, my friend," wrote one of them, 
" in offering an unfeigned tear to the manes of 
those joys which are forever fled; but indignation 
has dried up the source from which that tear must 
flow. The government of College have completed 
the climax of their despotism. They have obtained 
an arrit^ which from its features I could swear is 
the offspring of the French Directory. Although 
they pretend to be firm friends to American liberty 
and independence, their embargo on politics, which 
has subjected you to so many inconveniences, is 
strong proof to me that they are Jacobins, or at 
best pretended patriotSy who have not courage to 
defend the rights of their country. 

" William, should you be deprived of a degree 
for not performing at Commencement, every friend 

103 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

of liberty must consider it as a glorious sacrifice 
on the altar of your country." 

President Willard allowed the ferment to go on 
for a fortnight; then he sent for Channing and in a 
conciliatory spirit made concessions that were suffi- 
cient to placate the proud young orator. At the 
same time, Channing was not permitted to express 
himself as freely as he wished. The restriction 
weighed so heavily on him that towards the close 
of his oration he glanced towards President Willard 
and then, turning to the audience, exclaimed: " But 
that I am forbid, I could a tale unfold which would 
harrow up your souls!" This melodramatic out- 
burst was received with " unbounded applause; " 
and after he left the stage, the audience cheered 
him for many minutes. 

" The students who boarded in Commons," wrote 
Professor Sidney Willard of the class of 1798, " were 
obliged to go to the kitchen door with their bowls 
or pitchers for their suppers, where they received 
their modicum of milk or chocolate in their vessel, 
held in one hand, and their piece of bread in the 
other, and repaired to their rooms to take their 
solitary repast. There were suspicions at times that 
the milk was diluted by a mixture of a very common 
tasteless fluid, which led a sagacious Yankee student 

104 



THE PERIOD OF READJUSTMENT 

to put the matter to the test by asking the simple 
carrier-boy why his mother did not mix the milk 
with warm water instead of cold. ' She does/ re- 
plied the honest youth.' 

There were more harmful adulterations than 
this. In 1791? in order to prevent an examination 
from being held, some students poured a quantity 
of tartar emetic into the kitchen boilers before 
breakfast. Coffee was made from the water in 
the boilers, and at breakfast practically every one 
was taken violently sick. The conspirators were 
sickest of all, for they had drunk most heartily, 
in order to divert suspicion from themselves. One 
of them had been seen, however, while committing 
his infamous act, others were questioned and con- 
fessed, and finally all were rusticated for several 
weeks. 

President Willard died in 1804; Samuel Webber 
succeeded him. In the same year the Boylston 
Professorship of Rhetoric and Oratory was es- 
tablished, and John Quincy Adams elected the 
first professor. Stoughton Hall was built in 1805 
from the proceeds of the lotteries that had been 
conducted for a number of years; and in 1813 
Holworthy Hall was completed, the funds for it 
having been raised by the same questionable meas- 

105 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

ures. An article in a Boston newspaper of 1795 
shows to what insidious practices the college au- 
thorities resorted: 

" So great is the demand for Tickets in the /zd 
Class of Harvard College Lottery that it has be- 
come doubtful whether there will be any to dispose 
of, for several days previous to the 9th of April 
next, on which day the Lottery is positively to com- 
mence drawing. The spirit which animated the 
first settlers of this country, to promote useful 
knowledge, has, if possible, encreased with the 
present generations; and this is the evidence, That 
there is scarcely a single one in the community, 
either male or female, who is not more or less in- 
terested in the College Lottery. 

" The lisping babe cries, * Papa, care for me, 
Pray buy a Ticket — and in time you'll see 
The pleasing benefit thy son will find 
In Learning faithfully to serve mankind.* " 

Holworthy Hall derived its name from Sir Mat- 
thew Holworthy, who with a bequest of one thou- 
sand pounds had achieved the distinction of making 
the largest single gift to Harvard in the seventeenth 
century. With the building of more dormitories, 
the need of resident oflScers to keep order and watch 
over the undergraduates seemed to make itself 

106 



THE PERIOD OF READJUSTMENT 

felt; and in 1805 proctors came into being. In 
the same year an even more important development 
took place; by the election of the Rev. Henry Ware, 
a Unitarian, to the HoUis Professorship of Divinity, 
Harvard College showed its sympathy with liberal 
theological views and alienated the confidence and 
support of the Calvinistic leaders. Mr. Ware was 
a methodical gentleman; he had a sermon for 
every Sunday of the four college years. Thus every 
undergraduate heard every sermon in his repertory, 
and nobody heard the same sermon twice. Under 
Mr. Ware's leadership. Harvard became a distinct- 
ively Unitarian college and did not alter its char- 
acter in this respect for more than half a century. 
The Rev. John Thornton Kirkland succeeded 
President Webber in 18 10. He was the son of a 
missionary to the Oneida Indians; he had entered 
college at the age of fifteen, but withdrew the next 
year to enlist in the army raised to suppress Shays* 
Rebellion. Of President Kirkland, Lowell has 
given an attractive picture: "This life was good 
enough for him, and the next not too good. The 
gentlemanlike pervaded even his prayers. His were 
not the manners of a man of the world, nor of a 
man of the other world either; but both met in him 
to balance each other in a beautiful equilibrium. 

107 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

Praying, he leaned forward on the pulpit cushion, 
as for conversation, and seemed to feel himself — 
without irreverence — on terms of friendly but 
courteous familiarity with heaven." 

He was a plump, cheery, pleasant-faced gentle- 
man. Prescott, writing of the oral entrance ex- 
aminations, which terrified him, records gratefully 
the fact that President Kirkland sent in to the 
candidates a " good dish of pears " and treated 
them " very much like gentlemen." He was some- 
thing of a wit, and one at least of his aphorisms, 
which has the Johnsonian flavor, has earned its 
place in the list of familiar quotations: " The chief 
value of statistics is to confute other statistics." 

Lowell records a pleasant anecdote of him: 
" Hearing that Porter's flip — which was exemplary 
— had too great an attraction for the collegians, 
he resolved to investigate the matter himself. 
Accordingly, entering the old inn one day, he called 
for a mug of it, and having drunk it, said, ' And so, 
Mr. Porter, the young gentlemen come to drink your 
flip, do they .'^ ' * Yes, sir — sometimes.' * Ah, 
well, I should think they would. Good day, Mr. 
Porter,' and departed, saying nothing more; for he 
always wisely allowed for the existence of a certain 
amount of human nature in ingenuous youth." 

108 



THE PERIOD OF READJUSTMENT 

There seems little doubt that potations among 
the college youths were both general and generous. 
Lowell tells of the Harvard Washington Corps, — 
the successor of the Marti-Mercurian Band, — 
' " whose gyrating banner, inscribed Tarn Marti 
quant Mercurioy on the evening of training-days, 
was an accurate dynamometer of Willard's punch 
or Porter's flip. It was they who, after being royally 
entertained by a maiden lady of the town, entered 
in their orderly book a vote that Miss Blank was 
a gentleman. I see them now, returning from the 
imminent deadly breach of the law of Rechab, 
unable to form other than the serpentine line of 
beauty, while their officers, brotherly rather than 
imperious, instead of reprimanding, tearfully em- 
braced the more eccentric wanderers from military 
precision." 

The Harvard Washington Corps was composed 
of juniors and seniors, but officered by seniors 
only. To hold a command was a great distinction. 
The uniform required the officers to appear in 
tights, and the first question asked about any candi- 
date for promotion was: " How is the man off for 
a leg.? " 

President Kirkland's administration was note- 
worthy not only for the building of Holworthy, 

109 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

University, and Divinity Halls, but also for the 
founding of the Law School, which was established 
in 1 817. In spite of the losses that the commerce of 
New England endured during and after the War 
of 181 2, the prosperity of Harvard College main- 
tained a steady growth in this period. The salaries 
of the professors were increased; the grounds sur- 
rounding the buildings were planted with trees and 
shrubbery; the place acquired a greater air of 
dignity. 

Edward Everett, of the class of 181 1, described 
the Yard as it was when he was a freshman, be- 
fore the improvements made in Kirkland's adminis- 
tration: " A low, unpainted, board fence ran along 
the south of Massachusetts and east of Hollis 
and Stoughton, at a distance of two or three rods, 
forming an enclosure of the shabbiest kind. The 
College woodyard was advantageously posted on 
the site of University Hall; and farther to the north- 
east stretched an indefinite extent of wild pasture 
and whortleberry swamp, the depths of which were 
rarely penetrated by the most adventurous fresh- 
man." Cambridgeport was so bare of trees and 
houses that from some windows in the college build- 
ings the houses on Mount Vernon Street in Boston, 
above what is now Louisburg Square, could be seen. 

110 



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THE PERIOD OF READJUSTMENT 

Until the beginning of the nineteenth century, 
the curriculum, although it had been somewhat 
relieved of its early theological trend, remained ex- 
traordinarily limited. It consisted of Latin, Greek, 
mathematics, English composition, philosophy, the- 
ology, and either Hebrew or French, as the students 
might elect. No other subjects were studied. Ex- 
cept for French, there was no opportunity given 
the student to learn any modern language. There 
was no instruction in history or in economics, in 
chemistry, geology, or botany. But an interest 
in all these matters was awakening in America, 
and Harvard College could not afford to be back- 
ward in meeting it. The influence of some pro- 
fessors who had studied in Europe supplied also a 
beneficial impetus from within. 

In consequence, the college was soon brought 
into more direct relation with life and with its con- 
temporaneous problems, and the undergraduates 
were given an opportunity to obtain at least the 
elements of an education that was not aridly classi- 
cal. But notwithstanding this progress, in which 
Harvard led every other college of the period, edu- 
cation there as elsewhere was still far from breaking 
away from the classical convention that had becD 
imposed by the founders. 

Ill 



CHAPTER VIII 

THE BEGINNING OF THE MODERN ERA 

IN 1825 the Corporation and the Overseers passed 
a new code of laws, under which the governing 
body was named the " Faculty of the University," 
and the university was divided into departments. 
The students were given greater freedom and a 
wider choice of studies, and were no longer required 
to board at the commons. 

This liberalizing of the college was largely the 
work of Professor George Ticknor, a graduate of 
Dartmouth, who had studied for some years in 
Europe and brought to Cambridge an idea of 
broader culture than had hitherto existed in that 
community. But the traditions and influence of 
foreign scholarship which he represented met with 
opposition from the other professors, even from the 
liberally minded president, and in Ticknor's own 
eyes his efforts failed. After fifteen years of service 
he resigned in discouragement; Harvard seemed to 
him incurably provincial. As one of his friends wrote : 

112 




THE BEGINNING OF THE MODERN ERA 

" It was the college of Boston and Salem, not of 
the Commonwealth." 

Nevertheless, under Kirkland, Ticknor had been 
the pioneer; in the ensuing years, when the old 
professors dropped off, they were usually succeeded 
by men who had studied abroad, and^ who shared 
Ticknor's views. 

And Ticknor had in after years the satisfaction of 
knowing that he had been the first to stimulate 
Prescott in those studies which were later to bring 
him fame as a historian. The first part of Prescott's 
college life did not augur a brilliant career as a 
scholar. He entered Harvard as a sophomore in 
1811, a lively and humorous youth with a bright 
mind, but by no means given to study. He had 
a fondness for making resolutions and confiding 
them 'to friends and acquaintances. 

" These resolutions related often to the number 
of hours, nay, the number of minutes per day to be 
appropriated to each particular exercise or study; the 
number of recitations and public prayers per week 
that he would not fail to attend; the number of times 
per week that he would not exceed in attending balls, 
theatrical entertainments in Boston, etc. . . . He 
would be sure not to run one minute over^ however 
he might sometimes fall short of the full time for 

113 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

learning a particular lesson, which he used to con 
with his watch before him, lest by any inadvertence 
he might cheat himself into too much study. On 
the same principle he was careful never to attend 
any greater number of college exercises nor any less 
number of evening diversions in Boston than he 
had bargained for with himself." 

In his- junior year, one day after dinner at the 
commons, there was a disturbance just as he was 
going out of the room. He turned to see what was 
happening and was struck in the eye by a hard piece 
of bread. The blindness and the suffering that he 
endured the rest of his life arc well known. The 
injury seemed to sober him and to mark a turning 
point in his character and in his habits. His gay 
and humorous spirit did not forsake him; he still 
gave way to bursts of wild merriment, — as when in 
an amateur rehearsal of " Julius Caesar," at the 
words, " thou meek and bleeding piece of earth," 
addressed to the prostrate friend who took that part, 
he roared with laughter and broke up the perform- 
ance, — but he worked with a determination that 
he had never shown before. Mathematics he 
could not grasp; so, for a time, he committed to 
memory every prescribed demonstration — every 
symbol and letter — and gave perfect recitations 

114 



THE BEGINNING OF THE MODERN ERA 

daily. This laborious method became as irksome 
as it was foolish; he went to the professor and told 
him the truth. He explained that if necessary he 
was willing to go on committing to memory, but 
that there was no use in it, for he really could not 
understand the subject at all, and that he thought 
he could employ his time more profitably. The 
professor good-naturedly let him off from further 
recitations, but continued to require his presence 
in the class-room. In his other studies Prescott 
did so well that he was elected into Phi Beta Kappa, 
and at graduation he delivered a poem in Latin. 

Prescott had been out of Harvard three years 
when Emerson entered college. Emerson did not 
cut much of a figure. Singing in the Yard was a 
popular diversion; and early in his freshman year 
Emerson, wishing to have a share in this amuse- 
ment, went to the singing-master, who said to him: 
" Chord." 

So I made some kind of a noise," said Emerson, 

and the singing-master said: * That will do, sir. 
You need not come again.' " 

The experience seems to have been rather typical 
of the sage's undergraduate career. One of his class- 
mates recorded in his journal: " I went to the chapel 
to hear Emerson's dissertation; a very good one, 

115 



it 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

but rather too long to give much pleasure to the 
hearers." He was made class poet, but only after 
seven others had been successively elected and had 
successively declined the honor. His class appears 
to have been an unusually turbulent one, even for 
those roistering days, and Emerson doubtless felt 
himself not in sympathy with the prevailing 
spirit. 

On November i8, 1818, his classmate, Josiah 
Quincy, pasted a dry twig on the leaf of his journal 
and made this entry: " Resistance to tyrants is 
obedience to God. This twig was my badge; all 
the class tore them from the Rebellion Tree and 
agreed to wear them in their bosoms." 

The freshmen and sophomores dined in two large 
halls separated by folding doors, which were usually 
locked. One Sunday evening the doors were ac- 
cidentally left open; a sophomore shied a plate in 
among the freshmen, and a battle, in which much 
crockery was smashed, resulted. Five of the sopho- 
mores were suspended. The rest of the class es- 
corted them out of the town, cheering them as they 
went, then, returning to the college yard, assembled 
round the Rebellion Tree. 

President Kirkland sent for the three ringleaders, 
— Adams, Otis and Quincy, — advised them to leave 

116 



THE BEGINNING OF THE MODERN ERA 

town, and forbade them " at their peril ** to return 
to the tree. 

So they promptly went back to the tree and 
Adams harangued the crowd, ending as follows: 
" Gentlemen, we have been commanded, at our 
peril, not to return to the Rebellion Tree; at our 
peril we do return! " 

There was immense applause and the class voted 
to remain in rebellious session all day and absent 
themselves from all college exercises. In conse- 
quence, there were a number of rustications and sus- 
pensions, and after a while the rebellion wore itself 
out. 

A few notes from the undergraduate career of 
Stephen Salisbury, of the class of 1817, give an 
idea of the simplicity of life and the formality of 
manners of the period. He paid six cents for a foot- 
ball. His father wrote to him: "Your Scates shall 
be sent to you, but you must not scate on any Ponds 
or Rivers nor neglect your studies for any Amuse- 
ments." His mother begged him to skip rope in 
his room when it was too stormy to go for a walk. 

At his Commencement, his parents issued a 
number of invitations in this style: "Mr. & Mrs. 
Stephen Salisbury request the honor of 's com- 
pany at Dinner at the Rooms of their Son, at Mr, 

117 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

Hearsey's, in Cambridge, on Commencement Day." 
A typical reply was the following: " With their 
respectfull acknowledgments to Mr. & Mrs. Salis- 
bury, Mr. & Mrs. Lincoln regret that indispensable 
avocations must deprive them of the satisfaction 
of participating personally with Mr. Salisbury & 
his friends the pleasures of a Commencement 
which will place on the theatre of the world their 
promising son." 

The commons in University Hall, conducted by 
one Cooley, occasioned much dissatisfaction. Thus 
an epicure of the class of 1824 records in his diary: 

"16 Nov. 1820. We have lately had very bad 
commons, but more especially this day. I hope 
they will soon be better. Several have gone out to 
board. 

" 28 Nov. At noon commons we have a great 
plenty of roast goose. Probably every one in the 
hall (which amounted to eight or ten) might have 
been bought for a dollar. Indeed I never saw such 
tough, raw-boned, shocking, ill-looking animals ever 
placed upon a table. I hope something better will 
come on to-morrow. 

" 29 Nov. Commons still remains very bad. 
At supper the bread was mere dough; that is, it 
was not half baked. I have not eaten in commons for 

118 



THE BEGINNING OF THE MODERN ERA 

a week past one dollar's worth of anything what- 
ever. 

" 26 June. In commons Mr. Cooley gave a turtle 
soup to the four classes to-day, having invited the 
chief of those who boarded out. But whether it 
was turtle soup or not I am unable to say, as I 
never ate any. At least no one appeared to like 
it, and, as for myself, I never dined so poorly in my 
life. 

" 29 June. Mr. Cooley has put up an advertise- 
ment on the University board, stating that he has 
now employed cooks superior to any in the United 
States. This, however, is only to keep the students 
in commons." 

Thus did an originally sanguine, hopeful nature 
become the abode of cynicism and distrust. 

Going to the theater was punishable with a 
fine of ten dollars, and going to a party in Boston 
made the student liable to a fine of five dollars. 
These penalties seem not to have been often 
inflicted, but indulgence in such pleasures in the 
winter months carried with it certain hardships. 

" The difficulty of getting a light with numb fingers 
on a cold night was a petty misery of life," wrote 
Quincy. " In vain were the flint and steel clashed 
together; too often it happened that no available 

119 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

spark was the result. The tinder, which we made 
from old shirts, would absorb dampness in spite 
of all precautions to keep it dry. Sometimes after 
shivering for half an hour, during our efforts to 
kindle it, we were forced to go to bed in the dark 
in a condition of great discomfort, and feeling that 
we had purchased our amusement at an extrava- 
gant cost." 

The college owned a little fire-engine, " scarcely 
fit to water a flower bed,'* and the undergraduates 
enjoyed the privilege of trundling out this machine 
whenever there was an alarm of fire. The captain 
of the engine company was appointed by the pres- 
ident, but the minor offices were elective. " No 
sooner did the fire bell ring than we got into all 
sorts of horrible and grotesque garments. Hats in 
the last stages of dilapidation and strange ancestral 
coats were carefully kept for those occasions. Feel- 
ing that we were pretty well disguised by costume 
and darkness, there seemed nothing to hinder that 
lawless abandonment to a frolic which is so delight- 
ful to unregenerate man when youthful blood bub- 
bles in his veins. I cannot remember that we ever 
rendered the slightest assistance in extinguishing 
a fire; indeed, there were so many good reasons for 
stopping on the way that we commonly arrived 

120 



THE BEGINNING OF THE MODERN ERA 

after it was out. And then, if we were tired, we had 
an impudent way of leaving the tub upon the ground, 
well knowing that the government would send for 
their property the next day.** 

The students made it their custom upon return- 
ing from a fire to regale themselves with " black- 
strap " — an intoxicating compound in which rum 
and molasses were the principal ingredients. " It 
finally broke up the engine company, and this was 
perhaps the only good thing which ever came of it. 
For matters at last reached a crisis; the govern- 
ment came to their senses, sold the engine, and 
broke up the association. But to take the edge off 
the cruelty of this necessary act, it was decided 
that the company should be allowed a final meeting. 
And so we celebrated the obsequies of the old machine 
with an oration and a poem — following up these 
exercises with other proceedings of which a detailed 
account is unnecessary." 

With no athletics in which to vent their energy, 
it is no wonder that the students were often restless 
and riotous. They entered college usually at the age 
of fifteen, sometimes, as in the case of Motley, at 
the age of thirteen. Study was not merely diflftcult; 
it was attended often by severe bodily discomfort. 
In winter the college rooms were wretchedly cold. 

121 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

Harrison Gray Otis kept two lumps of anthracite 
on his mantelpiece as curiosities. Not for many 
years did coal come into use. " Our light came from 
dipped candles, with very broad bases, and grad- 
ually narrowing to the top. These required the 
constant use of snuffers — a circumstance which 
hindered application to an extent that in these days 
of kerosene and gas can scarcely be appreciated. 
The dual brain with which mankind are furnished 
seemed to us to show intelligent design. One brain 
was clearly required to do the studying, while it 
was the business of the other to watch the candles 
and look after the snuffers." 

The college owned a sloop, the Harvard^ which 
made an annual voyage to Maine to bring back 
wood from some timber lands that the college had 
there acquired. This practice continued until the 
eminent mathematician, Nathaniel Bowditch, de- 
monstrated to the authorities that it would be 
cheaper for them to buy firewood from the nearest 
and dearest dealer than to send their own sloop to 
their own timber lands for it. 

