A Stated Meeting of the Society was held, at the invitation of Mr. Alfred Johnson, at No. 36 Monmouth Street, Brookline, on Thursday, 27 January, 1921, 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.

    Mr. George Hubbard Blakeslee of Worcester, and Mr. Frederick Lawton of Boston, were elected Resident Members.

    Mr. Albert Matthews spoke as follows:

    Recently in looking through a volume containing sermons, I found one entitled:

    A Sermon Preached in the College at Cambridge, N. E. To a Society of Young Students. From I Cor. II. 2.307 By Thomas Robie, A.M. One of the Fellows of the said College. [Ornament] Boston: Printed by S. Kneeland, MDCCXXI.308

    The dedication reads:

    TO THE

    Honourable & Reverend

    John Leverett,

    President of

    Harvard-College in Cambridge.


    THERE are two Reasons which move me to Dedicate the following Discourse to You, One, because you was pleased to give me the Text, and bid me Preach from it (when there had been a report spread about, after my Preaching several Sermons from Texts in our Blessed Saviour’s incomparable Sermon in the Mount; and particularly when I had Preached from Matth. 5. 43, 44, 45. of Loving our Enemies; That my Sermons were only Heathenish Discourses, no better Christianity than was in Tully,) and also told me the meaning of the Text, viz, That the Apostle was there speaking of his teaching, or Preaching to the Corinthians Christ and that I might well enough form a Discourse concerning the Nature of Preaching Christ, as well as concerning the Excellency of the Knowledge of Christ, which some Good Divines had already from that Text.

    THE other Reason is, because it was last Preached to a Society of Young Students, who meet on the Lord’s-Day-Evenings for Religious Exercises, in the College, over which You Præside, and to which I also am somewhat related, and so should be concerned for it’s good, which I hope may be something promoted hereby; and that chiefly because I, in the following Discourse, have taught that the Knowledge of Christ is the best, and what Persons should esteem as such amidst all their Endeavours to obtain Humane Wisdom, and then have endeavoured, as well and as briefly as I could, to show, what Preaching Christ is. And I hope and think I have done it in a Way that is pleasing and acceptable to Christ Himself, and so that He will bless it, by causing it to have a suitable influence on those who will please to read it, and very particularly on our Young Students, who are designed for the Gospel-Ministry, who may from what I have said, see something of the Nature of Preaching Christ, who is always to be the Subject of their Sermons, and is so, whensoever in their Sermons He is represented as the Head & King of His Church to give Laws and Instructions to all, to Save, to Redeem, to Deliver as He pleases.

    IT’s needless to say any thing as to my Preaching it again, and now Printing it, after it has laid in silence in my Study for some Years; Only, that being for some time desired by the aforesaid Society to Preach to ’em, and having lost a Sermon I designed ’em, I could not find among my Sermons One that I thought more proper than this, and I thought so the rather because several of them were my Pupils, and designed for the Ministry, whose Good I was tender of, and tho’t my self obliged to advance as much as I was able, which if the Publishing this Sermon will be any way instrumental of, I shall adore the Divine Providence for directing me thereto, and particularly the Great Head and King of the Church the Lord JESUS CHRIST, whose Knowledge I would account most Excellent, and for the sake of which I would account all other things but Loss, that so I may at last be saved by Him, and by Him alone: To whom be Glory for ever.

    SIR, I conclude, wishing that the Knowledge of CHRIST may cover the Earth as the Waters do the Sea; and that the College may be instrumental of forming right notions of true and sincere Piety in the minds of men, of true Gospel Preaching, of true and undefiled Religion, and that whenever Providence shall call me to resign my Place here, it may be filled with One who shall do more for the advancement of the College, in all that’s Good and Great, than ever I did, or was capable of doing.

    I am,


    With all due regards,

    Your very Humble Servant

    T. Robie.

    This appears to be the earliest allusion to a college society at Harvard that has thus far been found. A dozen years ago Mr. Lane exhibited a blank-book in the hand of the Rev. Ebenezer Turell, who graduated in 1721. At one end of the book is “An account of a Society in Har: Colledge,” which begins with the words:

    After severall Essays to bring Something on foot yt might as well profit as Divert, We att lenght so far agreed in October, 1722, as to draw up a Scheme of Proposalls, the Summ of wch we will now present you withall.309

    It is not unreasonable to suppose that this society, which apparently had no name, is the one to which Robie preached his sermon in 1721; and, if so, that it was in existence for a year or so previous to the drawing up of the “Scheme of Proposalls.” It was a graduate society, as of the fourteen students who were members from October, 1722, to October, 1723, one belonged to the class of 1719, ten to the class of 1721, two to the class of 1722, and one to the class of 1723; and all but three became ministers.

