Part 12 out of 12
The Freshman Class above referred to, as superior to the Junior,
was the one which graduated in 1796, of which Mr. Thomas Mason,
surnamed "the College Lion," was a member,--"said," remarks Mr.
Buckingham, "to be the greatest _wrestler_ that was ever in
College. He was settled as a clergyman at Northfield, Mass.,
resigned his office some years after, and several times
represented that town in the Legislature of Massachusetts."
Charles Prentiss, the wit of the Class of '95, in a will written
on his departure from college life, addresses Mason as follows:--
"Item. Tom M----n, COLLEGE LION,
Who'd ne'er spend cash enough to buy one,
The BOANERGES of a pun,
A man of science and of fun,
That quite uncommon witty elf,
Who darts his bolts and shoots himself,
Who oft has bled beneath my jokes,
I give my old _tobacco-box_."
_Buckingham's Reminiscences_, Vol. II. p. 271.
The fame which Mr. Mason had acquired while in College for bodily
strength and skill in wrestling, did not desert him after he left.
While settled as a minister at Northfield, a party of young men
from Vermont challenged the young men of that town to a bout at
wrestling. The challenge was accepted, and on a given day the two
parties assembled at Northfield. After several rounds, when it
began to appear that the Vermonters were gaining the advantage, a
proposal was made, by some who had heard of Mr. Mason's exploits,
that he should be requested to take part in the contest. It had
now grown late, and the minister, who usually retired early, had
already betaken himself to bed. Being informed of the request of
the wrestlers, for a long time he refused to go, alleging as
reasons his ministerial capacity, the force of example, &c.
Finding these excuses of no avail, he finally arose, dressed
himself, and repaired to the scene of action. Shouts greeted him
on his arrival, and he found himself on the wrestling-field, as he
had stood years ago at Cambridge. The champion of the Vermonters
came forward, flushed with his former victories. After playing
around him for some time, Mr. Mason finally threw him. Having by
this time collected his ideas of the game, when another antagonist
appeared, tripping up his heels with perfect ease, he suddenly
twitched him off his centre and laid him on his back. Victory was
declared in favor of Northfield, and the good minister was borne
home in triumph.
Similar to these statements are those of Professor Sidney Willard
relative to the same subject, contained in his late work entitled
"Memories of Youth and Manhood." Speaking of the observances in
vogue at Harvard College in the year 1794, he says:--"Next to
being indoctrinated in the Customs, so called, by the Sophomore
Class, there followed the usual annual exhibition of the athletic
contest between that class and the Freshman Class, namely, the
wrestling-match. On some day of the second week in the term, after
evening prayers, the two classes assembled on the play-ground and
formed an extended circle, from which a stripling of the Sophomore
Class advanced into the area, and, in terms justifying the vulgar
use of the derivative word Sophomorical, defied his competitors,
in the name of his associates, to enter the lists. He was matched
by an equal in stature, from that part of the circle formed by the
new-comers. Beginning with these puny athletes, as one and another
was prostrated on either side, the contest advanced through the
intermediate gradations of strength and skill, with increasing
excitement of the parties and spectators, until it reached its
summit by the struggle of the champion or coryphaeus in reserve on
each of the opposite sides. I cannot now affirm with certainty the
result of the contest; whether it was a drawn battle, whether it
ended with the day, or was postponed for another trial. It
probably ended in the defeat of the younger party, for there were
more and mightier men among their opponents. Had we been
victorious, it would have behooved us, according to established
precedents, to challenge the Junior Class, which was not done.
Such a result, if it had taken place, could not fade from the
memory of the victors; while failure, on the contrary, being an
issue to be looked for, would soon be dismissed from the thoughts
of the vanquished. Instances had occurred of the triumph of the
Freshman Class, and one of them recent, when a challenge in due
form was sent to the Juniors, who, thinking the contest too
doubtful, wisely resolved to let the victors rejoice in their
laurels already won; and, declining to meet them in the gymnasium,
invited them to a sumptuous feast instead.
"Wrestling was, at an after period, I cannot say in what year,
superseded by football; a grovelling and inglorious game in
comparison. Wrestling is an art; success in the exercise depends
not on mere bodily strength. It had, at the time of which I have
spoken, its well-known and acknowledged technical rules, and any
violation of them, alleged against one who had prostrated his
adversary, became a matter of inquiry. If it was found that the
act was not achieved _secundum artem_, it was void, and might be
followed by another trial."--Vol. I. pp. 260, 261.
