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when the number was swelled to eight, who
were distributed into classes according to
their scholarship. At the same time the
Faculty received an addition by the appoint-
ment of Mr. Daniel Hooker as tutor. The
first Commencement was held at Saybrook
in 1702, and some honorary degrees con-
ferred ; but there was no proper graduating
class until the following year, when the
Triennial Catalogue makes the following

•Johannes Hart, A. M. -Tutor. *i73i«

banter of a Harvard poet about the infiant
years of his own Alma Mater :

^ And who was on the catalogue when college was

Two nephews of the President and the Professor's
son: * * • *

Lord! How the Seniors kicked about the Fresh-
man class of onel"

It should be borne in mind that in 1700
Connecticut had a poor and thinly scattered
agricultural population of little more than

During its first seventeen years the new
college led a wandering life. Rector Pier-
son lived at Killingworth, and taught his
classes there. The Rector who succeeded
him resided at Milford with the Seniors, the
lower classes being instructed by the tutors
at Saybrook. In 1 7 1 6, many of the students,
being dissatisfied with Saybrook, seceded
to Wethersfield and put themselves under
the teaching of Mr. Eiisha Williams, who
thus became a kind of tutor extraordinary.
The few who remained at Saybrook shortly
after fled from the small-pox to East Guil-
ford. There was much local jealousy touch-
ing the permanent settling of the college ;
New Haven, Hartford, Saybrook, Wethers-
field and Middletown, all making bids for it

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The up-river interest was in the minority in
the Corporation, and memorialized the. As-
sembly. But most of the Trustees declaring
for New Haven, the college was removed
thither in 17 17 — ^not, however, without vio-
lent opposition. The Governor and Council
had to assemble at Saybrook to help the
sheriff. The bridges between Saybrook and
New Haven were broken down, and the
library was a week on the road. The carts
in which the latter was carried were attacked,
and two hundred and sixty volumes lost or
destroyed in the scuffle.

The Commencements at Saybrook had
been mostiy private. A public Commence-
ment was held at New Haven in 17 18. A
few recalcitrant members of the graduating
class still lingered at Wethersfield, where a
rival Commencement took place. But the
up-river faction was finally conciliated, and
Mr. Elisha Williams was appointed tutor,
and afterward, in 1725, Rector. Meanwhile
a house for the reception of the college had
been built at New Haven, and was dedi-
cated on Commencement Day. It stood in
the south-eastern comer of the yard, near " the
fence," whose top rail, crowded with singers
in the summer evenings, now forms the fav-
orite lounging-place of the undergraduates
(see page 768). This building was of wood,
three stories high, with steep roof and dor-


raer windows, and had, besides chambers for
the scholars, a hall, library and kitchen. A
part of it was standing as late as 1782.
About the time of the removal of the college
to New Haven, there were received from
Gov. Elihu Yale, of London, a large box of

books, the portrait (by Sir Godfrey Kneller)
and the arms of King George, and ;£2oo
sterling worth of English goods. The por-
trait is preserved in the Art Gallery, but the
coat-of-arms was destroyed at the time of
the Revolution. In acknowledgment of this
gift the Trustees " solemnly named" the new
building Yale College ; " upon which," pro-
ceeds the contemporary acc9unt, " the Hon.
Col. Taylor represented Governor Yale in a
speech expressing his great satisfaction;
which ended, we passed to the church and
there the Commencement was carried on.
• • • • After which were graduated
ten young men, whereupon the Hon. Gov.
Saltonstall in a Latin speech congratulated
the Trustees in their success and in the
comfortable appearance with relation to the
school. All which ended, the gentiemen
returned to the college hall, where they
were entertained with a splendid dinner,
and the ladies at the same time were also
entertained in the Library. After which they
sung the four first verses of the 65th Psalm,
and so the day ended."

