President Dunster’s Quadriennium Memoir, 1654

President Dunster’s Quadriennium Memoir


THE following document in the Harvard University Archives, signed by President Dunster and at least partly in his handwriting, has hitherto escaped the notice of historians of Harvard University, although it was imperfectly printed twenty-five years ago.321 It is an argument, cast in syllogistic form according to the Aristotelian organon, to prove that a new law adopted by the Harvard Corporation, requiring four years’ residence for the degree of Bachelor of Arts, was in accordance with the customs and statutes of the University of Cambridge. On the same sheet is a copy, in different handwriting, of a short report in English on “The Order of ye university of Oxford concerning ye degrees of Bachelours & Mrs of art,” made by the Reverend Edward Norris (1584–1659), minister of the First Church in Salem, who had matriculated in the University of Oxford in 1599, and taken his B.A. from Magdalen Hall in 1606/7, and his M.A. in 1609.

The memoir is written on a sheet of coarse paper measuring 12 × 15 inches, folded to make a little book of eight pages, and stitched. Dunster’s own memoir is on pages 1–4. The copy of Norris’s report on Oxford occupies page 5. Pages 6 and 7 are blank and uncut. Page 8, the back cover, bears the endorsement Quadriennium, probably in Dunster’s hand, followed by one or two words which were erased with a pen, or rubbed out by wear.

The memorial was certainly drawn up sometime in the last years of President Dunster’s administration, and probably may be dated not long before Commencement, 1654. In several respects the document is important. It clears up once and for all the mystery of the double Harvard Commencement of 1653. It emphasizes the fact that Harvard College was intended by her founders to be a college in the English university tradition, observing, as far as limited means and colonial conditions would permit, the scholastic standards of Oxford and Cambridge. It throws no small light on the organization of the University of Cambridge in the early seventeenth century. And, finally, it shows the origin of the “class,” which has been a scholastic and a social unit in American colleges from 1640 to the present day.

The Harvard curriculum for the A.B. described in New Englands First Fruits (1643) is a three-year course. Those who entered Freshmen in the summer or fall of 1638 under Nathaniel Eaton, were dispersed at the beginning of the academic year 1639–40 when that Orbilius Plagosus was dismissed. Henry Dunster, shortly after he was elected president in August, 1640, recalled to Cambridge such of Eaton’s former pupils as were not beyond recall; and these were voted their bachelor’s degrees at the first Harvard Commencement, in September, 1642. Those who entered college with the new president were graduated in 1643; and so on.

In 1653, there came a break. The successive catalogues of graduates record two graduating classes that year: the one of nine students, on August 9, and the other of eight, on August 10. Between the two lists of names the earliest Triennial Catalogue of Graduates, that of 1674, inserts this statement:

Qui ad secundum gradum admissi fuere 1655:

Die sequente vero baccalaurei, ad secundum gradum admissi ut moris est, 1656.322

This formula, with minor variations, was repeated in all the Latin Triennial Catalogues down to the last, that of 1875, and in the Latin Quinquennials of 1880 and 1885.323 In the first English Quinquennial Catalogue, that of 1890, this statement is made in the same place, between the two lists of names:

The graduates of 1653 who took the degree of Bachelor of Arts 9 August received that of Master of Arts in 165 5; the other portion of the class, who took the Bachelor’s degree 10 August, were required, under a law which remained in force until 1873, to wait three years before taking the Master’s degree.

This statement has been repeated literally in every subsequent Quinquennial, including that of 1930, notwithstanding the fact that our late associate William Coolidge Lane pointed out in 1914 that the graduates of 1653 were not portions of the same class, but two separate and distinct classes; and that the real reason for the break was the adoption of a four-year course for the bachelor’s degree.324 The earlier Latin statement was misleading, in that it said nothing about the length of the course for the first or bachelor’s degree, and allows one to infer that the second or master’s degree required only two additional years before 1653, which was not true. The graduates from 1642 to 1651, inclusive, were required to wait three years for their second degrees. So the Quinquennial Catalogues of 1890–1930 have made confusion worse confounded.

