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LATIN THE UNIVERSITY LANGUAGE.
Old South Leaflets. 58. Letters of Attorneys) and only one AttorneyHooper to Bullinger. 59. Sir John Eliot's General. “ Apologie for Socrates." 60. Ship-money
After Mr. Sibley's death, the editorPapers. 61. Pym's Speech against Strafford. 62. Cromwell's Second Speech. 63. ship of the Catalogue passed into Milton's “ A Free Commonwealth."
other hands, and pure English was Sir Henry Vane's Defence. (Old South substituted for corrupt Latin, the Meeting-house : Boston. Price, 5 cents Quinquennial of 1890 being the first each.)
catalogue ever issued in the modern vernacular.
But from this change degrees were COMMUNICATIONS.
specially excepted for some
which I never could understand. In Court of Claims, Washington, D. C. England they are expressed in the
Oct. 16, 1895. English language. The catalogue of To the Editor of the Harvard Grad- graduates of Oxford bas long been so uates' Magazine : Sir, - I am de- printed, and I think one never sees in lighted with the able article in the that country the use of S. T. D. (DocSeptember number of the Graduates' tor of Sacred Theology), but always Magazine against the use of Latin on D. D. (Doctor of Divinity), and M. A. diplomas and Commencement pro- (Master of Arts) is universal instead grammes. It is exactly in the line of A. M. (the Latin form). with what I have urged by word and A few years ago a distinguished pen for more than thirty years. clergyman of Massachusetts, now de
My efforts were specially directed ceased, published an article under his to a change in printing the Triennial own name with the addition of both (now Quinquennial) Catalogue from D. D. and S. T. D. Upon his attenLatin to English, and I had several tion being called to the fact that they argumentative conversations with Mr. both meant the same, one in English Sibley, who edited that interesting and the other in Latin, he strenuously publication for so many years. But controverted the statement, and wrote no impression could be made upon a letter defending his position, saying him, he was so firmly imbedded in the that he had both degrees from differrut he had been always accustomed to. ent colleges, and knew they were not
Some of the entries in the Cata- alike. Had he looked at Webster's logue were quite ridiculous. The Dictionary, he would have found DocPostmaster-General was put down as tor of Divinity put down as the Eng“ Rerum pub. Foed. Rei Vered. Cura- lish for S. T. D. Subsequently when tor Summus," which might be literally he had time and took the trouble translated as Great Curator of fast to compare his two diplomas, he was horse things. The Attorney-General of obliged to acknowledge that each conthe United States was called “ Attorna- ferred upon him the degree of “Sacrae tus,” a word never applied in Latin to Theologiae Doctor." a lawyer, whose proper designation I hope the agitation will continue
“ Advocatus." He was not even until diplomas and Commencement styled, as was the Postmaster-General, programmes are in the language of summus, although there are many At- the living and not of the dead. torneys of the United States (District WILLIAM A. RICHARDSON, '43.
To the Editor of the Harvard Gradu- in Greek, Hebrew, or Sanskrit, not ates' Magazine : Sir, I was greatly quite so many could read it, and it pleased with “From a Graduate's would look more mysterious and perWindow” in the September Magazine. haps command still more respect. I do not know who wrote the article, I feel sure that within a few years but I greatly admire his courage. The practical common-sense will so overarticle was full of solid truth and com- come the worship of that which is mon-sense. It appears to be assumed old, that all institutions in the United that every one can understand and States will
use English diplomas. read Latin ; a most absurd assump- With this will come the English order tion. A diploma is a certificate to the in the degree abbreviations. Then we general public to show that the insti- shall see at Harvard, not S. B., S. M., tution has educated and examined the S. D., A. B., A. M., etc., B. S., M. S., holder, and thus informs the public D. S., B. A., M. A. that he is prepared to practice medi- Latin is seldom used except upon cine or law. Now is there any one special occasions which the institution who can say that it is not absurd to wishes to make occasions of great make out a certificate in Latin, when dignity and grandeur. I hope that it nine hundred and ninety-nine out of may soon be seen that this is absurd. every thousand for whose benefit it is Why is not English good enongh? made out cannot read a word of it ? Why talk in a language that few of Not only can the general public not your hearers can understand ? The read it, but the average college grad- writer of “From a Graduate's Winuate cannot, after he has been out of dow" writes that even the students college five years. Some of our in- who are about to receive their diplostitutions are slowly adopting English mas cannot understand the Presias the diploma language. Syracuse dent's Latin, “and hesitate and fail to University uses it at least for her come forward at the sonorous diplomas in science.