Elihu Yale, whose name was thus almost
accidentally bound up forever with the for-
tunes of a university whose future greatness
he surely could not have foretokened, was
bom in New Haven in 1648. He was
educated in England, and made a fortime
in the East Indies, where he was made
Govemor of Fort St. George, now Madras.
" He was a gentleman," says President
Clap, " who greatly abounded in ^ood hu-
mor and generosity as well as in wealth."
A grandson of Gov. Yale presented the col-
lege, in 1789, with an original full-length
portrait of its distinguished sponsor. From
this is taken the picture which figures on
the cover of the ** Yale Literary Magazine,"
but the elegiac couplet just beneath it,

**Dum mens grata mamt nomen laudesque YaUnses
Cantaiunt sudoles unanimique patres^

comes from a MS. inscription, under an
engraving of Gov. Yale sent to the college
at an earlier period. The college is also in
possession of a silver snuff-box once belong-
ing to its benefactor, having a tortoise-shell
lid with medallion, coat-of-arms, and the
motto PrcBfnium virtutis gloria. The fol-
lowing lines, from Yale's epitaph in the
church- yard at Wrexham in Wales, are cu-
rious, and have been often quoted :

** Born in America, in Europe bred,

In Afric travelled and in Asia wed.

Where lone he lived and thrived ; at London dead.

Much Good, some 111 he did ; so hope's all's even,

And that his Soul through Mercy's gone to Heaven."

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The college had now a local habitation
and a name, and was fairly launched upon
its course. By the close of the century, the
number of students had risen to 130. In-
struction continued in the hands of the Presi-
dent and tutors, who varied from one to five.
A Professorship of Divinity was founded in
^755 > o'^c of Mathematics, Natural Philos-

the palates of antiquity.'' In 1752 South
Middle College was built, and paid for
partly by the proceeds of a lottery, and
partly by a grant from the Assembly of the
money that came from the sale of a French
prize captured by a Connecticut frigate. In
acknowledgment of this gift, the building
was originally named Connecticut Hall. It


ophy, and Astronomy, in 1770. An instructor
in Hebrew was appointed in 1798. But
these chairs were slenderly endowed, and
often empty. Sometimes the President per-
formed the duties of a Professor, as well as
his own.

A house for the Rector had been built in
1722. A second President's house was built
in 1799, and was standing in i860. Inlay-
ing the foundations of Famam Hall, in 1869,
a bottle of mulberry wine was dug up from
the ruins of the President's cellar, " which,
if any have tasted, they have far exceeded

was modeled upon " red Massachusetts " at
Cambridge, and was described in the dedi-
cation ceremonies as odes hoc nitida et
spUndida Aula Connecticutensis. It is the
oldest college building now remaining. Its
lower story is partiy occupied by the reading-
room. In 1763 was completed the Athe-
naeum, now used for Freshman recitation-
rooms, but at first for a chapel, and the
upper floor for a library ; for the steeple has
been substituted a wooden turret, used as an
astronomical observatory. In 1 793-4 South
College was built, the third member of " Ae

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old brick row." This still continues to be
the most popular college, its old-fashioned
chambers bemg often chosen in preference
to the hard-iinished, gas-lightpd, and steam-
heated apartments of Famam and Durfee.
The college thus stood committed to the
" dormitory system " before the end of the
eighteenth century.

The course of study pursued at .Old Yale,
as at Old Harvard, was based on the ancient
scholastic curriculum of the English univer-
sities, the back-bone of which was Theology
and Logic. By 1700, Oxford and Cam-
bridge had added to this somewhat of sci-
ence and of elegant scholarship; but the
founders of the New England schools pre-
served the traditions of a generation edu-
cated at Cambridge in the early years of the
seventeenth century — the contemporaries
there of Milton and Henry More. More-
over, though not intended to be exclusively
a school for the training of young men for
the ministry, the college did, nevertheless,
keep that object largely in view. The orig-
inal Socii were, and their successors have
continued to be. Congregational ministers
in the State of Connecticut. The President
has always been a clergyman. Of the no
tutors connected with the college during its
first century, only 49 were laymen. By 1 750


there had been graduated 306 clergymen
against ^336 laymen.* It is, therefore, not

• A test of orthodoxy was formerly imposed on
members of the Senalus AcacUmicus, Down to 1778
they had to subscribe to the "Westminster Cate-
chism and Confession of Faith;" down to 1823 to
the "Saybrook Platform." Under the amended
charter of 174^, they were also obliged to tidce an
oath to uphold the Act, made in the first year of
George the First, " for extinguishing the hopes of
the pretended Prince of Wales," who was "out"
later on in the same year. The religious test was
abolished in 1823.

