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war. Now, all means of vicious pleasure already existing
at three miles' distance, as every great city provides them, no
motive exists for bringing them nearer. To bring them
nearer, would, under such competition, cost the purveyors
more than it would come to. This seems a very simple
speculation ; and it is justified, as every body knows, who
kndws Cambridge, by the fact.

But, it will be objected, " The argument is, that means of
vice being already near enough to be conveniently accessible,
all motive for bringing them nearer is withdrawn. If, then,
near enough already to be accessible, how is the naturally
resulting evil checked ? " We answer, it is checked mightily,
in two or three ways. If, on an expedition to one's harm,
instead of being absent from one's proper place long enough
to find some neighbouring lane, it be necessary to be gone
two or three hours, to travel an open, frequented road, and
cross a bridge, the danger of detection is indefinitely in-
creased, and with it the securities for good order, as far as
this may demand to be maintained by vigilance and coercion.
But, much further and better than this, students at Cam-
bridge, — unless their dulness hinder the perception, — see
themselves to be more or less under the oversight, and to be
companions of others who are most strictly under the
oversight, of a very enlightened, discerning, and moral
neighbouring community, of a consequence and power which
forbids them to be indifferent to its regard or censure. They
see themselves the sons, or associates of sons, of those, who
are near enough to turn a very watchful eye to the place of
their studies ; the objects of attention to men, whose esteem
is well worth having, and who yield it on no easier terms than
those of estimable conduct ; the neighbours of a band of
youth, who, in the coveted circles of society, take care to main*



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1834.] Harvard College. 109

tain, in their various walks, a high standard of character, and
mean that whoever is ambitious to be their companion, shall
respect that standard. They live in a good moral atmosphere.
They must breathe it, or they must go away to find another.

These are some of the features of the moral condition of
students at Cambridge ; and we bear them emphatic witness
that we see happy fruits of their position. We do not pursue
the train of thought. We have said enough to make our-
selves understood ; and we ask attention to it. We pro-
ceed to a like hint on the literary influences of the same
position ; and here again, having undertaken to present some
grave points, we do not mean that they shall suffer injus-
tice, through any bashfulness of ours in the statement.

When we look at the scholarship which Harvard College
actually forms, after giving all credit to the good judgment
with which its course of study is laid out, the talent and
faithfulness of those who conduct it, and the various obvious
advantages under which it is pursued, we are fain after all
to acknowledge, that the machinery is inadequate to the
product. We look for some further element of power, in
bringing about the consummation witnessed. And we do
not hesitate to say, that we find it in the circumstance of
situation, of which we have been speaking. Those who
do not know Boston, may need to be told, that a decidedly
literary tone pervades its good society. We do not say,
whether it contains great or little men, sciolists or scholars.
Let that take care of itself; we do not carry "this foolish-
ness of boasting" any further than suits our purpose. But
there is a love of learning. That its citizens love to read,
either what is superficial, or else what is not so, or both,
may be inferred from the large amount of its publications
compared with those of any other American city, or from
the single fact, that, exclusive of newspapers and of re-
ligious magazines, the amount of its periodical literature has
been reckoned to be as great as that of all the rest of the
country. At all events, there is a love of the fame of learn-
ing. Mothers, like Mather's mother, are ambitious to see
a son " a good scholar," as well as a " good Christian."
Fathers and sisters have an especial pride in the youth who
has won that name. The stranger, who has won it at Cam-
bridge, under the eye of this community, sees himself re-
ceived, on that ground, on an honorable footing, in society



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110 Harvard College. [Sept.

