[Cambridge, October 17 1721]
An Account of Several things relating to the College, contained in the Charter, Laws &c. with references to the Originals.
What We Assert in the first place is, that by the Charter of 1650, which the College is now upon, its Government is limited to the Corporation and cant be commited to any body Else. And this We think is Evident from the Charter, particularly from that Paragraph in it, Viz: Be it enacted by the Authority aforesaid, that the President and three more of the Fellows shall, and may, from time to time, upon due warning or Notice given by the President to the rest, hold a Meeting for the debating and concluding of Affairs, touching the profit and Revenues of any lands, and disposing of their goods, provided that all the disposing be according to the Will of the Donors, and for direction in all emergent occasions, Execution of all Orders and By-laws.
The President and Fellows or Corporation are here empowered to govern the College and We dont find any thing in the Charter which an Inferiour Judicature can be founded upon in the College so that We think that the Government of the College is limited to the Corporation.
The College is Allowed other Officers and Servants not exceeding ten, Viz: three to the President and Seven to the College, Viz: such as Library-keeper, Steward, Butler, and Handy-crafts-men, but We cant beleive that any can be brought in, under this head of officers and Servants to govern the College, though this is argued against us.
To the end that the Corporation may not be obliged to meet upon every trivial matter the English laws provide that the President or a Tutor may manage a few small things separately, Viz: give leave to a Student to receive and lodge a Stranger in the College, Page 3d. 9th Law, give leave to a Student to go out of Town Page 4th 10th Law, privately to admonish Page 10th, last Paragraph to non-plus, Page 12th 7th Law.
We have been informed that two, or three, of the Senior Fellows were originally Tutors and it was with good reason that the Tutors were empowered to Order and direct their Pupils in those small matters, rather then the other Fellows, viz: because it must be supposed that they understood the tempers and circumstances of their own Pupils, who were every day with them better than the other Fellows did.
Matters of greater Weight were determined by President and Fellows such as a Valuation of Studies, Page 5th, 17th Law, directing the Students what Authors to read Page 7th, 6th Law; gaurding the College from Heterodox Opinions Page 8th, 8th Law. Advancement for Merit, degradation for Miscarriage Page 8th, 9th Law. To inflict Corporal punishment Page 13th, 12th Law, to punish all under Officers and Servants Page 13th, 14th Law, and all matters of expulsion, Page 10th, 6th Law, Page 11th, 4th and 5th Laws. And all decisions were made in Corporation by a Majority of Voices. And add to all this that the Generall Court empowered the President and Fellows by an Act, to govern the College Page 15th of the English Laws. And those Tutors which the Laws refer to, were Fellows, and there is no election of a Tutor distinct from a Fellow, when the College was formerly upon this Charter.
It has been argued that the Latin Laws of 1692 give the President and Tutors sufficient powers to govern the College but for Answer, Mr. Leveret the present President and Mr. Brattle were the Tutors immediately refered to in these Laws, and they were Fellows also, upon the Foundation their Names being in the Charter of 1692 which the College was then upon. And furthermore those laws were made upon another Charter and upon a different establishment, and if that Charter would admit of such a state of things, and that the College might be governed by a President and Tutors who were not Fellows, most certainly this Charter that we are now upon dos not, but says expressly that the President and Fellows or Corporation shall execute the Laws and govern the College and thus the Government of the College is limited to the Corporation. And in order thereunto their residence in the College is absolutely necessary. And accordingly when the Charter was granted, and for Many Years after, the President and Fellows or Corporation were resident in the College. The first Nomination in the Charter are allowed by every body to be so.
The Charter says that upon the removal of Fellows they that are left may choose others in their places, the form of Installment commits the powers of the College to them only during the time of their Residence in the College dum hic commoraberis, and dum hic egeris are the words of the form,1 so that when the Fellows left the College they ceased to be Fellows and never carryed off the powers of the College with them.
In 1654 June 7th at a Meeting of the Overseers after Mr. Eaton, one of the first Fellows, was withdrawn from the College it was Voted that if he should return to reside at the College at, or before the next Commencement he should enjoy his Fellowship, which strongly implies, that if he did not come and reside in the College he should loose his Fellowship on the Account of his nonresidence. Page 5th of the Old records of the Overseers.
And even of late, since there have been Nonresident Fellows, the resident ones upon their leaving the College have alwayes been thot to cease to be Fellows too, and never have Acted as Fellows after they have left the College unless upon a New Election; Now, we dont find that Mr. Danforth or Mr. Michel or any other of the Fellows ever had a new Election to be Fellow after they left the College or that any of the Ministers of the Vicinity were elected Fellows or that any nonresidents acted as Fellows till 1672, upon another Charter, but all the Fellows elected were either Masters of Art or Bachelors of Art at College Page 5th 16:23:25 of the Overseers old Book of records.
Mr. Danforth and Mr. Michel, two of the first Fellows, soon after the Charter was granted, left the College, Mr. Danforth being settled at Roxbury, and Mr. Michel at Cambridge, and it is evident to a Demonstration, that they then ceased to be Fellows. And it appears from this that at a Meeting March 19, 1654/5, Mr. Danforth and Mr. Michel were present as Overseers, Mr. Dudley, Sir Shepard, Sir Hooker, and Sir Ambrose as Fellows. Now the Charter allows of but five Fellows, and there were four present at that Meeting, without Mr. Danforth and Mr. Michel. Mr. Danforth and Mr. Michel therefore, who some years before this had left the College could not be Fellows, for if they were, these two, with the other four would make six which the Charter dos not allow of. An Account of this Meeting is to be found, Page 17th of the Overseers Book of Records, Mr. Dudley was choosen Fellow Page 5th, Sir Shepard, Sir Hooker, and Sir Ambrose, Page 16th of the same Book.
Some Years after we observed in the remarks, the Corporation was not full, three Fellows only were present at a Meeting Page 26 and the same number at another Page 29, but they were all Resident, and no Nonresident Fellow is yet heard of in the College.
In the Additional grant of Charter in 1672, of the Corporation there Nominated, there were resident only the President and two Fellows and there were three Nonresident Fellows, but the President and two resident Fellows were then tho’t sufficient to instruct and govern the College when there were but few Scholars, and there were then no other sort of Fellows but the Fellows of the Corporation. Neither were there any Tutors but the Resident Fellows and in 1677 after Mr. Shepard of Charlestown was dead, who was one of the Nonresident Fellows, the Overseers recommended it to the Corporation, to choose another Resident Fellow in his stead, Page 66: from hence it may be argued that then it was the Opinion of the Overseers that the College ought to be governed by the Corporation and none else, for otherwise they would not have interposed in that Juncture, as they did; the Corporation might have choose another Nonresident to have filled in the Vacancy that Mr. Shepard left, and a Tutor, or Fellow of the House according to the modern [practice?] to have assisted in carrying on the business of the College within, if there had been occasion for it.
It may be seen on the Records of the Corporation from the Year 1692 to 1700, that the Fellows Salaries were about fifty pounds per Annum to each of them from Charlestown Ferry, and the College Treasury besides their Pupil Money, which by computation for Eight or ten Years about that time, usually amounted to about fifty six pounds per Annum one year with another.
A Copy of a Paper sent to Judge Sewall: Chairman of a Committee of the Overseers: by Order of the Committe.
College Papers, i. 62 (No. 134). In Sever’s hand. There are frequent abbreviations, such as: Coll. for College, Corp. for Corporation, Presdt. for President, and Fell, for Fellows. It is printed, with a few slight omissions, in J. E. Kirkpatrick, Academic Organization and Control, pp. 236–239.