A Fossil From the Tertiary

THE name of the society of Phi Beta Kappa is pretty well known, even to school-boys, who have had to “ speak ” eloquent extracts from Mr. Everett ’s Phi Beta Kappa Oration, or Dr. Holmes’s Phi Beta Kappa Poem. It is the first of the Greek letter societies of the colleges, some one of which now holds an anniversary every day, and astonishes the journals with its record. Phi Beta Kappa is more than half a century older than any of them, and at Cambridge this year it comes to its centennial.

The society is one of the queerest things in America. It is indeed one of the very few visible relics of the mythical age of our national history; and it is not very visible at that. The “ mythical age” is that period extending from the battle of Yorktown, in 1781, to the organization of the national government, in 1789. This is a period in which, as the book of Judges says, “ every man did what was right in his own eyes.” There was, indeed, no king in Israel any longer, and there was, as yet, nobody to take the place of the king. Of this mythical period nobody now knows anything, except a few men of sense, and they do not know much. It was in this prehistoric period, and in the years before it, that the earliest chapters of Phi Beta Kappa, now existing, came into being and worked out their earliest plans. They came into being because everything was without form and void, to-hu va bo-hu, as the expressive Hebrew hath it. And, exactly as in some prehistoric tertiary you find the droll skeleton of a three-toed horse who prophesies the existence of the whole-hoofed Smuggler or Parole of to-day, so anybody, who digs in the gravel or other drift of the ten years before the federal constitution, comes across this poor struggling Phi Beta Kappa, — with its three toes, as it happens, — striving to unite " the wise and virtuous of every degree and of whatever country. ” In particular, it was striving to unite the several States which had just ceased to be colonies.

The hardest thing to teach the young American of to-day is that about a hundred years ago a Virginian was as much a foreigner to a New Yorker as is a Mexican or Chileno to-day. We have been a nation so long now that Young America cannot understand that, when the Stamp Act was passed, the idea of the union of the thirteen colonies was even mystical and fantastic. It is only by slow steps that we have worked up to such national feeling as we have. Of those steps the establishment of Phi Beta Kappa was one. It was not an important one; quite the reverse. As it proved, it was unimportant and insignificant. When the great object was obtained, by the adoption, almost by miracle, of the federal constitution, that great success paled all lesser endeavors in the same direction, and made their fires ineffectual. And so, the truth is that the Phi Beta Kappa has been of no great importance for its original purpose since 1789. But this is not because the plans of its founders were bad, but rather because they were good. There is, indeed, on a much larger scale, rather an interesting parallel with their quaint little annals, in the modern history of Germany. For fifty years after the Congress of Vienna, the German states, as states, could make no efficient union. There was a plenty of Saxonies and Würtemburgs and Badens, but there was, alas, no Germany, excepting in language and literature. All through this period, it was the students of the universities who believed in union. It was they who affiliated together in clubs, now public and now private, of which the great object was the unity of the Fatherland. It is fair enough to say that, out of the persistent passion for union fostered thus among the educated men of Germany, the German empire of to-day has grown. Now the early correspondence of Phi Beta Kappa shows that the young men who formed it had just such dreams of union as those. It was with just such purposes that their union of the “ wise and virtuous” of the American colleges was formed. Luckily for this country, everything else tended the same way. Commerce, national honor, even the oyster fishery of thm Potomac and protection against the Indians, compelled the union which crystallized so happily in the federal constitution. That union was looked forward to in the tentative efforts, which are fairly pathetic, of the striplings who, in 1779, united William and Mary College in Virginia, Yale College in New Haven, and Harvard College at Cambridge in a society which proposed to go much farther in similar directions, in a close union of the scholars of the country. Be it observed that the same grandiose habit which now calls a high-school a college, then made these young men call all these colleges universities. We deal with the “ university ” at Cambridge, the “ university ” at New Haven, and with Dartmouth “ university ” at Hanover a little later, in turning over these yellow annals.

