FROM THE COMMENCEMENT OF HIS STUDIES IN THE UNIVERSITY OF UTRECHT, TILL HIS RETURN TO NEW-YORK.
The University of Utrecht, next to that of Leyden, is the oldest institution of the kind in the
United Netherlands. It was founded in 1636; and
some, no doubt, are ready to associate the idea of
a school so ancient and celebrated, with that of
commodious and splendid buildings, appropriated
to the accommodation of the professors and students. Such an association of ideas is quite natural for an American. He could not, perhaps, but
with some difficulty, think of a college, without, at
the same time, imagining one or more spacious and
elegant edifices as constituting an important or
necessary part of it. But the founders of the
Dutch Universities were very indifferent about
accommodations of this description.
"The external appearance of the Universities,"
says Guthrie, "is rather mean, and the buildings
old; but these defects are amply compensated by
the variety of solid and useful learning taught in
them. There are abundance of youth of the principal nobility and gentry, from most countries in
Europe, at these seminaries of literature; and, as
every one may live as he pleases, without being
obliged to be profuse in his expenses, or so much
as quitting his night-gown for weeks or months together, foreigners of all ranks and conditions are
to be seen here."
And of the one which he attended, Mr. Livingston has left this account: — "There were no public
buildings belonging to the University of Utrecht.
A large hall appertaining to the old Cathedral or
Dome Kirk, was occasionally used for public orations and disputations; and, in a hall of the St.
Jans Kirk, the public library was deposited. This
was not large in respect to the number of books,
as it contained chiefly such as were very rare; but
it was especially celebrated for a rich collection of
manuscripts. The lectures of the professors were
all held in their own respective houses. There
were also no buildings appropriated as lodgings for
the students. They hired chambers, agreeably to
their choice, among the citizens. It was usual for
them to dine in select parties, in boarding-houses."
"The average number of students at the