Copyright
William Richards Castle William Roscoe Thayer.

The Harvard graduates' magazine online

. (page 67 of 103)
Online LibraryWilliam Richards Castle William Roscoe ThayerThe Harvard graduates' magazine → online text (page 67 of 103)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


notwithstanding it had passed the inspection of the President.

The Chronicle then delivered the following warning to the College
authorities :

' llie College does not belong to the Corporation nor to the Board of Overseers, nor
to the professors and tutors, nor to them all combined, but it belongs to the Com-
monwealth of Massachusetts. To the people or to their representatives, should the
officers of that ancient institution be accountable for a conduct so extraordinary. It is
said, that a few days after these things had been transacted between the scholars, the
President and the clergyman, the head of the Seminary, took alarm and read to the
youth a sort of admonition for their naughty behavior on the Lord*s day, but not a
word of reproof for their insulting remarks on the supreme authority of the Common-
wealth.

The Republican students to the number of 46 signed an address to



Digitized by



Google



490 Student PolUks in AntirFedercHUt Dayn. [March,

GrOTemor Greny saying that thej desired to correet the impresmon made
by the '^ pretended apology " by the Federalists which was in fact

an open justification of their eoodiiet and a futhcv espreHion of poHtieal rsneor.
The diflflrnee of this gross iasnlt offered by a pert of the stodents to the First H aaie-
trate of the Commonwealth while they were assembled for the pnipoee of piety and de-
Totion in the holy temple of onr God is there thrown on the whole body of students.

They further said that :

this act of di s respect was neither general nor ennaed as has been asserted by the
impnlse of the moment ; bat was a preconcerted plan originating in rooted and in-
Teterate prejadiee. ... It were to be wished that the walls of Harrard oontained
none bat literary and social feelings and that we might find here a refuge from pditi-
eal dissension and party animosities — not a nursery for partisans.

To this address, Groyemor Gerry answered in a letter dated Nov. 11,
in which he administered what might be termed a gnbematorial verbal
spanking to the students :

In the pursuit of literature when any student shall haye obtained correct informa-
tion of the fundamental principles of goTcmment . . . and shall have just ideas of
jurisprudence, then will he be capable of foiming a judgment of political measuies,
of directing wisely his own energies and of exhibiting himself on the great political
theatre of the public. But, when young gentlemen, destitute in a great measure of
such knowledge, presume to be arbiters of National and State measures, to condemn
them, and publicly to insult the QoTemment, their conduct reeembles that of wayward
children attempting to resist parental authority, to refuse instructions^ and to rerene
the order of nature by claiming the right of domestic goTemment instead of submit-
ting to it.

In all systems of goremment, subordination is indispensable, and the Uniyersity
has had too much reason to deplore the want of it. . . . The students cannot be too
deeply impressed with the necessity of supporting the Academical, State and National
GoTcmment ; for the habit of opposing any will incTitably extend to all of them, and
Harvard will thus become the Ahna Mater of minors to sap the foundation of onr
liberty and independence.

Tlie Chronicle in seyeral issnes called apon the College to pablish the

alleged apology bat met with no response, and finally on Noyember 8 it

said:

They dare not do this. They well know that the College Goyemment by and
through the assistance of the scholars haye been guilty of such an insult to the Oot-
emor of the Comnuniwealth as none but Federalists eould have authoriied and none
but the meet sanguine partisans approved.

And thus the tempest in a teapot ended*



Digitized by



Google



1916.] 2%e i^ng Term. 491

THE UNIVEESITY.

THE SPRING TERM.

THE UNIVEBSITY EDFTOB.

Thzrb is one litUe paragraph in President Lowell's reeent Annual
Report which ought to be repeated here verbatim^ for it is something that
parents and teachers alike should think aboat. It has refer- ntymngir
enoe to Ust year's Freshman Class and ia as follows : '< The ^^ ^'^
age at entrance of the seven men who achieved a dear A record is notable.
Two were eighteen, four were seyenteen, and one was fifteen ; the oldest
was eighteen years and three months, while the ayerage age of the class
was about eighteen years and six months."

