George Birkbeck Norman Hill.

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Better days were drawing near. Harvard had warm friends
on both sides of the Atlantic, and on both sides wealth was
rapidly increasing. From the old home gifts and bequests
came to the College, which, likely enough, would have gone
to Oxford or Cambridge had either university been opened to
the Nonconformists. The miserable test of the Thirty-nine
Articles deprived our ancient seats of learning of good men
and good money. "Among the English Dissenters, Harvard
College had at all times been the object of munificent patro-
nage." "The constant stream of gifts which flowed from Eng-
land " did not cease even with the War of the Revolution.^

1 Early College Buildings, pp. 13, 20.

2 Scotland and Scotsmen in the Eighteenth Century, II. 307.

^ A. Carlyle's Autobiography, p. 64. * Early College Buildings, p. 1 2

^ Quincy's Harvard, II. 1 15; Higher Education, etc., p. 52.


In the names given to Holden Chapel and Holworthy and
HoUis Halls, are commemorated English benefactors who
never set foot on American soil. Sir Matthew Holworthy,
a London merchant, bequeathed to the College the largest
sum which it received in the seventeenth century. Of men
bearing the name of Hollis, there was "a constellation of
benefactors," to use the words of President Quincy. So long
ago as 1690, Robert Thorner, the uncle of the first of the seven
who form this constellation, left property to the College. The
last, who died in 1804, bequeathed one hundred pounds to
be laid out in Greek and Latin classics. Four of these men
bore the Christian name of Thomas. The first Thomas
founded Professorships of Divinity and of IMathematics and
Natural Philosophy. "Scarcely a ship sailed from London
during the last ten years of his life without bearing some
evidence of his affection and liberality." On sending the
first of his numerous presents of books to the Library, he wrote :
"After forty years' diligent application to mercantile busi-
ness, my God, whom I serve, has mercifully succeeded my
endeavours, and with my increase inclined my heart to a
proportional distribution. I have credited the promise, 'He
that giveth to the poor lendeth to the Lord, ' and have found
it verified in this life." His grandson's donations, though
not nearly so large, scarcely fell short of two thousand pounds
sterling.^ He is Thomas Hollis, "the strenuous Whig," de-
scribed by Boswell, " who used to send over Europe presents
of democratical books, with their boards stamped with daggers
and caps of liberty." Many of these volumes came to Har-
vard " splendidly bound, and the covers stamped with a char-
acteristic emblem or device. Some are marked by a liberty

1 Quincy's Harvard, I. 183, 186, 232, 430; II. 147, 411.


cap, or an owl holding in its talons a pen, with the motto,
'By deeds of peace '; others by the effigy of Liberty, holding
in her right hand her cap, and in her left a spear." The
learned Mrs. Carter said "he was a bad man. He used to
talk uncharitably." To which Johnson replied: "Poh! poh!
madam; who is the worse for being talked of uncharitably?
Besides, he was a dull, poor creature as ever lived; and I
believe he would not have done harm to a man whom he knew
to be of very opposite principles to his own. I remember
once at the Society of Arts, when an advertisement was to be
drawn up, he pointed me out as the man who could do it best.
This, you will observe, was kindness to me. I, however,
slipt away, and escaped it." When Mrs. Carter went on to
say: "I doubt he was an Atheist," Johnson rejoined, "I don't
know that. He might, perhaps, have become one if he had
had time to ripen (smiling). He might have exuberated
into an Atheist." ^ Horace Walpole described him as a ''most
excellent man, a most immaculate Whig, but as simple a poor
soul as ever existed, except his editor." - Dr. Franklin wrote
much more highly of him. Speaking of what he had done,
he writes: "It is prodigious the quantity of good that may
be done by one man, if he will make a business of it.''' ^

Though, at its foundation. Harvard received a grant of
public money, nevertheless, to the Commonwealth, during the
two centuries and a half of its existence, it has owed but little.
It has slowly been raised up to its great height, first by the
generous zeal for learning in outsiders, and next by the love
and liberality of its own children. By the State it was far

^ Boswell, Life of yohnson, Clarendon Press edition, IV. 97.