    The sermon was not written for the society and contains no information in regard to it. Thomas Robie, who graduated in 1708, was Librarian from 1712 to 1713, Tutor from 1714 to 1723, and Fellow from 1722 to 1723. On resigning in 1723, he removed to Salem, practised medicine there, and died August 28, 1729.310 It will be observed that on the title-page he calls himself “One of the Fellows of the said College.” The word “Fellows” is here used in the sense of “Fellows of the House” — that is, Tutors, for he did not become a Fellow of the Corporation until 1722.

    A few days ago Mr. Alfred Johnson placed in my hands a document consisting of two parts. One is the following agreement:

    Cambridge March 31st 1770

    Know all Men by these Presents, that we whose names are under written, do mutually, reciprocally, & after due & full Consideration, agree to Change Habitations, Mr Heyliger Consenting to move into College to live with Mr Hutchinson, & Mr Chadwick to move to some house in the Town of Cambridge, & likewise the Consent of all Parties Concerned being obtained, we are fully determined so to do, as soon as may be; & wherears it is possible that one of us may recant we do promise that if either of us recant, he that so does, shall forfeit four bottles full of Madeira wine, & as many meals of good & wholesome meat as shall be sufficient for seven Persons, besides eight Bowls of good Punch; for the Performance311 of which we do here Set our Hands & Seals

    Benjn Chadwick

    Peter Heyliger

    [Seal312] Signed, Sealerd, & delvered in the Presence of

    Paul Langdon

    John Frye

    A Hutchinson

    Clement Weeks

    At this distance of time the point of the joke is somewhat obscure, but I suppose it consisted in the fact that the “change of habitations” was to be made without the knowledge of the College officials and so, if discovered, would of course subject the culprits to punishment. A glance through the Faculty Records fails to disclose an allusion to the affair, from which it may be inferred either that the trick was done without discovery or that the students’ nerve failed them at the last moment. Sketches of the students involved follow.

    Benjamin Chadwick of the class of 1770, the son of Thomas and Mary Chadwick of Boxford, was born in 1745, became a minister, and died in 1819.313

    Peter Heyliger of the class of 1772 was born October 11, 1750, and his residence at entrance is given as St. Eustatia.314 He became involved in some college pranks, was punished, sconsed, degraded on March 31, 1771, and finally left without taking his degree.315 When Captain Francis Goelet left New York on a voyage to London in 1750, his ship was so disabled by a storm that he was obliged to put into Boston for repairs. During his roistering stay here of some five weeks, he records that on October 16th he “Spent the Evening with Mr Guiliam Heylegher A Mercht from St Eustatius at his Lodgeings,” that on the 22d and 23d he “went to See Mr Heylegher,” that on the 31st he “drank a Glass Excellent wine at Mr Heiligers,” that on November 3d “after Dinner went to Mr Heylegher where were Several Gentlemen where Spent the Evening and where very Merry singing a Number Songs and towards Morning Parted Good Friends;” and that on November 5th “at the Request Mr Heylegher and the Other Gentlemen Gave them a Good Supper with Wine and Arack Punch Galore, where Exceeding Merry Drinkg Toasts Singing roareing &c. untill Morning when Could Scarce see One another being Blinded by the Wine Arack &c.”316 This Mr. Heyliger was perhaps the father of our temporary student.

    Paul Langdon of the class of 1770 was born June 17, 1752,317 and was the son of the Rev. Dr. Samuel Langdon of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, later President of Harvard College. Paul was the first preceptor of the Academy in Fryeburg, Maine, where Daniel Webster afterward taught; removed to New York, and died in 1834.318

    John Frye of the class of 1769, the son of Joshua and Sarah Frye of Andover, was born in May, 1750.319 He also got into difficulties. On June 27, 1767, he was charged with taking money, and, though acquitted, was fined four shillings and sixpence for three nights’ absence without leave. On December 22 of the same year he was rusticated. On February 10, 1769, he applied for readmission, and the next day was readmitted but to the class of 1770. In May, 1770, he was once more rusticated, and left College without his degree.320 What became of him thereafter, or when or where he died, has not been ascertained.

