IN THE early 1830's the Trustees appointed a committee to study the condition of the School. The committee was not happy with what it found and expressed its concern in a report signed by William B. Bannister. A major cause of worry was admissions, which had dropped from 82 to 28 in the course of six years. There were many causes, the committee believed---improvement in public education, increase in competing private schools, the rising cost of education, and the economic condition of the country. Furthermore, the Academy's required three-year course, with the first year devoted to laborious drill, was unattractive to the public, both for financial and for educational reasons. The relatively large number of charity students at Phillips Academy was a financial handicap that could be removed only by attracting more full-paying students. The committee did not wish to reflect unfavorably on the Principal and Assistants, but the fact remained that the students were transferring their dislike of the first-year curriculum to their teachers. And this at a time when all sorts of exciting changes were taking place in American education. Finally, it was expecting too much to ask Principal Adams to change his way at the age of sixty with twenty years of dedication to the old system. Though the committee made no formal recommendation, the purport of their report was clear; Adams had to go.(1) Just who it was that gave him the hard word is not recorded, but by the fall of 1832 he knew he had to resign.
The old man took the blow hard, as well he might. There were no pensions for teachers in those days. Writing his son William after he had received the bad news, he said:
You are mistaken in supposing that I wish to continue in the Academy. The fact is that I cannot continue. I must resign my office as Principal, not because I think myself too aged, but because it is expedient. If the Trustees, or any of their number feel that the best interest of the Academy will be promoted by the introduction of a younger man, how can I make up my mind to remain?(2)
He added a Biblical quotation: "I have been young and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken nor his seed begging bread." On 22 November 1832 Adams read a long letter of resignation to the Board of Trustees. It was a kind of apologia for his stewardship, a review of his achievements. It read, in part, as follows:
Looking back upon the period of more than twenty-two years, I can say honestly and truly that I have been devoted heartily and exclusively to what I consider the best good of my pupils. Although I have neglected my own pecuniary interest I have not neglected them.
I leave the Academy in a prosperous condition, containing ninety scholars, all of whom are pursuing classical studies.
I have admitted into the Academy one thousand one hundred and nineteen pupils. About one-half of this number have received a collegiate education .... During their stay at the Academy more than one hundred and fifty became hopefully pious [converted]. About two hundred, or nearly one in every five, have entered the ministry, and many have given themselves to the sacred cause of missions.
I have loved my work and have devoted to it my all. How far I have been successful is left to the judgment of others. But, although my attachment to this school is strong, and the idea of separation from it is painful to me, yet the time has come when I judge it expedient to resign.(3)
The last years of John Adams' life were difficult at best. After selling his household furniture and arming himself with some letters of recommendation from some Seminary professors, he eventually went west to head a female seminary in Jacksonville, Illinois, and finally became the agent of the American Sunday-School Union in Illinois. He became a familiar figure in the state, driving around in his buggy and eventually organizing three hundred and twenty-two Sunday-Schools on the princely salary of four hundred dollars a year. In 1854 he must have been pleased when his alma mater, Yale, awarded him the degree of Doctor of Laws. Nine years later he was dead at the age of ninety-two.(4)
The Trustees had dismissed John Adams so that they might get a younger and more progressive Principal to replace him. Osgood Johnson, the man they selected, was certainly young---he was thirty years old when appointed, but there is nothing to indicate that he was more in tune with contemporary educational thinking than his predecessor. Certainly during his brief term of four years he made no attempt to change any of Adams procedures, nor is there any indication that he would have done so had he lived longer. Johnson was a townie who had graduated from Phillips Academy in 1823 and then gone to Dartmouth, where he won his degree summa cum laude in 1828. He tutored for a year at Dartmouth after graduation, got married, and accepted a call to return to his old school as an Assistant in 1829. His skill as a teacher combined with his outstanding scholarly attainments made him a natural choice when the Trustees were looking for a successor to Adams. Much to the new Principal's unhappiness he was treated to the same kind of salary arrangements that had been used with Samuel Hall of the Teachers' Seminary. According to this arrangement, the brainchild of Squire Farrar, the Principal would receive no salary but would support himself on the tuition income paid by the students. In Johnson's case, however, this arrangement lasted but a year. As a result of the Principal's protests, he was paid one thousand dollars a year and given his house rent free.(5) From that time on, the Principals of Phillips Academy have been paid regular salaries and have not been obliged to be business managers as well.
There seems to be no question that Johnson was an accomplished teacher. For one thing, he seldom brought any books to class, having memorized the texts that were to be studied.(6) His enthusiasm for his subject can also be seen in his practice of driving with his wife while she read classical works to him. A former pupil has this to say about his teaching methods:
As a teacher, I never knew one more thorough, lucid, patient or inspiring. I never saw him disconcerted. He was always self-poised, awake to every emergency; and having full command of his varied and broad resources, he could meet every exigency incident to his responsible position with the most admirable tact and skill .... When he became Principal, he at once began the gradual elevation of scholarship, keeping it abreast, if not in advance, of the best Academies in the country.(7)
Johnson depended more on repartee, and occasionally sarcasm, to make his points than on fear, yet he appears to have been equally effective. His high standards led one pupil to characterize the Academy as "a grindstone for dull scythes."(8) The Principal was memorable in leading chapel services also. Another pupil was tremendously moved by these services:
Every eye was fixed with respect upon Mr. Johnson as he entered the room. He ascended to the desk and pronounced a brief invocation, uniformly asking that our devotions might be performed as "seeing Him who is invisible." Then followed a few verses of Scripture, so read that a hidden radiance was made to flash out of its depths, as when a skillful lapidary holds before you a gem so adjusted that all its inner light beams upon your surprised vision. This prayer transported us into that unseen world where he seemed habitually himself to dwell, till he placed us before the great white throne in the very presence of the Most High.(9)
A homesick boy went to his first chapel service and wrote: "But when I heard the familiar words of the New Testament read in turn by the scholars, when I heard the old hymns in old tunes, when I heard the clear, soft tones of the Principal, Mr. Oliver [sic] Johnson and listened to his tender and appropriate supplications as he led morning devotions, I felt that 'God was in that place,' that I was no longer an alien or alone."(10)
Johnson could be rigid on occasions. Two boys with limited funds who knew that they must finish Phillips Academy in two years decided to try to skip a year by extra study and then an examination, a practice that had apparently been allowed on occasion. The two really gave it all they had, rising at four in the morning and working till midnight. Finally they went to Johnson for their examination, only to have him say that he thought skipping classes was a bad idea and he would not, therefore, examine them. Since they had no money for a third year, they were both obliged to leave.(11)
The most interesting event of Osgood Johnson's administration was the so-called "Anti-Slavery Rebellion."(12) It was the only occasion before the Civil War when a national issue forcibly influenced the School. With the founding of William Lloyd Garrison's Liberator in 1831, the strength of abolitionism began to increase markedly in New England. Most people still accepted the constitutional guarantee of slavery as a basic property right or else supported the idea of colonization---sending the slaves back to Africa. Garrison and his followers refused to accept the constitutional guarantees of slavery and believed that colonization was far too slow a policy to deal with what they thought was a national sin. They embarked on a crusade to win New England over to the principle of immediate abolition. When in the summer of 1835 Garrison and George Thompson, a member of Parliament who was a brilliant antislavery orator, came to Andover, they were unable to get permission to speak at the Seminary or the South Church. They finally secured the Methodist church in the town and there they delivered a series of fiery attacks on the institution of slavery. At the end of one of the meetings every light in the methodist Chapel was blown out and a mob attempted to seize Thompson. The students present were able to forestall this attempt armed with staves. For the rest of the night they protected the house in which Thompson was staying and beat off a second attack. The mob is described as made up of Irish who were working on the Andover-Wilmington railroad.(13)
As we have seen, the professors at the Theological Seminary were opposed to the abolition movement, primarily because they were afraid that interest in the antislavery cause would divert the students from their regular course of study. Though, at the start, both theologues and Academy boys attended the lectures, the Professors were able to extract from the theologues a promise not to form an antislavery society on the Hill and to postpone the whole question until after their graduation.(14) Not so with the Academy students. About one hundred petitioned Osgood Johnson twice for permission to form an antislavery society and were turned down both times. A crisis developed when one Sherlock Bristol delivered an impassioned attack on slavery at one of the Wednesday afternoon speaking contests. When he had finished, a theologue who was acting as Assistant said to him, "in contemptuous and bitter tones," "There! Bristol! You have done it! Sold Yourself! Sold yourself And for a NIGGER!(15)" The next morning at chapel Johnson rebuked Bristol and wound up by expelling him from the Academy. When the boy asked for permission to reply, it was denied. Excitement throughout the School was intense.