The Med. Fac. Society, which was until a few 
years ago a celebrated and sometimes a notorious 
organization, originated in HoUis 13, in 18 18. Four 
members of the class of 1820 were the founders. It 

122 



THE BEGINNING OF THE MODERN ERA 

was from the beginning devoted to pranks and mis- 
chief. " Frequent meetings were called by the 
President to carry out the object of the institution,'* 
writes John Holmes. " They were always held , 
in some student's room in the afternoon. The room 
was made as dark as possible and brilliantly lighted. 
The * Faculty ' sat around a long table in some 
singular and antique costumes, almost all in large 
wigs and breeches with knee buckles. . . . The 
President wore the academic square cap, perhaps 
of abnormal size. The table at which he presided 
was covered with specimens of anatomy, collected 
by the ^ Faculty ' themselves or under their in- 
spection. The candidate for membership was ex- 
amined with reference to these." He was also made 
to do " stunts " — obliged to swim on the floor, 
etc. Two tall " gendarmes," armed with musket 
and bayonet, prodded him to the performance of 
his duties. 

The Med. Fac. meetings were suppressed in 1824, 
and its anatomical collection dispersed, but the secret 
activities of the society continued for about eighty 
years, provoking sometimes wrath and sometimes 
mirth. It conferred honorary degrees on the Sia- 
mese Twins, the Sea Serpent, and Alexander I of 
Russia. The Czar, taking the distinction seriously, 

123 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

reciprocated by sending a very fine case of surgical 
instruments, which was appropriated by the Corpora- 
tion for the use of the medical professors. An old 
catalogue of the society names the professorships 
bestowed on its members — Professorships Bugo- 
logiae, Craniologiae, Vitae et Mortis, and Intelli- 
gentiae Generalis being among them. 

Another convivial organization of this period was 
the Navy Club. In the spring its marquee, " the 
good ship Harvard," was erected near Divinity 
Hall; the floor was divided into a quarter and a 
main deck, each under the command of an admiral. 
At the boatswain's whistle, the club was accustomed 
to form in line in front of Holworthy and proceed 
to its " ship," where it was understood to indulge 
in some very peculiar naval manoeuvres. 

The class of 1821 — the boisterous class which 
had made Emerson their eighth choice as poet — 
marched on their graduating day to Porter's Tav- 
ern, where they sat down at two o'clock to " a fine 
dinner." Caleb Cushing gave for a toast: "The 
bonds of friendship, which always tighten when 
they are wet." After this inspired sentiment the 
feast waxed merry. " When we had all drunk our 
skins full, we marched round to all the professors' 
houses, danced round the Rebellion and Liberty 

124 



THE BEGINNING OF THE MODERN ERA 

Trees, and then returned to the hall. A great many 
of the class were half-seas over, and I had the pleas- 
ure of supporting one of them. This was as hard 
work as I ever desire to do. Many ladies came 
to witness our dancing and were much scandalized 
by the elevation of spirit which some exhibited. 
We parted with more grief than any class I ever 
saw, every one of us being drowned in tears." 

In President Kirkland's administration under- 
graduates were required to wear a uniform of black. 
In 1829 a concession was made; the waistcoat had 
to be either black or white. Charles Sumner per- 
sisted in wearing one of buff color and was dis- 
ciplined several times for this disobedience; he 
insisted that it was nearly white enough to come 
under the rule, and at last the Parietal Board 
yielded to him in the controversy. Seventeen years 
later, when he delivered his oration before the Phi 
Beta Kappa, he wore a buff waistcoat. Sumner's 
college bills, including tuition, rent, and care of 
room, fuel, books, and fees, amounted to about 
eight hundred dollars for four years. Two hundred 
dollars a year probably represented the average scale 
of expenditure among the students of the period. 

Rebellions were of frequent occurrence; in April, 
1823, there was a curious uprising among the seniors. 

125 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

The names are shrouded In mystery, but this is 
the story: X. was about to graduate at the head 
of the class. Z. was believed — on what grounds 
does not appear — to have told the faculty that 
X., who was a student receiving college aid, had 
spent in dissipation the funds that had been be- 
stowed on him. X., on being questioned, denied 
this, but the authorities deprived him of further 
pecuniary assistance and of all academic honors. 
The class, indignant and sympathizing with X., 
hissed Z. on his appearance in chapel. On account 
of this demonstration, X., though he had not pro- 
moted it in any way, was expelled. The next day, 
when Z. appeared in chapel, his classmates rushed 
upon him and threw him out. They did this on two 
succeeding occasions; then Z. found it advisable 
to withdraw from Cambridge. But because of their 
disorderly and indignant proceedings, thirty-seven 
seniors were expelled. Twenty years later they 
were granted their degrees. 

Class Day was celebrated very informally. Thus 
George Whitney, of the class of 1824, wrote in 
his diary: "Tuesday, 13 July. We part to-day. 
After Commons, according to previous appoint- 
ment we had a good prayer from Burnap in the 
Senior Hall. We spent an hour or two after this in 

126 



THE BEGINNING OF THE MODERN ERA 

calling on each other and bidding good-by to many 
who would not even meet us at Commencement. 
At half-past ten the class went in procession to the 
Chapel and heard a very beautiful valedictory 
oration from Newell and poem from George Lunt.'* 

Whitney attended the Class Day exercises in 
1829, when Oliver Wendell Holmes read the poem. 
" He is both young and small in distinction from 
most others," Whitney wrote, " and on these cir- 
cumstances he contrived to cut some good jokes. 
His poem was very happy and abounded in wit. 
Instead of a spiritual muse, he invoked for his 
goddess the ladies present and in so doing he sang 
very amusingly of * his hapless amour with too tall 
a maid.' " 

In 1824 Lafayette visited Harvard. The streets 
were decorated, he passed under triumphal arches 
on his way from Boston, and the crowds gave him 
such an ovation that he was several, hours late when 
he at last arrived at the college. President Kirk- 
land met him at the gate. When Edward Everett 
in his oration spoke of " the noble conduct of our 
guest in procuring a ship for his own transportation, 
at a time when all America was too poor to offer 
him a passage to her shores," he moved the audience 
to tears. 

127 



CHAPTER IX 

HARVARD UNDER QUINCY 

KIRKLAND resigned the presidency in 1829 
on account of ill health, and was succeeded by 
Josiah Quincy, who had been for three terms mayor 
of Boston. In Quincy's able and progressive admin- 
istration, the Law School was reorganized and given a 
home of its own, — in Dane Hall, — and the Astro- 
nomical Observatory was established. But perhaps 
Quincy's most important service to Harvard was in 
repressing the spirit and habit of lawlessness which 
his lenient predecessors had too long tolerated. At 
this day it seems strange that the president of the 
college should have felt compelled to assert that 
students should be held amenable to civil authority 
for offences against the law, " even though committed 
within academic precincts." 

But we have the testimony of Dr. Andrew P, 
Peabody, then a tutor in Harvard: " The habits of 
the students were rude, and outrages involving not 
only large destruction of property, but peril of life — 

128 



HARVARD UNDER QUINCY 

as, for instance, the blowing up of public rooms in 
inhabited buildings — were occurring every year. 
Mr. Quincy was sustained by the Governing Boards, 
but encountered an untold amount of hostility and 
obloquy from the students, their friends, and the 
outside public. He persevered, and gradually won 
over the best public opinion to his view. While the 
detestable practice of hazing was rife, crimes that 
were worthy of the penitentiary were of frequent 
occurrence, resulting in some cases in driving a 
persecuted freshman from college; in many in- 
stances, in serious and lasting injury; and once, at 
least, in fatal illness. The usual college penalty 
punished the parents alone. The suspended student 
was escorted in triumph on his departure and his 
return, and was the hero of his class for the residue 
of his college life." 

The Great Rebellion, as the undergraduate revolt 
of 1834 was called, illustrated the disorderly tend- 
encies with which Quincy had to cope. It began on 
May 19; a freshman, a Southerner, refused to re- 
cite in Greek when called on by the instructor, one 
Dunkin. He not only refused to recite; he was in- 
solent. President Quincy summoned him and told 
him that he must apologize. The young Southerner 
declared that he would rather withdraw from the 

129 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

university; Quincy gave him the opportunity to 
make that choice, and he withdrew. As he had 
been well liked by upper classmen as well as by 
freshmen, a popular movement to avenge him was 
set on foot. Mobs tore Dunkin's room to pieces, 
smashed his furniture, and broke his windows. They 
set off torpedoes in chapel and promoted an almost 
continuous disorder in recitations. Finally all the 
sophomores but three went on strike and were sent 
home. The juniors wore crape on their left arms 
and burned Quincy in effigy. Rioting was inces- 
sant, the breaking of windows and the smashing of 
furniture continued. Legal proceedings for assault 
and trespass were brought against some of the ring- 
leaders. For the eight weeks from the 19th of May 
to the end of the college year, the university work 
was practically discontinued, " the students being 
occupied with their various class meetings and the 
instructors attending the frequent sessions of the 
Faculty." In after years many of those who were 
suspended for their foolishness received their de- 
grees. 

President Quincy was abrupt and rather harsh 
in manner and seldom remembered a student's 
name. But his feeling towards the undergradu- 
ates was kindly, and he took endless pains, even in 

130 



HARVARD UNDER QUINCY 

small details, to improve their conditions. He com- 
pelled the contractor of the commons to furnish 
better food; he even imported tableware, porcelain, 
and silver, stamped with the college arms, for use 
in the commons. He was cordial and hospitable 
in welcoming the students to his house; his popu- 
larity increased as the students came to know him. 
When Andrew Jackson visited the college. Presi- 
dent Quincy was much distressed at having to con- 
fer the degree of LL. D. on him; indeed all the fac- 
ulty abhorred Jackson. " Preparations for a public 
funeral — certainly for his — could not have been 
made less cheerfully than ours for his welcome," 
writes Dr. Peabody. However, the affair went off 
not so badly; the first scholar of the class delivered 
a Latin address; President Quincy conferred the 
degree in elegant Latin; the general replied, " prob- 
ably in English," but in so low a tone that no one 
could hear what he said; and he was then escorted 
to the president's house, to a reception. " His whole 
bearing, in the Chapel and in the drawing-room, by 
its blended majesty and benignity, won for the time 
the reverence and admiration of all who saw him." 
The qualifying clause suggests that Dr. Peabody 
certainly and President Quincy probably reverted 
to their original views of Old Hickory. 

131 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

Dr. John Snelling Popkin was the professor of 
Greek under Quincy. " Who that ever saw him," 
writes Lowell, " can forget him, in his old age, like 
a lusty winter, frosty but kindly, with great silver 
spectacles of the heroic period, such as scarce twelve 
noses of these degenerate days could bear? . . . 
The son of an officer of distinction in the Revolu- 
tionary War, he mounted the pulpit with the erect 
port of a soldier and carried his cane more in the 
fashion of a weapon than a staff, but with the point 
lowered, in token of surrender to the peaceful pro- 
prieties of his calling. Yet sometimes the martial 
instincts would burst the cerements of black coat 
and clerical neck-cloth, as once, when the students 
had got into a fight upon the training-field, and the 
licentious soldiery, furious with rum, had driven 
them at point of bayonet to the college gates, and 
even threatened to lift their arms against the Muses* 
bower. Then, like Major GofFe at Deerfield, sud- 
denly appeared the gray-haired professor, all his 
father resurgent in him, and shouted: * Now, my 
lads, stand your ground, you're in the right now! 
Don't let one of them set foot within the College 
grounds ! ' " 

He liked to smoke, but " knowing that the ani- 
mal appetites ever hold one hand behind them for 

132 



HARVARD UNDER QUINCY 

Satan to drop a bribe in," he would never have two 
cigars in his rooms at once, but walked daily to the 
tobacconist's to purchase his single article of dissi- 
pation. " Nor would he trust himself with two on 
Saturdays, preferring (since he could not violate 
the Sabbath even by that infinitesimal traffic) to 
depend on Providential ravens, which were seldom 
wanting in the shape of some black-coated friend 
who knew his need and honored the scruple that 
occasioned it." 

For many years he lived on the second floor of 
Holworthy, " the venerable Goody Morse cooking 
his food, bringing it to him at the regular college 
hours, and taking the most assiduous care for his 
comfort." But finally, when he had to provide a 
home in Cambridge for a widowed sister and two 
nieces, he abandoned his comfortable bachelor's 
lodgings, and took a house next door to a classmate 
and lifelong friend. The two men used to hold long 
conversations over the dividing fence, but neither 
of them ever entered the other's house. Dr. Pea- 
body dwells on Popkin affectionately in his remi- 
niscences : 

" In his recitation room Dr. Popkin sat by a table 
rather than behind it, and grasped his right leg, 
generally with both hands, lifting it as if he were 

133 



THE STORY OF HARVARD . 

making attempts to shoulder it, and more nearly 
accomplishing that feat daily than an ordinary 
gymnast would after a year's special training. As 
chairman of the parietal government, he regarded 
it as his official duty to preserve order in the college 
yard; but he was the frequent cause of disorder, 
for nothing so amused the students as to see him in 
full chase after an offender or dancing round a 
bonfire; while it was well understood that as a de- 
tective he was almost always at fault. . . . Yet 
the students held him in reverence and at the same 
time liked him. His were the only windows of 
parietal officers that were never broken.'* 

Although showing him this distinguished consider- 
ation, the undergraduates made him at times the 
victim of rude practical jokes. " Once while Dr. 
Popkin was groping on the floor in quest of smothered 
fire, in a room that had been shattered by an ex- 
plosion of gunpowder, a bucket of water was thrown 
on him." The students might take liberties with 
him, but he stood on his dignity with others; on 
overhearing a young man " of jaunty, dapper, un- 
academic aspect " utter his nickname, he exclaimed : 
"What right have you, sir, to call me Old Pop.^ 
You were never a member of Harvard College." 

Dr. Jonathan Barber was the instructor in elo- 

134 



HARVARD UNDER QUINCY 

cution. " His great glory was the invention of a 
hollow sphere, six feet in diameter, made of some 
six or eight bamboo rods, which were its meridians, 
and were crossed by an equator, by at least two 
great circles besides, and by an adequate number of 
small circles corresponding to parallels of latitude. 
In this sphere the students stood to declaim, and 
the circles by their various altitudes and intersec- 
tions determined the gestures appropriate to each 
specific mood of feeling or form of mental action/* 
The merits of the contrivance were not appreciated; 
it was discovered one morning suspended from a 
barber's pole, and shortly after that affront Dr. 
Barber abandoned his college work in elocution and 
went about the country lecturing on phrenology. 
The barber's pole was that in front of the shop that 
Lowell remembered so pleasantly: 

" The barber's shop was a museum, scarce second 
to the larger one of Greenwood in the metropolis. 
The boy who was to be clipped there was always 
accompanied to the sacrifice by troops of friends, 
who thus inspected the curiosities gratis. While the 
watchful eye of R. wandered to keep in check these 
rather unscrupulous explorers, the unpausing shears 
would sometimes overstep the boundaries of strict 
tonsorial prescription, and make a notch through 

135 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

which the phrenological developments could be 
distinctly seen. As Michael Angelo's design was 
modified by the shape of his block, so R., rigid in 
artistic proprieties, would contrive to give an ap- 
pearance of design to this aberration by making it 
the key-note to his work, and reducing the whole 
head to an appearance of premature baldness. What 
a charming place it was, — how full of wonder and 
delight! The sunny little room, fronting southwest 
upon the Common, rang with canaries and Java 
sparrows, nor were the familiar notes of robin, thrush 
and bobolink wanting. A large white cockatoo 
harangued vaguely, at intervals, in what we be- 
lieved (on R.*s authority) to be the Hottentot lan- 
guage." 

Dr. Peabody has left a picturesque account of 
the student's manner of life at this period: 

" The feather bed — mattresses not having come 
into general use — was regarded as a valuable chat- 
tel; but ten dollars would have been a fair auction 
price for all the other contents of an average room, 
which were a pine bedstead, washstand, table, and 
desk, a cheap rocking-chair and from two to four 
other chairs of the plainest fashion. I doubt whether 
any fellow student of mine owned a carpet. A 
second-hand furniture dealer had a few defaced and 

136 



HARVARD UNDER QUINCY 

threadbare carpets, which he leased at an extrava- 
gant price to certain Southern members of the 
Senior class; but even Southerners, though reputed 
to be fabulously rich, did not aspire to this luxury 
till the Senior year. Coal was just coming into use, 
and hardly found its way into the college. The 
students' rooms — several of the recitation rooms 
as well — were heated by open wood-fires. Almost 
every room had, too, among its transmittenda a can- 
non-ball supposed to have been derived from the 
arsenal, which on very cold days was heated to a red 
heat and placed as calorific radiant on a skillet or 
on some extemporized metallic stand; while at 
other seasons it was often utilized by being rolled 
downstairs at such time as might most nearly bisect 
a proctor's night-sleep. Friction-matches — accord- 
ing to Faraday the most useful invention of our 
age — were not yet. Coals were carefully buried 
in ashes over night to start the morning fire; while 
in summer the evening lamp could be lighted only 
by the awkward and often baffling process of stri- 
king fire with flint, steel, and tinder box. 

" The student's life was hard. Morning prayers 
were in summer at six; in winter, about half an 
hour before sunrise in a bitterly cold chapel. Thence 
half of each class passed into the several recitation 

137 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

rooms in the same building — University Hall — 
and three quarters of an hour later the bell rang for 
a second set of recitations, including the remaining 
half of the students. Then came breakfast, which 
in the College commons consisted solely of coffee, 
hot rolls, and butter, except when the members of a 
mess had succeeded in pinning to the nether surface 
of the table, by a two-pronged fork, some slices of 
meat from the previous day's dinner. Between ten 
and twelve every student attended another recita- 
tion or a lecture. Dinner was at half-past twelve, — 
a meal not deficient in quantity, but by no means 
appetizing to those who had come from neat homes 
and well ordered tables. There was another recita- 
tion in the afternoon, except on Saturday; then 
evening prayers at six, or in winter at early twi- 
light; then the evening meal, plain as the breakfast, 
with tea instead of coffee, and cold bread, of the 
consistency of wool, for the hot rolls. After tea 
the dormitories rang with song and merriment till 
the study bell, at eight in winter, at nine in 
summer, sounded the curfew for fun and frolic, 
proclaiming dead silence throughout the college 
premises. 

" On Sundays all were required to be in residence, 
not excepting even those whose homes were in 

138 



HARVARD UNDER QUINCY 

Boston; and all were required to attend worship 
twice each day at the college chapel. On Saturday 
alone was there permission to leave Cambridge, 
absence from town at any other time being a punish- 
able offence. This weekly liberty was taken by 
almost every member of college, Boston being the 
universal resort; though seldom otherwise than on 
foot, the only public conveyance then being a two- 
horse stage-coach, which ran twice a day." 

Commons, which had occupied rooms in Harvard 
Hall, were transferred in 1815 to University. In 
Harvard Hall, officers and graduates sat at a table 
on a dais at the head of each room; seniors and 
sophomores occupied the main floor of one room, 
juniors and freshmen the main floor of the other. 
" By this arrangement each pair of adjacent classes, 
always supposed to hold relations of mutual an- 
tagonism, were fed apart, and had different doors of 
entrance and egress." The kitchen in the basement 
of University was the largest in New England, and 
an object of curiosity and interest to visitors. " The 
students felt in large part remunerated for coarse fare 
and rude service by their connection with a feeding 
place that possessed what seemed to them world-wide 
celebrity. They were not the only dependents 
upon the college kitchen, but shared its viands with 

139 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

a half-score or more of swine, whose sties were close 
in the rear of the building, and with rats of abnormal 
size that had free quarters with the pigs." 

Two or three of the professors took in boarders 
at three dollars a week — wealthy Southerners pre- 
sumably. These boarders were objects of suspicion 
to their classmates; if one of them received any 
college honor, " it was uniformly ascribed to undue 
influence, catered for on the one side and exerted 
on the other, in consequence of this domestic ar- 
rangement." 

The students were invariably hostile to the 
faculty. " If a student went unsummoned to a 
teacher's room, it was almost always by night. 
It was regarded as a high crime by his class for a 
student to enter a recitation room before the ringing 
of the bell, or to remain to ask a question of the 
instructor; and even one who was uniformly first 
in the class-room would have had his way to Coven- 
try made easy. In case of a general disturbance, 
the entire Faculty were on the chase for offenders 
— a chase seldom successful; while their unskilled 
manoeuvres in this uncongenial service were wont 
to elicit, not so much silent admiration, as shouts of 
laughter and applause. 

" The recitations were mere hearings of lessons, 

UO 



HARVARD UNDER QUINCY 

without comment or collateral instruction. They 
were generally heard in quarter sections of a class, 
the entire class containing from fifty to sixty mem- 
bers. The custom was to call on every student in 
the section at every recitation." 

At this lime the college yard was unenclosed and 
extended only a few feet behind University Hall — 
only far enough in fact to afford quarters for the 
pigs. The chapel exercises were held in University 
Hall, and at them as at the commons, seniors and 
sophomores were kept apart from juniors and fresh- 
men. In front of the pulpit was a stage, for the 
chapel room was also the room for public declama- 
tions and exhibitions. At daily prayers a professor 
kept watch over the congregation from a sort of 
raised sentry box and noted down the name of any 
one guilty of a misdemeanor. 

The entrance examinations — all oral — began 
at six o'clock in the morning and lasted all day, with 
but a half-hour intermission for luncheon. " Each 
of the thirteen College officers took a section and 
passed it to the next, and so on until it had gone the 
entire round.'* It may well be believed that this 
matriculation day was not a time of festivities; 
but it was far otherwise with Commencement Day. 

