The Centennial History of Tufts College, 1952

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The Earliest Years of the College

The Earliest Years of the College


Tufts College was chartered by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in .

The original act of incorporation stated that the funds of the college should be used "in such manner as shall most effectually promote virtue and piety, and learning in such of the languages and of the liberal and useful arts and sciences as shall be recommended." It was further provided that no particular religious opinions were ever to be required of officers or students in the college. The motto of its seal, , has become the motto of the college.

The movement that led to the foundation of Tufts began almost before the end of the eighteenth century. By the 1840's funds were being actively canvassed for the new institution. This was a period of rapid economic development and intellectual and social ferment in the country. The American inland empire was pushing westward. For the first time, large-scale manufacturing was being established. Every ocean port of the world was coming to know American commerce borne by fast sailing ships, many of which were built in yards on the Mystic River in the shadow of Tufts College. In 1852, in spite of the gathering clouds of the slavery question, enterprise and optimism about the future were in the bracing sea breezes of New England.