Those who are in closest contact with college freshmen hare long since
learned to look for the best work among the youngest A freshman at
nineteen or twenty may hare a high honor record, but the chances are
▼ery much against anything of the sort In the big freshman dasaes the
*^ A " men come largely from the seventeen-yeai^ds, with an occasional
student one year older or one year younger. All this has a direct bearing
upon the matter of getting a boy in college early. Yet there is a wide-
spread idea throughout the homes and schools of the country that even
if a lad can pass the admission examination at the age of sixteen or sev-
enteen, he is too young to get full benefit from hb college studies. What-
ever the origin of that idea, it seems to have no discoverable basis in fact
On the contrary, the experience at Harvard is that the younger we get
our boys, the more we are able to do for them.

The most prominent topic in general University discussion during the
past few months has been military preparedness. What part, if any,
should Harvard, and other universities for that matter, as- ^^^^ mdvtrattv
snme in this general undertaking ? There has beeii a steady SJ^^^^IIF^
stream of editorials in the undergraduate publications, of Qlsaon
letters from undergraduates, students in the professional schools and
alumni, published interviews with members of the Faculty, resolutions of
the Student Council — all representing every conceivable variety of opin-
ion on the matter. There is no doubt as to the depth of general interest in
the question ; if there were, one would scarcely find it occupying so im-
portant a place in the President's Annual Report. Nor is the debate con-
fined to Harvard. Nearly every other institution in the country seems to
be wrestling with the same problem.

The question of drilling members of the undergraduate body and of
giving them some instruction in military science was defi- ^^ Harvard
nitdy raised by a resolution of the Student Council about



Digitized by



Google



492 The Spring Term. [March,

three months ago, and a committee of nndergradoates conferred with

General Leonard Wood, m '84, as to the proper procedure. Thej were

assured that if a certain number of students would enroll for a Harvard

volunteer batallion before December 3, an officer of the regular army

would be detailed to take charge of it and equipment would be supplied

by the War Department In a few days more than twice the required

number had been enrolled.

Now came the question as to whether the mere rabing and drilling of

a student batallion would be an achievement of any serious military value.

_ ^ , Those most familiar with the immediate military needs of

How tir Is OT-

dlBtrv dim of this country believed that it would not. It was, theref ore,

impressed upon the undergituluates that, if they wanted to

form a regiment and to learn the elements of military drill, no one in

authority at the Uuiversity would have the slightest objection to their

doing so. But it seemed desirable to impress upon them that a corps of

junior reserve officers, for use in any serious military emergency, could

never be developed in the way proposed. President Lowell stated this

point very clearly in a letter to the Crimson in the days when student

enthusiasm for enrolment was at its height.

The amount of military drill which could be put into the leisure hours
of students during a period of a few winter months would necessarily not
be very large. It would suffice to teach them the simple evolutions and
the manual of arms, but not much more. These things, however, consti-
tute but a very small part of a soldier's stock of knowledge, much less
the equipment of an officer. It may be suggested that Harvard under-
graduates, a good many of them at any rate, might as well spend their
spare time in this as in plenty of other and more usual ways, but regular
military drill is after all a very mediocre form of bodily exercise for any
robust young man. It is, as President Eliot has aptly pointed out, a dull
exercise which most boys and young men find a bore, and does not pro-
duce an even or symmetrical bodily development, nor can a drill hall or
parade ground in any way compare with the gynmasium or football field
as a place for developing physical strength or endurance. Endurance and
the ability to bear fatigue are of great importance in the real work of a
soldier in modem warfare; marching around with a rifle on smooth
ground for three hours a week is not likely to provide a man with these
qualities.

As for the summer camps, these are very different things. Training is
carried on at such establishments under a far closer approximation to the
- conditions of actual warfare. Those who attend the camps

■lumlA bo must live somewhat as they would in the field ; the work of

training goes on all day long, and day after day. There are



oaoonxacod



Digitized by



Google



1916.] The Spring Term. 498

long '* hikes'* or marches; there is practice in manoBuyring over difficult
country ; and the men live for a considerable period of time under all
the rules of military discipline. More things of real value to the work of
a soldier can probably be learned in the six weeks of summer camps, such
as those held last year at Plattsbui*g, than can be gained by two or three
hours a week devoted to drills during the winter months of an entire col-
lege course. It seems clear, therefore, that, while there is no serious ob-
jection to an undergraduate batallion in term-time, provided its drills do
not interfere with regular college work, and provided also that no one
makes the mistake of attaching serious military value to it, the best pol-
icy is for the college authorities to advise attendance at the regular sum-
mer camps.