Remarks on this subject are continued in another part of the work
from which the above extract is made, and the story of Thomas
Mason is related, with a few variations from the generally
received version. "Wrestling," says Professor Willard, "was
reduced to an art, which had its technical terms for the movement
of the limbs, and the manner of using them adroitly, with the
skill acquired by practice in applying muscular force at the right
time and in the right degree. Success in the art, therefore,
depended partly on skill; and a violation of the rules of the
contest vitiated any apparent triumph gained by mere physical
strength. There were traditionary accounts of some of our
predecessors who were commemorated as among the coryphaei of
wrestlers; a renown that was not then looked upon with contempt.
The art of wrestling was not then confined to the literary
gymnasium. It was practised in every rustic village. There were
even migrating braves and Hectors, who, in their wanderings from
their places of abode to villages more or less distant, defied the
chiefest of this order of gymnasts to enter the lists. In a
country town of Massachusetts remote from the capital, one of
these wanderers appeared about half a century since, and issued a
general challenge against the foremost wrestlers. The clergyman of
the town, a son of Harvard, whose fame in this particular had
travelled from the academic to the rustic green, was apprised of
the challenge, and complied with the solicitation of some of his
young parishioners to accept it in their behalf. His triumph over
the challenger was completed without agony or delay, and having
prostrated him often enough to convince him of his folly, he threw
him over the stone wall, and gravely admonished him against
repeating his visit, and disturbing the peace of his
parish."--Vol. I. p. 315.
The peculiarities of Thomas Mason were his most noticeable
characteristics. As an orator, his eloquence was of the _ore
rotundo_ order; as a writer, his periods were singularly
Johnsonian. He closed his ministerial labors in Northfield,
February 28, 1830, on which occasion he delivered a farewell
discourse, taking for his text, the words of Paul to Timothy: "The
time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I
have finished my course, I have kept the faith; henceforth there
is laid up for me a crown of righteousness."
As a specimen of his style of writing, the following passages are
presented, taken from this discourse:--"Time, which forms the
scene of all human enterprise, solicitude, toil, and improvement,
and which fixes the limitations of all human pleasures and
sufferings, has at length conducted us to the termination of our
long-protracted alliance. An assignment of the reasons of this
measure must open a field too extended and too diversified for our
present survey. Nor could a development of the whole be any way
interesting to us, to whom alone this address is now submitted.
Suffice it to say, that in the lively exercise of mutual and
unimpaired friendship and confidence, the contracting parties,
after sober, continued, and unimpassioned deliberation, have
yielded to existing circumstances, as a problematical expedient of
After commenting upon the declaration of Paul, he continued: "The
Apostle proceeds, 'I have fought a good fight' Would to God I
could say the same! Let me say, however, without the fear of
contradiction, 'I have fought a fight!' How far it has been
'good,' I forbear to decide." His summing up was this: "You see,
my hearers, all I can say, in common with the Apostle in the text,
is this: 'The time of my departure is at hand,'--and, 'I have
finished my course.'"
Referring then to the situation which he had occupied, he said:
"The scene of our alliance and co-operation, my friends, has been
one of no ordinary cast and character. The last half-century has
been pregnant with novelty, project, innovation, and extreme
excitement. The pillars of the social edifice have been shaken,
and the whole social atmosphere has been decomposed by alchemical
demagogues and revolutionary apes. The sickly atmosphere has
suffused a morbid humor over the whole frame, and left the social
body little more than 'the empty and bloody skin of an immolated
"We pass by the ordinary incidents of alienation, which are too
numerous, and too evanescent to admit of detail. But seasons and
circumstances of great alarm are not readily forgotten. We have
witnessed, and we have felt, my friends, a political convulsion,
which seemed the harbinger of inevitable desolation. But it has
passed by with a harmless explosion, and returning friends have
paused in wonder, at a moment's suspension of friendship. Mingled
with the factitious mass, there was a large spice of sincerity
which sanctified the whole composition, and restored the social
body to sanity, health, and increased strength and vigor.
