The first business before the Union last night, after the meeting had been called to order by President Merriam, was the debate on the question. Resolved: - "That the percentage system of marking in vogue at Harvard should be abolished." The vote on the merits of the question resulted in 29 votes for the affirmative, and 20 for the negative. The principal disputants on the affirmative were, G. P. Knapp, '87, and H. Page, '88; on the negative, H. B. Hutchins, '86, and I. H. Bronson, Sp. The negative gained the victory on the skill of argument by a vote of 16 to 6.
The following gentlemen spoke from the floor: Affirmative, A. T. Perkins, '87; Platt, '88; Griffing, '89; Hesseltine, '88; negative, Griffing, '88; Rich, '87; Mahany, '88; Proctor, '89; Hobson, '86; Sternbergh, '87; Stedman, '87; Furber, '87. The vote on the debate as a whole stood, affirmative, 12; negative, 21. The question for the next debate is: Resolved, That the coinage of the Bland Silver Dollar should be discontinued.
At the business meeting held after the debate the report of the treasurer showed a balance of $53 in the treasury. A committee report that a design for a shingle had been chosen, and the constitution had been printed. The following extract from the report of the Executive Committee shows the condition of the society:
"When the question of restricting membership to the Union was discussed last spring many doubts were expressed as to the advisability of making any change. The past year had been an unusually prosperous one for the society, and many felt that a movement towards any exclusiveness in membership might result in a lessening of the interest which the college at large would take in the debates of the Union. In making a report for the past half year your Executive Committee takes pleasure in saying that these fears have not been realized; that, on the contrary, greater interest in the society has never been taken than during the past four months, if the attendance at the debates and the number of students who have spoken from the floor are any criteria.
Five debates have been held. The attendance has ranged from 75 to 200, with an average of about 135. The highest average attendance of any previous half year was 125. This increase in the average of but 10 does not, however, gauge the real increase in interest taken by the college in the debates. For in previous years the average has been raised by a large attendance at some one debate. For example the attendance at the meetings when the gubernatorial candidacy of B. F. Butler was discussed was between 300 and 400; at the other debates during the year seldom more than 60 or 70 persons would be present. The same comparison applies, in a less degree, to the attendance at the debates during 1884-85; the discussion of presidential candidates brought out a very large audience, but the remaining debates were not nearly so well attended as have been the regular debates of the past half-year, when no question of unusual public interest has been discussed."
The following new members were elected to the society: Messrs. J. J. Shaughnessy, L. S., P. L. Campbell, '86, W. E. Hesseltine, '88, G. D. Chase, J. H. Proctor, G. A. Reisner, and E. E. Shoemaker, '89. The next business in order was the election of officers. Mr. Merriam, declining a re-election to the office of president, G. P. F. Hobson, '86, was elected to that office. A vote of thanks was unanimously extended to the retiring president. R. B. Mahany, '88, was elected vice-president, and G. P. Furber, '87, secretary and treasurer. The meeting then adjourned.