What happened was this. President Dunster, eager to have Harvard College adopt the same standards as the University of Cambridge, got through the Corporation and Overseers an amendment to the Laws of 1642 (quoted in the first paragraph of his manuscript), providing that “none shall expect” his A.B. “until he hath been four whole years [quadriennium] in the College.” It may be inferred that this law was passed before Commencement, 1652. In order to respect vested rights, and to mitigate the hardship to the students and the additional expense to their parents, the Corporation put the new law into effect in a manner that avoided trouble for two years, but brought more of it in the end. The class which entered in the summer and fall of 1649, and would ordinarily have graduated in 1652, were kept in college one year longer, and took their bachelor’s degrees on August 9, 1653; but were allowed to take their master’s degrees in 1655.325 Thus their total arts course was six years. The class which entered college in the summer and fall of 1650326 were allowed to graduate A.B. in three years—on August 10, 1653; but the usual three years were required for the A.M. Thus their total arts course was also six years. But the class which entered in the summer and fall of 1651 were required to reside four years for the A.B.—graduating as the Class of 1655—and to wait three years more for the A.M., making a total of seven years, “pro more Academiarum in Anglia.” This class, accordingly, signalized their displeasure by a sort of students’ strike. Fifteen out of the seventeen members refused to pay their Commencement fees, and “went away from College without any Degree at all.”327

President Chauncy, who succeeded President Dunster in November, 1654, maintained the four-year statute and braved a similar student strike. Increase Mather, of the Class of 1656, wrote in his autobiography:

My standing in ye Colledge was such, as yt according to ye vsual custome, I should this year [1655] have proceeded Bachelor of Arts. But ye pr[e]sident being desirous to keep ye students as long in ye Colledge as might be, & some other reasons occurring, or class (& some others also) were not suffered to Commence till ye year after, wch was a great trouble to many of ye overseers of ye Colledge, & occasioned (as I rem[em]b[e]r) no less yn 17 of ye scholars to remove from ye Colledge: but my Father (tho troubled at wt was done) was not willing that I should take my Name out of ye Colledge Register (as some of my standing had done) and I submitted to my Fathers pleasure in it.

In ye year 1656 I . . . had my first degree.328

The Corporation records for these years were entered in College Book II, which was destroyed in the fire of 1764, and of which only a few entries copied into other college records, and a manuscript index by President Wadsworth, survive. In Wadsworth’s index is the entry: “first Degree (An. 1654) deni’d to those of 3 years standing.”329 That decision of the governing board was probably the result of Dunster’s memorial. It may, then, be inferred that the class which entered in 1651330 made a special effort, by appealing to the Board of Overseers, to get the new four-year rule modified for their benefit, in order that they might graduate A.B. in 1654 instead of in 1655; that they created a party in their behalf on the Board of Overseers (the “Academici mihi dissidentes” of Dunster’s memorial) who maintained that the Cambridge B.A. course was but three years; and that Dunster then drew up this memorial to prove that it was not, and supported it by a statement as to the Oxford course from Edward Norris. The fact that Dunster drafted his memorial in Latin proves that it was destined for a learned and academic audience, which can only have been the Board of Overseers, or the clerical members thereof.331 From subsequent events, it is clear that the president had his way, as Harvard presidents who know their business generally do. The four-year law stood, and appears with slight modification in the Laws of 1655, promulgated in the first year of President Chauncy’s administration.332

Of even more interest than this solution of a local problem in Harvard College, is the light thrown by Dunster on the practices of his mother university. One may search in vain the histories of the University of Cambridge and of her several colleges for so precise an account of the term-to-term progress of the undergraduates as Dunster gives, or for the name Sophomori, by which he says that the second-year men were called.