"Thrice happy must be our reflections could we stop here, and
contemplate the ascending prosperity and increasing vigor of this
religious community. But the one half has not yet been told,--the
beginning has hardly been begun. Could I borrow the language of
the spirits of wrath,--was my pen transmuted to a viper's tooth
dipped in gore,--was my paper transformed to a vellum which no
light could illume, and which only darkness could render legible,
I could, and I would, record a tale of blood, of which the foulest
miscreant must burn in ceaseless anguish only once to have been
suspected. But I refer to imagination what description can never
What the author referred to in this last paragraph no one knew,
nor did he ever advance any explanation of these strange words.
Near the close of his discourse, he said: "Standing in the place
of a Christian minister among you, through the whole course of my
ministrations, it has been my great and leading aim ever to
maintain and exhibit the character and example of a Christian man.
With clerical foppery, grimace, craft, and hypocrisy, I have had
no concern. In the free participation of every innocent
entertainment and delight, I have pursued an open, unreserved
course, equally removed from the mummery of superstition and the
dissipation of infidelity. And though I have enjoyed my full share
of honor from the scandal of bigotry and malice, yet I may safely
congratulate myself in the reflection, that by this liberal and
independent progress were men weighed in the balance of
intellectual, social, and moral worth, I have yet never lost a
single friend who was worth preserving."--pp. 3, 4, 5, 9, 10, 11.
YAGER FIGHTS. At Bowdoin College, "_Yager Fights_," says a
correspondent, "are the annual conflicts which occur between the
townsmen and the students. The Yagers (from the German _Jager_, a
hunter, a chaser) were accustomed, when the lumbermen came down
the river in the spring, to assemble in force, march up to the
College yard with fife and drum, get famously drubbed, and retreat
in confusion to their dens. The custom has become extinct within
the past four years, in consequence of the non-appearance of the
YALENSIAN. A student at or a member of Yale College.
In making this selection, we have been governed partly by poetic
merit, but more by the associations connected with various pieces
inserted, in the minds of the present generation of _Yalensians_.
--_Preface to Songs of Yale_, 1853.
The _Yalensian_ is off for Commencement.--_Yale Lit. Mag._, Vol.
XIX. p. 355.
YANKEE. According to the account of this word as given by Dr.
William Gordon, it appears to have been in use among the students
of Harvard College at a very early period. A citation from his
work will show this fact in its proper light.
"You may wish to know the origin of the term _Yankee_. Take the
best account of it which your friend can procure. It was a cant,
favorite word with Farmer Jonathan Hastings, of Cambridge, about
1713. Two aged ministers, who were at the College in that town,
have told me, they remembered it to have been then in use among
the students, but had no recollection of it before that period.
The inventor used it to express excellency. A _Yankee_ good horse,
or _Yankee_ cider, and the like, were an excellent good horse and
excellent cider. The students used to hire horses of him; their
intercourse with him, and his use of the term upon all occasions,
led them to adopt it, and they gave him the name of Yankee Jon. He
was a worthy, honest man, but no conjurer. This could not escape
the notice of the collegiates. Yankee probably became a by-word
among them to express a weak, simple, awkward person; was carried
from the College with them when they left it, and was in that way
circulated and established through the country, (as was the case
in respect to Hobson's choice, by the students at Cambridge, in
Old England,) till, from its currency in New England, it was at
length taken up and unjustly applied to the New-Englanders in
common, as a term of reproach."--_American War_, Ed. 1789, Vol. I.
pp. 324, 325. _Thomas's Spy_, April, 1789, No. 834.
In the Massachusetts Magazine, Vol. VII., p. 301, the editor, the
Rev. Thaddeus Mason Harris, D.D., of Dorchester, referring to a
letter written by the Rev. John Seccombe, and dated "Cambridge,
Sept. 27, 1728," observes: "It is a most humorous narrative of the
fate of a goose roasted at 'Yankee Hastings's,' and it concludes
with a poem on the occasion, in the mock-heroic." The fact of the
name is further substantiated in the following remarks by the Rev.
