A Collection of College Words and Customs
Benjamin Homer Hall
Part 2 out of 12
is carried with slow procession, with the moaning music of flutes
and fifes, the screaming of fiddles, and the thumping and mumbling
of a cracked drum, to the open grave or the funeral pyre. A
gleaming line of blazing torches and twinkling lanterns wave along
the quiet streets and through the opened fields, and the snow
creaks hoarsely under the tread of a hundred men. They reach the
scene, and a circle forms around the consecrated spot; if the
ceremony is a burial, the defunct is laid all carefully in his
grave, and then his friends celebrate in prose or verse his
memory, his virtues, and his untimely end: and three oboli are
tossed into his tomb to satisfy the surly boatman of the Styx.
Lingeringly is the last look taken of the familiar countenance, as
the procession passes slowly around the tomb; and the moaning is
made,--a sound of groans going up to the seventh heavens,--and the
earth is thrown in, and the headstone with epitaph placed duly to
hallow the grave of the dead. Or if, according to the custom of
his native land, the body of Euclid is committed to the funeral
flames, the pyre, duly prepared with combustibles, is made the
centre of the ring; a ponderous jar of turpentine or whiskey is
the fragrant incense, and as the lighted fire mounts up in the
still night, and the alarm in the city sounds dim in the distance,
the eulogium is spoken, and the memory of the illustrious dead
honored; the urn receives the sacred ashes, which, borne in solemn
procession, are placed in some conspicuous situation, or solemnly
deposited in some fitting sarcophagus. So the sport ends; a song,
a loud hurrah, and the last jovial roysterer seeks short and
profound slumber."--pp. 166-169.
The above was written in the year 1843. That the interest in the
observance of this custom at Yale College has not since that time
diminished, may be inferred from the following account of the
exercises of the Sophomore Class of 1850, on parting company with
their old mathematical friend, given by a correspondent of the New
"Arrangements having been well matured, notice was secretly given
out on Wednesday last that the obsequies would be celebrated that
evening at 'Barney's Hall,' on Church Street. An excellent band of
music was engaged for the occasion, and an efficient Force
Committee assigned to their duty, who performed their office with
great credit, taking singular care that no 'tutor' or 'spy' should
secure an entrance to the hall. The 'countersign' selected was
'Zeus,' and fortunately was not betrayed. The hall being full at
half past ten, the doors were closed, and the exercises commenced
with music. Then followed numerous pieces of various character,
and among them an _Oration_, a _Poem_, _Funeral Sermon_ (of a very
metaphysical character), a _Dirge_, and, at the grave, a _Prayer
to Pluto_. These pieces all exhibited taste and labor, and were
acknowledged to be of a higher tone than that of any productions
which have ever been delivered on a similar occasion. Besides
these, there were several songs interspersed throughout the
Programme, in both Latin and English, which were sung with great
jollity and effect. The band added greatly to the character of the
performances, by their frequent and appropriate pieces. A large
coffin was placed before the altar, within which, lay the
veritable Euclid, arranged in a becoming winding-sheet, the body
being composed of combustibles, and these thoroughly saturated
with turpentine. The company left the hall at half past twelve,
formed in an orderly procession, preceded by the band, and bearing
the coffin in their midst. Those who composed the procession were
arrayed in disguises, to avoid detection, and bore a full
complement of brilliant torches. The skeleton of Euclid (a
faithful caricature), himself bearing a torch, might have been
seen dancing in the midst, to the great amusement of all
beholders. They marched up Chapel Street as far as the south end
of the College, where they were saluted with three hearty cheers
by their fellow-students, and then continued through College
Street in front of the whole College square, at the north
extremity of which they were again greeted by cheers, and thence
followed a circuitous way to _quasi_ Potter's Field, about a mile
from the city, where the concluding ceremonies were performed.
These consist of walking over the coffin, thus _surmounting the
difficulties_ of the author; boring a hole through a copy of
Euclid with a hot iron, that the class may see _through_ it; and
finally burning it upon the funeral pyre, in order to _throw
light_ upon the subject. After these exercises, the procession
returned, with music, to the State-House, where they disbanded,
and returned to their desolate habitations. The affair surpassed
anything of the kind that has ever taken place here, and nothing
was wanting to render it a complete performance. It testifies to
the spirit and character of the class of '53."--_Literary World_,
Nov. 23, 1850, from the _New York Tribune_.
In the Sketches of Williams College, printed in the year 1847, is
a description of the manner in which the funeral exercises of
Euclid are sometimes conducted in that institution. It is as
follows:--"The burial took place last night. The class assembled
in the recitation-room in full numbers, at 9 o'clock. The
deceased, much emaciated, and in a torn and tattered dress, was
stretched on a black table in the centre of the room. This table,
by the way, was formed of the old blackboard, which, like a
mirror, had so often reflected the image of old Euclid. In the
body of the corpse was a triangular hole, made for the _post
mortem_ examination, a report of which was read. Through this
hole, those who wished were allowed to look; and then, placing the
body on their heads, they could say with truth that they had for
once seen through and understood Euclid.
"A eulogy was then pronounced, followed by an oration and the
reading of the epitaph, after which the class formed a procession,
and marched with slow and solemn tread to the place of burial. The
spot selected was in the woods, half a mile south of the College.
As we approached the place, we saw a bright fire burning on the
altar of turf, and torches gleaming through the dark pines. All
was still, save the occasional sympathetic groans of some forlorn
bull-frogs, which came up like minute-guns from the marsh below.
"When we arrived at the spot, the sexton received the body. This
dignitary presented rather a grotesque appearance. He wore a white
robe bound around his waist with a black scarf, and on his head a
black, conical-shaped hat, some three feet high. Haying fastened
the remains to the extremity of a long, black wand, he held them
in the fire of the altar until they were nearly consumed, and then
laid the charred mass in the urn, muttering an incantation in
Latin. The urn being buried deep in the ground, we formed a ring
around the grave, and sung the dirge. Then, lighting our larches
by the dying fire, we retraced our steps with feelings suited to
the occasion."--pp. 74-76.
Of this observance the writer of the preface to the "Songs of
Yale" remarks: "The _Burial of Euclid_ is an old ceremony
practised at many colleges. At Yale it is conducted by the
Sophomore Class during the first term of the year. After literary
exercises within doors, a procession is formed, which proceeds at
midnight through the principal streets of the city, with music and
torches, conveying a coffin, supposed to contain the body of the
old mathematician, to the funeral pile, when the whole is fired
and consumed to ashes."--1853, p. 4.
From the lugubrious songs which are usually sung on these sad
occasions, the following dirge is selected. It appears in the
order of exercises for the "Burial of Euclid by the Class of '57,"
which took place at Yale College, November 8, 1854.
Tune,--"_Auld Lang Syne_."
Come, gather all ye tearful Sophs,
And stand around the ring;
Old Euclid's dead, and to his shade
A requiem we'll sing:
Then join the saddening chorus, all
Ye friends of Euclid true;
Defunct, he can no longer bore,
"[Greek: Pheu pheu, oi moi, pheu pheu.]"
Though we to Pluto _dead_icate,
No god to take him deigns,
So, one short year from now will Fate
Bring back his sad _re-manes_:
For at Biennial his ghost
Will prompt the tutor blue,
And every fizzling Soph will cry,
"[Greek: Pheu pheu, oi moi, pheu pheu.]"
Though here we now his _corpus_ burn,
And flames about him roar,
The future Fresh shall say, that he's
"Not dead, but gone before":
We close around the dusky bier,
And pall of sable hue,
And silently we drop the tear;
"[Greek: Pheu pheu, oi moi, pheu pheu.]"
BURLESQUE BILL. At Princeton College, it is customary for the
members of the Sophomore Class to hold annually a Sophomore
Commencement, caricaturing that of the Senior Class. The Sophomore
Commencement is in turn travestied by the Junior Class, who
prepare and publish _Burlesque Bills_, as they are called, in
which, in a long and formal programme, such subjects and speeches
are attributed to the members of the Sophomore Class as are
calculated to expose their weak points.
See SOPHOMORE COMMENCEMENT.
BURLINGTON. At Middlebury College, a water-closet, privy. So
called on account of the good-natured rivalry between that
institution and the University of Vermont at Burlington.
BURNING OF CONIC SECTIONS. "This is a ceremony," writes a
correspondent, "observed by the Sophomore Class of Trinity
College, on the Monday evening of Commencement week. The
incremation of this text-book is made by the entire class, who
appear in fantastic rig and in torch-light procession. The
ceremonies are held in the College grove, and are graced with an
oration and poem. The exercises are usually closed by a class
BURNING OF CONVIVIUM. Convivium is a Greek book which is studied
at Hamilton College during the last term of the Freshman year, and
is considered somewhat difficult. Upon entering Sophomore it is
customary to burn it, with exercises appropriate to the occasion.
The time being appointed, the class hold a meeting and elect the
marshals of the night. A large pyre is built during the evening,
of rails and pine wood, on the middle of which is placed a barrel
of tar, surrounded by straw saturated with turpentine. Notice is
then given to the upper classes that Convivium will be burnt that
night at twelve o'clock. Their company is requested at the
exercises, which consist of two poems, a tragedy, and a funeral
oration. A coffin is laid out with the "remains" of the book, and
the literary exercises are performed. These concluded, the class
form a procession, preceded by a brass band playing a dirge, and
march to the pyre, around which, with uncovered heads, they
solemnly form. The four bearers with their torches then advance
silently, and place the coffin upon the funeral pile. The class,
each member bearing a torch, form a circle around the pyre. At a
given signal they all bend forward together, and touch their
torches to the heap of combustibles. In an instant "a lurid flame
arises, licks around the coffin, and shakes its tongue to heaven."
To these ceremonies succeed festivities, which are usually
continued until daylight.
BURNING OF ZUMPT'S LATIN GRAMMAR. The funeral rites over the body
of this book are performed by the students in the University of
New York. The place of turning and burial is usually at Hoboken.
