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NEW HAVEN, the seat of Yale College, . lies in a small alluvial plain on the edge of Long Island Sound. The city is built at the head of a narrow bay four miles long, and its suburbs stretch back across the plain to the foot of a range of trap dikes. The boldest members of this range are the two sheer and naked precipices known as East and West Rock. These are some 370 feet high, and the most striking objects in sight, as one sails up the winding channel of the bay, or enters the city by rail across the trestle-work over the "flat marshes, that look like monster billiard-tables with hay-stacks lying about for balls."
The following somewhat rose-colored pict-
ure of the city, is painted by Willis from his recollections of it as an undergraduate in 1827:
If you were to set a poet to make a town, with carte blanche as to trees, gardens and green blinds, he would probably turn out very much such a place as New Haven. The first thought of the inventor of New Haven was to lay out the streets in parallelograms; the second was to plant them from suburb to water-side, with the magnificent elms of the country. The result is that, at the end of fifty years, the town is buried in leaves. If it were not for the spires of the churches, a bird flying over on his autumn voyage to the Floridas would never mention
having seen it in his travels. The houses are something between an Italian palace and an English cottage,-built of wood, but, in the dim light of those overshadowing trees, as fair to the eye as marble, with their
THE DIVINITY SCHOOL.
triennial coats of paint; and each stands in the midst of its own encircling grass-plot, half buried in vines and flowers, and facing outward from a cluster of gardens divided by slender palings, and filling up with fruittrees and summer-houses the square on whose limit it stands. Then, like the varicolored parallelograms upon a chess-board, green openings are left throughout the town, fringed with triple and interweaving elm rows, the long weeping branches sweeping downward to the grass, and, with their inclosing shadows, keeping moist and cool the road they overhang."
In spite of its growth from a small university town to a city of over 50,000 inhabitants, New Haven keeps its rural look. This is owing partly to its architecture, and partly to its tree-planting traditions, inherited from the times of James Hillhouse, who set
out the great elms that now shadow the older streets. The immediate suburbs of New Haven are far from imposing,-acres of flat ground covered with rows of small wooden houses, of a dreary sameness of
pattern, with here and there a waste lot intersected by foot-paths, and nibbled by bleating goats that tug restlessly at their tethers. Yet even in these unsightly outskirts, and wherever the hand of the real estate speculator has been at work laying out new "boulevards," there are planted ranks of young elms, the germ of future Temple streets. Hence, from the top of East or West Rock, the straggling town, with its wooden houses and shade trees, looks like an overgrown village. From the upper stories of Divinity Hall in June the tree-tops of the City Green and the College Campus strike on the eye as a sea of billowy verdure, the church steeples and the belfries, clock towers and gables of the University, seeming not so much to emerge therefrom as to be themselves the craft of some fantastic navy sailing on the leaves. The round
observatory of the Athenæum serves for the cheese-box turret of a Monitor, and the steep roof-ridge of Durfee, with chimneys for
smoke-pipes, does duty as a hog-backed Merrimac.
The scenery about New Haven is uncommonly rich and varied, tempting constantly to holiday walks and sails, and lending a romantic charm to the memories of undergraduate life. There is an intimate blending of sea-side and inland. Brackish creeks empty and fill their sluices with tide water, at the bases of cliffs miles from the sea. Following a path through woods, you come out suddenly on the borders of a salt marsh, where gulls are flying about. Lying under the trees of an orchard seemingly in the heart of the continent, you lift your eyes and see across the clover-tops the sparkle of the sun on the waters of the Sound, and the sail of a vessel bound for New York. You could put out your hand and touch it, lying under the apple-trees.
New Haven was settled in 1638 by a company of immigrants from London, who bought the land from Momauguin, sachem of the Quinnipiacs, "for 12 coats of English cloth, 12 alchymy spoons, 12 hatchets, 12 hoes, 2 dozen knives, 12 porringers and 4 cases of French knives and scissors." Like other New England towns, it has its romance of colonial history. In 1661 Whalley and Goffe, two of the regicide judges of Charles the First, came to New Haven. Tradition connects their names with a sort of den, formed by two bowlders on the back of West Rock, where they lay hidden while the King's officers were making search for them in the town. The Judges' Cave is the first shrine to which the Freshman makes pilgrimage, and on one of the bowlders some lover of liberty, whose enthusiasm outran his orthography, has cut the inscription: "Oposition to tyrants is obedience to God."*
Long before the close of the 17th century, the project of a college in the Colony of Connecticut had been mooted. The distance of Harvard College in those days of unrapid transit (mostly on horseback) was felt as a serious evil. But not until the year 1700 did the movement take definite shape. In that year ten of the foremost ministers in the colony, nominated by general consent, assembled at New Haven, and formed themselves into a society for founding and carrying on a collegiate school. Later in the year tradition reports that they again came
* For a fuller account of the topography and antiquities of New Haven, see President Dwight's "Statistical Account of New Haven;" and Prof. Dana's "Walks about New Haven," in the "College Courant" for 1868-9.
STATUE OF RECTOR PIERSON.
quence of a petition numerously signed, setting forth that "from a sincere regard to, and zeal for, upholding the Protestant religion by a succession of learned and orthodox men, they [the petitioners] had proposed that a collegiate school should be erected in this colony, wherein youth should be instructed in all parts of learning, to qualify them for public employments in church and civil state."
Abraham Pierson, of Killingworth [Kennelworth], was chosen Rector of the school, and held office till his death in 1707. In the summer of 1874 a bronze statue of Yale's first president was erected on the college grounds in front of the Art Gallery, and unveiled at Commencement with appropriate ceremonies. The statue was designed by Launt Thompson, and presented to the col
Puritan scholar have something typical and even prophetic, carrying the mind back to the times when, Teucro duce et auspice Teucro, the students were "weekly caused memoriter to recite the Assembly's Catechism in Latin and Ames's Theological Theses." A memorial of Rector Pierson is also preserved in the library-a square oaken chair of the true antique solidity.
The school was located provisionally at Saybrook. The first student on its rolls was Jacob Hemingway, who took his Bachelor's degree in 1704. He entered college in March, 1702, and continued in his sole person to represent the whole body of undergraduates until September of the same year, when the number was swelled to eight, who were distributed into classes according to their scholarship. At the same time the Faculty received an addition by the appointment of Mr. Daniel Hooker as tutor. The first Commencement was held at Saybrook in 1702, and some honorary degrees conferred; but there was no proper graduating class until the following year, when the Triennial Catalogue makes the following record: 1703. *Johannes Hart, A. M... Tutor.
"And who was on the catalogue when college was
Lord! How the Seniors kicked about the Fresh
man class of one!"
It should be borne in mind that in 1700 Connecticut had a poor and thinly scattered agricultural population of little more than 15,000.
During its first seventeen years the new college led a wandering life. Rector Pierson lived at Killingworth, and taught his classes there. The Rector who succeeded him resided at Milford with the Seniors, the lower classes being instructed by the tutors at Saybrook. In 1716, many of the students, being dissatisfied with Saybrook, seceded to Wethersfield and put themselves under the teaching of Mr. Elisha Williams, who thus became a kind of tutor extraordinary. The few who remained at Saybrook shortly after fled from the small-pox to East Guilford. There was much local jealousy touching the permanent settling of the college; New Haven, Hartford, Saybrook, Wethers*1731. field and Middletown, all making bids for it.