John Langdon Sibley, of Harvard College: "Jonathan Hastings,
Steward of the College from 1750 to 1779,... was a son of Jonathan
Hastings, a tanner, who was called 'Yankee Hastings,' and lived on
the spot at the northwest corner of Holmes Place in Old Cambridge,
where, not many years since, a house was built by the late William
Pomeroy."--_Father Abbey's Will_, Cambridge, Mass., 1854, pp. 7,
YEAR. At the English universities, the undergraduate course is
three years and a third. Students of the first year are called
Freshmen, and the other classes at Cambridge are, in popular
phrase, designated successively Second-year Men, Third-year Men,
and Men who are just going out. The word _year_ is often used in
the sense of class.
The lecturer stands, and the lectured sit, even when construing,
as the Freshmen are sometimes asked to do; the other _Years_ are
only called on to listen.--_Bristed's Five Years in an Eng.
Univ._, Ed. 2d, p. 18.
Of the "_year_" that entered with me at Trinity, three men died
before the time of graduating.--_Ibid._, p. 330.
YEOMAN-BEDELL. At the University of Cambridge, Eng., the
_yeoman-bedell_ in processions precedes the esquire-bedells,
carrying an ebony mace, tipped with silver.--_Cam. Guide_.
At the University of Oxford, the yeoman-bedels bear the silver
staves in procession. The vice-chancellor never walks out without
being preceded by a yeoman-bedel with his insignium of
office.--_Guide to Oxford_.
YOUNG BURSCH. In the German universities, a name given to a
student during his third term, or _semester_.
The fox year is then over, and they wash the eyes of the new-baked
_Young Bursche_, since during the fox-year he was held to be
blind, the fox not being endued with reason.--_Howitt's Student
Life of Germany_, Am. ed., p. 124.
A LIST OF AMERICAN COLLEGES
REFERRED TO IN THIS WORK, IN CONNECTION WITH PARTICULAR WORDS OR
AMHERST COLLEGE, Amherst, Mass., 10 references.
ANDERSON COLLEGIATE INSTITUTE, Ind., 3 references.
BACON COLLEGE, Ky., 1 reference.
BETHANY COLLEGE, Bethany, Va., 2 references.
BOWDOIN COLLEGE, Brunswick, Me., 17 references.
BROWN UNIVERSITY, Providence, R.I., 2 references.
CENTRE COLLEGE, Danville, Ky., 4 references.
COLUMBIA [KING'S] COLLEGE, New York., 5 references.
COLUMBIAN COLLEGE, Washington, D.C., 1 reference.
DARTMOUTH COLLEGE, Hanover, N.H., 27 references.
HAMILTON COLLEGE, Clinton, N.Y., 16 references.
HARVARD COLLEGE, Cambridge, Mass., 399 references.
JEFFERSON COLLEGE, Canonsburg, Penn., 8 references.
KING'S COLLEGE. See COLUMBIA.
MIDDLEBURY COLLEGE, Middlebury, Vt., 11 references.
NEW JERSEY, COLLEGE OF, Princeton, N.J., 29 references.
NEW YORK, UNIVERSITY OF, New York., 1 reference.
NORTH CAROLINA, UNIVERSITY OF, Chapel Hill, N.C., 3 references.
PENNSYLVANIA, UNIVERSITY OF, Philadelphia, Penn., 3 references.
PRINCETON COLLEGE. See NEW JERSEY, COLLEGE OF.
RUTGER'S COLLEGE, New Brunswick, N.J., 2 references.
SHELBY COLLEGE, Shelbyville, Ky., 2 references.
SOUTH CAROLINA COLLEGE, Columbia, S.C., 3 references.
TRINITY COLLEGE, Hartford, Conn., 11 references.
UNION COLLEGE, Schenectady, N.Y., 41 references.
VERMONT, UNIVERSITY OF, Burlington, Vt., 25 references.
VIRGINIA, UNIVERSITY OF, Albemarle Co., Va., 14 references.
WASHINGTON COLLEGE, Washington, Penn., 5 references.
WESLEYAN UNIVERSITY, Middletown, Conn., 5 references.
WESTERN RESERVE COLLEGE, Hudson, Ohio., 1 reference.
WEST POINT, N.Y., 1 reference.
WILLIAM AND MARY COLLEGE, Williamsburg, Va., 3 references.
WILLIAMS COLLEGE, Williamstown, Mass., 43 references.
YALE COLLEGE, New Haven, Conn., 264 references.
 Hon. Levi Woodbury, whose subject was "Progress."
 _Vide_ Aristophanes, _Aves_.
 Alcestis of Euripides.
