Now that the faculty see fit to make so many rules for our welfare, in athletics and otherwise, it may be interesting to glance at some of the regulations under which our forefathers passed their college days. The following quaint old rules are copies from the Massachusetts Gazette, of June 18, 1786, and, together with the subjoined comments upon them, from an interesting leaf from the past history of Harvard.
UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE, June 17, 1786.
To the publisher of the Massachusetts Gazette:
Every proper attempt of the government of the University to lessen the expense of a liberal education must be gratifying to the public, and meet with their hearty concurrence; the members of the community, therefore, in general and the parents and guardians of the students in particular, it is not doubted will be well pleased with some late regulation made by the corporation and overseers, to introduce economy in dress, and will readily perform their part in carrying them into effect.
By ordering a uniform the governors of the society have removed the temptation to that frequent change of apparel, which may have arisen from the liberty the students have had of choosing different colours from time to time; and by entirely prohibiting silk, (an unnecessary article in clothing), a very considerable expense is prevented.
That the dress of students be neat and decent is highly proper, but that it should be very ornamental and expensive is ever needless, and often times pernicious; nor will any student who is solicitous to acquire knowledge, and sincerely disposed to improve his time to the best advantage in obtaining such degrees of it as may enable him to be extensively useful to the community, feel a reluctance to economical institutions respecting dress. He will not only esteem the ornaments of mind of vastly higher importance than those of the body, but the general good will also constantly influence his conduct; and he will cheerfully encourage every regulation which tends to promote frugality.
The regulation referred, to I now transmit to you, which the corporation and overseers of the university request you to publish for the information of all concerned.
I am sir, your humble servant,