Strange that Divinity held a large place in
the course of study. This changed some-
what from time to time, but in general the
Yale curriculum of the eighteenth century
may be said to have included, in uncertain


and varying quantities, Hebrew, the Greek
Testament, writing and speaking Latin,
Logic, Ethics, Metaphysics, Divinity, Rhet-
oric, Physics, and Mathematics (embracing,
under President Clap, more or less of Al-
gebra, Trigonometry, Navigation, Surveying,
Conies, Fluxions, and the Calculation of
Eclipses). Mention is also made of " dis-
puting" in the two upper classes, — "on
Monday in the syllogistic form, on Tuesday
in the forensic." There is food for thought
in the fact that the Ptolemaic system of
Astronomy was once taught in Yale College.
Much that is quaint may be noted in the
early customs of the college. Life in old
colony times was simpler than now, but
society more aristocratic. In those days of
lace ruffles and powdered wigs, sword knots
and small-clothes, silk stockings and silver
shoe-buckles, there was a ceremonious punc-
tilio in dress and manners that contrasts
oddly with the rude appliances of life in a
newly settled country. The Governor and
his council, with the clergy and the wealthier
merchants and professional men of the little
colony, formed an untitled aristocracy, whose
claims were recognized in the college cata-

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logues. Down to 1 767, the names of under-
graduates were arranged, not alphabetically,
but in order of rank. The first name in the
class of 1725 is Gurdon Saltonstall, the


Governor's son. Then follow names of sons
of clergymen, lawyers, artisans, and trades-
men. " Every student," runs one of the
old laws, " shall be called by his sir name,
except he be the son of a nobleman, or a
knight's eldest son." As between the col-
lege classes, a strict subordination was en-
forced, and a somewhat laborious etiquette
prevailed between Faculty and students.
The Freshmen were almost in the condition
of fags in the English public schools. The
following statutes from a book of " Freshman

Laws" seem incredible, but were gravely
meant, and put in practice :

" The Freshmen, as well as other under-
graduates, are^o be uncovered, and are for-
bidden to wear their hats (unless in stormy
weather) in the front door-yard of the Presi-
dent's or Professor's house, or within ten
rods of the person of the President, eight
rods of the Professor, and five rods of a

"A Freshman shall nojt play with any
members of an upper class without being^

*/ In case of personal insult, a Junior may
call up a Freshman and reprehend him. A
Sophomore, in like case, must obtain leave
from a Senior, and then he may discipline
a Freshman."

" Freshmen shall not run in college-yard,,
or up or down stairs, or call to anyone through
a college window."

The Academic costume of cap and gown
was worn at Yale in the last century. A
curious wood-cut, " View of Yale College,'*
in the library, printed at New Haven in
1786, represents South Middle College and
the Athenaeu^i, with figures of President
Stiles, tutors, and scholars, walking in the
yard. Some are in cap and gown, others in
frock coat, cocked hat, and peruke. Each
has a little spot of green to stand on, like
the wooden lozenges which support the feet
of the dramatis persona in a Noah's Aric.
The figure of President Stiles is fearfiilly and
wonderfully made.

The scholars were not allowed to use
English in addressing each other, but must
talk in Latin. Discipline was maintained
chiefly by a system of graded fines. Fresh-
men and " commencing Sophomores " were
sometimes cuffed or boxed on the ear by the
President in a solemn and formal manner in
chapel; but there seems to have been na


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instance at Yale of that bodily flogging some-
times administered at Harvard — notably in
the case of Thomas Sargent, of painful
memory, who was
" whipped before
the scholars" in
1674. We cannot
pause to describe
those shadowy
functionaries, .the
Beadle and the
Scholar of the
House, or do more
than allude in pass-
ing to the College
Butler, a licensed
monopolist, who
held his buttery in
the groimd floor
front comer room
in the south entry
of South Middle,
wherefrom he dis-
pensed to such as
had money or
credit " cider, me-
theglin, strong beer,
together with loaf
sugar ('saccharum
rigidum'), pipes,
tobacco, etc," —

being, indeed, a

TXAMKLDc's CLOCK iMTHBUBitAxv. sort of aucient and

oflicial "Hoad."' He it was who fur-
nished the candles which glimmered in the
chapel at early prayers in the dark win-
ter mornings. He had charge of the college
bell, and a disorderly student was sometimes,
with a certain grim humor on the part of
the authorities, appointed to the office of
" Buder^s waiter," and compelled to ring the
bell for a week or two.

