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“ trustees or undertakers to found, erect and govern a college.” These ten clergymen met and proceeded to execute their commission. They constituted themselves a “quasi corporation," as they believed themselves to have a right to do by common law. They soon, however, concluded that it was expedient to have a charter from the colonial legislature, and as they had been in correspondence with Judge Sewall, though they had rejected the “Proposals,” they invited him and Secretary Addington to send them a draft of such an instrument, as might suit their purpose.
While the legislature was in session in New Haven in October, 1701,“ a large number of ministers and others” petitioned, that " full liberty and privilege might be granted to the said undertakers” to erect a “ collegiate school.” After the subject had been fully discussed, and as it appears, every important point had been settled, the draft, which had been solicited, arrived. The letter inclosing it was not dated, as President Quincy infers, “ about the end of 1700 or the beginning of 1701,” but the 6th of October of the latter year; three days only before the charter actually agreed upon received the legislative sanction. The date of the charter is October 9th, 1701. That the draft should have been brought from Boston to New-Haven, at that time, in three days, is sufficiently remarkable; but that it should in this short space have been conveyed such a distance, been fully considered by the trustees, and have passed through the forms of legislation, is explicable only on the supposition, that all the principles of the charter had been before discussed and determined on, and that all, which was necessary on the arrival of the draft from Boston, was the final legislative action. This is made certain by a comparison of the draft of Sewall and Addington, with the charter which was adopted.
In the draft from Boston there are three things, and but three, which mark it as at all peculiar. These are, the legislatureis made the founder of the college; the board of trustees is made to consist of both clerical and lay members; and the teaching of the Assembly's Catechism and Ames's Medulla is made imperative. In the letter accompanying the draft, Sewall and Addington recommend the introduction of some kind of “ visitation,” which, in their view, would be “ exceedingly proper and beneficial.” It is remarkable, that the trustees adopted not one of these suggestions, thus showing most conclusively, that they had a plan of their own, and that their correspondence with gen
tlemen in Boston had no influence on their final determination. This will appear if we look more particularly at the documents. In Sewall and Addington's draft, the language is: “Be it enacted by the Governor and Company, &c., that there be a collegiate school forthwith founded and set up, &c.” In the charter it is : “Be it enacted, &c., that there be, and hereby is, full liberty, right and privilege granted unto the Rev. Mr. James Noyes, &c., proposed to stand as trustees, partners, or undertakers for the said school, to them and their successors, to erect, form, direct, order, establish, improve, and at all times, in all suitable ways, for the future, to encourage the said school, &c.” It is evident that the trustees wished to be themselves the founders, and acted on the principle, that,“ a license to found, and a charter of incorporation are in their own nature distinct.” The legislature likewise, in a subsequent clause, recognize the school as already founded in fact. This was thought by the original trustees, and it has been thought by others since, a very important point, and in reference to it they received no aid from Sewall and Addington. This matter must have been fully settled before the arrival of the draft. The same is true of the provision in the act of the legislature, which limits the trustees in the choice of successors to “ministers of the gospel ;” in the draft there was a clause for the admission of lay members. The rejection of the article respecting the Assembly's catechism and Ames's Medulla has been already mentioned. The recommendation of a board of visitors was rejected likewise. The trustees undoubtedly considered such a board as a piece of cumbrous machinery, fitted to embarrass, rather than facilitate their operations. In this they judged right; and the present generation can hardly be sufficiently grateful, that the founders in this respect took the plain path of common sense. However useful a board of overseers may have been at Harvard, and on this point we are wholly incompetent to give any opinion, at Yale it would have been the ruin of the institution. The college never could have survived the disputes and divisions, which such a body, as it must have been constituted, would have excited and perpetuated in its concerns.
Perhaps it may be asked here, what use of Sewall and Addington's draft did the trustees make ? As it arrived obviously at the last moment, in which it could be used at all, the trustees, probably that they might not appear entirely to neglect their Boston friends, took the preamble of the draft, not however without important verbal alterations ; and they took also several other clauses usual in such instruments, but varying and improving the language throughout. They were indebted to this communication, so far as we can discover, for no principle, suggestion or hint, which altered their original purpose. The trustees were, without doubt, willing to receive the advice of others, and to give it full consideration; but the college was one of their own designing, and was modified in no respect, either in its form or character, by any foreign counsel or interference. So far also was the favor of the “stricter sect of Calvinists” in Boston from being, as President Quincy supposes,“ an “element of worldly prosperity and success” to the new institution, that while very considerable sums were received by Harvard from Connecticut, not a shilling was received for more than a century by Yale from any part of Massachusetts ; nor do we find any evidence, that a single student from the eastern part of Massachusetts came to Yale college, for more than forty years after its establishment. Those also, who first entered from that quarter, did so, much against their own inclination and the earnest desire of their friends; having been denied adınittance into Harvard College, on account of their religious opinions. We shall have occasion to go into some detail on this subject hereafter. But does not President Clap say, that the legislature “ established the act or charter drawn up by Mr. Secretary Addington, with some small additions and alterations ?" He does say so; and hence probably President Quincy's mistake; though, as he seems to have had both the draft and the charter under his eye, we are surprised that he did not notice the great difference of the two documents. How President Clap should have expressed himself as he does, we are unable to explain. Some of these variations involved principles, which he certainly considered of the utmost importance. Others, besides President Quincy, relying on the wonted accuracy of President Clap, have adopted his account, evidently without examination. But how far this account is accordant with fact, any one can judge for himself from the above comparison of the two papers.