Scenes of this nature often occur in American colleges, having
their origin, it is supposed, in the custom at Yale of burying
BURNT FOX. A student during his second half-year, in the German
universities, is called a _burnt fox_.
BURSAR, _pl._ BURSARII. A treasurer or cash-keeper; as, the
_bursar_ of a college or of a monastery. The said College in
Cambridge shall be a corporation consisting of seven persons, to
wit, a President, five Fellows, and a Treasurer or
_Bursar_.--_Peirce's Hist. Harv. Univ._, App., p. 11.
Every student is required on his arrival, at the commencement of
each session, to deliver to the _Bursar_ the moneys and drafts for
money which he has brought with him. It is the duty of the
_Bursar_ to attend to the settlement of the demands for board,
&c.; to pay into the hands of the student such sums as are
required for other necessary expenses, and to render a statement
of the same to the parent or guardian at the close of the session.
--_Catalogue of Univ. of North Carolina_, 1848-49, p. 27.
2. A student to whom a stipend is paid out of a burse or fund
appropriated for that purpose, as the exhibitioners sent to the
universities in Scotland, by each presbytery.--_Webster_.
See a full account in _Brande's Dict. Science, Lit., and Art_.
BURSARY. The treasury of a college or monastery.--_Webster_.
2. In Scotland, an exhibition.--_Encyc._
BURSCH (bursh), _pl._ BURSCHEN. German. A youth; especially a
student in a German university.
"By _bursche_," says Howitt, "we understand one who has already
spent a certain time at the university,--and who, to a certain
degree, has taken part in the social practices of the
students."--_Student Life of Germany_, Am. Ed., p. 27.
Und hat der _Bursch_ kein Geld im Beutel,
So pumpt er die Philister an,
Und denkt: es ist doch Alles eitel
Vom _Burschen_ bis zum Bettleman.
Student life! _Burschen_ life! What a magic sound have these words
for him who has learnt for himself their real meaning.--_Howitt's
Student Life of Germany_.
BURSCHENSCHAFT. A league or secret association of students, formed
in 1815, for the purpose, as was asserted, of the political
regeneration of Germany, and suppressed, at least in name, by the
exertions of the government.--_Brandt_.
"The Burschenschaft," says the Yale Literary Magazine, "was a
society formed in opposition to the vices and follies of the
Landsmannschaft, with the motto, 'God, Honor, Freedom,
Fatherland.' Its object was 'to develop and perfect every mental
and bodily power for the service of the Fatherland.' It exerted a
mighty and salutary influence, was almost supreme in its power,
but was finally suppressed by the government, on account of its
alleged dangerous political tendencies."--Vol. XV. p. 3.
BURSE. In France, a fund or foundation for the maintenance of poor
scholars in their studies. In the Middle Ages, it signified a
little college, or a hall in a university.--_Webster_.
BURST. To fail in reciting; to make a bad recitation. This word is
used in some of the Southern colleges.
BURT. At Union College, a privy is called _the Burt_, from a
person of that name, who many years ago was employed as the
architect and builder of the _latrinae_ of that institution.
BUSY. An answer often given by a student, when he does not wish to
Poor Croak was almost annihilated by this summons, and, clinging
to the bed-clothes in all the agony of despair, forgot to _busy_
his midnight visitor.--_Harv. Reg._, p. 84.
Whenever, during that sacred season, a knock salutes my door, I
respond with a _busy_.--_Collegian_, p. 25.
"_Busy_" is a hard word to utter, often, though heart and
conscience and the college clock require it.--_Scenes and
Characters in College_, p. 58.
BUTLER. Anciently written BOTILER. A servant or officer whose
principal business is to take charge of the liquors, food, plate,
&c. In the old laws of Harvard College we find an enumeration of
the duties of the college butler. Some of them were as follows.
He was to keep the rooms and utensils belonging to his office
sweet and clean, fit for use; his drinking-vessels were to be
scoured once a week. The fines imposed by the President and other
officers were to be fairly recorded by him in a book, kept for
that purpose. He was to attend upon the ringing of the bell for
prayer in the hall, and for lectures and commons. Providing
candles for the hall was a part of his duty. He was obliged to
keep the Buttery supplied, at his own expense, with beer, cider,
tea, coffee, chocolate, sugar, biscuit, butter, cheese, pens, ink,
paper, and such other articles as the President or Corporation
ordered or permitted; "but no permission," it is added in the
laws, "shall be given for selling wine, distilled spirits, or
foreign fruits, on credit or for ready money." He was allowed to
advance twenty per cent. on the net cost of the articles sold by
him, excepting beer and cider, which were stated quarterly by the
President and Tutors. The Butler was allowed a Freshman to assist
him, for an account of whom see under FRESHMAN,
BUTLER'S.--_Peirce's Hist. Harv. Univ._, App., pp. 138, 139. _Laws
Harv. Coll._, 1798, pp. 60-62.
President Woolsey, in his Historical Discourse pronounced before
the Graduates of Yale College, August 14th, 1850, remarks as
follows concerning the Butler, in connection with that
"The classes since 1817, when the office of Butler was, abolished,
are probably but little aware of the meaning of that singular
appendage to the College, which had been in existence a hundred
years. To older graduates, the lower front corner room of the old
middle college in the south entry must even now suggest many
amusing recollections. The Butler was a graduate of recent
standing, and, being invested with rather delicate functions, was
required to be one in whom confidence might be reposed. Several of
the elder graduates who have filled this office are here to-day,
and can explain, better than I can, its duties and its bearings
upon the interests of College. The chief prerogative of the Butler
was to have the monopoly of certain eatables, drinkables, and
other articles desired by students. The Latin laws of 1748 give
him leave to sell in the buttery, cider, metheglin, strong beer to
the amount of not more than twelve barrels annually,--which amount
as the College grew was increased to twenty,--together with
loaf-sugar ('saccharum rigidum'), pipes, tobacco, and such
necessaries of scholars as were not furnished in the commons hall.
Some of these necessaries were books and stationery, but certain
fresh fruits also figured largely in the Butler's supply. No
student might buy cider or beer elsewhere. The Butler, too, had
the care of the bell, and was bound to wait upon the President or
a Tutor, and notify him of the time for prayers. He kept the book
of fines, which, as we shall see, was no small task. He
distributed the bread and beer provided by the Steward in the Hall
into equal portions, and had the lost commons, for which privilege
he paid a small annual sum. He was bound, in consideration of the
profits of his monopoly, to provide candles at college prayers and
for a time to pay also fifty shillings sterling into the treasury.
The more menial part of these duties he performed by his
waiter."--pp. 43, 44.
At both Harvard and Yale the students were restricted in expending
money at the Buttery, being allowed at the former "to contract a
debt" of five dollars a quarter; at the latter, of one dollar and
twenty-five cents per month.
BUTTER. A size or small portion of butter. "Send me a roll and two
Butters."--_Grad. ad Cantab._
Six cheeses, three _butters_, and two beers.--_The Collegian's
Pertinent to this singular use of the word, is the following
curious statement. At Cambridge, Eng., "there is a market every
day in the week, except Monday, for vegetables, poultry, eggs, and
butter. The sale of the last article is attended with the
peculiarity of every pound designed for the market being rolled
out to the length of a yard; each pound being in that state about
the thickness of a walking-cane. This practice, which is confined
to Cambridge, is particularly convenient, as it renders the butter
extremely easy of division into small portions, called _sizes_, as
used in the Colleges."--_Camb. Guide_, Ed. 1845, p. 213.
BUTTERY. An apartment in a house where butter, milk, provisions,
and utensils are kept. In some colleges, a room where liquors,
fruit, and refreshments are kept for sale to the
Of the Buttery, Mr. Peirce, in his History of Harvard University,
speaks as follows: "As the Commons rendered the College
independent of private boarding-houses, so the _Buttery_ removed
all 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, and which for the most part were not
included in the Commons' fare. The Buttery was also an office,
where, among other things, records were kept of the times when the
scholars were present and absent. At their admission and
subsequent returns they entered their names in the Buttery, and
took them out whenever they had leave of absence. The Butler, who
was a graduate, had various other duties to perform, either by
himself or by his _Freshman_, as ringing the bell, seeing that the
Hall was kept clean, &c., and was allowed a salary, which, after
1765, was L60 per annum."--_Hist. Harv. Univ._, p. 220.
With particular reference to the condition of Harvard College a
few years prior to the Revolution, Professor Sidney Willard
observes: "The Buttery was in part a sort of appendage to Commons,
where the scholars could eke out their short commons with sizings
of gingerbread and pastry, or needlessly or injuriously cram
themselves to satiety, as they had been accustomed to be crammed
at home by their fond mothers. Besides eatables, everything
necessary for a student was there sold, and articles used in the
play-grounds, as bats, balls, &c.; and, in general, a petty trade
with small profits was carried on in stationery and other matters,
--in things innocent or suitable for the young customers, and in
some things, perhaps, which were not. The Butler had a small
salary, and was allowed the service of a Freshman in the Buttery,
who was also employed to ring the college bell for prayers,
lectures, and recitations, and take some oversight of the public
rooms under the Butler's directions. The Buttery was also the
office of record of the names of undergraduates, and of the rooms
assigned to them in the college buildings; of the dates of
temporary leave of absence given to individuals, and of their
return; and of fines inflicted by the immediate government for
negligence or minor offences. The office was dropped or abolished
in the first year of the present century, I believe, long after it
ceased to be of use for most of its primary purposes. The area
before the entry doors of the Buttery had become a sort of
students' exchange for idle gossip, if nothing worse. The rooms
were now redeemed from traffic, and devoted to places of study,
and other provision was made for the records which had there been
kept. The last person who held the office of Butler was Joseph
Chickering, a graduate of 1799."--_Memories of Youth and Manhood_,
1855, Vol. I. pp. 31, 32.
