President Sauzade stated that the meeting was called to decide on the challenges received from Columbia and Yale, and that, by a vote of the last meeting, the challenge from Yale was first to be disposed of. The consideration of the Yale challenge had been postponed until it was seen whether Mr. Thompson, the captain of the Y. U. B. C., would withdraw unjust charges which he was alleged to have made against the referee of the last Yale-Harvard race. The President called upon Captain Bancroft to say what had been done in the matter.
Captain Bancroft said that he had had an interview with Captain Thompson, in which the four charges that Captain Thompson was said to have made against the referee were disposed of as follows: Captain Thompson denied that he had charged the referee with coaching the Harvard crew before the race. Captain Bancroft explained that the referee had not only so changed a buoy as to indicate a bed of weeds in Harvard's course, for which Captain Thompson had accused the referee of unfairness, but that he had also removed a snag from Yale's course. Captain Thompson admitted that this act of the referee counterbalanced the changing of the buoy. It was then explained that the referee's signals with a red handkerchief were directed, not at the Harvard crew, but at the engineer of his own little steamer, to regulate the speed. The charge that he signalled the Harvard crew was accordingly withdrawn. The last charge was that the referee had ordered Yale out of what Captain Thompson called Yale's own water, - water which Yale had taken in Harvard's course, behind Harvard. Captain Bancroft stated that the referee had told both crews that each was to keep in its own course from start to finish, - that neither crew, whether leading or not, could take their opponent's water. Captain Thompson explained that the referee's directions to Yale had been given them at a time when he was not with the crew, and that he was thus ignorant of this rule. Accordingly, he withdrew the charge.
Captain Bancroft said that there was therefore now no reason why we should not row Yale. He moved that Yale's challenge be accepted, and that the race be rowed at New London. This motion was carried unanimously. The date of the race will be decided later. It will probably be about the last Friday in June.
Yale's challenge being disposed of, Columbia's was taken up. The President said that the acceptance of this challenge might fairly be expected to establish a precedent which would cause Harvard much annoyance. Yale was the college with which we wanted to row; and in boating matters, all else should be made subservient to the Yale race. For this race, however, that with Columbia was found to be an excellent preparation, and as such, was very desirable for Harvard. The question was one to be carefully considered; and the President would be glad to have it generally discussed by the meeting.
Mr. Danforth thought that a race between Columbia and Harvard would be very pleasant, and that there was no reason why there should not be one.
Captain Bancroft said that, as a member of the crew, he should enjoy rowing two races, since it offered a greater reward for the hardships of training, and since the first race was good discipline for the second. He was, however, undecided as to the advisability of entering into a series of races with any college besides Yale. At all hazards, the Yale race should be kept independent of all others and above all others.
Other speakers thought that Harvard had withdrawn from the Association to row with Yale alone, and that entering into races with any other college tended to interfere with the Yale race. They thought that so long as the Columbia race was subservient to that with Yale, it was desirable for us to enter it; but that we could be by no means sure of keeping it thus subservient. If we could accept the Columbia challenge for this year, and fix the race for a few days before the Yale race, without in any way binding ourselves to row Columbia next year, we ought to accept it; but was it possible to thus accept it, and not give Columbia any claim upon us for another year?
It was finally voted to refer Columbia's challenge to the Executive Committee, and to take an informal ballot to ascertain the sentiment of the meeting. On this ballot a majority voted in favor of accepting the challenge. The matter is thus left in the hands of the Executive Committee, who promise to arrive at a decision as quickly as possible. They will have to answer three questions: Can we expect to always so fix the time and place of the Columbia race as to make it subservient to the Yale race? If not, do we care to row Columbia every year any way? If not, are we in any way bound to row them another year by accepting their challenge this year?