In the wild excitement of 1776, while the Assembly of Virginia, which met at Williamsburgh, was making the independence of Virginia a reality, the young men of the college of William and Mary, not caring to be behind their fathers and elder brothers, formed the Phi Beta Kappa society. Their original records are unfortunately lost, — let us hope not beyond recovery. The formula of organization cannot now, therefore, be cited. But it is clear enough, from the immediate practice of the society, that it was intended to form a philosophical club, whose purposes should go far beyond the narrow range of the college studies of those days, and should include not only the wide range of what was then called “philosophy,” but the consideration, at the same time, of political questions. These, too, were discussed, not in the abstract, but in their bearing on the events of the day. Were there no other evidence of this, the names of the founders would be almost sufficient to show the political sympathies of the society. John Marshall’s is the most distinguished name. But the other names, of Stuart, Fitzhugh, Bushrod Washington, Alexander Mason, William Short, William Cabell, John Nivison, and others, are the names of men who went right into the political service of the country as soon as they left college, as promptly as ducklings go into water.1 It is true that such was the drift of the time. But the early calendar of Phi Beta Kappa in Virginia certainly shows more than an average share of young men interested in the philosophy of polities. In a letter written as late as 1831, Mr. Short, the vice president, said that it was formed by a student, who prided himself on being the best Hellenist there, to “ rivalise” another society with Latin initials.

In the stress of political discussion in after-times, the charge was freely made that Mr. Jefferson founded this society, and this charge was urged as if a reproach. Phi Beta Kappa to-day would be very glad to hang Mr. Jefferson’s portrait in its hall, and to connect itself with the Declaration of Independence in something more than the year of its birth. But, unfortunately, there is not a shadow of a line of evidence to show that Jefferson had anything to do with it. It is true that he was sitting in the legislature of Virginia in Williamsburgh at the time the society was formed. And it is said the society was formed in the Apollo Hall in the old “ Raleigh tavern,”justly celebrated in the local annals of those days. But these two facts are all that the romance-writer can now build upon in connecting Jefferson with the society. Another fancy has been that Phi Beta was invented by the French officers in Rochambeau’s arm my after the pattern of the German Illuminati. But this does not hold water. For the French army did not come to Williamsburgh till five years after Phi Beta Kappa had been founded; and when they came the college had been disbanded, and Phi Beta Kappa with it. The only good that Phi Beta Kappa got from the French army was that William Short, then the president, who was staying in Williamsburgh, then and there learned I reneh, and thus laid the foundation of the diplomatic career in which he afterwards served the country with distinction. Indeed, it is not probable that any of the oflicers of the French army at that time knew anything of the Illuminati. Readers of Consuelo and the Countess of Rudolstadt, who hoped to follow down the lines of those stories through the records of Phi Beta Kappa, must give up that trail as futile.

It is, however, a curious coincidence, as the Daily Advertiser would say, that Adam Weisshaupt, who seems to have been very much of a charlatan and humbug, but, who made a great deal of noise in his day founded the Illuminati in this same year, 1776. He did it with the ostensible object of “perfecting human nature,” and with the special object of countermining the Jesuits. Really, if you only read the charter of Phi Beta and the constitution of the Illuminati, you would say, “ All this stuff is very much of the same pattern.”So it is. But that is because Ingolstadt in Bavaria and Williamsburgh in Virginia were both college towns, and in each town young men were resenting a present tyranny. The air of the world, also, was full of the Rights of Man. In both places you had the same sort of wool, the same sort of weavers, the same sort of looms, and there came out the same sort of stuff. But it is not probable that anybody in Williamsburgh, in 1776, ever heard of Adam Weisshaupt or the Illuminati, or, indeed, could read a word of German.