According to the Elizabethan Statutes of the University of Cambridge, a printed copy of which Dunster had at hand as he wrote, the university had three terms that could be counted for residence, and a fourth, the vacation term, which was not so counted:333

  1. 1. Michaelmas term, October 10 to December 16.
  2. 2. Hilary term, January 13 to the decade before Easter.
  3. 3. Easter term, eleventh day after Easter to the Friday after Commencement, which was held on the first Tuesday in July.
  4. 4. Vacation term, “in quo propter intemperiem coeli et pestis atque contagionis pericula” no university exercises were held, lasted from the Friday after the first Tuesday in July to October 10.

The process of taking the bachelor’s degree at Cambridge in Dunster’s time (and for over two centuries thereafter) was exceedingly complicated. In January of his last Hilary term the Senior Sophister was (1) examined “privately” in college, and, if approved by his college authorities, (2) presented to the university authorities as a candidate; (3) examined orally by the proctors, “posers,” and regent masters of arts. If approved, he (4) subscribed to the “Three Articles” and (5) was presented, with a proper supplicat, to a Congregation of the University in which, if the grace were granted, he was admitted by the vice-chancellor ad respondendum Quaestioni. He was now a “questionist,” a B.A. to all intents and purposes; but in accordance with a custom derived from the Roman-law practice of investiture, he was not a complete B.A. until he had demonstrated his ability. This he did by (6) “replying to the question,” which meant answering a few perfunctory queries out of Aristotle’s Prior Analytics, on some day before Ash Wednesday, and by (7) “determining,” which meant stare in quadragesima (to stand in Lent) in the Public Schools in order to take part in certain formal debates, and engage in others, if challenged. Finally, (8) at the “Latter Act” (or “Bachelors’ Commencement” or “Second Tripos Day”) on the Thursday before Palm Sunday, he was pronounced by the Senior Proctor “to have determined, and actually to be Bachelor of Arts.”334 I say nothing of the numerous ceremonies, litanies, payments, and feasts; the gloves, tips, beer, and figs to the bedels; and a hundred other details.335

Since all these exercises for the B.A. took place in Hilary term, and a residence of twelve non-vacation terms was required, the student who wished to take his baccalaureate in the minimum time would enter the university during Easter term. Students were allowed to “count” this term provided they matriculated before the end of it, i.e., before the second week in July; and they were also permitted to “count” the Hilary term in which they took the degree four years later.336 Now, the Cambridge alumni on the Harvard Board of Overseers doubtless remembered that they had been less than four full years in college before graduating B.A., and that is probably why Dunster had to argue so meticulously in order to prove that they had at least resided a constructive quadriennium.

Thus, Dunster himself matriculated in Easter term, 1627, and took his B.A. in Hilary term, 1630/31. But if a student neglected to matriculate before the end of Easter term, he would have only eleven, not twelve terms to his credit the fourth January following, and could not take his B.A. until his fifth year. Thus, as Dunster notes, one Orlando Elliott entered Magdalene College in October, 1627, probably beginning his actual studies at the same time with Dunster; but, being unable to “count” the previous Easter term, he was too late to graduate with the men of Dunster’s grex (of his class, we should say). He therefore became “senior brother” of the next class, most of whom entered in Easter term, 1628, and graduated B.A. in 1631/32. John Harvard’s university career was almost contemporaneous with Elliott’s. Admitted to Emmanuel College in December, 1627, he obtained his B.A. in 1631/32.

Dunster’s memorial further reveals that members of the four “years” at Cambridge in his time, counting from the beginning of Easter term in each instance, were known as Freshmen, Sophomores, Junior Sophisters, and Senior Sophisters. Except that the two last have by ellipsis become Juniors and Seniors, these have remained the names of the four undergraduate classes in American colleges and universities since Harvard adopted the four-year course. The term “Sophister” (the English rendering of sophista) goes back to an examination in logic at the University of Paris in the twelfth century, which it was necessary for the undergraduate to pass before he was allowed to engage in the sophismata or disputations in the Public Schools of the University.337 At Oxford this examination was held after the student had completed his ninth term; and at its conclusion he was created sophista generalise or General Sophister.338 At Cambridge, on the contrary, the creation of Sophisters belonged to the college authorities,339 and was commonly done two years before the student expected to commence B.A.; hence the division of Sophisters into Juniors and Seniors. Apparently these terms were in common use at Cambridge in Dunster’s time, although the New English Dictionary gives no examples before the latter part of the seventeenth century, when they were already abbreviated to “Junior Sophs” and “Senior Sophs.”

