A Stated Meeting of the Society was held, at the invitation of Mr. Alfred Johnson, at No. 36 Monmouth Street, Brookline, on Monday, 23 April, 1923, at eight o’clock in the evening, the President, Fred Norris Robinson, Ph.D., in the chair.

    The Records of the last Stated Meeting were read and approved.

    The Corresponding Secretary reported the death on the twelfth and the nineteenth of April respectively, of George Lincoln Goodale and James Madison Morton, both Resident Members.

    The President appointed the following Committees in anticipation of the Annual Meeting:

    To nominate candidates for the several offices,—Messrs. Allan Forbes, George Lyman Kittredge, and James Parker Parmenter.

    To examine the Treasurer’s accounts,—Messrs. Morris Gray and Stephen Willard Phillips.

    Mr. Alfred Johnson exhibited a swivel gun supposed to have belonged to the forces under Cornwallis, and described how it had recently been dredged from the York River, Virginia.

    Mr. Clarence S. Brigham described a visit to the Henry E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery at San Gabriel, California, dwelling particularly on its treasures in early English literature.

    Mr. Kenneth B. Murdock read the following paper:


    The most recent book on the early history of New England says:

    It was natural, with the Puritans’ idea of God, that they should take special delight in the Old Testament. From it, almost exclusively, they drew their texts, and it never failed to provide them with justification for their most inhuman and bloodthirsty acts. Christ did, indeed, occupy a place in their theology, but in spirit they may almost be considered as Jews and not Christians. Their God was the God of the Old Testament, their laws were the laws of the Old Testament, their guides to conduct were the characters of the Old Testament.531

    This is a specific statement of an opinion often to be found expressed in more general terms. To quote another scholar, “The Old Testament spirit of the Puritan has repeatedly been demonstrated.”532 Because the idea that the Puritans neglected the New Testament in favor of the Old is one which is important for any estimate of them and because it is widely accepted, it deserves some testing in the light of the facts.

    One may note first that in the Cambridge Platform, the Puritans’ own analysis of the religious system which governed their lives, we find both Testaments cited as equally authoritative.533 Neither alone sufficed, and neither one is preferred to the other. Yet New England Congregationalists believed that their church was based on the New Testament. Michael Wigglesworth wrote, speaking of the religious system which he upheld: “Herein the wisdom of our Lord Jesus Christ . . . (for it is not any politic or prudential contrivance of man, but modelled by the Great Lawgiver, the Lord Jesus,) is greatly to be admired by us.”534

    The Puritans relied first of all upon the Bible, but second only to the Scriptures themselves was the interpretation put upon them by John Calvin. Yet when we turn to his Institutes535 of the Christian Religion, we find that he cites and discusses passages from the Old Testament only 1802 times, whereas he makes 2864 citations of the New Testament.536 Clearly he found more that was useful in the teaching of Christ and his followers than in the historical and legal books of the Hebrews.

    When we turn to the Puritans themselves we cannot, of course, attempt to consider everything each one of them wrote and said. We are not likely to go far wrong, however, in calling three witnesses, each one of them a Puritan leader and each one fairly to be called typical of his brethren.

    John Cotton was a great figure and a representative one in the first generation of New England. His biographer, John Norton, gives us a record of certain passages of Scripture upon which he preached, and analyzing these we find more than 2500 texts from the New Testament and but 1440 from the Old.537 Moreover, we read that, in addition to these texts, Cotton “in the course of his Ministery in New-Boston, by way of Exposition . . . went through the Old-Testament unto Isa. 30,” and “the whole New-Testament once through, and the second time unto the middle of Heb. 11.” To preach nearly twice through the New Testament before completely expounding the rest of the Bible even once, is a performance not to be expected of a man whose interest was primarily in the Old Testament.538 Richard Mather was also a dominant influence in the first generation of New England Puritans. In his case we have a record of some passages of Scripture treated by him in his preaching, as follows:

    In his publick Ministry in England he went over 2 Samuel, Chap. 24. Psalm 4. and Psalm 16. Proverbs, Chap. 1, Isaiah, Chap. 1. and Chap. 6. Luke, 22 and 23 Chapters. Romans, Chap. 8. 2 Epist. to Timothy; 2 Epist. of John; and the Epistle of Jude, . . . In his Publick Ministry in Dorchester he went over The Book of Genesis to Chap. 38. Psalm 16. The whole Book of the Prophet Zechariah. Matthews Gospel, to Chap. 15. 1 Epist. to Thess. Chap. 5. And the whole Second Epistle of Peter.539

    This amounts to 1463 verses of the Old Testament and 865 of the New, but even so it cannot be said that Mather neglected the latter, nor should we fail to note that it was the history and prophecy in the Hebrew Bible, not its laws, which interested him most.

