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selves to make that provision, it would seem reasonable to expect that the government, being just so far relieved from occasion for the use of unappropriated funds, would be able to devote them, to the same, or to some extent, to a reduction of the charge for teaching.
We suppose we should not be excused, if, having in another aspect brought the College thus largely to the view of our readers, we should shrink from adverting to notorious circumstances of its recent position before the public. We would gladly be excused from this reference, if we might. In the existing posture of things, we have perhaps a different view of its expediency, in the abstract, from those irresponsible and uninformed persons, who have not scrupled to discuss very delicate questions touching the feelings of parents,
and the honor of a most venerable and meritorious institution. * We shall not follow them in that discussion. The case of the government is not yet before the public. Very probably it will be, before long, by means of a report to the Overseers, or otherwise ; and then, if occasion be, we, perchance, shall be found as ready as others to enter into its merits. What we care to say here, and what is here to our purpose to say, is, that we have no belief that any thing has occurred, which ought, or will, withdraw pub
* The wantonness of the periodical press has perhaps rarely been more strikingly manifested, than in the course of this business. We have taken no pains to remember the instances, but one happens to be before us.
One of the Boston prints, late in June, or early in July, had announced that “all the Senior class of Harvard College, who acknowledged having approved of the circular, had been dismissed, and that there would be no Commencement.' Not a word of this was true. The Faculty were holding meetings; but, as was fit under such circumstances, they kept their own counsel, to that degree that their own neighbours could not form so much as a probable conjecture, how things were going on. When their decision, some two or three weeks after, became known, it proved to be a dismission, not of the whole class, but of a small portion of it. And that there will be no Commencement, is an assertion which could not be safely made, as late as the time when we are writing, towards the middle of August.
Now fair men very often make mistakes; and they have a very simple way of procedure, when they discover that they have done so. They say that they had been misinformed, adding, or not adding, an expression of their regret for any mischief which may have been so vccasioned. But what said this editor, when better information speedily reached him ?
Referring to his previous insertion, he said, “We were rightly informed in part only. Up to this morning, sentence had not been pronounced, but it was expected momentarily.
lic confidence from the institution. A pretty strong proof to the contrary is already furnished, by the fact, that, at the end of the last term, in which the discontents occurred, so great a number of students was offered for admission into the Freshman class, that, if a like proportion as in past years should be kept up at the examination in Commencement week, — and we know no reason why this should not be expected, a larger class will be formed than has ever tered.
We are not, then, going to discuss the character of the police laws of the College, or of their administration in any instance. They who conduct the latter are known, and the former are on record, and are always on the trial of experience. Both are subject to a control, - by a large foreign body, that of the Board of Overseers, — which the
wisdom of the Commonwealth has judged to be sufficient; and when the College authority, in the several departments, has entertained an important question, the public does not commonly have to wait long, to be acquainted, in detail, with facts and reasons. But it is to our point, to express the confident opinion, that any possible disadvantage, greater or less, to which the College may seem exposed, by occurrences like those of recent date, is not to be often or long incurred through their repetition. We believe it impossible that the evil, whatever it be, of such combined resistance to authority, should be permanent, because of our persuasion that it stands upon bases altogether insufficient to sustain it. We are satisfied, that its grounds only need to be looked at with that careful attention,
which interesting consequences like those lately witnessed will secure for them, to melt away beneath the view. And, apart from this, we know the young gentlemen to be such good reasoners, that the strength or frailty of principles, on which they may have acted, will not eventually remain concealed from their perception.
One of the grounds, on which combined resistance to authority in such an institution appears to proceed, is a vague idea, ihat, in the relation implied in its laws, the governors constitute one party, and the students for the time being, the other; so that, if there be supposed fault to find in such laws or their execution, the latter, being the sole party in interest, are the party to find it, and to insist, if need be, on a remedy. Now the students for the time being are not the other
- N. S. VOL. XII. NO. I.
party in that relation, but a very small portion of it; a portion so small, as to be, numerically, -- almost insignificant, we would say, if the word did not seem to imply disrespect, a
, thing which, above all others, we mean to be careful to avoid. No doubt they are so situated, in some respects, as to have advantages, other things being equal, for an exact acquaintance with the operation of the laws, and peculiarly to feel the present pressure, if the laws work ill. But they do not make up the party, for whose improvement and satisfaction the laws are ordained and administered; no, nor are they so much as the legal, nor so much as the rightful, nor so much as the apparent representatives of that party. The laws are made for the benefit of all the educable youth of the country, alike of those who may come, as of those who have come under them,-a number, of which that of the resident students at any given time is but a fraction ; and they are made for the good and use of others yet, of the friends of those youth, and of the literary community at large, and of the body politic. It is not then for A, B, and C, whose names this year are on the College catalogue, to understand a supposed mal-administration as a summons to themselves to put lance in rest. They “take too much upon them,” those
sons of Levi' Before they can modestly assume that championship, they must get authority from the youth of the country, with names beginning with all the letters of the alphabet; and this done, they must get authority from the many others, who have a stake in the issue as well as they, and who, when they should be consulted, might, or might not, be found to hold different views, and decline their interposition.