The term “Sophomore” for the second-year students was just coming into common use in Dunster’s day.340 The earliest example in the New English Dictionary, “not some exquisite Sophister but any punie Sophumer,” is dated 1653. But in a contemporary account of a visit of James I to Cambridge in 1622, we are informed that “the young Scholars were placed . . . in this manner; the Freshmen, Sophmoors, and Sophisters. . . .”341 Dunster uses the word twice in its Latin form, sophomorus. In fact, Dunster’s division of the Cambridge quadriennium into four years, each with its distinctive name, as has been the custom in American universities since his day, can be found in no other contemporary account of the University of Cambridge,342 or in any history of that university in the seventeenth century.

The Sophomore, according to Dunster, was not allowed inside the Sophisters’ School. This was one of the Public Schools, which were simply rooms in the Old Schools Quadrangle, now incorporated in the University Library.343 Junior Sophisters were allowed inside the Sophisters’ School, but only as spectators, says Dunster. But they performed an important function that he does not mention, that of attending the determining bachelors during Lent, taking part in their disputations, and standing ready “to defend 2 or 3 Theses against any other Sophister not of his own College who shall think good to oppose him therein.”344 The sophismata, or Sophisters’ own disputations, took place among Senior Sophisters, in the Sophisters’ School, during the Easter and Michaelmas terms of that year, as Dunster says. The university statute De disputationibus sophistarum345 states that these disputations are begun by the sophista veterrimus,346 and that each Sophister shall propose three questions, one in mathematics, one in logic, and one in natural or moral philosophy, which he shall post three days before on the doors of the Schools. Every Sophister must respond (defend) twice, and oppose twice.347 Apparently these sophismata were managed and moderated by the Sophisters themselves. Shortly before Dunster came up to the university, John Knowles of his college, the future minister of Watertown and candidate for the Harvard presidency, “was thought fitt (as ye flower of his year) to be Moderator of ye Sophisters Schools. . . .”348

Henry Dunster’s signature in the Subscription Book, Cambridge, when taking his A.B. degree, in grege suo

Although the four “years” of Freshman, Sophomore, Junior Sophister, and Senior Sophister gave their names to the four “classes” of Harvard and all later American universities, the American “class” is more nearly derived from another group mentioned twice in Dunster’s document. The grex (flock) included the men of the same “year” in the same college. Most of the formalities for the B.A. were performed together by the grex, led by some fellow of their college, who was called their “father.” Together they subscribed their names to the “Three Articles,” swearing to support certain canons of the church, in the Subscription Book. This book is still preserved in the University Registry, where the signatures of Henry Dunster and his grex may be found. The grex was then presented to the vice-chancellor, in order to be admitted ad respondendum Quaestioni; and after that ceremony, but before Ash Wednesday, each grex was solemnly conducted into the Public Schools by one of the college tutors, who asked each member a simple question out of Aristotle’s Prior Analytics. Three years later, when students returned to Cambridge to perform the required exercises for the M.A., the grex was again the unit. It will be seen that the grex much more nearly corresponds, both quantitatively and organically, to the Harvard classis or class, than does the “year.” But, as Harvard College was also a microcosm of a university, it was natural to apply to its four classes the names of the four Cambridge years.

S. E. Morison

President Dunster’s Quadriennium Memoir, 1654

QUICUNQUE Scholaris probatione habitâ poterit sacras utriusque Instrumenti Scripturas de Textu Originali Latinè interpretari, et Logicè resolvere, fueritque Naturalis et Moralis Philosophiæ principijs imbutus, vitáque et moribus inculpatus, et publicis quibusvis Comitijs349 ab Inspectoribus, et Præside Collegij approbatus, primo suo gradu possit ornari:350 aliàs nullus expectabit, nisi qui quadriennium in Collegio transegerit, in quo inculpatè vitam degerit, et omnia exercitia publica sedulò observauerit.