2 Walpole's Letters, VII. 346.

' Franklin's Memoirs, ed. 1818, III. 135.


more encumbered by the unsoundness which afflicted the cur-
rency during the whole of the eighteenth century, than relieved
by the aids which were conferred. Twenty years before the
vast disturbance to public credit that was caused by the Revo-
lutionary War, so early as 1755, the treasurer of the Col-
lege, on valuing its property, "put down all the capital sums
at only one-fifth part of the nominal sums originally given,
in consequence of the funds having sunk by the depreciation
of the paper currency." ^ By the end of the war the deprecia-
tion had become far greater. Fifteen thousand six hundred
pounds, not in nominal but in real value, which before the
outbreak of hostilities had been invested in the public funds,
if sold out eleven years later, would have produced no more
than seven hundred and fifty-eight pounds.^ Silver and gold
had disappeared from common use; " in paper money, a quill
cost a dollar and a half, and a dinner over fifty dollars." * In
1780 the Professor of Divinity was paid in paper money, the
magnificent sum of nine thousand one hundred and ninety-two
pounds, for one year's salary. Let not our Regius Professor
of Divinity at Oxford mournfully reflect that in a petty col-
lege in a small colony, in the comparative poverty of last
century, a rebel's heterodoxy received as its reward nearly
five times as much as his own orthodoxy at the present day in
the wealthiest university in the world. In gold, silver, and
copper, the poor man would have been paid only eighty-seven
pounds ten shillings and eight-pence;* more than enough,
no doubt, for a Dissenter and a rebel, but scarcely enough for
the needs, however modest, of human life. Part of the heavy

^ Quincy's Harvard, II. 237. ^ lb. II. 250.

^ Higher Education^ by G. G. Bush, p. 67.
* Quincy's Harvard, II. 538.


loss which fell on Harvard was made up by severe economy,
and by the management of an honest and able treasurer.
Through the worst times the Corporation, mainly trusting
to his advice, "held with unshaken firmness the certificates
of public debt which they had been compelled to receive,
and vested in them with great judgment whatever sums were
brought into their treasury. On the funding of the National
Debt, the College derived the full benefit of their wisdom
and of their confidence in the ultimate returning of the
nation to a sense of justice."^

The Legislature of Massachusetts twice wronged the com-
munity at large by granting a lottery to Harvard. With the
aid of the money thus mischievously raised two new halls were
built. ^ For ten years, beginning with 1814, the College re-
ceived an annual contribution from the State of ten thousand
dollars (^2044), a large part of which, by the terms of the
vote, was spent in defraying the fees of poor students.^ Since
1824, no public aid of any kind has been granted. Happily,
the stream of private bounty soon began to flow more liberally
than ever. Even before 1780, about three times as much had
come to the College by gifts and bequests as had been contri-
buted by the State.* The whole of the State's contributions
has been frequently exceeded many fold by the gift of a
single citizen in a single year. "European universities,"
writes Professor Goodwin, "boast of the imperial and national
governments which support them, and support them with noble
liberality; but the bounty of emperors and princes, and even
of republics, is precarious, and may fail with political changes.
Harvard has a more than imperial treasury in the love and

^ Quincy's Harvard^ II. 254. 2 /^_ \\ 273, 292.

8 Lb. II. 331, 356. * Higher Education, etc., p. 66.


respect of her sons, and in the confidence of the community." *
Rarely has the stream of wise beneficence flowed with a wider
and more even flood. In 1840, the "productive estate, real
and personal," of the College was valued at six hundred and
forty-six thousand dollars (^132,104), "the result of private
munificence, or of the wise management of the Corporation." ^
In 1891-92 the income from the estate amounted to four hun-
dred and forty- three thousand dollars (^^90,591), more than
two-thirds of the value that the estate itself had borne half a
century earlier; while the gifts and bequests in that year were
no less than five hundred and sixteen thousand dollars
(^105,519). In the three years ending in 1884, the Uni-
versity received in bequests and gifts, one million and ninety-
six thousand dollars (^224,128). Seven years later we are
told that " the gifts to the University continue in an ever-
flowing stream, and amount to about five hundred thousand
dollars [^102,249] annually." In 1891-92 the gifts to the
University exceeded by sixty thousand dollars (;^i2,269) the
payments of its three thousand students.^ "The financial
year, 1892-93," reports the President to the Board of Over-
seers, " was satisfactory as regards the increase of the funds,
and balances by gifts and bequests, the total increase of the
year being five hundred and fifty-two thousand dollars
[;^i 12,881]."* Benefactors of Harvard, it seems, are not
likely to suffer from "a satiety of commendation." I know
of nothing equal to this "satisfactory," since the days of

^ The Present and Future of Harvard College, p. 41.