    His son, Increase Mather, “the greatest of the native Puritans,”540 was the unquestioned leader of American Congregationalism from 1675 to 1700. In his case I have applied a test more thorough than that used in considering his father and John Cotton. An analysis of all Increase Mather’s publications, through 1701, more than sixty books and prefaces, shows that he cited the Old Testament 2714 times, but referred to the New Testament no less than 3237 times.541 Moreover, he wrote:

    Knowing the terrour of the Lord, I seek to perswade you by those Arguments; nevertheless, I take no pleasure to tell you thereof. But now that I am speaking to you of the pardoning grace of God, me-thinks I am in my Element.542

    On another occasion he said, “Others have objected that we find nothing in the New-Testament concerning a Church Covenant. And suppose it were so indeed, Is the Old Testament Apocrypha in these dayes?”543 Such a defence against such an objection would surely have been superfluous had the Puritans been inclined to follow the Old Testament by preference. Moreover, Cotton Mather writes of his father:

    You never saw him so much in his Element, as when the Glories of His Precious CHRIST were to be set before you. The Preaching of CHRIST was the Grand Thing to which he advised them who would be the Preachers of the Gospel544

    Benjamin Column, himself a Puritan, wrote of Increase Mather, “The first and last subject and object of all his sermons and prayers . . . was Jesus Christ and Him crucified. This only he desired to know among you.”545 And, finally, we remember Increase Mather’s farewell sermon to the students at Harvard, for which he chose the text “Christ is All.” He said:

    Let your Sermons be as full of a CHRIST as may be . . . Have an Eye still on a CHRIST, even when you are Preaching on other Subjects . . . the Misery of Man fallen by Sin, is to be Preached upon. But it must be to lead the Hearers unto the CHRIST, who is the Mighty and Only SAVIOUR of Sinners . . . the Life of your Preaching will be according to what there is of a CHRIST, who is The Life, shining in it.546

    However incomplete this investigation, it must lead us to reject any statement that the Puritans chose their texts almost exclusively from the Old Testament or were in spirit Jews rather than Christians, unless we are prepared to believe that the men they revered as leaders in the pulpit were not orthodox in their preaching. Making all allowances, the most we can believe is that early New England Congregationalists accepted the Hebrew ideal of a stern and vengeful God more literally than we do, and took more literally the commands of Moses. But we may not forget that the greatest among them found Christ a source of inspiration, and His disciples teachers no less wise than the ancient prophets. Generalizations about the Puritans are easily made and easily pass for truth, but it seems to me that, until further evidence is produced, we have facts enough to justify us in discarding the time-honored stock phrase of historians which declares our ancestors to have been more concerned with “thou shalt not” than with the Sermon on the Mount.

    Mr. William C. Lane read extracts from the old “College Customs” written out in 1735 by Richard Waldron (H. C. 1738) at the end of his copy of the College Laws in which his “Admittatur” was inscribed. These customs are concerned mainly with the duties of Freshmen in their relations with the other classes. They have been printed from one or two different sources by Quincy and by Hall.547

    Mr. Lane also took occasion to enumerate the various manuscript codes of College Laws which are known to exist, and submitted the following list:


    1642–1646 “Laws, Liberties and Orders.” College Book I. 43–44; College Book III. 19–21. Nineteen paragraphs.

    The same in Latin: “Statuta, Leges, Privilegia & Ordinationes.” College Book I. 45–46.

    1642–1646 Another copy of the Latin Laws. New England Historic Genealogical Society.

    This copy is in the hand of President Leverett: see page 245, below.

    1650 March 28 Orders relating to the duties and responsibilities of the Steward, the Butler, and the Cook. College Book I. 49–50.