[I]351 Per hanc legem Scholares nè unum quidem temporis minutum diutiùs in Collegio nostro commorari tenentur, priusquam Magistri Artium fiant, quam ordinariò in omnibus Cantabrigiæ Collegijs apud Anglos, et per consequens nec diutius ante Baccalaureatum nostrates manebunt,


EVERY scholar that on proof is found able to read the original of the Old and New Testament into the Latin tongue, and to resolve them logically, and is instructed in the principles of natural and moral philosophy, withal being of honest life and conversation, and at any Public Act352 hath the approbation of the Overseers and President of the College, may be invested with his first degree:353 but none shall expect it until he hath been four whole years in the College, in which he hath lived blameless, and hath faithfully performed all public exercises.

[I]354 According to this law scholars are not required to reside in our college one minute longer to be created Master of Arts, than do they usually in all the colleges of Cambridge in England, and consequently those of our country will wait no longer for their B. A. than the space of time requireth,

quàm temporis interstitium postulat, quo illi nos preoccupant,355 dum inchoante Anno apud eos Studentes Baccalaureatum suscipiant, nostri verò Mense Sexto.356

De hac Positione si quis dubitet, quæ subscripta sunt, legat.

Mos Academiæ Cantabrigiensis quatenus respicit tempus studentium, qui primum in Artibus gradum suscipiunt, est hujusmodi.

Recentes sint admissi Solstitio æstivo 1627 termino (uti dicunt) Paschali, duodecim terminos deinceps ante Baccalaureatum sic complebunt. 1m terminum Paschalem, in quo admissi fuerint qui durat ad Comitia publica sub initio Julij.357 2m terminum Michaelis intra undecimum Octobris et Solstitium Brumale. 3m terminum Hilarij intra Januarium, et finem quad-ragesimæ: Sic absolvitur Annus primus, nimirum, 1627, qui Ecclesiasticè absolvi dicitur 25to Martij.

Orditurque Annus secundus 1628 quem dum transigunt, Sophomori dicuntur, nec adhuc intra interiora Sophistarum Scholæ repagula illis fas erit ingredi.


in which we look after them358—with the understanding that, whereas with them students take the B.A. at the beginning of the year, ours take it in the sixth month.359

If any one hath doubt respecting this position, let him read what followeth.

The custom of the University of Cambridge, in so far as it looketh to the time of studies of those who take the First Degree in Arts, is of this kind:

Supposing that Freshmen be admitted at the summer solstice in the so-called Easter term; they will complete twelve terms in order before their Baccalaureate, thus. The 1st is the Easter term in which they were admitted, and which endureth until the Public Act immediately after the beginning of July.360 The 2d is the Michaelmas term between the 11th of October and the winter solstice. The 3rd is Hilary term, between January and the end of Lent. This completeth his first year, to wit, 1627, which according to the church calendar is supposed to end on the 25th of March [1628].

Beginneth the second year, 1628, in the course of which they are called Sophomores; nor will it yet be lawful for them to pass the inner bars of the Sophisters’ School.

Ad 3m deinde pervenientes Annum termino Paschali Juniores Sophistæ appellantur, quibus tum primum patent repagula; nondum tamen publicè ibidem disputandi concessa est facultas, Anno 1629.

Ad 4m tandem Annum attingentes post quadragesimam Anno 1630 Seniores Sophistæ coram Moderatore durante termino Paschali Scholis [2] publicis publicè disputant, cùm ante tum etiam post Comitia publica termino Michaelis ad Solstitium usque Brumale.

Post Festum denique Nativitatis termino Hilarij 1631 (computatione Historicâ)361 primò intra Collegij parietes in Sacello putà vel Aulâ publicâ per aliquot dies examinandi sedent, ubi approbati Quæstionistæ posteà in Scholis publicis sedentes post consuetum examen digni qui habentur, sub initio quadragesimæ fiunt Baccalaurei362

II. Hic Mos legibus et statutis Academicis consentit, quorum Exemplar impressum habeo, et quatenus ad præsens negotium spectat Subscriptum Sequitur

Statuta in admissione Baccalaureorum in Artibus &c.