Far from being unchristian in its cradle, the Phi Beta Kappa owed all that extension which has given it any renown to a young student for the Christian ministry. The St. Paul who carried it from the Zion of its birthplace to the far-off Gentiles of Yale and Harvard was a young graduate of Harvard, named Elisha Parmele. This is the way he spelled his name in his will, which lies before me. But, if you choose, you may spell it Parmelee, or Parmelie, or Parmely, or Parmarly, or Palmerly; all of these spellings are in the family. for mv part, I believe in blood, and I have no doubt that this holy man was from the race of the Palmers of the crusading times, and was entitled to wear a scallop-shell in his hat. I also advise the curious to read through Palmerin de Inglaterra, by Francisco de Morreas, the pink and pattern of chivalry; and, if they do not like Portuguese, they can try Robert Southey’s abridgment in four volumes. From a godfather so honorable, who had godfathers so noble, do all the existing branches of Phi Beta Kappa derive their names and their early training.

Elisha Parmele was born on the 22d of February, 1755, in Goshen, in Connecticut, best known to travelers, perhaps, by Goshen Falls and the beautiful slopes of the Green Mountains. If anybody cares, George Washington was that day twenty-three years old. Elisha Parmele was the fourth son of Abraham Parmele and Mary Stanley. In his youth, as I learn, Elisha Parmele “became hopefully pious,” and, intending to be a Christian minister, he was fitted for college by Rev. Mr, Robbins, of Norfolk, Connecticut. This gentleman, by the way, was a chaplain in the army in Canada, and preached in his life-time more than six thousand five hundred sermons, some of which remain to this day. Young Parmele went to Yale College, as was natural, and remained there till college work was broken up by the war. He then went to Harvard, which had got a-going again after a similar suspension. In this transfer of his college relations appears the reason why he afterwards established branches of Phi Beta Kappa in both the two great northern colleges. He graduated at Cambridge in 1778. I think there was no public commencement that year; but I have before me what looks as if it had been prepared for an exhibition part, a Syriac oration from his pen. It is an elegant transcript of Paul’s speech at Athens in the Syriac character,—better done, I am afraid, than anybody in Cambridge can do it to-day, excepting Dr. Palfrey, Professor Young. Professor Steenstra, and Mr. Wahl. The poor fellow was already in delicate health, being constitutionally consumptive. He went at once to Virginia, and engaged himself there as a teacher. I think very likely he was a tutor in William and Mary College. But however that may be, he joined the Phi Beta Kappa. And when he left Williamsburgh for the North the Phi Beta Kappa gave him power to establish an Alpha at Cambridge, and an Alpha at New Haven. The document was dated December 4, 1779. It began with these words: —

“ The members of the Phi Beta Kappa of William and Mary College, Virginia, to their well and truly beloved brother, Elisha Parmele, greeting: —

“ Whereas it is repugnant to the liberal principles of Societies that they should be confined to any particular place, men, or description of men; and [whereas it is expedient] that the same should be extended to the wise and virtuous of every degree and of whatever Country, —

“We the members and Brothers of the Φ B K, an Institution founded on literary principles, being willing and desirous to propagate the same, have at the instance and petition of our good brother, Elisha Parmele, of the University of Cambridge, in the State of Massachusetts Bay, and from the confidence we repose in the Integrity, Discretion, and good Conduct of our said Brother, unanimously agreed and resolved to give and delegate, and we do therefore by these our present letters of Party Charter give and delegate by unanimous consent to you the said Elisha Parmele the following rights, privileges, authority, and power, that is to say,—

“ 1st. That at the University of Cambridge to establish a Fraternity of the Φ B K to consist of not less than three Persons of Honor, Probity and good demeanor, which shall be denominated the AλΦɑ of Massachusetts Bay. And as soon as such number of those shall be chosen you shall proceed to hold a meeting to be called your Foundation Meeting, and appoint your officers agreeably to Law.

“ 2dly. That the form of Initiation and oath of Secrecy shall be, as well in the first, as in every other instance, those prescribed by Law, and none other.”

The charter continues in ten articles, which need not here be printed. A similar authority was given to him to establish an Alpha at the University of New Haven. These charters were signed by the following persons: —

William Short, Jun. Prest., Archibald Stuart, V. Prest., Wm. Cabell, Treasurer, John James Beckley, Sec’y., Theodorick Fitzhugh, John Morison, John Allen, John Nivison, Hartwell Cocke, Thomas Hall, Samuel Hardy, John Brown [Ky.], Daniel C. Brent, Thos. W. Ballandine, Spencer Roane, Wm. Stith, Wm. Stuart, Thomas Littleton Savage, John Page [Fred. Va.].

