That degree again

The following account is from the files of the "Providence Gazette and Country Journal."

"Providence, Sept. 8. [a Saturday in 1770]

"On Wednesday, was celebrated here the second Commencement in Rhode-Island College. The parties concerned met at the Court House about ten o'clock, from whence they proceeded to the Rev. Joseph Snow's Meeting-house, in the following order: First, the Grammar Scholars, then the under classes, the candidates for degrees, the Bachelors, the Trustees of the College, the Fellows, the Chancellor and Governor of the Colony, and lastly, the President. When they were seated, the President introduced the business of the day by prayer; then followed the Salutatory Oration in Latin, by Mr. Dennis; and a forensic dispute, with which ended the exercises of the forenoon.

"Those of the afternoon began with an intermediate Oration on Catholicism, pronounced by Mr. Foster; then followed a syllogistic disputation, in Latin, wherein Mr. Foster was respondent, and Messieurs Nash, Read, and Dennis, opponents. After this, the degree of Bachelor of Arts was conferred on Messieurs John Dennis, Theodore Foster, Samuel Nash, and Seth Read ; and the degree of Master on the Rev. Isaac Eaton, Messieurs William Bowen, Benjamin West, David Williams, Joseph Brown, and Abel Evans; also on the Rev. Messieurs Hugh Evans, Daniel Turner, Samuel James, Benjamin Beddome, Benjamin Wallin, John Reynolds, and Isaac Woodman. To which succeeded a valedictory Oration by Mr. Read; and then a charge to the graduates.

"The business of the day being concluded, and before the assembly broke up, a piece from Homer was pronounced by Master Billy Edwards, one of the Grammar School boys, not nine years old. This, as well as the other performances, gained applause from a polite and crowded audience, and afforded pleasure to the friends of the Institution. But what greatly added to their satisfaction, was an opportunity of observing the forwardness of the College Edifice, the first stone of which was laid not longer since than the latter end of May last, and 'tis expected the roof will be on next month. It is a neat brick building, 150 feet by 46, four stories high, with a projection, in the middle, of 10 feet on each side, containing an area of 63 feet by 30 for a Hall and other public uses. The building will accommodate upwards of a hundred students. Its situation is exceeding pleasant and healthy, being on the summit of a hill, the ascent easy and gradual, commanding an extensive prospect of hills, dales, plains, woods, water, islands, &c. Who hath despised the day of small things?"

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