The following poetical account of Commencement at Harvard College is supposed to have been written by Dr. Mather Byles, in the year 1742 or thereabouts. Of its merits, this is no place to speak. As a picture of the times it is valuable, and for this reason, and to show the high rank which Commencement Day formerly held among other days, it is here presented.
"I sing the day, bright with peculiar charms, Whose rising radiance ev'ry bosom warms; The day when Cambridge empties all the towns, And youths commencing, take their laurel crowns: When smiling joys, and gay delights appear, And shine distinguish'd, in the rolling year.
"While the glad theme I labour to rehearse, In flowing numbers, and melodious verse, Descend, immortal nine, my soul inspire, Amid my bosom lavish all your fire, While smiling Phoebus, owns the heavenly layes And shades the poet with surrounding bayes. But chief ye blooming nymphs of heavenly frame, Who make the day with double glory flame, In whose fair persons, art and nature vie, On the young muse cast an auspicious eye: Secure of fame, then shall the goddess sing, And rise triumphant with a tow'ring wing, Her tuneful notes wide-spreading all around, The hills shall echo, and the vales resound.
"Soon as the morn in crimson robes array'd With chearful beams dispels the flying shade, While fragrant odours waft the air along, And birds melodious chant their heavenly song, And all the waste of heav'n with glory spread, Wakes up the world, in sleep's embraces dead. Then those whose dreams were on th' approaching day, Prepare in splendid garbs to make their way To that admired solemnity, whose date, Tho' late begun, will last as long as fate. And now the sprightly Fair approach the glass To heighten every feature of the face. They view the roses flush their glowing cheeks, The snowy lillies towering round their necks, Their rustling manteaus huddled on in haste, They clasp with shining girdles round their waist. Nor less the speed and care of every beau, To shine in dress and swell the solemn show. Thus clad, in careless order mixed by chance, In haste they both along the streets advance: 'Till near the brink of Charles's beauteous stream, They stop, and think the lingering boat to blame. Soon as the empty skiff salutes the shore, In with impetuous haste they clustering pour, The men the head, the stern the ladies grace, And neighing horses fill the middle space. Sunk deep, the boat floats slow the waves along, And scarce contains the thickly crowded throng; A gen'ral horror seizes on the fair, While white-look'd cowards only not despair. 'Till rowed with care they reach th' opposing side, Leap on the shore, and leave the threat'ning tide. While to receive the pay the boatman stands, And chinking pennys jingle in his hands. Eager the sparks assault the waiting cars, Fops meet with fops, and clash in civil wars. Off fly the wigs, as mount their kicking heels, The rudely bouncing head with anguish swells, A crimson torrent gushes from the nose, Adown the cheeks, and wanders o'er the cloaths. Taunting, the victor's strait the chariots leap, While the poor batter'd beau's for madness weep.
"Now in calashes shine the blooming maids, Bright'ning the day which blazes o'er their heads; The seats with nimble steps they swift ascend, And moving on the crowd, their waste of beauties spend. So bearing thro' the boundless breadth of heav'n, The twinkling lamps of light are graceful driv'n; While on the world they shed their glorious rays, And set the face of nature in a blaze.
"Now smoak the burning wheels along the ground, While rapid hoofs of flying steeds resound, The drivers by no vulgar flame inspir'd, But with the sparks of love and glory fir'd, With furious swiftness sweep along the way, And from the foremost chariot snatch the day. So at Olympick games when heros strove, In rapid cars to gain the goal of love. If on her fav'rite youth the goddess shone He left his rival and the winds out-run.
"And now thy town, O Cambridge! strikes the sight Of the beholders with confus'd delight; Thy green campaigns wide open to the view, And buildings where bright youth their fame pursue. Blest village! on whose plains united glows, A vast, confus'd magnificence of shows. Where num'rous crowds of different colours blend, Thick as the trees which from the hills ascend: Or as the grass which shoots in verdant spires, Or stars which dart thro' natures realms their fires.
"How am I fir'd with a profuse delight, When round the yard I roll my ravish'd sight! From the high casements how the ladies show! And scatter glory on the crowds below. From sash to sash the lovely lightening plays And blends their beauties in a radiant blaze. So when the noon of night the earth invades And o'er the landskip spreads her silent shades. In heavens high vault the twinkling stars appear, And with gay glory's light the gleemy sphere. From their bright orbs a flame of splendors shows, And all around th' enlighten'd ether glows.
"Soon as huge heaps have delug'd all the plains, Of tawny damsels, mixt with simple swains, Gay city beau's, grave matrons and coquats, Bully's and cully's, clergymen and wits. The thing which first the num'rous crowd employs, Is by a breakfast to begin their joys. While wine, which blushes in a crystal glass, Streams down in floods, and paints their glowing face. And now the time approaches when the bell, With dull continuance tolls a solemn knell. Numbers of blooming youth in black array Adorn the yard, and gladden all the day. In two strait lines they instantly divide, While each beholds his partner on th' opposing side, Then slow, majestick, walks the learned head, The senate follow with a solemn tread, Next Levi's tribe in reverend order move, Whilst the uniting youth the show improve. They glow in long procession till they come, Near to the portals of the sacred dome; Then on a sudden open fly the doors, The leader enters, then the croud thick pours. The temple in a moment feels its freight, And cracks beneath its vast unwieldy weight, So when the threatning Ocean roars around A place encompass'd with a lofty mound, If some weak part admits the raging waves, It flows resistless, and the city laves; Till underneath the waters ly the tow'rs, Which menac'd with their height the heav'nly pow'rs.
"The work begun with pray'r, with modest pace, A youth advancing mounts the desk with grace, To all the audience sweeps a circling bow, Then from his lips ten thousand graces flow. The next that comes, a learned thesis reads, The question states, and then a war succeeds. Loud major, minor, and the consequence, Amuse the crowd, wide-gaping at their fence. Who speaks the loudest is with them the best, And impudence for learning is confest.
"The battle o'er, the sable youth descend, And to the awful chief, their footsteps bend. With a small book, the laurel wreath he gives Join'd with a pow'r to use it all their lives. Obsequious, they return what they receive, With decent rev'rence, they his presence leave. Dismiss'd, they strait repeat their back ward way And with white napkins grace the sumptuous day.
"Now plates unnumber'd on the tables shine, And dishes fill'd invite the guests to dine. The grace perform'd, each as it suits him best, Divides the sav'ry honours of the feast, The glasses with bright sparkling wines abound And flowing bowls repeat the jolly round. Thanks said, the multitude unite their voice, In sweetly mingled and melodious noise. The warbling musick floats along the air, And softly winds the mazes of the ear; Ravish'd the crowd promiscuously retires, And each pursues the pleasure he admires.
"Behold my muse far distant on the plains, Amidst a wrestling ring two jolly swains; Eager for fame, they tug and haul for blood, One nam'd Jack Luby, t' other Robin Clod, Panting they strain, and labouring hard they sweat, Mix legs, kick shins, tear cloaths, and ply their feet. Now nimbly trip, now stiffly stand their ground, And now they twirl, around, around, around; Till overcome by greater art or strength, Jack Luby lays along his lubber length. A fall! a fall! the loud spectators cry, A fall! a fall! the echoing hills reply.
"O'er yonder field in wild confusion runs, A clam'rous troop of Affric's sable sons, Behind the victors shout, with barbarous roar, The vanquish'd fly with hideous yells before, The gloomy squadron thro' the valley speeds Whilst clatt'ring cudgels rattle o'er their heads.
"Again to church the learned tribe repair, Where syllogisms battle in the air, And then the elder youth their second laurels wear. Hail! Happy laurels! who our hopes inspire, And set our ardent wishes all on fire. By you the pulpit and the bar will shine In future annals; while the ravish'd nine Will in your bosom breathe caelestial flames, And stamp Eternity upon your names. Accept my infant muse, whose feeble wings Can scarce sustain her flight, while you she sings. With candour view my rude unfinish'd praise And see my Ivy twist around your bayes. So Phidias by immortal Jove inspir'd, His statue carv'd, by all mankind admir'd. Nor thus content, by his approving nod, He cut himself upon the shining god. That shaded by the umbrage of his name, Eternal honours might attend his fame."
In his almanacs, Nathaniel Ames was wont to insert, opposite the days of Commencement week, remarks which he deemed appropriate to that period. His notes for the year 1764 were these:—
"Much talk and nothing said."
"The loquacious more talkative than ever, and fine Harangues preparing."
"Much Money sunk, Much Liquor drunk."
His only note for the year 1765 was this:—
"Many Crapulae to Day Give the Head-ach to the Gay."
Commencement Day was generally considered a holiday throughout the Province, and in the metropolis the shops were usually closed, and little or no business was done. About ten days before this period, a body of Indians from Natick—men, women, and pappooses—commonly made their appearance at Cambridge, and took up their station around the Episcopal Church, in the cellar of which they were accustomed to sleep, if the weather was unpleasant. The women sold baskets and moccasons; the boys gained money by shooting at it, while the men wandered about and spent the little that was earned by their squaws in rum and tobacco. Then there would come along a body of itinerant negro fiddlers, whose scraping never intermitted during the time of their abode.
The Common, on Commencement week, was covered with booths, erected in lines, like streets, intended to accommodate the populace from Boston and the vicinity with the amusements of a fair. In these were carried on all sorts of dissipation. Here was a knot of gamblers, gathered around a wheel of fortune, or watching the whirl of the ball on a roulette-table. Further along, the jolly hucksters displayed their tempting wares in the shape of cooling beverages and palate-tickling confections. There was dancing on this side, auction-selling on the other; here a pantomimic show, there a blind man, led by a dog, soliciting alms; organ-grinders and hurdy-gurdy grinders, bears and monkeys, jugglers and sword-swallowers, all mingled in inextricable confusion.
In a neighboring field, a countryman had, perchance, let loose a fox, which the dogs were worrying to death, while the surrounding crowd testified their pleasure at the scene by shouts of approbation. Nor was there any want of the spirituous; pails of punch, guarded by stout negroes, bore witness to their own subtle contents, now by the man who lay curled up under the adjoining hedge, "forgetting and forgot," and again by the drunkard, reeling, cursing, and fighting among his comrades.