Of these the president was William Short, who learned French two years after from Rochambeau’s officers, and used it in 1784 as Jefferson’s secretary of legation in Paris. The first commission signed by Washington as president was to appoint William Short, chargé d’affaires at Paris; and, as students of our history know, he was one of the most careful and useful of our early diplomatists. It is a great pity that we have no good life of him. And the Harvard Alpha of Phi Beta Kappa ought to have his portrait in their dining-hall. Short was a classmate of Judge Marshall’s, but Marshall had left college before this time.

Archibald Stuart, of Augusta, the vice-president, also lived to play a distinguished and useful part in his country’s history. Not long after Elisha Parmele went North, the Earl of Cornwallis also started North from Charleston, South Carolina. To meet him the young Virginians rallied, and among the rest Archibald Stuart, with the seal of Phi Beta Kappa in his pocket. Soon after, they met the English at the battle of Guilford, March 15, 1781. In this battle his father, Major Alexander Stuart, who commanded one of the Virginian regiments, was seriously wounded and taken prisoner.

When young Stuart returned home, after the battle, he took the seal from his pocket, put it in a secret drawer in his house near Staunton; and there after his death, it was found in 1832. This invasion of Cornwallis was the end of William and Mary College for some years. Stuart studied law under Thomas Jefferson, and, though a young man, was chosen a member of the General Assembly, and also of the convention of 1787, which ratified the constitution, for which he voted. He afterwards filled important offices in Virginia, and died in July, 1832. There is no finer instance of the loyalty with which old Virginia stood by those who had led well, than that Judge Stuart was the member of seven electoral colleges in succession, and gave the vote of the State in every election from 1800 to 1824 inclusive. He was the father of Hon. Alexander H. H. Stuart, who has kindly sent to me these reminiscences.

Young Parmele returned to the North with these precious authorities, but at what exact period does not appear. He instituted the New Haven chapter in November, 1780.

On his arrival at Cambridge he conferred with different under-graduates, and agreed with Artemas Baker, Joseph Bartlett, Seth Hastings, and Samuel Kendall, of the class which afterwards graduated in 1782, to receive them into the society. We have the record of the first meeting. It is in these words : —

“ Upon Mr. Elisha Parmele’s communicating to Messrs. Baker, Bartlett, Hastings and Kendall a plan of correspondence with a society at New Haven in Connecticut and Williamsburg in Virginia by the name of Φ B K for the purpose of making Literary Improvement, — and by the desire of Messrs. Baker, Bartlett, Hastings and Kendall, having read the several Laws appertaining to the same society, and administering the necessary Oath, he then presented a Charter granted to him from the Alpha society in Virginia for establishing a similar society at Harvard College (N. E.) Commonwealth of Massachusetts, by virtue whereof Messrs. Baker, Bartlett, Hastings and Kendall were incorporated into a society forming the Φ B K A λϕɑ of Massachusetts. Accordingly the following officers were chosen by ballot, namely: Messrs. Kendall, President; Hastings, Secretary; Bartlett, Treasurer.”

The date of this meeting is not known. The first regular meeting was held on the 5th of September, 1781, when five more members of the class of 1782 were chosen to be “sounded for admission in Phi Beta Kappa.” From that time to this time the society has been in regular work. It originally held meetings as often as once a week among the undergraduates. Such meetings still continue in all the colleges where branches have been established, now nineteen in number. Of such meetings John Quincy Adams describes several, in passages of his diary which his son cited in a Φ B K oration in 1873. But in every case, as the number of graduate members has come to exceed that of under-graduates, the society has proved an agreeable bond of meeting among graduates. For nearly half a century it was the only society in America which could pretend to be devoted to literature and philosophy. And it happened, therefore, that, in the infant literature of the nation, some noteworthy steps are marked by orations and poems delivered before the Phi Beta Kappa. Such was Paine’s poem on The Ruling Passion, famous in its day. The young literati of the country rejoiced when they heard that for the sale of this poem Paine received twelve hundred dollars. For The Invention of Letters, a poem delivered before Washington at commencement, Paine had received fifteen hundred dollars. Even in our silver age, most Phi Beta poets would consider this pretty good pay.

