Education: Books or Bullets

The rising bell still rings at 5 every morning, and the daily routine of prayer, recitation and study continues uninterrupted. But as news of the Continental Congress trickles in from Philadelphia, the scholarly discipline of the 150 young men at the College of New Jersey in Princeton increasingly gives way to patriotic enthusiasm.

A ceremonial reading of the Declaration of Independence this week was accompanied by a triple volley of musketry and ended with a loud chorus of student cheers. All three stories of Nassau Hall were grandly illuminated for the occasion,...