The following observations from the pen of Professor Sidney Willard, afford an accurate description of the outward manifestations of Commencement Day at Harvard College, during the latter part of the last century. "Commencement Day at that time was a widely noted day, not only among men and women of all characters and conditions, but also among boys. It was the great literary and mob anniversary of Massachusetts, surpassed only in its celebrities by the great civil and mob anniversary, namely, the Fourth of July, and the last Wednesday of May, Election day, so called, the anniversary of the organization of the government of the State for the civil year. But Commencement, perhaps most of all, exhibited an incongruous mixture of men and things. Besides the academic exercises within the sanctuary of learning and religion, followed by the festivities in the College dining-hall, and under temporary tents and awnings erected for the entertainments given to the numerous guests of wealthy parents of young men who had come out successful competitors for prizes in the academic race, the large common was decked with tents filled with various refreshments for the hungry and thirsty multitudes, and the intermediate spaces crowded with men, women, and boys, white and black, many of them gambling, drinking, swearing, dancing, and fighting from morning to midnight. Here and there the scene was varied by some show of curiosities, or of monkeys or less common wild animals, and the gambols of mountebanks, who by their ridiculous tricks drew a greater crowd than the abandoned group at the gaming-tables, or than the fooleries, distortions, and mad pranks of the inebriates. If my revered uncle took a glimpse at these scenes, he did not see there any of our red brethren, as Mr. Jefferson kindly called them, who formed a considerable part of the gathering at the time of his graduation, forty-two years before; but he must have seen exhibitions of depravity which would disgust the most untutored savage. Near the close of the last century these outrages began to disappear, and lessened from year to year, until by public opinion, enforced by an efficient police, they were many years ago wholly suppressed, and the vicinity of the College halls has become, as it should be, a classic ground."—Memories of Youth and Manhood, Vol. I. pp. 251, 252.
It is to such scenes as these that Mr. William Biglow refers, in his poem recited before the Phi Beta Kappa Society, in their dining-hall, August 29th, 1811.
"All hail, Commencement! when all classes free Throng learning's fount, from interest, taste, or glee; When sutlers plain in tents, like Jacob, dwell, Their goods distribute, and their purses swell; When tipplers cease on wretchedness to think, Those born to sell, as well as these to drink; When every day each merry Andrew clears More cash than useful men in many years; When men to business come, or come to rake, And modest women spurn at Pope's mistake.
"All hail, Commencement! when all colors join, To gamble, riot, quarrel, and purloin; When Afric's sooty sons, a race forlorn, Play, swear, and fight, like Christians freely born; And Indians bless our civilizing merit, And get dead drunk with truly Christian spirit; When heroes, skilled in pocket-picking sleights, Of equal property and equal rights, Of rights of man and woman, boldest friends, Believing means are sanctioned by their ends, Sequester part of Gripus' boundless store, While Gripus thanks god Plutus he has more; And needy poet, from this ill secure, Feeling his fob, cries, 'Blessed are the poor.'"
On the same subject, the writer of Our Chronicle of '26, a satirical poem, versifies in the following manner:—
"Then comes Commencement Day, and Discord dire Strikes her confusion-string, and dust and noise Climb up the skies; ladies in thin attire, For 't is in August, and both men and boys, Are all abroad, in sunshine and in glee Making all heaven rattle with their revelry!
"Ah! what a classic sight it is to see The black gowns flaunting in the sultry air, Boys big with literary sympathy, And all the glories of this great affair! More classic sounds!—within, the plaudit shout, While Punchinello's rabble echoes it without."
To this the author appends a note, as follows:—
"The holiday extends to thousands of those who have no particular classical pretensions, further than can be recognized in a certain penchant for such jubilees, contracted by attending them for years as hangers-on. On this devoted day these noisy do-nothings collect with mummers, monkeys, bears, and rope-dancers, and hold their revels just beneath the windows of the tabernacle where the literary triumph is enacting.
'Tum saeva sonare Verbera, tum stridor ferri tractaeque catenae.'"
A writer in Buckingham's New England Magazine, Vol. III., 1832, in an article entitled "Harvard College Forty Years ago," thus describes the customs which then prevailed:—
"As I entered Cambridge, what were my 'first impressions'? The College buildings 'heaving in sight and looming up,' as the sailors say. Pyramids of Egypt! can ye surpass these enormous piles? The Common covered with tents and wigwams, and people of all sorts, colors, conditions, nations, and tongues. A country muster or ordination dwindles into nothing in comparison. It was a second edition of Babel. The Governor's life-guard, in splendid uniform, prancing to and fro, 'Quadrupedante putrem sonitu quatit ungula campum.' Horny-hoofed, galloping quadrupeds make all the common to tremble.
"I soon steered for the meeting-house, and obtained a seat, or rather standing, in the gallery, determined to be an eyewitness of all the sport of the day. Presently music was heard approaching, such as I had never heard before. It must be 'the music of the spheres.' Anon, three enormous white wigs, supported by three stately, venerable men, yclad in black, flowing robes, were located in the pulpit. A platform of wigs was formed in the body pews, on which one might apparently walk as securely as on the stage. The candidates for degrees seemed to have made a mistake in dressing themselves in black togas instead of white ones, pro more Romanorum. The musicians jammed into their pew in the gallery, very near to me, with enormous fiddles and fifes and ramshorns. Terribile visu! They sounded. I stopped my ears, and with open mouth and staring eyes stood aghast with wonderment. The music ceased. The performances commenced. English, Latin, Greek, Hebrew, French! These scholars knew everything."
More particular is the account of the observances, at this period, of the day, at Harvard College, as given by Professor Sidney Willard:—
"Commencement Day, in the year 1798, was a day bereft, in some respects, of its wonted cheerfulness. Instead of the serene summer's dawn, and the clear rising of the sun, 'The dawn was overcast, the morning lowered, And heavily in clouds brought on the day.' In the evening, from the time that the public exercises closed until twilight, the rain descended in torrents. The President lay prostrate on his bed from the effects of a violent disease, from which it was feared he could not recover. His house, which on all occasions was the abode of hospitality, and on Commencement Day especially so, (being the great College anniversary,) was now a house of stillness, anxiety, and watching. For seventeen successive years it had been thronged on this anniversary from morn till night, by welcome visitors, cheerfully greeted and cared for, and now it was like a house of mourning for the dead.
"After the literary exercises of the day were closed, the officers in the different branches of the College government and instruction, Masters of Arts, and invited guests, repaired to the College dining-hall without the ceremony of a procession formed according to dignity or priority of right. This the elements forbade. Each one ran the short race as he best could. But as the Alumni arrived, they naturally avoided taking possession of the seats usually occupied by the government of the College. The Governor, Increase Sumner, I suppose, was present, and no doubt all possible respect was paid to the Overseers as well as to the Corporation. I was not present, but dined at my father's house with a few friends, of whom the late Hon. Moses Brown of Beverly was one. We went together to the College hall after dinner; but the honorable and reverend Corporation and Overseers had retired, and I do not remember whether there was any person presiding. If there were, a statue would have been as well. The age of wine and wassail, those potent aids to patriotism, mirth, and song, had not wholly passed away. The merry glee was at that time outrivalled by Adams and Liberty, the national patriotic song, so often and on so many occasions sung, and everywhere so familiarly known that all could join in grand chorus."—Memories of Youth and Manhood, Vol. II. pp. 4, 5.
The irregularities of Commencement week seem at a very early period to have attracted the attention of the College government; for we find that in 1728, to prevent disorder, a formal request was made by the President, at the suggestion of the immediate government, to Lieutenant-Governor Dummer, praying him to direct the sheriff of Middlesex to prohibit the setting up of booths and tents on those public days. Some years after, in 1732, "an interview took place between the Corporation and three justices of the peace in Cambridge, to concert measures to keep order at Commencement, and under their warrant to establish a constable with six men, who, by watching and walking towards the evening on these days, and also the night following, and in and about the entry at the College Hall at dinner-time, should prevent disorders." At the beginning of the present century, it was customary for two special justices to give their attendance at this period, in order to try offences, and a guard of twenty constables was usually present to preserve order and attend on the justices. Among the writings of one, who for fifty years was a constant attendant on these occasions, are the following memoranda, which are in themselves an explanation of the customs of early years. "Commencement, 1828; no tents on the Common for the first time." "Commencement, 1836; no persons intoxicated in the hall or out of it; the first time."
The following extract from the works of a French traveller will be read with interest by some, as an instance of the manner in which our institutions are sometimes regarded by foreigners. "In a free country, everything ought to bear the stamp of patriotism. This patriotism appears every year in a solemn feast celebrated at Cambridge in honor of the sciences. This feast, which takes place once a year in all the colleges of America, is called Commencement. It resembles the exercises and distribution of prizes in our colleges. It is a day of joy for Boston; almost all its inhabitants assemble in Cambridge. The most distinguished of the students display their talents in the presence of the public; and these exercises, which are generally on patriotic subjects, are terminated by a feast, where reign the freest gayety and the most cordial fraternity."—Brissot's Travels in U.S., 1788. London, 1794, Vol. I. pp. 85, 86.
For an account of the chair from which the President delivers diplomas on Commencement Day, see PRESIDENT'S CHAIR.