    Aaron Hutchinson of the class of 1770, son of the Rev. Aaron and Margery (Carter) Hutchinson of Grafton, was born October 3, 1755, removed to Lebanon, New Hampshire, and died there April 24, 1843.321

    Clement Weeks of the class of 1772, son of William and Elinor Weeks of Greenland, New Hampshire, was born December 23, 1750, and died at Greenland January 6, 1830.322

    The other part of the document, written on the other side of the sheet, is as follows:

    An Agreement between Chadwick & Heyliger, 1770. at College Committed to my Care till performd

    Also A List of the Officers of the Martimercurian Company at College 1771

    The Officers of ye College Company of train[     ]323 are ye following Vizt Capt.324 2325 Lieut. Ensign. Clerk. 4 Sargents. 2 Corporals.

    for Capt Votes for Eustis 28 Osgood 27 for Homans 5 for Welsh 1. for 1st Lieut. Osgood 44 for 2d Lieut.326 32 for Homan; for Ensign 41 for Welsh. Barker Clerk327 28. White 36 Votes for 1st Sargent. Votes for 2d Sargent 37 for Tenney. 3d Sargt Votes 28328 for Parsons Smith 28 Votes for 4th Sargent. Lane 36 Votes for 1st Corporl Rice tert: Votes 34 for 2d Corporl

    Eustis Capt

    Osgood 1st Lieut

    Homans 2d Lieut

    Welsh Ensign

    Barker Clerk & Treasurer

    White 1st Sargent

    Tenny 2d Sargent

    Parsons 3d Sargent329

    Smith 4th Sargent

    Lane 1st Corporal

    Rice tert 2d Corporal

    Of this company little is known with certainty. In an account of the Harvard Washington Corps, printed in the Harvard Register for January, 1828, it was stated that “This association appears to have been first formed by a few public spirited individuals, and to have received its first loan of arms at that period,” — “that period” being apparently about 1770. “It still bears the motto which it at first assumed, ‘Tam Marti quam Mercurio.’ It was at this time called the Marti Mercurian Band. The chivalrous spirit which called into existence this illustrious band faded away, and the association itself fell into decline shortly after its first establishment.”330 Writing in 1851 Benjamin H. Hall, then a member of the Senior class, said, also in reference to the Harvard Washington Corps:

    From a memorandum on a fly leaf of an old Triennial Catalogue, it would appear that a military company was first established among the students of Harvard College about the year 1769, and that its first captain was Mr. William Wetmore,331 a graduate of the Class of 1770. The motto which it then assumed, and continued to bear through every period of its existence, was, ‘Tam Marti quam Mercurio.’ It was called at that time the Marti Mercurian Band. . . . This association continued for nearly twenty years from the time of its organization, but the chivalrous spirit which had called it into existence seems at the end of that time to have faded away. The last captain, it is believed, was Mr. Solomon Vose,332 a graduate of the class of 1787.333

    It has elsewhere been stated that the company was in existence as late as 1793.334 The Harvard Washington Corps was not organized until 1811.

    It will be observed that in our document the year only — 1771 — is given, not the month. But there can, I think, be no reasonable doubt that the election took place in the autumn of 1771; and my identification of the students who were elected officers is based on that assumption. In any case, there can be no question in regard to Barker, Eustis, Homans, Lane, and Tenney, for at no time in the year 1771 was there in College more than one student of each of those surnames. If my identifications are correct, then nine of the students belonged to the class of 1772 and two to that of 1773.

    Joshua Barker of the class of 1772, the son of Francis and Hannah Barker of Hingham, was born March 24, 1753, was a practising physician in Hingham, and died there April 2, 1800.335

    William Eustis of the class of 1772, son of Benjamin and Elizabeth Eustis of Boston, was born June 10, 1753; practised medicine; was Governor of Massachusetts, Member of Congress, Secretary of War, etc.; and died February 6, 1825.336

    John Homans of the class of 1772, son of John and Rebecca Homans of Dorchester, was born April 8, 1753; practised medicine; and died in 1800.337

    Oliver Wellington Lane of the class of 1772, son of James and Mary Lane of Bedford, was born October 27, 1751; taught school in Boston; and died November 3, 1793.338