where he may well desire to move. He finds himself,
wherever he may be introduced, to be, on that ground, the
object of a flattering consideration. The youth, who comes
here with his fortune to make, sees, — we do not scruple
to say it, — that, that reputation won, his fortune will be
made ; at least, that be will have brought it effectually
within the reach of his own further good conduct ; for he
will have been attracting the kindled eye of not a few, who
stand emulously ready to advance him, by such honorable
and effective aid as the risen may render to the rising.
Is there not found stimulus in all this ? And even for
those, on whom, from their individual circumstances, some
parts of it do not directly act, does not the raising of the
standard of attainment, through such means, indirectly pro-
duce the same effect ? And is there no permanent, inevita-
ble impulse and discipline for the mind, in the literary cast
of all surrounding social intercourse ? And does not the
presence of individual examples of literary success and note,
— such as colleges and villages do not show in any num-
bers, —such as a city must show, or nothing, — does not
this have its vast effect? We ask to have this view of the
facts well weighed, by those by whom the facts are recog-
nised ; and we will be in the judgment of any discerning
parent, whether the expensiveness of the place of study in

Suestion is not incident to advantages which it is no bad
irift to pay largely for, if they may not otherwise be had.
But, while we so highly appreciate these advantages, and
cannot think the money ill spent that secures them, we
earnestly wish that they were otherwise to be had, ,and most
earnestly do we hope, before long, to see some resolute
measures taken to this end. This end is what the College
wants accomplished, to become what its living friends, and
its patrons, if they may look down to see the progress of
their blessed work, desire to see it, — an overflowing foun-
tain of refreshing waters to our beloved native land. This
it wants, to enable it to dispense its learned wealth with an
unstinted bounty. This it wants, to help it to inscribe its
name broadly and brightly as it should, on the history of
the American mind. Give it this, and it- will confidently
leave, to those whom it invites, the question of further
endeavours, which will remain for themselves to make, to
accept its invitation. Give it this, and it will not defy,



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1834.] Harvard ColUgt. Ill

but by the beauty of its usefulness, it will win and silence,
the jealousies of sectarian bigotry. Who shall give it ?
Singly, some of its sons have done their part ; and others,
who owed it nothing, except what good men owe to good
objects, have all along been bountifully doing theirs. Who
shall make this provision for the College? Its own sons
collectively, some have thought ; and so proposes the author
of the discourse before us.

*' If God blesses us with wealth, I know not, among the pub-
lic distributions we may have grace to devise, what more grate*
ful object we can propose to ourselves, than to turn back to
pour a filial tribute into our mother's lap, to be dispensed to
her younger hopes, in ampler bounty than she could command
the means to afford to us. And here I will even ask, in pass-
ing, since the subject leads to the inquiry, whether, while
separately many of her children have ' done virtuously ' in this
way, it is not time that some more extended and united action
of them together, should ' excel them all/ An eminent jurist
of the last century called his liberal testamentary endowment,
' a poor thank-offering to God from his unworthy servant, for
his many and great mercies to him in his education at that col-
lege' ;* and the words, 'once a pupil, always a patron,' mak-
ing part of the inscription, in which her gratitude recorded
the merits of another distinguished magistrate, on the edifice,
by the gift of which he had evinced his filial regard, have a
truth and an interest for the many bosoms, in which the same
sentiment is doubtless devoutly cherished.' — p. 15, 16.

A subscription for Burlington College, among its sons
and perhaps others, had, previously to the beginning of last
July, raised for it twenty-six thousand dollars. Amherst
College lately obtained, in the same way, between thirty and
fifty thousand dollars ; and Hanover, not long ago, about as
much. Williamstown College has had its contribution of the
same kind, and the Alumni of Yale have testified their love
to their Alma Mater by the becoming gift of nearly one
hundred thousand dollars. Berkshire and Hampshire coun-
ties are not richer than the sea-board. Vermont and New
Hampshire can hardly spare more money than Massa-

* Chief Justice Dudley. " He honored and loved that his mother,
and was wont to say of her, that he knew no better place to begin the
forming of a good and worthy man." — Colman's Simon on the Death
of the Hon. Jostph DudUy.



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112 Harvard College. [Sept,

chusetts. The sons of Yale College do not owe more, than
those of Harvard, to the mother of their minds ; nor should
we of Harvard be willing to have it proved, nor can it be
yet proved, that they love her better. A very generous ex-
ample has been set. Is there any reason to question, that,
at the Gt time, it is destined to be as generously followed ?
We submit, whether a hint, in a note to the passage just
quoted, respecting that fit time, is not well entitled to
attention.