What then is a person, so situated, to do, when he feels himself aggrieved, and they, with whom lies the discretion, will not right him ? Is he to submit to be oppressed? There is not a question easier to be answered. He is not to submit to oppression. He is to go away, out of oppression's reach. He has his own discretion in this matter, and one amply sufficient for his own protection. The College does not want to keep him to oppress, after a difference of opinion unhappily arises, if he is not inclined to stay. Unless he be chargeable with one of the higher offences, excluding him, by academic courtesy, from reception elsewhere, -a case which stands on its own grounds, and is very different from what we are now supposing, - the arm of College authority
cannot touch him, an hour after he wills that it shall cease to
There is his remedy. If there be mal-administration, it follows not at all that the coercive correction is for him. He is concerned for it, true, and so are very many others. He, like others, under the obligations and with the advantages of the place which he fills, may use his influence and information to have it corrected in a legal way. But that correction is no more entrusted, either in law or in common sense, to him and his two hundred and fifty associates, than to any other two hundred and fifty citizens of the Commonwealth, between the ages of sixteen and twenty. When effected, it is to be through the action of a body, which the constitution and laws recognise as the true representatives of the whole party actually concerned, the representatives of the interest of students in Cambridge and out of it, and of their friends, and of the friends of the College, of learning, and of good order.
Another impression, which seems to be implied in recent college movements, is, that the relation of classmate, or college-mate, imposes an obligation to make common cause ; so that a man is concerned in honor to bring himself into trouble, by illegal measures, when legal do not avail, either to obtain redress for his associate who has in his judgment suffered wrong, or, failing of this, to express his indignation at the injustice. We speak under correction, when we say, that we suppose this to be, at Cambridge, a modern refinement. In old times, as far as we remember, general movements were occasioned by some sense of general grievance. So it was in the great commotion of 1768. So it was in that of 1807. Nor can we, - though it may, we grant, be through defect of memory or knowledge, - recall an instance, earlier than within a score of years, in which resentment of supposed individual hardship led to a considerable combination in illegal acts. But, new or old, this principle of action, we have no idea is going to stand for ever, inasmuch as it stands on no tolerable grounds. If I take my seat in a stage-coach with a stranger, I presently perceive that we have one point of sympathy together, in the journey on which both are bound. If I have common benevolence, I intend that his journey shall be a pleasant one, as far as depends on me; and little civilities begin forthwith to pass between us. If he prove to be an intelligent and well-disposed person, I am of course pleased with the opportunity of such a familiar and unceremonious enjoyment of his society. And after we have parted, should we ever meet again, I shall be gratified in recalling with him the agreeable circumstances of our accidental interview, and renewing the satisfactory communications which had occurred. If I have had such a companion in a long voyage, all relations of this description will have been multiplied, and all interest heightened that grows out of them. But, certainly, I cannot think of giving to every person with whom I may have chanced to whirl in an omnibus, or to pace a quarter-deck, such a control over my agency and standing, that his honor is to be my honor; his quarrel, my quarrel ; his discredit or loss, a thing that he must be relieved from, or else share it with me. If he gets into trouble, I shall wish him, and do what I can to bring him, out of it. So much is due to charity. If I think he suffers wrong, I shall remonstrate and otherwise interest myself with the wrong-doer for his indemnification, in such manner as my relation to the latter may make fit. So much is due to justice. If the case seems to me flagrant, I shall be willing to put myself to much expense and inconvenience to have him righted. But it can hardly be so flagrant, that I shall find it my duty to acknowledge claims (on the ground of any accidental fellowship, independent of the claims of humanity,) which shall involve disappointment and distress to other friends, to whom I am attached in obligations of the earliest date and of the closest intimacy; and it absolutely cannot be so flagrant, that I shall be willing to disregard such obligations as the latter, when the disregard of them can be attended with no benefit to him whom I would serve. Certainly I shall not, because a man is
fellow-traveller, allow that he has a right to expect me to take counsel in his behalf, on all occasions, of my feelings, which may be hasty, and of my first judgment, which may be dull. If he looks to me for good offices on the common grounds of justice and generosity, as they bear on the relations between man and man, these I understand, and there is no danger of their creating interference with any of my duties; but if on the ground of a particular relation, then there are other relations, which I ought to consider much more ; relations, which will righteously call upon me, as soon as there is conflict, or danger of conflict, to give them practical precedence.