| This Country of Ours|
|by H. E. Marshall|
|Stories from the history of the United States beginning with a full account of exploration and settlement and ending with the presidency of Woodrow Wilson. The 99 chapters are grouped under 7 headings: Stories of Explorers and Pioneers, Stories of Virginia, Stories of New England, Stories of the Middle and Southern Colonies, Stories of the French in America, Stories of the Struggle for Liberty, and Stories of the United States under the Constitution. Ages 10-14 |
THE FOUNDING OF HARVARD
 ONE very good thing we have to remember about the first settlers of
Massachusetts is that early in the life of the colony they founded
schools and colleges. A good many of the settlers were Oxford and
Cambridge men, though more indeed came from Cambridge than from
Oxford, as Cambridge was much the more Puritan of the two. But
whether from Oxford or from Cambridge they were eager that their
children born in this New England should have as good an education
as their fathers had had in Old England. So when Harry Vane was
Governor the colonists voted £400 with which to build a school.
This is the first time known to history that the people themselves
voted their own money to found a school.
It was decided to build the school at "Newtown." But the Cambridge
men did not like the name, so they got it changed to Cambridge,
"to tell their posterity whence they came."
Shortly before this a young Cambridge man named John Harvard had
come out to Massachusetts. Very little is known of him save that he
came of simple folk, and was good and learned. "A godly gentleman
and lover of learning," old writers call him. "A scholar and pious
in his life, and enlarged towards the country and the good of it,
in life and in death."
Soon after he came to Boston this godly gentleman was made minister
of the church at Charlestown. But he was very delicate and in a
few months he died.
 As a scholar and a Cambridge man he had been
greatly interested in the building of the college at Cambridge. So
when he died he left half his money and all his books to it. The
settlers were very grateful for this bequest, and to show their
gratitude they decided to name the college after John Harvard.
Thus the first University in America was founded. From the beginning
the college was a pleasant place, "more like a bowling green than
a wilderness," said one man. "The buildings were thought by some to
be too gorgeous for a wilderness, and yet too mean in others'
apprehensions for a college."
"The edifice," says another, "is very faire and comely within and
without, having in it a spacious hall, and a large library with
some bookes to it."
Of Harvard's own books there were nearly three hundred, a very good
beginning for a library in those far-off days. But unfortunately
they were all burnt about a hundred years later when the library
accidentally took fire. Only one book was saved, as it was not in
the library at the time.
Harvard's books are gone, nor does anything now remain of the first
buildings "so faire and comely within and without." But the memory
of the old founders and their wonderful purpose and energy is still
kept green, and over the chief entrance of the present buildings
are carved some words taken from a writer of those times. "After
God had carried us safe to New England, and we had builded our
houses, provided necessaries for our livelihood, rear'd convenient
places for God's worship, and settled the Civil Government, one
of the next things we longed for and looked after was to advance
learning and perpetuate it to Posterity, dreading to leave
an illiterate ministry to the Churches when our present ministers
shall be in the Dust."
John Harvard was a good and simple man. In giving his money to
found a college he had no thought of making
him-  self famous. But "he
builded better than he knew," for he reared for himself an eternal
monument, and made his name famous to all the ends of the earth.
And when kings and emperors are forgotten the name of Harvard will
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