2 Quincy's Harvard, II. 402.

' Harvard University, by F. Bolles, pp. 98, loO; Annual Reports,
1883-S4, p. 45; Higher Education in Massachusetts, by G. G. Bush,
p. 224.

* Annual Reports, 1892-93, p. 47.


Harry Hotspur and his wife. '"Oh, my sweet Harry,' says
she, 'how many hast thou killed to-day?' 'Give my roan
horse a drench,' says he; and answers, 'some fourteen,' an
hour after; 'a trifle, a trifle.' " The extraordinary moderation
of the President's words only shows how splendid for many a
year must have been the benefactions. Among the contribu-
tions none is more touching than the bequest of an aged
negress, a widow. In the evil days of old, she and her hus-
band had escaped from slavery. He became the coloured
messenger of John Albion Andrew, that great Governor of
Massachusetts, who once said : " I know not what record of
sin awaits me in the other world, but this I know, — that I
was never mean enough to despise any man because he was
poor, because he was ignorant, or because he was black."
With the bequest, which is valued at more than four thousand
dollars (;,^8i7), a scholarship is to be founded for the benefit
of poor and deserving coloured students.-^ That they need
not fear humiliating treatment from their comrades was
strikingly shown by an incident which occurred during my
visit to Cambridge. A negro undergraduate, going to have
his hair cut, found that the hairdresser drew the line at a
white man just as in Nicholas Nickleby it had been drawn at
a baker. It so happened that the student was a great foot-
ball player. His brother-athletes took up his cause, and let
the hairdresser know that if he persisted in his intolerance,
he would lose the custom of the College. The man quickly
yielded. The Legislature of Massachusetts at once passed a
statute by which throughout the Commonwealth barbers were
henceforth required to be no respecters of persons, and to
shave without distinction of colour.

^ Harvard Graduates' Magazine, March, 1894, p. 442.


In England rich men found families; in America they
found universities, or they enlarge them. The family often
falls away to shame; the university remains forever a noble
and unsullied memorial. On its founder no stain is ever cast
by the misconduct of his descendants. It is only the noble-
man's title which, raising each succeeding generation above
the world, and making it conspicuous for disgrace, can cast
reproach backwards upon the fair fame of him who first held
it. How many great lawyers, how many great soldiers and
sailors, how many great traders and bankers, by the rank which
was given them as an honour, have become shamed through
the folly and misconduct of those who inherited it ! Had it
not been for the title, the very existence of these unworthy
descendants would be unknown; the chain which bound them
to their illustrious forefather would be unseen. Not every
foolish peer is " the tenth transmitter of some foolish face."
It is surprising how soon folly can appear among the descend-
ants of men of the most vigorous and the most subtle minds.
Happy it is for America that, free as her citizens are by the
very institutions of the country, from the almost overpowering
temptation to found a family, they are diverted into a widely
different path in the natural search after distinction ! There
are, indeed, among them, men so base that they turn their
back on their country where their wealth has been made and
is still accumulating, and, doing nothing for its good, lead a
luxurious life in Europe amidst all the refinements of an
ancient civilization. Others, unworthy of republican equality,
become hangers-on of the English aristocracy. "The wealth
of the New World," writes Dr. Wendell Holmes, "burrows
its way among the privileged classes of the Old World." ^

1 R. W. Emerson, by O. W. Holmes, 1885, p. 180.


"The gallantry and military spirit of the old English nobility "
is no longer content with "going into the city to look for a
fortune." It goes all the way to New York; unless, as some-
times happens, the fortune crosses the sea to look for it.
There are other Americans who, like the wretch Jay Gould,
heap up riches for riches' sake; who living give nothing and
dying leave nothing to any great and noble object. They
pass away without showing that for one single moment they
had been touched by a generous thought. "They die, and
make no sign."

