HARVARD IN FORMER TIMES
Numerous Quaint Facts and Interesting History Found in Two New Books Published Recently.
Some quaint and amusing side-lights on old-fashioned Harvard are given in the "Journal of Jasper Danckaerts" and in Arthur Standwood Pier's "The Story of Harvard," both of which have recently been published. Much of Harvard's hold upon her sons is due to the great body of tradition which is her inheritance, and the two books will add much to the undergraduate's realization of what has gone before him.
The "Journal" thus describes seventeenth century Harvard:
"We reached Cambridge about eight o'clock. It is not a large village, and the houses stand very much apart. The college building is the most conspicuous among them. We went to it expecting to see something unusual, as it is the only college, or would-be academy of the Protestants in all America, but we found ourselves mistaken. In approaching the house we neither heard nor saw any- thing mentionable; but, going to the other side of the building; we heard noise enough in an upper room to lead my comrade to say: "I believe they are engaged in disputation.' We entered and went upstairs, when a person met us and requested us to walk in, which we did. We found there eight or ten young, fellows, sitting around, smoking tobacco, with the smoke of which the room was so full that you could hardly see; and the whole house smelt so strong of it that when I was going upstairs I said: 'It certainly must be a tavern.' We excused ourselves, that we could speak English only a little, but understood Dutch or French well, which they did not. However, we spoke as well as we could. We inquired how many professors there were, and they replied not one, that there was not money enough to sup- port one. We asked how many students there were. They said at first thirty, and then came down to twenty. I after-wards understood there are probably not ten. They knew hardly a word of Latin, not one of them, so that my comrade could not converse with them. They took us to the library, where there was nothing particular. We looked over it a little."
Fines Levied for Misconduct.
In the middle of the 18th century it was customary to levy fines for misconduct. Here are some: Absence from prayers, 2d.; tardiness at prayers, 1d.; neglect to repeat sermon, 9d.; absence from professor's public lecture, 4d.; tarrying out of town without leave, not exceeding (per diem) 1s. 3d.; going out of college with- out proper garb, not exceeding 6d.; profane cursing, not exceeding 2s. 6d.; drunkenness, not exceeding 1s. 6d.; tumultuous noises, 1s. 6d.; keeping guns and going skating, 1s.; rudeness at meals, 1s.; fighting, or hurting persons, not exceeding 1s. 6d.
The students of 1798 "were obliged to go to the kitchen door (of Commons) with their bowls or pitchers for their suppers, where they received their modicum of milk or chocolate in their vessel, held in one hand, and their piece of bread in the other, and repaired to their rooms to take solitary repast."
Complaints Against Commons.
Patrons of Memorial will be interested in the following extracts from a diary: "16 Nov., 1820. We have lately had very bad commons, but more especially this day. I hope they will soon be better Several have gone out to board.
"28 Nov. At noon commons we have a great plenty of roast goose. Probably every one in the hall (which amounted to eight or ten) might have been bought for a dollar. Indeed, I never saw such tough, raw-boned, shocking, ill-looking animals ever placed upon a table. I hope something better will come tomorrow.
"29 Nov. Commons still remains very bad. At supper the bread was mere dough; that is, it was not half baked. I have not eaten in commons for a week past one dollar's worth of anything what- ever."
50 Men on Football Teams.
Robert Gould Shaw's description of a football game in 1856 is amusing: "They rushed down in a body, and, hardly looking for the ball, the greater part of them turned their attention to knocking down as many as they could and kicked the ball when they happened to come across it. It was a regular battle, with 50 to 70 men on each side. It resembled more my idea of the hand-to-hand fighting of the ancients than anything else. After the first game, few had their own hats on, few a whole shirt."