dant.'" There are two reasons why Latin is The Graduates' Magazine, in speakretained as the diploma language. ing of the Commencement, says : “It One is because it was once used and was observed that several of the rewas used many years. This is the cipients of honorary degrees did not same reason that helped Latin and stand, as is customary, while the PresGreek to hold full sway in our colleges ident addressed them.” Probably to the exclusion of English, history, they did not understand him, did not modern langnages, and science. The know that he was addressing them. worshipers of Latin and Greek have Harvard confers many honorary demade a continual warfare against all grees upon persons who do not preadvancement.
tend to have any knowledge of Latin, The other reason why Latin is re- and probably many of those who took tained as the diploma language is be- a classical course at Harvard have forcause it looks mysterious and learned. gotten about all the Latin they ever But few can read it, and therefore it knew by the time they are considered is supposed that the people will re- worthy of an honorary degree. spect it and bow down before it and
FLAVEL S. THOMAS, m '74. its holder. Now, if the diploma were HANSON, Mass.
REPORT OF VISITING COMMITTEES.
which the programmes announced it BOARD OF OVERSEERS.
was the pride as well as the practice
of the preparatory schools to insist. Composition and Rhetoric. - In the
The result of their inquiries was not last report of the Committee on Com- inspiriting. Indeed, it was so disposition and Rhetoric, submitted now tinctly the reverse of inspiriting that three years ago, attention was called the Committee, in place of merely to the singular and most unhappy stating their conclusions, which would divergence found to exist between naturally have been challenged on the theory and practice in one most im- ground of exaggeration, took the unportant branch of education prepara- usual course of submitting as part of tory for college. So far as writing their report a large body of evidence the mother tongue is concerned, — a in the form of original examination thing all admit not to be wholly dis- papers, as well as compositions, all regarded in what is known as the printed literatim, punctuatim et verbatim, higher education, — the theory, elabo- and a large part of them reproduced rately expounded and generally ac- in facsimile. cepted as an established article in or- Those papers spoke for themselves ; thodox educational faith, long has been discreditable to the young men, averthat the proper way to learn to write aging nineteen years of age, who preEnglish is to translate orally Greek pared them, they revealed a condition and Latin. In this way, it is argued, of affairs, combined with methods of and, if not alone in this way, yet in- instruction in the preparatory schools, disputably better in this than in any the reverse of satisfactory. Nor was other way, can command of a vocabu- the state of affairs thus revealed delary, flexibility, and knowledge of con- nied. On the contrary, commenting
. struction, in short, a terse elegance of upon that 1893 report, Prof. W. W. pure English expression be acquired. Goodwin," speaking with indisputable And, accordingly, it is found on ex- authority, remarked : “Many good amination that the programmes of the people who read the Committee's rebetter class of preparatory schools set port will believe that our mother forth that in these institutions, in all tongue is singled out for neglect and cases of translating Greek or Latin contempt by the preparatory schools ; into English, a “ free, original and and some will think that the neglect idiomatic rendering" is insisted upon. of English is justified by the high
Discouraged at what seemed the standard of scholarship in Latin, Greek, lamentably low average of the English and Mathematics which (as they supexercises submitted to them as the pose) the college exacts of its candiwork of the younger college classes, dates for admission. Nothing can be the members of the Committee, in pre- farther from the truth than both of paring their report of three years ago, these ideas. . . . A similar test apturned to the examination books in plied to any other department would which Greek and Latin were rendered disclose a state of things in the lower into the native speech. They hoped ranks of scholarship which would be to find in them extracts from the classic proportionally disreputable. • . . It masterpieces reproduced in that“ free,
1 Prof. W. W. Goodwin in Harvard Graduatesi original and idiomatic rendering” upon Magazine, January, 1893, vol. I, p. 190.
cannot be doubted that a similar depth and allowing it all the weight to which of ignorance of Geometry, Algebra, it is entitled, it yet remains that, under Physics, or History might easily be the existing system, the examination disclosed.”
papers indicate unmistakably that a The Committee on Composition and very large portion of the time of the Rhetoric has, of course, nothing to do preparatory school course is consumed with the Departments of Geometry, in exercises which, in result, so far as Algebra, Physics, or History; but, as- good English composition is at issue, suming that the condition of affairs in seems to obscure at least in the mind those departments, so far as our pre- of the student the fundamental principaratory education is concerned, is as ples that every sentence consists of a described by Professor Goodwin, and subject and a predicate, and that clearfurther that neither the College nor ness in the expression of thought is of the preparatory schools themselves, the essence of good writing. Beyond but the entity conveniently known as this elementary conclusion it does not “the system” is responsible therefor, to your Committee seem necessary at the question naturally presents itself present to go ; but they again adduce whether anything, and, if anything, in this, as in their former report, a what can be done to remedy such a body of original evidence showing that condition of affairs.