 See BRICK MILL.
 At Harvard College, sixty-eight Commencements were held in
the old parish church which "occupied a portion of the
space between Dane Hall and the old Presidential House."
The period embraced was from 1758 to 1834. There was no
Commencement in 1764, on account of the small-pox; nor
from 1775 to 1781, seven years, on account of the
Revolutionary war. The first Commencement in the new
meeting-house was held in 1834. In 1835, there was rain at
Commencement, for the first time in thirty-five years.
 The graduating class usually waited on the table at dinner
on Commencement Day.
 Rev. John Willard, S.T.D., of Stafford, Conn., a graduate
of the class of 1751.
 "Men, some to pleasure, some to business, take;
But every woman is at heart a rake."
 Rev. Joseph Willard, S.T.D.
 The Rev. Dr. Simeon Howard, senior clergyman of the
Corporation, presided at the public exercises and
announced the degrees.
 See under THESIS and MASTER'S QUESTION.
 The old way of spelling the word SOPHOMORE, q.v.
 Speaking of Bachelors who are reading for fellowships,
Bristed says, they "wear black gowns with two strings
hanging loose in front."--_Five Years in an Eng. Univ._,
Ed. 2d, p. 20.
 Bristed speaks of the "blue and silver gown" of Trinity
Fellow-Commoners.--_Five Years in an Eng. Univ._, Ed. 2d,
 "A gold-tufted cap at Cambridge designates a Johnian or
Small-College Fellow-Commoner."--_Ibid._, p. 136.
 "The picture is not complete without the 'men,' all in
their academicals, as it is Sunday. The blue gown of
Trinity has not exclusive possession of its own walks:
various others are to be discerned, the Pembroke looped at
the sleeve, the Christ's and Catherine curiously crimped
in front, and the Johnian with its unmistakable
'Crackling.'"--_Bristed's Five Years in an Eng. Univ._,
Ed. 2d, p. 73.
"On Saturday evenings, Sundays, and Saints' days the
students wear surplices instead of their gowns, and very
innocent and exemplary they look in them."--_Ibid._, p.
 "The ignorance of the popular mind has often represented
academicians riding, travelling, &c. in cap and gown. Any
one who has had experience of the academic costume can
tell that a sharp walk on a windy day in it is no easy
matter, and a ride or a row would be pretty near an
impossibility. Indeed, during these two hours [of hard
exercise] it is as rare to see a student in a gown, as it
is at other times to find him beyond the college walks
without one."--_Ibid._, p. 19.
 Downing College.
 St. John's College.
 See under IMPOSITION.
 "Narratur et prisci Catonis
Saepe mero caluisse virtus."
Horace, Ode _Ad Amphoram_.
 Education: a Poem before [Greek: Phi. Beta. Kappa.] Soc.,
1799, by William Biglow.
 2 Samuel x. 4.
 A printed "Order of Exhibition" was issued at Harvard
College in 1810, for the first time.
 In reference to cutting lead from the old College.
 Senior, as here used, indicates an officer of college, or
a member of either of the three upper classes, agreeable
to Custom No. 3, above.
 The law in reference to footballs is still observed.
 See SOPHOMORE.
 I.e. TUTOR.
 Abbreviated for Cousin John, i.e. a privy.
 Joseph Willard, President of Harvard College from 1781 to
 Timothy Lindall Jennison, Tutor from 1785 to 1788.
 James Prescott, graduated in 1788.
 Robert Wier, graduated in 1788.
 Joseph Willard.
 Dr. Samuel Williams, Professor of Mathematics and Natural
 Dr. Eliphalet Pearson, Professor of Hebrew and other
 Eleazar James, Tutor from 1781 to 1789.
 Jonathan Burr, Tutor 1786, 1787.
 "Flag of the free heart's hope and home!
By angel hands to valor given."
_The American Flag_, by J.R. Drake.
 Charles Prentiss, who when this was written was a member
of the Junior Class. Both he and Mr. Biglow were fellows
of "infinite jest," and were noted for the superiority of
their talents and intellect.
 Mr. Biglow was known in college by the name of Sawney, and
was thus frequently addressed by his familiar friends in
 Charles Pinckney Sumner, afterwards a lawyer in Boston,
and for many years sheriff of the county of Suffolk.
 A black man who sold pies and cakes.