Since the antislavery students could not find a place at the School to meet, they went in a body to Indian Ridge and held a meeting that was interrupted at one point by a thunderstorm. During the meeting they drew up a long manifesto, stating their grievances and asking for redress. They pointed out that all but two of them were twenty-one years of age and thus entitled to the basic rights of citizenship. They deplored the recently passed rule that no student could join any society in the town without the permission of the Principal, which was obviously aimed at the town's antislavery society, which some thirty of the Academy students had joined. They reviewed their repeated attempts to get permission from Johnson to form an antislavery society and insisted that the only way to attack this national sin was to work together through an organization. They explained that when it became clear that Johnson would never grant their request, they decided to petition him for an honorable dismissal from the School. At first Johnson seemed willing to do this, but eventually he reneged, and as a result the signers of the manifesto had no choice but to resign and take their chances. It seems clear that Johnson did not have a free hand in dealing with the boys. On one occasion he told them, "I am bound in chains of iron,"(16) a reference, presumably, to the influence being put on him by the Seminary professors. Moses Stuart, in particular, seems to have taken an active role in quashing the antislavery movement at the Academy. It would be difficult, after winning the theologues over to neutrality on this issue, to have an antislavery society spring up in the Academy. On one occasion Stuart is reported to have asked a boy why he was involved in antislavery. "Because of my conscience," the boy replied. "Where did you get your conscience?" asked Stuart. "By hearing you preach two years," was the sharp rejoinder.(17) In any event something over forty students left the Academy over this issue, none of them receiving honorable dismissals. One of the number, Ephraim Adams, records that his father said nothing about his return and the reasons for it and the following morning suggested that he start haying. He was later able to get admitted to Dartmouth, which was sympathetic to the antislavery movement.(18) Another boy returned to the School, and when asked why he had, replied, "The fact is, that when one gets ten miles out of town, things look different."(19) The whole episode is an unhappy one in the history of Phillips Academy. One may accept the Seminary professors' desire to concentrate on the training of professionals and their concern lest outside issues distract their students. But the same reasoning hardly applies to a group of fully grown men at Phillips Academy who were headed for many different walks of life. One suspects that if Osgood Johnson had been given a free hand, he would have followed a different policy and that it was the "chains of iron" in which he was bound by the professors that led him to adopt the policy he followed.
Osgood Johnson's term as Principal was tragically short. He had always been frail physically and was handicapped by a club foot. Shortly after his accession he developed tuberculosis, which grew progressively worse. He thought of resigning in the fall of 1836, but his students begged him not to, and as he grew weaker they used to carry him to his carriage or sleigh in their arms and bring him to the recitation room, where he would occupy his regular seat while an assistant conducted the class. His wife was a tower of strength in their home in Samaritan House. "All that winter she had washed and dressed him and lifted him as she would a child." One of his last acts was to send fifty dollars to the Foreign Missionary Society without any signature.(20) The end came on 9 May 1837, with burial in the Chapel cemetery, where a monument to him was later erected. Johnson was certainly a great teacher and one of the foremost classical scholars in the country. Had he lived, he might have had a profound influence on Phillips Academy. As it was, he helped maintain the school's tradition of scholarly excellence. As one of his pupils wrote:
I have never met the man, I have never read of the man, who taught Pagan literature with so much of the Christian head and the Christian heart. I venerate his memory. As his strength went and his days in the classroom were shorter, and his voice feebler, there was a tone, there was a power to that reading of the Scriptures, those remarks, those prayers, that private conference. The pupils who were under his charge will never forget the man in that respect.(21)
One of the last acts of Osgood Johnson was to recommend that Samuel Harvey Taylor be chosen as his successor. And Taylor was certainly a promising candidate. Born in Londonderry, New Hampshire, in 1807, he was, from an early age, given the management of the family farm because of the frequent absences of his father. He apparently intended to spend his life farming when a fall from a wagon so limited him physically that he determined on a scholarly life. After two years of cramming at Pinkerton Academy, he entered Dartmouth, where he graduated with high honors. He had now determined on the ministry as his life's work and entered the Andover Theological Seminary right after graduation. Osgood Johnson spotted him early as a promising Assistant, and Taylor taught at Phillips Academy for one year. He refused to stay longer, despite the urging of both Johnson and his pupils, preferring to return to Dartmouth as a tutor. When the Andover Trustees, following Johnson's advice, offered him one thousand dollars and a house to return as Principal, he found the offer too tempting to refuse, especially as he was about to be married to Caroline Persis Parker. In 1837 he and his new wife moved into the Double-Brick on Main Street to begin a career as Principal that was to last thirty-four years. That same year he completed his studies at the Seminary and was graduated. As far as academic training went, he seemed admirably prepared for his job.(22)
Samuel Harvey Taylor, Principal of Phillips Academy from 1838 to 1871, was an extremely controversial figure in his day. It has been suggested that he was the American equivalent of Dr. Arnold of Rugby, though such comparison fails to do justice to either man.(23) Professor George Herbert Palmer of Harvard thought him a "humbug."(24) His reputation has probably suffered with the passage of time, for his extreme conservatism and his rigidity in teaching and disciplinary methods are completely foreign to today's educational beliefs. "Uncle Sam," as he was called, ran the School with an iron hand; there was never any question about who was in charge. A former pupil wrote, "If I have ever seen anywhere any semblance of despotism and absolute monarchy, it was Phillips Academy under Dr. Taylor.(25) In a very real sense Uncle Sam was a throwback to Eliphalet Pearson, and the two would have got along famously. Taylor would have been completely happy with Pearson's emphasis on scholastic excellence, almost exclusive devotion to the classics, a system of discipline based on fear, and dedication to the inculcation of conservative Calvinist doctrine. He had a deep-seated distrust of change, and Phillips Academy in 1871, the year he died, was almost identical with the School in 1838. As is almost always the case with "tough" teachers, his students never forgot him, whether they liked him or detested him. Whatever judgment may finally be made of this difficult gentleman, there is no question that during his term as Principal he was Phillips Academy.
Considering the reputation of Uncle Sam, it is interesting to note that he was not always like that. A pupil who studied under him while he was Assistant to Johnson wrote of him:
I remember well "Uncle Sam's" first appearance as a sub-teacher in the old brick acad. He blushed like a girl, and we boys had to be very careful not to frighten him, which we could easily do by only an abrupt question.(26)
Soon after this the iron entered his soul, and we hear no more about blushing. In the last analysis Samuel Taylor made his reputation as a great teacher of the classics, and in so doing he developed a pedagogical method all his own. It will be instructive to examine a book that he published in 1861, entitled Method of Classical Study: Illustrated by Questions.(27) As the title implies, Taylor insisted that the best drill a student could receive in the classroom was to have the teacher fire one specific question after another at the students. If every single possible point about a given word or grammatical construction were covered, the pupil would then get a complete grasp of the material. Here, for example, are some questions to be used with a class starting Virgil's Aenead:
When was Virgil born? Where? Was it in Italy or Gaul at that time? At what time was his birthplace first included in Italy? What was that part of the country called before? Who were the consuls at Rome the year he was born? Was he older or younger than Augustus? How much? How much older than Horace?(28)
And so on for several pages. His grammatical questions were, if anything, even more searching:
Where is the caesural pause in the third line? From what Greek word does vi come? Origin of the v? Is vis actually defective in any case? What case is used very rarely? What relation does the ablative vi express? By what principle in the ablative?(29) Any boy who could survive one of Uncle Sam's barrage of questions would have to know his material.
Though Phillips Academy undergraduates of the day had sharply differing points of view about Uncle Sam as a disciplinarian, almost all respected and admired him as a classroom teacher. A few of the really able students almost worshipped him, while even the dullards had to admit that he was effective. One former pupil wrote:
As I write of him, I seem to feel that I must be precise, unflinching, bold, or I shall hear his voice as of old in the recitation-room saying right in the middle of an ugly sentence of Sallust, without a conjunction to cling to, "You may sit down, sir; you don't understand it." . . . With him it was better to be wholly wrong than half right and half wrong. He knew the one meant some kind of attempt at work, the other none at all .... I never entered his recitation room without trepidation, nor left it without relief. And for an hour before the bell struck I felt the coming excitement of a recitation before him. It amounted to an almost personal combat, developing the strong and crushing the weak . . . . If you carried any trophies away, you were sure of the applause of the class; but his approbation could only be guessed at. He did not deal in praise and flattery .... I have known him keep a scholar on his feet half an hour on a few lines of Homer, with such a running fire of questions as seemed impossible to stand under, and when the whole class scarcely breathed for fear of a single mistake of their champion .... [His method] strengthened the strong and overwhelmed the dunces. But for what purpose are dunces sent to school if not to find out they are dunces? He was a natural leader; he would have made an admirable soldier or president where there was work to be done. But he was content to make ladders for others to climb.(30)
Another student remembers the Principal's rages:
Dr. Taylor... enjoyed an occasional display of "Jupiter Tonans." We had a wholesome awe of him, and watched his big face for the presage of a tempest. Sometimes he was quiet as a lamb, but anon he would seize the reins and crack his magesterial whip most unmercifully . . . . One day ... the line "Forsan et haec meminisse iuvabit" was translated with a slight mistake, et being translated and instead of also. Uncle Sam roused up at once. "Sufficient, the next." The next did no better. Down went man after man .... Meanwhile Dr. Taylor grew more and more wrathful. His face became red and swollen, his eyes flashed with pent-up indignation . . . . My time came, and I began unconsciously with that fatal and. "Sufficient," he shouted. "Et means also," I exclaimed indignantly, for he had not allowed me to finish the sentence. "Sit down," he roared like a bull of Bashan. But my words had drawn the lightning, and in a moment the sunshine came.(31)
After a particularly bad pronunciation by a new boy Uncle Sam reacted as follows:
Dr. Taylor had a way of covering his face with his hands---or rather fists---to hide his emotions. At this juncture both fists went to his face, and we students sat and watched while the evident struggle went on. His face assumed all colors; he rolled around in his chair. His cheeks enlarged and contracted like a bellows, and those two fists played their part most vigorously. Was it rage or amazement? Slowly Dr. Taylor came to his ordinary self. At last one hand was lowered, and then the mystery was solved. A broad radiant smile, such as only Dr. Taylor's face could wear, suffused it from ear to ear.(32)
A member of the class of 1863 had similar feelings about him:
I well remember the feeling of awe with which one entered the green room, with its statuary, standing on brackets on the wall. There was the bust of Homer---and other celebrities---Greek and Roman of ancient times, but the object that impressed us most on entering this room was the august presence of "Uncle Sam" himself.