President Woolsey, in his Historical Discourse pronounced before
the Graduates of Yale College, August 14th, 1850, makes the
following remarks on this subject: "The original motives for
setting up a buttery in colleges seem to have been, to put the
trade in articles which appealed to the appetite into safe hands;
to ascertain how far students were expensive in their habits, and
prevent them from running into debt; and finally, by providing a
place where drinkables of not very stimulating qualities were
sold, to remove the temptation of going abroad after spirituous
liquors. Accordingly, laws were passed limiting the sum for which
the Butler might give credit to a student, authorizing the
President to inspect his books, and forbidding him to sell
anything except permitted articles for ready money. But the whole
system, as viewed from our position as critics of the past, must
be pronounced a bad one. It rather tempted the student to
self-indulgence by setting up a place for the sale of things to
eat and drink within the College walls, than restrained him by
bringing his habits under inspection. There was nothing to prevent
his going abroad in quest of stronger drinks than could be bought
at the buttery, when once those which were there sold ceased to
allay his thirst. And a monopoly, such as the Butler enjoyed of
certain articles, did not tend to lower their price, or to remove
suspicion that they were sold at a higher rate than free
competition would assign to them."--pp. 44, 45.
"When," says the Gradus ad Cantabrigiam, "the 'punishment
obscene,' as Cowper, the poet, very properly terms it, of
_flagellation_, was enforced at our University, it appears that
the Buttery was the scene of action. In The Poor Scholar, a
comedy, written by Robert Nevile, Fellow of King's College in
Cambridge, London, 1662, one of the students having lost his gown,
which is picked up by the President of the College, the tutor
says, 'If we knew the owner, we 'd take him down to th' Butterie,
and give him due correction.' To which the student, (_aside_,)
'Under correction, Sir; if you're for the Butteries with me, I'll
lie as close as Diogenes in dolio. I'll creep in at the bunghole,
before I'll _mount a barrel_,' &c. (Act II. Sc. 6.)--Again: 'Had I
been once i' th' Butteries, they'd have their rods about me. But
let us, for joy that I'm escaped, go to the Three Tuns and drink
a pint of wine, and laugh away our cares.--'T is drinking at the
Tuns that keeps us from ascending Buttery barrels,' &c." By a
reference to the word PUNISHMENT, it will be seen that, in the
older American colleges, corporal punishment was inflicted upon
disobedient students in a manner much more solemn and imposing,
the students and officers usually being present.
The effect of _crossing the name in the buttery_ is thus stated in
the Collegian's Guide. "To keep a term requires residence in the
University for a certain number of days within a space of time
known by the calendar, and the books of the buttery afford the
appointed proof of residence; it being presumed that, if neither
bread, butter, pastry, beer, or even toast and water (which is
charged one farthing), are entered on the buttery books in a given
name, the party could not have been resident that day. Hence the
phrase of 'eating one's way into the church or to a doctor's
degree.' Supposing, for example, twenty-one days' residence is
required between the first of May and the twenty-fourth inclusive,
then there will be but three days to spare; consequently, should
our names be crossed for more than three days in all in that term,
--say for four days,--the other twenty days would not count, and
the term would be irrecoverably lost. Having our names crossed in
the buttery, therefore, is a punishment which suspends our
collegiate existence while the cross remains, besides putting an
embargo on our pudding, beer, bread and cheese, milk, and butter;
for these articles come out of the buttery."--p. 157.
These remarks apply both to the Universities of Oxford and
Cambridge; but in the latter the phrase _to be put out of commons_
is used instead of the one given above, yet with the same meaning.
See _Gradus ad Cantabrigiam_, p. 32.
The following extract from the laws of Harvard College, passed in
1734, shows that this term was formerly used in that institution:
"No scholar shall be _put in or out of Commons_, but on Tuesdays
or Fridays, and no Bachelor or Undergraduate, but by a note from
the President, or one of the Tutors (if an Undergraduate, from his
own Tutor, if in town); and when any Bachelors or Undergraduates
have been out of Commons, the waiters, at their respective tables,
shall, on the first Tuesday or Friday after they become obliged by
the preceding law to be in Commons, _put them into Commons_ again,
by note, after the manner above directed. And if any Master
neglects to put himself into Commons, when, by the preceding law,
he is obliged to be in Commons, the waiters on the Masters' table
shall apply to the President or one of the Tutors for a note to
put him into Commons, and inform him of it."
Be mine each morn, with eager appetite
And hunger undissembled, to repair
To friendly _Buttery_; there on smoking Crust
And foaming Ale to banquet unrestrained,
_The Student_, 1750, Vol. I. p. 107.
BUTTERY-BOOK. In colleges, a book kept at the _buttery_, in which
was charged the prices of such articles as were sold to the
students. There was also kept a list of the fines imposed by the
president and professors, and an account of the times when the
students were present and absent, together with a register of the
names of all the members of the college.
My name in sure recording page
Shall time itself o'erpower,
If no rude mice with envious rage
The _buttery-books_ devour.
_The Student_, Vol. I. p. 348.
BUTTERY-HATCH. A half-door between the buttery or kitchen and the
hall, in colleges and old mansions. Also called a
_buttery-bar_.--_Halliwell's Arch. and Prov. Words_.
If any scholar or scholars at any time take away or detain any
vessel of the colleges, great or small, from the hall out of the
doors from the sight of the _buttery-hatch_ without the butler's
or servitor's knowledge, or against their will, he or they shall
be punished three pence.--_Quincy's Hist. Harv. Coll._, Vol. I. p.
He (the college butler) domineers over Freshmen, when they first
come to the _hatch_.--_Earle's Micro-cosmographie_, 1628, Char.
There was a small ledging or bar on this hatch to rest the
I pray you, bring your hand to the _buttery-bar_, and let it
drink.--_Twelfth Night_, Act I. Sc. 3.
BYE-FELLOW. In England, a name given in certain cases to a fellow
in an inferior college. At the University of Cambridge, Eng., a
bye-fellow can be elected to one of the regular fellowships when a
BYE-FELLOWSHIP. An inferior establishment in a college for the
nominal maintenance of what is called a _bye-fellow_, or a fellow
out of the regular course.
The emoluments of the fellowships vary from a merely nominal
income, in the case of what are called _Bye-fellowships_, to
$2,000 per annum.--_Literary World_, Vol. XII. p. 285.
BYE-FOUNDATION. In the English universities, a foundation from
which an insignificant income and an inferior maintenance are
BYE-TERM. In the University of Cambridge, Eng., students who take
the degree of B.A. at any other time save January, are said to
"_go out in a bye-term_."
Bristed uses this word, as follows: "I had a double
disqualification exclusive of illness. First, as a Fellow
Commoner.... Secondly, as a _bye-term man_, or one between two
years. Although I had entered into residence at the same time with
those men who were to go out in 1844, my name had not been placed
on the College Books, like theirs, previously to the commencement
of 1840. I had therefore lost a term, and for most purposes was
considered a Freshman, though I had been in residence as long as
any of the Junior Sophs. In fact, I was _between two
years_."--_Five Years in an Eng. Univ._, Ed. 2d, pp. 97, 98.
CAD. A low fellow, nearly equivalent to _snob_. Used among
students in the University of Cambridge, Eng.--_Bristed_.
CAHOOLE. At the University of North Carolina, this word in its
application is almost universal, but generally signifies to
cajole, to wheedle, to deceive, to procure.
CALENDAR. At the English universities the information which in
American colleges is published in a catalogue, is contained in a
similar but far more comprehensive work, called a _calendar_.
Conversation based on the topics of which such a volume treats is
in some localities denominated _calendar_.
"Shop," or, as it is sometimes here called, "_Calendar_,"
necessarily enters to a large extent into the conversation of the
Cantabs.--_Bristed's Five Years in an Eng. Univ._, Ed. 2d, p. 82.
I would lounge about into the rooms of those whom I knew for
general literary conversation,--even to talk _Calendar_ if there
was nothing else to do.--_Ibid._, p. 120.
CALVIN'S FOLLY. At the University of Vermont, "this name," writes
a correspondent, "is given to a door, four inches thick and
closely studded with spike-nails, dividing the chapel hall from
the staircase leading to the belfry. It is called _Calvin's
Folly_, because it was planned by a professor of that (Christian)
name, in order to keep the students out of the belfry, which
dignified scheme it has utterly failed to accomplish. It is one of
the celebrities of the Old Brick Mill, and strangers always
see it and hear its history."
CAMEL. In Germany, a student on entering the university becomes a
CAMPUS. At the College of New Jersey, the college yard is
denominated the _Campus_. _Back Campus_, the privies.
CANTAB. Abridged for CANTABRIGIAN.
It was transmitted to me by a respectable _Cantab_ for insertion.
--_Hone's Every-day Book_, Vol. I. p. 697.
Should all this be a mystery to our uncollegiate friends, or even
to many matriculated _Cantabs_, we advise them not to attempt to
unriddle it.--_Harvardiana_, Vol. III. p. 39.
CANTABRIGIAN. A student or graduate of the University of
Cambridge, Eng. Used also at Cambridge, Mass., of the students and
CANTABRIGICALLY. According to Cambridge.
To speak _Cantabrigically_.--_Bristed's Five Years in an Eng.
Univ._, Ed. 2d, p. 28.
CAP. The cap worn by students at the University of Cambridge,
Eng., is described by Bristed in the following passage: "You must
superadd the academical costume. This consists of a gown, varying
in color and ornament according to the wearer's college and rank,
but generally black, not unlike an ordinary clerical gown, and a
square-topped cap, which fits close to the head like a truncated
helmet, while the covered board which forms the crown measures
about a foot diagonally across."--_Five Years in an Eng. Univ._,
Ed. 2d, p. 4.
A similar cap is worn at Oxford and at some American colleges on
CAP. To uncover the head in reverence or civility.