But it is not the object of this article to trace the history of Phi Beta Kappa after its birth. With the adoption of the federal constitution, the great object of the young Illuminati, a more perfect union among the “ wise and virtuous,” was secured more solidly than they could secure it. The correspondence between the Alphas, somewhat forced at the best, flags after 1787, and indeed amounts at length to little more than statements of regret that no catalogues, letters, or other documents have been received, with hopes and promises for more assiduous correspondence in future. A few passages from a letter of William Short are perhaps worth citing. It is written to Mr. Bishop, and dated January 15, 1782.

“ I have written but once since the receipt of your most agreeable and friendly letter of October, 1780, the only one

that I have been honored with. Those inclosed within it have been sent to the different members to whom they were directed. But as some of them live at the western extremity of the State, it cannot be said with certainty whether they received them. The students of the assembly have not yet reassembled. They have been dispersed now for twelve months. I returned to this city a few weeks past and have taken a chamber for the winter with a view to attain the art of speaking French. My profession will oblige me to go into the country again in the spring, — the seat of government having been removed from this place. In the meantime I must beg the honor of hearing from you frequently, which may be effected easily by directing your letters to Colonel Wadsworth, a gentleman of Connecticut, who is an agent here for the French army, and who has promised to take charge of this and my other letters. I need not tell you how anxious I am to have everything respecting Φ B K in Connecticut — quod faustum sit ? Your own feelings, my Dear Brother, will inform you what are the sentiments of every zealous member upon this subject. Such a warm attachment to the interests of our dear society runs through your whole letter that I am doubly connected with you. Your name shall ever be remembered by me with pleasure, and your merits shall be disclosed to all the succeeding members of the Φ B K in this state. The short list of members, which you did me the honor to transmit to me, is preserved by us as images of those guardians of our common care in the North whom we hold in the highest estimation. We pant after those who have since been joined to the immortal band. Believe me, my dear sir, as you cannot be too early, so you cannot be too minute in your narration of the proceedings of the Φ B K in your quarter. I hope we shall also hear from that at Cambridge. As yet I unfortunately know not their names, so as to ask for information. Will you be so good, sir, as to communicate to them our ardent wish to hear particularly how they go on? Let them know of this channel which Colonel Wadsworth opens for the conveyance of intelligence.

“ What has become of our very worthy member Mr. E. Parmele? He has been silent as the grave since his return to the northward. Wherever he be, assure him of our sincere regard for him. He has endeared himself to us here, not only by his personal merit, but by his diligence in spreading the Φ B K. Like the great luminary he carries light with him wherever he goes, vivifies all around him, and exhilarates the spirits of whomsoever he pleases to favor. I shall write him by this channel, but with less pleasure, as there is less certainty of his being found.”

Elisha Parmele, thus affectionately spoken of, was even then struggling with the disease which proved his last. Short’s playful but affectionate allusion chimes in well with what we know, from other sources, of this young man. He is to be regarded as the founder of Phi Beta Kappa as we know it, and if any picture of this amiable young minister can be found, it ought to be hung in the new hall of the Phi Beta Kappa at Cambridge, opposite that proposed historical picture representing Lord Dufferin in robes of the Garter receiving her Majesty’s permission to establish a branch of Phi Beta at Oxford.