" ' The Court agreed to give <£400 towards a schoale or Col-
ledge, whearoff .£200 to bee paid the next yeare, and <£200
when the worke is finished, and the next Court to appoint
wheare and w l building.'

" Such is part of the record of the General Court of Massa-
chusetts Bay, convened Sept. 25th (Oct. 6th f N. S.), 1636, and
continued thence from day to day by adjournment. In little
more than two years, then, the second century from the foun-
dation of the College will be completed.

" Is it fit, or not, that her nineteen hundred living sons
should be thinking of doing honor to that event, by some joint
expression of their gratitude ?

" Their aggregate means are ample. The wants of the Col-
lege, in two respects, those of accommodation for its invalua-
ble library, and provision for indigent students, are great. To
keep the anniversary by a liberal united effort to advance the
object, to which it owes its interest, would make a sensible and
memorable novelty among forms of commemoration." — p. 16.

Truly, what an anniversary here would be ! The gather-
ed gifts to a common mother of nineteen hundred sons, re-
mitted from "all the borders of the country, and all the
corners of the world," — the north giving up, and the south
not keeping back, — and consecrated at the goal of the
second century of her history, in testimony of reverence for
her services, of the gratitude of the givers, and of confiding
hope that the coming ages would be terms of equal, and
more, usefulness and honor. Whoever should see that day,
would have some feelings to experience, worth the knowing.
He would witness something which he could not forget, nor
the world either.

As to the year 1636, here adopted as that of the founda-
tion, we apprehend that it ought to be so regarded ; though
the common reckoning we believe has fixed it in 1638, the



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1834.] Harvard College. 118

year when the College went into operation, the first class
being graduated in 1642. The date of the legal act, estab-
lishing it, appears to us properly to fix the point of time;
and it is so recognised in the preamble to the fifth chapter
of the State Constitution, which recites, that, " Whereas our
wise and pious ancestors, so early as the year one thousand
six hundred and thirty-six, laid the foundation of Harvard
College, in which University, many persons of great emi-
nence, have, by the blessing of God, been initiated into
those arts and sciences, which qualified them for public
employments, both in church and state ; and whereas the
encouragement of arts and sciences, and all good litera-
ture, tends to the honor of God, the advantage of the Chris-
tian religion, and the great benefit of this, and the other
United States of America : it is declared," &c.

As to a contribution of the kind referred to, the nineteen
hundred living graduates, — though there are some seventy
or eighty earlier, and, among them, names of our eminently
affluent and liberal citizens, — may be regarded as distri-
buted through fifty classes, beginning with 1780, the more re-
cent classes being still young. Of the earlier of these classes
the surviving members are tew, and those of the later have
not fully entered upon life. To make up, from fifty classes,
a like contribution for Harvard College, to what has been
lately made for Yale, an average sum of two thousand dol-
lars from each, would be requisite. There are others, who
can better tell than we, whether the hope of obtaining such
a sum would be extravagant.

Should a contribution, greater or less 1 , ever come to be
made, and should it be applied to the object of which we
have been speaking, the lessening, to youth of limited means,
of pecuniary discouragements from studying at Cambridge,
such application would naturally take one, or the other, or
both, of two forms. It might either go to diminish the
charge for instruction for all the students indiscriminately,
or, leaving this as it is, it might be directed, in larger single
distributions, towards the maintenance of the more indigent
of their number ; or it might do a portion of both these kinds
of good.