But all this does not touch one vital aspect of national preparedness
which is altogether apart from what we call military drill. The present
European war has merely made clear what students of mili- th odi

tary science have long recognized, namely, that battles are iMMoaaradly
not won by trained soldiers alone. Of equal or greater im-
portance to any nation, from the standpoint of self-defence, is an ade-
quate supply of skill and expertness in various forms. Warfare nowa-
days demands a far greater number of mechanical, sanitary and electrical
engineers, phyeficians and surgeons, ambulance drivers, men skilled in
handling transport and supply service, accountants, paymasters, men to
handle press censorship — far more men of these qualifications than can
ever be maintained on the staff of a regular army. To gather these by
tbe thousands and even tens of thousands in the whirl and rush of a mo-
bilization would be for this country, under present conditions, a task of
appalling confusion. One hates to think of any such possibility. Yet the
universities of the land, if they should set themselves earnestly to work
along this line and should articulate their effoiia closely with those of the
War Department might render service of the highest value. It is worth
mentioning that nearly all the Americans who are now in the European
war zone have come from the universities of this country. The surgeons
have gone over in the Units sent from the various medical schools ; the
ambulance drivers are in large part college students or young college
graduates. President Lowell, therefore, does well to point out in his re-
cent report that if the universities want to be of real service, they may
find no end of opportunity in this particular field. Possibly the intimation
that an undergraduate should make himself ready by becoming the master
of a wireless telegraph kit rather than by strutting around the Yard in
khaki will not arouse any great enthusiasm, but the suggestion is sound
as Gospel nevertheless.

Now as to steps which the University is actually taking along this line.



Digitized by



Google



494 The Spring Term. [March,

For the present half-year a general coarse is being offered under the ni-
OiTimmt pervision of Captain Cordier, '94, U.S^ This will consist
^JtjtS y*'* of lectures on the elements of military engineering, on cam-
^^^'n^^ paign sanitation and hygiene, transportation and supply, and

on the work of the various arms of the service. There will also be a num-
ber of tactical walks conducted by officers of the Army and students will
be given a good deal of practice in roug^ map-making. No undergradu-
ate is allowed to take this course unless he has already had a course of
training at one of the summer camps or has had an active connection with
one of the regular militia organizations. There are in all probability about
a hundred students who can satisfy this test of eligibility. It is not the
University's intention to establish a snap course into which hundreds of
iellows without any qualification or sincere interest may rush to get en-
rolled. Not a great deal of ground is to be covered by Captain Cordier,
but an attempt will be made to have it covered thoroughly. At best this
half-course represents an experiment, but to all appearances it will be
successful.

For next year sometliing broader is in mind ; but just what form the
plans will take has not yet been decided. Most of the instruction can be,
and probably will be, given by regular members of the University staff ;
for it is needless to say that in such matters as military history, cam-
paign sanitation, and transportation, there are already on the various
Harvard faculties men who are thoroughly qualified to give instruction.

Speaking of military matters, attention should be called to two new
Huitarv ui P^^^^^^^^i^B ^^ ^* ^<bldL. The first is a quarterly called The
MtiMKiVyHar- Military Historian and Eeanamist^ edited by Professor
"^"^ R. M. Johnston, of Harvard, and Captain A. L. Conger, '94,

of the regular army. This periodical will be published by the Harvard
University Press. Its advisory board includes Professors C. J. Bullock, A*
B. Hart, '80, and 0. M. W. Sprague, '94, from the University. In its pre-
liminary statement the new quarterly expresses a hope that it will appeal
*^ to tlie plain man of business who realizes that the isolation of this
country has gone forever." The other publication is a monthly magazine
called American De/ensSj founded by C. S. Thompson, '87. Its editor-in-
chief is P. J. Roosevelt, '13, and its avowed object is the spreading of
interest in preparedness all over the country. Among the contributors
are 6. von L, Meyer, '79, and Owen Wister, '82.