" The entire Common, then an unenclosed dust 

141 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

plain, was completely covered on Commencement 
Day and the night preceding and following it with 
drinking stands, dancing booths, mountebank shows 
and gambling tables; and I have never heard such 
a horrid din, tumult, and jargon of oath, shout, 
scream, fiddle, quarrelling and drunkenness as on 
those two nights. By such summary methods as but 
few other men could have employed, Mr. Quincy 
at the outset of his presidency swept the Common 
clear; and during his entire administration the 
public days of the College were kept free from rowdy- 
ism. . • • 

" Pious citizens of Boston [before 1776] used to send 
their slaves to Commencement for their religious in- 
struction and edification. But the negroes soon found 
that they could spend their holidays more to their 
satisfaction, if not more to the good of their souls, 
on the outside than in the interior of the meeting- 
house. At length Commencement came to be the 
great gala day of the year for the colored people 
in and about Boston, who were by no means such 
quiet and orderly citizens as their representatives 
now are, while their comparative number was much 
greater." 

In 1836 the Rev. John Pierce entered this observa- 
tion in his diary: " Be it noted that this is the first 

142 



HARVARD UNDER QUINCY 

Commencement I ever attended in Cambridge in 
which I saw not a single person drunk in the Hall 
or out of it. . . . There were the fewest present I 
ever remember.*' 

Class Day, which, as we have seen, had only a 
few years before been a day of innocent literary 
exercises, .had also become an occasion for disorderly 
revelry. The class of 1834 treated all comers to 
iced punch. " In 1836," writes Lowell, " the 
College janitor, in vain protesting, yet not without 
hilarious collusion on his own part, was borne in 
wavering triumph on a door, the chance-selected 
symbol of his office.** Of these first Class Day 
orgies, Lowell writes : " Crowds gathered to witness 
these anarchic ceremonies. The windows which 
commanded the scene were bursting with heads,' 
and in as much request as formerly those which gave 
a near view of the ghastly tree at Tyburn.** 

But in 1838, the year when Lowell was rusticating 
at Concord and so was unable to read his class poem, 
there was a reform; from that time on drunkenness 
ceased to be the most distinguishing feature of 
Class Day. For a number of years each class planted 
an ivy shoot on Class Day, and the orator delivered 
his oration over it. But as the ivy always died, 
the custom of planting it was abandoned altogether; 

143 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

and the Ivy Oration, though not discontinued, ac- 
quired what was in the circumstances an appro- 
priately humorous character, and was assigned to the 
reputed wit of the class. 

The long vacation was in the winter, and con- 
tinued to be until 1869. Professor Ticknor in 1825 
wrote: "The longest vacation should ^appen in 
the hot season, when insubordination and miscon- 
duct are now most frequent, partly from the in- 
dolence produced by the season. There is a reason 
against this, I know — the jxjverty of many students 
who keep school for a part of their subsistence." 

One of the greatest hot weather excitements oc- 
curred in August, 1834. A Protestant mob had 
burned down a Roman Catholic chapel in Charles- 
town. The rumor spread through Cambridge that 
in retaliation the Papists meant to set fire to 
the Harvard Library. Students and graduates 
gathered to defend it, and sentinels stationed them- 
selves with muskets at the windows. Night came 
on, and a horseman galloped up to announce that 
one thousand armed Irishmen were marching to 
Cambridge. Excitement and precautions were re- 
doubled — but it was no doubt the horseman*s 
little joke; the column of armed and angered Fenians 
never appeared. 

144 



HARVARD UNDER QUINCY 

The most memorable event of Quincy's adminis- 
tration was the bicentennial celebration of the found- 
ing of the college, which was held on September 8, 
1836. A pavilion one hundred and fifty feet by 
one hundred and twenty was built in front of Uni- 
versity Hall and covered with white canvas. Its 
pillars were wreathed with evergreens and flowers; 
streamers of blue and white floated down from the 
top of the tent. All the college buildings were 
decorated in a similar manner. Early in the morn- 
ing the roads from Boston to Cambridge were the 
scene of unusual activity. The townspeople turned 
out along the way, booths were set up, coaches and 
carriages rolled by continuously. At nine o'clock 
the alumni and invited guests, to the number of 
fifteen hundred, assembled in University Hall. 
At ten o'clock the procession formed, headed by 
one member of the class of 1774. It passed through 
the gate between Massachusetts Hall and Harvard 
Hall and entered the Congregational Church. There 
" Fair Harvard," written for the occasion by the 
Rev. Samuel Gilman of Charleston, South Carolina, 
was sung for the first time. President Quincy 
made a two-hour address, which was followed by 
a prayer, hymn, and benediction. Then the pro- 
cession marched through the common, back into 

145 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

the yard, and entered the pavilion. Here Edward 
Everett presided at the dinner and delivered a 
characteristic and abundant oration, overflowing 
with classical allusions. Forty toasts were pro- 
posed, each one in the stately language of the period, 
and nearly as many speeches, among them one by 
Daniel Webster, were delivered — all of a consider- 
able length and not one with the slightest trace of 
humor. In fact, the speech-making lasted until 
eight o'clock in the evening. 

Pedantry was in the air of Cambridge in those 
days; such words as " the feast of reason and the 
flow of soul " really seemed to the people of the 
time to express very happily an agreeable idea; 
and an occasion which to an audience of the present 
would have been a monumental affliction held our 
solemn forefathers rapt and attentive and provided 
them with a lifelong, pleasant memory. 



146 




CHAPTER X 

ANTE - BELLUM DAYS 

IN President Quincy*s administration, sharp 
restrictions were still imposed upon the under- 
graduate's freedom. The college rules of 1832 or- 
dained that " no student shall be absent from the 
University a night in term time, or go out of the 
town of Cambridge at any time . . . without per- 
mission from the President,'* and that " every 
student is required on the Lord's Day and the evening 
preceding to abstain from visiting and from re- 
ceiving visits, from unnecessary walking, and from 
using any diversion, and from all behavior incon- 
sistent with the sacred season." With these and 
with other cramping regulations, and with practi- 
cally no athletics to absorb nervous and physical 
energy, college life often seemed irksome; frequent 
outbursts of disorder and drunkenness were the 
methods by which undergraduates sought relief 
from monotony. 

Some letters written by Francis Parkman, of the 

147 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

class of '44, portray the diversions of a young gentle- 
man of the period : 

" Here I am, down in Divinity Hall (!) enjoying 
to my heart's content that otium cum dignitaie 
which you so affectionately admire, . . . Do you 
not envy me my literary ease? — a sea-coal fire — 
a dressing-gown — slippers — a favorite author; 

— all set off by an occasional bottle of champagne, 
or a bowl of stewed oysters at Washburn's? This 
is the cream of existence. To lie abed in the morn- 
ing, till the sun has half melted away the trees and 
castles on the window-panes, and Nigger Lewis's 
fire is almost burnt out, listening meanwhile to 
the steps of the starved Divinities as they rush shiv- 
ering and panting to their prayers and recitations 

— then to get up to a fashionable breakfast at eleven 

— then go to lecture — find it a little too late, and 
adjourn to Joe Peabody's room for a novel, conver- 
sation, and a morning glass of madeira." One hardly 
recognizes in this sybarite the hero of the Oregon 
Trail! 

Again: "Joe got up one of his old-fashioned 
suppers, on a scale of double magnificence, inviting 
thereunto every specimen of the class of '44 that 
lingered within an accessible distance. . . . The spree 
was worthy of the entertainment. None got drunk, 

148 




.^^- 



fc 



ANTE-BELLUM DAYS 

but all got jolly; and Joe's champagne disappeared 
first;, then his madeira; and his whiskey punch 
would have followed suit, if its copious supplies 

had not prevented The whole ended with 

smashing a dozen bottles against the Washington 
(elm?) and a war-dance with scalp yells in the middle 
of the common, in the course of which several night- 
capped heads appeared at the opened windows of 
the astonished neighbors." 

Champagne, madeira, whiskey punch, and only 
an air of jollity! But another passage recording 
an incident of Parkman's freshman year convinces 
us that these young men were not superhuman: 

" It was a very hot night. We had opened our 
windows in search of air when there was a knock 
on the door and ten or twelve seniors came in. It 
was an immensely impressive circumstance. We 
regarded the seniors with awe and reverence. Still 
it was not above their dignity to haze a couple 
of harmless and callow freshmen. They closed the 
windows and took out cigars and began to smoke 
their cigars to smoke us out. We bore it for a while; 
then the air became thick, and we began to think 
we had had enough of it. Suddenly one of the 
seniors sprang up and rushed to the door and asked 
for the key. The door was opened; he went out, 

149 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

left his supper on the doorstep, and went to his 
T^jfjin, followed by all the rest." 

In 1843 a small gj'mnasium was provided for the 
use of the students, — the first official recognition 
of the importance of physical exercise. Athletics 
began to play an important part in the college life, 
but even through the fifties it was a very informal 
and unorganized kind of athletics. A crude sort 
of football was played on the Delta, where Memorial 
Hall now stands. Robert Gould Shaw at the be- 
ginning of his freshman year, in 1856, described one 
of the contests: 

" Last Monday we had our six annual football 
games, Freshmen kicking against Sophomores. In 
the last three games the Juniors help the Freshmen, 
and the Seniors help the Sophomores. We beat 
the third game alone, a thing which has happened 
only three times since the University was founded. 
The Sophomores generally beat all six games be- 
cause they know the ground and know each other. 
As I think a description of the whole affair would 
amuse you, I will give it to you. 

" At half past six we went to the Delta, and in a 
few minuXcs the whole Sophomore class streamed 
into the field at one end, and about as large a class 
of Freshmen into the other, and stood opposite 

150 



ANTE-BELLUM DAYS 

each other about a hundred yards apart, like two 
hostile armies. There we stood cheering and getting 
up our courage until the ball was brought. It was 
received with great cheering and hurrahing, and 
handed over to the Sophomores, who had the first 
kick by rights. After they had kicked once, they 
waited until our champion, [Caspar] Crowninshield, 
had one kick, and then rushed in. 

" They knew that we were a large class and had a 
good many big fellows, so they determined to 
frighten us by hard fighting; and if anything was 
calculated to frighten fellows not used to it, it was 
the way in which they came upon us. They rushed 
down in a body, and, hardly looking for the ball, 
the greater part of them turned their attention to 
knocking down as many as they could, and kicked 
the ball when they happened to come across it. 
It was a regular battle, with fifty to seventy men on 
each side. It resembled more my idea of the hand- 
to-hand fighting of the ancients than anything 
else. After the first game, few had their own hats 
on, few a whole shirt. In the beginning I rushed into 
the middle with the crowd, but after that I kept 
among fellows of my own size on the outskirts. 
My experience in the middle was this: before I had 
been there more than a second, I had got three fear- 

151 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

ful raps on the head, and was knocked down, and 
they all ran over me after the ball, which had 
been kicked to another part of the field. Then I 
picked myself up, as did a great many other fellows 
lying about me, and looked for my hat among about 
twenty others and a good many rags. I found it some 
time afterwards serving as football to a Sophomore 
during the entr^ acte. That was Monday, and to- 
day is Friday, but my head is not entirely well yet. 
I got a good many blows which I didn't feel at all 
till the next day. A good many of our fellows were 
more badly hurt, because they had pluck enough 
to go into the thick of it each time; once was enough 
for me. It was fine to see how little some of them 
cared for the blows 4:hey got. After the Juniors 
and Seniors came in, there must have been two 
hundred on the ground. Of the last three games, 
we beat one and one was voted a drawn game. This 
is a much more important thing than one would 
think, because it is an established custom; and 
our having beaten is a great glory, and gives the 
other classes a much higher opinion of us than 
they would otherwise have. They talked about it 
quite amicably the next day. Several of the Sopho- 
mores and Seniors, who were both opposed to us, 
came over to our side that same evening and con- 

152 



ANTE-BELLUM DAYS 

gratulated us upon having beaten them, because it 
was such an unusual thing. Now we play football 
every evening, but all the classes mix up, and there 
is little or no fighting/' 

In 1845 President Quincy resigned after what had 
been in many ways the most memorable and pro- 
gressive administration that any president had 
given to Harvard University. His successor was 
Edward Everett, who held the office for only three 
years. The admired orator of the period was not 
well qualified to fulfil the president's duties. His 
ideas of discipline were those of the pedagogue of 
the primary school, his sense of personal dignity 
was too acute, his lack of humor and of human under- 
standing was conspicuous. 

Mr. Joseph H. Choate, of the class of '52, has re- 
called an illuminating instance of President Ever- 
ett's insistence upon petty formalities. Mr. Choate 
was a freshman of only one week's standing when 
he received a summons from the president's secre- 
tary. " Mr. Choate," said the secretary, " the 
president has directed me to inform you that he 
observes with great regret that you passed him in 
Harvard Square yesterday without touching your 
hat. He trusts that this offence will never be re- 
peated." 

153 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

There is a delightfully naive account by Dr. 
Andrew P. Peabody of the lecture on Washington 
with which Everett toured the country; for the 
humorous light that it throws upon the taste 
of the period as well as upon two of Har- 
vard's worthies, it may be introduced into these 
pages : 

" That lecture was the most marvellous master- 
work of rhetorical art and skill of which I ever had 
any knowledge. Washington's character, in its 
massive simplicity and perfectness, afforded very 
little hold for popular eloquence. Mr. Everett, fully 
aware of this, grouped around the honored name a 
vast number and an immense diversity of men, in- 
cidents, objects of admiration in nature and curi- 
osity in art, scientific facts, classical allusions, 
myths of the gods of Greece, — the greater part 
of them not in themselves illustrative of his theme, 
but all of them pressed into its service and forced 
into an adaptation that was made at the time to 
appear natural and obvious. A catalogue of the 
materials used in that lecture would seem as heter- 
ogeneous as the contents of a country variety shop, 
and a man of ordinary genius would have won only 
ridicule in the attempt to bring them together. But 
Mr. Everett compressed them into perfect and 

154 



ANTE-BELLUM DAYS 

amazing unity, and rendered them all subsidiary to 
the name and fame of Washington; while, when 
the lecture was over, it was impossible to recollect 
what bearing on the character of our first President 
was assigned to the greater part of them. I first 
heard the lecture in Boston. A few weeks after- 
ward he delivered it in Portsmouth, N. H., where 
I then lived and shared with the friend at whose 
house he stayed the charge and pleasure of his hos- 
pitable reception. We took him to the family 
mansion where Tobias Lear, Washington's private 
secretary, was born, and where Washington, on 
his Northern tour during his presidency, was a 
guest, and introduced him there to an old lady, 
Mr. Lear's niece, who had in her parlor the very sofa 
on which Washington had sat, holding her on his 
knee, and a sampler which she had wrought with 
a long lock of his white hair which he gave her. 
Mr. Everett, without seeking time for special prep- 
aration, so worked the Lear house, its occupant, 
and its furniture into the appropriate part of his 
lecture that the whole story seemed absolutely 
inseparable from what preceded and what followed, 
and as if it had been written in its place in the be- 
ginning. A short time afterward I went to Bruns- 
wick to deliver the Phi Beta Kappa address, and he 

155 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

was going to deliver his Washington lecture in 
the evening. I was his fellow guest at the house of 
his cousin, Hon. Ebenezer Everett. It was in- 
cidentally said at table that * all Bath ' was com- 
ing up to hear him, arrangements having been made 
for a special train. A short time previously the 
wife of a Bath ship-master disabled by paralysis, — 
though herself in a condition that might have ex- 
cused her from active duty, — had taken command 
of her husband's ship, in the harbor of San Francisco, 
and brought it home in good order to Bath. That 
story Mr. Everett incorporated into his lecture, 
entering with the utmost delicacy into the cir- 
cumstances that rendered the achievement the more 
heroic and noteworthy; and there was no portion 
of the lecture which seemed more closely adapted 
to the subject or which the hearers would have missed 
more had they heard the discourse again elsewhere. 
Yet, when Mr. Everett had gone to his room, we 
found it impossible to recall the process by which 
he had dovetailed this story into his lecture, or 
the precise bearing which it had on the merit and 
fame of Washington." 

Dr. Peabody remained for many years to delight, 
entertain, and instruct the youth of Harvard; 
but Edward Everett seemed to excite irritation 

156 



ANTE-BELLUM DAYS 

and levity rather than respect, and in 1849 he re- 
signed the presidency of the college. 

Jared Sparks, the . author and editor of volu- 
minous biography, succeeded him. He was not 
a man under whose leadership a university would 
be likely to make any notable advance; but he 
was a substantial scholar and a kindly human be- 
ing. The other college authorities were disposed to 
maintain the severe standards of discipline set by 
his predecessor, under whom " the omission of a 
necktie in the early darkness of morning pray- 
ers incurred for the offender an admonition from 
the chairman of the parietal board; the throwing 
of a snowball was reported to the faculty; the 
question was raised whether the making of the 
snowball without throwing it did not deserve 
censure; and the blowing of a horn was a capital 
crime." 

But President Sparks often intervened to pro- 
tect the students from the extremes of such harsh 
doctrine. " Oh, let the boys alone; they will take 
care of themselves," was his frequent admonition 
to an over-zealous officer. 

The chapel was the theater of ingenious and secret 
undergraduate activities. To prevent the bell from 
being rung was the ambition of many college gener- 

157 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

ations. It was turned up and filled with water, 
which froze; sulphuric acid was poured into it; the 
rope was cut; the keyholes of the locked chapel 
doors were plugged up with wax; on one occasion 
the bell-tongue was removed, the doors leading to 
the belfry were screwed up, and the heads of the 
screws were filed off. But the resourceful janitor 
broke his way in and punctually rang the bell by 
beating it with a hammer. In the matter of bell 
ringing, the college authorities always triumphed. 
But in Sparks's administration the Bible was suc- 
cessfully stolen from the chapel and sent by express 
to the Librarian of Yale, who returned it to Har- 
vard. On the fly leaf was written: ^^ Hoc Biblum 
raptutn vi a pulpite Harvard Coll. Chapelli facultati 
Yali ab Harv. Coll. undergraduatibus donatur. Co- 
veres servamus in usum Chessboardi. Pro HelUr 
SkelUr Club:' 

Notwithstanding Sparks's amiability, he had a 
certain stubbornness and clung to his prejudices. 
He had no admiration for Kossuth, who was en- 
gaged in a triumphant tour of the country and was 
making for Cambridge. The faculty wished to do 
special honor to the Hungarian patriot, and as he 
would be on hand for the usual spring " exhibition," 
they voted to hold it in the First Parish Church, 

158 



ANTE-BELLUM DAYS 

where Commencements were held, instead of in the 
small college chapel. President Sparks said: " It 
is for you, gentlemen, to hold the exhibition where 
you please. I shall go to the chapel in my cap and 
gown at the usual hour." The faculty reconsidered 
their vote; and the projected Kossuth celebration 
fell flat. 

On account of physical infirmity President Sparks 
resigned in 1853; James Walker, professor of nat- 
ural religion and moral philosophy, was elected in 
his place. In matters of discipline he was even 
more tolerant than Sparks had been, and. he suc- 
ceeded in eliminating the absurd code that had pre- 
vailed under Everett. He was a celebrated preacher; 
his chief claim to distinction lay in his sermons. 
He resigned in i860; Cornelius C. Felton, the 
most eminent Greek scholar of the university, 
Succeeded him, but died in less than two years. 
Then came Thomas Hill, professor of mathematics; 
his term likewise was short, for he retired in 
1868. 

A letter written by Lowell to President Hill in 
1863 gives a criticism of the college yard at this 
period : 

"... Something ought to be done about the 
trees in the college yard. That is my thesis, and 

159 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

my corollary is that you are the man to do it. They 
remind me always of a young author's first volume 
of poems. There are too many of 'em and too 
many of one kind. If they were not planted in 
such formal rows, they would typify very well 
John Bull's notion of * our democracy,' where every 
tree is its neighbor's enemy, and all turn out scrubs 
in the end, because none can develop fairly. Then 
there is scarce anything but American elms. I 
have nothing to say against the tree in itself. I have 
some myself whose trunks I look on as the most 
precious baggage I am responsible for in the journey 
of life, but planted as they are in the yard, there's 
no chance for one in ten. If our buildings so 
nobly dispute architectural pre-eminence with cotton 
mills, perhaps it is all right that the trees should 
become spindles, but I think Hesiod (who knew 
something of country matters) was clearly right 
in his half being better than the whole, and no- 
where more so than in the matter of trees. There 
are two English beeches in the yard which would 
become noble trees if the elms would let 'em alone. 
As it is, they are in danger of starving. Now, as 
you are our Kubernetes, I want you to take the 
'elm in hand. We want more variety, more group- 
ing. We want to learn that one fine tree is worth 

160 



ANTE-BELLUM DAYS 

more than any mob of second rate ones. We want 
to take a leaf out of Chaucer's book and understand 
that in a stately grove every tree must * stand well 
from his fellow apart.' A doom hangs over us in the 
matter of architecture, but if we will only let a 
tree alone it will build itself with a nobleness of 
proportion and grace of detail that Giotto himself 
might have envied. Nor should the pruning as 
now be entrusted to men who get all they cut off, 
and whose whole notion of pruning accordingly is, 
* axe and it shall be given unto you.' Do, pray, 
take this matter into your own hands — for you 
know how to love a tree — and give us a modern 
instance of a wise saw. Be remembered among your 
other good things as the president that planted the 
groups of evergreens for the wind to dream of the 
sea in all summer and for the snowflakes to roost 
on in winter." 