The youth, ignorant who they were, had omitted to _cap_
them.--_Gent. Mag._, Vol. XXIV. p. 567.
I could not help smiling, when, among the dignitaries whom I was
bound to make obeisance to by _capping_ whenever I met them, Mr.
Jackson's catalogue included his all-important self in the number.
--_The Etonian_, Vol. II. p. 217.
The obsequious attention of college servants, and the more
unwilling "_capping_" of the undergraduates, to such a man are
real luxuries.--_Blackwood's Mag._, Eng. ed., Vol. LVI. p. 572.
Used in the English universities.
CAPTAIN OF THE POLL. The first of the Polloi.
He had moreover been _Captain_ (Head) _of the Poll_.--_Bristed's
Five Years in an Eng. Univ._, Ed. 2d, p. 96.
CAPUT SENATUS. Latin; literally, _the head of the Senate_. In
Cambridge, Eng., a council of the University by which every grace
must be approved, before it can be submitted to the senate. The
Caput Senatus is formed of the vice-chancellor, a doctor in each
of the faculties of divinity, law, and medicine, and one regent
M.A., and one non-regent M.A. The vice-chancellor's five
assistants are elected annually by the heads of houses and the
doctors of the three faculties, out of fifteen persons nominated
by the vice-chancellor and the proctors.--_Webster. Cam. Cal. Lit.
World_, Vol. XII. p. 283.
CARCER. Latin. In German schools and universities, a
prison.--_Adler's Germ, and Eng. Dict._
Wollten ihn drauf die Nuernberger Herren
Mir nichts, dir nichts ins _Carcer_ sperren.
And their Nur'mberg worships swore he should go
To _jail_ for his pains,--if he liked it, or no.
_Trans. Wallenstein's Camp, in Bohn's Stand. Lib._, p. 155.
CASTLE END. At Cambridge, Eng., a noted resort for Cyprians.
CATHARINE PURITANS. In the University of Cambridge, Eng., the
members of St. Catharine's Hall are thus designated, from the
implied derivation of the word Catharine from the Greek [Greek:
CAUTION MONEY. In the English universities, a deposit in the hands
of the tutor at entrance, by way of security.
With reference to Oxford, De Quincey says of _caution money_:
"This is a small sum, properly enough demanded of every student,
when matriculated, as a pledge for meeting any loss from unsettled
arrears, such as his sudden death or his unannounced departure
might else continually be inflicting upon his college. In most
colleges it amounts to L25; in one only it was considerably less."
--_Life and Manners_, p. 249.
In American colleges, a bond is usually given by a student upon
entering college, in order to secure the payment of all his
CENSOR. In the University of Oxford, Eng., a college officer whose
duties are similar to those of the Dean.
CEREVIS. From Latin _cerevisia_, beer. Among German students, a
small, round, embroidered cap, otherwise called a beer-cap.
Better authorities ... have lately noted in the solitary student
that wends his way--_cerevis_ on head, note-book in hand--to the
professor's class-room,... a vast improvement on the _Bursche_ of
twenty years ago.--_Lond. Quart. Rev._, Am. ed., Vol. LXXIII. p.
CHAMBER. The apartment of a student at a college or university.
This word, although formerly used in American colleges, has been
of late almost entirely supplanted by the word _room_, and it is
for this reason that it is here noticed.
If any of them choose to provide themselves with breakfasts in
their own _chambers_, they are allowed so to do, but not to
breakfast in one another's _chambers_.--_Quincy's Hist. Harv.
Univ._, Vol. II. p. 116.
Some ringleaders gave up their _chambers_.--_Ibid._, Vol. II. p.
CHAMBER-MATE. One who inhabits the same room or chamber with
another. Formerly used at our colleges. The word CHUM is now very
generally used in its place; sometimes _room-mate_ is substituted.
If any one shall refuse to find his proportion of furniture, wood,
and candles, the President and Tutors shall charge such
delinquent, in his quarter bills, his full proportion, which sum
shall be paid to his _chamber-mate_.--_Laws Harv. Coll._, 1798, p.
CHANCELLOR. The chancellor of a university is an officer who seals
the diplomas, or letters of degree, &c. The Chancellor of Oxford
is usually one of the prime nobility, elected by the students in
convocation; and he holds the office for life. He is the chief
magistrate in the government of the University. The Chancellor of
Cambridge is also elected from among the prime nobility. The
office is biennial, or tenable for such a length of time beyond
two years as the tacit consent of the University may choose to
allow.--_Webster. Cam. Guide_.
"The Chancellor," says the Oxford Guide, "is elected by
convocation, and his office is for life; but he never, according
to usage, is allowed to set foot in this University, excepting on
the occasion of his installation, or when he is called upon to
accompany any royal visitors."--Ed. 1847, p. xi.
At Cambridge, the office of Chancellor is, except on rare
occasions, purely honorary, and the Chancellor himself seldom
appears at Cambridge. He is elected by the Senate.
2. At Trinity College, Hartford, the _Chancellor_ is the Bishop of
the Diocese of Connecticut, and is also the Visitor of the
College. He is _ex officio_ the President of the
Corporation.--_Calendar Trin. Coll._, 1850, pp. 6, 7.
CHAPEL. A house for public worship, erected separate from a
church. In England, chapels in the universities are places of
worship belonging to particular colleges. The chapels connected
with the colleges in the United States are used for the same
purpose. Religious exercises are usually held in them twice a day,
morning and evening, besides the services on the Sabbath.
CHAPEL. At the University of Cambridge, Eng., the attendance at
daily religious services in the chapel of each college at morning
and evening is thus denominated.
Some time ago, upon an endeavor to compel the students of one
college to increase their number of "_chapels_," as the attendance
is called, there was a violent outcry, and several squibs were
written by various hands.--_Westminster Rev._, Am. ed., Vol. XXXV.
It is rather surprising that there should be so much shirking of
_chapel_, when the very moderate amount of attendance required is
considered.--_Bristed's Five Years in an Eng. Univ._, Ed. 2d, p.
To _keep chapel_, is to be present at the daily religious services
The Undergraduate is expected to go to chapel eight times, or, in
academic parlance, to _keep eight chapels_ a week, two on Sunday,
and one on every week-day, attending morning or evening _chapel_
on week-days at his option. Nor is even this indulgent standard
rigidly enforced. I believe if a Pensioner keeps six chapels, or a
Fellow-Commoner four, and is quite regular in all other respects,
he will never be troubled by the Dean. It certainly is an argument
in favor of severe discipline, that there is more grumbling and
hanging back, and unwillingness to conform to these extremely
moderate requisitions, than is exhibited by the sufferers at a New
England college, who have to keep sixteen chapels a week, seven of
them at unreasonable hours. Even the scholars, who are literally
paid for going, every chapel being directly worth two shillings
sterling to them, are by no means invariable in attending the
proper number of times.--_Bristed's Five Years in an Eng. Univ._,
Ed. 2d, pp. 16, 17.
CHAPEL CLERK. At Cambridge, Eng., in some colleges, it is the duty
of this officer to _mark_ the students as they enter chapel; in
others, he merely sees that the proper lessons are read, by the
students appointed by the Dean for that purpose.--_Gradus ad
The _chapel clerk_ is sent to various parties by the deans, with
orders to attend them after chapel and be reprimanded, but the
_chapel clerk_ almost always goes to the wrong
person.--_Westminster Rev._, Am. ed., Vol. XXXV. p. 235.
CHAPLAIN. In universities and colleges, the clergyman who performs
divine service, morning and evening.
CHAW. A deception or trick.
To say, "It's all a gum," or "a regular _chaw_" is the same thing.
--_The Dartmouth_, Vol. IV. p. 117.
CHAW. To use up.
Yesterday a Junior cracked a joke on me, when all standing round
shouted in great glee, "Chawed! Freshman chawed! Ha! ha! ha!" "No
I a'n't _chawed_," said I, "I'm as whole as ever." But I didn't
understand, when a fellow is _used up_, he is said to be _chawed_;
if very much used up, he is said to be _essentially chawed_.--_The
Dartmouth_, Vol. IV. p. 117.
The verb _to chaw up_ is used with nearly the same meaning in some
of the Western States.
Miss Patience said she was gratified to hear Mr. Cash was a
musician; she admired people who had a musical taste. Whereupon
Cash fell into a chair, as he afterwards observed, _chawed
up_.--_Thorpe's Backwoods_, p. 28.
CHIP DAY. At Williams College a day near the beginning of spring
is thus designated, and is explained in the following passage.
"They give us, near the close of the second term, what is called
'_chip day_,' when we put the grounds in order, and remove the
ruins caused by a winter's siege on the woodpiles."--_Sketches of
Williams College_, 1847, p. 79.
Another writer refers to the day, in a newspaper paragraph.
"'_Chip day_,' at the close of the spring term, is still observed
in the old-fashioned way. Parties of students go off to the hills,
and return with brush, and branches of evergreen, with which the
chips, which have accumulated during the winter, are brushed
together, and afterwards burnt."--_Boston Daily Evening
Traveller_, July 12, 1854.
About college there had been, in early spring, the customary
cleaning up of "_chip day_."--_Williams Quarterly_, Vol. II. p.
CHOPPING AT THE TREE. At University College in the University of
Oxford, "a curious and ancient custom, called '_chopping at the
tree_,' still prevails. On Easter Sunday, every member, as he
leaves the hall after dinner, chops with a cleaver at a small tree
dressed up for the occasion with evergreens and flowers, and
placed on a turf close to the buttery. The cook stands by for his
accustomed largess."--_Oxford Guide_, Ed. 1847, p. 144, note.
CHORE. In the German universities, a club or society of the
students is thus designated.
Duels between members of different _chores_ were once
frequent;--sometimes one man was obliged to fight the members of a
whole _chore_ in succession.--_Yale Lit. Mag._, Vol. XV. p. 5.
