"At Harvard scandals are unknown; the undergraduates, if not always wise as serpents, are at all events harmless as doves." So says an article in the Pall Mall Gazette in 1868 introducing Harvard to the average Englishman.
"The compulsory exercises at Harvard are very severe." "It is not a very grand place when compared with Cambridge or Oxford, but then it is not fair to compare them," and "a cluster of very hideous buildings," are other quotations from the article, parts of which follow:
"The city of Cambridge, as its population enables it to be called, is about three miles distant from Boston, with which it communicates by horse cars. It presents a village-like appearance, as most of its houses are on circled by large gardens. Harvard College stands in its midst a cluster of very hideous rectangular red brick buildings, with two or three others, less unsightly, of grey stone. Its library is rich in old historical works relating to America, but scarcely any manuscripts' in fact manuscripts are scarcely to be found in any public collections in the United States. The library is suffering from lack of funds, and is therefore sadly different in the literature of the last ten years.
"Professor Wyman has established a museum of comparative anatomy; and Professor Agassiz has also a museum, of which the fish collection is superior to that of the British Museum or the Jardin des Plantes, owing to the immense labors of the professor in Brazil. Asa Gray is the Professor of Botany, and, as all botanists know, is the Hooker of the United States. The students of Harvard are singularly fortunate in being able to study zoology, anatomy, and botany under these distinguished gentlemen, who are also skillful and elequent teachers of their respective silences. It may interest some of our readers to learn that Dr. Gray is a disciple of Darwin, while Agassiz is his most uncompromising opening in the scientific world. Jettries Whyman does not reject Darwin.
is, but has not absolutely embraced it as a scientific creed.
"At Harvard we do not find the distinctive features of university life; the lands work from morning to midnight, snatching an hour now and an hour then to go to the gymnasium or to play at baseball, a kind of rounders. They are extremely orderly and well-behaved. Nothing surprises an English University man so as to see young ladies tripping about in the neighborhood of the college, and to learn that several girls' schools have been established at Cambridge on account of the university and the superior training which may be there obtained.
"We fear that young ladies brought up under the influence of Oxford and Cambridge would learn many things which would not be to their worldly or spiritual advantage. But at Harvard scandals are unknown; the undergraduates, if not always wise as serpents, are at all events harmless as doves. They pay their addresses to young ladies in the most orthodox manner, take them out to cotillion parties, or 'Germans', as they are called, and bring them home at midnight in the dark. But no harm over comes of it, except sometimes premature espousals.
"As we have already shown, or rather suggested, Harvard has a history of which all Americans may be proud, and is an institution which reflects the highest credit on its parent state. It is not a very grand place when compared with Oxford or Cambridge, but then it is not fair to compare them. In the first place America is a young country; in the second place Harvard is not American in a large sense. Setting politics aside, America has no national institutions; it is a collection of proviness, each with museums, colleges, public libraries, and other institutions of its own. There is no point of centralization, no metropolis; Harvard, therefore, is merely the university of Massachusetts, and as such is remarkable enough to excite our imagination and even our surprise