    Joshua Bailey Osgood of the class of 1772, son of Isaac and Abigail Osgood of Haverhill, was born April 29, 1753; settled in Fryeburg, Maine; and died in Haverhill May 30, 1791.339

    Theodore Parsons of the class of 1773, son of the Rev. Moses and Susanna Parsons of Newbury, was born in 1751; was a surgeon in the Revolution; and was lost at sea in 1779.340

    Nathan Rice of the class of 1773, son of the Rev. Caleb and Priscilla Rice of Sturbridge, was born August 2, 1754; resided at Hingham, and thence removed to Burlington, Vermont, where he died April 17, 1834.341

    Samuel Smith of the class of 1772, son of John and Hannah Smith of Ipswich, was born November 17, 1751; was a physician; and died in Newburyport December 5, 1827.342

    Samuel Tenney of the class of 1772, son of Nathaniel and Elizabeth Tenney of Rowley, was born in November, 1748; was a physician at Exeter, New Hampshire; held public office; and died February 6, 1816.343

    Thomas Welsh of the class of 1772, son of Thomas and Mary Welsh of Charlestown, was born in 1752; was a physician; and died February 20, 1831.344

    Phillips White of the class of 1772 was born September 17, 1753, and his place of residence at entrance was South Hampton, New Hampshire.345 He died in 1774. Presumably he was a son of the Phillips White who was born at Haverhill October 28, 1729, settled at South Hampton, New Hampshire, filled various important offices, and died June 24, 1811.346

    Mr. William C. Lane read the following paper:


    In early days it was a not uncommon custom to present to the College pieces of silver — goblets, tankards, bowls, beakers, and two-handled cups. Students who were admitted as fellow-commoners were evidently expected to do something of this kind. It is, therefore, worth while in the first place to inquire just what a fellow-commoner was.

    The earliest code of College laws — that of 1646 — mentions, but does not define him. He seems to be taken for granted as a well-known variety of student at the English Cambridge, and therefore transplanted hither as a matter of course. He is referred to in the following section of the “Laws, liberties and orders of Harvard College confirmed . . . in the years 1642–1646:”

    15. Every Scholar shall bee called by his Sirname onely till hee bee invested with his first degree; except hee bee fellow-commoner or a Knights Eldest Sonne or of superiour Nobility.

    In its Latin form this section reads:

    15. Scholarium quisque donee primo gradu ornetur, ni sit commensalis, aut Nobilis alicujus filius, aut militis primogenitus, suo tantum cognomine vocator.347

    Bristed, speaking of the English universities in 1852, says: “These Fellow-Commoners are ‘young men of fortune,’ as the Cambridge Calendar and Cambridge Guide have it, who, in consideration of their paying twice as much for everything as anybody else, are allowed the privilege of sitting at the Fellows’ table in Hall, and in their seats at Chapel; of wearing a gown with gold or silver lace,” etc.348

    In the Laws of 1734 — the code which was written out an endless number of times by successive generations of students — we find the following paragraphs, curiously similar to the above statement of English conditions, made a hundred and twenty years later, and showing how little English customs had changed in the meantime:

    Chapter I

    4. None Shall be admitted Fellow Commoner, Unless He first pay, one hundred pounds, to the College Treasurer, for ye time being, for the use of the College, and every Fellow Commoner Shall pay double Tuition money.

    5. Fellow Commoners Shall have the priveledge of Dining and supping with the Fellows at their table in the Hall, and Shall be excus’d going on errands, Shall have the title of Master, and Shall have the priveledge of wearing their hats as Masters do; but Shall Attend all duties and Exercises with the rest of the Class, and be alike Subject to the Laws and Government of the College, and shall sit with their own Class, and in their place in Class, at the worship of God in the Hall, and meeting House.349

    It was from these fellow-commoners that many pieces of College silver were received.

    The College is fortunate in still possessing some of these early gifts, and this leads us to examine the records to see what may be gleaned therefrom. In the early College Books are found four inventories, more or less complete, dated 1654, 1674, 1683, and 1736. To these may be added a volume made up of reports handed in by various officers and employees of the University in 1828 — reports which show what items of College furniture, books, or utensils each person was using.

