HARVARD SIXTY YEARS AGO
I DO not think Harvard College had changed very much when I entered it on my sixteenth birthday in the year 1842 either in manners, character of students or teachers, or the course of instruction, for nearly a century. There were some elementary lectures and recitations in astronomy and mechanics. There was a short course of lectures on chemistry, accompanied by exhibiting a few experiments. But the students had no opportunity for laboratory work. There was a delightful course of instruction from Dr. Walker in ethics and metaphysics. The college had rejected. the old Calvinistic creed of New England and substituted in its stead the strict Unitarianism of Dr. Ware and Andrews Norton, -- a creed in its substance hardly more tolerant or liberal than that which it had supplanted. There was also some instruction in modern languages, -- German, French and Italian, -- all of very slight value. But the substance of the instruction consisted in learning to translate rather easy Latin and Greek, writing Latin, and courses in algebra and geometry not very far advanced.
The conditions of admission were quite easy. They were such as a boy of fourteen of good capacity, who could read and write the English language and had gone through some simple book of arithmetic, could easily master in two years. There were three or four schools where the boys were pretty well fitted, so that they could translate Cicero and Virgil, Nepos and Sallust and Cæsar and Xenophon and Homer. The Boston Latin School, the Roxbury Latin School, Phillips Academy at Exeter and Phillips Academy at Andover and Mrs. Ripley's school at Waltham were the best schools for this purpose. The boys from the Boston Latin School generally took their places at the head of the class when