The room was furnished with settees, and we were assigned our places alphabetically. Uncle Sam . . . shuffled the cards on which our names were written, then taking the top card, looking through his gold rimmed spectacles, and with his stentorian voice, announced the name of the boy that was to recite; with fear and trembling the student arose, and I doubt if anyone, during our Senior year, overcame the feeling altogether so that he could recite at ease. I am sure that I never did ... It was studying the Greek and Latin languages with a microscope and we failed to get a very broad idea of the Greek and Latin literature .... I never think of Uncle Sam without feelings of respect and love .... He was not a man of persuasion, but a man of command, and he insisted on the performance of what he said, even when he was in the wrong, as sometimes he was, like other men. I think he considered it beneath his dignity to acknowledge the wrong; at least I never knew of his admitting an error.(33)
Some different aspects of the School's academic procedure are revealed in the following recollection:
In Senior year "Uncle Sam" heard two recitations a day---one immediately after prayers in the morning---the other at 3:15 p.m. (Evening Prayers at 4:30). Wednesday afternoons, however, were devoted to declamations and compositions---and Saturday afternoons to recreation. Greek was our only study for one week (10 recitations). By the end of the week we were well saturated with Greek. The next week we had Latin and so on alternate weeks except that for the last six weeks of a term we had Mathematics the latter part of the week (four recitations) reciting in divisions to the assistant teachers. The instruction in the classical department was confined to Latin, Greek and Mathematics, at least for the Senior year. A little ancient geography---consisting chiefly of committing to memory names of the countries, gulfs, rivers, etc. about the Mediterranean---was included in connection with the regular Greek and Latin recitations.
Dr. Taylor was very sharp and decisive in his style of conducting recitations, tolerating no hesitation or inadequate preparation on the part of the pupil. It is fair to say, however, that he failed to ask a tenth part of the questions included in his famous "Method of Classical Study" . . . A few pet quotations involving some fine points of the formation of words or constructions were soon anticipated (with the help, perhaps, of some annotated interleaved editions bequeathed by former classes) and thereafter it was plain sailing for the average pupil. Dr. Taylor had a habit of calling on a pupil to recite an entire Grammar lesson in Greek or Latin including a review lesson .... As he called up by cards it happened that (in a class of fifty) some were not called up during the entire year, while others were called up several times. After the "shuffling of cards" it happened that I was one of the unfortunate ones very often called up, with the words (uttered with a peculiarly gruff voice and prolonged tone) "Nolen: Grammar."(34)
An illustration of Uncle Sam's stubbornness in refusing to admit mistakes is the case of a boy named Smythe who insisted that his name be pronounced with a long y:
Uncle Sam, probably thoughtlessly, called upon Smythe to recite and called his name Smith. We had no Smith in the class, so there could be no doubt whom Uncle Sam meant. Smythe did not rise and Uncle Sam, instead of admitting the error, and calling him by his proper name, persisted in calling him Smith. But Smythe paid no attention to the call. Finally Uncle Sam said, "Smith will leave the room", which Smythe inconsistently did. Afterwards he and Uncle Sam had it out. Smythe insisted that Uncle Sam knew his name, and he refused to answer to any name but his proper name. Things looked serious for a while, and we did not know but Smythe would be obliged to leave the Academy for disobedience.(35)
Unfortunately the narrator of this story never tells how the impasse was finally resolved, if it ever was, but the presumption is that Smythe was not expelled.
Finally, a thoughtful analysis of Dr. Taylor's teaching by a pupil who went on to become a college president:
I have sat under five great teachers. The first, and among the greatest, was Samuel Harvey Taylor. His greatness did not lie in his knowledge of the ancient classics, nor indeed apparently in his wide and deep knowledge of any subject. It lay in a good knowledge of the texts of Cicero and Virgil, Xenophon and Homer; but it lay far more in a logical method of teaching the paragraphs and verses of these authors. He saw details; he understood principles; he knew relations. These knowledges were bound together by a consistent and vigorous system of logic. His constant question was "Why". He cared for the fact, but he cared far less for the fact than for its significance. His was a scientific method applied to the teaching of languages. Paradigms, conjunctions, prepositions, were only the scaffolding for building up the structure of reason .... No waste of time, no waste of words were suffered. I have known Uncle Sam to reprimand a student who in answer to the question replied, "It is in the dative case" with "Dative sufficient" or he might sit a man down with "Too many words, Smith".
In this mood was to be found, it must be confessed, an element of fear. Everybody in the classroom feared Uncle Sam. He did not often, if ever, use the Beelzebub's tool for a teacher---sarcasm, but he could crush by a word or phrase . . . . The cause of this fear was the desire for accuracy on the part of the teacher. The young mind is given to intellectual looseness and to looseness in expression .... Dr. Taylor struck deep and hard into such weaknesses. A translation was to be right.(36)
It was one thing to sit at the feet of Uncle Sam Taylor and receive what he had to offer, quite another to be in a class taught by one of the Assistants. Throughout the period of Uncle Sam's principalship the Assistants were generally an inferior lot, partly because the low salaries paid them could not attract able men and partly because Uncle Sam gave them no share in the running of the School. He never held a faculty meeting, for example. One gets the feeling that Uncle Sam was not particularly interested in his subordinates. His own classes during senior year would whip the boys into shape for college, and what happened before that was of secondary importance. On one occasion, as we shall see, the Assistants tried to go over Uncle Sam's head to the Trustees, but very little came of it. Here is a description of a class conducted by what must have been one of the weakest Assistants of the lot. But the fact that he could be hired is clear indication of the quality of the subordinate teachers during this period.
The Academy was under thorough discipline in my day, but when the students had a chance for sport they were not slow to use it. We had a teacher who could not manage a class. The boys soon discovered it, and acted accordingly. One day the high-water mark was reached. A large portion of the class appeared in the most grotesque array imaginable. All sorts of garments, but especially collars of the most fantastic and exuberant description. Scarcely had the exercises begun, when liberal quantities of buck-shot were thrown over the room. Then another and another discharge, until the recitation came to a halt. The instructor seemed in a daze. He paid no attention to the extraordinary sartorial appearance of the students, but expressed his wonder at the interruption. It was suggested that the shot came from outside, the windows being open. Mr. ---- sent a student out to examine. He soon reported that he had seen a figure disappearing around the corner of a building. But the fusilade of shot continued until the recitation was suspended. It never appeared that Mr. -----understood the real character of the show. He naturally left soon.(37)
The relatively insignificant position in the School held by the Assistants is borne out also by the fact that they are seldom mentioned in the letters of students of this time. Samuel Harvey Taylor was not only the most powerful teacher at Phillips Academy. As Principal he was also the School's chief disciplinarian and as might be expected he ran a very taut ship indeed. He wanted no nonsense about a student's being innocent until proved guilty; for him all were guilty until proved innocent. At times he would charge a boy with some offence even though he had no proof, in the hope of smoking out a malefactor. It seems well established that he employed a system of spies who reported to him regularly, and this was probably responsible for the student belief that he knew everything that was going on in the School. A pupil who admired Uncle Sam as a teacher had little use for his disciplinary system:
He not only governed; he ruled; he was master. His method of ruling ... was not unlike the atmosphere of his classroom. It was the method of fear; fear of the penalties of disobedience, fear of disapproval of his own judgment. He kept not a few boys in a kind of mortal terror ... a terror which one now sees was ridiculous, both for the creator and for the victims. It may be well for some boys to be kept in terror, but I am sure that as a method of permanent academic government, it is not good for either growing souls or growing bodies. The doctrine of total depravity was taught in the neighboring theological seminary. Dr. Taylor apparently believed it as applied to boys. He seemed to think of boys as either little or big rascals until they proved themselves something else . . . . He held the peril of suspension or expulsion over not a few of us, and at times he used it in ways that now seem ridiculously cruel.
The further I move away from the years of Uncle Sam the more heartily do I appreciate the worth of his teaching, and also with equal heartiness do I have an increasing detestation of the methods he used as Principal, in the formation of manhood among us young fellows.(38)
Not all students felt as bitterly about Uncle Sam's discipline as the previous writer. One who could see the humorous side recounts the return of Uncle Sam, whom he describes as "a large party with bow legs," from a year in Europe. All the School was at the railway station to greet him.
As the train came to a full stop a shrill voice was heard to say. "Here he comes. I saw this end of the car go down." As luck would have it immediately afterwards Dr. Taylor stepped onto the platform from the door of the car and was greeted with yells of laughter, cheers and screams.(39)
On another occasion a boy was out of bounds during study hours, sitting on a stone wall.