    The first of these documents is “An Inventory of the whole Estate of Harvd College Decemb. 10. 1654” made at the time of President Dunster’s resignation. In it is the paragraph:

    Plate belonging to the Buttery, namely. One Silver Salt, vallued 5#. 1s. 3d. at 5s per ounce. One small Trencher Salt vallued at 10s. One beer bowle 2#. 18s. 1d. One stone pott tipt with Silver. 20s.350

    Plate I

    Early Silver belonging to Harvard College

    Engraved for The Colonial Society of Massachusetts

    In the Records under date of August 12, 1656, the same items are noted in fuller form:

    Sundry peices of plate given to the Colledge.

    By mr Thomas Langham ffellow Comonr, A peice to vallue of Three pounds three shill. & ten pence. It is one Silver Beer Bowl.

    mr Ven ffellow Commoner, One fruite dish & one silver Sugar spoon & one Silver tipt jug.

    Mr Richard Harris One great Salt & one small Trencher Salt.351

    Neither Langham352 nor Ven353 is numbered among the graduates of the College, nor has either ever been identified. Of Mr. Richard Harris, whose “great salt” still remains, something is known.354

    “An Inventory of the Colledge utensills belonging to the Kitchin & Butterie. Nov: 18. 1674” shows the same pieces, and a few additional ones:

    • 2 Butterie Utensills
      • 1 Silver, viz: 3 pounds worth due from mr Pelham355 Fellow Communer in the hands of ye steward Mr. Thomas Danforth:
        • 2 salt sellars one little one, one great one [Richard Harris’s gift]
        • 1 earthen jugge tipped with silver [Mr. Ven’s gift]
        • 1 Bowle [Mr. Thomas Langham’s gift]
        • 2 Beakers one marked I B356 ye other W. W.357
        • 1 Silver Tankard given by Mr Samuell parris358 seven ll. ten. s.
        • 3 silver spoons.359

    In the Corporation Records of December 11, 1674, it was —

    Ordered that all the utensills of the Colledg belonging to the buttry & the Kitchin (and being inventoryed in this book) doe abide as they are lodged in the Kitchin & Buttrey.

    Only the plate to be brought to the prsidents house and lodged in the Colledg desks or chest there.360

    Additional items appear in “An Inventory of ye Colledge Utensills belonging to ye Butterie October 26: 1683,” as follows:

    • 2 Silver wine bowls361
    • 2 saltsellers 1 great one, 1 little one
    • 1 Earthen Jugge tipped wth silver — of this ye 2 wine bowls above mentioned were made
    • 1 Bowle
    • 2 Beakers marked I:B. the other W:W.
    • 1 Silver Tankard mark’d S:P.
    • 2 Silver Spoones
    • 1 Goblet given by mr Edward Paige362 Fellw communr with his name engraven on it
    • 1 Goblet given by mr Fr: Wainwright363 Fellw communr
    • 1 Goblet given by the reverend Mr Thomas Shepard364 Senr of Charlestown
    • 1 Goblet given by Mr Brown365 ffellow communer366

    I think there is no later inventory until September 18, 1736, when —

    The President & Tutors took an account of the College Plate, weighing ye same, as follows, viz.

    A large Tankard with a variety of Arms



    A large Bowl with a Cover, ye Honble mr Stoughton’s Gift


    A two ear’d Goblet


    A Tankard, Wm Vassal


    A Tankard, John Vassal


    A Quart-Tankard, not mark’d


    A Lesser Tankard, not mark’d


    A Salt Seller, mark’d IGE


    A Beaker unweigh’d is in ye Treasurer’s hand.367

    These inventories are combined and summed up at the end of the first volume of the Donation Book compiled by Andrew Eliot in 1773.368

    The first item in this inventory is no doubt the cup bought with Samuel Browne’s gift in 1731. The second is the cup or bowl given by Lieutenant-Governor Stoughton. Both of these are still extant. The two tankards from William and John Vassall also remain, and two other tankards which may be the other two mentioned in this account. Several other pieces of plate have apparently disappeared — Edward Paige’s goblet, the two spoons, and Francis Wainwright’s goblet of the list of 1683. Who was the “Mr. Brown” whose gift of a goblet is listed in the inventory of 1683? He could hardly have been the I. B. whose beaker is listed in the same inventory, as well as in that of 1674. There were two students named Browne in the Class of 1666.369 One was Joseph, who duly graduated. The other was a temporary student who has not been identified with certainty; but possibly he was Benjamin Browne, a younger brother of Joseph. They belonged to the noted Browne family of Salem; both were in other ways generous benefactors of the College; and it seems probable that “Mr. Brown” the fellow-commoner was one of the two — preferably Joseph Browne, since there is no doubt of his identity, while that of the temporary student is uncertain.