Primus Annus Rhetoricam docebit, Secundus et tertius Dialecticam, quartus adjungat Philosophiam; et Artium istarum domi, forisque, pro


Thence passing in Easter term to the third year, 1629, they are called Junior Sophisters, to whom then the bars are unfastened for the first time; but the power publicly to dispute therein is not yet conceded.

At length, commencing the fourth year after Lent in the year 1630, the Senior Sophisters during Easter term dispute publicly before the Moderator in the Public Schools, both before and after the Public Act, [and] in Michaelmas term to the winter solstice.

Finally, after the Feast of the Nativity in Hilary term, 1631 (computed historically),363 they first sit some few days to be examined within the college walls—to wit, in the Chapel or Public Hall; and then the approved Questionists, who are later held worthy, after the usual examination, sitting in the Public Schools, are made Bachelors at the beginning of Lent.364

II. This way accordeth with the university laws and statutes, a printed copy of which I hold; and so far as it concerneth the business at hand, the copy followeth:

“Statutes for the Admission of Bachelor of Arts, etc. The first year shall teach Rhetoric, the second and third Dialectic, the fourth addeth

ratione temporis quisque sit Auditor.365 In hoc quadriennio bis quisque disputato in publicis Scholis, bisque respondeto in suo grege; quæ si perfecerit, et post consuetum examen dignus videatur, Baccalaureus esto; ita tamen qd prius respondeat quæstioni, et stet in quadragesimâ, more consueto, usque postremum actum, et super his cautionem realem exponat.366

III. Prædictæ Propositionis367 veritas liquet publicis (ut aiunt) Supplicationibus.

Supplicat Reverentijs vestris A:B:, ut duodecim termini completi in quibus usitatas Lectiones audiuerit (licèt non omnino secundum formam statuti) unà cum omnibus Disputationibus Declamationibus cæterisque exercitijs per statuta Regia requisitis sufficiant ei ad respondendum quæstioni.368

IIII. Demonstratur 4to prædicta propositio369 ab impossibili, seu absurdo, sic:


Philosophy; and of those Arts let everyone be auditor at home and abroad,370 according to the schedule. In this quadriennium let everyone dispute twice in the Public Schools; twice he shall respond in his “flock”; if he hath performed this, and is approved after the wonted examination, a Bachelor he shall be; provided always that first he hath Replied to the Question and stood in Lent in the wonted manner, up to the last Act; and moreover be ready to discharge his bond.”371

III. The truth of the aforesaid proposition372 is evident in the so-called public supplication:

“A.B. supplicates Your Reverences that, the twelve terms completed, in which he has heard the accustomed lectures (even if not absolutely according to the form of the statute), together with all the disputations, declamations, and other exercises required by the royal statutes, suffice him to Reply to the Question.”373

IV. Fourthly, the aforesaid proposition374 is proved from the impossible

Scholares ante Baccalaureatum in Academiâ manent aut per Integrum Biennium tantum cum supplemento aliquot mensium; aut Integrum triennium cum prædicto Supplemento. At qd non per biennium tantum 1mus est in consess[torn]375 2 et tum 8 terminis completis gradum susciperent nono, ut computando [3] reperietis, qd nullus dicet; ergo per triennium.376 In quo undecim terminis completis gradum suscipiunt duodecimo.

V. Denique aut Studentes integrum triennium cum Supplemento in Collegio degunt, aut Scholares quinque Annorum,377 qui nullum susciperent gradum, simul in Collegio esse nequirent. At qd esse possint, exemplo proxime subscripto mox demonstrabitur. Et experientia quotannis indicat

VI. Postremò igitur luculentissime et absque omni dubio constat Exemplo Historico, v. gr.


or the absurd, thus: scholars reside in the university before their Baccalaureate either for merely a complete biennium with an addition of a few months, or for a complete triennium with the aforesaid addition. But that the mere biennium is not [correct] is, 1st, conceded, and, 2d, [shown by the fact that] if it were, when eight terms were completed they would take the degree in the ninth (as you will find if you add them up), and that nobody claims; ergo [they must reside] during a triennium,378 in which, at the expiration of eleven terms, they take the degree in the twelfth.