    1650 May 6 Orders agreed upon by the Overseers stating the conditions under which the scholars may attend public meetings, courts, elections, etc., or join in military bands; in what manner they may take tobacco; appointing yearly visitations and examinations; and requiring certificates of moral character from previous schools. College Book I. 44; College Book III. 21–23.

    1655 The Lawes and Orders of Harvard Colledge . . . received, ratified and concluded upon at a meeting of the Overseers, President, and Fellows on the 30th of the 2d Month 1655. Pp. 22, in a parchment cover. H. U. Archives.

    This code is disposed in three chapters, as follows: I. About admission into the College, the manners of students, and expenses. Sixteen paragraphs. II. Concerning holy duties, scholastical exercises, and helps of learning. Eleven paragraphs. III. Concerning penal laws. Fourteen paragraphs.

    This copy, received by gift from Dr. Samuel A. Green in 1897, seems to have been the official copy of the College and to have been used by both President Chauncy and President Hoar. The last six pages contain additional entries down to 1672, a part of them in the hand of President Chauncy, and including the Laws or special orders noted in College Book III. 23–25, 27 (passed April, 1660, August 24, 1663, and December 5, 1667). The volume is carefully described by Dr. Green in 2 Proceedings Massachusetts Historical Society, December, 1896, XL 200–205.

    1655 Another copy. Massachusetts Historical Society.

    The text of this copy was printed in the Society’s Proceedings, February, 1876, XIV. 207–215. It is substantially the same as in the copy last described, but is confined to the Laws as originally drawn up, with one additional penal law passed by the General Court, October 17, 1656, authorizing punishment by fine or by whipping. The two outside sheets of paper are a trifle smaller than the others and less worn, showing them to have been added later. The first pages are blank, the last contain the final paragraphs of the Laws, in a different hand from the others, and are followed by the “Admittatur” of Jonathan Mitchell of the Class of 1687, a son of the beloved minister of the same name, dated 22–8–1683 and signed by Jno Rogers, President, and Samuel Andrew. The same copy had doubtless served the purposes of more than one generation of Harvard students between 1655 and 1683.

    1655 Another copy. New England Historic Genealogical Society.

    This manuscript, filling twenty-one pages, is in two columns. In the left-hand column are written, in an unidentified hand, the Laws of 1655, with additions dated April 9, 1660, August 24, 1663, and December 5, 1667, and an order of the General Court dated September 4, 1656. In the right-hand column are written, in the hand of President Leverett, the Latin Laws of 1642–1646, an occasional reference to the Latin Laws of 1686 and 1692, and two extracts from the Corporation records about the reading of the Scriptures dated January 26 and May 27, 1708.

    1660–1663 Orders (called College Laws in the margin) relating to boarding outside the College; non-payment of bills and collection of damages; also penalties for neglect of studies. College Book III. 32–25. Five paragraphs, of which the first three are of 1660, the last two of August 24, 1663.

    1667 Orders for the rectifying of the Library and Rules for the Library Keeper. Sixteen paragraphs. College Book III. 25–27.

    1667 Order. Students before admission to bring a certificate from the Steward. College Book EEL 27.

    1667 March 27 Orders relating to the accounts of the Steward, the Butler, and the Cook, and their several duties. College Book I. 63–64. The same text, divided into 23 numbered paragraphs, is repeated in College Book III. 33–36.

    1686 July 23 “Regulae, Ordinationes & Statuta.” Fifteen paragraphs. College Book IV. 340–339.

    College Book IV was evidently begun in 1686. The old charter of the Colony had been recalled in 1684, and until the arrival of the new charter in 1692 the affairs of the College, as well as those of the Colony, were in an embarrassed condition. In 1686, from May 25 to December 20, Joseph Dudley held a commission as President of the Council for New England and the first entry in College Book IV records the meeting of the President and Council in Cambridge, July 23, 1686, when Increase Mather was appointed Rector and John Leverett and William Brattle Tutors “to enter upon the government of the College.”

    The Laws of 1686 were approved by the same authority on the same day and were entered a few pages further on. They are much briefer than those of the code of 1655 and, with certain exceptions, seem to be based more directly on Dunster’s laws of 1640–1642.