In the first case, it would probably have the immediate
effect of bringing back that perhaps most desirable class of
students, the sons of families in the middling rank in respect

, VOL. XVII. — N. S. VOL. XII. NO. I. 15



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114 Harvard College. [Sept.

to property, in town and country, who, we fear, were driven
away id great numbers, by the change in the amount of
tuition fees in or about 1807. They mean to pay, to the full
extent, that others around tbem do, for whatever they have.
This is what they have been used to doing. It is their
habit; perhaps it is their point of honor; — no matter which.
But they are obliged strictly to consult economy. And the
difference of an annua) expense of twenty or thirty dollars,
which their fathers will have to spare from the profits of a
farm or a shop, and pinch themselves to furnish, is, and
ought to be, with such, a very serious consideration. It is, in
feet, a consideration, decisive year by year, of the destina-
tion of numbers of youth, to whom the country owes, for its
own sake, the best advantages of education it can afford ; —
of those, who, in moral and intellectual structure, are the
bone and sinew of the commonwealth, and on all accounts,
personal and public, entitled to its best training.

There is one obvious qualification of the advantage of this
use of funds. Along with those to whom it is of the first
importance, it would benefit others, who are in no need of
k whatever ; — the sens of the rich, who, instead of caring
to pay less than they now do, would feel a considerable
increase of their liabilities to be no burden. But, on the
other hand, this equality of expenditure between the rich
and those who are not rich, is indispensable; else the object
of the latter, who intend, wherever they go, to pay all that
their associates do, is defeated. And again ; as it is to be
supposed for a general rule, that the richer givers to such a
fund would be also' the most bountiful, it would not be rea-
sonable to expect them to repeat their contribution, in the
payment of larger charges on their children's term-bills.

To an appropriation of funds, of the second description
named above, we have occasionally beard objections made,
to which we do not think it liable. We cannot say how
common the sentiment is, but we know that it exists,
that the more indigent class of students at college have
not generally, by the merit and services of later life,
shown themselves particularly well entitled to the aid af-
forded them in acquiring an education. We are not of that
opinion. It is impossible to arrive at exact results in the
weighing of that question. It covers too much ground,
and it is too delicate. But, from such rough estimate, as



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1834.] Harvard College Jl£

we are able to make, of what has fallen under our own
notice, we are inclined to think, that that class of students, -r-
not to speak of the individual instances of its furnishing lead-
ing lights, — has, on the whole, done its fair share of ser-
vice to the great interests of society. And, if it were other-
wise, we should by no means hold the question of the fitness
of such patronage to be settled. The experience of a few
years or decades cannot settle it; and certainly there is
nothing in the reason of the case, to prove that the supposed
actual result is to be looked for. Nor, if the result were
both probable and realized, would we allow that tbe assumed
practical inference follows. Independently of all such con-
side rations, we should still desire, — and that on grounds,
we think, of patriotism and good sense, — to have tbe
poorest man feel, that his son, if disposed to use them, had
the best advantages of education within his reach, and, with
those advantages, the privilege of the most favorable experi-
ment to lift himself to the highest places in society. We
should still earnestly desire to have the poorest men know
and feel, that opportunities for obtaining tbe best learning
were no aristocratic possession, and' that they had none but
themselves to reckon with, if the best learning should be-
come characteristically an aristocratic accomplishment.

We know, again, that there is in some minds, an indispo-
sition to this form of bounty, on account of an impression,,
that there is something humbling in becoming its object.
They think, that to receive it, argues, or forms, something
of an abject spirit, or does both. We cannot but bold, thajt
this view is taken in utter blindness to the conditions, under
which Providence has made us men to live on earth. He
who demands to be independent, must go seek quarters in
some other planet. Providence meant that all men should
find their own happiness in communicating it to others ; and,
if all are to confer favors, it can hardly be that all will not
have to receive them. It meant that there should be such
a happy sentiment as gratitude ; and, as none were to be
excluded from its enjoyment, so none were allowed to be
above being served. Every human being is a debtor to men
before and about him ; — a stipendiary to the past and to
the present. When so much of what we most value, and
are every moment enjoying, — tbe protection of good laws,
tbe spirit of society, the guidance ot transmitted wisdom, —



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116 Harvard College. [Sept.