 Written after a general pruning of the trees around
 Doctor of Medicine, or Student of Medicine.
 Referring to the masks and disguises worn by the members
at their meetings.
 A picture representing an examination and initiation into
the Society, fronting the title-page of the Catalogue.
 Leader Dam, _Armig._, M.D. et ex off L.K. et LL.D. et
J.U.D. et P.D. et M.U.D, etc., etc., et ASS.
He was an empiric, who had offices at Boston and
Philadelphia, where he sold quack medicines of various
 Christophe, the black Prince of Hayti.
 It is said he carried the bones of Tom Paine, the infidel,
to England, to make money by exhibiting them, but some
difficulty arising about the duty on them, he threw them
 He promulgated a theory that the earth was hollow, and
that there was an entrance to it at the North Pole.
 Alexander the First of Russia was elected a member, and,
supposing the society to be an honorable one, forwarded to
it a valuable present.
 He made speeches on the Fourth of July at five or six
o'clock in the morning, and had them printed and ready for
sale, as soon as delivered, from his cart on Boston
Common, from which he sold various articles.
 Tibbets, a gambler, was attacked by Snelling through the
columns of the New England Galaxy.
 Referring to the degree given to the Russian Alexander,
and the present received in return.
 See DIG. In this case, those who had parts at two
Exhibitions are thus designated.
 Jonathan Leonard, who afterwards graduated in the class of
 William A. Barron, who was graduated in 1787, and was
tutor from 1793 to 1800, was "among his contemporaries in
office ... social and playful, fond of _bon-mots_,
conundrums, and puns." Walking one day with Shapleigh and
another gentleman, the conversation happened to turn upon
the birthplace of Shapleigh, who was always boasting that
two towns claimed him as their citizen, as the towns,
cities, and islands of Greece claimed Homer as a native.
Barron, with all the good humor imaginable, put an end to
the conversation by the following epigrammatic
"Kittery and York for Shapleigh's birth contest;
Kittery won the prize, but York came off the best."
 In Brady and Tate, "Hear, O my people."
 In Brady and Tate, "instruction."
 Watts, "hear."
 See BOHN.
 The Triennial Catalogue of Harvard College was first
printed in a pamphlet form in the year 1778.
 Jesse Olds, a classmate, afterwards a clergyman in a
 Charles Prentiss, a member of the Junior Class when this
was written; afterwards editor of the Rural
Repository.--_Buckingham's Reminiscences_, Vol. II. pp.
 William Biglow was known in college by the name of Sawney,
and was frequently addressed by this sobriquet in after
life, by his familiar friends.
 Charles Pinckney Sumner,--afterwards a lawyer in Boston,
and for many years Sheriff of the County of Suffolk.
 Theodore Dehon, afterwards a clergyman of the Episcopal
Church, and Bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina.
 Thomas Mason, a member of the class after Prentiss, said
to be the greatest _wrestler_ that was ever in College. He
was settled as a clergyman at Northfield, Mass.; resigned
his office some years after, and several times represented
that town in the Legislature of Massachusetts. See under
 The Columbian Centinel, published at Boston, of which
Benjamin Russell was the editor.
 "Ashen," on _Ed.'s Broadside_.
 "A pot of grease,
A woollen fleece."--_Ed's Broadside_.
 "Rook."--_Ed.'s Broadside_. "Hook."--_Gent. Mag._, May,
 "Burrage."--_Ed.'s Broadside_.
 "That."--_Ed.'s Broadside_.
 "Beauties."--_Ed.'s Broadside_.
 "My."--_Ed.'s Broadside_.
 "I've" omitted in _Ed.'s Broadside_.
Nay, I've two more
What Matthew always wanted.--_Gent. Mag._, June, 1732.
 "But silly youth,
I love the mouth."--_Ed.'s Broadside_.
 This stanza, although found in the London Magazine, does
not appear in the Gentleman's Magazine, or on the Editor's
Broadside. It is probably an interpolation.
 "Cou'd."--_Gent. Mag._, June, 1732.
 "Do it."--_Ed.'s Broadside_.
 "Tow'rds Cambridge I'll get thee."--_Ed.'s Broadside_.
 "If, madam, you will let me."--_Gent. Mag._, June, 1732.
 See COCHLEAUREATUS.