At Yale College, the first Commencement was held September 13th, 1702, while that institution was located at Saybrook, at which four young men who had before graduated at Harvard College, and one whose education had been private, received the degree of Master of Arts. This and several Commencements following were held privately, according to an act which had been passed by the Trustees, in order to avoid unnecessary expense and other inconveniences. In 1718, the year in which the first College edifice was completed, was held at New Haven the first public Commencement. The following account of the exercises on this occasion was written at the time by one of the College officers, and is cited by President Woolsey in his Discourse before the Graduates of Yale College, August 14th, 1850. "[We were] favored and honored with the presence of his Honor, Governor Saltonstall, and his lady, and the Hon. Col. Taylor of Boston, and the Lieutenant-Governor, and the whole Superior Court, at our Commencement, September 10th, 1718, where the Trustees present,—those gentlemen being present,—in the hall of our new College, first most solemnly named our College by the name of Yale College, to perpetuate the memory of the honorable Gov. Elihu Yale, Esq., of London, who had granted so liberal and bountiful a donation for the perfecting and adorning of it. Upon which the honorable Colonel Taylor represented Governor Yale in a speech expressing his great satisfaction; which ended, we passed to the church, and there the Commencement was carried on. In which affair, in the first place, after prayer an oration was had by the saluting orator, James Pierpont, and then the disputations as usual; which concluded, the Rev. Mr. Davenport [one of the Trustees and minister of Stamford] offered an excellent oration in Latin, expressing their thanks to Almighty God, and Mr. Yale under him, for so public a favor and so great regard to our languishing school. After which were graduated ten young men, whereupon the Hon. Gov. Saltonstall, in a Latin speech, congratulated the Trustees in their success and in the comfortable appearance of things with relation to their school. All which ended, the gentlemen returned to the College Hall, where they were entertained with a splendid dinner, and the ladies, at the same time, were also entertained in the Library; after which they sung the four first verses in the 65th Psalm, and so the day ended."—p. 24.
The following excellent and interesting account of the exercises and customs of Commencement at Yale College, in former times, is taken from the entertaining address referred to above:—"Commencements were not to be public, according to the wishes of the first Trustees, through fear of the attendant expense; but another practice soon prevailed, and continued with three or four exceptions until the breaking out of the war in 1775. They were then private for five years, on account of the times. The early exercises of the candidates for the first degree were a 'saluting' oration in Latin, succeeded by syllogistic disputations in the same language; and the day was closed by the Masters' exercises,—disputations and a valedictory. According to an ancient academical practice, theses were printed and distributed upon this occasion, indicating what the candidates for a degree had studied, and were prepared to defend; yet, contrary to the usage still prevailing at universities which have adhered to the old method of testing proficiency, it does not appear that these theses were ever defended in public. They related to a variety of subjects in Technology, Logic, Grammar, Rhetoric, Mathematics, Physics, Metaphysics, Ethics, and afterwards Theology. The candidates for a Master's degree also published theses at this time, which were called Quaestiones magistrales. The syllogistic disputes were held between an affirmant and respondent, who stood in the side galleries of the church opposite to one another, and shot the weapons of their logic over the heads of the audience. The saluting Bachelor and the Master who delivered the valedictory stood in the front gallery, and the audience huddled around below them to catch their Latin eloquence as it fell. It seems also to have been usual for the President to pronounce an oration in some foreign tongue upon the same occasion.
"At the first public Commencement under President Stiles, in 1781, we find from a particular description which has been handed down, that the original plan, as above described, was subjected for the time to considerable modifications. The scheme, in brief, was as follows. The salutatory oration was delivered by a member of the graduating class, who is now our aged and honored townsman, Judge Baldwin. This was succeeded by the syllogistic disputations, and these by a Greek oration, next to which came an English colloquy. Then followed a forensic disputation, in which James Kent was one of the speakers. Then President Stiles delivered an oration in Hebrew, Chaldaic, and Arabic,—it being an extraordinary occasion. After which the morning was closed with an English oration by one of the graduating class. In the afternoon, the candidates for the second degree had the time, as usual, to themselves, after a Latin discourse by President Stiles. The exhibiters appeared in syllogistic disputes, a dissertation, a poem, and an English oration. Among these performers we find the names of Noah Webster, Joel Barlow, and Oliver Wolcott. Besides the Commencements there were exhibitions upon quarter-days, as they were called, in December and March, as well as at the end of the third term, when the younger classes performed; and an exhibition of the Seniors in July, at the time of their examination for degrees, when the valedictory orator was one of their own choice. This oration was transferred to the Commencement about the year 1798, when the Masters' valedictories had fallen into disuse; and being in English, gave a new interest to the exercises of the day.
"Commencements were long occasions of noisy mirth, and even of riot. The older records are full of attempts, on the part of the Corporation, to put a stop to disorder and extravagance at this anniversary. From a document of 1731, it appears that cannons had been fired in honor of the day, and students were now forbidden to have a share in this on pain of degradation. The same prohibition was found necessary again in 1755, at which time the practice had grown up of illuminating the College buildings upon Commencement eve. But the habit of drinking spirituous liquor, and of furnishing it to friends, on this public occasion, grew up into more serious evils. In the year 1737, the Trustees, having found that there was a great expense in spirituous distilled liquors upon Commencement occasions, ordered that for the future no candidate for a degree, or other student, should provide or allow any such liquors to be drunk in his chamber during Commencement week. And again, it was ordered in 1746, with the view of preventing several extravagant and expensive customs, that there should be 'no kind of public treat but on Commencement, quarter-days, and the day on which the valedictory oration was pronounced; and on that day the Seniors may provide and give away a barrel of metheglin, and nothing more.' But the evil continued a long time. In 1760, it appears that it was usual for the graduating class to provide a pipe of wine, in the payment of which each one was forced to join. The Corporation now attempted by very stringent law to break up this practice; but the Senior Class having united in bringing large quantities of rum into College, the Commencement exercises were suspended, and degrees were withheld until after a public confession of the class. In the two next years degrees were given at the July examination, with a view to prevent such disorders, and no public Commencement was celebrated. Similar scenes are not known to have occurred afterwards, although for a long time that anniversary wore as much the aspect of a training-day as of a literary festival.
"The Commencement Day in the modern sense of the term—that is, a gathering of graduated members and of others drawn together by a common interest in the College, and in its young members who are leaving its walls—has no counterpart that I know of in the older institutions of Europe. It arose by degrees out of the former exercises upon this occasion, with the addition of such as had been usual before upon quarter-days, or at the presentation in July. For a time several of the commencing Masters appeared on the stage to pronounce orations, as they had done before. In process of time, when they had nearly ceased to exhibit, this anniversary began to assume a somewhat new feature; the peculiarity of which consists in this, that the graduates have a literary festival more peculiarly their own, in the shape of discourses delivered before their assembled body, or before some literary society."—Woolsey's Historical Discourse, pp. 65-68.
Further remarks concerning the observance of Commencement at Yale College may be found in Ebenezer Baldwin's "Annals" of that institution, pp. 189-197.
An article "On the Date of the First Public Commencement at Yale College, in New Haven," will be read with pleasure by those who are interested in the deductions of antiquarian research. It is contained in the "Yale Literary Magazine," Vol. XX. pp. 199, 200.
The following account of Commencement at Dartmouth College, on Wednesday, August 24th, 1774, written by Dr. Belknap, may not prove uninteresting.
"About eleven o'clock, the Commencement began in a large tent erected on the east side of the College, and covered with boards; scaffolds and seats being prepared.
"The President began with a prayer in the usual strain. Then an English oration was spoken by one of the Bachelors, complimenting the Trustees, &c. A syllogistic disputation on this question: Amicitia vera non est absque amore divina. Then a cliosophic oration. Then an anthem, 'The voice of my beloved sounds,' &c. Then a forensic dispute, Whether Christ died for all men? which was well supported on both sides. Then an anthem, 'Lift up your heads, O ye gates,' &c.
"The company were invited to dine at the President's and the hall. The Connecticut lads and lasses, I observed, walked about hand in hand in procession, as 't is said they go to a wedding.
"Afternoon. The exercises began with a Latin oration on the state of society by Mr. Kipley. Then an English Oration on the Imitative Arts, by Mr. J. Wheelock. The degrees were then conferred, and, in addition to the usual ceremony of the book, diplomas were delivered to the candidates, with this form of words: 'Admitto vos ad primum (vel secundum) gradum in artibus pro more Academiarum in Anglia, vobisque trado hunc librum, una cum potestate publice prelegendi ubicumque ad hoc munus avocati fueritis (to the masters was added, fuistis vel fueritis), cujus rei haec diploma membrana scripta est testimonium.' Mr. Woodward stood by the President, and held the book and parchments, delivering and exchanging them as need required. Rev. Mr. Benjamin Pomeroy, of Hebron, was admitted to the degree of Doctor in Divinity.
"After this, McGregore and Sweetland, two Bachelors, spoke a dialogue of Lord Lyttleton's between Apicius and Darteneuf, upon good eating and drinking. The Mercury (who comes in at the close of the piece) performed his part but clumsily; but the two epicures did well, and the President laughed as heartily as the rest of the audience; though considering the circumstances, it might admit of some doubt, whether the dialogue were really a burlesque, or a compliment to the College.
"An anthem and prayer concluded the public exercises. Much decency and regularity were observable through the day, in the numerous attending concourse of people."—Life of Jeremy Belknap, D.D., pp. 69-71.
At Shelby College, Ky., it is customary at Commencement to perform plays, with appropriate costumes, at stated intervals during the exercises.
An account of the manner in which Commencement has been observed at other colleges would only be a repetition of what has been stated above, in reference to Harvard and Yale. These being, the former the first, and the latter the third institution founded in our country, the colleges which were established at a later period grounded, not only their laws, but to a great extent their customs, on the laws and customs which prevailed at Cambridge and New Haven.
COMMENCEMENT CARD. At Union College, there is issued annually at Commencement a card containing a programme of the exercises of the day, signed with the names of twelve of the Senior Class, who are members of the four principal college societies. These cards are worded in the form of invitations, and are to be sent to the friends of the students. To be "on the Commencement card" is esteemed an honor, and is eagerly sought for. At other colleges, invitations are often issued at this period, usually signed by the President.
COMMENCER. In American colleges, a member of the Senior Class, after the examination for degrees; generally, one who commences.
These exercises were, besides an oration usually made by the President, orations both salutatory and valedictory, made by some or other of the commencers.—Mather's Magnalia, B. IV. p. 128.
The Corporation with the Tutors shall visit the chambers of the commencers to see that this law be well observed.—Peirce's Hist. Harv. Univ., App., p. 137.
Thirty commencers, besides Mr. Rogers, &c.—Ibid., App., p. 150.