    1686 The Laws of 1686 are also to be found in a little note-book of President Leverett’s which came down through the Wigglesworths into the possession of Professor C. E. Norton, whose family has lately placed it in the College Archives.

    An account of this manuscript, with the text of the Laws and a detailed description of other matters contained in the book, was contributed by Charles Deane to the Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society, March, 1876, XIV. 222–228.

    1692 In College Book IV records of meetings up to December, 1691, follow the records of July 23, 1686. In 1692 there was a change in the College government, and the book was turned about, end for end, for a new beginning: the College Charter of 1692 was entered at length, and the record of Corporation meetings follows, beginning July 26, 1692, and continuing to September 5, 1750. At this first meeting the first order was “That the Laws hitherto used for governing the House be and continue in full force till further order.” This is the code which is printed in Mather’s Magnalia, 1702, Book IV, pp. 132–134.

    1692 The Laws of 1692, like those of 1686, are in Latin, but they cover twenty-three (instead of fifteen) numbered paragraphs. Nos. 1–7 are the same as the first seven paragraphs of 1686; nos. 14–18 and 23 reproduce paragraphs 9–14 of 1686. No. 8 of 1686, forbidding the use of the vernacular by the students, is omitted. Several laws from the code of 1655 are revived in substance. Such are no. 8 enforcing modesty in apparel, no. 9 requiring the use of surnames only, nos. 10 and 11 demanding the payment of five pounds toward the College stock from each student admitted, and an annual payment of two pounds from each scholar to his Tutor (three pounds in the case of a fellow-commoner). No. 12 forbids students compelling Freshmen to go on errands, etc., by threats or blows. Gaming and card playing are forbidden by no. 13, but the enumeration of other crimes and misdemeanors set forth in 1655 (III, no. 11) is omitted. Nos. 19–21 state the conditions on which the degrees of bachelor of divinity and doctor of divinity are to be conferred, and no. 22 declares that all degrees formerly conferred shall be held as valid.

    Several manuscript copies of these Laws are extant, since every student was required to provide himself with a copy.

    1692 Statuta, Leges, & Privilegia . . . Data ex Aula Academiae Harvardini [sic] Die Vicessimo Secundo Novembris Anno Domini 1692. Massachusetts Historical Society.

    Tutor Flynt’s copy, given to the Society by Timothy Lindall Jennison (H. C. 1782) in 1792. Henry Flynt graduated in 1693 and was Tutor from 1699 to 1754.

    1692 Another copy, 1701. Massachusetts Historical Society.

    With the “Admittatur” of Edward Holyoke, Class of 1705, signed by Increase Mather just before the end of his term of office, which ceased September 6, 1701, and Jabez Fitch.

    1692 Another copy, 1715. H. U. Archives.

    With the “Admittatur” of Warham Williams, Class of 1719, signed by President John Leverett and Henry Flynt.

    1692 Another copy, 1723. Massachusetts Historical Society.

    With the “Admittatur” of Belcher Noyes, Class of 1727, signed by President Leverett.

    1692 Another copy, 1733. Owned by Stephen W. Phillips of Salem.

    With the “Admittatur” of Benjamin Parker, Class of 1737, signed by President Wadsworth and Nathan Prince.

    A new Body of Laws was adopted in 1734. So far back as November 16, 1719, the Corporation had appointed a committee to make a collection of the College Laws to be laid before the Corporation in the following spring, together with a draft of such new laws as they shall think proper (College Book IV. 65), but nothing seems to have come of this. In fact there is no further reference to the subject in the Corporation Records until 1733. In the mean time, however, the Overseers took the matter up more than once. In 1723 they were conducting an inquiry into the state of the College, the regular attendance of the students on religious and other exercises, etc., and on September 30, 1723, they asked the Corporation to collect a body of the College Laws and lay them before the Overseers (Overseers’ Records I. 56). This the Corporation apparently did, and on November 18 the Overseers appointed a committee to consider the transcript laid before them and to see what deficiency of laws there might be and what further was requisite to be done (Overseers’ Records, I. 60). The committee reported October 8, 1724, a draft of College Laws which was referred to the Corporation (I. 71).