V. Then, too, either the students spend in college a complete triennium with an addition, or the scholars of five years,379 who were taking no degree, could not be at the same time in college. But that they may be shall presently be demonstrated in the next words to be written herein-under. And experience bears this out every year.

VI. Finally this is clearly made manifest and without doubt by an historical example, to wit:

Admissi sunt Baker,380 Murial,381 Dunster,382 Salt Marsh,383 mense 3tio 1627. Noverunt in Collegio Russell,384 Foster,385 Sophomoros dictos Superiore Anno 1626 admissos. Kelk,386 Joanes387 &c Juniores Sophistas Anni 1625. Wickeley,388 Welch389 &c Seniores Sophistas admissos 1624. Ante finem vero Octobris 1627 admissum vident Orlando Eliot390 insequentis Anni fratrem Seniorem.

Post Festum Nativitatis durante termino Hilarij fiunt Baccalaurei,


Baker,391 Murial,392 Dunster,393 Saltmarsh394 were admitted in the third month [May], 1627. In college they made the acquaintance of Russell395 and Foster,396 so-called Sophomores, who had been admitted in the previous year 1626; of Kelk,397 Jones,398 etc., Junior Sophisters of the year 1625; Wickeley,399 Welch,400 etc., Senior Sophisters admitted in 1624, and to be sure before the end of October, 1627, they see admitted Orlando Eliot,401 senior brother of the following “year.”

After Christmas in Hilary term, Wickley and Welch, etc., are made

Wickley et Welch &c Anno 1628 inchoante. Kelke et Joanes &c, 1629. Russell et Foster 1630. Baker et Dunster &c. 1631. Eliot cum Socijs 1632. Studentes ergo quinque Annorum qui nullum susceperunt gradum, simul in Collegio esse possunt, et per Consequens qui per tempus brevissim[um in] Collegio manent Integrum Triennium, et Septem Menses ad minim[um402 in] Collegijs ordinariò commorantur, priusquam Baccalaurei fiunt, et consequenter Integrum Septennium priusquam in Artibus Magistri esse possunt. Nec aliàs apud nos, qui admittimus Graduates pro more Acad. in Angliâ.403

Quod autem respicit temporis interstitium, qd absolvunt Baccalaurei, priusquam fiunt Artium Magistri, sub disceptatione apud nullos nostrûm cadit: supervacaneus igitur hâc de re institueretur discursus, primum statutum in admissione Inceptorum in Artibus legendum tantummodo describemus, quod subsequitur.404

Baccalaurei Artium Philosophiæ Lectionis, Astronomiæ, Perspectivæ, sive Mathematicalium, quæ in Scholis lecta fuerint, et Græcæ Linguæ, per [4] Triennium ad minus sint assidui Auditores: ídque qd inchoatum


Bachelors at the beginning of the year 1628; Kelke and Jones, etc., in 1629; Russell and Foster in 1630; Baker and Dunster, etc., in 1631; Eliot with his fellows in 1632. Therefore students of five years who have taken no degree, can at the same time remain in college; and consequently those who reside the minimum time in their colleges usually stay for a complete triennium and seven months at least,405 before they are made Bachelors, and consequently a complete septennium before they can be Masters of Arts. Not otherwise with us, who will admit graduates according to the custom of the universities in England.406

Now, that which concerneth the interval of time covered by Bachelors before they are created Masters of Arts, cometh into dispute by none of us: superfluous therefore to begin a discussion of this subject; we shall merely copy off the first statute to be read on the admission of Inceptors in Arts, as followeth:407