In July, 1783, Parmele was ordained as the minister of the church in Lee, in Berkshire County, Massachusetts; evidently he was highly respected for his piety and talents. But his health soon failed; he was suffering from pulmonary consumption, and in May, of the next year, he went to Virginia with his wife. Their intention was to go to Augusta County, known to modern travelers by Weir’s Cave, and to soldiers by Stanton, which is its shire town. But before the young couple arrived there, Mr. Parmele’s strength completely failed him, and he died at the residence of Colonel Abraham Byrd, in Shenandoah County. The hospitality of the Byrds of Virginia, whether in the Shenandoah Valley or that of James River, was famous through that century, and is to this day. This pathetic end to a short life suggests, what I do not know, however, that young Parmele’s previous visit to Virginia had been made in the hope of arresting consumption. The date of the commission given to Parmele by the Virginian Society is December 4. 1779. He did not establish the Cambridge Alpha till some time in 1781. That at New Haven was established in November, 1780. Unfortunately, the earliest records of the New Haven Alpha are lost, so that the brethren in New Haven cannot give the earliest details of the growth of the precious “ Scyon ” thus planted. But perhaps some old diaries may yet be found in Connecticut which may fill that gap. Of young Parmele himself, it is clear enough that when he came to New Haven and to Cambridge he did not think he was carrying French infidelity or German atheism in his pocket. No; his health was better, and now he thought he could begin to preach the gospel. As a part of his duty in that business he would establish these two chapters of Phi Beta Kappa. Here is a very early note-book of his ; I do not know how early, but it belongs very near this time. It begins with a series of definitions, and they savor a little of a young preacher who had already determined to make a true philosophy his guide in life. I am such a heretic that I do not know whether these definitions are right or not according to the present standards, far less whether they were right according to the standards in 1780. But there are people at Princeton who will know, — nay, I hope even at New Haven, at Hartford, and possibly at Andover; so I print some of them for the benefit of whom it may concern. The first is, —

(1.) “ Regeneration = that divine operation in the reception of which men first receive the spirit of God.”

(2.) “ Repentance — the feelings which Christians have unitedly flowing in these views: a view of the beauty of the moral law; a view of our own characters in opposition to this law; and a view of present love to God.”

(3.) “ Faith = those feelings of Christians in which they are pleased with the character of Christ as he is carrying on the work of redemption in those transactions which fall beyond the circle of observation by our senses.”

(4.) “ Love = placing the whole flow of our affections on God in every perception of objects in the heavens and earth.”

(5.) “ Sin = placing the whole flow of our affections on objects in the furniture of the heavens and earth.”

That “ furniture of the heavens and earth ” is good. As they say in Philadelphia, “ where did he get it? ” Please to observe that these aphorisms do not seem to be copied from any commonplace book, or written out at one time. The handwriting and the ink varies, and after the 21st of October, 1782, they are dated. I do not copy them all, but select a few more.

(10.) “ Prayer = those views of Christians in which they desire the existence of such events as in their view relate immediately to the glory of God, with a readiness of mind to be corrected in any way divine wisdom shall see fit to grant existence.”

(15.) “ Righteousness = a disposition to treat all beings according to their real deserts.”

(21.) “ Truth = those views of beings in which they discover the relation they stand in to God and one another, and ascribe to all their proper dues.”

(33.) “Vexation of spirit = those degrading views of fools in which they feel an increase of their own vanity and a decrease of their own profit.”

(42.) “ Time = equals those views of beings in which they observe variations in existence.”

(43.) “ Place = those views of beings in which they observe the situation of existence.”

(44.) “ Space = those views of beings in which they observe between extremes the intermediate existence.”

(45.) “ Distance = those views of beings in which they observe between two extremes the intermediate existence.”