COMMERS. In the German universities, a party of students assembled for the purpose of making an excursion to some place in the country for a day's jollification. On such an occasion, the students usually go "in a long train of carriages with outriders"; generally, a festive gathering of the students.—Howitt's Student Life of Germany, Am. ed., p. 56; see also Chap. XVI.
COMMISSARY. In the University of Cambridge, Eng., an officer under the Chancellor, and appointed by him, who holds a court of record for all privileged persons and scholars under the degree of M.A. In this court, all causes are tried and determined by the civil and statute law, and by the custom of the University.—Cam. Cal.
COMMON. To board together; to eat at a table in common.
COMMONER. A student of the second rank in the University of Oxford, Eng., who is not dependent on the foundation for support, but pays for his board or commons, together with all other charges. Corresponds to a PENSIONER at Cambridge. See GENTLEMAN COMMONER.
2. One who boards in commons.
In all cases where those who do damage to the table furniture, or in the steward's kitchen, cannot be detected, the amount shall be charged to the commoners.—Laws Union Coll., 1807, p. 34.
The steward shall keep an accurate list of the commoners.—Ibid., 1807, p. 34.
COMMON ROOM. The room to which all the members of the college have access. There is sometimes one common room for graduates, and another for undergraduates.—Crabb's Tech. Dict.
Oh, could the days once more but come, When calm I smoak'd in common room. The Student, Oxf. and Cam., 1750, Vol. I. p. 237.
COMMONS. Food provided at a common table, as in colleges, where many persons eat at the same table, or in the same hall.—Webster.
Commons were introduced into Harvard College at its first establishment, in the year 1636, in imitation of the English universities, and from that time until the year 1849, when they were abolished, seem to have been a never-failing source of uneasiness and disturbance. While the infant College with the title only of "school," was under the superintendence of Mr. Nathaniel Eaton, its first "master," the badness of commons was one of the principal causes of complaint. "At no subsequent period of the College history," says Mr. Quincy, "has discontent with commons been more just and well founded, than under the huswifery of Mrs. Eaton." "It is perhaps owing," Mr. Winthrop observes in his History of New England, "to the gallantry of our fathers, that she was not enjoined in the perpetual malediction they bestowed on her husband." A few years after, we read, in the "Information given by the Corporation and Overseers to the General Court," a proposition either to make "the scholars' charges less, or their commons better." For a long period after this we have no account of the state of commons, "but it is not probable," says Mr. Peirce, "they were materially different from what they have been since."
During the administration of President Holyoke, from 1737 to 1769, commons were the constant cause of disorders among the students. There appears to have been a very general permission to board in private families before the year 1737: an attempt was then made to compel the undergraduates to board in commons. After many resolutions, a law was finally passed, in 1760, prohibiting them "from dining or supping in any house in town, except on an invitation to dine or sup gratis." "The law," says Quincy, "was probably not very strictly enforced. It was limited to one year, and was not renewed."
An idea of the quality of commons may be formed from the following accounts furnished by Dr. Holyoke and Judge Wingate. According to the former of these gentlemen, who graduated in 1746, the "breakfast was two sizings of bread and a cue of beer"; and "evening commons were a pye." The latter, who graduated thirteen years after, says: "As to the commons, there were in the morning none while I was in College. At dinner, we had, of rather ordinary quality, a sufficiency of meat of some kind, either baked or boiled; and at supper, we had either a pint of milk and half a biscuit, or a meat pye of some other kind. Such were the commons in the hall in my day. They were rather ordinary; but I was young and hearty, and could live comfortably upon them. I had some classmates who paid for their commons and never entered the hall while they belonged to the College. We were allowed at dinner a cue of beer, which was a half-pint, and a sizing of bread, which I cannot describe to you. It was quite sufficient for one dinner." By a vote of the Corporation in 1750, a law was passed, declaring "that the quantity of commons be as hath been usual, viz. two sizes of bread in the morning; one pound of meat at dinner, with sufficient sauce" (vegetables), "and a half a pint of beer; and at night that a part pie be of the same quantity as usual, and also half a pint of beer; and that the supper messes be but of four parts, though the dinner messes be of six." This agrees in substance with the accounts given above. The consequence of such diet was, "that the sons of the rich," says Mr. Quincy, "accustomed to better fare, paid for commons, which they would not eat, and never entered the hall; while the students whose resources did not admit of such an evasion were perpetually dissatisfied."
About ten years after, another law was made, "to restrain scholars from breakfasting in the houses of town's people," and provision was made "for their being accommodated with breakfast in the hall, either milk, chocolate, tea, or coffee, as they should respectively choose." They were allowed, however, to provide themselves with breakfasts in their own chambers, but not to breakfast in one another's chambers. From this period breakfast was as regularly provided in commons as dinner, but it was not until about the year 1807 that an evening meal was also regularly provided.
In the year 1765, after the erection of Hollis Hall, the accommodations for students within the walls were greatly enlarged; and the inconvenience being thus removed which those had experienced who, living out of the College buildings, were compelled to eat in commons, a system of laws was passed, by which all who occupied rooms within the College walls were compelled to board constantly in common, "the officers to be exempted only by the Corporation, with the consent of the Overseers; the students by the President only when they were about to be absent for at least one week." Scarcely a year had passed under this new regime "before," says Quincy, "an open revolt of the students took place on account of the provisions, which it took more than a month to quell." "Although," he continues, "their proceedings were violent, illegal, and insulting, yet the records of the immediate government show unquestionably, that the disturbances, in their origin, were not wholly without cause, and that they were aggravated by want of early attention to very natural and reasonable complaints."
During the war of the American Revolution, the difficulty of providing satisfactory commons was extreme, as may be seen from the following vote of the Corporation, passed Aug. 11th, 1777.
"Whereas by law 9th of Chap. VI. it is provided, 'that there shall always be chocolate, tea, coffee, and milk for breakfast, with bread and biscuit and butter,' and whereas the foreign articles above mentioned are now not to be procured without great difficulty, and at a very exorbitant price; therefore, that the charge of commons may be kept as low as possible,—
"Voted, That the Steward shall provide at the common charge only bread or biscuit and milk for breakfast; and, if any of the scholars choose tea, coffee, or chocolate for breakfast, they shall procure those articles for themselves, and likewise the sugar and butter to be used with them; and if any scholars choose to have their milk boiled, or thickened with flour, if it may be had, or with meal, the Steward, having reasonable notice, shall provide it; and further, as salt fish alone is appointed by the aforesaid law for the dinner on Saturdays, and this article is now risen to a very high price, and through the scarcity of salt will probably be higher, the Steward shall not be obliged to provide salt fish, but shall procure fresh fish as often as he can."—Quincy's Hist. Harv. Univ., Vol. II. p. 541.
Many of the facts in the following account of commons prior to, and immediately succeeding, the year 1800, have been furnished by Mr. Royal Morse of Cambridge.
The hall where the students took their meals was usually provided with ten tables; at each table were placed two messes, and each mess consisted of eight persons. The tables where the Tutors and Seniors sat were raised eighteen or twenty inches, so as to overlook the rest. It was the duty of one of the Tutors or of the Librarian to "ask a blessing and return thanks," and in their absence, the duty devolved on "the senior graduate or undergraduate." The waiters were students, chosen from the different classes, and receiving for their services suitable compensation. Each table was waited on by members of the class which occupied it, with the exception of the Tutor's table, at which members of the Senior Class served. Unlike the sizars and servitors at the English universities, the waiters were usually much respected, and were in many cases the best scholars in their respective classes.
The breakfast consisted of a specified quantity of coffee, a size of baker's biscuit, which was one biscuit, and a size of butter, which was about an ounce. If any one wished for more than was provided, he was obliged to size it, i.e. order from the kitchen or buttery, and this was charged as extra commons or sizings in the quarter-bill.
At dinner, every mess was served with eight pounds of meat, allowing a pound to each person. On Monday and Thursday the meat was boiled; these days were on this account commonly called "boiling days." On the other days the meat was roasted; these were accordingly named "roasting days." Two potatoes were allowed to each person, which he was obliged to pare for himself. On boiling days, pudding and cabbage were added to the bill of fare, and in their season, greens, either dandelion or the wild pea. Of bread, a size was the usual quantity apiece, at dinner. Cider was the common beverage, of which there was no stated allowance, but each could drink as much as he chose. It was brought, on in pewter quart cans, two to a mess, out of which they drank, passing them from mouth to mouth like the English wassail-bowl. The waiters replenished them as soon as they were emptied.
No regular supper was provided, but a bowl of milk, and a size of bread procured at the kitchen, supplied the place of the evening meal.
Respecting the arrangement of the students at table, before referred to, Professor Sidney Willard remarks: "The intercourse among students at meals was not casual or promiscuous. Generally, the students of the same class formed themselves into messes, as they were called, consisting each of eight members; and the length of one table was sufficient to seat two messes. A mess was a voluntary association of those who liked each other's company; and each member had his own place. This arrangement was favorable for good order; and, where the members conducted themselves with propriety, their cheerful conversation, and even exuberant spirits and hilarity, if not too boisterous, were not unpleasant to that portion of the government who presided at the head table. But the arrangement afforded opportunities also for combining in factious plans and organizations, tending to disorders, which became infectious, and terminated unhappily for all concerned."—Memories of Youth and Manhood, Vol. II. pp. 192, 193.
A writer in the New England Magazine, referring to the same period, says: "In commons, we fared as well as one half of us had been accustomed to at home. Our breakfast consisted of a good-sized biscuit of wheaten flour, with butter and coffee, chocolate, or milk, at our option. Our dinner was served up on dishes of pewter, and our drink, which was cider, in cans of the same material. For our suppers, we went with our bowls to the kitchen, and received our rations of milk, or chocolate, and bread, and returned with them to our rooms."—Vol. III. p. 239.