It is, for the most part, by men who have been educated
at Harvard, or by those who wish to commemorate them, that
the gifts and bequests are made. Early last year, for instance,
a widow "executed an agreement with the President and Fel-
lows to build a Dormitory for the College at a cost of about
one hundred and fifty thousand dollars {jQz^>^12>)y to be
called Perkins Hail." It is raised as a memorial to three
graduates of her husband's family, the eldest of whom matri-
culated in 1717 and the youngest in 1819.^ In 1764, under
the will of Thomas Hancock, the Hancock Professorship of
Hebrew and other Oriental languages had been founded.
The endowment was but small. One hundred and twenty-
eight years later, a remote descendant of the founder aug-
mented it "by a residuary legacy which has thus far yielded
seventy-two thousand dollars {;Qi^,']22).'^ About the same
time the College received fifty thousand dollars (;^io,224)
under the will of George Bemis, towards the foundation of a
Chair of International Law.^ In the same year, from the
estate of another graduate, George Draper, there came a

^ Annual Reports, 1892-93, p. 45. 2 /^^ p ^o.

8 Reports, 1891-92, p. 26.


bequest of forty-seven thousand dollars (^9610),^ These
are but instances of the never-failing stream of benefactions
by which the love of Harvard men is shown for Harvard. It
may be the case, and no doubt sometimes is the case, that it
is mainly by the desire of distinction that the gift is prompted.
Happy is the country where it is by the University and not by
the Crown that the wealthy trader is honoured, and where the
title which is coveted and won is not that of Knight or Baro-
net, but of Founder !

So constant and so bountiful are the contributions which
Harvard receives, that on them she counts for most of the
enlargements which are needed by the rapidly increasing
number of her students, and by the fresh requirements of
science and learning. The fees, therefore, that are paid
for tuition are laid out in providing not accommodation, but
instruction. New subjects are included in each year's course,
and additional professorships are established. In the brief
space of a young man's life. Harvard "has been removed out
of the strait into a broad place where there is no straitness."

We of the ancient universities may well look with wonder,
and even with a certain touch of sadness, on these great
doings. Why does not the same stream of bounty flow on
Oxford and Cambridge? Why, when they make known their
needs, — and their needs often are great, — does not a gene-
rous benefactor at once arise. Balliol College, as a memorial
to its famous Master, is attempting, this very year, by public
subscription, to enlarge its foundation so that it may do even
greater things than it has already done. The sum which it
has received is not one-tenth part of what this American Uni-
versity receives almost every year; and yet less than half a
century ago the students at Harvard were not twice as nume-
^ Harvard Graduates'' Magazine, January, 1893, p. 252.


rous as those of Balliol at the present time. In Cambridge,
by the great fall in rents, the salary of the Downing Professor
of Medicine has dwindled to two hundred pounds a year.
The post lately became vacant by the resignation of the Pro-
fessor. "It will be somewhat difficult," wrote the Times,^
"to obtain a suitable successor owing to the fact that the pro-
fessorship is most insufficiently endowed." All the fame
that Cambridge has gained by her great School of Medicine
apparently does nothing for her. In the American Cam-
bridge, such an insufficiency in so important a professorship
could scarcely exist; it certainly would not last long. Ox-
ford "^ is wronged by the men who, even after all the reforms
which have been made, are overpaid for the work they do.
Much of the work done in the University is but ill-requited.
Many a College tutor measures out his labour not by what he
receives, but by a noble zeal for learning and for the welfare
of his pupils. Some of them, I think, would do more good
if they laboured less. The mischief from over-teaching is
not much less than the mischief from under-teaching. The
over-taught student, when his guide is from his side, gropes
helplessly along the road of learning. Be that as it may, the
work that is done in the University is generous in its total
amount when measured by its reward. Those who are over-
paid are few in number compared with the whole body, but
they are conspicuous by their position. To them must be
added the holders of prize fellowships, — men who for the
most part do nothing, and are expected to do nothing, either
for learning or even for teaching. In many departments
there is need of greater and of new endowments. These
will flow in but slowly, if they flow in at all, so long as it is

^ January 31, 1894.

* I say nothing of Cambridge, of which I know but Httle.