But it will be said, that though President Quincy's representation of what Chief Justice Sewall and Secretary Addington proposed to be made, and of what was made, a part of the charter of the college in Connecticut, is erroneous, yet it is not very inaccurate, as an account of the first rules adopted by the trustees for the management of the seminary. This is true;
and President Quincy seems to have made his statement, with President Clap's History of Yale College, or Trumbull's History of Connecticut before him ; in both of which works the directions for religious instruction are expressly mentioned as rules of the trustees, and in neither is there any intimation, that they were enjoined by the charter. The trustees ordered, that the Rector “ shall take effectual care, that the said students be weekly, at such seasons as he shall see cause to appoint, caused memoriter to recite the Assembly's Catechism in Latin, and Ames's Theological Theses, of which, as also Ames's Cases of Conscience, he shall make, or cause to be made, from time to time, such explanations, as may, through the blessing of God, be most conducive to their establishment in the principles of the Christian Protestant religion.” They ordered likewise, that “ the Rector shall cause the Scriptures daily, except on the Sabbath, morning and evening, to be read by the students at the times of prayer in the school, according to the laudable order and usage of Harvard College, making exposition upon the same:" and upon the Sabbath, that he “ shall either expound practical theology, or cause the non-graduated students to repeat sermons.” President Quincy supposes that the mention of the “ order and usage of Harvard College” had reference to the “expounding” of the Scriptures by the President, which had there fallen into some neglect: and that Sewall and Addington were particularly instrumental in having this matter put right in Connecticut, and wished to have it secured by charter. It will be seen, however, by looking at the article which they prepared for the charter, that there is no allusion to this matter of “expounding ;” and in the order itself, the reference to the “laudable usage of Harvard College” is restricted to the reading of the Scriptures by the students at the times of prayer.” That Sewall and Addington took an interest in this subject is true. In their letter to the trustees in which their draft of a charter was inclosed, they say: “ we make no doubt you will oblige the Rector to expound the Scriptures diligently morning and evening." If they had thought it expedient that a provision to this effect should be included in the charter, their article would have contained it.
In establishing the regulations mentioned above, it was, without doubt, one great object of the trustees, to satisfy the public at the outset, as to the course of religious instruction, which was to be pursued in the new Collegiate School. To
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effect this, they seem to have judged it expedient, to conform their seminary in this, as well as in other respects, as far as was in their power, to the older college at Cambridge. If they wished to satisfy their correspondents in Boston, as to charter provisions on this subject, the manner of doing it was somewhat equivocal; as Sewall and Addington would see, that their favorite points were secured in no other way, than they were at Cambridge; with the state of things at which place, according to President Quincy, they were dissatisfied. That the rules adopted by the trustees were merely a transcript of those at that time in force in Harvard College, there is abundant proof in these volumes.
In the ninth chapter of this work, we have a general view of “the course of studies and the degree of literary instruction” in Harvard in the early period of its history. “The exercises of the students," we are told,“ had the aspect of a theological rather than a literary institution. They were practised twice a day in reading the Scriptures, giving an account of their proficiency and experience in practical and spiritual truths, accompanied by theoretical observations on the language and logic of the sacred writings. They were carefully to attend God's ordinances, and be examined on their profiting ; commonplacing the sermons and repeating them publicly in the Hall.” It is added: “ in every year and every week of the college course, every class was practised in the Bible and catechetical divinity.” A sketch is likewise given of the course of study in other departments of learning; and it is then said: “such were the principles of education established in the college under the authority of Dunster. Nor does it appear, that they were materially changed during the whole of the seventeenth century;" that is, to the time of the founding of Yale College.
In the year 1723, various inquiries were made by the board of overseers respecting the state of the college, more particularly in reference to its religious and moral condition. These inquiries were arranged under ten different heads; two of which only are immediately to our purpose. The third inquiry was: “How are the Saturday exercises performed, and are the great concerns of their souls duly inculcated on the youth ?" To this it was replied, that the Greelc Catechism is recited by the Freshmen without exposition. Wollebius's and Ames's Systems of Divinity by the other classes with exposition on Saturdays; and repetitions of the sermons of the foregoing Sabbath are made by the