    On May 13, 1725, a Body of Laws consented to by the Corporation was presented to the Overseers and the first chapter of these Laws was read and debated, but the meeting ended without a vote’s being taken. Here the matter seems to have been dropped, but on November 1, 1731, another committee was appointed to inquire into the state of the government, instruction, and accounts of the College. On September 6, 1732, this committee reported “That the Government of the sd College is but in a weak and declining state, partly thro a deficiency of Laws and partly by reason of some disputes and difficulties which have risen respecting the execution of laws in being.” The committee made several proposals of which the first was as follows: “Forasmuch as the old English Laws of the College are utterly unknown to the Schollars and the Lattin Laws which they copy out in order to their admission were entered under a different Charter, That therefore there be a revisal of the whole and such alterations and additions made as the present Circumstances of the said Society require and that they be all in Latin and every Student have a Copy of them by him.” Fifteen particular laws were recommended (Overseers’ Records, I. 117–125), and the committee was instructed “to see the business of the first proposal,” President Wadsworth, Dr. Joseph Sewall and Mr. Henry Flynt being added to its membership. On May 8, 1733, the Laws as prepared were referred to the Corporation. The Corporation Records (College Book IV. 170) on October 5, 1733, show that the Corporation met to consider and vote a draft of Laws for the College. The Overseers’ Records tell us that the whole was presented and discussed at a joint meeting of Corporation and Overseers held in the College Library March 26, 1734. After several adjournments and references back and forth an agreement was reached, and on June 11, 1734, it was voted that the Body of Laws lately agreed upon by the Corporation and consented to by the Overseers be recorded in the College Books. (College Book IV. 173.) On September 24, 1734, the Overseers record a memorandum: “The New body of Laws were this day published in the College Hall before the Overseers & Corporation & in the audience of all the Schollars convened for that End” (I. 138). On the same day it was recommended to the Corporation to get the new body of Laws translated into Latin and that a proper Index be made to said Laws. The Corporation took notice of this on November 12 and voted “That Mr. Prest, Mr. Flynt and Mr. Sewal be desired to translate the Body of College Laws into Latin as soon as may be.” There is no evidence, I believe, that a translation was ever made. The College Laws thus passed begin:

    1734 “This Body of Laws for Harvard College was made by the President and Fellows thereof, and consented to by the Overseers of said College, Anno Domini 1734.” College Book L 182–206.

    This is a much more elaborate code than had been in use before, disposed in eight chapters as follows: I. About admission into the College. II. Concerning a religious, virtuous life. III. Concerning scholastical exercises. IV. Concerning penal laws. V. Concerning the scholars’ commons. VI. About academical degrees. VII. About the Steward, Cook, and Butler. VIII. Concerning miscellaneous matters.

    The Laws of 1734 were soon supplemented by a Body of Laws for the Library adopted May 30, 1736 (College Book I. 164–166), and published in the College Hall July 1, 1736. These are not included among the Laws which students were obliged to copy out for their own use.

    Of the Laws of 1734, the following copies written out by students are known to me:

    1734 Body of Laws, 1735. H. U. Archives.

    This copy comes from the papers of Meshech Weare of the Class of 1735.

    1734 Another copy, 1735. Owned by Stephen W. Phillips of Salem.

    This copy, like the copy of the Laws of 1692, mentioned above, was written out by Benjamin Parker of the Class of 1737, and naturally contains no “Admittatur” since he had already been admitted to College under the former code. The existence of this copy and that of Meshech Weare suggests that in 1734 all students then in College may have been required to write out the new code.

    1734 Another copy, 1735. H. U. Archives.

    Copy of Richard Waldron of the Class of 1738, with his “Admittatur” signed by Benjamin Wadsworth, President, Henry Flynt, and Daniel Rogers, April 22, 1735.

    At the end of the Laws Waldron has written out the “College Customs Anno 1734–5.” These “Customs,” by which the conduct of Freshmen and their relations to the other classes were regulated, are printed in B. H. Hall’s College Words and Customs, revised edition, 1856, pp. 215—216; they are also to be found in substantially the same form in the Faculty Records (IV. 257) of 1781, nearly fifty years later (printed in Quincy’s History, II. 539–541).