In 1729 arrived in Rhode Island, Dean,
aflerward Bishop, George Berkeley, with a
train of English gentlemen. He came to the
province in furtherance of his romantic project
of founding a college in Bermuda to chris-
tianize the Indians, and be the center of
civilization in the New World. The imag-
inative spirit in which Berkeley undertook
this enterprise appears frt)m his fine " Verses
on the Prospect df Planting Arts and Learn-
ing in America." The closing stanza is
familiar, the first line having passed into
proverb :

"Westward the course of empire takes its way;

The four first acts already past,
A fifth shall close -the drama with the day;

Time's noblest offspring is the last."

In Rhode Island Berkeley sojourned three
years, waiting for the ;;^2o,ooo promised
him by the British Ministry toward his Ber-
muda College. This, of course, never came.
Sir Robert Walpole's statesmanship was any-
thing but visionary, and he found more prac-

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tical uses for the money at home. In the
interior of the island Berkeley built himself
a mansion, still standing, which he named
Whitehall, in a pleasant valley, neighbor to
a hill that commands the land and the ocean
with its oudying islands. Here he lived in
scholarly retirement, writing his " Minute
Philosopher," and the dialogues of " Alci-

In 1 7 19 Timothy Cuder had been chosen
Rector of Yale College. He is described

and the Trustees excused Mr. Cutler from
any further service as Rector, and accepted
Mr. Brown's resignation of his tutorship. It
is honorable to both sides that the new con-
verts never put themselves in hostihty to the
college. Mr. (afterward Dr.) Johnson in
particular continued ziealous in its interests.
He had accompanied Cutler to England,
and received ordination and degrees.* In
1754 he was chosen first President of King's
(now Columbia) College. His son was edu-

"the old brick row."

by President Stiles as "a great Hebrician
and Orientalist," "a noble Latin Orator,"
and a man of " a high, lofty, and despotic
mien." " He made a grand figure as the
head of a college. But his head being at
length turned with the splendor of Prelacy,
and carried away with the fond enterprise
of Episcopizing all New England, he, in
1722, turned Churchman, left his Rectorate
of Yale College, and was re-ordained by the
Bishop of Norwich, and was honored with
the Doctorate in Divinity from Oxford and
Cambridge. Returning, he settled in Bos-
ton, but failed of that influence and emi-
nence which he figured to himself in pros-

Rector Cutier drew after him a number
of ministers, including Mr. Samuel Johnson,
a former tutor, and Mr. Daniel Brown, then
acting tutor in the college. This apostacy
created alarm throughout New England,

cated at Yale, and became, like his father.
President of King's College.

On Berkeley's arrival at Newport, John-
son visited him there, and a friendship was
begun which had important results for Yale.
The two friends kept up a correspondence,
partly on philosophical matters, and John-
son embraced Berkeley's idealism, as did
also, though independently, a thinker in
some respects greater than Berkeley — ^Jona-
than Edwards, once a pupil of Johnson at
Yale. Johnson embodied the Berkeleian
system in his " Elementa Philosophica,"
printed at Philadelphia in 1752 by Benjamin
Franklin. Through Johnson, Berkeley be-
came interested in "the college at New-
haven," and in 1732, on his return to Eng-
land, conveyed to the Trustees his farm of

* He is said to have visited Pope, and brought
home cuttings from the Twickenham willow, whidi
he planted at Stratford, Conn.

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ninety-six acres at Whitehall, the rent to be
appropriated to three scholarships, awarded
for excellence in Greek and Latin, deter-


mined by a competitive examination in the
presence of the President and the " Senior
Episcopal Missionary of the Colony or Prov-
ince of Connecticut" In 1733 he sent the
college nearly 1,000 volumes, valued at
^^500, — the best collection of books that
had ever been brought at one time to Amer-
ica. The collection included the chief works
of classical literature and philosophy, the





the future University of Bermuda. Smibert
staid m America after Berkeley's departure,
and died at Boston. Copley was one of his pu-
pils. The painting shows Berkeley
standing by a table, with his hand
resting on a volume of Plato, and
surrounded by his family. North
Middle College, finished in 1803,
was at first called Berkeley Hall,
but "swell names" have never
flourished at Yale. In 1869 a
Berkeley Association was started
by the Episcopal students in

