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AMONG the traditionary anecdotes which descend from class to class, there is one of a certain student who, when asked, in a recitation, what a legal holiday was, replied that he did not know, for he never had anything to do with one. This story, though told as a joke, has a significance which may well cause us to blush for the narrow spirit which prevails in the government of our College.
The 22d of February is Washington's birthday. It is observed as a legal holiday throughout the land. State and national governments unite in doing honor to the memory of almost the only man in our history concerning whose character and services there is no difference of opinion. Banks, post-offices, and stores are closed, and business is everywhere suspended; but Harvard College, on its little spot of ground in Cambridge, Massachusetts, utterly ignores the fact that such a person as Washington ever existed or had a birthday, and calmly goes on in its daily routine. We are forced to the conclusion that colleges have no souls, and are mere grist-mills, which receive school-boys into their hoppers, and turn out "liberally educated men." We care nothing for the holiday in itself, but it seems to us that the Faculty has no moral right to disregard days which the whole nation celebrates. Such a policy is not calculated to create or promote that interest which young men ought to feel in the events thus commemorated.
It is not, as the uninitiated may imagine, an irreparable injury to the College or undergraduates to ??? a few hours of recitations. This is not a primary school, where the master must stand over his pupils to see that they employ every moment of their time.
The same unaccountable singularity showed itself on the 18th of December last. In direct opposition to what a sense of propriety would seem to dictate, the College exercises, with all the attendant noise and bustle, were kept up to within an hour of the funeral services of one of the greatest savants of the age.
If the object of the College officers was to bring up the students to be as matter of fact as possible, they could not devise a more ingenious method for accomplishing this result. In fact, under such a system, it is a wonder if there is any sentiment left among us.
A. L., JR.
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