    1734 Another copy, 1737. New England Historic Genealogical Society.

    This was the copy of Timothy Prout of the Class of 1741, with his “Admittatur” signed by Edward Holyoke, President, Henry Flynt, Nathan Prince, Stephen Sewall, and Daniel Rogers, October 5, 1737. This copy has an index at the end, and at the beginning a catalogue of the Class of 1741.

    1734 Another copy, 1739. H. U. Archives.

    This was written by William Lawrence of the Class of 1743, and bears his “Admittatur,” 1739, signed by Edward Holyoke, Pres., Nathan Prince, and Daniel Rogers.

    1734 Another copy, 1755, with additions dated October 9 and 31, 1749, and September 16, 1751. New England Historic Genealogical Society.

    This copy belonged to William Clark of the Class of 1759, and bears his “Admittatur” signed by Edward Holyoke, President, Belcher Hancock, Thomas Marsh, William Symmes, and William Kneeland, December 30, 1755. It also contains the “Customs of Harvard College,” and catalogues of the Classes of 1757, 1758, 1759, 1760, and 1761.

    1734 Another copy, 1759, with additions under date of October 3 and November 23, 1749, and September 16, 1751. H. U. Archives.

    This was written by Benjamin Dolbeare of the Class of 1763, and bears his “Admittatur,” January, 1760, signed by Edward Holyoke, Pres., Belcher Hancock, Thomas Marsh, William Kneeland, and Joseph Jackson.

    1734 Another copy, 1762, with additions dated October 9 and 31, 1749, and March 29, 1757. H. U. Archives.

    This copy belonged to Joseph Willard548 of the Class of 1765, and contains his “Admittatur” dated 1762, signed by Edward Holyoke, Pres., Belcher Hancock, Thomas Marsh, William Kneeland, and Ebenezer Thayer.

    1734–1767 College Laws. H. U. Archives. Received by gift from Robert C. Winthrop in 1879.

    The first part of this copy bears on its cover the name of David Bucknam of the Class of 1737, but it was evidently used later by John Winthrop, probably of 1770, whose name is handsomely engrossed on one of the last leaves.

    Part I, which ends with “Chapter VIII. Concerning Miscellaneous Matters,” as in other copies of the Laws of 1734, is followed by Part II, dated 1767, and containing Chapters VI to X of the Laws of 1767.

    From 1765549 to 1767 it is apparent from various references in the Records of the Corporation and of the Overseers that a new body of laws was under discussion. December 12, 1765, Laws for the new Library (i.e., for the Library gathered since the fire of 1764) were adopted (College Book VII. 145–150). On September 4, 1766, it was voted “that Winthrop Senr550 be allowed the Sum of four Pounds for writing the College Laws,” and on December 16 the Corporation voted that the Laws be translated into Latin “with all convenient Speed” and that they be printed. (College Book VII. 166.)

    On January 16, 1767, we find in the Corporation Records: “The Scholars being at present unprovided with Copies of the College Laws, Voted that each of the Tutors shall read the Laws to their respective Classes as soon as may be and that such Reading shall be deemed a sufficient promulgation of Them And That an Authentic Copy of all the Laws, be likewise Kept in the Buttery for the Inspection of all the Scholars” (College Book VII. 167). The Laws nevertheless still required to be tinkered and on April 20 several amendments were voted (VII. 169).

    On October 6, 1767, the Overseers put themselves on record as in favor of translating the laws into Latin, but as opposed to printing them either in whole or in part, and they repeated the recommendation as to translation on May 3, 1768. On December 9 the Corporation voted that twelve copies of the Laws should be transcribed as soon as may be for the use of Professors, Tutors, Butler, and Monitors; and no further general vote is to be found in regard to their adoption as a whole.

    The Laws of 1767 in their final shape covered ten chapters as follows:

    1. Admission to the College. 2. Of a religious and virtuous life. 3. Of attendance on Scholastic exercises, of vacations and of absence. 4. Of Misdemeanors and criminal Offences. 5. Miscellaneous Laws. 6. Of Commons. 7. Of the Library. 8. Of the Governors and Officers of the College, their Duty and Powers. 9. Of Graduates and Fellow-Commoners. 10. Of Commencement and Academical Degrees.

