Individual Training in Our Colleges

By Clarence F. Birdseye | Go to book overview

OUR EARLIER COLLEGES WERE BOARDING SCHOOLS: THEIR LAWS AND THEIR INDIVIDUAL TRAINING

As has already been shown and as will more fully appear by reading the early college laws, the students' personal lives were governed with the greatest strictness in all ways; not, however, with any idea of teaching them self-dependence.

Early laws Reflected Severity Of times.

"The designers of the 'schoole at Newtowne' had no such ideal in view. They were themselves members of an austere community, and undertook collectively to admonish, correct and punish any individual member who might be deemed delinquent; and they imposed on their seminary a system similar to that by which adult lives were guided. If we bear in mind that Harvard was, for many years after its founding, a theological seminary, in which the scholars were mere boys, we shall understand the principles by which its discipline was framed. The Faculty stood in loco parentis to the undergraduate, and brooked no question of their authority. The Faculty provided not only lodging and board for the student, but directed his worship and his recreation with the same severity as his studies; he was a member of a large family, in which the President or Tutor assumed the rôle of father, and believed, like most fathers at that time, that the child should not be spoiled from too sparing an application of the rod."1

This prevalent severity toward children is well shown in the statute laws of the various colonies, which provided that children over sixteen years of age, who were disobedient or who cursed or smote their parents, might be put to death.2

We must remember these facts if we would appreciate how different the present standards are from those by which the boy was then ruled at home, and in the "Schoole at Newtowne," the "Collegiate Schoole" at Saybrook or New Haven, and throughout all New England.

____________________
1
Thayer, 39.
2
Laws of Connecticut, 1650; Easthampton Book of Laws, 1665.

-18-

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