Although much can be said in favor of the commons system, on account of its economy and its suitableness to health and study, yet these very circumstances which were its chief recommendation were the occasion also of all the odium which it had to encounter. "That simplicity," says Peirce, "which makes the fare cheap, and wholesome, and philosophical, renders it also unsatisfactory to dainty palates; and the occasional appearance of some unlucky meat, or other food, is a signal for a general outcry against the provisions." In the plain but emphatic words of one who was acquainted with the state of commons, as they once were at Harvard College, "the butter was sometimes so bad, that a farmer would not take it to grease his cart-wheels with." It was the usual practice of the Steward, when veal was cheap, to furnish it to the students three, four, and sometimes five times in the week; the same with reference to other meats when they could be bought at a low price, and especially with lamb. The students, after eating this latter kind of meat for five or six successive weeks would often assemble before the Steward's house, and, as if their natures had been changed by their diet, would bleat and blatter until he was fain to promise them a change of food, upon which they would separate until a recurrence of the same evil compelled them to the same measures.
The annexed account of commons at Yale College, in former times, is given by President Woolsey, in his Historical Discourse, pronounced at New Haven, August 14th, 1850.
"At first, a college without common meals was hardly conceived of; and, indeed, if we trace back the history of college as they grew up at Paris, nothing is more of their essence than that students lived and ate together in a kind of conventual system. No doubt, also, when the town of New Haven was smaller, it was far more difficult to find desirable places for boarding than at present. But however necessary, the Steward's department was always beset with difficulties and exposed to complaints which most gentlemen present can readily understand. The following rations of commons, voted by the Trustees in 1742, will show the state of college fare at that time. 'Ordered, that the Steward shall provide the commons for the scholars as follows, viz.: For breakfast, one loaf of bread for four, which [the dough] shall weigh one pound. For dinner for four, one loaf of bread as aforesaid, two and a half pounds beef, veal, or mutton, or one and three quarter pounds salt pork about twice a week in the summer time, one quart of beer, two pennyworth of sauce [vegetables]. For supper for four, two quarts of milk and one loaf of bread, when milk can conveniently be had, and when it cannot, then apple-pie, which shall be made of one and three fourth pounds dough, one quarter pound hog's fat, two ounces sugar, and half a peck apples.' In 1759 we find, from a vote prohibiting the practice, that beer had become one of the articles allowed for the evening meal. Soon after this, the evening meal was discontinued, and, as is now the case in the English colleges, the students had supper in their own rooms, which led to extravagance and disorder. In the Revolutionary war the Steward was quite unable once or twice to provide food for the College, and this, as has already appeared, led to the dispersion of the students in 1776 and 1777, and once again in 1779 delayed the beginning of the winter term several weeks. Since that time, nothing peculiar has occurred with regard to commons, and they continued with all their evils of coarse manners and wastefulness for sixty years. The conviction, meanwhile, was increasing, that they were no essential part of the College, that on the score of economy they could claim no advantage, that they degraded the manners of students and fomented disorder. The experiment of suppressing them has hitherto been only a successful one. No one, who can retain a lively remembrance of the commons and the manners as they were both before and since the building of the new hall in 1819, will wonder that this resolution was adopted by the authorities of the College."—pp. 70-72.
The regulations which obtained at meal-time in commons were at one period in these words: "The waiters in the hall, appointed by the President, are to put the victuals on the tables spread with decent linen cloths, which are to be washed every week by the Steward's procurement, and the Tutors, or some of the senior scholars present, are to ask a blessing on the food, and to return thanks. All the scholars at mealtime are required to behave themselves decently and gravely, and abstain from loud talking. No victuals, platters, cups, &c. may be carried out of the hall, unless in case of sickness, and with liberty from one of the Tutors. Nor may any scholar go out before thanks are returned. And when dinner is over, the waiters are to carry the platters and cloths back into the kitchen. And if any one shall offend in either of these things, or carry away anything belonging to the hall without leave, he shall be fined sixpence."—Laws of Yale Coll., 1774, p. 19.
From a little work by a graduate at Yale College of the class of 1821, the accompanying remarks, referring to the system of commons as generally understood, are extracted.
"The practice of boarding the students in commons was adopted by our colleges, naturally, and perhaps without reflection, from the old universities of Europe, and particularly from those of England. At first those universities were without buildings, either for board or lodging; being merely rendezvous for such as wished to pursue study. The students lodged at inns, or at private houses, defraying out of their own pockets, and in their own way, all charges for board and education. After a while, in consequence of the exorbitant demands of landlords, halls were built, and common tables furnished, to relieve them from such exactions. Colleges, with chambers for study and lodging, were erected for a like reason. Being founded, in many cases, by private munificence, for the benefit of indigent students, they naturally included in their economy both lodging-rooms and board. There was also a police reason for the measure. It was thought that the students could be better regulated as to their manners and behavior, being brought together under the eye of supervisors."
Omitting a few paragraphs, we come to a more particular account of some of the jocose scenes which resulted from the commons system as once developed at Yale College.
"The Tutors, who were seated at raised tables, could not, with all their vigilance, see all that passed, and they winked at much they did see. Boiled potatoes, pieces of bread, whole loaves, balls of butter, dishes, would be flung back and forth, especially between Sophomores and Freshmen; and you were never sure, in raising a cup to your lips, that it would not be dashed out of your hands, and the contents spilt upon your clothes, by one of these flying articles slyly sent at random. Whatever damage was done was averaged on our term-bills; and I remember a charge of six hundred tumblers, thirty coffee-pots, and I know not how many other articles of table furniture, destroyed or carried off in a single term. Speaking of tumblers, it may be mentioned as an instance of the progress of luxury, even there, that down to about 1815 such a thing was not known, the drinking-vessels at dinner being capacious pewter mugs, each table being furnished with two. We were at one time a good deal incommoded by the diminutive size of the milk-pitchers, which were all the while empty and gone for more. A waiter mentioned, for our patience, that, when these were used up, a larger size would be provided. 'O, if that's the case, the remedy is easy.' Accordingly the hint was passed through the room, the offending pitchers were slyly placed upon the floor, and, as we rose from the tables, were crushed under foot. The next morning the new set appeared. One of the classes being tired of lamb, lamb, lamb, wretchedly cooked, during the season of it, expressed their dissatisfaction by entering the hall bleating; no notice of which being taken, a day or two after they entered in advance of the Tutors, and cleared the tables of it, throwing it out of the windows, platters and all, and immediately retired.
"In truth, not much could be said in commendation of our Alma Mater's table. A worse diet for sedentary men than that we had during the last days of the old hall, now the laboratory, cannot be imagined. I will not go into particulars, for I hate to talk about food. It was absolutely destructive of health. I know it to have ruined, permanently, the health of some, and I have not the least doubt of its having occasioned, in certain instances which I could specify, incurable debility and premature death."—Scenes and Characters in College, New Haven, 1847, pp. 113-117.
See INVALID'S TABLE. SLUM.
That the commons at Dartmouth College were at times of a quality which would not be called the best, appears from the annexed paragraph, written in the year 1774. "He [Eleazer Wheelock, President of the College] has had the mortification to lose two cows, and the rest were greatly hurt by a contagious distemper, so that they could not have a full supply of milk; and once the pickle leaked out of the beef-barrel, so that the meat was not sweet. He had also been ill-used with respect to the purchase of some wheat, so that they had smutty bread for a while, &c. The scholars, on the other hand, say they scarce ever have anything but pork and greens, without vinegar, and pork and potatoes; that fresh meat comes but very seldom, and that the victuals are very badly dressed."—Life of Jeremy Belknap, D.D., pp. 68, 69.
The above account of commons applies generally to the system as it was carried out in the other colleges in the United States. In almost every college, commons have been abolished, and with them have departed the discords, dissatisfactions, and open revolts, of which they were so often the cause.
COMMORANTES IN VILLA. Latin; literally, those abiding in town. In the University of Cambridge, Eng., the designation of Masters of Arts, and others of higher degree, who, residing within the precincts of the University, enjoy the privilege of being members of the Senate, without keeping their names on the college boards. —Gradus ad Cantab.
To have a vote in the Senate, the graduate must keep his name on the books of some college, or on the list of the commorantes in villa.—Lit. World, Vol. XII. p. 283.
COMPOSITION. At the University of Cambridge, Eng., translating English into Greek or Latin is called composition.—Bristed.
In composition and cram I was yet untried.—Bristed's Five Years in an Eng. Univ., Ed. 2d, p. 34.
You will have to turn English prose into Greek and Latin prose, English verse into Greek Iambic Trimeters, and part of some chorus in the Agamemnon into Latin, and possibly also into English verse. This is the "composition," and is to be done, remember, without the help of books or any other assistance.—Ibid., p. 68.
The term Composition seems in itself to imply that the translation is something more than a translation.—Ibid., p. 185.
Writing a Latin Theme, or original Latin verses, is designated Original Composition.—Bristed.
COMPOSUIST. A writer; composer. "This extraordinary word," says Mr. Pickering, in his Vocabulary, "has been much used at some of our colleges, but very seldom elsewhere. It is now rarely heard among us. A correspondent observes, that 'it is used in England among musicians.' I have never met with it in any English publications upon the subject of music."
The word is not found, I believe, in any dictionary of the English tongue.
COMPOUNDER. One at a university who pays extraordinary fees, according to his means, for the degree he is to take. A Grand Compounder pays double fees. See the Customs and Laws of Univ. of Cam., Eng., p. 297.
CONCIO AD CLERUM. A sermon to the clergy. In the English universities, an exercise or Latin sermon, which is required of every candidate for the degree of D.D. Used sometimes in America.
In the evening the "concio ad clerum" will be preached.—Yale Lit. Mag., Vol. XII. p. 426.
CONDITION. A student on being examined for admission to college, if found deficient in certain studies, is admitted on condition he will make up the deficiency, if it is believed on the whole that he is capable of pursuing the studies of the class for which he is offered. The branches in which he is deficient are called conditions.
Talks of Bacchus and tobacco, short sixes, sines, transitions, And Alma Mater takes him in on ten or twelve conditions. Poem before Y.H. Soc., Harv. Coll.
Praying his guardian powers To assist a poor Sub Fresh at the dread Examination, And free from all conditions to insure his first vacation. Poem before Iadma of Harv. Coll.
CONDITION. To admit a student as member of a college, who on being examined has been found deficient in some particular, the provision of his admission being that he will make up the deficiency.