CHRISTIAN. In the University of Cambridge, Eng., a member of
CHUM. Armenian, _chomm_, or _chommein_, or _ham_, to dwell, stay,
or lodge; French, _chomer_, to rest; Saxon, _ham_, home. A
chamber-fellow; one who lodges or resides in the same
This word is used at the universities and colleges, both in
England and the United States.
A young student laid a wager with his _chum_, that the Dean was at
that instant smoking his pipe.--_Philip's Life and Poems_, p. 13.
But his _chum_
Had wielded, in his just defence,
A bowl of vast circumference.--_Rebelliad_, p. 17.
Every set of chambers was possessed by two co-occupants; they had
generally the same bedroom, and a common study; and they were
called _chums_.--_De Quincey's Life and Manners_, p. 251.
I am again your petitioner in behalf of that great _chum_ of
literature, Samuel Johnson.--_Smollett, in Boswell_.
In this last instance, the word _chum_ is used either with the
more extended meaning of companion, friend, or, as the sovereign
prince of Tartary is called the _Cham_ or _Khan_, so Johnson is
called the _chum_ (cham) or prince of literature.
CHUM. To occupy a chamber with another.
CHUMMING. Occupying a room with another.
Such is one of the evils of _chumming_.--_Harvardiana_, Vol. I. p.
CHUMSHIP. The state of occupying a room in company with another;
In the seventeenth century, in Milton's time, for example, (about
1624,) and for more than sixty years after that era, the practice
of _chumship_ prevailed.--_De Quincey's Life and Manners_, p. 251.
CIVILIAN. A student of the civil law at the university.--_Graves.
CLARIAN. In the University of Cambridge, Eng., a member of Clare
CLASS. A number of students in a college or school, of the same
standing, or pursuing the same studies. In colleges, the students
entering or becoming members the same year, and pursuing the same
In the University of Oxford, _class_ is the division of the
candidates who are examined for their degrees according to their
rate of merit. Those who are entitled to this distinction are
denominated _Classmen_, answering to the _optimes_ and _wranglers_
in the University of Cambridge.--_Crabb's Tech. Dict._
See an interesting account of "reading for a first class," in the
Collegian's Guide, Chap. XII.
CLASS. To place in ranks or divisions students that are pursuing
the same studies; to form into a class or classes.--_Webster_.
CLASS BOOK. Within the last thirty or forty years, a custom has
arisen at Harvard College of no small importance in an historical
point of view, but which is principally deserving of notice from
the many pleasing associations to which its observance cannot fail
to give rise. Every graduating class procures a beautiful and
substantial folio of many hundred pages, called the _Class Book_,
and lettered with the year of the graduation of the class. In this
a certain number of pages is allotted to each individual of the
class, in which he inscribes a brief autobiography, paying
particular attention to names and dates. The book is then
deposited in the hands of the _Class Secretary_, whose duty it is
to keep a faithful record of the marriage, birth of children, and
death of each of his classmates, together with their various
places of residence, and the offices and honors to which each may
have attained. This information is communicated to him by letter
by his classmates, and he is in consequence prepared to answer any
inquiries relative to any member of the class. At his death, the
book passes into the hands of one of the _Class Committee_, and at
their death, into those of some surviving member of the class; and
when the class has at length become extinct, it is deposited on
the shelves of the College Library.
The Class Book also contains a full list of all persons who have
at any time been members of the class, together with such
information as can be gathered in reference to them; and an
account of the prizes, deturs, parts at Exhibitions and
Commencement, degrees, etc., of all its members. Into it are also
copied the Class Oration, Poem, and Ode, and the Secretary's
report of the class meeting, at which the officers were elected.
It is also intended to contain the records of all future class
meetings, and the accounts of the Class Secretary, who is _ex
officio_ Class Treasurer and Chairman of the Class Committee. By
virtue of his office of Class Treasurer, he procures the _Cradle_
for the successful candidate, and keeps in his possession the
Class Fund, which is sometimes raised to defray the accruing
expenses of the Class in future times.
In the Harvardiana, Vol. IV., is an extract from the Class Book of
1838, which is very curious and unique. To this is appended the
following note:--"It may be necessary to inform many of our
readers, that the _Class Book_ is a large volume, in which
autobiographical sketches of the members of each graduating class
are recorded, and which is left in the hands of the Class
CLASS CANE. At Union College, as a mark of distinction, a _class
cane_ was for a time carried by the members of the Junior Class.
The Juniors, although on the whole a clever set of fellows, lean
perhaps with too nonchalant an air on their _class
canes_.--_Sophomore Independent_, Union College, Nov. 1854.
They will refer to their _class cane_, that mark of decrepitude
and imbecility, for old men use canes.--_Ibid._
CLASS CAP. At Hamilton College, it is customary for the Sophomores
to appear in a _class cap_ on the Junior Exhibition day, which is
worn generally during part of the third term.
In American colleges, students frequently endeavor to adopt
distinctive dresses, but the attempt is usually followed by
failure. One of these attempts is pleasantly alluded to in the
Williams Monthly Miscellany. "In a late number, the ambition for
whiskers was made the subject of a remark. The ambition of college
has since taken a somewhat different turn. We allude to the class
caps, which have been introduced in one or two of the classes. The
Freshmen were the first to appear in this species of uniform, a
few days since at evening prayers; the cap which they have adopted
is quite tasteful. The Sophomores, not to be outdone, have voted
to adopt the tarpaulin, having, no doubt, become proficients in
navigation, as lucidly explained in one of their text-books. The
Juniors we understand, will follow suit soon. We hardly know what
is left for the Seniors, unless it be to go bare-headed."--1845,
CLASS COMMITTEE. At Harvard College a committee of two persons,
joined with the _Class Secretary_, who is _ex officio_ its
chairman, whose duty it is, after the class has graduated, during
their lives to call class meetings, whenever they deem it
advisable, and to attend to all other business relating to the
See under CLASS BOOK.
CLASS CRADLE. For some years it has been customary at Harvard
College for the Senior Class, at the meeting for the election of
the officers of Class Day, &c., to appropriate a certain sum of
money, usually not exceeding fifty dollars, for the purchase of a
cradle, to be given to the first member of the class to whom a
child is born in lawful wedlock at a suitable time after marriage.
This sum is intrusted to the hands of the _Class Secretary_, who
is expected to transmit the present to the successful candidate
upon the receipt of the requisite information. In one instance a
_Baby-jumper_ was voted by the class, to be given to the second
member who should be blessed as above stated.
CLASS CUP. It is a theory at Yale College, that each class
appropriates at graduating a certain amount of money for the
purchase of a silver cup, to be given, in the name of the class,
to the first member to whom a child shall be born in lawful
wedlock at a suitable time after marriage. Although the
presentation of the _class cup_ is often alluded to, yet it is
believed that the gift has in no instance been bestowed. It is to
be regretted that a custom so agreeable in theory could not be
reduced to practice.
Each man's mind was made up
To obtain the "_Class Cup_."
_Presentation Day Songs_, June 14, 1854.
See SILVER CUP.
CLASS DAY. The custom at Harvard College of observing with
appropriate exercises the day on which the Senior Class finish
their studies, is of a very early date. The first notice which
appears in reference to this subject is contained in an account of
the disorders which began to prevail among the students about the
year 1760. Among the evils to be remedied are mentioned the
"disorders upon the day of the Senior Sophisters meeting to choose
the officers of the class," when "it was usual for each scholar to
bring a bottle of wine with him, which practice the committee
(that reported upon it) apprehend has a natural tendency to
produce disorders." But the disturbances were not wholly confined
to the _meeting_ when the officers of Class Day were chosen; they
occurred also on Class Day, and it was for this reason that
frequent attempts were made at this period, by the College
government, to suppress its observance. How far their efforts
succeeded is not known, but it is safe to conclude that greater
interruptions were occasioned by the war of the Revolution, than
by the attempts to abolish what it would have been wiser to have
In a MS. Journal, under date of June 21st, 1791, is the following
entry: "Neither the valedictory oration by Ward, nor poem by
Walton, was delivered, on account of a division in the class, and
also because several were gone home." How long previous to this
the 21st of June had been the day chosen for the exercises of the
class, is uncertain; but for many years after, unless for special
reasons, this period was regularly selected for that purpose.
Another extract from the MS. above mentioned, under date of June
21st, 1792, reads: "A valedictory poem was delivered by Paine 1st,
and a valedictory Latin oration by Abiel Abbott."
The biographer of Mr. Robert Treat Paine, referring to the poem
noticed in the above memorandum, says: "The 21st of every June,
till of late years, has been the day on which the members of the
Senior Class closed their collegiate studies, and retired to make
preparations for the ensuing Commencement. On this day it was
usual for one member to deliver an oration, and another a poem;
such members being appointed by their classmates. The Valedictory
Poem of Mr. Paine, a tender, correct, and beautiful effusion of
feeling and taste, was received by the audience with applause and
tears." In another place he speaks on the same subject, as
follows: "The solemnity which produced this poem is extremely
interesting; and, being of ancient date, it is to be hoped that it
may never fall into disuse. His affection for the University Mr.
Paine cherished as one of his most sacred principles. Of this
poem, Mr. Paine always spoke as one of his happiest efforts.
Coming from so young a man, it is certainly very creditable, and
promises more, I fear, than the untoward circumstances of his
after life would permit him to perform."--_Paine's Works_, Ed.
1812, pp. xxvii., 439.
It was always customary, near the close of the last century, for
those who bore the honors of Class Day, to treat their friends
according to the style of the time, and there was scarcely a
graduate who did not provide an entertainment of such sort as he
could afford. An account of the exercises of the day at this
period may not be uninteresting. It is from the Diary which is
above referred to.
"20th (Thursday). This day for special reasons the valedictory
poem and oration were performed. The order of the day was this. At
ten, the class walked in procession to the President's, and
escorted him, the Professors, and Tutors, to the Chapel, preceded
by the band playing solemn music.