He happened to look down the road and saw Uncle Sam's head over the top of a slight hill approaching his resting place. He immediately tumbled over backwards and hid under a barberry bush, believing that he had not been seen. Uncle Sam walked slowly up the road, seated himself comfortably on the stone wall and began to eat barberries. The situation became so ludicrous that the boy burst out laughing, and Uncle Sam joined him in the laughter, and giving him a very mild reprimand, sent him back with no other penalty for the violation of the rule. I think he would have sat there almost all day if the boy had not laughed.(40)
This is about the only instance on record of Uncle Sam's having a sense of humor. On another occasion two boys were planning an unauthorized trip to the "Fem-Sem" (Abbot Academy) and ran into Uncle Sam:
The evening was intensely dark, and there being no street lights, Dr. Taylor did not recognize the boys. He started after them very rapidly; as he accelerated his gait, theirs was accelerated at a greater rate; both parties broke into a run, but the Doctor was handicapped too heavily. When the boys reached the seminary they found the grounds so thoroughly patrolled that they had to give up their plan, and walked up the hill to a vacant lot next door to the house Dr. Taylor occupied .... In a few minutes Dr. Taylor's door opened and the boys tumbled backwards into the pasture lot and, lying flat on the ground, entered upon their watch .... Dr. Taylor walked slowly out of his yard, turned down the street and stopped under a tree, where he was completely invisible in the dense darkness. Here he stood over an hour to nab any boy that happened to pass or perhaps overhear a conversation. However the boys that evening were giving his house a wide berth, and after waiting an hour without accomplishing anything he went back into his house.(41)
An example of Dr. Taylor's unreasonableness in doling out punishment can be seen in the expulsion of a boy who later went on to become a bishop. Some of the boys had burned a shed back of the English Commons. The bishop had had nothing to do with it, but Uncle Sam wanted a victim, and the bishop had "a very stiff neck and backbone." The two simply did not get along together. As a result the bishop was expelled "after some words."(42)
On occasion even Uncle Sam could be fooled. A boy had set fire to the grass around the Latin Common. Some workmen attempted to put it out and asked the undergraduates to help. But they were enjoying the fire and refused to do so---all, that is, except the boy who had started the fire and who was getting worried. The next morning Uncle Sam gave the School a lecture in which he reprimanded them for not helping put out the fire, and then added, "There was one noble young man who assisted in putting out the fire." This brought an "ear-splitting laugh" from the boys---"but Uncle Sam did not see where the laugh came in, and I do not know that he ever caught on. (43) But occasions like this were rare. For the most part the School stood in awe of Uncle Sam's almost superhuman ability to keep the undergraduates in line. One student wrote:
There was nothing that he did not know. There was no wall so silent, there was no bedroom so secret, there was no midnight so dark, there were no recesses of the mind so obscure, that the thought of any boy was not known to him; and oftentimes when we came up in the innocence of artless life, supposing that we had walked alone, there came that momentous sentence after morning prayers, when every boy awaited the words that should come next, "The following individuals are requested to remain.(44)
It is ironic that for all his ability as a disciplinarian the two most serious defiances of School authority should have occurred during Uncle Sam's regime. (The "Anti-Slavery Rebellion," involving a matter of principle outside the School, was really in a different category.) In 1846 occurred the "Catalogue Rebellion."(45) The senior class that year was particularly strong, with a number of self-willed and independent boys in it. When the time came to make preparations for commencement exercises, several of the leaders got into an altercation with Uncle Sam about the assignment of parts in the commencement proceedings and the form of the catalogue. The ringleader of the boys was William Stark, a grandson of General John Stark, the hero of Bennington during the Revolution. Stark has been described by a fellow student as being "a sort of Steerforth among us little fellows, full of music, poetry, impudence, and resolution."(46) When Stark (who thought he should be valedictorian) and his friends found Uncle Sam adamant on the matter of commencement procedures, they petitioned him for dismission from Phillips Academy.(47) Instead of granting their request, Uncle Sam expelled eight of the leaders, including Stark. When news of this reached the School "a fearful rumpus was created, a rebellion was at once inaugurated.(48) Uncle Sam was hissed in the Stone Academy and excitement among the undergraduates was intense. With the departure of the expelled boys, however, things began to quiet down and the School thought that was the end of the matter. But they reckoned without William Stark, who had no intention of letting the matter stop there. Before his departure from Andover he had obtained a copy of the 1846 catalogue that was to be distributed at commencement. He then traveled to Troy, New York, where he got a printer to publish a new set of catalogues that would include the names of those who had been expelled. He added a nice touch by listing himself as "Teacher of Sacred Music" with the rest of the faculty. He then returned with the copies of his new catalogue and by some extraordinary means managed to substitute them for Uncle Sam's catalogues on commencement day. As a final flourish he managed to persuade the band that was to have come out from Boston to play at commencement to remain in the Hub. When the commencement crowd became aware of the hoax and the absence of the band, there was consternation. But Uncle Sam rallied his forces and the ceremonies eventually proceeded more or less normally. A student of the time sums up the results by saying, "Uncle Sam had his way; but for a week Phillips Academy was in an uproar, and fierce rebellion prevailed."(49) Tricks like the one Stark played can be contagious, and the following fall there appeared an eight-page burlesque poem entitled Phillipiad. Although it left Uncle Sam pretty much alone, it attacked the Trustees and the school Treasurer, Samuel Fletcher. Of the Trustees it was written:
Hold your temper, do not sneeze,
Here's a board of twelve trustees,
Hundred thousand dollars, cash,
Given to them at a dash,
Have increased for many years,
Swelled by widow's toil and tears,
Till it's reached a sum untold,
Gloating o'er extorted gold.
Interestingly enough, the poem had high praise for Lyman Coleman, until recently head of the Teachers' Seminary, and for William H. Wells and Abner J. Phipps, two of the assistants. The doggerel was circulated widely in the school, but Uncle Sam, possibly making use of his spy system, discovered the authors and promptly expelled them. After this, things again returned to normal.(50)
The second rebellion under Uncle Sam occurred in 1867 and was a much more significant outbreak, particularly as far as the results were concerned.(51) It all happened innocently enough. "One glorious Saturday morning in early summer"(52) three boys decided to "cut" classes and go to Haggett's pond for a swim. They were all good students, and since their classes were simply reviewing old material, they did not think they would suffer as a result of their absence. When they returned, they found notes from Uncle Sam to report to his study. This they did and found the Principal in surly mood because of an attack of the gout that had crippled him for some days. Much to their consternation, they were informed by Uncle Sam that because of their action they should consider themselves expelled. That same day Archie Bush, captain of the baseball nine and a Civil War veteran, had gone with a friend to Boston to see a baseball game. These two were also caught and expelled by Uncle Sam. Student resentment at such a harsh penalty for a relatively minor offense was intense. After a mass meeting on the Old Campus, about half the class decided to commit a similar offense and, in effect, dare Dr. Taylor to expel them all. This group hired what one writer called "barges"(53) and proceeded to Lawrence in hope of attending a circus. Though there proved to be no circus in town, they stayed for supper and then returned to Andover, passing Uncle Sam's house and making a great deal of noise. If the boys thought that the Principal would not accept their challenge, they were sorely mistaken. Uncle Sam proceeded to fire the whole lot. One writer suggests that it was the Trustees of Phillips Academy who insisted on this mass expulsion and that Uncle Sam would have preferred a lighter penalty.(54) In any event the Trustees voted to support the punishment,(55) and about half the class of 1867 never got their Andover diplomas.
The repercussions of this episode had a profound effect on Phillips Academy. Up until this time a majority of Andover graduates had always gone to Yale. The expelled group, since its members could not go to Yale as planned, decided on Harvard, only to discover that the Phillips Academy preparation did not qualify them for admission. Accordingly, many spent the rest of the summer with Harvard tutors cramming for the entrance exams, and most were admitted. Among them was Archie Bush, who proceeded to lead a series of Harvard baseball teams to victories over Yale during his entire college career. Uncle Sam was understandably outraged at this, for Harvard had not demanded a recommendation from him for the expelled boys. In his report to the Trustees for 1868 he pointed out that all the other colleges to which the expelled boys had gone had required them to write "a full and manly apology" to Phillips Academy for their dereliction. On receipt of this the Academy sent a statement to the effect that the boys had had good records, save for this one serious violation of the school rules.