    The inventories of 1828 mention the silver plate very briefly, and add nothing under this head to the lists already quoted, though in other respects some interesting facts may be gleaned from them.370

    Let us now see how many of these pieces of plate remain to the present day.

    1. The oldest still extant is the great Salt [No. 9],371 received in 1644 by bequest from Richard Harris. Richard Harris was the brother of Mrs. Elizabeth Glover, and the letters engraved on the silver show that it must have belonged to Mrs. Glover and her husband, the Rev. Jose Glover, and so was doubtless brought to America in 1638, when Mr. Glover was bringing over the first printing-press and fonts of type to be set up in this country. Mr. Glover died on the passage. His widow, June 21, 1641, married President Dunster, the first President of the College, so that the Salt must have been at one time among the President’s household goods. On Mrs. Dunster’s death, August 23, 1643, the Salt passed into the hands of her brother, Richard Harris. The accounts of the first College building372 show that one of the rooms was finished for him, but his connection with the College is not clear. As he died August 29, 1644, in Cambridge, his residence here must have been brief. Was he, perhaps, a tutor?373

    2. The Stoughton Cup [No. 8] was given in 1701 by William Stoughton, who, in the memorial addressed to the General Court by the College in 1717, is described as “the truly honorable and conspicuously learned and religious Wm. Stoughton, Esq., (who is to be held in everlasting remembrance by all learned and good men),” who “built and finished at his own sole cost and charge an entire large College for the accommodation of the students.”374 (M.F.A., No. 64.)375 The Cup was made by John Cony, one of the best of the early silversmiths of Boston. Cony also engraved a seal for the College and the plates for the first paper money used in America.

    3. A bowl [No. 1] bearing the Holyoke arms, and formerly belonging to President Holyoke, was presented to the College in 1903, the work of the same John Cony. (M.F.A., No. 65.) President Holyoke’s daughter, Elizabeth, married Dr. William Kneeland (Class of 1751); their daughter Mary was the wife of Professor Levi Hedge (Class of 1792), and mother of Professor Frederic Henry Hedge (Class of 1825). In the Boston catalogue it is described as bearing the Cotton arms, and was assigned to a date of about 1700. The note in regard to the arms is evidently an error, due to the similarity of the Holyoke arms to one of the many Cotton arms. Burke’s General Armory describes one of the Cotton arms as “azure, a chevron between three crescents argent,” and the Holyoke arms as “azure, a chevron argent cottised or between three crescents of the second.” Two Holyoke crests are described — first, “a crescent argent,” which is the one shown on the plate in the Holyoke Diaries, published by the Essex Institute; and second, “a cubit arm erect, habited gules, cuff argent, holding in the hand proper an oak branch vert, fructed or,” a description with which the crest on the bowl sufficiently agrees. Miss Charlotte A. Hedge, who gave the bowl to the College in 1903, states that from her grandfather, Professor Levi Hedge, the grandson of President Holyoke, it passed to her aunt, Elizabeth Hedge, of Levis, Canada, who herself had the arms engraved upon it. From the last it came into the possession of Miss Hedge and of her brother Frederic H. Hedge (Class of 1851) of Brookline.

    4. A pair of candlesticks [Nos. 7, 10], the work of John Burt (1690–1745) of Boston, which belonged to Tutor Flynt, whose long term of service as Tutor and Fellow of the College extended from 1699 to 1760. These are inscribed — “Donum Pupillorum 1724.” (M.F.A., Nos. 45, 46.)

    5. Two tankards [Nos. 6, 11], given in 1729, one by John Vassall of the Class of 1732, the other by his brother William Vassall, of the Class of 1733. These were made by I. Kneeland of Boston. (M.F.A., No. 170.) These bear the Vassall arms and are inscribed:



    Joannis Vassal

    Guilielmi Vassal



    A. D. 1729

    A. D. 1729

    In the Faculty Records, under date of October 18, 1729, is found: “Agre’d yt Vassal Sophimore & Vassal Freshman be admitted Fellow-Com̄oners.”

    6. A covered two-handled cup [No. 3], for which Colonel Samuel Browne, of Salem, bequeathed to the College in 1731 the sum of sixty pounds to be used in the purchase of a piece of plate.376 (M.F.A., No. 37.) This, also, is the work of John Burt of Boston.