"The President began with a short prayer. He then read a chapter
in the Bible; after this he prayed again; Cutler then delivered
his poem. Then the singing club, accompanied by the band,
performed Williams's _Friendship_. This was succeeded by a
valedictory Latin Oration by Jackson. We then formed, and waited
on the government to the President's, where we were very
respectably treated with wine, &c.
"We then marched in procession to Jackson's room, where we drank
punch. At one we went to Mr. Moore's tavern and partook of an
elegant entertainment, which cost 6/4 a piece. Marching then to
Cutler's room, we shook hands, and parted with expressing the
sincerest tokens of friendship." June, 1793.
The incidents of Class Day, five years subsequent to the last
date, are detailed by Professor Sidney Willard, and may not be
omitted in this connection.
"On the 21st of June, 1798, the day of the dismission of the
Senior Class from all academic exercises, the class met in the
College chapel to attend the accustomed ceremonies of the
occasion, and afterwards to enjoy the usual festivities of the
day, since called, for the sake of a name, and for brevity's sake,
Class Day. There had been a want of perfect harmony in the
previous proceedings, which in some degree marred the social
enjoyments of the day; but with the day all dissension closed,
awaiting the dawn of another day, the harbinger of the brighter
recollections of four years spent in pleasant and peaceful
intercourse. There lingered no lasting alienations of feeling.
Whatever were the occasions of the discontent, it soon expired,
was buried in the darkest recesses of discarded memories, and
there lay lost and forgotten.
"After the exercises of the chapel, and visiting the President,
Professors, and Tutors at the President's house, according to the
custom still existing, we marched in procession round the College
halls, to another hall in Porter's tavern, (which some dozen or
fifteen of the oldest living graduates may perhaps remember as
Bradish's tavern, of ancient celebrity,) where we dined. After
dining, we assembled at the Liberty Tree, (according to another
custom still existing,) and in due time, having taken leave of
each other, we departed, some of us to our family homes, and
others to their rooms to make preparations for their
departure."--_Memories of Youth and Manhood_, Vol. II. pp. 1, 3.
Referring to the same event, he observes in another place: "In
speaking of the leave-taking of the College by my class, on the
21st of June, 1798,--Class Day, as it is now called,--I
inadvertently forgot to mention, that according to custom, at that
period, [Samuel P.P.] Fay delivered a Latin Valedictory Oration in
the Chapel, in the presence of the Immediate Government, and of
the students of other classes who chose to be present. Speaking to
him on the subject some time since, he told me that he believed
[Judge Joseph] Story delivered a Poem on the same occasion....
There was no poetical performance in the celebration of the day in
the class before ours, on the same occasion; Dr. John C. Warren's
Latin oration being the only performance, and his class counting
as many reputed poets as ours did."--_Ibid._, Vol. II. p. 320.
Alterations were continually made in the observances of Class Day,
and in twenty years after the period last mentioned, its character
had in many particulars changed. Instead of the Latin, an English
oration of a somewhat sportive nature had been introduced; the
Poem was either serious or comic, at the writer's option; usually,
however, the former. After the exercises in the Chapel, the class
commonly repaired to Porter's Hall, and there partook of a dinner,
not always observing with perfect strictness the rules of
temperance either in eating or drinking. This "cenobitical
symposium" concluded, they again returned to the college yard,
where, scattered in groups under the trees, the rest of the day
was spent in singing, smoking, and drinking, or pretending to
drink, punch; for the negroes who supplied it in pails usually
contrived to take two or more glasses to every one glass that was
drank by those for whom it was provided. The dance around the
"Each hand in comrade's hand,"
closed the regular ceremonies of the day; but generally the
greater part of the succeeding night was spent in feasting and
The punch-drinking in the yard increased to such an extent, that
it was considered by the government of the college as a matter
which demanded their interference; and in the year 1842, on one of
these occasions, an instructor having joined with the students in
their revellings in the yard, the Faculty proposed that, instead
of spending the afternoon in this manner, dancing should be
introduced, which was accordingly done, with the approbation of
The observances of the day, which in a small way may be considered
as a rival of Commencement, are at present as follows. The Orator,
Poet, Odist, Chaplain, and Marshals having been previously chosen,
on the morning of Class Day the Seniors assemble in the yard, and,
preceded by the band, walk in procession to one of the halls of
the College, where a prayer is offered by the Class Chaplain. They
then proceed to the President's house, and escort him to the
Chapel where the following order is observed. A prayer by one of
the College officers is succeeded by the Oration, in which the
transactions of the class from their entrance into College to the
present time are reviewed with witty and appropriate remarks. The
Poem is then pronounced, followed by the Ode, which is sung by the
whole class to the tune of "Fair Harvard." Music is performed at
intervals by the band. The class then withdraw to Harvard Hall,
accompanied by their friends and invited guests, where a rich
collation is provided.
After an interval of from one to two hours, the dancing commences
in the yard. Cotillons and the easier dances are here performed,
but the sport closes in the hall with the Polka and other
fashionable steps. The Seniors again form, and make the circuit of
the yard, cheering the buildings, great and small. They then
assemble under the Liberty Tree, around which with hands joined
they run and dance, after singing the student's adopted song,
"Auld Lang Syne." At parting, each member takes a sprig or a
flower from the beautiful "Wreath" which surrounds the "farewell
tree," which is sacredly treasured as a last memento of college
scenes and enjoyments. Thus close the exercises of the day, after
which the class separate until Commencement.
The more marked events in the observance of Class Day have been
graphically described by Grace Greenwood, in the accompanying
"The exercises on this occasion were to me most novel and
interesting. The graduating class of 1848 are a fine-looking set
of young men certainly, and seem to promise that their country
shall yet be greater and better for the manly energies, the talent
and learning, with which they are just entering upon life.
"The spectators were assembled in the College Chapel, whither the
class escorted the Faculty, headed by President Everett, in his
Oxford hat and gown.
"The President is a man of most imperial presence; his figure has
great dignity, and his head is grand in form and expression. But
to me he looks the governor, the foreign minister and the
President, more than the orator or the poet.
"After a prayer from the Chaplain, we listened to an eloquent
oration from the class orator, Mr. Tiffany, of Baltimore and to a
very elegant and witty poem from the class poet Mr. Clarke, of
Boston. The 'Fair Harvard' having been sung by the class, all
adjourned to the College green, where such as were so disposed
danced to the music of a fine band. From the green we repaired to
Harvard Hall, where an excellent collation was served, succeeded
by dancing. From the hall the students of 1848 marched and cheered
successively every College building, then formed a circle round a
magnificent elm, whose trunk was beautifully garlanded will
flowers, and, with hands joined in a peculiar manner, sung 'Auld
Lang Syne.' The scene was in the highest degree touching and
impressive, so much of the beauty and glory of life was there, so
much of the energy, enthusiasm, and proud unbroken strength of
manhood. With throbbing hearts and glowing lips, linked for a few
moments with strong, fraternal grasps, they stood, with one deep,
common feeling, thrilling like one pulse through all. An
involuntary prayer sprang to my lips, that they might ever prove
true to _Alma Mater_, to one another, to their country, and to
"As the singing ceased, the students began running swiftly around
the tree, and at the cry, 'Harvard!' a second circle was formed by
the other students, which gave a tumultuous excitement to the
scene. It broke up at last with a perfect storm of cheers, and a
hasty division among the class of the garland which encircled the
elm, each taking a flower in remembrance of the day."--_Greenwood
Leaves_, Ed. 3d, 1851, pp. 350, 351.
In the poem which was read before the class of 1851, by William C.
Bradley, the comparisons of those about to graduate with the youth
who is attaining to his majority, and with the traveller who has
stopped a little for rest and refreshment, are so genial and
suggestive, that their insertion in this connection will not be
deemed out of place.
"'T is a good custom, long maintained,
When the young heir has manhood gained,
To solemnize the welcome date,
Accession to the man's estate,
With open house and rousing game,
And friends to wish him joy and fame:
So Harvard, following thus the ways
Of careful sires of older days,
Directs her children till they grow
The strength of ripened years to know,
And bids their friends and kindred, then,
To come and hail her striplings--men.
"And as, about the table set,
Or on the shady grass-plat met,
They give the youngster leave to speak
Of vacant sport, and boyish freak,
So now would we (such tales have power
At noon-tide to abridge the hour)
Turn to the past, and mourn or praise
The joys and pains of boyhood's days.
"Like travellers with their hearts intent
Upon a distant journey bent,
We rest upon the earliest stage
Of life's laborious pilgrimage;
But like the band of pilgrims gay
(Whom Chaucer sings) at close of day,
That turned with mirth, and cheerful din,
To pass their evening at the inn,
Hot from the ride and dusty, we,
But yet untired and stout and free,
And like the travellers by the door,
Sit down and talk the journey o'er."
As a specimen of the character of the Ode which is always sung on
Class Day to the tune "Fair Harvard,"--which is the name by which
the melody "Believe me, if all those endearing young charms" has
been adopted at Cambridge,--that which was written by Joshua
Danforth Robinson for the class of 1851 is here inserted.
"The days of thy tenderly nurture are done,
We call for the lance and the shield;
There's a battle to fight and a crown to be won,
And onward we press to the field!
But yet, Alma Mater, before we depart,
Shall the song of our farewell be sung,
And the grasp of the hand shall express for the heart
Emotions too deep for the tongue.
"This group of thy sons, Alma Mater, no more
May gladden thine ear with their song,
For soon we shall stand upon Time's crowded shore,
And mix in humanity's throng.
O, glad be the voices that ring through thy halls
When the echo of ours shall have flown,
And the footsteps that sound when no longer thy walls
Shall answer the tread of our own!
"Alas! our dear Mother, we see on thy face
A shadow of sorrow to-day;
For while we are clasped in thy farewell embrace,
And pass from thy bosom away,
To part with the living, we know, must recall
The lost whom thy love still embalms,
That one sigh must escape and one tear-drop must fall
For the children that died in thy arms.