22 HARVARD COLLEGE. chap. i.

known in the country that large sums are still wasted, as wasted
they most certainly are. No one can reproach Harvard with
an ill use of her funds; no one, I believe, can point to
a single man who does not at least do a fair day's work for a
fair day's pay. "The College salaries," reported the Presi-
dent, ten years ago, "have remained stationary for fifteen
years, and all that while the College has been demanding of
its teachers more and more learning, labour, enthusiasm, and
personal influence."^ Harvard has no prize appointments to
give away. She is above all favouritism. She lends no ear
to the claims of religious orthodoxy or of party politics. She
seeks the ablest teacher she can find, and she pays him not
extravagantly, but not illiberally. Whenever a need for help
arises, she appeals with confidence to her children, because
she can show that she makes a wise use of all that is intrusted
to her. Great as are her endowments, greater still are her
needs, for she is ever advancing, ever taking in fresh branches
of knowledge, ever drawing to herself fresh students. In the
annual report made by the President to the Board of Over-
seers, the whole state of the University — its work, its receipts,
its expenses, its hopes, its fears, its requirements — is all
clearly set forth before the whole community. As they read
it and think of the lowly past, "they look backward with
exultation and thanksgiving and forward with confidence and
high resolve."^ It is this exultation and thanksgiving, this
confidence and high resolve, which form one of the chief
sources whence spring the great benefactions which are pour-
ing in upon the old College from her proud and grateful

1 Annual Reports, 1883-84, p. 45.

2 From the address of President Eliot at the Commemoration in 1S86.
Harvard University, 2^oth Anniversary, p. 263.


The Foundation of Harvard. — Cambridge in England and Cambridge
in New England. — "Fair Harvard." — Emmanuel College. — The
Washington Elm. — General Washington a Doctor of Laws. — The
University at Concord. — An Overbearing Treasurer. — Harvard and

THE pleasantness of Harvard I have already described.
It is a spot that a student can love. It is indeed
"Fair Harvard." Happily it has, moreover, that other great
quality without which a university seems maimed and imper-
fect, — a quality which no munificence can confer. It is
venerable. Measured by the age of the earliest foundations
of Oxford and Cambridge, it is almost in its youth. Never-
theless, when it was founded, Alilton was still " inglorious," and
Cromwell a quiet country gentleman. Two years before our
Queen was crowned at Westminster it kept its two hundredth
anniversary. In the speeches made on that great day it
proudly carried back its past to that far-distant time when its
parent, the great English university, was founded on the banks
of the Cam. It was by a small knot of Cambridge men, men
who may have known " young Lycidas," that the foundations of
the American Cambridge were laid in the midst of dangers and
hardships. John Harvard was a Master of Arts of Emmanuel
College. Story, who at the time of the celebration of the two
hundredth anniversary of the College in 1836, by his lectures on
law, was making Harvard known to the Old World, gave as



his toast at the banquet : " Our Ancient Mother, the Uni-
versity of Cambridge in Old England — Salve magna parens,
— Magna virum." " The very spot," he said, " where we
are assembled is consecrated by a thousand endearing associa-
tions of the past. The very name of Cambridge compels us
to cast our eyes across the Atlantic, and brings up a glowing
gratitude for our unspeakable obligations to the parent uni-
versity whose name we proudly bear, and have borne for two
centuries." ^

These Harvard men were not content with doing honour to
the English Cambridge. They were more than members of a
university ; they were citizens of a great Confederation of
States. They were New Englanders — New Englanders not
forgetful of the Old England from which they were sprung.
" Gratitude to the noble country of our fathers " was next
given as a toast by Dr. John Warren, the nephew of General
Warren, who fell at Bunker Hill. " Let us imagine ourselves,"
he said, " to have sprung from any other nation of Europe,
and how different, probably, would have been our condition.
To England we owe the vigorous freedom of thought which,
there taking its origin, was transplanted by our ancestors to a
virgin soil, and has grown with a luxuriance beyond example.
A common parentage, a common language, a community of
feeling, have given us all the privileges of English sentiment,
learning, and ingenuity. ... In our parent, England, we
have the happiness to see the great supporter and defender of
liberal institutions throughout the world. ... I do not
hesitate to say that there is a greatness in the conduct of
England during the convulsions of Europe [the Napoleonic
wars] which has no parallel in the story of admired Greece or

1 Quincy's Harvard, II. 675.


Rome. The efforts of these nations were inspirited by a love
of conquest, a love of power, a desire of revenge. England

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