The last adjuration failed to move Dr. Hill; 
no groups of evergreens have flourished in the yard. 
And curiously enough the president whom future 
generations will connect with tree-planting is he 
who bears the name of Lowell. 

Yet President Hill deserves to rank as one of 
the progressives — to use a word that had not 
then achieved currency. It was in his administra- 

161 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

tion that the idea of elective studies was first vigor- 
ously advocated in Harvard College. It remained 
for his successor to give the principle its widest 
application. 



162 



CHAPTER XI 

HARVARD IN THE WAR 

THE South had always been friendly to Harvard, 
and before the struggle over slavery became 
acute, Harvard was sympathetic with the South. 
To Harvard came some of the best representatives 
of the Southern aristocracy. The idea of slave- 
holding as expressed by thesie young men was 
patriarchal rather than iniquitous. Harvard un- 
dergraduates. Harvard professors accepted the ex- 
istence of slavery in the South Nvithout particularly 
questioning the justice or wisdom or desirability 
of it. Their feeling was that it was an economic 
necessity, and that the rights of property must 
be respected. 

The Abolitionists had no following at Harvard. 
Lowell, graduating in 1838, sent his class poem 
in from Concord, where he had been rusticated for 
neglect of studies; it ridiculed the Abolitionists, 
and the ridicule was popular. Wendell Phillips, 
while he was in college and even while he was in 

163 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

the Law School, had not been inflamed and in- 
spired by their propaganda. Sumner in 1848 made 
speeches for the Free Soil party throughout Massa- 
chusetts, and came to Cambridge; there he was 
hissed. Lowell was a late convert to the Free Soil 
cause; but Ticknor, Everett, Sparks, Felton, Mot- 
ley, Parkman, and Dana were among the distin- 
guished Harvard men who stood firmly on the other 
side. The professors in the Law School defended 
the Fugitive Slave Law, and out of the hundred 
students under them, only six were opposed to it. 
Nevertheless, as the crisis of Secession drew 
near, the Union sentiment of the college swept away 
conservative inclinations. In 1861 all the Southern- 
ers went home. In April, on the day after Lincoln 
made his appeal for volunteers, the seniors raised 
a transparency on a tree in front of Holworthy. 
One side bore the legend, " The Constitution and 
the Enforcement of the Laws," the other, " Harvard 
For War." The undergraduates assembled and 
cheered; that evening rockets were set off; the 
next morning from every window in Massachusetts 
Hall, then a sophomore dormitory, a flag was flying. 
Governor Andrew called on Harvard for volunteers 
to guard the arsenal at Watertown. Military 
drills were held daily on the Delta; students 

164 




Appleton Chapel 



HARVARD IN THE WAR 

rushed to enroll themselves in volunteer companies 
for defence. For a time the authorities attempted 
to check the martial enthusiasm; but when the 
magnitude of the struggle became apparent, they 
withdrew their opposition. Eighty-one men were 
graduated in the class of '6i ; fifty-one of them bore 
arms for the Union. The rooms in the college yard 
were scenes of grave debate between young men 
earnestly seeking to decide where their duty lay. 
Often it happened that of two room-mates, one 
went to the war, the other stayed behind. There 
were sword-presentations to those who departed: 
sometimes the young soldier, returning on fur- 
lough, brightened the yard with his holiday uni- 
form; on Class Day and Commencement there 
would be a sprinkling of undergraduates and recent 
graduates who were already seasoned veterans of 
the war. 

Thirteen hundred and eleven Harvard men 

* 

served in the Union army and navy. One hundred 
and sixty-seven were killed or died of disease. Two 
hundred and fifty-seven Harvard men fought on 
the Confederate side; sixty- four of them were 
killed or died of disease. 

The story of Harvard College is in a sense the 
story of her sons; the brightest and the most 

165 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

touching page in her history is that which records 
their services in the Civil War. Therefore I will 
make no apology for sketching here a few of those 
whose deeds and whose death cast a luster on the 
university they loved. 

Everett Peabody was one of the leading scholars 
of the class of '49; he was also a big, athletic 
fellow, full of animal spirits, brimming with energy, 
fond of pranks; he was rusticated for making a 
bonfire on the steps of University Hall. In spite 
of this he was graduated with honors and had a 
part at Commencement. He went West, became an 
engineer, and built railroads in Ohio, Illinois, and 
Missouri; before he was thirty he was regarded 
as the best field engineer in all that country. He 
lived chiefly in a " boarding car " at the unfinished 
extremity of a new railroad track; he was in the 
habit of dating his letters home from " Boarding 
Cars." 

" The aforesaid cars," he wrote in a letter that 
showed his characteristic liveliness of spirit, " are 
now on an embankment about forty feet high, and 
the snow stretches away to the north and south. 
The trees are black and dreary looking, and the 
wind goes howling by. Bitter cold it is, too, out- 
side. But I have finished my frugal repast of 

166 



I 



HARVARD IN THE WAR 

bread and butter and do not purpose exposing my 
cherished nose to the night air again. Vague rem- 
iniscences come back to me of ancient sleigh-rides, 
of pretty faces snuggling close to your side, of 
muffs held up before faces to keep off the wind, and 
gentle words. There is fun enough, and wit and 
nonsense enough, out here; but after all it is hard 
and angular and lacks entirely the refining influence 
which womankind infuses into man's life. But the 
weird sisters weave, and Atropos sits ready. Let 
her sit." 

In the spring of 1861 Pea body took an active part 
in the convention that kept Missouri in the Union. 
Soon after that he was commissioned colonel of 
the 13th Missouri Infantry. He wrote to his brother: 
" Good-by, old fellow. I have a sort of presenti- 
ment I shall go under. If I do, it shall be in a man- 
ner that the old family shall feel proud of it." 

Within a month the ill-fated regiment encoun- 
tered a vastly superior force at Lexington, Missouri; 
and after stubbornly holding its position in an 
eight-day fight, it was at last surrounded and cap- 
tured. Peabody was wounded in the foot. A 
couple of months later he was exchanged, and, still 
on crutches, set about reorganizing his regiment, 
which now became the 25th Missouri. In a letter 

167 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

written at this time he says: " I am a nondescript 
animal, which I call a triped, as yet, but I trust 
in a short time to be on foot once more. — You 
in Massachusetts, who see your men going off 
thoroughly equipped and prepared for the service, 
can hardly conceive the destitution and ragged 
condition of the Missouri volunteers. If I had a 
whole pair of breeches in my regiment at Lexing- 
ton, I don't know it; but I learned there that 
bravery did not depend on good clothes." 

In March, 1862, he was in command of the lead- 
ing brigade in General Prentiss's division, at Shi- 
loh. Just before the battle, he felt that the army 
was in danger of being surprised, and asked Prentiss 
for permission to send out a scouting party. Pren- 
tiss delayed answering and finally ignored the re- 
quest; Peabody therefore sent out a scouting party 
on his own responsibility. This party met the Con- 
federate column advancing, just as Peabody had 
feared, and fell back, skirmishing. Peabody had 
his brigade in line to receive the attack; the rest of 
the division was unprepared and was thrown into 
confusion. Had Peabody instead of Prentiss held 
the division command, the ultimate victory of the 
Union troops might have been less dearly bought. 
The right of the division was captured ^n masse; 

168 



HARVARD IN THE WAR 

Peabody rode gallantly to the front to rally his 
brigade against the overwhelming attack, was 
shot through the head, and killed instantly. 

Wilder Dwight, of the class of '53, was an earnest 
and somewhat introspective yoyth. He kept a 
diary in college. " I am somewhat of a * dig,' I 
suppose," he reflected in his freshman year; " and 
though the character is rather an ignominious one 
in college, it is in so good repute elsewhere and among 
wiser persons than freshmen or even sophomores 
that I shall endeavor always to deserve the title. 
Natural geniuses, that is, lazy good scholars, are 
few and far between. I shall, therefore, estimate 
myself as a very common sort of a person; and as 
I desire to excel, I shall choose the way which seems 
to promise success." This serious-minded young 
moralist, whose diary is filled with abstracts of 
sermons and reflections induced by them, wonder- 
fully escaped developing into a prig. After gradua- 
tion, he went through the Law School, then spent 
more than a year in study abroad, and after that 
established himself as a lawyer in Boston. Soon 
he was known as one of the ablest of the younger 
men practising at the bar. 

At the outbreak of the war, Dwight determined 
to raise a regiment. He got subscriptions to guar- 

169 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

antee necessary expenses; he went to Washington 
and obtained from the Secretary of War the spe- 
cial authority required for enlistment. The regi- 
ment that he helped to recruit was the Second 
Massachusetts, wrhich, officered very largely by 
Harvard men, went through some of the most des- 
perate fighting of the war. From that time on, 
as his mother wrote, " his history was that of the 
regiment.'' He was commissioned major; in 
June, 1862, he was promoted to be lieutenant- 
colonel. He was an admirable officer in camp and 
on the field; he looked after the health and comfort 
of his men and was indefatigable in his kindness 
to them. His fiery-hearted zeal for accomplishment, 
for action, underwent severe trials; the regiment 
was attached to the Army of the Potomac under 
McClellan; Dwight chafed at the enforced idle- 
ness. " I had rather lose my life to-morrow in a 
victory than save it for fifty years without one! " he 
wrote. And again: " I presume I love life and home 
and friends as much as any one; but I should sooner 
give them all up to-morrow than to have our regi- 
ment go home empty. ... If you have any prayers 
to give, give them all to the supplication that the 
Second Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteers may 
find a field whereon to write a record of itself. Do 

170 



HARVARD IN THE WAR 

not spend your days in weakly fearing or regretting 
this or that life, — lives whose whole sweetness and 
value depend upon their opportunities, not upon 
their length." 

But there was to be no lack of opportunities for 
the Second Massachusetts. Soon it was in the 
thick of the fighting. It covered Banks's retreat 
in May, 1862; D wight, lingering to assist two 
wounded soldiers, fell into the enemy's hands. 
After a week he was paroled. His regiment had 
given him up for dead; when his men saw him ap- 
proaching, they rushed forward and welcomed him 
with joyous enthusiasm. He told them who of their 
comrades were in prison in Winchester, and who 
were wounded. Then he said triumphantly: " And 
now do you want to know what the Rebels think 
of the Massachusetts Second? * Who was it am- 
buscaded us near Bartonsville? ' a cavalry officer 
asked me. * That was the Massachusetts Second,' 
I replied. An officer of Rebel infantry asked me 
who it was that was at the run near Bartonsville. 

* That was the Massachusetts Second,' said I. 

* Whose,' asked another officer, * was the battery so 
splendidly served, and the line of sharpshooters 
behind the stone wall, who picked off every officer 
of ours who showed himself? ' * That was the Massa- 

171 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

chusetts Second/ said I. On the whole, the Rebels 
came to the conclusion that they had been fighting 
the Massachusetts Second, and that they did not 
care to do it again in the dark." 

Under parole, he chafed at being out of action. 
In the battle of Cedar Mountain his regiment was 
engaged and sustained heavy losses; Dwight's 
mortification over his absence was keen. But that 
day his exchange was effected, and he joined his 
men in time to take part in Pope's inglorious retreat. 
He wrote bitterly: " We want soldiers^ soldierSy 
and a general in command. Please notice the words, 
all of them." 

At the battle of Antietam, the regiment was drawn 
up under the shelter of a fence; Dwight walked 
along it, directing the men to keep their heads down 
out of reach of the enemy's fire. Soon he fell mor- 
tally wounded. His regiment was ordered to re- 
treat, and men were detailed to carry him, but his 
pain was so intense that he could not be moved; 
he was left lying where he fell. A little later, young 
Rupert Saddler, a private of his command, crept 
out to him at great risk. Afterwards Saddler 
wrote this statement: " I saw a man with his head 
lying on a rail. I felt that it was the Colonel, and 
I hurried to him. I gave him a drink of water, 

172 



HARVARD IN THE WAR 

and asked him where he was wounded. He said 
his thigh-bone was shattered. I saw his arm was 
bleeding. I asked, was it serious? He said, * It's 
a pretty little wound.' I saw two of our men 
coming, and I called them over. The Rebels saw 
them and began firing. Colonel Dwight wanted us 
to go back to the regiment. Said he, * Rupert, if 
you live, I want you to be a good boy.' I wanted 
to bind up his wounds, but he said it was no use. He 
gave me a paper he had been trying to write on, 
and the pencil; the paper was covered with his 
blood." 

It was a note to his mother, sending her his love 
and saying good-by. 

Saddler and the two other men lifted him and 
carried him, under fire, into a corn-field. General 
Gordon rode up to him, and Dwight saluted. Bul- 
lets were whistling overhead. " I must have you re- 
moved from here," said General Gordon. " Never 
mind me," Dwight answered. " Only whip them." 
He was carried to the field hospital and then to 
Boonesborough, where he died. 

Charles Russell Lowell followed Wilder Dwight 
at Harvard by a year. Born in 1835, he was one 
of the youngest men in the class of '54. He was 
a man such as appears in a college once or twice in a 

173 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

generation. He was the first scholar of the class 
throughout his college course. Ardent in mind and 
temper, handsome, athletic, he was distinguished 
not only by his love of learning, but also by his 
ruggedness of character, his moral steadiness and 
strength. In every way he appears to have been 
the acknowledged leader of the class. As a scholar 
he showed the greatest versatility and the most 
enthusiastic acquisitiveness; he mastered languages 
and sciences with equal zeal. In his valedictory 
oration on " The Reverence Due from Old Men to 
Young," there is a passage that shows the quality 
of his thought and expression, even at the age of 
nineteen: 

" Mere action is no proof of progress; we make 
it our boast how much we do, and then grow blind 
to what we do. Action here is the Minotaur which 
claims and devours our youths. Athens bewailed 
the seven who yearly left her shore; with us scarce 
seven remain, and we urge the victims to their fate. 

" Apollonius of Tyana tells us in his Travels 
that he saw * a youth, one of the blackest of the 
Indians, who had between his eyebrows a shi- 
ning moon. Another youth named Memnon, the 
pupil of Herodes the Sophist, had this moon when 
he was young; but as he approached to nian's estate, 

174 



HARVARD IN THE WAR 

its light grew fainter and fainter, and finally van- 
ished.' The world should see with reverence on 
each youth's brow, as a shining moon, his fresh ideal. 
It should remember that he is already in the hands 
of a sophist more dangerous than Herodes, for that 
sophist is himself. It should watch, lest, from too 
early and exclusive action, the moon on his brow, 
growing fainter and fainter, should finally vanish, 
and, sadder than all, should leave in vanishing no 
sense of loss." 

Although thus deprecating the young man's 
eagerness for action, Lowell himself exhibited the 
characteristic that he deplored. Immediately after 
graduation he entered the iron mill of the Ames 
Company at Chicopee, Massachusetts, as a common 
workman. Already he had ideas for improving the 
condition of laboring men, and he was not unwilling 
to make a first-hand study of it. A year later he 
went to take an important executive position with 
the Trenton Iron Company of New Jersey. He had 
been there but a short time when he was attacked 
by hemorrhage of the lungs. He had to abandon his 
work and his hopes; for two years he travelled abroad 
for his health. When he came back in 1858, he was 
still too unwell to resume his former occupation; 
he went West and became treasurer of the Burling- 

175 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

ton and Missouri River Railroad. In the two years 
that he was in Burlington his health improved, and 
his reputation for efficiency was established. In 
i860 he was invited to undertake the management 
of the Mount Savage Iron Works at Cumberland, 
Maryland, and accepted the offer, seeing in it an 
opportunity ultimately to put into practice his 
plans for improving the lot of the workingman. 

But on April 20, 1861, Lowell got the news of the 
attack made the day before in Baltimore on the 
Sixth Massachusetts. He resigned the management 
of the iron works and applied for the commission 
of second lieutenant in the regular army. Of this 
application he said : " Military science I have ab- 
solutely none, military talent I am too ignorant yet 
to recognize; but my education and experience in 
business and in the working of men may, if wanted, 
be made available at once in the regular army. 
Of course I am too old to be tickled with a uniform.'* 
— He was only twenty-six ! 

In June he wrote that he would not think of be- 
coming a soldier, " were it not for a muddled and 
twisted idea that somehow or other this fight is 
going to be one in which decent men ought to engage 
for the sake of humanity^ He was commissioned, 
not second lieutenant, but captain, in the Third, 

176 



HARVARD IN THE WAR 

afterwards the Sixth, U. S. Cavalry. During the 
summer he was engaged in recruiting in different 
parts of the country. The regiment spent the 
autumn and winter in drilling and preparing for 
the field. Lowell felt that he had as much to learn 
as any of the raw recruits; he worked zealously. 
His colonel pronounced him the best officer appointed 
from civil life that he had ever known and gave him 
command of a squadron. 

In March, 1862, the regiment joined the Army of 
the Potomac. Lowell's younger brother, James 
Jackson Lowell, who was the first scholar in the class 
of '58, and, like Charles, generous, warm-hearted, 
and beloved, was also in McClellan's army — first 
lieutenant in the 19th Massachusetts Infantry. He 
was mortally wounded on June 30 at the battle 
of Glendale, and died on the Fourth of July. Charles 
Lowell wrote: "The little fellow was very happy; 
he thought the war would soon be over, that every- 
thing was going right." 

That summer Lowell was detailed as an aide to 
McClellan; at Antietam, bearing orders for Sedg- 
wick's division and meeting it as it was retreating 
in confusion, he rode along the line, drove back 
and rallied the men, and checked what threatened 
to be a rout. For the gallantry and the quality of 

177 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

leadership that he thus exhibited, McClcllan chose 
him to present to the President the trophies of the 
campaign; and Lowell bore to Washington the 
thirty-nine colors taken from the enemy. 

In the autumn he was ordered to report to Gov- 
ernor Andrew of Massachusetts, to organize the 
Second Massachusetts Cavalry, of which he was 
appointed colonel. The work of organization kept 
him in Boston until the spring of 1863. The appoint- 
ment of Robert Gould Shaw to command the 54th 
Massachusetts, the negro regiment, deprived him of 
one of his best officers, but he heartily approved 
the appointment. " It is very important that the 
regiment should be started soberly and not spoilt 
by too much fanaticism," he wrote. " Shaw is not 
a fanatic." About this time Lowell became engaged 
to Shaw's sister, whom he married in the autumn. 

While he was organizing the Second Cavalry, a 
serious mutiny broke out at the barracks; the men 
attacked their officers with drawn swords. Lowell 
shot and killed the ringleader in the act of slashing 
at a lieutenant. He immediately reported to the 
Governor, who said: " I need nothing more; Colonel 
Lowell is as humane as he is brave." 

In May he left Boston with his regiment and went 
to Virginia, where for some time he endeavored to 

178 




Metnori»l Hall 



HARVARD IN THE WAR 

check the incursions of Mosby and his troopers. 
Mosby wrote afterwards that of all the Federal 
commanders opposed to him Colonel Lowell was 
the one for whom he had the highest respect. 

Passages from letters written at this period reveal 
the young commander's growing maturity: 

" A man is meant to act and to undertake, to 
try to succeed in his undertakings, to take all means 
which he thinks necessary to success: but he must 
not let his undertakings look too large and make a 
slave of him. Still less must he let the means. He 
must keep free and grow inUgrally. 

" I feel every day, more and more, that a man 
has no right to himself at all; that, indeed, he can 
do nothing useful unless he recognizes this clearly. 
We were counting over the * satisfactory ' people 
of our acquaintance the other day, and very few 
they were. It seems to me that this change in public 
affairs [the war] has entirely changed my standard, 
and that men whom ten years ago I should have 
almost accepted as satisfactory now show lamentably 
deficient. Men do not yet seem to have risen with 
the occasion; and the perpetual perception of this 
is uncomfortable. It is painful here to see how 
sadly personal motives interfere with most of our 
officers' usefulness. After the war how much there 

179 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

will be to do, and how little opportunity a fellow 
in the field has to prepare himself for the sort of 
doing that will be required! It makes me quite 
sad sometimes; but then I reflect that the great 
secret of doings after all, is in seeing what is to be 
done. 

" Yesterday we took a little fellow only sixteen 
years old. He had joined one of these gangs [bush- 
whackers] to avoid the conscription, which is very 
sweeping. He told us all he knew about the company 
to which he belonged; but he was such a babe that 
it seemed mean to question him." 

In July, 1864, Lowell was given the command of a 
brigade containing, besides his own regiment, rep- 
resentatives of every cavalry regiment in the serv- 
ice. With this patchwork following, which he soon 
welded with wonderful skill into a strong fighting 
organization, he joined Sheridan's Army of the 
Shenandoah. On August 16, Sheridan began to 
retire down the Valley, Lowell's brigade protecting 
his rear; and from the sixteenth till the thirty-first 
the brigade was fighting every day. On the twenty- 
sixth Lowell led a brilliant attack, in which his 
Massachusetts regiment captured seventy-four men. 
Sheridan then showed his admiration of Lowell's 
leadership by appointing him to the command of the 

180 



HARVARD IN THE WAR 

Reserve Brigade, the best cavalry brigade in the 
service. It consisted of three regiments of regular 
cavalry, one of artillery, and Lowell's own volunteer 
regiment — the regiment that had mutinied at the 
outset and that his skilful handling had now brought 
to this perfection. 

At Winchester on September 19, Lowell with a 
captain and four men charged a Confederate gun 
and captured it — though the gun was fired, the 
horses of the two officers killed, and the captain's 
arm torn off. " A little more spunk," said Lowell 
in commenting on the incident, " and we should 
have had all their colors." 