Harvard College, however, admitted those who applied, without any papers of any kind from us. As I considered such a course injurious, in its tendency, to our own school, as well as to others, I sought an interview with President Hill, during our last vacation, for the purpose of learning the facts in the case .... He treated the matter with great candor and courtesy. He said that there was a difference of opinion in the Faculty themselves, and that they had a sharp discussion in regard to the measure to be adopted, some of their number contending that the students had been sufficiently punished by their removal from the Academy here. He said also that he ought to have written here and learned more about the case, but that his mind was greatly distracted at that time .... He added, too, in the end, "I do not feel quite satisfied with our position."(56)
The most important result of the 1867 rebellion was to call attention to Andover's antiquated curriculum. In 1865 the four Assistants at the Academy had appealed to the Board of Trustees to give more time to mathematics. They pointed out that since math was taught only intermittently during the School year, it was "held in a certain degree of contempt." They pointed out that outstanding classical scholars with deficiencies in math often had leading roles at commencement exercises, while the reverse was never true. And they cited the testimony of math professors at Yale, Amherst, and Brown to the fact that Andover graduates were poorly prepared in that subject.(57) The case for more math certainly needed to be made, but one effect of the 1867 rebellion was to call attention to the fact that Phillips Academy's classical preparation was not sufficient for Harvard. As one student wrote:
Now these matters [that Andover students were not prepared to enter Harvard] became quite widely known, not only in this vicinity, where they had more or less newspaper notoriety, but it must have been known more or less widely in the home towns of each of the boys, and the result was that Andover must have got quite a black eye, so to speak, because twenty five persons learned to one who knew it before that Andover could not fit boys for Harvard; consequently it must be a second rate preparatory school, compared with Boston Latin, Exeter, etc.(58)
All of this was a heavy cross for Uncle Sam to bear, and it undoubtedly saddened his last years. His son wrote of "the fearful strain on Father to take them back, both from his own impulse and external pressure."(59) The same student whom we have quoted before has this to say by way of conclusion:
Another result was that it was the beginning of the end of the regime of Uncle Sam. It was the first big shake up which speedily led to great change at Andover, to new methods and to new men. I do not by any means assume that this episode was the sole cause of the change, because it was beginning to take place everywhere. The time was ripe for a change and it would have come anyway, sooner or later, for the old-fashioned type of school and the old-fashioned type of school master were soon destined to pass away, never to return, but this episode hastened the day for Andover.(60)
During most of Dr. Taylor's term as Principal the English Department of Phillips Academy occupied a subordinate position in the school. Uncle Sam himself was not interested in a nonclassical program and did little if anything to strengthen the department, and the boys in the classical section of the School, as noted, tended to look down on the English students as second-class citizens. The teachers in the department were underpaid, and the curriculum was disorganized. In 1857, for example, the following smorgasborg was offered as a "Course of Study":
Reading, Writing, Orthography; Wells's Grammar; Morse's Geography; History of the United States (Lossing's or Wilson's); General History (Wilson's); Eaton's Arithmetic; Day's Algebra; Davies's Bourdon, Legendre, Surveying, Analytical Geometry and Descriptive Geometry; Bridge's Conic Sections; Olmstead's Natural Philosophy and Astronomy; Kendall's Uranography; Hitchcock's Book-keeping by Double Entry; Gray's Chemistry; Mineralogy and Geology; Wood's Botany; Hooker's Anatomy and Physiology; Paley's Natural Theology; Evidences of Christianity; Rhetoric; Logic; Upham's Mental Philosophy; Wayland's Moral Science and Political Economy.(61)
And, it was added, any boy who wished could get instruction in sacred music without additional charge. There was no regular procedure for dividing the students into classes, nor had any clear-cut decision been made as to just what the department was trying to do. From 1847 to 1865, the Head of the English Department was James S. Eaton, a man who labored manfully to overcome the handicaps he was faced with. He had a backbreaking schedule, as his reports to the Trustees show:
The classes to which I have given my attention during the past year, have been eight daily, reciting in Grammar with an analysis of poetry, Geography, Arithmetic, Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry, Arithmetic, Surveying, Analytical Geometry, Philosophy, Book-Keeping by Single and Double Entry, Reading, Spelling, Writing, etc.---the classes varying from two to above thirty.
Besides these duties I have had the oversight of the general school room, in which the younger members of the Eng. Dept. (And of the Classical Dept. in the Winter Term) have studied during school hours.(62)
As if this were not enough, Uncle Sam Taylor on one occasion tried to get him to take over the management of a School boarding house.(63) Eaton knew that things were not well with his department. He was one of the signers of the petition to the Trustees in 1865 urging more mathematics for the School. In another report to the Trustees he complained of the "wide range of subjects" being taught, the result being that there were only forty minutes per subject. Often a complicated scientific demonstration had to be interrupted because of lack of time. But the main problem, he felt, was in a lax admission policy, under which numbers of unqualified students were admitted.(64)
Eaton was underpaid during his whole career. Though he was head of a department, his salary was never more than half of Uncle Sam's. Fortunately, he was able to supplement his income by publishing some arithmetic books for School use, which became very popular. As for discipline, he was as different from Uncle Sam as night from day---invariably courteous, kind, and firm. When Uncle Sam went to Europe in 1856, Eaton took over the whole School and made a great hit with the students.(65) But when he died in 1865, worn out by his labors, he had succeeded in achieving few of the reforms that he desired for his department.
In 1866 the English Department received a tremendous boost when the banker George Peabody gave the school $25,000 to establish a chair in Mathematics and the Natural Sciences. Peabody knew of the School through some relatives who had attended and he was sympathetic with its aims."Cordially approving the general character and aims of the Academy and sympathizing with you in your efforts to give the institution a higher and wider sphere" was the way he put it.(66) Peabody insisted that the income be used to pay the holder of the chair and for nothing else, for he wanted to be sure that the School engaged a top-flight teacher. The Trustees made an admirable choice when they appointed William B. Graves, an Amherst graduate who at the time was teaching Mathematics at his alma mater. Another of George Peabody's stipulations was that the holder of his chair would automatically be head of the English Department. Thus Graves moved in and soon had that part of the School thoroughly reorganized. First of all, he divided the students into three classes-Senior, Middle, and junior-as had been done in the Classical Department for some years. Then he proceeded to draw up a precise course of study, term by term, for the three-year period. In the process he eliminated some of the more bizarre courses, like natural theology. Finally, he eliminated completely the idea that the English Department was to train teachers, a concept that had continued after the closing of the Teachers' Seminary.(67) When Graves left Phillips Academy in 1870, he had succeeded in putting the English Department on a much firmer footing, and he was to do much more when he returned to the School in 1881 under Dr. Bancroft.
In contrast to the changes that were beginning to be instituted in the English Department, the Classical Department under Uncle Sam held firm to the old ways. Dr. Taylor was ignorant of, or oblivious to, the educational innovations that were taking place in the country, especially as far as college admissions were concerned, and he remained supremely confident in the efficacy of his own program. His rigidity is illustrated in the annual reports he made to the Trustees---a series of arid and sterile documents. Most of the reports simply listed the number of students, outlined what teaching Uncle Sam himself had been doing, commented on the general deportment of the School, and reported on the number of "hopefully pious" who had been converted during the year. Occasionally a miscellaneous item or two would be added. In 1846 he mentioned the "considerable insubordination" that had occurred during the Catalogue Rebellion and explained why the Exhibition had been so confused. In 1848 he reported that the Latin Commons privy had burnt, but added with pride that he had caught all ten of the perpetrators and expelled them. About the only educational matter that he ever reported was the problem of frequent change of Assistants. In 1867, for example, he wrote:
I regret to be obliged to repeat what was contained in my report of last year, that the Academy suffered from so frequent a change of teachers. One of our teachers left at the close of the autumn term on account of inadequate salary; and his place has been supplied since by three different teachers. Another left at the close of the spring term on account of the state of his health, and his place has been supplied by two teachers. Most of these supplies have been from the Theological Seminary, the person employed hearing a single recitation in the forenoon and in the afternoon . . . . these changes are not favorable to the school .... By a vote of the Board we are allowed to offer a salary of $800 a year for a new Teacher. This sum was recently offered to one of our former scholars . . . but another more lucrative position was offered him, and in consequence we failed to secure him .... It is becoming pretty evident that we cannot get the best class of Teachers from our Colleges for the salary which the Trustees propose.
The only curricular modification that Dr. Taylor mentions appears in his 1870 report, just before his death, when he announced that the lower classes in the Classical Department were to have a class in English.(68) An examination of the school catalogues for Uncle Sam's period shows that the curriculum of the Classical Department remained unchanged throughout Dr. Taylor's tenure, aside from a few new courses in mathematics which presumably had been added as a result of the petition of the Assistants in 1865. By the time Dr. Taylor died in 1871 it was clear that reform was long overdue; it would fall to his successor to bring Phillips Academy up to date.
One can obtain some insight into the quality and effectiveness of the Academy's educational procedures during the Taylor years from a series of reports on the School made by the Trustee Examining Committees. The theme running through these documents is summarized in one of them, where the Committee reports: "The Committee would not, therefore, at the present time, recommend any particular change; but would recommend that the course which has been pursued during a few past years, with so much success, be for the present continued."(69) Nearly all the reports are very high in their praise for the abilities and accomplishments of the students, and when criticism is made, it is almost invariably on minor points. In 1843 the Committee thought the pronunciation could be improved in the classics and suggested that this would help the students' ability to handle the English language as well.(70) Two years later they were particularly impressed with the students in uranology in the English Department.(71) Early in the 1850's the Committee expressed some concern that there was not enough time given to mathematics, but they were delighted with the performance of the pupils in that subject and they made no strong recommendation that mathematics be given more time.(72) In the mid-1850's the Committee believed that too many students were being admitted to the English Department, many without adequate preparation, and recommended tightening admissions requirements. There were too many scholars, they thought, who were "too dull or too young for this place."(73) Throughout the whole period there are occasional references to the frequent turnover of teachers, but the Committee was unable to see how the Trustees could do anything about this---or about providing more mathematics---without "expenditures beyond the means of the Board."(74) The Committee was as pleased with the program at the end of the period as at the beginning. If changes were needed at Phillips Academy, they would not come from this group.