Undergraduate publications have been giving some attention during
recent weeks to a discussion of classroom methods. This is not a new
theme of controversy ; it has come forward from time to
L time during a whole generation, but usually from the pro-

fessor's point of view. It is interesting, therefore, to know



Digitized by



Google



1916.] The Spring Term. 495

jost what the average ondergradaate thinlu of the lecture system as com-
pared with recitations from textbooks or discossLons upon assignments
of reading.

On the whok, the hahinee of student opinion seems ta be adyerse to
the lecture, and in this respect Harvard pfohably does not differ from
other institutions, save, perhaps, in the fact that the antipathy is less
strong here than in most smaller colleges. Students everywhere complain
that there is no *^ give and take " between the minds of the professor and
his hearers where instruction is imparted by means of formal lectures ;
a teacher occupies a position of sjdendid isolation and frequently talks
over the heads of his unresponsive audience. It is true that a professor
need only examine the notebooks of students in his own course to see how
far some of them come from getting down the essentials of the lecture.
There is hardly any question, at any rate, that the lecture system is losing
ground in the colleges of this country, although there is no indication that
it is doing so either in England or on the continent of Europe.

Why has this been the case ? It is not easy to answer that question
confidently, but some reasons may be suggested. In the first place, Ameri-
can professors have had far too much teaching to do. No tm aaoh toe-
university teacher, even though he combine great genius *"™<
with boundless enthusiasm, can prepare and deliver ten or twelve lectures
every week without lowering his own standard of what a lecture ought to
be. Yet in the great majority of American Colleges ten lectures a week is the
usual schedule, and even fifteen is not an uncommon assignment Neither
in the EngKsh nor in the continental universities is a teacher expected to
carry any such burden. If the lecture system is breaking down in this coun-
try, it is not improbably because we have put too much strain upon it — not
because the system is in itself an inferior way of imparting instruction to
young men and women. Recitations, on the other hand, require no great
preparation on the teacher's part and, indeed, no great proficiency in the
subject.

A second reason for the losing grip of tiie lecture method in this coun-
try may be found in our method of recruiting college teachers. On the
whole we have griven little thought to the pedi^^ogical aspects of college
instruction, whereas in secondary scliools this has had great stress put upon
it. We start with the proposition that any holder of a Ph.D. is qualified
to teach, or, as one of the University pamphlets expresifes it, ^' qualified
to give instruction to mature students." Holders of this degree are turned
out by the hundred every year all over the land ; they are plunged at
once into the work of teaching difficult subjects, often without any train-
ing in the science of education and no practice in the use of teaching
methods save what may have been picked up in a vicarious way through



Digitized by



Google



4



X



496 I%e Spring Term. [March,

service as assistants. Is it not worthy of remark that special training in
teaching methods is so widely demanded in secondary school work, bat
almost never in the case of young men who are called to give instruction
in colleges ? To plan a coarse of lectures, prepare them properly, and
deliver them in good form are general tasks that demand more than a
mere knowledge of tlie subject in hand.

After all, there is a good deal to be said for the formal lecture, espe-
cially in the descriptive subjects such as philosophy, history and litera-
ture. College students are not merely learning facts ; they are getting
viewpoints, interpretations, sidelights, things of that sort. Matters of a
purely informational character, statistics, bibliographical data, and the
like tlie student can get from textbooks and manuals ; but the lecture may
well be used to interpret them, to develop his interest in them, and per-
haps to heiJp him over the difficult hurdles. One trouble with our lecture
system is that college teachers give the students too much, leaving tliem
too little to do for themselves. It would be better, perhaps, if lecturers
would merely build the scaffolding, leaving to each student the task of
getting his own bricks and mortar. Then there would perhaps be less
complaint about what the Crimson refers to as '^ the sombre, unprofitable
atmosphere of the lecture room."