During the long administration
of President Clap, from 1739
to 1766, there arose in the colony
serious dissatisfaction with the
college management. In 1740
the great revival preacher. White-
field, visited New England, and,
raised by his eloquence, a kind of
religious inflammation. All sorts
of Enthusiasts and Separatists
started up to trouble the decorous orthodoxy
that had hitherto reigned unbroken in Con-
necticut. Authority everywhere took ground
against the movement, and the heads of the
college criticised Whitefield and his followers
in a printed document David Brainerd, then
a Junior in college, and afterward a famous
missionary among the Indians, a man of
fervent and even fanatical piety, said of a


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certain tutor Whittelsey, that "he had no
more of the grace of God than that chair."
For this offense, and for attending against
the rules a Separatist meeting in New
Haven, he was expelled from college. This
and other harsh measures gave great offense


to matiy in the colony. Anonymous pamph-
lets were directed against the government
of the college ; its orthodoxy was questioned,
and complaints were made of its system of
discipline and instruction ; the students were
in I

Haven under the amended charter of 1745.
Of the legal ability shown in this argomat
Chancellor Kent spoke in the highest tens.
The Assembly took no action on the memo-
rial. This controversy was of great raluc to
the college, as it established thus early in its
history the independence of the corpoiatioG
from State interference. Nevertheless the
college continued for a time widely aopop-
lar, and a fresh grievance was added wfaien
in 1765, two of the tutors who had become
infected with Sanderoanian principles wen;
forced by the President to resign. Prcstdent
Clap was a man of ability and firmness of
will, who devoted himself with uotiniif
fidelity to the interests of the college. The
study of mathematics and natural phik)sophT
especially received impetus from his team-
ing ; but he seems to have been rigid and

During the Revolution the college vss
all but broken up. Owing to the high pcioe
of provisions at New Haven, the Freshmen
were removed to Farmington, and the
Juniors and Sophomores to Glastoahun.
the Seniors alone suying at New HaTtn
imder Tutor Dwight No public Com-
mencement was held between 1777 ni
1 78 1. It was voted that the college bd
might be transported to Glastonbury if the
inhabitants would pay the cost of its oqd-
veyance. In July,

QomwQ rioM niAYSiis.

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along the Milford turnpike. Beyond West
River they were met by the militia, including
a number of undergraduates. These irregular
troops were soon dispersed after a skirmish.
Among other citizens, ex-President Daggett
had shouldered his fowling-piece and gone
forth to battle. He was taken prisoner, put at

Presidents of the college was Dr. Ezra Stiles,
who served from 1777 to 1795. He was
the best scholar of his time in New England,
and, it is said, would have been elected
President of Harvard, but for his being a
graduate of another college. He had an
eager and credulous curiosity, which led


the head of the British column, and prodded
with bayonets into town. Being a portly
man, " subject to continual dissolution and
thaw," and the day being intensely hot. Dr.
Daggett sustained injuries from his forced
march at the point of the bayonet, which
are believed to have hastened his death. In
this skirmish Major Campbell, reputed the
handsomest man in the British army, was
shot by a farmer from behind a stone wall.
He was buried in the fields near by, and the
spot is still marked by a small stone, and
sometimes visited by the curious. It is said
that the first body of troops reviewed by
Washington after his appointment as Com-
mander-in-Chief, was a company of Yale
students that he put through the maneuvers
on the New Haven green while on his way
to take command at Cambridge. By reason
of ^e depreciation and fluctuation of the
currency during the Revolution and just
after, the salaries of the college officers were
paid in terms of beef, pork, wheat, and
Indian com, a medium not so elastic as
Continental paper, but seemingly preferred
by these ancient bullionists.

One of the most interesting of the early

him into a wide range of rather unrelated
pursuits. Thus we find him experimenting
with an electrical apparatus sent to the col-
lege by Dr. Franklin; corresponding with
Winthrop about the comet of 1759; writing
letters of inquiry to the head of the Jesuits*
College in Mexico respecting the discoveries
of the Catholic Missions in the North-west ;
to a Greek bishop in Syria asking for an
account of the Gentiles beyond the Caspian,
" with reference to the remains of the ten
tribes ;" to Sir William Jones suggesting a
search for copies of the Pentateuch among
the Black Jews in India. As an antiquarian

Online LibraryFrancis HallThe Century, Volume 11 → online text (page 136 of 163)