    Colonel Samuel Browne of Salem was born in 1669. He was for many years a representative in the General Court and Judge of the Court of Common Pleas for Essex County, also Chief Justice of the same Court. He was the greatest merchant of his day in the County of Essex, and his family influence and wealth, as well as the ability with which he performed the duties of his offices, gave him high rank in the Province. His father, his uncles, and his grandfather had all been benefactors of Harvard College, and besides the sixty pounds which he gave for the piece of plate, he bequeathed one hundred and fifty pounds for its beneficiary funds, sixty pounds for general purposes, and a house and well stocked farm in Hopkinton of two hundred acres. He died in 1731, aged sixty-two.377

    Plate II

    Early Silver belonging to Harvard College

    Engraved for The Colonial Society of Massachusetts

    An earlier entry in the Corporation Records, in 1723, is interesting in connection with the cup bought from Colonel Browne’s bequest. He had two sons — Samuel Browne and William Browne, both of the Class of 1727; in the Quinquennial Catalogue they stand at the head of their Class, with Thomas Hutchinson, who afterwards became Governor, in the third place. When the two boys entered College, the following vote was passed by the Corporation September 2, 1723:

    Whereas Saml Brown, Eldest Son of Saml Brown Esqr of Salem, now about to be Admitted into the College, is a Youth that labours under that bodiely Infirmity wch disables him from the going on Errands, as is usual for the Fresh-men to do, And Whereas his Honble Ancestrs have been Generous Benefactrs to the College to the Value of Eight hundred pounds.

    And also whereas his Hon̄d Father has now pposed his Son’s presenting the College wth Ape of Plate upon his Admission of much greater Value then wd Entitle him to the Priviledges & Honrs of a Fellow-Com̄oner;

    It is therefore Order’d by the Corporacōn that the s̄d Samuel Brown shalbe entirely Exempt from going of Errands, during his Freshmanship.378

    One wonders if Samuel Browne, Jr., failed to present the piece of plate which had been proposed, and if the bequest of his father, eight years later, was to make up for the omission.

    7. A tankard [No. 5] bearing the mark of E. Cobb as maker, a Boston silversmith who died before 1762. (M.F.A., No. 53.) Its source is unknown. On the handle it bears the date 1638 and initials roughly engraved as follows:



    H : D


    I = D


    H = D


    I = D

    I have no satisfactory explanation to offer of these initials. The arrangement suggests four successive generations of owners, each group standing for a man and his wife, the surname of the first two generations beginning with E and that of the last two generations with M.

    8. A tankard [No. 4] made by Edward Winslow of Boston (1669–1753). (M.F.A., No. 324.) Source unknown. The cover has evidently been mended in two places, which suggests that it may be the tankard referred to in a letter of Professor Levi Hedge, quoted below.

    9. A silver tea-pot [No. 2] which belonged to Dr. William Kneeland, Tutor from 1754 to 1763, the successor of Tutor Flynt. It is the work of Samuel Minot (1732–1803) of Boston.379 This was given to him by his pupils of the Class of 1763, and is inscribed “A decem Gratis Suum accepit Fidus 1763.” Like the Holyoke bowl, it descended in the possession of the Hedge family and was given to the College by Miss Charlotte A. Hedge.

    So far as can be learned, there have been but few fellow-commoners in the student body. In the lists above only nine are mentioned. Of these, five, possibly six, graduated and their names are to be found in the Quinquennial Catalogue, but without any notice of their special standing — viz. Joseph Browne of 1666 (assuming his identity with the “Mr. Brown” of the inventory of 1683), Edward Pelham of 1673, Francis Wainwright of 1686, Samuel Browne of 1727, John Vassall of 1732, and William Vassall of 1733. The other three are but names — Edward Paige, Thomas Langham and Mr. Ven — and nothing further, not even the classes to which they belonged, is known of them.380

    In addition to the nine names occurring above, three others are disclosed in the early Steward’s account books as quoted by Sibley:381 Samuel Willis of 1653, ——Bennett of 1659, and Nathaniel Saltonstall of 1659.