is necessarily the free gift to us of the fruit of costly labors,
which cannot be estimated in money, — and, if they could,
which we have no money to pay for, — it' clearly appears
to us more nice than wise, to be lofty about receiving the
smaller balance of kindnesses, which it still remains optional
with us to reject. And while a man is making his superla-
tive distinctions between what he can, and what he cannot,
help receiving gratuitously from others, he will only be
experiencing the multiform mortifications of that most morti-
fying passion, pride, till he is taught sense enough to be
willing to have his impracticable principle break down under
the distraction. He who is difficult about being a " charity
scholar," if such is the phrase, at Cambridge, — if he will
carry out his doctrine, must be disturbed and shame-faced,
when he goes thence, and comes to deposit bis vote, or vent
bis voice, in that eleemosynary establishment, Faneuil Hall.
For he is there a charity voter, and a charity orator. If
Faneuil had not given the Hall, the town would now have
to build it, and the citizen and speaker would be taxed to
pay the bill. At all events, Harvard College admits none
but charity scholars. Some rich men's sons are studying
there ; but not one of them all pays his scot and lot. As
truly as any of tbeir associates, they are objects of the Col-
lege's bounty. It is simply a question between them of
more and less. We take it that not a word of the state-
ment to this effect, on the fifth page of the sermon before us,
can be called in question ; and, if so, he who is a beneficiary
to the annual amount of one hundred and fifty dollars, while
at his right or left hand sits another who gets but one hun-
dred dollars, may be made by fifty per cent, a more abject-
spirited man than his neighbour, may be depressed half as
much again in his own esteem, but a most humiliating pro-
cess for all the ingenuous youth, without exception, must
doubtless be our college life.

Both of these methods, then, of relieving the expensive-
ness of an education at Cambridge, seem to have their re-
commendations ; and it is not improbable that, on a full view
of the subject, it might be thought wise to direct endeavours
towards a partial attainment of both, rather than an exclusive
one of either. In the case of any thing considerable of
the kind being done, it may be supposed that the govern-
ment of the College would feel more at liberty to direct any



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1834.] Harvard College. 117

funds, come or coming into their hands, and subject to their
direction, to the provision of safe and proper accommoda-
tion for its library. That is a thing which it is high time
were done, to whomsoever it may belong to do it. The
destruction of that library would be an intolerable stigma on
the name of the government, or the alumni, or the neigh-
bourhood, or the State, or the country, or whomsoever else
the stern justice of posterity might select to bear the blame.
We state familiar facts, when we repeat, that being con-
siderably the richest in the western hemisphere, it consists of
forty thousand volumes, many of which are rare, important,
and costly ; that it contains a collection, — undoubtedly the
most precious in the world in the department of American
History, — of six or seven thousand volumes, and thirteen
thousand maps and charts, bought, partly, against the com-
petition of a king, by one of those "merchants" of ours,
who are " princes," and partly furnished by the munificence
of a son of another of those " traffickers," who are " the
honorable of the earth " ; that it is necessarily disposed
in rooms, whose narrow dimensions absolutely forbid its
further extension, a measure for which other liberal citizens
are understood to be standing ready, so justly popular is
the object; — and that it is within six feet of a building,
where in the winter are constantly kept thirty fires under
the care of youth, whose engagements, besides, cause them
to be absent three times every day, for an hour together.
The risk is appalling. We cannot sleep on a windy night
when we think of it. The burning of the comparatively
small, and on all accounts incomparably meaner collection,
seventy years ago, threw the province into a sort of univer-
sal mourning. A " ruinous loss " the papers of the time
well called it. The governor, on the second following morn-
ing, sent a message to the Representatives to " heartily con-
dole with " them " on the unfortunate accident " ; and
America and Britain were moved to repair the mischief.
May this generation not be doomed to see on that spot such
another heap of priceless ruins ! But if the horror do not
befall, it is not wishing, that will have averted it.

The President says, in his " Considerations," submitted
to the Legislature the winter before last ; " Let the Legis-
lature of Massachusetts only grant sufficient means for such
a building as the case requires, and it is not too much to



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118 Harvard College. {Sept



Online LibraryAshbel GreenThe Christian examiner and general review [microform] → online text (page 12 of 42)