The records of the Board of Trustees during this period indicate that the Board was carrying out its duties in a pedestrian way. From time to time they bought new equipment for the School---"philosophical apparatus," a Galvanic battery, a melodeon, and some apparatus for gymnastic exercises.(75) They received gratefully the telegraph set that Samuel F. B. Morse had given to the School, which had been set up to connect the Academy building with the Principal's house. They authorized the planting of more trees and the painting of School buildings. They approved having a teacher live in the Latin and the English Commons to ride herd on the students there.(76) The most serious problem they had to face came in 1864, when the Stone Academy was completely destroyed by fire. Though it was never proved, it was generally believed that the fire had been set by a disgruntled student who had recently been expelled. In this case the Alumni got the jump on the Trustees and offered to raise the money for a new building before the Trustees had done anything about it. Eventually some $21,000 was raised, but since this sum proved insufficient, the Treasurer was authorized to borrow up to $20,000 more, thus creating a debt that was an embarrassment to the School for years.(77) The new building, constructed where Samaritan House now stands, was a huge, ugly structure, designed by a Mr. Cummings, but it had ample space for the School's activities and a large meeting hail on the third floor. It would serve as the main academy building until the construction of Samuel Phillips Hall in 1924. The Taylor period was a lean one as far as gifts were concerned. Aside from George Peabody's generous benefaction, the pickings were slim. In 1854 the senior class established a Students' Educational Fund of $100, and in 1867 James G. Clarke gave $1000 for a scholarship, but that was about it.(78) Without more funds the School could not pay adequate salaries or keep the plant in shape, yet the Board made no attempt to raise money. Since the new main building was large enough to provide for all the classroom needs, what is now Bulfinch Hall was vacant, and the Trustees voted to turn it into a gymnasium, the first action of a Phillips Academy Board to provide for the nonacademic needs of the undergraduate body.(79) All in all, however, the Board was anything but dynamic during this period.
An analysis of the undergraduate body during the Taylor years reveals some interesting changes. In 1842 Phillips Academy had 108 students; in 1843, with the addition of the Teachers' Seminary as the English Department, the number jumped to 283. Though the numbers fell off at the end of the decade, the 1850's saw a remarkable period of growth, the high point being reached in 1855 with 396 students. Enrollment remained over 300 during most of the remainder of Dr. Taylor's administration, though it dropped again in the late 60's. In terms of size it was a new School; yet no adequate provision was made to increase the faculty. In 1855, for example, there were only four Assistants and Uncle Sam to teach 396 boys. In addition to increasing in numbers, the undergraduate body became more diversified geographically. In the class of 1842 there was one boy from Iowa, with 72 from Massachusetts and 22 from New Hampshire. By 1855, with 222 from Massachusetts, the Midwest and South were beginning to be represented: 2 from Louisiana, from Ohio, 5 from Illinois, 1 from Florida, 1 from Missouri, 1 from Michigan, 1 from Wisconsin, 1 from Arkansas, and 1 from the Oregon territory. This trend continued for the rest of Dr. Taylor's term. In 1868 there were 12 from Ohio, 13 from Illinois, and 4 from Missouri, with California, Montana territory, and Kansas also represented.(80) It is impossible to account for these changes in size and geographical distribution with precision. The increase in population of the Midwest, together with the construction of a railroad network connecting it with the East, must have been important factors. It is clear that the reputation of the School in general and Uncle Sam in particular had been steadily growing. Not only was Uncle Sam known as a great teacher; he was famous for whipping recalcitrant young men into shape, and there is reason to believe that many boys were sent to Phillips Academy by distracted parents who wanted them shaped up. One way in which the reputation of the School must have been expanded was through Andover boys in college who would recommend the academy for younger sons of classmates. As far as college choice is concerned, Yale was clearly in the lead. As one alumnus wrote:
There was a deeply rutted road to Yale, and it was the only road in sight, though there were a few trails to some of the smaller colleges, which were very small indeed at this time. There was no record of anyone ever graduating from Andover and going to Yale with Uncle Sam's recommendation who failed to get in.(81)
A partial breakdown of the Class of 1858 shows that 20 went to Yale, 10 to Williams, and the rest to a smattering of other colleges. In 1863 21 went to Yale, 8 to Brown, 5 to Harvard, and the rest scattered. In 1868, after the Rebellion of 1867, Yale still had the largest number with 25, but Amherst and Harvard each had 12. During Uncle Sam's years, the tradition of Phillips for being a Yale feeder became firmly established and was to last well into the twentieth century. Partial returns on the occupations of graduates indicate a preference for the professions. In the Class of 1858 there were 6 lawyers, 12 ministers, 9 teachers, and 6 businessmen, with a broad scattering among such positions as editor, dentist, author, and the like. The Class of 1868 showed much the same pattern, except that the number of businessmen, teachers, lawyers, and doctors increased markedly. One graduate reported that he was a fish-dealer. Another reflection of the times is in the falling off of the number of ministers. In general the undergraduates during Uncle Sam's years increased in number, became more widely distributed geographically, and, toward the end, became less theologically oriented.(82)
In the 1840's at Phillips Academy was a boarding house on Phillips street known as the "Academic Commons." It was designed to board students training to be ministers or teachers and, if there was room, other "sober minded youths." A superintendent was in charge and each member of the organization was required to work two hours a day on the Commons farm to help pay for his board. A system of student monitors was established to supervise the dining room and the neighboring Commons rooms. The purpose, it was explained, was as follows:
It shall be the duty of all to live together as a band of brothers, act upon Christian principles, avoid levity, jesting, low language, and everything inconsistent with the character of young gentlemen who are looking forward to future usefulness in Church and State."(83)
At the end of the decade the Academic Commons was given up, partly because the superintendent could not meet expenses and partly, one suspects, because too many undergraduates disliked the extreme piety of its rules. In its place eating clubs were established, which would provide boarding facilities for at least part of the students for the rest of the century. These institutions were student-managed, a so-called caterer being responsible for the purchase of food and collection of money. Decisions on menu were determined by majority votes of the boarders. As the caterer of the Union Club wrote, "If it was voted to have meat twice a day, then meat was served twice a day. If the majority voted to have griddle cakes every morning, then the club had griddle cakes every morning." A Miss Gould did the cooking for the Union Club members and was paid 37-1/2¢ a head per week. The caterer was very proud of the fact that he was able to provide meals for $1.40 per week when other clubs went as high as $2.00. The secret of his success, he said, was "care and judgment in the buying. It was my custom to visit the farmers and contract for butter and other supplies, buying at a price lower than the ruling prices maintained by the retail merchants."(84) An energetic member of the Class of 1865 wrote out the menu of his club for a whole week for his family:
|Roast Beef & Potatoes||Dinner|
|Beefsteak and Potatoes||Dinner|
|Boiled dish, Corn, beans, turnips||Dinner|
butter always every meal.
Potatoes for dinner.
Milk Breakfast and Supper except when we have chocolate.
Pudding twice per week and Pie three times per week.(85)
Interestingly enough, Uncle Sam Taylor left the boys to their own devices in the matter of the eating clubs. And they seem to have done surprisingly well in their management of them. Still, then as today, there was a great deal of complaint about the food. A student in 1849 wrote: '"Our board grows worse and worse. I can hardly manage to eat anything. They have in reality nothing that is fit to eat. If you would board here a short time you would see something worse than anything you can conceive of in the shape of board."(86) This opinion was echoed by many others.
What did the students do when they were not eating or sleeping or studying? Since the administration made no provision for an athletic program or any extracurricular activities, the boys had to develop their own. Among the most popular form of outside activity were the student societies. The Social Fraternity disappeared in the 1840's, but, partly as a result of its demise, the Philomathean Society entered its golden years. Not only were the usual debates and declamations held; in 1854 the society founded The Mirror of the Philomathean Society, a literary venture that would continue to be published under one name or another until the end of the century. The magazine contained short essays and poems, the first number dealing with such topics as "Imagination," "True Happiness," "The Safeguards of the Republic," "The Garden of Cosmos---An Allegory," and the like. For the most part the magazine was serious and published with care. The Mirror was not by any means the only publication on the Hill, however. Perhaps inspired by the example of William Stark and his fake catalogue of 1846, a plethora of mock publications appeared in the 1850's and 60's, presumably to the great amusement of the undergraduates. In 1857 the first number of the Phillipian appeared---there would not be another until 1878. It contained among other things a spoof called "The Two Gentlemen of Andover" with S. H. Taylor playing the part of Valentine. Mock Exhibition programs appeared almost every year in the 1860's, complete with names like "F-lat B-rained Sears," giving orations on such topics as "The Quality of Blood's Tobacco." Handbills advertised "Phillips' Great Bare Show" and "Sam Taylor's Educated Gorillas." In 1866 the School was listed on the cover of a program as "Phillips Insane Asylum." Occasionally more ambitious students would get out four-page newspapers. In 1861 The Plaindealer had a take-off on Uncle Sam's classroom procedure: "Uncle next took out his spelling book, and called upon Newhall. 'Spell dog.' 'Dog, d-o-g, dog.' Uncle---'We cannot waste our time by saying dog, I asked you to spell dog, and I wish you to be more specific and scholarly. Now can you spell dog?' 'D-o-g.' 'Correct.' " In 1863 The Scalpel had a take-off on Uncle Sam's trip to Europe. This piece depicted the Principal as drinking tun after tun of beer in Germany, obtaining Dante's gold-bowed specs in Italy so that he could detect "total depravity in the hearts of innocent youth," and in Jerusalem finding Judas Iscariot's old brown straw hat. In 1859 Trumpet pronounced that the M.A. after James S. Eaton's name meant "Master of Asses" and commented that during the sixteen years that he had been head of the English Department "he has always figured conspicuously in everybody's business but his own." To add to the fun most of these newspapers contained a series of false advertisements.(87) Despite the generally low quality of the fugitive sheets, it must have taken a great deal of energy, not to say money, to get them out, and one can be sure that the undergraduates of that day enjoyed them immensely. Uncle Sam apparently never paid any attention to them; as long as undergraduates obeyed the rules, he was content to leave them alone.