Thirteen horses were shot under him in as many 
weeks. But he was more than the daring and dash- 
ing cavalryman. " In whatever position Lowell was 
placed," said a fellow officer, " it always seemed to 
those around him that he was made for just that 
work." So it had been in college, where he had 
mastered languages and sciences with equal ease and 
equal zeal. He was young, and he looked even 
younger than he was. But his men, who had now 
learned to know him, adored him and followed him 
with enthusiasm and with confidence. 

He wrote of Sheridan: " I like him immensely. 
Whether he succeeds or fails, he is the first general 

181 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

I have seen who puts as much heart and time and 
thought into his work as if he were doing it for his 
own exclusive profit. He works like a mill-owner or 
an iron-master, not like a soldier. Never sleeps, 
never worries, is never cross, but isn't afraid to come 
down on a man who deserves it." 

His own ripening ideals appear in a letter that he 
wrote to Major Henry L. Higginson, then disabled: 
" I hope that you have outgrown all foolish ambitions, 
and are now content to become a * useful citizen. ' 
. . . Don't grow rich; if you once begin, you will 
find it much more difficult to be a useful citizen. . . • 
There, what a stale sermon Pm preaching! But 
being a soldier, it does seem to me that I should 
like nothing so well as being a useful citizen. Well, 
trying to be one, I mean. I shall stay in the service, 
of course, till the war is over, or till Via disabled; 
but then I look forward to a pleasanter career. I 
believe I have lost all my ambitions. I don't think 
I would turn my hand to be a distinguished chemist 
or a famous mathematician. All I now care about 
is to be a useful citizen, with money enough to buy 
bread and firewood, and to teach my children to 
ride on horseback and look strangers in the face, — 
especially Southern strangers ! " 

On October 15, Sheridan left his army intrenched 

182 



HARVARD IN THE WAR 

near Cedar Creek and went to visit Front Royal 
and other points in the Valley. In the dawn of the 
nineteenth, the Confederates surprised the left of 
the line and drove it headlong down the Valley — 
until at noon Sheridan came galloping from Win- 
chester. Meanwhile Lowell had led his Reserve 
Brigade from the right of the field to the left, a 
distance of three miles, and was covering the re- 
treat. He established himself at the extreme left 
and maintained his position against a greatly su- 
perior force. Riding back and forth along the line 
of his skirmishers, he was a conspicuous mark for 
the sharpshooters on the roofs of the village. At 
one o'clock a spent ball struck him in the right breast, 
over his bad lung, and though the bullet did not 
break the skin, the blow caused internal hemorrhage 
and deprived him of breath and voice. For an hour 
and a half he lay on the ground. Then came Sheri- 
dan's order to begin an advance all along the line — 
the advance that was destined to give the Union 
troops the victory. " I feel well now," Lowell 
whispered, and insisted on being helped into his 
saddle that he might take part in the charge. He 
gave his orders through a member of his staff; his 
brigade swept forward into the thickest of the fight, 
he at the head of it, and in a few moments he fell 

183 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

mortally wounded. He lived long enough to know 
that the Union troops had won the battle — not 
long enough to receive his commission as brigadier- 
general, signed the day he died. 

Less illustrious, yet no less heroic is the story of 
Charles Brooks Brown, of the class of '56. He was 
one of eleven children; the family, who lived in 
Cambridge, were in humble circumstances. He 
worked his way through college — kept school in 
winter, acted as monitor, wrote sermons or theo- 
logical discourses for religious newspapers, novel- 
ettes for weekly papers, conundrums for prize offers. 
After graduation, he studied law and then went to 
Springfield, Illinois, to practise. There he became 
known to Abraham Lincoln; he made speeches for 
Lincoln in the campaign of 1858. It was chiefly 
because of what Brown told him of the place that 
Lincoln decided to send his son to Harvard. 

After a year and a half in Springfield, Brown came 
back to Boston. On the morning of April 17, 1861, 
he left his home in Cambridge to go to his office, 
but learning that a Cambridge company of volun- 
teers was starting for the South that day, he joined 
them. That night he was on a steamer bound for 
Fortress Monroe — a private in the Third Massa- 
chusetts. He served with his company at Fortress 

184 



HARVARD IN THE WAR 

Monroe during the three months' campaign, re- 
ceived his discharge July 22, 1861, and came home. 

But after Bull Run he could stay at home no 
longer. He looked about for a regiment likely soon 
to get into action, and in August enlisted as a private 
in the Nineteenth Massachusetts. He soon became 
a sergeant. 

He had chosen his regiment well, for the Nine- 
teenth Massachusetts saw plenty of fighting. At 
the battle of Fair Oaks in June, 1862, Brown was 
wounded in the leg. He fought on for some time 
after being struck; then, using his gun as a crutch, 
he hobbled from the field. He was sent to the U. S. 
General Hospital at David's Island, New York, 
and was detained there until October 15. In No- 
vember he rejoined his regiment, shortly before 
the battle of Fredericksburg. The regiment had 
been presented with a new stand of colors, to re- 
place those that had been sent home stripped and 
torn by bullets. At Fredericksburg the new colors 
had fourteen holes shot through them, and were 
carried by eleven different men, nine of whom were 
killed or wounded within an hour. Brown was the 
seventh man to seize them, was wounded in the 
head, refused to give up the colors, and rushing out 
in advance of the line, staggered and fell, driving 

185 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

the color-lance into the earth. The wound that 
to his comrades had seemed mortal proved not to be 
serious, and in a few days he was on duty again. 

The next spring, though he was, as he wrote, 
" in full enjoyment of the blessings of fever and ague 
and rheumatism," he refused to accept the surgeon's 
advice and go on the sick list. At the battle of 
Chancellorsville he volunteered for dangerous service 
and performed it. After the battle, against his 
protestations, he was sent to the hospital at Chest- 
nut Hill, Philadelphia. He was restless at being 
absent from the regiment, but he wrote to con- 
gratulate a brother on not being drafted, for he 
thought that in sending three sons to the war the 
family were doing their share. 

In November, 1863, he rejoined his regiment. In 
December he had to decide whether or not to re- 
enlist. He had been in practically continuous serv- 
ice since the very outbreak of the war, had been twice 
wounded, was broken in health, and was a soldier 
in a regiment of such gallant reputation that it 
was always sure to be sent into the thickest of the 
fight. With his ability, education, and opportuni- 
ties. Brown could easily have obtained a commission 
in another regiment; he could easily have obtained 
an honorable discharge. But he resolved to stay 

186 



HARVARD IN THE WAR 

with the regiment until the end of the war and to 
win a commission in it or not at all. So he re-en- 
listed in the ranks. 

Just as the campaign in the Wilderness began, 
he received an appointment as first lieutenant; he 
put the document in his pocket, and still as a private 
went into the bloody fighting of that terrible cam- 
paign. On May 12, 1864, leading his company in 
Hancock's charge, at Spottsylvania Court-House, he 
was struck by a shell. 

He knew that his wounds were mortal; he drew 
from his pocket his unused commission as lieutenant, 
now stained with his blood, and a photograph of the 
girl to whom he had become engaged during his 
month's furlough after re-enlistment; he asked 
the comrades who came up to send them home with 
the news of his death. His brother James was 
wounded in the same battle and died the same day. 
The girl to whom Brown was engaged was pros- 
trated, fell ill of consumption, arid died six months 
later with his name on her lips. 

Strong Vincent, '59, of Erie, Pennsylvania, was 
big, handsome, and popular — one of the marshals 
of his class. After graduation, he read law in Erie. 
At the first call for volunteers he enlisted in the 
Wayne Guards and married immediately the girl 

187 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

to whom for some time he had been engaged. His 
wife accompanied him to Pittsburg, where the 
Wayne Guards remained during the three months 
of their enlistment. Then Vincent assisted in 
raising the Eighty-third Pennsylvania and was 
made lieutenant-colonel of the regiment. He was 
dangerously ill when the battle of Gaines' Mills be- 
gan, in which more than half his regiment were killed 
or wounded. The colonel and the major were both 
killed. Hearing this, Vincent rose from his bed, 
mounted a horse, and put himself at the head of his 
men. His example inspired them, but soon he 
reeled from his horse; he was put into an ambulance 
and then sent on a sick-transport down the James 
River and up to New York. Finally he was taken 
home to Erie; but on October i he rejoined his 
regiment as its colonel. At Fredericksburg he was 
in command of a brigade. He was made president 
of a general court-martial, and was offered the 
position of judge-advocate general of the Army of the 
Potomac, but he declined the honor, preferring 
active service with the troops. 

At Gettysburg, again commanding a brigade, he 
was sent to seize Little Round Top, and to hold it 
and the ravine between it and Big Round Top. 
His disposition of his troops was most skilful. 

188 



HARVARD IN THE WAR 

Standing on a huge boulder from which he might 
survey and direct operations, a target for all the 
guns of the attacking force, he was mortally wounded. 
The appointment of brigadier-general was sent to 
him the next day, but did not reach him before he 
died. 

Edward Gardner Abbott and Henry Livermore 
Abbott, brothers and members of the class of i860, 
both met chivalrous deaths. Edward Abbott, 
captain in the Second Massachusetts, was killed 
at Cedar Mountain while exposing himself in order 
to steady his men. Henry Abbott, second lieu- 
tenant in the Twentieth Massachusetts, was shot 
through the arm at Glendale, but went on fighting, 
and fought through the next day at Malvern Hill. 
With his company of sixty men he led his regiment 
when it cleared the main street of Fredericksburg; 
thirty-five of his sixty fell under the Confederates' 
terrific fire. At Gettysburg the Twentieth again 
lost heavily; at the end of the battle Abbott, then 
major, found himself in command. In the battle 
of the Wilderness he was mortally wounded; dying, 
he directed that all the money he left should be used 
for the relief of widows and orphans of the regi- 
ment. 

Robert Gould Shaw, also of the class of '60, had 

189 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

grown up a rather timid, very sensitive and affec- 
tionate boy. He was fond of music and of sketching. 
In college he was an active member of the Pierian 
Sodality, an organization devoted to music. He 
took no rank as a scholar — never stood in the 
first half of his class. 

In April, 1861, he marched with the Seventh New 
York to Washington. The call for the Seventh was 
for only thirty days; at the end of that time he 
applied for and obtained a commission as second 
lieutenant in the Second Massachusetts. Almost 
immediately he saw hard fighting. Of the battle 
of Cedar Mountain he wrote: " Goodwin, Cary, 
Choate, and Stephen Perkins [all college mates] 
were all quite ill, but would not stay away from the 
fight. Choate was the only one of the four not 
killed. Goodwin couldn't keep up with the regi- 
ment; but I saw him toiling up the hill at some dis- 
tance behind with the assistance of his servant. 
He hardlv reached the front when he was killed. 
All our officers behaved nobly. Those who ought 
to have stayed away didn't. It was splendid to 
see those sick fellows walk straight up into the 
shower of bullets as if it were so much rain; men 
who, until this year, had lived lives of perfect ease 
and luxury." 

190 



HARVARD IN THE WAR 

After the battle of Antietam, having gone about 
among the wounded, he wrote: "There are so 
many young boys. and old men among the Rebels 
that it seems hardly possible that they can have 
come of their own accord to fight us; and it makes 
you pity them all the more as they Ke moaning on 
the field." And later he wrote: " This life gradually 
makes us feel that, so far as a man himself is con- 
cerned, he may as well die now as a few years hence; 
but I never see one killed without thinking of the 
people he leaves at home; that is the sad part of it." 

January 30, 1863, Governor Andrew wrote to 
him as follows: " I am about to organize in Massa- 
chusetts a colored regiment as part of the volunteer 
quota of this State, — the commissioned officers to 
be white men. I have to-day written to your father, 
expressing to him my sense of the importance of 
this undertaking and requesting him to forward to 
you this letter, in which I offer you the commission 
of colonel over it. The lieutenant-colonelcy I have 
offered to Captain Hallowell of the 20th Massa- 
chusetts regiment. It is important to the organi- 
zation of this regiment that I should receive your 
reply to this offer at the earliest day consistent with 
your ability to arrive at a deliberate conclusion on 
the subject." 

191 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

Shaw hesitated; he distrusted his abilities, he liked 
the service with the Second Massachusetts among 
officers and men who were his friends, and he was no 
doubt reluctant to leave it for the command of col- 
ored troops and the social ostracism to which such 
an exchange would subject him in some quarters. 
But the governor's request seemed to impose on him 
a duty; he accepted the commission, went to Boston, 
and threw himself heart and soul into the work of 
organizing and drilling the Fifty-fourth Massachu- 
setts. On May 2, he was married; on May 28 he 
sailed from Boston with his regiment, and his bride 
of a little more than three weeks never saw him 
again. 

With him went as second lieutenant young Cabot 
Jackson Russel, of the class of '65. The first act in 
which the negro regiment had to participate after 
landing on Port Royal Island was the burning of the 
defenceless town of Darien, Georgia. Shaw obeyed 
the orders of his superior commanding officer in this 
matter most unwillingly, and young Russel wrote: 
" This is not the sort of work I came for, nor do I 
believe it good work, but it is not for me to criti- 
cize." 

On Saturday, July 18, General Strong, commanding 
the Union troops in front of Fort Wagner, offered 

192 



HARVARD IN THE WAR 

Shaw the post of honor in the suicidal assault. Now 
this is what Shaw and his regiment had passed 
through in the two preceding days: Thursday, 
July 1 6, they were engaged in a fight on James 
Island — the first fighting that they had been in 
— and beat back the enemy gallantly. That evening 
at nine o'clock they left James Island and marched 
to Cole's Island, which they reached at four in the 
morning; it rained, thundered, and lightened all 
night. Upon their arrival at Cole's Island they lay 
round all day — a day that Shaw described in his 
last letter: "There is hlardly any water to be got 
here, and the sun and sand are dazzling and roast- 
ing us." They had no food except the hardtack 
and coffee in their haversacks. From eleven o'clock 
Friday night until four o'clock Saturday morning, 
again under a pelting rain, they were being put on 
board a transport from a boat that took out about 
fifty at a time. They breakfasted on what was left 
of their hardtack, and they had no other food all 
that day. The transport left Cole's Island at six 
in the morning and landed the troops at Pawnee 
Landing at half-past nine. Thence they marched 
to the point opposite Morris Island, arriving at 
about two in the afternoon. A steamer took them 
across the inlet; they reached General Strong's 

193 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

headquarters at six o'clock. Immediately General 
Strong offered them the brunt of the attack. 

Shaw was not twenty-six years old. But he was 
no longer the timid youth who had shrunk from the 
football scrimmages on the Delta. He formed his 
regiment in line of battle, and when at half-past 
seven the order was given, he led the charge. A 
hundred yards from the fort, the negroes faltered 
under the scathing fire; but Shaw, waving his sword 
and shouting, "Forward, Fifty-fourth!" rallied 
them, and they followed him devotedly. He was 
.himself one of the first to scale the walls. On the 
ramparts he was shot dead and fell inside the 
fort. 

Brigadier-General Haygood, the Confederate com- 
mander, made this statement: " I knew Colonel 
Shaw before the war, and then esteemed him. Had 
he been in command of white troops, I should have 
given him an honorable burial. As it is, I shall 
bury him in the common trench, with the negroes 
that fell with him." 

This was done; and the Confederate general 
thus provided for the body of his former friend what 
Thomas Hughes justly termed " the grandest 
sepulchre earned by any soldier of the century." 

Robert Shaw was not the only white officer who 

194 



HARVARD IN THE WAR 

earned that burial. Here are the words in which 
one who knew Cabot Russel described his end: 

" The darkness of night hung over the sufferings 
of that sacrifice where the noblest and the best, 
appointed to lead black soldiers to death and prove 
that they were men, had obeyed the order. When 
our troops fell back from an assault in which they 
were not supported, hundreds of dead and wounded 
marked how far they had gone. Among those who 
did not return was Captain Russel. A ball struck 
him in the shoulder and he fell. Captain Simpkins 
offered to carry him off. But the boy had become a 
veteran in a moment, and the answer was, * No, 
but you may straighten me out.' As his friend, true 
to the end, was rendering this last service, a bullet 
pierced his heart, and his dead body fell over the 
dying." 

Then some of Russel's soldiers wished to bear 
him from the field. But the young officer's last 
order was: " Do not touch me; move on, men, fol- 
low your colors." 

So they left him. He was not quite nineteen. 

On July 21, 1865, Commemoration Day was 
celebrated at Harvard College in honor of those 
students and graduates who had served in the war. 
General Meade was present and received the degree 

195 



THE .STORY OF HARVARD 

of LL. D. Among trie younger men of Harv*iri who 
were there was Major-General William Francis Bart- 
lett, of the class of *62. He had lost a leg at the siege 
of Vorktown; a few months later, returning to the 
front at the head of the regiment of which he had 
been made colonel, he had ridden down Broadway 
with his crutch strapped to his back; he had been 
wounded at Port Hudson and in the Wilderness 
and before Petersburg; and now at the gathering 
before which Lowell read his Commemoration Ode, 
the president called upon him in these words: 
" I introduce to you Major-General William Francis 
Bartlctt, — his heart is left." 



196 



CHAPTER XII 

PRESIDENT ELIOT's ADMINISTRATION 

CHARLES WILLIAM ELIOT was chosen 
President of Harvard by the Corporation in 
September, 1868, when he was thirty-four years 
old. The votaries of a classical education dis- 
trusted the young professor of chemistry; the Over- 
seers felt that an older man was needed, and twice 
vetoed the election. But the Corporation stood 
firm, and in May, 1869, the Overseers accepted 
their choice. 

In his inaugural address, the young president did 
not conciliate those who had opposed him. It was 
a departure from the usual suave and colorless 
disquisition produced for such an occasion; there 
was in it none of the harmless pedantry or platitu- 
dinous verbiage which in the middle of the century 
was wont to pass as denoting scholarship. The crisp 
and pungent declarations of the new president 
startled many of his hearers. " The endless con- 
troversies whether language, philosophy, mathe- 

197 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

matics, or science supply the best mental training, 
whether general education should be chiefly literary 
or chiefly scientific, have no practical lesson for us 
to-day. This University recognizes no real antago- 
nism between literature and science, and consents 
to no such narrow alternatives as mathematics 
or classics, science or metaphysics. We would have 
them all, and at their best." 

That speech was the memorable utterance of a 
strong,- sane optimist, a clear-thinking, courageous 
leader. It was in no idle spirit of vaunting prophecy 
that he declared, " The future of the University 
will not be unworthy of its past." 

During the last fifty years the material growth 
in America has been in all ways incalculable. Ham- 
lets have become cities, deserts have been made 
fertile, the forests that once seemed a forbidding 
barrier to progress now have to be cherished in the 
name of progress, the web of industry is spun in 
places and across spaces that must have seemed un- 
conquerable to the men of half a century ago. That 
Harvard University should have grown with the 
times was inevitable; but its growth has been greater 
than that of almost any standard for comparison. 
Playgrounds have been usurped for buildings, and 
wider playgrounds have been laid out; students and 

198 



PRESIDENT ELIOT'S ADMINISTRATION 

officers have increased many times in number, re- 
sources have been augmented enormously, wealth 
has been poured into Harvard's lap; in 1869 her 
capital was about two and a quarter millions; now 
her income is about two and a quarter millions. 

With all that, Harvard is not a rich university — 
in the sense, at least, of having a comfortable sur- 
plus after all legitimate needs are provided for. 
She spends worthily every year all that she has, and 
she always needs more. Her professors and in- 
structors are not highly paid. If they have no 
other sources of revenue than their salaries, they 
must live with a careful eye to the present and an 
anxious one to the future. Perhaps President Eliot 
was never deeply moved by their pecuniary diffi- 
culties. To his ascetic and devoted spirit, asceticism 
and devotion were required of the teachers of 
youth, and it mattered little if they were prescribed 
by poverty instead of being elective. The cost to 
Harvard of each student's education is not covered 
by the student's tuition fee. This fact is, in one 
way, a burden that the teachers must bear, and for 
the most part they bear it cheerfully. 

It is the teachers, not the buildings or the athletic 
victories, that make a college; and at no time since 
President Eliot took charge of the university has 

199 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

Harvard had cause to fear for her primacy in scholar- 
ship. The names of Agassiz and Gray and Shaler, 
of Norton and Child and Lowell, of Goodwin and 
Lane and James, of Dunbar and Hill dim the luster 
of many others that are minor only because of the 
distinguished juxtaposition that they enjoy. And it 
is to President Eliot's genius for securing the best 
— and eliminating the second-rate — that Harvard 
owes a teaching staff inferior to none in the English- 
speaking world. 

The Law School and the Medical School had been 
pursuing their comfortable and independent courses. 
Each institution had its own treasury, in conse- 
quence felt self-sufHcient, and was as indisposed as 
it was unaccustomed to receive interference from 
any outside authority. When President Eliot 
made it manifest that he proposed to take these 
organizations under his control, their officers were 
indignant and dismayed. 

But within three years the Medical School had 
turned its finances over to the college treasurer, 
and had submitted to a complete revision of its 
courses and to an alteration of its term time and 
vacation. Henceforth, it was a docile member of 
President's Eliot's empire. 