A young man shall come down to college from New Hampshire, with no preparation save that of a country winter-school, shall be examined and "conditioned" in everything, and yet he shall come out far ahead of his city Latin-school classmate.—A Letter to a Young Man who has just entered College, 1849, p. 8.
They find themselves conditioned on the studies of the term, and not very generally respected.—Harvard Mag., Vol. I. p. 415.
CONDUCT. The title of two clergymen appointed to read prayers at Eton College, in England.—Mason. Webster.
CONFESSION. It was formerly the custom in the older American colleges, when a student had rendered himself obnoxious to punishment, provided the crime was not of an aggravated nature, to pardon and restore him to his place in the class, on his presenting a confession of his fault, to be read publicly in the hall. The Diary of President Leverett, of Harvard College, under date of the 20th of March, 1714, contains an interesting account of the confession of Larnel, an Indian student belonging to the Junior Sophister class, who had been guilty of some offence for which he had been dismissed from college.
"He remained," says Mr. Leverett, "a considerable time at Boston, in a state of penance. He presented his confession to Mr. Pemberton, who thereupon became his intercessor, and in his letter to the President expresses himself thus: 'This comes by Larnel, who brings a confession as good as Austin's, and I am charitably disposed to hope it flows from a like spirit of penitence.' In the public reading of his confession, the flowing of his passions was extraordinarily timed, and his expressions accented, and most peculiarly and emphatically those of the grace of God to him; which indeed did give a peculiar grace to the performance itself, and raised, I believe, a charity in some that had very little I am sure, and ratified wonderfully that which I had conceived of him. Having made his public confession, he was restored to his standing in the College."—Quincy's Hist. Harv. Univ., Vol. I. pp. 443, 444.
CONGREGATION. At Oxford, the house of congregation is one of the two assemblies in which the business of the University, as such, is carried on. In this house the Chancellor, or his vicar the Vice-Chancellor, or in his absence one of his four deputies, termed Pro-Vice-Chancellors, and the two Proctors, either by themselves or their deputies, always preside. The members of this body are regents, "either regents 'necessary' or 'ad placitum,' that is, on the one hand, all doctors and masters of arts, during the first year of their degree; and on the other, all those who have gone through the year of their necessary regency, and which includes all resident doctors, heads of colleges and halls, professors and public lecturers, public examiners, masters of the schools, or examiners for responsions or 'little go,' deans and censors of colleges, and all other M.A.'s during the second year of their regency." The business of the house of congregation, which may be regarded as the oligarchical body, is chiefly to grant degrees, and pass graces and dispensations.—Oxford Guide.
CONSERVATOR. An officer who has the charge of preserving the rights and privileges of a city, corporation, or community, as in Roman Catholic universities.—Webster.
CONSILIUM ABEUNDI. Latin; freely, the decree of departure. In German universities, the consilium abeundi "consists in expulsion out of the district of the court of justice within which the university is situated. This punishment lasts a year; after the expiration of which, the banished student can renew his matriculation."—Howitt's Student Life of Germany, Am. ed., p. 33.
CONSISTORY COURT. In the University of Cambridge, England, there is a consistory court of the Chancellor and of the Commissary. "For the former," says the Gradus ad Cantabrigiam, "the Chancellor, and in his absence the Vice-Chancellor, assisted by some of the heads of houses, and one or more doctors of the civil law, administers justice desired by any member of the University, &c. In the latter, the Commissary acts by authority given him under the seal of the Chancellor, as well in the University as at Stourbridge and Midsummer fairs, and takes cognizance of all offences, &c. The proceedings are the same in both courts."
CONSTITUTIONAL. Among students at the University of Cambridge, Eng., a walk for exercise.
The gallop over Bullington, and the "constitutional" up Headington.—Lond. Quart. Rev., Am. ed., Vol. LXXIII. p. 53.
Instead of boots he [the Cantab] wears easy low-heeled shoes, for greater convenience in fence and ditch jumping, and other feats of extempore gymnastics which diversify his "constitutionals".—Bristed's Five Years in an Eng. Univ., Ed. 2d, p. 4.
Even the mild walks which are dignified with the name of exercise there, how unlike the Cantab's constitutional of eight miles in less than two hours.—Ibid., p. 45.
Lucky is the man who lives a mile off from his private tutor, or has rooms ten minutes' walk from chapel: he is sure of that much constitutional daily.—Ibid., p. 224.
"Constitutionals" of eight miles in less than two hours, varied with jumping hedges, ditches, and gates; "pulling" on the river, cricket, football, riding twelve miles without drawing bridle,... are what he understands by his two hours' exercise.—Ibid., p. 328.
The most usual mode of exercise is walking,—constitutionalizing is the Cantab for it.—Bristed's Five Years in an Eng. Univ., Ed. 2d, p. 19.
CONVENTION. In the University of Cambridge, England, a court consisting of the Master and Fellows of a college, who sit in the Combination Room, and pass sentence on any young offender against the laws of soberness and chastity.—Gradus ad Cantabrigiam.
CONVICTOR. Latin, a familiar acquaintance. In the University of Oxford, those are called convictores who, although not belonging to the foundation of any college or hall, have at any time been regents, and have constantly kept their names on the books of some college or hall, from the time of their admission to the degree of M.A., or Doctors in either of the three faculties.—Oxf. Cal.
CONVOCATION. At Oxford, the house of convocation is one of the two assemblies in which the business of the University, as such, is transacted. It consists both of regents and non-regents, "that is, in brief, all masters of arts not 'honorary,' or 'ad eundems' from Cambridge or Dublin, and of course graduates of a higher order." In this house, the Chancellor, or his vicar the Vice-Chancellor, or in his absence one of his four deputies, termed Pro-Vice-Chancellors, and the two Proctors, either by themselves or their deputies, always preside. The business of this assembly—which may be considered as the house of commons, excepting that the lords have a vote here equally as in their own upper house, i.e. the house of congregation—is unlimited, extending to all subjects connected with the well-being of the University, including the election of Chancellor, members of Parliament, and many of the officers of the University, the conferring of extraordinary degrees, and the disposal of the University ecclesiastical patronage. It has no initiative power, this resting solely with the hebdomadal board, but it can debate, and accept or refuse, the measures which originate in that board.—Oxford Guide. Literary World, Vol. XII. p. 223.
In the University of Cambridge, England, an assembly of the Senate out of term time is called a convocation. In such a case a grace is immediately passed to convert the convocation into a congregation, after which the business proceeds as usual.—Cam. Cal.
2. At Trinity College, Hartford, the house of convocation consists of the Fellows and Professors, with all persons who have received any academic degree whatever in the same, except such as may be lawfully deprived of their privileges. Its business is such as may from time to time be delegated by the Corporation, from which it derives its existence; and is, at present, limited to consulting and advising for the good of the College, nominating the Junior Fellows, and all candidates for admissions ad eundem; making laws for its own regulation; proposing plans, measures, or counsel to the Corporation; and to instituting, endowing, and naming with concurrence of the same, professorships, scholarships, prizes, medals, and the like. This and the Corporation compose the Senatus Academicus.—Calendar Trin. Coll., 1850, pp. 6, 7.
COPE. In the University of Cambridge, Eng., the ermined robe worn by a Doctor in the Senate House, on Congregation Day, is called a cope.
COPUS. "Of mighty ale, a large quarte."—Chaucer.
The word copus and the beverage itself are both extensively used among the men of the University of Cambridge, England. "The conjecture," says the Gradus ad Cantabrigiam, "is surely ridiculous and senseless, that Copus is contracted from Episcopus, a bishop, 'a mixture of wine, oranges, and sugar.' A copus of ale is a common fine at the student's table in hall for speaking Latin, or for some similar impropriety."
COPY. At Cambridge, Eng., this word is applied exclusively to papers of verse composition. It is a public-school term transplanted to the University.—Bristed.
CORK, CALK. In some of the Southern colleges, this word, with a derived meaning, signifies a complete stopper. Used in the sense of an entire failure in reciting; an utter inability to answer an instructor's interrogatories.
CORPORAL PUNISHMENT. In the older American colleges, corporal punishment was formerly sanctioned by law, and several instances remain on record which show that its infliction was not of rare occurrence.
Among the laws, rules, and scholastic forms established between the years 1642 and 1646, by Mr. Dunster, the first President of Harvard College, occurs the following: "Siquis scholarium ullam Dei et hujus Collegii legem, sive animo perverso, seu ex supina negligentia, violarit, postquam fuerit bis admonitus, si non adultus, virgis coerceatur, sin adultus, ad Inspectores Collegii deferendus erit, ut publice in eum pro meritis animadversio fiat." In the year 1656, this law was strengthened by another, recorded by Quincy, in these words: "It is hereby ordered that the President and Fellows of Harvard College, for the time being, or the major part of them, are hereby empowered, according to their best discretion, to punish all misdemeanors of the youth in their society, either by fine, or whipping in the Hall openly, as the nature of the offence shall require, not exceeding ten shillings or ten stripes for one offence; and this law to continue in force until this Court or the Overseers of the College provide some other order to punish such offences."—Quincy's Hist. Harv. Univ., Vol. I. pp. 578, 513.
A knowledge of the existence of such laws as the above is in some measure a preparation for the following relation given by Mr. Peirce in his History of Harvard University.
"At the period when Harvard College was founded," says that gentleman, "one of the modes of punishment in the great schools of England and other parts of Europe was corporal chastisement. It was accordingly introduced here, and was, no doubt, frequently put in practice. An instance of its infliction, as part of the sentence upon an offender, is presented in Judge Sewall's MS. Diary, with the particulars of a ceremonial, which was reserved probably for special occasions. His account will afford some idea of the manners and spirit of the age:—
"'June 15, 1674, Thomas Sargeant was examined by the Corporation finally. The advice of Mr. Danforth, Mr. Stoughton, Mr. Thacher, Mr. Mather (the present), was taken. This was his sentence:
"'That being convicted of speaking blasphemous words concerning the H.G., he should be therefore publickly whipped before all the scholars.
"'2. That he should be suspended as to taking his degree of Bachelor. (This sentence read before him twice at the President's before the Committee and in the Library, before execution.)
