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The Yale Bicentennial celebration, recently so happily concluded, and with so much honor, served to bring into prominence the circumstances which attended the founding of the College, and, among others, the difficulties and perplexities which were experienced in regard to the charter. The colonial legislature of Massachusetts had granted in 1636 a charter to Harvard, and was adjudged in consequence by the English High Court of Chancery in 1684 to have committed an act of usurpation. This was one of the grounds for the forfeiture of the charter of Massachusetts. The English courts did not recognize the colonies in America as public governments, but as trading corporations, and therefore denied their right to create private corporations. The good men in Connecticut accordingly took the advice of astute counsel, and when their colonial legislature was asked in 1701 for authority to establish the College they saw to it that the bill was prepared as free as possible of any expressions indicating that it was what it was intended to be.
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