About mid-century the Theological Seminary turned Stowe House, where the theologues had previously been making coffins and other items, into a gymnasium. Phillips Academy students were allowed to use it by paying one dollar.(88) As one student described the new set-up:
There is apparatus there for the development of every part of the body. It is a favorite resort of the students, and will undoubtedly add years to the lives of many students here. I spend the hour from 4 to 5 in the afternoon there in leaping, running, jumping, swinging, etc. I possess as yet little skill but make up in my zeal my want in that respect.(89)
In addition to this facility for letting off steam, the boys engaged in informal baseball and football games, usually played between different classes, while in the winter bobsledding was a favorite attraction, the boys watering the ruts so that they would become icy and make the sled go faster.(90) But the most popular recreation was walking around the Andover countryside-down to the Shawsheen River, over to Indian Ridge, up to Holt's Hill. And in the summer there would be a chance for a swim. Many of the boys commented on the beauty of the country around Andover. One wrote:
Andover now is in a very flourishing condition, all is covered with green. The birds add novelty to the seen [sic] by singing their merry notes, all is beautiful and sublime. I can say now that we go a-sailing on the pond and get Lilies and other beautiful flowers.(91)
Another boy said, "I have just returned from a walk over Indian Ridge and the Shawshine.. . . those places are verily the most beautiful places I ever was in." He goes on, "My windows are open, and frequent perfumes fill the air from a neighboring grove of cherry and apple trees . . . and a number of beautiful Hum-birds are busy beneath my window, delicately sipping honey from the blossoms with long and slender bills, their rapid wings evolving soft melodious music."(92) On the other hand Andover in December was something else again. Writing in that month a new boy said, "I thought it was the lonesomest and most dreary looking place that ever was and my opinion has not altered but little since."(93)
A perceptive recollection of Phillips Academy comes from a farm boy who lived about eight miles away on the Merrimack River. In the fall of 1870 he came to Andover to have an interview with Dr. Taylor but was not accepted. He therefore went to the bookstore and bought Uncle Sam's Method of Classical Study, returned to his farm and established a regimen whereby he did farm chores all day, went to bed right after supper, and then got up at two o'clock to study his Latin. His efforts were successful, and in the spring of the following year he was admitted. He and his father loaded the farm wagon with some dry wood and the few furnishings he had for his room and drove to Andover. His arrival he describes as follows:
As we drew up before the first house of Latin Commons I saw with burning cheeks that our queer turnout aroused an amused curiosity in the group of nattily dressed boys, lounging about the door. As we carried my possessions up to my room, I caught glimpses of bright carpets and prettily furnished rooms.
But his initial embarrassment soon passed:
I found myself fitted into a comfortable and happy place in a great school. I soon saw that a meagerly furnished room and ill-fitting clothes did not count; that in Phillips Academy a boy was rated for what he really was, for what he was honestly trying to make of himself.
Unlike some students, he remembered the Latin Commons with nothing but pleasure---getting water in pitchers from the pump and all. "We never knew we were uncomfortable," he thought. He ate at an eating club nearby and remembered particularly the hassles over the menu. "Mr. President . . . I move that applesauce be substituted for stewed prunes for supper tonight," said a boy on one occasion. A heated discussion followed, with the steward warning the boys that apples were very expensive at that time. Yet the motion carried. They got along very well, he thought, primarily because they knew nothing about balanced diets, calories, and vitamins. His Andover experience, he concluded, was invaluable. He got splendid classroom training, while "Unorganized play on the campus, life in Commons, and enthusiastic support of the literary societies were efficient educative forces" as well.(94)
Particular happenings also served to vary the monotony of school life. One morning, on the wall by the stairs leading up to "No. 9," Uncle Sam's classroom in the Stone Academy, some wag had written:
And undearneath that:
Dr. Taylor soon apprehended the culprit and was, characteristically, more outraged by the misspelling of "legged" than by the doggerel itself.(95)
Fires were a continuing hazard for the Academy. In January 1849 Number 3, Latin Commons caught lire in mid-morning. Since the boys were all in classes, it took some time to get the bucket brigade and the dilapidated fire engine to the scene, and as a result the building burnt to the ground. Both Uncle Sam and one of the students got their ears frozen for their trouble.(96) Later one of the English Commons buildings caught fire early in the morning. A boy rushed to Uncle Sam's house to get a key for the Academy building and ring the bell, while another was dispatched to ring the Seminary bell and rouse the theologues. On this occasion the School's fire engine with its hand-pump was brought to the well, but sucked it dry in a short space of time. Fortunately townies came with their engine and finally extinguished the blaze. Uncle Sam supervised things throughout, "full of encouragement and hot coffee," as one boy put it.(97) Though Dr. Taylor believed Christmas to be a pagan festival and held classes as usual that day, the Fourth of July was celebrated in the community, sometimes with an enthusiasm that caused Uncle Sam great pain:
Although Mr. Taylor has expressly forbidden that any use should be made of "crackers" or powder in any shape, yet as early as 20 minutes past 12 o'clock Monday morning, the "Commons boys" began to fire off crackers and torpedoes, and to ring the Academy bell furiously. It seems Uncle had anticipated something of this sort and before the bell had struck a doz. strokes, he was at the porch of "Doubting Castle" [Academy Building] in high dudgeon: the way of the egress being blocked up, the poor fellow who was "ringing his patriotism" jumped down the cellar stairs, Uncle just behind him, and dashed through a window and escaped. Uncle not liking to try the hazardous experiment retreated, and went up to "commons." He went into the house and silenced the "boys," but no sooner had he left the building than the rascals began to blaze away again. Hearing a tremendous racket in Sanford's room he went up and kicked open the door while the "victims" in the room supposing it was one of the students, threw a lighted bunch of crackers at him: they soon found out their mistake, however, for Uncle immediately seized Sanford by the collar and ordered him to leave school as quick as possible; (upon reflection he was induced to revoke this decision.) For more than an hour Uncle strove ineffectually to quiet the disturbance, and when it became comparatively still and Uncle had retired from the ground, then the bell began to ring again, and the crackers and small cannon to blaze away, which called the poor man up again, and from that time until morning there was no sleep for Uncle, nor was he seen during the day, so it was supposed that the unusual amount of exercise he had taken had completely prostrated him.(98)
Occasionally an event in the town could arouse student interest. Here is an undergraduate reaction to a temperance meeting in the village:
For the 5th of July they got in town a grand temperance celebration of some 12 or 15 hundred children, had a speech in the Old South from Rev. Mr. Hanks[?] of Lowell and then a collation in the grove back of the Female Academy. I doubt not they were fine, though I did not go near either of them. There were many temperance celebrations in this State on that day. Now the temperance cause is spreading like wild-fire and among the lowest drunkards who are taking the cause into their own hands and no one has a title to do anything unless he has recently been a confirmed drunkard. It is hardly an exaggeration to say that a poor, miserable, ragged, dirty, drunken sot without money, without friends, without credit will stagger into one of these temperance meetings ... and in half an hour walk out a sober, well-dressed, industrious citizen, with money, friends, and credit and everything to make him a good member of society. I do not know how permanent these effects will be . . . but one year more like the last six months ... and you cannot find a drunkard in New England .... now reformed drunkards from Boston go out into the country to lecture.(99)
It is reassuring to think that for all its piety Phillips Academy was unable to convert all its students to the cause of temperance.
From the School's point of view the big event of the year was Commencement, or, as it was called at Andover, The Exhibition. The following account of the Exhibition of 1865 is based on the letters of a one-year senior who graduated that year. The festivities opened with a Class Supper at the Mansion House the night before, where the class was served a handsome collation consisting, among other items, of lobster salad, chicken salad, four kinds of vegetables, five kinds of pie, fourteen kinds of desserts, including floating island and porcupine cake, and tea, chocolate, and lemonade. During the supper several songs, written expressly for the occasion, were sung, and the feast was concluded by what is described as "the smoking of the Pipe of Peace." After supper a mysterious ritual billed as the "Funeral Rites of Kühner" took place. Kühner was the author of the Greek grammar used at Phillips Academy, and the class would now have their chance to revenge themselves upon him. According to the printed program, a procession was to be formed consisting of a band, a standard bearer with transparency, priests, the orator of the "Night," pall bearers carrying the last remains of the lamented Kühner, mourners, and, last, but not least, "Rabble." The march was to start in Ballardvale and after wandering all over town was to wind up in front of the new Academy building. There appropriate ceremonies would be conducted. The audience was requested to maintain perfect silence during these ceremonies "to insur a safe passage to the departed across the Styx." First came an oration, then the "Burning and Mystic Rites," during which a dirge was played, then a eulogy, and finally a song in honor of Kühner. After the Greek grammarian had been properly disposed of, a "Grand Concert" by Gilmore's band took place, with selections by Flotow, Verdi, and Wagner, and as the pièce de resistance a clarinet solo by "Herr Leibsch." It must have been a gay evening, and all the more so when contrasted with the monotonous routine that had characterized the rest of the year at Phillips Academy.