Such is the young man who brings with him the charter of Phi Beta Kappa

to Cambridge and New Haven, He is ordained to the Christian ministry at Lee, in Massachusetts, by the ministers of Berkshire County, after some opposition from a minority of his parish. His orthodoxy, however, was indorsed by the moderator and the council, and his ministry seems to have conciliated his parish. It lasted, however, as has been said but ten months. In July, 1784, he asked permission to go to Virginia for his health, and died in the hospitable home of Colonel Byrd. Of the two “Scyons” which he planted, that at Cambridge maintains an active and prosperous existence. The annual oration is wise, the annual poem is sometimes poetical, and the dinner is always the jolliest occasion of the Cambridge year. The original society at William and Mary had died in 1787. It was revived in 1855, to die again, however, in the civil war. The old records cannot now be found, but probably exist in some Virginian archives. When they shall appear they will give some additional illustrations of the early yearning for national union. Half a century after this union of the wise and virtuous of the American colleges, William Morgan was killed, in 1826, and his body thrown into the river at Niagara. You would say, at first, that this had nothing to do with Phi Beta Kappa. But that is your mistake. The storm of indignation which Morgan’s death aroused created the anti-masonic party and the general crusade against secret societies. Poor Phi Beta Kappa was called on to give up such secrets as she had, and did so. After a series of exciting meetings held in Boston, under the eager pressure of John Quincy Adams, from whose diary most of the history of the transaction can be learned, the Harvard Alpha voted to remit all obligations of secrecy. Since that time, July, 1831, anybody who has chosen to know has known what the letters Φ B K mean; and there are even those who say they know what S. P. on the medal means. If it were not for this vote, gentle readers, I could not have copied for you these letters about the “ Scyons” and the “ Sophimores.” Of which vote I know only one other consequence. It is to be observed that the moment Phi Beta Kappa laid down her veil of secrecy, other societies took it up. I might say they tore it into ten thousand pieces, all of which cover as many secrets as the original, possibly no more. But, quien sabe ? It is to be noticed, for instance, that the society of Alpha Delta Phi was formed in 1832, in the midst of that same wave of indignation against secrecy, and the society of Psi Upsilon in the next year. I do not know if the young men in colleges then read the disclaimers of old graduates of Harvard, and thought it wise to try what their seniors discarded. But it looks a little like that. I do not know, but gentlemen who do know the early rituals of these societies can tell whether there were in them anything like the following formulas, which are copied from the early ritual of initiation into Phi Beta Kappa: —

“ The president shall rise and say: — “ Gentlemen, it is in consequence of our good opinion of you that we have admitted you thus far; and we hope you will render yourselves yet more acceptable by answering to these questions: — “ First. If upon hearing the principles of this institution you should dislike them, and withdraw, do you engage on the honor of gentlemen to keep them secret?

“ Second. Is it of your own free choice that you offer to become members of this society ?

“ Third. Will you approve yourselves worthy members of it by encouraging friendship, morality, and literature?

“Fourth. Will you regard the members of this society as your brethren?

“ Fifth. Will you kindly assist them if you should ever see any of them in distress? ”

There was once a Beta (second state chapter) of Φ B K at Hampden-Sidney, Ya. It is now extinct, and, on the spot, forgotten. The Dartmouth branch was established in 1787, and in 1790 a charter was refused to Brown, simply on the ground that the Providence college had admitted as “ Sophimores ” persons who would not rank as Freshmen at Cambridge. “ Sophimores ” is the New Haven, and perhaps the Cambridge spelling of that day. After this, charters were granted to Bowdoin and Brown in 1829, and at the present moment there are nineteen chapters, connected with as many leading colleges in the Union.

Edward E. Hale.

  1. The names of the founders are John Heath, Thomas Smith, Richard Booker, Armistead Smith, John Jones, John Stuart, Daniel Fitzhugh, Theodore Fitzhugh, John Starke, Isaac Hill, William Short, John Morrison, George Braxton, Henry Hill, John Allen, John Nivison Hartwell Cocke, Thomas Hall, Samuel Hardy, Archibald Stuart, John Brown, D. C. Brent, Thomas Clements, Thomas W. Ballandine, Richard Booker, John Moore, Spencer Roane, William Stith, W. Stuart, J. J. Beckley, Thomas Savage, John Page, William Cabell, John Marshall, Bushrod Washington, Thomas Lee, London Cabell, W. Pierce, Richard B. Lee, William Madison, John Swann, Thomas Cocke, Paxton Bowdoin, Alexander mason.