“Bachelors of Arts shall be assiduous auditors for at least a triennium of such lectures of Philosophy, Astronomy, Perspective, or Mathematics as shall be read in the Schools, and of the Greek tongue too; and whatever

anteà erat, suâ. industriâ perficiant. Intererunt cunctis Magistrarum Artium Disputationibus aperto capite: nec abibunt inde, nisi à Procuratoribus petitâ veniâ. Baccalaureus quisque ter respondebit Magistro obijcienti; bis in sui gregis exercitatione, respondebit, declamabitque semel. In his ubi justum trium Annorum spatium versatus fuerit, et hæc ilium perfecisse constiterit, postquam solenniter productus fuerit, cooptabitur in Magistrorum ordinem

Denique408 hanc unicuam quæstionem solvant Academici mihi dissidentes. An scilicet recentes jam admissi plus temporis solent conterere priusquam Baccalaurei fiant An jam facti priusquam in magistrorum ordinem cooptentur? Nullus datur (uti autumo) quin respondebit Baccalaurei minus temporis conterunt quam recentes.409

[Hen. Dunster Har Col: Prœses.]410

Agant igitur, Baccalaurei triennium integrum cum mantissa411 (ut aiunt)


was incomplete before, they shall by their own efforts perfect. They shall attend, uncovered, all disputations of Masters of Arts, nor shall they absent themselves therefrom, unless by grace of the Proctors. Every Bachelor shall respond thrice to an opponent Master; twice he shall respond and declaim in the exercise of his ‘flock.’ When in these things he hath spent the lawful space of three years, and therein be certified perfect, and after he hath been formally presented, he shall be chosen into the order of Masters.”

Finally, let those university men who differ from me, solve this one question. To wit, whether [students] once admitted Freshmen are accustomed to spend more time before they are created Bachelors, than those once made [Bachelors spend] before they are chosen into the order of Masters? There is nobody (as I aver) but who will reply: “The Bachelors spend less time than the Freshmen.”412

[Henry Dunster President of Harvard College]413

Let them therefore reflect: Bachelors remain a complete triennium with a so-called mantissa414 before they are made Masters; how long therefore will Freshmen tarry before they are made Bachelors?

manent priusquam fiunt M[agist]ri. Quandiu igitur recentes morabuntur priusquam fiunt Baccalaurei?

Quadriennium igitur plus minus in Coll[egio] degere oportet studentes priusquam fierent Baccalaurei, et Integrum septennium priusquam in artibus magistri sint habendi. si (pro more Accademiarum in Angliâ) nostræ admissionis forma retinebitur in veritate prout ips[e mos] est.[5]


It will, therefore, be required that they reside in college a quadriennium more or less before they are made Bachelors, and a complete septennium before they may be received Masters of Arts, if (according to the custom of the universities in England) our form of admission [to degrees] shall truly remain [of the same standard] as the custom is there.

The Order of ye university of Oxford concerning ye degrees of Bachelours & Mrs of art

1. Such as weer admitted into Colledges or Halls weer wthin a few months limitted to bee matriculated & Registred.

Then beeing sophisters yey might dispute (if they weer able) in ye schools and after four years study in Logick & Philosophy wth approbation of the house, & publick triall proceed Bachelours of Art, wherupon yey had allowance to take pupils, & read to ym: But not before.

2. After 3 years study in ye arts upon approbation of ye house & publick examination, ye reading of six lectures in natural & moral Philosophy, & publick disput[ati]ons in ye schooles wth certain Sciors415 upon oth of yeir skill in ye arts & good conversation, to bee admitted Mrs in ye Convocation house by ye vicechancellors proctors & Regents. And bound wthall stare in Comitiis [in] ye Act following when they weer sworne to ye statutes of ye university et non suscipere gradum Simeonis.416 So that 7 years was ye ordinary tyme for their proceeding.

3. The Eldest sons of noble men or knights (or of Compounders who weer to wear scarlet) or other great persons might be admitted sooner (if ye university pleased) But yt was extraordinary et per concessum.

This was ye usual manner in former times herein.

Testis Mr Ed. Norrice.