    1767 The Laws of Harvard College, carefully engrossed for official use. H. U. Archives. Many blank pages are left here and there for later use. Additions have been made down to 1788, with corresponding changes and cancellations in the original text. With an index at the beginning.

    1767 Another copy, carefully engrossed for official use. H. U. Archives. With additions down to 1788 and with changes and cancellations in the text. Index at end.

    1767 Another copy. H. U. Archives. With few changes or corrections.

    No copies of the Laws of 1767 written out by students exist. This is explained by the change in Chapter I. In the Laws of 1734 we read (I. 2): “Every Candidate for Admission shall procure and keep by him a true Copy of the College Laws respecting his Duty and Priviledges, which being signed by the President and Major Part of the Tutors shall be his Admission into College.” In the Laws of 1767 this paragraph is omitted, and we find (I. 3): “Every one that has been accepted on Examination shall, as soon as may be, exhibit to the President a Certificate from the Steward, that the foregoing Law [relating to payment of dues] has been complied with, upon the receipt of which the President shall sign an Order for the Admission of such Persons, in the following Words:

    Cantabrigiæ Aug.

    Admittatur in Collegium Harvardinum A. B


    On May 14, 1790, the Corporation voted that the College Laws be printed in an edition of 700 copies, and here our survey of the manuscript laws properly ends, for now at length the Laws actually appeared as a printed pamphlet of 66 pages, entitled “The Laws of Harvard College. Boston: Printed by Samuel Hall, at No. 53, Cornhill. M.DCC.XC.” The old form of “Admittatur” was still preserved, however, and was printed at the end of the Laws that it might be signed in due course by the President.

    On behalf of Mr. Samuel E. Morison, the following communication was made:


    The following curious document, written in a crude and semi-illegible hand, is the holograph will of a negro slave, Peter, in the family of Thomas Fleet, Boston printer, bookseller, and publisher of the Boston Evening Post. It is now owned by Miss Mary Lincoln Eliot of Cambridge, a lineal descendant of Peter’s master. The beneficiaries under this modest will are the children of the old slave’s master, and their little playmates. Robin is Peter’s son, Love his wife, and Venus a slave of the household, who, together with Abram, Jenny, Caesar, and Pompey, is mentioned in the inventory of Thomas Fleet’s estate, dated 1759.551

    Here Children I leave you some thing, that’s more than any Richest Master’s, Servant would leave to their Master’s Children considering what profit I have to my trade. Thomas Fleet jun Ten shillings and a pair of Buckles; but shall not wear them in three years from ye time he has them. John Fleet—five shillings. Anne Fleet—five shillings. Elizabeth Fleet—five shillings. Simon five Shillings. Nathan Bowen junr five Shillings. Thomas Oliver five Shillings.

    What little I had thought to give it to Molley; but thought her sister Anne would make a scuable, and take it from her; that made me continue so to do, &c.—There is more than enough, yet, left for Molley, because she is very good to servants.

    Master and Mistres, I would not have you think that I got this money by Rogury in any thing belong’d to you or any body else, I got it honestly; by being faithful to people ever since I undertook to carry ye Newspapers, Christmas-days, & New-years days, with contribution with gentlemen sometimes 3 pounds 10/s and sometimes 4 pounds 10/s and in ye years 1743, 5 pounds I would Give you a true account; in my Box you may find a little cask with money, yt I had when Mr Wollington was here, I could say when Mr Vaux was here, that I had some of his money, but I had so much dealing with a wench, yt: I don’t think that I have any of his money. One Way I and Love use to have when we had a great Work for ye Booksellers, what money we use to have for to get Drink we kept it. I am no great Drinker Nor no Smooker, and I have a little more wit than I use to have formerly amongst ye wenches.—You may find in my box a 3 pound BUI which I had for my Robin.

    as witness our hands

    Nathan Bowen Junr

    Thomas Oliver ye 3.

    All that’s left is for Moley & Venis.

    Boston, June ye 2, 1743.     Peter Fleet

    Sign’d Seal’d & deliver’d

    in presents of us, the above

    Nam’d, & deliver’d to

    N. Bowen junr

    Mr. Albert Matthews conmunicated a paper on “A Famous Harvard Controversy, 1720–1723.”552