A proposal has been made to complete a swimming-pool in the base-
ment of the Harvard Union. Harvard is one of the few large institutions
without a pool of its own, and its swimming teams have been
Mol for tiM on that account placed under a severe handicap. Some of
the private dormitories have small pools, but they are not
adapted for team-training purposes. The result is tliat the undergraduates
who are interested in this form of sport use the Brookline municipal pool
or the swimming-tank of Uie Cambridge Young Men's Christian Associa-
tion.

Space is now available in the basement of the Harvard Union through
the removal of the Crimson to its new building. It is also thought tlwt
the room now used for billiards might be requisitioned as well; the tables
in this room have not been much patronized during the last few years.
As for the cost of installing the pool, which would be about $15,000
(including the boring of a well for an artesian water-supply), this
might be covered, it has been suggested, by the use of various sums con-
tributed by recent graduating classes toward the building of a new gym-
nasium. This could be done, of course, only with the approval of the
various subscribers.

It is not altogether easy to determine whether the installation of sudi
a swimming-pool would have a sustained popularity among members of
the Union apart from members of the swimming teams, whether it would



Digitized by



Google



1916.] 2%e Spring Term. 497

attract more undergraduateB to Union membership, or whether, on the
other hand, it woald merely draw crowds for a little while and then re-
main half-deserted. There is the sanitary aspect of the matter also to be
considered ; the proposed location is such that it conld never be assured
of perfect ventilation or much sunlight. Various methods of increasing
the use of the Harvard Union by undergraduates are receiving consider-
ation, and this is only one of them.

Some years ago various statistics were published to offset the popular
notion that students who attained high rank in college usually failed to
succeed in later life, and even dropped behind in the pro- Honor bob in
fessional schools. It will be remembered, for ezamjde, that tlwLtwSoliod
a study was made of scholarly rank in the Harvard Law School, with a
view to determining whether, so far as graduates of Harvard College were
concerned, there was any general identity between a man's standing as
an undergraduate and his grades at the Law School examinations. A
very distinct resemblance appeared ; indeed, it might be fairly stated from
the figures then published, that men who conunand high marks in Har-
vard College rarely fail to repeat the trick in the Harvard Law SchooL

Within the last few months some interesting corroboration of this con-
clusion has come from another source, namely through a tabulation of
the grades attained by two hundred and fifty graduates at Tale College
who attended the Harvard Law School between the years 1900 and 1915.
The results of this inquiry show that the Yale men who received highest
rank in college were able to obtain, for the most part, high grades in the Bbr-
vard Law School, while those who were at the foot of the list in one in-
stitution, tended to gravitate there in the other. An investigation of the
rank obtained by those who come from still other institutions would un-
questionably afford further corroboration of exactly the same phenomenon,
namely, tbat the man who does poorly in college and well in the profes-
sional school is distinctly an exception to the general rule.

The LamjMon celebrated its fortieth birthday with appropriate merri-
ment on Jan. 29. The chief feature of the celebration was a dinner in
the great hall of its own building, at which W. R. Thayer, ^^^

'81, an editor of the Lampoon in its early days, served prai'i fortletb
as a toastmaster. There was a notable gathering of gradu-
ates who have been at some time or other connected with the periodical
in various editorial capacities. Among them were Robert Grant, '73, F. S.
Sturgis, 75, John T. Wheelwright, 76, Barrett Wendell, 77, Arthur M.
Sherwood, 77, John Du Fais, 77, John Templeman Coolidge, 79, Charles
A. Coolidge, '81, Carleton Sprague, '81, W. W. Kent, '82, R. C. Evarts,
'13, and L. P. Mansfield, '16, — in all more than a hundred members of
editorial boards, past and present President Lowell was the chief guest



Digitized by



Google



498 2^ Spring Term. [Maroh,

«{ honor and dooed tho evening with a fine addfe«k In eonnection with
tlie annivenary celebration mach has been written in Tariona college poh-
Uoations coneeming the beginnings of the Lampoon and its early stmg-
gles, as well as about its rather serious tronbles at times with the powers
that be. An anniTorsary nnmber of the £am|MXM» itself was also, pat npon
the bookstaUs, its contents made up chiefly of coatribntions from the old-



Online LibraryWilliam Richards Castle William Roscoe ThayerThe Harvard graduates' magazine → online text (page 67 of 103)