So too with the Law School. Here instruction had 

200 



PRESIDENT ELIOT'S ADMINISTRATION 

been irregular and desultory, no examinations were 
held, and even the good instructors were handi- 
capped by the lack of system. President Eliot 
found in the new dean. Professor Langdell, an 
able and enthusiastic coadjutor. The funds were 
turned over to the common treasury; students were 
obliged to live in Cambridge, to attend recitations 
regularly, and to undergo examinations; the stand- 
ard of instruction was raised and the method of it 
altered. Singe its reorganization, the Law School 
has been one of the most flourishing and important 
departments of the university. ^ 

The other schools are all, to a greater or less degree, 
monuments to President Eliot; and by the college 
itself his influence has been as directly felt. The 
elective system, although it had been introduced in 
a qualified form many years before he took office, 
will always be, for Harvard men, associated with 
Eliot's name. Its scope was broadened, new courses 
were continually being established, the methods 
of instruction were revised and improved — the aim 
constantly being to make the student think for him- 
self and of his own independent interest pursue the 
truth to its original sources. This ideal of education 
was admirably adapted to the needs of those under- 
graduates who were not immature, indolent, or in- 

201 



^ • . i 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

different, and who came to Harvard meaning to 
work as well as to play. For the more irresponsible 
members of the college society, it was perhaps less 
fruitful than the old-fashioned daily recitations and 
prescribed curriculum might have been. A certain 
number in every class became proficient in selecting 
courses that exacted the minimum amount of effort 
for a passing mark; for many years the visitor to 
Harvard was sure to express surprise at the number 
of young men wfio elected to study Semitic; and 
there were courses in Fine Arts and Geology which 
were taken — quite plausibly too — with the idea 
that to sit under the distinguished professors who 
gave them was, without making further effort, to 
acquire a liberal education. That there was con- 
siderable abuse of the privileges and opportunities 
conferred by the elective system there is no doubt; 
and the present administration is undertaking to 
prevent this by curtailing the freedom of choice in 
the first year and by requiring of each student a 
coherent plan of studies instead of permitting him 
to nibble here and there. The effort is to make 
every undergraduate, as President Lowell has said, 
" know a little of everything and one thing well." 
President Eliot's large-minded liberality affected 
' the system of discipline as well as that of instruction, 

202 



■fc * 



t » 



^*^ ! w- ** '^ * - * * • 



PRESIDENT ELIOT'S ADMINISTRATION 

In 1886, chapel attendance was made voluntary, 
and in other respects much freedom of movement 
was permitted to the student who maintained a good 
standing in his work. 

In May, 1865, at a meeting of graduates held in 
Boston, a committee had been appointed to report 
on the subject of a permanent memorial commemora- 
ting the Harvard men who had fought and died for 
the Union. This committee reported that a building 
in which statues, portraits, and commemorative 
tablets might be placed and which would be a " suit- 
able theatre or auditorium for the literary festivals 
of the College " should be constructed. Funds were 
quickly raised, and on October 6, 1870, the corner- 
stone of Memorial Hall was laid, but not until 
Commencement, 1874, was the building ready for 
occupancy. Its great dining-hall and its kitchens 
have furnished a satisfactory solution of the prob- 
lem of commons which had vexed so many adminis- 
trations. Its lofty, vaulted transept with the stained- 
glass windows and the marble tablets whereon are 
recorded one hundred and thirty-six names — 
recent researches show that there should be one 
hundred and sixty-seven — is the threshold that 
the senior crosses on Commencement Day to pass 
out into the world. Its auditorium, Sanders Theatre, 

203 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

has been the scene of many distinguished gatherings 
and has heard the voices of many illustrious men. 
Perhaps the most memorable occasion that Sanders 
Theatre has known was that which marked the 
climax of the two hundred and fiftieth anniversary 
of Harvard College. 

The celebration lasted for three days, November 
6, 7, and 8, i886. The first day, Saturday, was 
Undergraduates' Day; the programme provided 
for undergraduate literary exercises in the morning, 
athletic sports in the afternoon, and a torchlight 
procession in the evening. The first two features 
of this programme were successfully carried out, 
but the torchlight procession had to be postponed 
on account of rain until the evening of the last day. 
It had somewhat the character of a pageant. On a 
dray was a model of the Harvard statue, supported 
by burlesque representations of a butcher, a cooper, 
and a grocer — these having been the father and two 
step-fathers of John Harvard, who had eventually 
received their accumulated fortunes. The group 
was labeled: "Johnnie Harvard's Pa's." An old 
printing-press was carried on a wagon and served 
by an Indian. Then came a squad of Puritans, 
with sugar-loaf hats and knee-breeches; after them 
the old Washington Corps, with blue, swallow-tailed 

£04 



PRESIDENT ELIOT'S ADMINISTRATION 

coats and white small-clothes. There were various 
impersonators of old Harvard worthies, — Hollis, 
Stoughton, Holworthy, and others. The ancient 
Navy Club, " in which the laziest man was high 
admiral," was represented; " this supreme slug- 
gard," as the historian of the occasion calls him, 
lay on a red divan, dressed in admiral's uniform. 
The procession paraded for two hours and finally 
ended at Holmes Field, where there was a display 
of fireworks — the climax being a representation 
of John Harvard standing inside a gorgeous temple. 

The second day of the celebration, Sunday, was 
Foundation Day, the anniversary of the passage of 
the vote by the General Court granting four hundred 
pounds for the establishment of the college. Com- 
memoration exercises were held in Appleton Chapel. 

On the morning of Monday, the eighth. Alumni 
Day, two thousand graduates assembled in the 
yard. President Cleveland arrived, escorted by the 
Lancers. His carriage drove up to Gore Hall, 
where the chief marshal and President Eliot received 
him. The church bells rang and batteries on the 
Common fired a salute. Then the procession formed 
and marched to Sanders Theatre. Lowell was the 
orator of the occasion, and Holmes the poet. In his 
address, Lowell, one of the conservatives, questioned 

205 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

the wisdom of the elective system, humorously: " Is 
it indeed so self-evident a prftposition as it seems to 
many, that * You may * is as wholesome' a lesson for 
youth as * You must? ' Is it so good a fore-school- 
ing for Life, which will be a teacher of quite other 
mood, making us learn, rod in hand, precisely 
those lessons we should not have chosen? I have, 
to be sure, heard the late President Quincy (clarum 
et venerabile nomen) say that if a young man came 
hither and did nothing more than rub his shoulders 
against the College buildings for four years, he would 
imbibe some tincture of sound learning by an in- 
voluntary process of absorption. The founders 
of the College also believed in some impulsions 
towards science communicated a tergo, but of 
sharper virtue, and accordingly armed their presi- 
dent with that ductor dubitantium which was wielded 
to such good purpose by the Reverend James Bowyer 
at Christ's Hospital in the days of Coleridge and 
Lamb. They believed with the old poet that whip- 
ping was * a wild benefit of nature,' and could they 
have read Wordsworth's exquisite stanza, 

" * One impulse from a vernal wood 
Can teach us more of man, 
Of moral evil and of good 
Than all the sages can,' 

206 



PRESIDENT ELIOT'S ADMINISTRATION 

they would have struck out * vernal ' and inserted 
* birchen ' on the margin." 

That this passage met with approval deeper than 
that of laughter in some of the audience ciannot be 
doubted; but the greatest applause came when the 
orator welcomed Dr. Mandell Creighton, " who 
brings the message of John Harvard's College, 
Emmanuel. The welcome we give him could not be 
warmer than that which we offer to his colleagues; 
but we cannot help feeling that in pressing his hand 
our own instinctively closes a little more tightly, as 
with a sense of nearer kindred.'* 

After the oration and the poem and the conferring 
of honorary degrees, there was an Alumni banquet 
in Memorial Hall. The speech-making was of a 
somewhat livelier character than that which had 
distinguished the bicentennial celebration. Presi- 
dent Cleveland expressed his congratulations, am- 
bassadors from other institutions paid their trib- 
utes, and Dr. Creighton made a happy response to 
Lowell's compliment of the morning when he said: 
" Ten years ago Emmanuel College celebrated the 
three hundredth anniversary of its foundation in 
some such way as you are doing to-day. On that 
occasion two distinguished alumni of Harvard — 
Professor Lowell and Professor Norton — no less by 

207 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

the dignity of their presence than by the eloquence of 
their speech almost succeeded in converting our 
festival into a celebration of Harvard College in its 
ancestral soil of England." 



208 



CHAPTER XIII 

UNDERGRADUATE ACTIVITIES 

WITH the increase in freedom that marked 
President Eliot's administration there was 
an increase in the variety of activities attractive 
to undergraduates. In the first half of the century, 
the competitive spirit had found .almost no outlet 
except in scholarship; social intercourse with the 
world outside the college walls had hardly existed; 
there had been no athletics; and there had been 
few students with purses well enough filled to com- 
mand luxuries. 

Undergraduate activities of the recent and con- 
temporary generations may be classified as three- 
fold — literary, social, and athletic. 

A hundred years ago literary avocations were more 
generally associated with the name of culture than 
they are to-day; the students of Harvard, trained 
to express themselves in the classical and orotund 
style of the period, desired to see, and to have their 
friends see, their compositions in print. So, not- 

209 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

withstanding the smallness of the public that could 
be counted on to support it, the Lyceum^ a monthly 
periodical, was launched in 1810. Edward Everett 
and Samuel Gilman, the author of " Fair Harvard," 
were among its editors. It lasted less than a year; 
it perished with this admonition from the disillu- 
sioned editors: " The legacy which we leave to our 
collegiate posterity is our advice that they enjoy all 
those exquisite pleasures which literary seclusion 
affords, but that they do not strive to communicate 
them to others." 

Four college generations seem to have been im- 
pressed by the solemnity of the warning; but in 
1827 the Register was founded; its early demise 
offered little encouragement to the sanguine souls 
who three years later started the Collegian. Al- 
though Holmes contributed several excellent pieces 
to this publication, among them "The Height of 
the Ridiculous," it ran for only six numbers. Un- 
daunted by the unsuccessful outcome of these ex- 
periments, some members of the class of 1836 
brought out a periodical which they called Harvard- 
tana. Lowell was one of the editors and helped to 
keep it alive for three years. The Harvard Magazine^ 
set afloat in 1854, held its head above water till 
1864 and then was submerged. 

210 




The Lunpoon Office and the "Gold Cout" 



UNDERGRADUATE ACTIVITIES 

In May, 1866, the Advocate^ which still maintains 
a prosperous existence, was founded. It is issued 
fortnightly and contains fiction, poetry, essays, 
and comment on matters of current undergraduate 
interest. The editors formerly held their meetings 
in one another's rooms, but now resort to the well 
equipped sanctum in the Harvard Union — the 
great university club. A daily paper, the Magenta^ 
now the Crimson^ was started in 1873. The Crim- 
son is a profitable and useful enterprise and makes 
a good training school for young men who wish to 
take up newspaper work. Like the Advocate and 
the Monthly^ it has offices in the Union. The Lam- 
poon^ a humorous illustrated paper, was founded in 
1876, and in 1885, the Monthly ^ more ambitious in 
its literary efforts than the Advocate^ had its birth. 
The Lampoon has a house of its own, of an indi- 
vidual and admirably suggestive style of archi- 
tecture, in Mount Auburn Street. Although the 
interests of these various publications do not often 
clash, rivalry and jealousy are occasionally revealed 
in good-humored gibes and acrimonious sneers. 
The Advocate regards the Monthly as owlish, the 
Monthly looks upon the Advocate as trivial, the 
Crimson considers both of them dilettante, and the 
Lampoon chastens all three. The holiday on which 

211 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

the Lampoon issued what purported to be the Crim^ 
son and proved to be a satirical burlesque of it is 
historic. Whatever venom charges the pens of the 
scribes, their personal relations are amicable enough; 
and the annual baseball game between the Crimson 
and the Lampoon is, for the members of the two 
boards, one of the pleasing and humorous events 
of the year. 

Nowadays the criticism is often made that too 
many of the young men of our colleges have pre- 
maturely ensconced themselves in the club window 
to look out upon life. Certainly at Harvard a num- 
ber of clubs assist their members to acquire sophis- 
tication and to partake of non-academic luxuries. 
The pursuit of these two aims would no doubt 
interest a certain proportion of young men even if 
there were no clubs to facilitate it; without these 
institutions, which do in varying degrees provide 
an education in worldliness, the acquisition of 
knowledge and the enjoyment of luxury would be 
rather more perilous than it now is. At Harvard the 
man without a club who embarks upon the educa- 
tion of his senses is more likely to become demoralized 
and cheapened than the kindred spirit with club 
restraints and club opportunities to guide him. 

It is frequently and somewhat stridently objected 

212 



. UNDERGRADUATE ACTIMTIES 

that the club life at Harvard does not promote a 
spirit of democracy. Does club life promote such 
a spirit anywhere? To live in a dormitory de luxe^ 
with a private bath of your own and a swimming 
tank in the basement, when the fellow that checks 
off your attendance at recitations dwells in a dim 
attic and bathes at the gymnasium, does not promote 
a spirit of democracy. At Harvard, as elsewhere in 
America, the rich have grown richer, and the poor 
are still the poor. 

Clubland lies along the Gold Coast. In and 
about this part of Mount Auburn Street are clus- 
tered the expensive dormitories occupied by the 
rich, and the expensive little clubs maintained by the 
socially fortunate among the rich. 

A hundred years ago it was the custom for two 
youths to bear from the college commons to the 
weekly meeting and feast of the Hasty Pudding 
Qub a great iron kettle filled with hasty pudding. 
Nowadays a club dinner is a more formal matter 
— or begins as such. It is an affair of evening dress, 
wines, liqueurs, and good cigars. The Hasty Pudding 
Qub still serves hasty pudding at its occasional 
gatherings, — a rather barren effort to maintain the 
traditions of those early and simpler days. But the 
Pudding has suffered a decline in prestige with the 

213 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

increase in number and in luxury of the smaller 
clubs. Until about the middle of the nineteenth 
century the Porcellian was the only small club de- 
voted to social and convivial purposes. Then came 
an era of Greek letter fraternities. The Harvard 
chapters finally withdrew from the parent organi- 
zations and became separate clubs. Within the 
last few years other small clubs have organized and 
have built themselves houses which by the standard 
of the eighties are extremely luxurious. 

In those days and even later the Dickey was an 
organization highly regarded by certain of the under- 
graduates — partly because the initiation gave a 
fellow in his sophomore year an opportunity to know 
and become known to a number of upper classmen, 
and partly because membership in it was a badge 
of social distinction. As a club the Dickey never 
amounted to anything, yet sophomores were only 
too delighted to be dragged from their rooms at 
night, hurled down-stairs and kicked through the 
streets at the head of a chanting procession — this 
being the method of apprising them of election — 
and then for the better part of a week to lead a life 
of servitude, bound to obey every behest of any one 
who was a Dickey member. The pranks that they 
were compelled to play in public and in private were 

214 



UNDERGRADUATE ACTIVITIES 

sometimes ingenious and amusing, sometimes stupid 
and vulgar. The initiation had features of brutality 
which have been partially reformed. On the whole, 
the Dickey is a senseless organization, and may be 
expected before many years to see its own uselessness 
and act upon it creditably in the manner of two fresh- 
man clubs, the Fencing and the Polo, which, being 
made aware of their pernicious nature and influence, 
disbanded. The Dickey is a society within a club, 
being composed of a certain proportion of the mem- 
bership of the Institute of 1770 — that organization 
formed originally to encourage and develop public 
speaking. The Institute has a club-house — not one 
of the luxurious and modern type — and clings to 
a more or less languishing existence. 

The Hasty Pudding has a club-house, considered 
very magnificent when built, some thirty years ago, 
but regarded now as offering too little to its mem- 
bers to be attractive. Its theatre and its custom 
of giving every year a musical farce, written and 
acted by members, keep it alive; but as a place 
of resort it is little used. That function has been 
usurped by the numerous smaller clubs, which are 
all prosperous and which have a membership each of 
from thirty to forty, drawn from the three upper 
classes. These clubs, of which the Porcellian and 

215 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

the A. D. are the most prominent, have handsome, 
well-equipped houses and good libraries; some of 
them have squash or handball courts. Living in a 
Mount Auburn Street dormitory, eating at a Mount 
Auburn Street club, and going to the theatre with 
a Mount Auburn Street crowd, the inhabitants of 
the Gold Coast aroused considerable feeling by their 
exclusiveness; some of them deprecated the cleavage 
which was becoming more and more pronounced be- 
tween them and the rest of Harvard College. A 
movement which had for its slogan, " Back to the 
Yard!" was started, and with some success, — 
especially as the Corporation renovated the old 
dormitories and made them more attractive. Now 
men who pass their sophomore and junior years in 
Claverly welcome an opportunity to live during their 
senior year in Holworthy, the most desirable of all 
the dormitories. 

Between the clubbed and the unclubbed, inti- 
macies seldom are formed. Men may sit side by 
side in certain lecture courses, they may meet on the 
athletic field, and from such occasional proximity 
may come to cherish a very friendly feeling for 
each other; but intimate friendship results only from 
intimate association. This the club man naturally 
has with his club mates; and the outsider has it 

216 



UNDERGRADUATE ACTIVITIES 

with other outsiders. Of recent years there has 
been an increase in the number of clubs; and there 
are now a good many that are conducted on a more 
modest scale and so offer membership to a less opu- 
lent class than do those identified with the Mount 
Auburn Street region. 

The Harvard Union, made possible by the gift of 
Mr. Henry Lee Higginson, who was the donor 
also of Soldier's Field, is a club which every member 
of the university may join; the annual dues are ten 
dollars. It has a very large and fine building, with 
a magnificent hall, comfortable reading-rooms, pleas- 
ant dining-rooms, and a good library. But its very 
size and comprehensiveness prevent it from fulfill- 
ing one of the most important functions of a club, 
the promotion of friendships. It serves many useful 
purposes, it makes a convenient rallying-point, but 
there is in it no club feeling or life. It will doubtless 
be otherwise with that adjunct to it opened in 191 2 
— the Varsity Club. For membership in this all 
who have won their letter H in any of the major 
sports are eligible; the dues are made so low that 
the poor man may feel able to meet them, and the 
club itself is attractive enough in its appointments 
to induce and merit the interest of the athlete 
who may be already a member of the Porcellian or 

217 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

the A. D. If it fulfils expectations, the Varsity Club 
will develop and foster comradeships begun on the 
field, and will be for some men a broadening and 
for others a civilizing influence. 

The athletic rivalry with Yale, which has become 
one of the moving influences of Harvard undergrad- 
uate life, had its origin in the first Harvard- Yale 
boat race in 1852. In each college, rowing had for 
some years been a popular sport, and there were 
clubs that owned boats and held races. In the 
summer of 1852 the Undine Boat Club of Yale 
challenged the Oneida Boat Club of Harvard, and 
the challenge was promptly accepted. The adver- 
tising agent of the Boston, Concord, and Montreal 
Railroad took charge of the affair; the oarsmen were 
given free transportation to Centre Harbor on 
Lake Winnipesaukee, in New Hampshire, and were 
entertained during their stay at the expense of the 
road, which " featured " their contest. As a result 
of the advertising man's efforts, on August 3, the 
day of the race, a considerable number of specta- 
tors assembled on the shore. Harvard was rep- 
resented by one eight-oared boat, the Oneida^ Yale 
by two, the Undine and the ShazvmuL The course 
was about a mile and a half in length. The Oneida 
won by two lengths over the Shawmutj and her crew 

218 



■I^t/^^^^^'d" 




-S-^^ 



The Weld Boat House 



UNDERGRADUATE ACTIVITIES 

received as a prize a pair of black walnut oars orna- 
mented with silver. The Harvard oarsmen had 
rowed only a few times before the race, " for fear 
of blistering their hands." 

This patriarchal Harvard craft had been built 
for a race between two clubs of Boston mechanics 
and had been purchased in 1844 by some members 
of the class of '46. It was about three and a half 
feet wide, and thirty-seven feet long, and was rowed 
on the gunwale. Outriggers were used in the next 
race with Yale, in 1855; the first six-oared shell was 
made for Harvard in 1857. 

In the race in 1855, rowed on the Connecticut at 
Springfield and won by Harvard, Alexander Agassiz, 
the bow oar, steered the boat. The Harvard crews 
of those days were not composed exclusively of un- 
dergraduates. Thus Agassiz, graduating in 1855, 
rowed on the crews of 1856, 1857, and 1858; and 
the future President Eliot, though he was of the 
class of '53, rowed on the crew of 1858. But be- 
tween the years 1855 ^^^ ^^59 there were no races 
with Yale; the Harvard crews took part instead in 
various local regattas, some of them apparently of a 
semi-professional character; for instance. President 
Eliot's crew won two money prizes, seventy-five 
dollars in one race, and a hundred dollars in another. 

219 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

In 1859 Harvard and Yale met again on the water, 
this time in a two days' regatta on Lake Quinsiga- 
mond, at Worcester. Harvard won the first day, 
Yale won the second; " at this, the first defeat that 
Harvard had endured, the crew threw their turbans 
into the lake in disgust, but permitted no detraction 
from the Yale's success." Harvard won the race 
of i860; then, during four years of war time, there 
was no race. In 1864, however. Harvard and Yale 
resumed aquatic relations, again at Lake Quinsiga- 
mond, and continued them there annually until 
1870, Harvard winning five of the seven races. 
Yale at last became dissatisfied with the conditions 
and refused to row any longer at Lake Quinsigamond. 
In 1871, chiefly as the result of a misunderstanding, 
there was no race between the two colleges. In- 
stead Harvard took part in a three-cornered race 
at Springfield with Brown and Massachusetts 
Agricultural College. The Agricultural crew won, 
Harvard coming in second; thenceforth until 1877 
Harvard and Yale were rather unsuccessful partici- 
pants in large intercollegiate regattas, held now at 
Springfield, now at Saratoga; Yale won only one of 
the races, and Harvard did not win at all. 