the conclusion bas not been arrived That the condition of affairs, so far at unadvisedly. The following are as the written rendering of Greek and some of the examination papers in AdLatin into English is concerned, should vanced Latin taken at random from a admit from any quarter of aggressive, mass of such papers by candidates for or even earnest defense, would seem, admission to the College, submitted in face of the evidence, most improb- at the last (1894) entrance examinaable. It has, indeed, been suggested, tion. in a somewhat deprecatory spirit, that It will be observed that all of the things may not be quite so bad as the above papers were pronounced satisexamination papers would seem to in- factory so far as the admission of the dicate; inasmuch as, when the scholars candidate to College was concerned.? who wrote those papers sat down to The showing would be much worse had express themselves for ordinary pur- a due proportion of the papers of those poses of life, it would be found that who failed to pass the examination they naturally threw off the evil in- been included. As it is, the papers fluences of their training, and, it might differ in no essential respect from those even perhaps be hoped, would express given in the previous (1893) report of themselves nearly as well as they this Committee, or from those sub would have done had they not been sequently printed in the Harvard subjected to that training. In other Graduates' Magazine for January, words, the examination papers, so far 1893. The same inferences must be as the rendering of the classic tongues drawn from them. As stated by Prointo English was concerned, were mere fessor Goodwin, these inferences point educational antics incident to admission to college, and not to be taken 1 The Committee print sixteen specimens,
which are omitted here from lack of space. – ED. seriously.
The lowest mark given among the sixteen Accepting this plea in extenuation, specimens is C minus. – ED.
to “a state of things in the lower ranks primary education, it seems scarcely of scholarship” which is "disreput- profitable for the Committee to pursue
“ able," and a “depth of ignorance and its investigations further and into the carelessness,” so far as elementary more advanced departments. When, English is concerned, which is “one again to quote from Professor Goodof the many results of the deplorable win, “the underpinning on which we condition of our lower education, for propose to build our higher education which neither the College nor the pre- is weak and unsteady," — when on the paratory schools are directly respon- highest authority this is admitted to sible, though the consequences and be the case, it appears to the members disgrace fall largely upon both.” Pro- of your Committee that the best possifessor Goodwin further adds : “There ble service they can render is to call is no conceivable justification for using repeated attention to the facts until the revenues of Harvard College, or adequate measures of reform are inthe time and strength of her instruc- itiated and their results become aptors, in the vain attempt to enlighten parent. the Egyptian darkness in which no Those measures of reform are not small portion of our undergraduates for this Committee to indicate. The are sitting The College must do members of the Committee are not something to redeem herself from dis- specialists in educational matters, nor grace, and to put the disgrace where do they profess to be familiar with it belongs ; but she must no longer results produced in other countries spend time, strength, and money on and through different methods. If, the hopeless task which she has re- also, as Professor Goodwin asserts, the cently undertaken.”
difficulty in the present case is one for These it will be noticed are the con- which neither the College nor the preclusions of a Professor, and a very paratory schools are responsible, but eminent Professor, of the College. is inherent in “the system,” it is apExpressed with a directness of lan- parent that the work of reform will guage which
your Committee would prove a considerable one. None the hardly have ventured to use, they set less it is also apparent that the Colforth with clearness an inside view of lege is now wasting its time, strength, the situation. The paper from which and resources in an impossible atthese extracts have been taken ap- tempt “ to enlighten Egyptian darkpeared over two years ago, immedi- ness," and this state of affairs at least ately after the report of this Com- should not be allowed to continue. mittee was published. If in conse
That it may not continue it must be quence of that report, or of Professor shown that it continues to exist ; even Goodwin's paper upon it, any steps in though evidence of the fact, to be conthe direction of a reform of the “sys- clusive, may involve, as in the present tem” bave been taken, they have not case, a wearisome reiteration. reached the ears of your Committee, This report is general in character. nor are the results thereof conspicu- The Committee has not given and, inously apparent in the examination deed, does not know the names of any papers since submitted.
of the students whose papers have While such a very unsatisfactory been published, or those of the schools condition of affairs is seen to exist in at which they were prepared. In their