    Just when the fellow-commoner disappeared is hard to say; probably he did not long survive the time of the Vassalls, for Paine Wingate of the Class of 1759 (at one time the oldest living graduate of the College) wrote to Benjamin Peirce in 1831 that fellow-commoners were unknown in his time.382

    A last glimpse of the fellow-commoner and his gifts to the College is found in a letter from Professor Levi Hedge to the Treasurer of Harvard College, February 18, 1828, in the collection of inventories of 1828 already referred to. He writes:

    I have also in my possession a silver tankard, the history of which is the following. In the early times of the College, the sons of such gentlemen as claimed privileges of nobility, were distinguished from the other students by the privilege of dieting at the Tutors’ table in the Commons Hall. When these young gentlemen left the College, it was common for them to make some present to the gentlemen, as a body, in whose society they had been thus distinguished; and in this way several tankards and other articles of plate had been collected as ornaments for the Tutors’ table. On the discontinuance of this distinction, the articles collected were distributed among the officers, to be used as common property by them and their successors. When I was elected Tutor, in January 1795, I found the tankard and book above named in the chamber of my predecessors. The tankard was damaged by long use, it was bruised in sundry places, and the lid was off. I have had it repaired by a silver smith, so that it is in a better state now than when it came into my hands. I have regarded both the tankard and the book as departmental property, to be transmitted to my successor in office.383

    Mr. John W. Farwell exhibited the engraved copper plate from which the Harvard College book-plates were printed about 1840.

    Mr. Alfred C. Potter exhibited the book-plates of three Harvard clubs, two of them long extinct and practically forgotten, the other still in existence. The earliest of these clubs was “The Knights of the Order of the Pudding Stick.” Its book-plate is a simple printed label, with the name Daniel Parkman (H. C. 1813) written on it as donor and the date 1811. Of this club Mr. Potter has been unable to find any mention,384 but is inclined to think that soon after 1811 it merged with another club, “The Order of the Knights of the Square Table.”

    The book-plate of the Knights of the Square Table bears the same name, D. Parkman.385 This is a much more ambitious plate, being engraved and carrying arms over a window or doorway draped with a curtain which furnished a place for an inscription. This club was founded in 1809 and in 1831 merged with the Porcellian Club. The records of the latter still carry on its list of members the names of the “Knights” during the twenty-two years of their separate existence. The library of the Knights of the Square Table and their other belongings became the property of the Porcellian, and two book-plates exhibited by Mr. Potter were taken from books discarded from the Porcellian’s library.

    Three of the early book-plates of the Porcellian Club were also shown. On two of them the arms and motto are the same as on the plate of the Knights of the Square Table. These plates are all engraved, and are undated, but their sequence can be traced by the names of the owners. The latest of them is signed by F. Mitchell as artist, and G. G. Smith as engraver.

    Mr. Ezra H. Baker exhibited (1) an original deed of land in Rowley386 from Harvard College to Daniel Hale of Newbury, dated February 28, 1737–8, attached to which is an embossed seal of the College;387 and (2) the following document, to which a seal was once affixed, having at the bottom the name of the Rev. John Wilson of Medfield:388

    Meadfield Octobr the 6th3891687

    Know all men by these presents that Whereas my Coz Mr John Danforth390 of Dorchester hath pfected a Division (with my son John Wison)391 of the farm att Brantre whom I haue constituted my Lawfull Attoney to transact the same and to make choise of one pt of sd Farm for my Vse (wn Divided) I doe therefore accept of his choise of the House Division as my pt, accordingly Desiring him to Resign vp the North Division to my sister Mrs Mary Rock392 and hir Heirs, promising to Ratify sd choise by Defraying and paying to hir the sum̄ of 30ll according to their Articles of agreement In testimony hereof I have set to my hand and seal the year and Day abousd

    John Wilson


    John Metcalfe ser

    Thomas E Ellice

    his mark


    Mr Wilsons apprbation of his sons act

    Mr. Baker exhibited also various other objects, including a copy of the first number393 of John Farmer’s Memorials of the Graduates of Harvard University; a copy of the first edition (a broadside) of the Rev. Samuel Gilman’s Fair Harvard, which was written in Fay House, Cambridge; a lithograph by Moore, who succeeded Pendleton, from a sketch by Thomas Thompson, Jr., of the monument erected to the memory of John Harvard in the ancient burial-ground of Charlestown;394 a view of the boat race on Charles River in 1858395 in which President Eliot and Alexander Agassiz were in the Harvard boat; and several pieces of blue pottery portraying Harvard buildings and scenes.