After the race of 1875 at Saratoga, in which thir- 
teen crews were entered, Yale withdrew from the in- 

220 



UNDERGRADUATE ACTIVITIES 

tercollegiate association and challenged Harvard the 
next year to a race. Harvard accepted the challenge; 
and on June 20, 1876, the first eight-oared race be- 
tween the two colleges was rowed at Springfield, 
Yale winning easily, owing to an accident in the Har- 
vard boat. About a month later the Harvard crew — 
diminished necessarily to six — entered the intercolle- 
giate six-oared regatta and finished second to Cornell. 
This was for many years the last appearance of a 
Harvard crew in an intercollegiate regatta. The 
dual contests with Yale henceforth absorbed the 
interest of Harvard's best oarsmen, except in the 
interval between 1895 ^^^ 1899. Then Harvard 
took part in regattas on the Poughkeepsie, with no 
conspicuous success. After 1885, for about twenty 
years. Harvard victories were few and far between; 
but in 1906 a turn for the better took place, and 
since that time Harvard has been conspicuously suc- 
cessful on the water. Between the years 1852 and 
1912 inclusive Harvard and Yale rowed forty-six dual 
races, and each won twenty-three. 

But boating at Harvard does not concern itself 
merely with the competition of men who want to row 
against Yale. The two boat clubs, the Weld and 
the Newell, have many members, by no means so 
hopeful of their prowess. Fellows row on club crews 

221 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

or class crews or dormitory crews; they go out in 
single shells or wherries; every bright spring after- 
noon, scattered about on the river from the Arsenal 
to the lower end of the Basin, there are dozens of 
little craft with bare-backed oarsmen, gliding rhyth- 
mically or balancing at rest. 

Varsity football at Harvard is twenty years 
younger than varsity rowing. In 1873 ^he Uni- 
versity Football Association was organized; there 
were fifteen men on a team; the game was one of 
kicking almost exclusively. The modern game may 
be said to date from 1880, when the Rugby rules 
were adopted. Harvard, Princeton, and Yale 
formed a triangular league; in 1889 Harvard with- 
drew to enter into a dual league with Yale. Since 
that time, with the exception of two years when 
athletic relations with Yale, were broken off, the 
" Yale game " has been the greatest annual sporting 
event. In the late eighties and early nineties it was 
played at Springfield. The last Springfield game 
was in 1894 and is memorable as the roughest en- 
counter in the history of the two universities; it 
was the cause of the subsequent rupture between 
them. For two years Harvard and Yale were in the 
position of playmates who do not speak; then nego- 
tiations led to a resumption of friendlier feelings 

222 




UNDERGRADUATE ACTIMTIES 

and athletic competition. There are now no more 
cleanly played games anywhere than those between 
Harvard and Yale. 

Baseball receives a less important measure of 
undergraduate esteem than either football or rowing, 
presumably because those who devote themselves 
to it undergo less real hardship of training than the 
followers of the other sports. The class of '66 had 
the first baseball nine of which there is any record 
at Harvard, and played a game with the Brown 
sophomores in 1863. Harvard won, and for a num- 
ber of years the Harvard nines were almost invariably 
successful in their important contests. It was a 
Harvard captain, Mr. F. W. Thayer, of the class 
of '78, who invented the catcher's mask and by that 
invention revolutionized the game. As in football 
and in rowing, although the contests with Yale 
furnish the climax of the baseball season, there are 
minor rivalries that give inferior degrees of skill 
and an equal love for the sport the opportunity to 
express themselves. The class games excite the 
players to an intensity of effort and provoke the 
spectators to a ferocity of partisanship. Tin horns, 
whistles, and even firearms are employed by some 
of the more ardent loyalists of a class to shatter 
the nerves of the opposing team; the first baseman 

223 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

or the third baseman is a mark for the jeers and 
taunts of the hostile horde encamped along his 
base-line; every batter is admonished derisively 
as he stands at the plate. After the game the tri- 
umphant class dances a serpentine about the field, 
gathers at the steps of the Locker Building, and 
cheers its heroes. There are not many livelier 
spectacles of an informal kind at Harvard than that 
afforded by an inter-class baseball game. 

Track athletics are the fourth " major " sport. 
The first intercollegiate meet in which Harvard took 
part was in 1876. Now her athletes of the track 
train for two great occasions, — the intercollegiate 
meet and the dual meet with Yale. Many of them 
begin to prepare themselves in the gymnasium in the 
early winter; various indoor meets supply a stim- 
ulus for the drudgery. 

Lacrosse, soccer, and of course tennis have their 
enthusiasts; tennis is probably the most popular 
of all the sports; class tournaments and the college 
championship tournament bring out every year a 
great number of entries. 

It is a gay and pleasant sight that you may sec 
when you stroll along the upper promenade of the 
Stadium on a sunny afternoon in May. Below in the 
oval the bare-armed, bare-legged athletes in their 

224 





"^he Stadiu 



UNDERGRADUATE ACTIVITIES 

shining white are sprinting on the track, jumping, 
pole-vaulting; beyond on the other side, the lacrosse 
team is practising and perhaps some candidates for 
the next autumn's football eleven are being tried 
out in a scrimmage or at punting. On the baseball 
field near by the varsity nine is playing a practice 
game with the second, and farther off you see class 
nines and scrub nines occupying other diamonds 
and hear the adjurations of the coaches; with ad- 
miring eyes you follow the quick and graceful move- 
ments of the players; pleasant to your ear is the 
satisfying crack of bat against ball, the comfortable 
thud of ball into mitt. But your eyes rove after 
a while beyond the ball games; the tennis courts, 
still more distant, are alive with active figures, and 
out on the silvery river which enfolds the level 
acres there are boats gliding, oars flashing, brown 
backs bending. Surveying all this from your lofty 
point of vantage, you may be willing to assert that 
nowhere else in America is there to be observed such 
a panorama of athletics. 

But the most significant feature of this scene is 
not the vast Stadium, nor the playing-fields, nor even 
the multitudinous, gay-hearted, light-limbed activity 
of vigorous youth; it is the slender marble shaft 
that rises inside the gate and bears this inscription: 

225 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

TO THE HAPPY 

MEMORY OF 

JAMES SAVAGE 

CHARLES RUSSELL LOWELL 

EDWARD BARRY DALTON 

STEPHEN GEORGE PERKINS 

JAMES JACKSON LOWELL 

ROBERT GOULD SHAW 

FRIENDS, COMRADES, KINSMEN, 

WHO DIED FOR THEIR COUNTRY, 

THIS FIELD IS DEDICATED BY 

HENRY LEE HIGGINSON 

And beneath this inscription is the stanza: 

" THOUGH LOVE REPINE AND REASON CHAFE, 
THE?LE CAME A VOICE WITHOUT REPLY, 

* 'tis man's PERDITION TO BE SAFE 

WHEN FOR THE TRUTH HE OUGHT TO DIE.' " 

Every youth in going to his play and in returning 
from it must pass that monitory monument. The 
crowds of strangers stream by it on Class Day and 
on the afternoons of the great games. The under- 
graduates gather round it to cheer their victorious 
team. About it flow the currents of the most 
eager expectancy and the keenest excitement — 
and in the midst of these, by the emphasis of 
contrast, some heart is receiving a new spiritual 
impulse; the six ennobled names and the message of 
Emerson are doing Harvard's work. 

226 



CHAPTER XIV 

FRESHMAN AND SENIOR 

TWO days before the opening of college they 
arrive, the youths who are starting out upon 
their first great adventure. They are to be recog- 
nized at sight as they stroll about the college grounds, 
with their young, downy, more or less engaging faces 
and their new clothes and their somewhat self-con- 
scious air. They saunter composedly, but there is 
furtive inquiry in their glance; they eye one another 
with a curiosity and an interest which they do not 
in these initial days bestow on any other human 
beings. 

Classmates! It is their magic word, and for a 
little while it embraces the world of their thoughts. 
Harvard College with its traditions and its triumphs 
is a theme that has excited them for months past 
and that will grow dear and dearer to them in the 
months and years to come, but suddenly its sig- 
nificance and importance are diminished or elimi- 
nated. The faculty have never been much in their 

227 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

minds; and will never be less so than in these open- 
ing days. Sophomores, juniors, seniors appear as 
vague phantoms brushing across the background 
of their perspective and bearing no vital relation 
to the stirring actions which fill the foreground. Al- 
though these stirring actions are themselves vague 
and misty of definition, there is hardly a freshman 
but believes implicitly that he has been liberated 
upon a tumult of excitement and is exultant and 
palpitating at the prospect. Whatever the drama, 
these classmates, now unknown to him, are to be 
his fellow actors; and so he peers at them and 
fixes their lineaments in his memory and learns 
their names and wonders with which his lot will 
be most intimately cast. 

While waiting confidently for the vortex of " col- 
lege life ^' to open up and suck him in, the freshman 
busies himself with furnishing his rooms — unless 
his mother has already attended to this for him. 
He aflixes a couple of Harvard flags to the wall, 
distributes sofa pillows bearing class numerals 
or the letter H upon his window-seat, and arranges 
pipes and tobacco jar upon his table. His furniture 
is likely to be of the Mission style, and — as he 
finds out before long — less comfortable than it 
looks. His library is notably meagre, but in the 

228 



FRESHMAN AND SENIOR 

course of the year begins to manifest itself in ex- 
pensively bound initial volumes of classic authors, 
contracted for upon the instalment plan — an in- 
discretion which for the next two years the purchaser 
never ceases to deplore. 

Having made his room as typical a college room 
as he can and being pleased with the result, the 
freshman desires to display it to a classmate. It 
is probable that he does not come to college quite 
unfriended and alone; if he does not, he is very 
soon dispensing hospitality, passing cigarettes and 
pipe tobacco round a circle of fellows whom he 
is already enthusiastically pronouncing " perfectly 
bully.** If he happens to come to college without 
knowing any one, he probably, within a day or so, 
will have struck up an acquaintance with some youth 
who has seemed as lonely as himself and whose face 
appeals to him as attractive. With one or two friends 
of the right sort to exchange confidences with, the 
freshman is prepared for his career in the college 
world. 

The question is, of course, what are the right sort. 
Generally speaking, they ought to be those who are 
of one's own sort. Yet this classification is some- 
what unsatisfactory and inadequate. It might be 
an excellent thing for the young man with the auto- 

229 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

mobile to choose for one of his intimate friends the 
youth who has to work his way through college; it 
might conceivably be an excellent thing for the 
indigent youth also. The unfortunate fact is, 
however, that in the early stages of a college career 
friendships are determined, more or less of necessity, 
by a man's possessions and disbursements. The 
freshman who can command luxury and expensive 
amusements requires companionship to enjoy them. 
Many wealthy parents send their boys to college 
with what they regard as a moderate allowance and 
with an earnest wish that their sons lead a simple 
and democratic life. Yet at the same time they 
wish their boys to be well dressed, well housed, well 
fed, to have all the comforts of home and not to be 
placed in a position of social inferiority. The com- 
forts and the amusements which the freshman of 
easy circumstances requires are various and costly; 
his surroundings remove him for a time from the 
possibility of intimate contact with the boy of scanty 
resources. In the beginning of college life, friend- 
ships are formed in the pursuit of amusement rather 
than in the pursuit of work. The theatre, the club 
table, the expensive suite of rooms, frequent auto- 
mobiles and taxicabs, occasional little dinners with 
wine — indulgence in these luxuries certainly assists 

230 



FRESHMAN AND SENIOR 

the freshman to acquire acquaintances and to en- 
large the circle of his friends, yet at the same time 
It limits him to the companionship of the luxurious. 

Having acquired a satisfactory number of con- 
genial friends and acquaintances, having established 
a reputation for liberality with the head waiters at 
one or two Boston hotels, having occupied a box with 
a few choice spirits at a musical show, and having 
sat up till an early morning hour at a poker game — 
having in general demonstrated that he is a free 
man, under no galling supervision, the freshman, if 
he is of the right sort, experiences a sense of dis- 
satisfaction and discontent. These activities have 
all been new and exciting in their way, but they have 
not particularly identified him with college life or 
with the interests of his class. If the freshman is 
of the right sort, he soon wants to count for some- 
thing and to be of some use in the class and the 
college. The desire to be of service is probably less 
moving than the desire to make a name for himself; 
but the two work hand in hand to spur him on to 
some kind of extra effort. 

Athletics, of course, offer the great opportunity. 
If a boy has any skill or strength, he wants to make 
it tell. With the opening of the college year, there 
is set in motion a busy and inviting panorama of 

231 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

games and sports. A tennis tournament is soon 
under way; the fall track games are scheduled 
and candidates are summoned to practice; in a week 
or two the football players are arming themselves 
with their head-pieces and nose-guards. Any one 
may be a candidate for anything — and if a fresh- 
man is soon " fired from the squad," he can at least 
take his place on the side-lines with the consciousness 
of having made a manful attempt, of having tasted 
more fully the spirit of college life, of having felt 
more convincingly than before the strength and 
heartiness of his classmates. To be stood rudely on 
his head by Hiram Higgs, the strapping farmer lad 
from Oxbow Corners, may be a profitable experience 
for Reginald Richmond of Groton and Fifth Avenue; 
and if, in the next play, Reginald tramples upon the 
pride of Oxbow Corners, Hiram also may be bene- 
fited. One of the virtues of freshmen athletics 
is that in the enthusiastic desire of all who are 
physically fit to get into the game, a good deal 
of social prejudice is rubbed off and a new basis 
of judgment is formed. 

Of course there is not much likelihood of a per- 
manent friendship resulting from an accidental 
brush on the football field; if a boy's prowess is 
not sufficient to carry him through more than two 

232 



FRESHMAN AND SENIOR 

or three scrimmages, he is likely to leave the field 
richer only in sentiment. The fellows who make the 
team are the ones who are most likely to develop 
lasting ties of affection from their athletic experi- 
ences. For them the problems of the freshman 
year — a part of it, at any rate — and of college 
life are simplified, and the temptations minimized. 
" To break training " before the season is over is 
so heinous an offence in the college world that it 
practically does not occur; the force of public 
opinion will keep straight the athlete of the most 
devious propensities. His standing in his classes 
is also looked after with great care by the coach or 
by some other authority; the possibility of the 
faculty's laying a ban on him at the last moment 
on account of neglect of studies is one that is kept 
diligently before his mind. Consequently all in- 
fluences contribute to give him a good start, to 
fix in him habits of industry, and to develop in him 
the sense of responsibility which in most of his class- 
mates is of slower growth. 

The freshman who is not under athletic discipline 
and whose financial circumstances are easy is likely 
to enjoy about one month of exhilarating liberty, 
hilarity, and frivolity. He finds that he is under 
no such restrictions as existed in the school at which 

233 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

he prepared for college. He cuts a recitation, and 
nothing is said about it. He stays up — and out — 
half the night, and nobody seems to care. He smokes 
publicly as well as privately, and no one is scandal- 
ized. In some of his courses he does not have to 
prepare a daily lesson, because there are lectures 
instead of recitations. He goes to class with a note- 
book in which he jots down as much of the lecturer's 
remarks as he deems important. These notes, 
read afterwards, have a curious meaninglessness, 
a disconnected and unhinged quality which gives 
him a rather low opinion of the lecturer's intelligence. 
A man who is so vague in his utterances can cer- 
tainly not come into any very practical relation with 
one's life; probably he will never show that he is 
aware of one's existence. It is a comfortable feeling. 
There is absolutely nothing to interfere with the 
delightful occupation of making and seeing friends 
— which includes seeing " shows," playing pool 
and billiards, having late suppers and coming home 
in early morning taxicabs. It is a beautiful world, 
in which there are no penalties. There are no study 
hours to be observed, there is no being kept in after 
school to atone for failures. 

Then one morning the lecturer in European His- 
tory, who has been setting forth in a tiresome fashion 

234 




FRESHMAN AND SENIOR 

the geographical alterations occasioned by the per-» 
formances of Charlemagne, concludes by remarking: 
" Gentlemen," — and not yet has the freshman quite 
adjusted himself to the pleasurable shock of being 
addressed collectively as " Gentlemen " instead of 
" Boys " — " Gentlemen, there will be an hour 
examination in this subject one week from to-day." 

The freshman who has been having a glorious 
and untrammeled time is frightened. When he 
gets to his room and begins to look over his notes and 
finds how little they convey to his mind, he feels 
desperate. However, there are references to reading 
which may prove illuminating. He visits the li- 
brary, and finds that other desperate freshmen have 
forestalled him. Every book which has been pre- 
scribed is now in some one's hands. Most of them 
are volumes in expensive sets, and the freshman 
who is ready to spend money quite freely on dinners 
and taxicabs usually balks at a heavy outlay for 
books of a scholastic nature which are not ornamental 
in their bindings. He learns that there is another 
resource open to him, and his heart soars again. 

There is an experienced tutor who for years and 
years has made a practice of extricating freshmen 
from just such difiiculties. He supplies the applicant 
with a volume of very full typewritten or printed 

235 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

notes transcribed from the instructor's lectures* 
" Learn this date " is an adjuration found frequently 
upon the pages; and " Be sure to bear in mind this 
fact." But the freshman is given to understand that 
the printed notes alone are too precarious a guide; 
relying on them and nothing else he can hardly hope 
to pass. The day before the examinations the tutor 
gives a " seminar," which lasts from two to three 
hours. On the walls of his room are blackboards on 
which he has drawn various maps. He stands before 
his class of students, who are now literally thirsting 
for information, and lectures to them, slowly, clearly, 
repeating and emphasizing certain points. " This 
question has been, in one form or another, on seven 
out of the last ten hour examinations," he will say. 
" Better be prepared to answer it. Alaric and the 
Goths — always in some form you will be required 
to deal with Alaric and the Goths. Here are a few 
simple facts about them." And so on. The fresh- 
man comes forth from his three-hour session ex- 
hausted, but with a number of subjects on which he 
feels able to write a concise and definite paragraph. 
So deftly has the tutor selected these subjects that 
the next morning the freshman is gratified to see 
that four out of the six questions have been pro- 
vided for. 

236 



FRESHMAN AND SENIOR 

He passes the examination — not with distinction 
but by a safe margin. Similar frantic exertions 
secure for him what he is fond of terming a " gen- 
tleman's mark " in the other hour examinations, 
which are now in quick succession launched at him. 
But when the returns are all in, he finds that two 
or three of those whom he had come to regard as 
" perfectly bully " fellows are no more. For a day 
or two he bitterly denounces the instructors at 
whose hands they met their fate; then his sports 
and his friends and, to an increased though still 
limited degree, his studies — for he has profited 
a little by his experience — absorb his attention. 

To the boy whose family are making sacrifices 
to put him through college and who is partly de- 
pendent on himself for the funds required, the fresh- 
man year is a period, not of care-free sociability and 
indolence, but of anxiety and lonely uncertainty. 
Whether he is really worth a college education or 
not is a vital question to him. He enters into com- 
petition with other boys who are as determined as 
he to justify the endeavor and the sacrifice. The 
prizes that the college offers in the way of scholar- 
ships are always less in number than the com- 
petitors; the possibilities of earning money in his 
leisure hours dp not make themselves known very 

237 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

readily to the freshman, and the necessity of striving 
hard for a scholarship provides him with few leisure 
hours. Yet his pride in his class is as strong as 
that of one who is more free to indulge in the pur- 
suits that promote such sentiment; and when the 
class football games are played, the " grinds " are 
as numerous and vociferous on the side-lines as 
those who have habitually been spending their after- 
noons in the somewhat languid occupation of en- 
couraging the team. On the afternoon of the game 
with the sophomores, nobody stays away. The 
enthusiasm and the partisanship are as violent as 
when the varsity eleven contends with the foreign 
and hereditary foe. The captain or the manager 
of the team appoints certain individuals to lead the 
cheering; with backs to the game and zeal in their 
eyes and exhortation in their waving arms, they 
busy themselves deliriously. Theirs is a proud posi- 
tion; many a freshman in the obedient cheering 
mass wishes that he were equally distinguished. 
When the game is over and the sophomores have 
been defeated, there is a rush for the victorious 
captain; he is transported from the field upon the 
shoulders of a few fortunate ones, while all round him 
presses the acclaiming multitude. At the steps of 
the athletic house he and his worthy fellow athletes 

238 



FRESHMAN AND SENIOR 

are detained, and one after another is elevated to 
the public view to blush and be cheered. Lucky- 
freshman! Has he ever tasted, will he ever taste 
again a sweeter triumph? 

Excitement is not yet ready to be quenched; the 
celebration must be prolonged. The ordinary food 
and drink of freshmen are not for such an occasion 
as this; it calls for a more festive board than that 
of Memorial Hall. In congenial parties they dine 
that evening at hotels and afterwards attend a 
musical " show " — for which seats have been re- 
served in anticipation of victory and also by way 
of consolation for possible defeat. The theatre is 
theirs — sometimes. It depends on the manage- 
ment, the actors, and most of all, on the freshmen 
themselves. If they behave with a certain amount 
of decorum, show merely a somewhat excessive 
enthusiasm, and are not too importunate in their 
demands for encores, they will probably be gratified 
by the appearance of the leading lady waving the 
colors of their class and smiling upon them be- 
witchingly. What a class it is that this lovely 
being honors it thus! After the show, a little 
supper possibly, a Welsh rabbit and a bottle of 
beer; and then the freshman, never before so re- 
plete and complete, takes taxicab or trolley-car 

2S9 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

back to his academic home and tumbles drowsily to 
bed, his last thought being: " What a bully day! " 
There has been a good deal heard, there always 
is a good deal heard, of the dissipated life of fresh- 
men. If a boy's home training has been of a sort 
to make it easy for him to drift into dissipation, and 
if he has inherited tendencies of that nature, he 
will probably be as dissipated at college as he would 
be elsewhere — not more so. The freshman — and 
in this he resembles his elders — would like to be 
a " good fellow " and to be known as such; but the 
standards required in the attainment of this am- 
bition do not call for the inordinate consumption 
of rum and cigarettes or for the pursuit and enter- 
tainment of chorus girls. There is probably more 
harmless and innocent conviviality in any under- 
graduate gathering than is to be found elsewhere 
outside the walls of a well conducted Old Ladies' 
Home. For a time, freshmen are exhilarated by the 
unaccustomed sensation of liberty, and their age 
and spirits tend to make them experimental; on 
the other hand, the standards which are maintained 
by the influence of home training and association, 
of college advisers, and of undergraduate opinion, 
are such as not to warrant the widespread belief 
in the perils of a college career. 

