I. Imitation of the English Model:
A. Presentation of Harvard's Graduates by President
to the Board of
Overseers in 17th Century: "Honourable Gentlemen and Reverend
Ministers, I present to you these youths, whom I know to be sufficient in
learning as in manners to be raised to the First Degree in Arts, according
to the custom of the Universities in England."
B. On the chartering of the College of Rhode Island
in 1764: "And they are hereby authoriz'd & impowered by their President
& in his absence by the Senior Fellow or one of the Fellows appointed by
themselves at the Anniversary Commencements or at any other times and
at all Times hereafter to Admit to & Confer any and all the Learned Degrees
which can or ought to be given and conferred in any of the Colleges and
Universities in America, Europe & particularly in the University of Cambridge
& Edinburgh in Great Britain."
II. On the Purpose of Collegiate Education
College of New Jersey (Princeton University) - founded 1746: "Tho'
our great Intention was to erect a Seminary for educating Ministers of the
Gospel, that we might have a sufficient Number of Pious and well qualified
men to supply the demands of our Churches, & propagate the kingdom of the
Redeemer among those who have hitherto lived in darkness and ignorance,
yet we hope it will be a means of training up men that will be useful in the
other professions - ornaments of the state as well as the church…"
III. On the Merits of a Classical Education
Johnson, President of King's College (Columbia University) in
1756: "By reading the authors of Classical Greece & Rome, those who
studied nature more and understood it better than any nations have ever
done since, our undergraduates would imbibe those great maxims of wisdom
which had stood the test of time. These times and manners may have changed
since the golden age of Greece and Rome, but not so much as to make any
considerable change in the maxims of civil & political prudence. The essential
rules of life and right conduct are invariable."
the Continued Value of Classical Education into the
Early 19th Century:
From the Kingsley Report (Yale college Faculty) in the 1820s on the retention
of the college's Classical curriculum: "Familiarity with the Greek and Roman
writers is especially adapted to form the taste, to discipline the mind, both in
thought and in diction, to the relish of what is elevated, chaste and simple. The
compositions which these writers have left us, both in prose and verse, whether
considered in regard to structure, style, modes of illustration or general
expression, approach nearer than any others to what the human mind,
when thoroughly informed and disciplined, or course approves and constitute
what is most desirable to possess, a standard for determining literary merit.