The Harvard torchlight parade, like Minerva, appears not to have been a thing of slow development and growth. It was born in full panoply of plug hat, black bottle, and a uniform that was unique in political demonstrations.
Time has introduced modifications in some of these features, but, however changed, they still remain the only essential con-comitants of the parade. The custom of parading was started in 1868-the campaign of Grant and Seymour. The college, as in all subsequent processions, went with the Republicans. Unfortunately for the antiquarian, however, the record of this procession is very incomplete. The reporter for the college paper was seized with a mental prostration while marching, and was unable afterwards to give a good account either of himself or of the procession. Notes taken by him on the march were all he could produce. We give them verbatim.
"Hang such mud, anyway! Three cheers for the house on the right, 750 times! Ditto for house on left, 700 times! Ladies in the balcony fifty each! Ladies with Roman candles, three! Contemplative peeler on left, one! Bully for the man who treated to coffee!"
In 1872, the students were forbidden to march as representatives of the college. Accordingly, with that peculiar deference for Faculty decrees which has always prevailed at Harvard, they proceeded to carry out the order in spirit as well as in letter. "Whoever says we are Harvard Seniors is a Liar and a Villian," said the transparency borne by the class of '73; and equally convincing methods were employed by the others to remove all impression from the bystanders that college men had any connection with the parade. The value of obedience is shown by the result, for henceforth the Faculty ceased to interfere in the matter. The procession of '76 was notable for its transparencies. "Hayes and Wheeler and Reform in the Faculty," "Honesty in Policies and Cribs in Examinations," "Free Trade, a free Press, and Free Beer," "Hard Money and Soft Electives;" these were some of the stirring principles announced. That the students were also unusually patriotic that year, was shown by their frequent appeals to the "Spirit of '76." This they carried with them in the black bottles.
"If thim's students, thank hivens I ain't had no education," was the remark of an old Irishman as the prosession of '80 came in sight. Others, however, did not regard the students with such disfavor. "The sidewalks," according to the college paper, "were lined with beautiful young ladies of Boston's first families;" and they greeted the procession with every demonstration of approval. Sixty-five handkerchiefs, one black shawl, and various pieces of hats is the current Crimson's estimate of the more tangible marks of maidenly favor con ferried. This procession of '80 was The largest and best organized of any student parades up to the present time.