"'3. Sit alone by himself in the Hall uncovered at meals, during the pleasure of the President and Fellows, and be in all things obedient, doing what exercise was appointed him by the President, or else be finally expelled the College. The first was presently put in execution in the Library (Mr. Danforth, Jr. being present) before the scholars. He kneeled down, and the instrument, Goodman Hely, attended the President's word as to the performance of his part in the work. Prayer was had before and after by the President, July 1, 1674.'"
"Men's ideas," continues Mr. Peirce, "must have been very different from those of the present day, to have tolerated a law authorizing so degrading a treatment of the members of such a society. It may easily be imagined what complaints and uneasiness its execution must frequently have occasioned among the friends and connections of those who were the subjects of it. In one instance, it even occasioned the prosecution of a Tutor; but this was as late as 1733, when old rudeness had lost much of the people's reverence. The law, however, was suffered, with some modification, to continue more than a century. In the revised body of Laws made in the year 1734, we find this article: 'Notwithstanding the preceding pecuniary mulcts, it shall be lawful for the President, Tutors, and Professors, to punish Undergraduates by Boxing, when they shall judge the nature or circumstances of the offence call for it.' This relic of barbarism, however, was growing more and more repugnant to the general taste and sentiment. The late venerable Dr. Holyoke, who was of the class of 1746, observed, that in his day 'corporal punishment was going out of use'; and at length it was expunged from the code, never, we trust, to be recalled from the rubbish of past absurdities."—pp. 227, 228.
The last movements which were made in reference to corporal punishment are thus stated by President Quincy, in his History of Harvard University. "In July, 1755, the Overseers voted, that it [the right of boxing] should be 'taken away.' The Corporation, however, probably regarded it as too important an instrument of authority to be for ever abandoned, and voted, 'that it should be suspended, as to the execution of it, for one year.' When this vote came before the Overseers for their sanction, the board hesitated, and appointed a large committee 'to consider and make report what punishments they apprehend proper to be substituted instead of boxing, in case it be thought expedient to repeal or suspend the law which allows or establishes the same.' From this period the law disappeared, and the practice was discontinued."—Vol. II. p. 134.
The manner in which corporal punishment was formerly inflicted at Yale College is stated by President Woolsey, in his Historical Discourse, delivered at New Haven, August, 1850. After speaking of the methods of punishing by fines and degradation, he thus proceeds to this topic: "There was a still more remarkable punishment, as it must strike the men of our times, and which, although for some reason or other no traces of it exist in any of our laws so far as I have discovered, was in accordance with the 'good old plan,' pursued probably ever since the origin of universities. I refer—'horresco referens'—to the punishment of boxing or cuffing. It was applied before the Faculty to the luckless offender by the President, towards whom the culprit, in a standing position, inclined his head, while blows fell in quick succession upon either ear. No one seems to have been served in this way except Freshmen and commencing 'Sophimores.' I do not find evidence that this usage much survived the first jubilee of the College. One of the few known instances of it, which is on other accounts remarkable, was as follows. A student in the first quarter of his Sophomore year, having committed an offence for which he had been boxed when a Freshman, was ordered to be boxed again, and to have the additional penalty of acting as butler's waiter for one week. On presenting himself, more academico, for the purpose of having his ears boxed, and while the blow was falling, he dodged and fled from the room and the College. The beadle was thereupon ordered to try to find him, and to command him to keep himself out of College and out of the yard, and to appear at prayers the next evening, there to receive further orders. He was then publicly admonished and suspended; but in four days after submitted to the punishment adjudged, which was accordingly inflicted, and upon his public confession his suspension was taken off. Such public confessions, now unknown, were then exceedingly common."
After referring to the instance mentioned above, in which corporal punishment was inflicted at Harvard College, the author speaks as follows, in reference to the same subject, as connected with the English universities. "The excerpts from the body of Oxford statutes, printed in the very year when this College was founded, threaten corporal punishment to persons of the proper age,—that is, below the age of eighteen,—for a variety of offences; and among the rest for disrespect to Seniors, for frequenting places where 'vinum aut quivis alius potus aut herba Nicotiana ordinarie venditur,' for coming home to their rooms after the great Tom or bell of Christ's Church had sounded, and for playing football within the University precincts or in the city streets. But the statutes of Trinity College, Cambridge, contain more remarkable rules, which are in theory still valid, although obsolete in fact. All the scholars, it is there said, who are absent from prayers,—Bachelors excepted,—if over eighteen years of age, 'shall be fined a half-penny, but if they have not completed the year of their age above mentioned, they shall be chastised with rods in the hall on Friday.' At this chastisement all undergraduates were required to be lookers on, the Dean having the rod of punishment in his hand; and it was provided also, that whosoever should not answer to his name on this occasion, if a boy, should be flogged on Saturday. No doubt this rigor towards the younger members of the society was handed down from the monastic forms which education took in the earlier schools of the Middle Ages. And an advance in the age of admission, as well as a change in the tone of treatment of the young, may account for this system being laid aside at the universities; although, as is well known, it continues to flourish at the great public schools of England."—pp. 49-51.
CORPORATION. The general government of colleges and universities is usually vested in a corporation aggregate, which is preserved by a succession of members. "The President and Fellows of Harvard College," says Mr. Quincy in his History of Harvard University, "being the only Corporation in the Province, and so continuing during the whole of the seventeenth century, they early assumed, and had by common usage conceded to them, the name of "The Corporation," by which they designate themselves in all the early records. Their proceedings are recorded as being done 'at a meeting of the Corporation,' or introduced by the formula, 'It is ordered by the Corporation,' without stating the number or the names of the members present, until April 19th, 1675, when, under President Oakes, the names of those present were first entered on the records, and afterwards they were frequently, though not uniformly, inserted."—Vol. I. p. 274.
2. At Trinity College, Hartford, the Corporation, on which the House of Convocation is wholly dependent, and to which, by law, belongs the supreme control of the College, consists of not more than twenty-four Trustees, resident within the State of Connecticut; the Chancellor and President of the College being ex officio members, and the Chancellor being ex officio President of the same. They have authority to fill their own vacancies; to appoint to offices and professorships; to direct and manage the funds for the good of the College; and, in general, to exercise the powers of a collegiate society, according to the provisions of the charter.—Calendar Trin. Coll., 1850, p. 6.
COSTUME. At the English universities there are few objects that attract the attention of the stranger more than the various academical dresses worn by the members of those institutions. The following description of the various costumes assumed in the University of Cambridge is taken from "The Cambridge Guide," Ed. 1845.
"A Doctor in Divinity has three robes: the first, a gown made of scarlet cloth, with ample sleeves terminating in a point, and lined with rose-colored silk, which is worn in public processions, and on all state and festival days;—the second is the cope, worn at Great St. Mary's during the service on Litany-days, in the Divinity Schools during an Act, and at Conciones ad Clerum; it is made of scarlet cloth, and completely envelops the person, being closed down the front, which is trimmed with an edging of ermine; at the back of it is affixed a hood of the same costly fur;—the third is a gown made of black silk or poplin, with full, round sleeves, and is the habit commonly worn in public by a D.D.; Doctors, however, sometimes wear a Master of Arts' gown, with a silk scarf. These several dresses are put over a black silk cassock, which covers the entire body, around which it is fastened by a broad sash, and has sleeves coming down to the wrists, like a coat. A handsome scarf of the same materials, which hangs over the shoulders, and extends to the feet, is always worn with the scarlet and black gowns. A square black cloth cap, with silk tassel, completes the costume.
"Doctors in the Civil Law and in Physic have two robes: the first is the scarlet gown, as just described, and the second, or ordinary dress of a D.C.L., is a black silk gown, with a plain square collar, the sleeves hanging down square to the feet;—the ordinary gown of an M.D. is of the same shape, but trimmed at the collar, sleeves, and front with rich black silk lace.
"A Doctor in Music commonly wears the same dress as a D.C.L.; but on festival and scarlet-days is arrayed in a gown made of rich white damask silk, with sleeves and facings of rose-color, a hood of the same, and a round black velvet cap with gold tassel.
"Bachelors in Divinity and Masters of Arts wear a black gown, made of bombazine, poplin, or silk. It has sleeves extending to the feet, with apertures for the arms just above the elbow, and may be distinguished by the shape of the sleeves, which hang down square, and are cut out at the bottom like the section of a horseshoe.
"Bachelors in the Civil Law and in Physic wear a gown of the same shape as that of a Master of Arts.
"All Graduates of the above ranks are entitled to wear a hat, instead of the square black cloth cap, with their gowns, and the custom of doing so is generally adopted, except by the HEADS, Tutors, and University and College Officers, who consider it more correct to appear in the full academical costume.
"A Bachelor of Arts' gown is made of bombazine or poplin, with large sleeves terminating in a point, with apertures for the arms, just below the shoulder-joint. Bachelor Fellow-Commoners usually wear silk gowns, and square velvet caps. The caps of other Bachelors are of cloth.
"All the above, being Graduates, when they use surplices in chapel wear over them their hoods, which are peculiar to the several degrees. The hoods of Doctors are made of scarlet cloth, lined with rose-colored silk; those of Bachelors in Divinity, and Non-Regent Masters of Arts, are of black silk; those of Regent Masters of Arts and Bachelors in the Civil Law and in Physic, of black silk lined with white; and those of Bachelors of Arts, of black serge, trimmed with a border of white lamb's-wool.
"The dresses of the Undergraduates are the following:—
"A Nobleman has two gowns: the first in shape like that of the Fellow-Commoners, is made of purple Ducape, very richly embroidered with gold lace, and is worn in public processions, and on festival-days: a square black velvet cap with a very large gold tassel is worn with it;—the second, or ordinary gown, is made of black silk, with full round sleeves, and a hat is worn with it. The latter dress is worn also by the Bachelor Fellows of King's College.
"A Fellow-Commoner wears a black prince's stuff gown, with a square collar, and straight hanging sleeves, which are decorated with gold lace; and a square black velvet cap with a gold tassel.