Parents who get fidgety toward the end of the present forty-five-minute Commencement Exercises at Phillips Academy should be thankful that their offspring did not graduate in 1865. The Exhibition exercises for that year included twenty-four separate acts---English orations, Latin orations, Greek orations, dialogues, colloquies, and the like. The idea, apparently, was to give practically every member of the class a chance to show off before the admiring audience of parents and friends of the School. So that the long ordeal of speeches would not become unbearable, there were five musical interludes. The exercises closed with a prayer and a class hymn, which ended with the following sober sentiment:
We pray that when this life is past,
We all may meet in heaven at last,
Where partings are unknown.
Members of the Class of 1865 at Andover were apparently great believers in autograph books. At any rate one of the traditions at Exhibition time was to exchange autographs, usually embellished with appropriate sentiments and sometimes with really beautiful pen and ink drawings. Here are a few samples:
That you may remember your seat-mate whose number of "Flunks" you have greatly lessened.
How tempus does fugit.
May you ever stick to your friends as closely as you and I stuck to each other when Uncle chased us last winter.
Act well your part, and at last may Angels wreathe for you a Crown of Immortality.
Together we have endured the tortures of Senior year at Phillips. That your suffering here may be productive of success at Yale is my earnest wish.(100)
All in all, an Exhibition, with the festivities that preceded it, made quite a show and must have sent the boys off feeling more warmly about the School than they had felt during the long grind that had led up to the graduation.
In 1852 a student at Phillips Academy wrote his family and asked them to send him some newspapers, "for," he said, "Andover is truly an isolated point, since many of the students were astounded the other day, to hear that another revolution had broken out in France which fact proves conclusively the isolated condition of this place."(101) Since the Revolution of December 1851 in France had occurred approximately two months earlier, the boy had a point. Generally speaking, during Dr. Taylor's years, both the School and to a lesser extent the town remained impervious to what was going on in the rest of the world. Certainly this is true of Uncle Sam himself. He had developed a regimen that he believed was good for boys and he saw no reason to keep in touch with educational trends in the rest of the country. There is no record that he communicated with other educators; for example, he met with Gideon Lane Soule, Principal of Exeter during almost exactly the same period, only once.(102) One might think that the Civil War would have had a profound effect on the Academy, but that was hardly the case. To be sure, during the first year of the war the Phillips boys organized a regiment called the Ellsworth Guards and marched at various patriotic ceremonies in town, but the regiment seems to have been disbanded shortly after 1861.
The one boy who reported on the group was most enthusiastic about it. It was not expensive, he wrote his Mother, because the drillmaster and uniforms, haversacks, flannels, and muskets were paid for by the state, the town, and private individuals.
Our drill takes the place of football and takes only holiday time so that we pursue our studies just the same as ever. Our company consists of 64 privates and 18 officers, all stout and robust, and as good soldiers as any of the volunteer companies now drilling. . Last Wednesday General Oliver reviewed us and gave us a first rate drill . . . . Such orders as these we have learnt: Column Halt! Front Face! Right Dress! By the Right Flank March! By the Left Flank Counter March! . . . A few weeks more drilling will put us in almost perfect order for service.(103)
The following year Uncle Sam reported to the Trustees that "The general state of the country is not as favorable for study as in more quiet times," but he added that greater effort on the part of the teachers would "secure the usual amount of study."(104) Clearly, Dr. Taylor planned no modification of the School's normal program because of the war. Looking back on the Civil War period, one alumnus wrote:
The fact is that during the year [1862-63] that I was at Andover the war had very little effect on student life. We were absorbed in study (no athletics in those days) and Andover Hill was so remote from scenes of conflict that the roar of battles was like the sound of breakers on a far distant shore .... The surrender of Vicksburg occurred Saturday, July 4, 1863. When the news reached Andover, Tuesday, July 7th, bells were rung to celebrate the victory. The battle of Gettysburg, July 1, 2, and 3, 1863, made very little impression at the time.(105)
The one exception to this attitude was the Philomathean Mirror, which printed war stories, some of them brutal and realistic, throughout the period of the conflict. They even included one article that presented a strong case for the South. But the Mirror represented a relatively small number of students who liked to write, and the interest of its editors in the war does not counterbalance the lack of concern of most of the students--- although none of this means that there were not hundreds of Andover graduates---and a few undergraduates as well---who fought bravely in the war. The conclusion is inescapable that during the Taylor years most Phillips Academy students lived in a vacuum, unaware of what was going on in the world around them, their isolation modified only by contacts with family and friends who lived outside the School.
Yet there were countervailing forces at work which would make the town of Andover and Phillips Academy less parochial. In 1836 the Andover-Wilmington Railroad was completed, making it possible for the first time to travel to Boston by rail. Now one could reach Andover without having to walk sixty miles or so, as a number of the earlier students had done. In 1845 the city of Lawrence was founded, and with it came a tremendous surge in the economic activity of the area. Symbolic of the changes to come was an episode that occurred during the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the Theological Seminary. A speaker was delivering a eulogy on Moses Stuart when Trustee Alpheus Hardy entered the room and handed the presiding officer a paper that contained news of the successful laying of the Atlantic cable. When this news was given to the audience, they broke up the meeting, cheering and singing the Doxology.(106)
The insularity of the School and the town was punctured from time to time through association with distinguished people. In 1833 a then-unknown student at the Theological Seminary named Samuel Francis Smith had undertaken the translation of some German songs for Lowell Mason, famous for the hymns he had written. Smith found a German tune that he particularly liked, seized a scrap of wastepaper, and wrote down the words of "America" in almost the same form as they exist today. The song achieved almost immediate popularity, and the author became a national figure.(107) In November 1843 Daniel Webster came to Andover, to give a political speech for the Whig Party at the behest of Moses Stuart. Two special trains came out from Boston, and the town organized a parade of between 4,000 and 6,000 persons. Heading the Phillips Academy contingent was Samuel H. Taylor, then a spry young man of thirty-six, before he had become the terror of his later years. He would surely support Webster, since they were both Dartmouth graduates. Webster had not been feeling well and his speech was not one of his best, but generally the affair went off very well, finishing with a collation in a "pavillion" near the South Church.(108)
In 1852 the Andover community was electrified when Professor Calvin Stowe was appointed to a position at the Theological Seminary and brought with him to Andover his wife, Harriet Beecher Stowe, who had just finished Uncle Tom's Cabin. Mrs. Stowe insisted on moving into the old coffin factory, later the Seminary gymnasium, and despite protests from the Seminary authorities that it would make a poor house, she had it remodeled most successfully. While at Andover, where the family remained until 1864, she continued to write, publishing A Key to Uncle Tom's Cabin (to prove that her information was accurate), Dred, The Pearl of Orr's Island, and The Minister's Wooing. Andover did not quite know what to make of Mrs. Stowe, for, like all Beechers, she had a mind of her own. She entertained informally, wandered around the campus with her dogs, and was suspected of going to the theater in Boston.
Finally, Elizabeth Stuart Phelps Ward, the daughter of Austin Phelps of the Theological Seminary and the granddaughter of Moses Stuart, began her career as an author in the later Taylor years. Though her books are difficult to read today, in her time she was a nationally known writer, and her first book, Gates Ajar, stressing the humanity of the Christian faith, sold thousands of copies. All these people called attention to Andover, and by doing so helped to shape the town and the school.
Five days ago ... Dr. Taylor appeared in his usual health, exhibited his wonted vigor in the exercises of his school, visited Boston and Cambridge in the afternoon; and, although he felt for a time a slight indisposition, he returned to his home with more than usual buoyancy of spirit. He rose on sabbath morning, prepared himself for his large Bible-class, but complained ... of a stricture across his chest. He was importuned to omit the biblical exercise, and to remain at home; but for a biblical exercise like this he had been disciplining his mind and heart by long-continued toil; this was his most important study; this was his chief joy; and we have seen that to leave a duty unperformed was not his nature. He went forth like a hero, carrying his New Testament through the deep and rapidly falling snow to this building, which had been erected under his care, and according to his plan. He loved the very edifice itself. His pupils were assembling to receive his Christian instruction; the bell was yet tolling; he stopped in the vestibule of his academy; his countenance changed; he fell; he said not a word; he neither sighed nor groaned, but ascended from the circle of his astonished and loving and weeping pupils to mingle with the angels of God. Bearing the sacred volume, he had passed through the storm; and then the door of his schoolroom proved to be "the gate of heaven." "And he was not; for God took him."(109)
So ended the long career of Samuel Harvey Taylor. It was characteristic of him that he should die in harness on his way to teach his students. Yet it is probably just as well that he died then, for, despite his many accomplishments, he had outlived his time.