"But the flowers of affection, bedewed by the tears
In the twilight of Memory distilled,
And sunned by the love of our earlier years,
When the soul with their beauty was thrilled,
Untouched by the frost of life's winter, shall blow,
And breathe the same odor they gave
When the vision of youth was entranced by their glow,
Till, fadeless, they bloom o'er the grave."
A most genial account of the exercises of the Class Day of the
graduates of the year 1854 may be found in Harper's Magazine, Vol.
IX. pp. 554, 555.
CLASSIC. One learned in classical literature; a student of the
ancient Greek and Roman authors of the first rank.
These men, averaging about twenty-three years of age, the best
_Classics_ and Mathematicians of their years, were reading for
Fellowships.--_Bristed's Five Years in an Eng. Univ._, Ed. 2d, p.
A quiet Scotchman irreproachable as a _classic_ and a
whist-player.--_Ibid._, p. 57.
The mathematical examination was very difficult, and made great
havoc among the _classics_.--_Ibid._, p. 62.
CLASSIC SHADES. A poetical appellation given to colleges and
He prepares for his departure,--but he must, ere he repair
To the "_classic shades_," et cetera,--visit his "ladye fayre."
_Poem before Iadma_, Harv. Coll., 1850.
I exchanged the farm-house of my father for the "_classic shades_"
of Union.--_The Parthenon_, Union Coll., 1851, p. 18.
CLASSIS. Same meaning as Class. The Latin for the English.
[They shall] observe the generall hours appointed for all the
students, and the speciall houres for their own _classis_.--_New
England's First Fruits_, in _Mass. Hist. Coll._, Vol. I. p. 243.
CLASS LIST. In the University of Oxford, a list in which are
entered the names of those who are examined for their degrees,
according to their rate of merit.
At the University of Cambridge, Eng., the names of those who are
examined at stated periods are placed alphabetically in the class
lists, but the first eight or ten individual places are generally
There are some men who read for honors in that covetous and
contracted spirit, and so bent upon securing the name of
scholarship, even at the sacrifice of the reality, that, for the
pleasure of reading their names at the top of the _class list_,
they would make the examiners a present of all their Latin and
Greek the moment they left the schools.--_Collegian's Guide_, p.
CLASSMAN. See CLASS.
CLASS MARSHAL. In many colleges in the United States, a _class
marshal_ is chosen by the Senior Class from their own number, for
the purpose of regulating the procession on the day of
Commencement, and, as at Harvard College, on Class Day also.
"At Union College," writes a correspondent, "the class marshal is
elected by the Senior Class during the third term. He attends to
the order of the procession on Commencement Day, and walks into
the church by the side of the President. He chooses several
assistants, who attend to the accommodation of the audience. He is
chosen from among the best-looking and most popular men of the
class, and the honor of his office is considered next to that of
the Vice-President of the Senate for the third term."
CLASSMATE. A member of the same class with another.
The day is wound up with a scene of careless laughter and
merriment, among a dozen of joke-loving _classmates_.--_Harv.
Reg._, p. 202.
CLASS MEETING. A meeting where all the class are assembled for the
purpose of carrying out some measure, appointing class officers,
or transacting business of interest to the whole class.
In Harvard College, no class, or general, or other meeting of
students can be called without an application in writing of three
students, and no more, expressing the purpose of such meeting, nor
otherwise than by a printed notice, signed by the President,
expressing the time, the object, and place of such meeting, and
the three students applying for such meeting are held responsible
for any proceedings at it contrary to the laws of the
College.--_Laws Univ. Cam., Mass._, 1848, Appendix.
Similar regulations are in force at all other American colleges.
At Union College the statute on this subject was formerly in these
words: "No class meetings shall be held without special license
from the President; and for such purposes only as shall be
expressed in the license; nor shall any class meeting be continued
by adjournment or otherwise, without permission; and all class
meetings held without license shall be considered as unlawful
combinations, and punished accordingly."--_Laws Union Coll._,
1807, pp. 37, 38.
While one, on fame alone intent,
Seek to be chosen President
Of clubs, or a _class meeting_.
_Harv. Reg._, p. 247.
CLASSOLOGY. That science which treats of the members of the
classes of a college. This word is used in the title of a pleasant
_jeu d'esprit_ by Mr. William Biglow, on the class which graduated
at Harvard College in 1792. It is called, "_Classology_: an
Anacreontic Ode, in Imitation of 'Heathen Mythology.'"
See under HIGH GO.
CLASS SECRETARY. For an account of this officer, see under CLASS
CLASS SUPPER. In American colleges, a supper attended only by the
members of a collegiate class. Class suppers are given in some
colleges at the close of each year; in others, only at the close
of the Sophomore and Senior years, or at one of these periods.
CLASS TREES. At Bowdoin College, "immediately after the annual
examination of each class," says a correspondent, "the members
that compose it are accustomed to form a ring round a tree, and
then, not dance, but run around it. So quickly do they revolve,
that every individual runner has a tendency 'to go off in a
tangent,' which it is difficult to resist for any length of time.
The three lower classes have a tree by themselves in front of
Massachusetts Hall. The Seniors have one of their own in front of
For an account of a similar and much older custom, prevalent at
Harvard College, see under CLASS DAY and LIBERTY TREE.
CLIMBING. In reference to this word, a correspondent from
Dartmouth College writes: "At the commencement of this century,
the Greek, Latin, and Philosophical Orations were assigned by the
Faculty to the best scholars, while the Valedictorian was chosen
from the remainder by his classmates. It was customary for each
one of these four to treat his classmates, which was called
'_Climbing_,' from the effect which the liquor would have in
elevating the class to an equality with the first scholars."
CLIOSOPHIC. A word compounded from _Clio_, the Muse who presided
over history, and [Greek: sophos], intelligent. At Yale College,
this word was formerly used to designate an oration on the arts
and sciences, which was delivered annually at the examination in
Having finished his academic course, by the appointment of the
President he delivered the _cliosophic_ oration in the College
Hall.--_Holmes's Life of Ezra Stiles_, p. 13.
COACH. In the English universities, this term is variously
applied, as will be seen by a reference to the annexed examples.
It is generally used to designate a private tutor.
Everything is (or used to be) called a "_coach_" at Oxford: a
lecture-class, or a club of men meeting to take wine, luncheon, or
breakfast alternately, were severally called a "wine, luncheon, or
breakfast _coach_"; so a private tutor was called a "private
_coach_"; and one, like Hilton of Worcester, very famed for
getting his men safe through, was termed "a Patent Safety."--_The
Collegian's Guide_, p. 103.
It is to his private tutors, or "_coaches_," that he looks for
instruction.--_Household Words_, Vol. II. p. 160.
He applies to Mr. Crammer. Mr. Crammer is a celebrated "_coach_"
for lazy and stupid men, and has a system of his own which has met
with decided success.--_Ibid._, Vol. II. p. 162.
COACH. To prepare a student to pass an examination; to make use of
the aid of a private tutor.
He is putting on all steam, and "_coaching_" violently for the
Classical Tripos.--_Bristed's Five Years in an Eng. Univ._, Ed.
2d. p. 10.
It is not every man who can get a Travis to _coach_ him.--_Ibid._,
COACHING. A cant term, in the British universities, for preparing
a student, by the assistance of a private tutor, to pass an
Whether a man shall throw away every opportunity which a
university is so eminently calculated to afford, and come away
with a mere testamur gained rather by the trickery of private
_coaching_ (tutoring) than by mental improvement, depends,
&c.--_The Collegian's Guide_, p. 15.
COAX. This word was formerly used at Yale College in the same
sense as the word _fish_ at Harvard, viz. to seek or gain the
favor of a teacher by flattery. One of the Proverbs of Solomon was
often changed by the students to read as follows: "Surely the
churning of milk bringeth forth butter, and the wringing of the
nose bringeth forth blood; so the _coaxing_ of tutors bringeth
forth parts."--_Prov._ xxx. 33.
COCHLEAUREATUS, _pl._ COCHLEAUREATI. Latin, _cochlear_, a spoon,
and _laureatus_, laurelled. A free translation would be, _one
honored with a spoon_.
At Yale College, the wooden spoon is given to the one whose name
comes last on the list of appointees for the Junior Exhibition.
The recipient of this honor is designated _cochleaureatus_.
Now give in honor of the spoon
Three cheers, long, loud, and hearty,
And three for every honored June
_Songs of Yale_, 1853, p. 37.
See WOODEN SPOON.
COFFIN. At the University of Vermont, a boot, especially a large
one. A companion to the word HUMMEL, q.v.
COLLAR. At Yale College, "to come up with; to seize; to lay hold
on; to appropriate."--_Yale Lit. Mag._, Vol. XIV. p. 144.
By that means the oration marks will be effectually _collared_,
with scarce an effort.--_Yale Banger_, Oct. 1848.
COLLECTION. In the University of Oxford, a college examination,
which takes place at the end of every term before the Warden and
Read some Herodotus for _Collections_.--_The Etonian_, Vol. II. p.
The College examinations, called _collections_, are strictly
private.--_Bristed's Five Years in an Eng. Univ._, Ed. 2d, p. 139.
COLLECTOR. A Bachelor of Arts in the University of Oxford, who is
appointed to superintend some scholastic proceedings in
The Collectors, who are two in number, Bachelors of Arts, are
appointed to collect the names of _determining_ bachelors, during
Lent. Their office begins and ends with that season.--_Guide to
COLLECTORSHIP. The office of a _collector_ in the University of
This Lent the _collectors_ ceased from entertaining the Bachelors
by advice and command of the proctors; so that now they got by
their _collectorships_, whereas before they spent about 100_l._,
besides their gains, on clothes or needless entertainments.--_Life
of A. Wood_, p. 286.