240 



FRESHMAN AND SENIOR 

And as the year goes on, the freshman acquires a 
deeper interest in matters that are of importance. 
He begins perhaps to feel that he has not so far made 
the most of his opportunities, that he has given too 
much energy to seeking the pleasures of life, and that 
he has somewhat disappointed the expectations of 
those whom he would like to have always regard 
him with pride as well as with affection. He feels 
perhaps that he ought to be preparing himself a 
little more earnestly for that still distant future 
when he shall be turned out into the world to earn 
his own living and make his own way. Intercourse 
with his friends and with his teachers has supplied 
him with more urgent ambitions and ideals. He 
dislikes examinations as much as ever, but he accepts 
the necessity of studying for them and of not depend-- 
ing on a tutor at the last moment. He finds that 
what is winning the deepest respect among his class- 
mates is character — yes, even more than good- 
fellowship. He learns by observation and experi- 
ence; and by the time the end of the year approaches, 
his smile is just as cheerful, but his backbone is less 
pliant than when he entered college. 

Of course it is not often that the boy matures into 
the man in his freshman year. In no respect prob- 
ably does he show his immaturity more than in his 

241 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

desire to be known and esteemed by prominent per- 
sons of his own or of other classes. He is pleased 
if they think well enough of him to call him by his 
first name. Sometimes it goes to his head if he be- 
lieves that they are considering him as a possible 
candidate for one of their clubs. It is not strange 
that with a knowledge of such institutions and an 
acquaintance with their members, the freshman 
spends some time wondering if he is in line of elec- 
tion. The assiduous cultivation of the popular and 
socially successful is an odious trait; the freshman 
who is guilty of it may advance himself temporarily, 
but an undesirable reputation will cling to him 
throughout the rest of his college career. Some 
clubs have a reprehensible practise of pursuing and 
endeavoring to pledge freshmen who are prominent 
and promising, even though election cannot take 
place until the sophomore year. Not many fresh- 
men are toadies, but the great majority of them 
are not indifferent to the charn^s of social prestige 
and success. And in certain circles the discussion 
why A made such and such a club is apt to be more 
interesting and pithy than the comments on B's 
making such and such a team. Discussion of this 
sort is one of the least wholesome of undergraduate 
occupations. 

242 



FRESHMAN AND SENIOR 

Fortunate is the boy who by the end of his fresh- 
man year has begun to find himself — who has ac- 
quired a sound interest in some subject and has 
provided himself with a definite aim. Most men are 
likely to look back on their freshman year with 
regret, as a year of waste, a year barren of results; 
but often it has been the year in which some happy 
influence has enabled them to feel and follow their 
own best qualifications and powers, and so to dedi- 
cate themselves to a life of usefulness. 

Let us glance at one of our freshmen four years 
later, when he is leaving Harvard. He has nnished 
his last examination, and he has a few days with 
nothing to do except loaf and make half-hearted 
preparations for departure. He feels wistful and 
eager, — clinging to the passing minute, yet rest- 
less while it passes. He looks with particular wist- 
fulness at those friends of his who are returning to 
the Law School, or whose occupation will keep them 
in Boston; he is going out to Seattle, where his father, 
who has been profitably developing real estate, 
proposes to enlist his son's abilities towards the 
further improvement and building up of that me- 
tropolis. And because his destination is so romanti- 
cally distant and his destiny so bright, the Easterners 
whose lot excites his wistfulness look on him with 

243 



* 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

envious eyes. He feels that they will go on indefi- 
nitely enjoying the sweets of college life, — seeing 
their friends, dining with one another, going to Yale 
games, — but he — he may get back to it all, if 
he's lucky, for a few days about once every five 
years. And they think that he is the fellow who is 
going to have adventures. 

He has not distinguished himself in college, 
either in athletics or in scholarship; he has been one 
of the " average " men. Every year he has tried 
for his class eleven in the autumn and for his class 
nine in the spring — never with success. He has 
spent a fair amount of time on his books and so has 
escaped difficulties with the " office," but his marks 
have not been high. He has some very warm friends 
and a number of pleasant acquaintances, for he has 
always been a cheerful, honest, laughing soul. It 
annoys him in these days, when he is with some of 
his Boston classmates and hears them talking about 
their plans, to feel that there is a choke in his throat. 

The last Sunday comes, and in the afternoon, in 
his cap and gown, he takes his place in the procession 
that files into Appleton Chapel to hear the Bacca- 
laureate Sermon. He has been in Appleton Chapel 
only five times before; once to morning prayers, 
to see what they were like, once to the funeral of an 

244 



/ 



FRESHMAN AND SENIOR 

old professor under whom he had sat and whose 
death had moved him strangely, once on a Sunday 
evening to hear a celebrated preacher, and on two 
occasions to morning prayers because of a vague 
feeling that the atmosphere might do him good. On 
this Sunday afternoon the clergyman preaches from 
the text — " Go not forth hastily to strive, lest 
thou know not what to do in the end thereof; '' 
the senior means to listen attentively, but his 
thoughts wander with his eyes from face to face. 
And when he is outside the walls of the chapel, it 
comes over him with rather a pang that he has got 
nothing whatever from his one and only Bacca- 
laureate Sermon. 
♦ 

Tuesday is Class Day. After breakfast he goes 
in to Boston to the Copley-Plaza, where his father 
and mother and sister are stopping. He thanks 
heaven that his sister is really not bad-looking. He 
takes the family out to Cambridge in a taxicab, 
shows them round the Yard, and has two or three 
fellows at his rooms to meet them. Then he sends 
the family over to Sanders Theatre, and putting 
on cap and gown, he falls into line behind the band. 
At Sanders Theatre the seniors occupy the orchestra 
and first balcony; the upper balcony is filled with 
their friends and relatives; innumerable are the 

245 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

ladies. Jones, the orator, proves equal to the oc- 
casion; his speech wins great applause; yes, the 
good old class did itself proud in choosing Jones 
to represent it. And no wonder that Jones is going 
to study law. Now for Robinson, a literary type of 
grind, who has been moistening his lips in a haras;sed . 
manner during Jones's peroration. Our senior .. 
fears that Robinson may break down, is immensely 
relieved when he doesn't, and claps long and lustily 
when he has finished. Smith's ode is effectively 
sung to the air of " Fair Harvard " — to which the 
ode is always written. 

Then the senior rejoins his family and pilots 
them to one of the big mid-day spreads; they stand 
up in a great jam and eat lobster Newburg and cold 
salmon, strawberries and ice-cream; he introduces 
as many fellows as he can to his sister, so that she , 
may not hang heavy on his hands at Beck during 
the dancing in the evening. His family go back to 
the Copley-Plaza — his mother is tired and wants to 
rest, and his sister wants to put on another dress for 
the evening — and he drops in at his club, where there 
is a thirsty gathering, a large bowl of punch, and 
some one playing the piano. Presently he goes to 
join his class, assembling in the Yard; they march 
down to Soldier's Field at the end of the long line of 

246 



FRESHMAN AND SENIOR 

alumni, who form according to classes; the specta- 
tors are all assembled in the bowl of the Stadium; the 
seniors in their black gowns and mortarboards group 
themselves in the center of the great semicircle and 
seat themselves on the grass; the marshal calls 
Brown, the Ivy Orator, to the platform. Brown's 
first sentence brings a quick response of laughter; ap- 
plause ripples up over the Stadium seats and sweeps 
across the crowd. From that moment it is all easy 
for Brown; he delivers his inconsequent humorous 
remarks to an audience which, as one of the news- 
papers the next day will observe, " punctuates them 
with salvos of merriment." Brown's success is 
particularly pleasing to our senior, who belongs to the 
same club and regards him as the cleverest man in 
college. But his greatest admiration is not for Brown, 
but for the first marshal, who, after the Ivy Orator 
has concluded, calls for the cheers — for the presi- 
dent, for certain professors, for the class; the first 
marshal is a fellow who has greater qualities than 
wit, humor, cleverness; he is the man of character 
and personality, the object of more hero-worship 
than anybody else in the class. " How I wish that 
I had his future! " thinks our senior — and perhaps 
a dozen others have the same thought, submissive 
to that flaming leadership. Yet they none of them 

247 




THE STORY OF HARVARD 

know what that future is to be. Youth is humble 
before its heroes. 

An old graduate springs up and leads the loudest 
and wildest of all the cheers, and then suddenly 
the air is filled with flying streamers, bright-colored, 
shining in the sunlight, weaving back and forth be- 
tween the throng on the ground and the throng in 
the seats above. Confetti unroll their gleaming 
ribbons in graceful arcs, bombs stuffed with bright 
tissue paper scraps burst on ladies' hats or shower 
their contents from aloft, there is screaming and 
laughter and a frenzied, harmless battle. During 
it the seniors march out, passing close under the 
tiers of seats and exchanging missiles with the nearest 
spectators. 

Our senior secures his family and escorts them to 
the Beck spread; there tables are placed on the 
lawn; people seat themselves and eat more lobster 
Newburg and cold salmon, strawberries and ice- 
cream; Chinese lanterns are strung above; a 
band plays in the pavilion, and a great crowd tries 
to dance on a very rough floor. The sister changes 
partners with gratifying frequency, but at last gets 
into the doldrums, or so her brother anxiously 
fancies; he rescues her and they stroll over to the 
Yard. There they find another illumination from 

248 



FRESHMAN AND SENIOR 

Chinese lanterns, only more extensive, with great 
numbers of people sitting and standing and walking 
about, while in front of University a band plays and 
an electric fountain leaps and splashes. The Glee 
Club sings on the steps of Sever. Late in the evening 
the tired family return to Boston, but our senior, 
who is proud of his reputation as a night-owl, repairs 
again to his club; the punch-bowl has been refilled 
and some good fellows are sitting round it agreeing 
that Class Day is a great day for the girls but a 
devil of a bore for a man. 

The next morning our senior is busy dismantling 
his room, packing away his things. In the afternoon 
he marches with his class again to Soldier's Field, 
this time to the Harvard-Yale baseball game, which 
he views from the " cheering section." 

There is a big dinner at the club that night where 
old graduates shake him by the hand and wish 
him well, and he and his friends drink to one another's 
success. And afterwards he visits different fellows 
in their rooms, sits on their window-seats in the cool 
night air, and shares their silences. Some of them 
give him their photographs, and ask him for his, 
and that touches and pleases him. It is late when 
he gets back to his own room; the bared walls and 
the swathed furniture and the half-filled trunks 

249 



THE STORY OF HARVARD 

enforce upon him the imminence of his departure. 
Poignantly he realizes that this is the last night he 
will ever pass in these rooms, that an important 
chapter in his life is closed. And he looks back and 
thinks how little he has made of his splendid oppor- 
tunity, and wishes with a sincere and humble heart 
that he might have those four years over again. 

He wakes to the morning of Commencement. 
On his way through the yard to join the academic 
procession, he walks slowly, trying to fix the appear- 
ance of everything in mind, the gray squirrel frisk- 
ing on the trampled grass, the sadly lopped elms, 
the young saplings which may have grown beyond 
his recognition when he next revisits Cambridge. 
Fellows are trying to be gay and cheerful, but every- 
where there is an undertone of melancholy. 

The black-gowned procession starts for Sanders 
Theatre. Two hours later the senior comes forth, 
a senior no longer, a graduate, a Bachelor of Arts, 
carrying his roll of parchment tied with crimson 
ribbon. He has heard the Latin Valedictory and 
the Commencement oratory, he has witnessed the 
conferring of the honorary degrees, and he has joined 
in the applause for each distinguished guest who 
has risen and stood during the president's measured 
words of tribute. The young Bachelor of Arts, start- 

250 



FRESHMAN AND SENIOR 

ing out to make for himself a career of service and 
achievement, knows that he will never receive such 
a distinction at his Alma Mater's hands, but hopes 
with a sober heart that his future may be at least 
more worthy of her than his past. 



THE END, 






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INDEX 



A. D. Club, 216, 218 
Abbott, Edward Gardner, 189 
Abbott, Henry Livermore, 189 
Adams, John Quincy, 105 
Adams, Sajnuel, 76, 79 
Advocate, The Harvard, 211 
Agassiz, Alexander, 219 
Allen, Thomas, 11 
AUston, Washington, 100, loi 
Andrew, John A., 164, 191 
Andros, Edward, 36 
Angier, Charles, 99 
Ap thorp House, 87 

Barber, Jonathan, 134, 135 
Barnard, Tobias, 23 
Bartlett, William Francis, 196 
Bellingham, Samuel, 23 
Bernard, Francis, 77, 79 
Bowditch, Nathaniel, 122 
Bowdoin, James, 96 
Boylston Hall, i 
Brewster, Nathaniel, 23 
Briscoe, Nathaniel, 17, 18 
Brown, Charles Brooks, 184-187 
Bulkley, John, 23, 28 
Burgoyne, John, 85, 86, 87 



Channing, William Ellery, 

loi, 102, 103, 104 
Chauncy, Charles, 10, 29-33 



100, 



Child, Francis James, 200 
Choate, Joseph H., 153 
Class Day, 143, 226, 245 
Coiman, Benjamin, 50, 51, 54 
Commemoration Day, 195 
Commencement, 27, 47, 48, 55, 60, 

77, 78, 87, 103, 141, 142, 250 
Commons, 68, 69, 70, 75, 76, 118, 

119, 138, 139, 203 
Creighton, Mandell, 207 
Crimson, The Harvard, 211, 212 
Crowninshield, Caspar, 151 

Dal ton, Edward Barry, 226 

Dane Hall, 128 

" Dickey," The, 214, 215 

Divinity Hall, no, 148 

Downing, George, 23, 24, 25, 28 

Dudley, Joseph, 36, 47 

Dudley, Paul, 47 

Dudl?y, Thomas, 14 

Dunbar, Charles Franklin, 200 

Dunster, Henry, 10, 19-22, 29, 30 

Dwight, Wilder, 169-173 

Eaton, Nathaniel, 17-19 

Eliot, Andrew, 80 

Eliot, Charles William, 197, 199, 

200, 201, 202, 209, 219 
Elletson, John, 10 
Emerson, R. W., X15, 226 



253 



INDEX 



Everett, Edward, no, 127, 146, 
153-156, 159, 164, 210 

Felton, Cornelius C, 159, 164 

Gilman, Samuel, 145, 210 
Goodwin, William Watson, 200 
Gore, Christopher, 4 
Gore Hall, 4 
Grays Hall, i, 16 
Greenwood, Isaac, 58, 59 

Hancock, John, 79, 81, 89-94, 98 
Harvard, John, 10, 15, 16, 65, 204, 

207 
Harvard, Robert, 10 
Harvard Crimson, The, 211, 212 
Harvard Hall, First, 32, 62-65 
Harvard Hall, Second, 66, 83, 145 
Harvard Magazine, The, 210 
Harvard Union, The, 217 
Harvard Washington Corps, 109, 

204 
Harvardiana, 210 
Hasty Pudding Club, 102, 213, 

215 
Higginson, Henry L., 182, 217 

Hill, Adams Sherman, 200 
Hill, Thomas, 159, 161 
Hoar, Leonard, 33-35 
Holdcn Chap)el, 62, 78, 98 
Hollis, Thomas, 49-53 » 59, 65, 80 
Hollis Hall, 2, 62, 66, 67, 99, no, 

122 
Holmes, John, 99, 1 23 
Holmes, Oliver Wendell, 127, 210 
Holmes Field, 6, 7, 205 
Holworthy, Sir Matthew, 106 



Hoi worthy Hall, 2, 6, 105, 106, 

109, 133, 164, 216 
Holyoke, Edward, 58, 62, 71, 77, 

94 
Hubbard, William, 23 

Hughes, Thomas, 194 

Hutchinson, Thomas, 79, 81 

Indian College, The, 31 

Jackson, Andrew, 131 
James, William, 200 
Jarvis Field, 7 

Kirkland, John Thornton, 107- 

iio, 116, 125, 127, 128 
Kossuth, Louis, 158 

Lafayette, Marquis de, 127 
Lampoon, The Harx'ard, 211, 212 
Lane, George Martin, 200 
Langdon, Samuel, 82, 87-90 
Law School, no, 200, 201 
Leverett, John, 45-40, 51, 94 
Lincoln, Abraham, 164, 184 
Locke, Samuel, 78, 82 
Lowell, A. Lawrence, 4, 161, 202 
Lowell, Charles Russell, 173-184, 

226 
Ix)well, James Jackson, 177, 226 
Lowell, James Russell, 107-109, 

132, 135, 143, 159, 163, 164, 205, 

207, 210 
Lowell, John, 96 
Lyceum, The, 210 

Magenta, The, 211 
Marti-Mercurian Band, The, 78, 
109 



254 



INDEX 



Massachusetts Hall, 46, 62, 64, 

66, 94, 95» iio» 145 
Mather, Cotton, 11, 20, 35, 38, 

40-45, 53, 54 
Mather, Increase, 36, 38-44 

Mather, Samuel, 28 

Med. Fac. Society, 122, 123 

Medical School, 200 

Memorial Hall, 203, 207, 239 

Mitchell, Jonathan, 28 

Monthly, The Harvard, 211 

Motley, John Lothrop, 121, 164 

Newell Boat Club, 221 
Norton, Charies Eliot, 200, 207 

Oakcs, Urian, 35 

Otis, Harrison Gray, 122 

Otis, James, 79 

Pa*rkman, Francis, 147, 149, 164 
Peabody, Andrew P., 128, 131, 

^SSy 13'^, 154, 156 
Peabody, Everett, 166, 167, 168 
Peirce, Benjamin, 49, 68, 69 
Pepys, Samuel, 2^y 24 
Perkins, Stephen George, 190, 226 
Phi Beta Kappa, 98, 125, 155 
Phillips, Wendell, 163 
Phips, Sir William, 37 
Pierce, John, 142 
Popkin, John Snelling, 132-134 
Porcellian Club, 102, 215 
Prescott, William Hickling, 108, 

"3, "5 
Prince, Nathan, 59 

Quincy, Josiah, 116, 119, 1 28-131, 
142, 145, 147, i53» 206 



Rebellion, The Great, 129 

Register, The, 210 

Rogers, John, 35 

Russel, Cabot Jackson, 192, 195 

Saddler, Rupert, 172, 173 

Salisbury, Stephen, 117 

Saltonstall, Henry, 23 

Sanders Theatre, 203, 204, 245 

Sargeant, Thomas, 34 

Savage, James, 226 

Sever Hall, 3 

Sewall, Joseph, 53, 54 

Sewall, Samuel, 34 

Shaler, Nathaniel Southgate, 4, 

200 
Shaw, Robert Gould, 150, 178, 

189-194, 226 
Soldier's Field, 217, 246, 249 
Sparks, Jared, 157-159, 164 
Stadium, The, 224, 225, 247 
Stiles, Ezra, 11 
Storer, Ebenezer, 92, 93, 96 
Story, Joseph, 74, 100-102 
Stoughton Hall, First, 43, 46, 64, 

66 
Stoughton Hall, Second, 67, 105, 

no 
Stoughton, William, 38, 42, 43 
Sumner, Charles, 125, 164 

Thayer, F. W., 223 

Ticknor, George, 112, 113, 144 

University Hall, no, 141, 145 

Varsity Club, 217, 218 
Vincent, Strong, 187-189 



255 



INDEX 



Wadsworth, Benjamin, 54, 55, 58, 

94 
Wadsworth House, 55 
Ward, James, 29 
Ware, Henry, 107 
Washington, George, Ss, 84, 99, 

154, 15s 
Webber, Samuel, 105, 107 

Webster, Daniel, 146 

W^eld, Joseph, 29 

Weld Boat Club, 221 



Whitefield, George, 57 
Whitney, George, 126, 127 
Willard, Joseph, 95, 104, 105 
Willard, Samuel, 44 
Willard, Sidney, 104 
Wilson, John, 18, 23 
Winthrop, John, 14, 20, 29 
Woodbridge, Benjamin, 22 

Yale College, 11, 45, 158, 218-224 
Yearwood, Richard, 11 



INDEX 



Wadsworth, Benjamin, 54, 55, 58, 

94 
Wadsworth House, 55 
Ward, James, 29 
Ware, Henry, 107 
Washington, George, 83, 84, 99, 

154, iSS 
Webber, Samuel, 105, 107 
Webster, Daniel, 146 
Weld, Joseph, 29 
Weld Boat Club, 221 



Whitefield, George, 57 
Whitney, George, 126, 127 
Willard, Joseph, 95, 104, 105 
Willard, Samuel, 44 
Willard, Sidney, 104 
Wilson, John, i8, 23 
Winthrop, John, 14, 20, 29 
Woodbridge, Benjamin, 22 

Yale College, 11, 45, 158, 218-224 
Yearwood, Richard, 11 



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