"The Fellow-Commoners of Emmanuel College wear a similar gown, with the addition of several gold-lace buttons attached to the trimmings on the sleeves;—those of Trinity College have a purple prince's stuff gown, adorned with silver lace, and a silver tassel is attached to the cap;—at Downing the gown is made of black silk, of the same shape, ornamented with tufts and silk lace; and a square cap of velvet with a gold tassel is worn. At Jesus College, a Bachelor's silk gown is worn, plaited up at the sleeve, and with a gold lace from the shoulder to the bend of the arm. At Queen's a Bachelor's silk gown, with a velvet cap and gold tassel, is worn: the same at Corpus and Magdalene; at the latter it is gathered and looped up at the sleeve,—at the former (Corpus) it has velvet facings. Married Fellow-Commoners usually wear a black silk gown, with full, round sleeves, and a square velvet cap with silk tassel.
"The Pensioner's gown and cap are mostly of the same material and shape as those of the Bachelor's: the gown differs only in the mode of trimming. At Trinity and Caius Colleges the gown is purple, with large sleeves, terminating in a point. At St. Peter's and Queen's, the gown is precisely the same as that of a Bachelor; and at King's, the same, but made of fine black woollen cloth. At Corpus Christi is worn a B.A. gown, with black velvet facings. At Downing and Trinity Hall the gown is made of black bombazine, with large sleeves, looped up at the elbows.
"Students in the Civil Law and in Physic, who have kept their Acts, wear a full-sleeved gown, and are entitled to use a B.A. hood.
"Bachelors of Arts and Undergraduates are obliged by the statutes to wear their academical costume constantly in public, under a penalty of 6s. 8d. for every omission.
"Very few of the University Officers have distinctive dresses.
"The Chancellor's gown is of black damask silk, very richly embroidered with gold. It is worn with a broad, rich lace band, and square velvet cap with large gold tassel.
"The Vice-Chancellor dresses merely as a Doctor, except at Congregations in the Senate-House, when he wears a cope. When proceeding to St. Mary's, or elsewhere, in his official capacity, he is preceded by the three Esquire-Bedells with their silver maces, which were the gift of Queen Elizabeth.
"The Regius Professors of the Civil Law and of Physic, when they preside at Acts in the Schools, wear copes, and round black velvet caps with gold tassels.
"The Proctors are not distinguishable from other Masters of Arts, except at St. Mary's Church and at Congregations, when they wear cassocks and black silk ruffs, and carry the Statutes of the University, being attended by two servants, dressed in large blue cloaks, ornamented with gold-lace buttons.
"The Yeoman-Bedell, in processions, precedes the Esquire-Bedells, carrying an ebony mace, tipped with silver; his gown, as well as those of the Marshal and School-Keeper, is made of black prince's stuff, with square collar, and square hanging sleeves."—pp. 28-33.
At the University of Oxford, Eng., the costume of the Graduates is as follows:—
"The Doctor in Divinity has three dresses: the first consists of a gown of scarlet cloth, with black velvet sleeves and facings, a cassock, sash, and scarf. This dress is worn on all public occasions in the Theatre, in public processions, and on those Sundays and holidays marked (*) in the Oxford Calendar. The second is a habit of scarlet cloth, and a hood of the same color lined with black, and a black silk scarf: the Master of Arts' gown is worn under this dress, the sleeves appearing through the arm-holes of the habit. This is the dress of business; it is used in Convocation, Congregation, at Morning Sermons at St. Mary's during the term, and at Afternoon Sermons at St. Peter's during Lent, with the exception of the Morning Sermon on Quinquagesima Sunday, and the Morning Sermons in Lent. The third, which is the usual dress in which a Doctor of Divinity appears, is a Master of Arts' gown, with cassock, sash, and scarf. The Vice-Chancellor and Heads of Colleges and Halls have no distinguishing dress, but appear on all occasions as Doctors in the faculty to which they belong.
"The dresses worn by Graduates in Law and Physic are nearly the same. The Doctor has three. The first is a gown of scarlet cloth, with sleeves and facings of pink silk, and a round black velvet cap. This is the dress of state. The second consists of a habit and hood of scarlet cloth, the habit faced and the hood lined with pink silk. This habit, which is perfectly analogous to the second dress of the Doctor in Divinity, has lately grown into disuse; it is, however, retained by the Professors, and is always used in presenting to Degrees. The third or common dress of a Doctor in Law or Physic nearly resembles that of the Bachelor in these faculties; it is a black silk gown richly ornamented with black lace; the hood of the Bachelor of Laws (worn as a dress) is of purple silk, lined with white fur.
"The dress worn by the Doctor of Music on public occasions is a rich white damask silk gown, with sleeves and facings of crimson satin, a hood of the same material, and a round black velvet cap. The usual dresses of the Doctor and of the Bachelor in Music are nearly the same as those of Law and Physic.
"The Master of Arts wears a black gown, usually made of prince's stuff or crape, with long sleeves which are remarkable for the circular cut at the bottom. The arm comes through an aperture in the sleeve, which hangs down. The hood of a Master of Arts is black silk lined with crimson.
"The gown of a Bachelor of Arts is also usually made of prince's stuff or crape. It has a full sleeve, looped up at the elbow, and terminating in a point; the dress hood is black, trimmed with white fur. In Lent, at the time of determining in the Schools, a strip of lamb's-wool is worn in addition to the hood. Noblemen and Gentlemen-Commoners, who take the Degrees of Bachelor and Master of Arts, wear their gowns of silk."
The costume of the Undergraduates is thus described:—
"The Nobleman has two dresses; the first, which is worn in the Theatre, in processions, and on all public occasions, is a gown of purple damask silk, richly ornamented with gold lace. The second is a black silk gown, with full sleeves; it has a tippet attached to the shoulders. With both these dresses is worn a square cap of black velvet, with a gold tassel.
"The Gentleman-Commoner has two gowns, both of black silk; the first, which is considered as a dress gown, although worn on all occasions, at pleasure, is richly ornamented with tassels. The second, or undress gown, is ornamented with plaits at the sleeves. A square black velvet cap with a silk tassel, is worn with both.
"The dress of Commoners is a gown of black prince's stuff, without sleeves; from each shoulder is appended a broad strip, which reaches to the bottom of the dress, and towards the top is gathered into plaits. Square cap of black cloth and silk tassel.
"The student in Civil Law, or Civilian, wears a plain black silk gown, and square cloth cap, with silk tassel.
"Scholars and Demies of Magdalene, and students of Christ Church who have not taken a degree, wear a plain black gown of prince's stuff, with round, full sleeves half the length of the gown, and a square black cap, with silk tassel.
"The dress of the Servitor is the same as that of the Commoner, but it has no plaits at the shoulder, and the cap is without a tassel."
The costume of those among the University Officers who are distinguished by their dress, may be thus noted:—
"The dress of the Chancellor is of black damask silk, richly ornamented with gold embroidery, a rich lace band, and square velvet cap, with a large gold tassel.
"The Proctors wear gowns of prince's stuff, the sleeves and facings of black velvet; to the left shoulder is affixed a small tippet. To this is added, as a dress, a large ermine hood.
"The Pro-Proctor wears a Master of Arts' gown, faced with velvet, with a tippet attached to the left shoulder."
The Collectors wear the same dress as the Proctors, with the exception of the hood and tippet.
The Esquire Bedels wear silk gowns, similar to those of Bachelors of Law, and round velvet caps. The Yeoman Bedels have black stuff gowns, and round silk caps.
The dress of the Verger is nearly the same as that of the Yeoman Bedel.
"Bands at the neck are considered as necessary appendages to the academic dress, particularly on all public occasions."—Guide to Oxford.
COURTS. At the English universities, the squares or acres into which each college is divided. Called also quadrangles, abbreviated quads.
All the colleges are constructed in quadrangles or courts; and, as in course of years the population of every college, except one, has outgrown the original quadrangle, new courts have been added, so that the larger foundations have three, and one has four courts.—Bristed's Five Years in an Eng. Univ., Ed. 2d, p. 2.
CRACKLING. At the University of Cambridge, Eng., in common parlance, the three stripes of velvet which a member of St. John's College wears on his sleeve, are designated by this name.
Various other gowns are to be discerned, the Pembroke looped at the sleeve, the Christ's and Catherine curiously crimped in front, and the Johnian with its unmistakable "Crackling"—Bristed's Five Years in an Eng. Univ., Ed. 2d, p. 73.
CRAM. To prepare a student to pass an examination; to study in view of examination. In the latter sense used in American colleges.
In the latter [Euclid] it is hardly possible, at least not near so easy as in Logic, to present the semblance of preparation by learning questions and answers by rote:—in the cant phrase of undergraduates, by getting crammed.—Whalely's Logic, Preface.
For many weeks he "crams" him,—daily does he rehearse. Poem before the Iadma of Harv. Coll., 1850.
A class of men arose whose business was to cram the candidates. —Lit. World, Vol. XII. p. 246.
In a wider sense, to prepare another, or one's self, by study, for any occasion.
The members of the bar were lounging about that tabooed precinct, some smoking, some talking and laughing, some poring over long, ill-written papers or large calf-bound books, and all big with the ponderous interests depending upon them, and the eloquence and learning with which they were "crammed" for the occasion.—Talbot and Vernon.
When he was to write, it was necessary to cram him with the facts and points.—F.K. Hunt's Fourth Estate, 1850.
CRAM. All miscellaneous information about Ancient History, Geography, Antiquities, Law, &c.; all classical matter not included under the heads of TRANSLATION and COMPOSITION, which can be learned by CRAMMING. Peculiar to the English Universities.—Bristed.
2. The same as CRAMMING, which see.
I have made him promise to give me four or five evenings of about half an hour's cram each.—Collegian's Guide, p. 240.
It is not necessary to practise "cram" so outrageously as at some of the college examinations.—Westminster Rev., Am. ed., Vol. XXXV. p. 237.
3. A paper on which is written something necessary to be learned, previous to an examination.
"Take care what you light your cigars with," said Belton, "you'll be burning some of Tufton's crams: they are stuck all about the pictures."—Collegian's Guide, p. 223.