COLLEGE. Latin, _collegium_; _con_ and _lego_, to gather. In its
primary sense, a collection or assembly; hence, in a general
sense, a collection, assemblage, or society of men, invested with
certain powers and rights, performing certain duties, or engaged
in some common employment or pursuit.
1. An establishment or edifice appropriated to the use of students
who are acquiring the languages and sciences.
2. The society of persons engaged in the pursuits of literature,
including the officers and students. Societies of this kind are
incorporated, and endowed with revenues.
"A college, in the modern sense of that word, was an institution
which arose within a university, probably within that of Paris or
of Oxford first, being intended either as a kind of
boarding-school, or for the support of scholars destitute of
means, who were here to live under particular supervision. By
degrees it became more and more the custom that teachers should be
attached to these establishments. And as they grew in favor, they
were resorted to by persons of means, who paid for their board;
and this to such a degree, that at one time the colleges included
nearly all the members of the University of Paris. In the English
universities the colleges may have been first established by a
master who gathered pupils around him, for whose board and
instruction he provided. He exercised them perhaps in logic and
the other liberal arts, and repeated the university lectures, as
well as superintended their morals. As his scholars grew in
number, he associated with himself other teachers, who thus
acquired the name of _fellows_. Thus it naturally happened that
the government of colleges, even of those which were founded by
the benevolence of pious persons, was in the hands of a principal
called by various names, such as rector, president, provost, or
master, and of fellows, all of whom were resident within the walls
of the same edifices where the students lived. Where charitable
munificence went so far as to provide for the support of a greater
number of fellows than were needed, some of them were intrusted,
as tutors, with the instruction of the undergraduates, while
others performed various services within their college, or passed
a life of learned leisure."--_Pres. Woolsey's Hist. Disc._, New
Haven, Aug. 14, 1850, p. 8.
3. In _foreign universities_, a public lecture.--_Webster_.
COLLEGE BIBLE. The laws of a college are sometimes significantly
called _the College Bible_.
He cons _the College Bible_ with eager, longing eyes,
And wonders how poor students at six o'clock can rise.
_Poem before Iadma of Harv. Coll._, 1850.
COLLEGER. A member of a college.
We stood like veteran _Collegers_ the next day's
screw.--_Harvardiana_, Vol. III. p. 9. [_Little used_.]
2. The name by which a member of a certain class of the pupils of
Eton is known. "The _Collegers_ are educated gratuitously, and
such of them as have nearly but not quite reached the age of
nineteen, when a vacancy in King's College, Cambridge, occurs, are
elected scholars there forthwith and provided for during life--or
until marriage."--_Bristed's Five Years in an Eng. Univ._, Ed. 2d,
pp. 262, 263.
They have nothing in lieu of our seventy _Collegers_.--_Ibid._, p.
The whole number of scholars or "_Collegers_" at Eton is seventy.
--_Literary World_, Vol. XII. p. 285.
COLLEGE YARD. The enclosure on or within which the buildings of a
college are situated. Although college enclosures are usually open
for others to pass through than those connected with the college,
yet by law the grounds are as private as those connected with
private dwellings, and are kept so, by refusing entrance, for a
certain period, to all who are not members of the college, at
least once in twenty years, although the time differs in different
But when they got to _College yard_,
With one accord they all huzza'd.--_Rebelliad_, p. 33.
Not ye, whom science never taught to roam
Far as a _College yard_ or student's home.
_Harv. Reg._, p. 232.
COLLEGIAN. A member of a college, particularly of a literary
institution so called; an inhabitant of a college.--_Johnson_.
COLLEGIATE. Pertaining to a college; as, _collegiate_ studies.
2. Containing a college; instituted after the manner of a college;
as, a _collegiate_ society.--_Johnson_.
COLLEGIATE. A member of a college.
COMBINATION. An agreement, for effecting some object by joint
operation; in _an ill sense_, when the purpose is illegal or
iniquitous. An agreement entered into by students to resist or
disobey the Faculty of the College, or to do any unlawful act, is
a _combination_. When the number concerned is so great as to
render it inexpedient to punish all, those most culpable are
usually selected, or as many as are deemed necessary to satisfy
the demands of justice.--_Laws Yale Coll._, 1837, p. 27. _Laws
Univ. Cam., Mass._, 1848, p. 23.
COMBINATION ROOM. In the University of Cambridge Eng., a room into
which the fellows, and others in authority withdraw after dinner,
for wine, dessert, and conversation.--_Webster_.
In popular phrase, the word _room_ is omitted.
"There will be some quiet Bachelors there, I suppose," thought I,
"and a Junior Fellow or two, some of those I have met in
_combination_."--_Bristed's Five Years in an Eng. Univ._, Ed. 2d,
COMITAT. In the German universities, a procession formed to
accompany a departing fellow-student with public honor out of the
COMMEMORATION DAY. At the University of Oxford, Eng., this day is
an annual solemnity in honor of the benefactors of the University,
when orations are delivered, and prize compositions are read in
the theatre. It is the great day of festivity for the
At the University of Cambridge, Eng., there is always a sermon on
this day. The lesson which is read in the course of the service is
from Ecclus. xliv.: "Let us now praise famous men," &c. It is "a
day," says the Gradus ad Cantabrigiam, "devoted to prayers, and
good living." It was formerly called _Anniversary Day_.
COMMENCE. To take a degree, or the first degree, in a university
Nine Bachelors _commenced_ at Cambridge; they were young men of
good hope, and performed their acts so as to give good proof of
their proficiency in the tongues and arts.--_Winthrop's Journal,
by Mr. Savage_, Vol. II. p. 87.
Four Senior Sophisters came from Saybrook, and received the Degree
of Bachelor of Arts, and several others _commenced_
Masters.--_Clap's Hist. Yale Coll._, p. 20.
A scholar see him now _commence_,
Without the aid of books or sense.
_Trumbull's Progress of Dullness_, 1794, p. 12.
Charles Chauncy ... was afterwards, when qualified, sent to the
University of Cambridge, where he _commenced_ Bachelor of
Divinity.--_Hist. Sketch of First Ch. in Boston_, 1812, p. 211.
COMMENCEMENT. The time when students in colleges _commence_
Bachelors; a day in which degrees are publicly conferred in the
English and American universities.--_Webster_.
At Harvard College, in its earliest days, Commencements were
attended, as at present, by the highest officers in the State. At
the first Commencement, on the second Tuesday of August, 1642, we
are told that "the Governour, Magistrates, and the Ministers, from
all parts, with all sorts of schollars, and others in great
numbers, were present."--_New England's First Fruits_, in _Mass.
Hist. Coll._, Vol. I. p. 246.
In the MS. Diary of Judge Sewall, under date of July 1, 1685,
Commencement Day, is this remark: "Gov'r there, whom I accompanied
to Charlestown"; and again, under date of July 2, 1690, is the
following entry respecting the Commencement of that year: "Go to
Cambridge by water in ye Barge wherein the Gov'r, Maj. Gen'l,
Capt. Blackwell, and others." In the Private Journal of Cotton
Mather, under the dates of 1708 and 1717, there are notices of the
Boston troops waiting on the Governor to Cambridge on Commencement
Day. During the presidency of Wadsworth, which continued from 1725
to 1737, "it was the custom," says Quincy, "on Commencement Day,
for the Governor of the Province to come from Boston through
Roxbury, often by the way of Watertown, attended by his body
guards, and to arrive at the College about ten or eleven o'clock
in the morning. A procession was then formed of the Corporation,
Overseers, magistrates, ministers, and invited gentlemen, and
immediately moved from Harvard Hall to the Congregational church."
After the exercises of the day were over, the students escorted
the Governor, Corporation, and Overseers, in procession, to the
President's house. This description would answer very well for the
present day, by adding the graduating class to the procession, and
substituting the Boston Lancers as an escort, instead of the "body
The exercises of the first Commencement are stated in New
England's First Fruits, above referred to, as follows:--"Latine
and Greeke Orations, and Declamations, and Hebrew Analysis,
Grammaticall, Logicall, and Rhetoricall of the Psalms: And their
answers and disputations in Logicall, Ethicall, Physicall, and
Metaphysicall questions." At Commencement in 1685, the exercises
were, besides Disputes, four Orations, one Latin, two Greek, and
one Hebrew In the presidency of Wadsworth, above referred to, "the
exercises of the day," says Quincy, "began with a short prayer by
the President; a salutatory oration in Latin, by one of the
graduating class, succeeded; then disputations on theses or
questions in Logic, Ethics, and Natural Philosophy commenced. When
the disputation terminated, one of the candidates pronounced a
Latin 'gratulatory oration.' The graduating class were then
called, and, after asking leave of the Governor and Overseers, the
President conferred the Bachelor's degree, by delivering a book to
the candidates (who came forward successively in parties of four),
and pronouncing a form of words in Latin. An adjournment then took
place to dinner, in Harvard Hall; thence the procession returned
to the church, and, after the Masters' disputations, usually three
in number, were finished, their degrees were conferred, with the
same general forms as those of the Bachelors. An occasional
address was then made by the President. A Latin valedictory
oration by one of the Masters succeeded, and the exercises
concluded with a prayer by the President."
Similar to this is the account given by the Hon. Paine Wingate, a
graduate of the class of 1759, of the exercises of Commencement as
conducted while he was in College. "I do not recollect now," he
says, "any part of the public exercises on Commencement Day to be
in English, excepting the President's prayers at opening and
closing the services. Next after the prayer followed the
Salutatory Oration in Latin, by one of the candidates for the
first degree. This office was assigned by the President, and was
supposed to be given to him who was the best orator in the class.
Then followed a Syllogistic Disputation in Latin, in which four or
five or more of those who were distinguished as good scholars in
the class were appointed by the President as Respondents, to whom
were assigned certain questions, which the Respondents maintained,
and the rest of the class severally opposed, and endeavored to
invalidate. This was conducted wholly in Latin, and in the form of
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