Harvard and its Degrees

Harvard, it seems, may lawfully issue degrees. Attorney General Allen has promulgated an official opinion to that effect. This judgement will relieve of all anxiety concerning the validity of their parchments on the part of the ghosts of George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, John Winthrop, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, John Marshall and other holders of honorary degrees awarded by Harvard College in the past, as well as the ghosts and the living souls of the many thousands who have received degrees in the regular course of the business of the college and the university. In view of the fact that the exercise of Harvard's degree-granting function antedates the State of Massachusetts by one hundred and thirty-two years, and was practically coeval with the Massachusetts Bay colony itself, the Attorney General's opinion can hardly be classed with the epoch-making instruments of American history. As a matter of sober historical fact, the power of Harvard to grant degrees may be regarded as resting on foundations quite as firm as those of the Constitution of the United States. If Harvard could not grant degrees, then there is no such thing as a college degree in existence.

But great is legal form, however, especially at the present time, when the foundations of order are being attacked even by those who wear the robes of the law, and who do not scruple to lay their hands on the most sacred institutions. It is well to have the functions even of this fundamental institution laid down in black and white. --Boston Evening Transcript.