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THE Convention was called to order at ten o'clock, in a parlor of the College House, Hartford, by Mr. Dana of Harvard, Vice-President of the Association. Nine colleges responded to the roll-call as follows:-
Columbia, represented by J. R. Rees and E. S. Rapallo.
Cornell, Charles Hermen, A. M. Ensign.
Dartmouth, S. B. Wiggin, John Foster.
Harvard, H. S. Van Duzer, S. D. Warren, Jr.
Princeton, A. Alexander, B. Nicoll.
Trinity, J. Roberts, Jos. Buffington.
Wesleyan, H. C. Hermans, W. H. Downs.
Williams, Fred. Johnston, Charles Gilbert.
Yale, C. H. Ferry, R. J. Cook.
The report of the Treasurer was then read and accepted, showing a balance of $277.50 in his hands.
The question now coming up in regard to the admission of new colleges to the privileges of the Association, it was found that four had applied, namely, Union, Hamilton, Rutgers, and New York College, while Brown and Amherst had applied for readmission. On motion of Harvard, Amherst and Brown were readmitted, with the privileges of the floor but not of voting. The other four were rejected by the Convention by a greater or less majority, Union being excluded by a majority of only one. Harvard, on the ground of expediency, voted against them all. A motion was also carried providing for the ratification of the proceedings of this, a special meeting of the Association, at its regular meeting in April. In the absence of the Committee to nominate officers of the Convention, Mr. Ferguson, Commodore of the Schuylkill Navy, was allowed the floor, and gave the Association a hearty invitation to hold their regatta for 1876 at Philadelphia, and to participate in the international University races which are contemplated in honor of the Centennial. A vote of thanks was given him for the kind offers made on behalf of the people of Philadelphia. The Committee on Nominations now reported for President, Mr. J. Roberts of Trinity; Vice-President, Mr. E. S. Rapallo of Columbia; Secretary, Mr. B. Nicoll of Princeton; Treasurer, John Foster of Dartmouth. On a ballot, these gentlemen were all elected, with the exception of Mr. Nicoll, who declined to serve, and nominated Mr. Ensign of Cornell, who was elected.
Meanwhile Amherst and Brown, who had been denied a vote on the definite interpretation of the word any in the amendment to the Constitution passed April 2, 1873, - whereby "any college not represented in any Annual Regatta of this Association shall not be considered a member of this Association, or have any vote in its convention," - feeling themselves aggrieved, and Harvard, fearing that injustice might possibly be done, moved a reconsideration, which was carried. Their cases being taken up separately, it was decided to allow Brown a vote, who, by the irregular calling of the last Convention, was unrepresented through no fault of its own. Amherst's claim to a vote was rejected, Harvard voting in the minority.
The Convention now adjourned till two o'clock. Proposed by Princeton to reconsider action in regard to the exclusion of Union; seconded by Harvard, who had voted previously in the majority on the ground that special arguments were presented in favor of Union; carried. Action in regard to the admission of Hamilton also reconsidered, and the main question on a tie vote decided by chair in favor of the admission of Hamilton. Harvard voted against the proposition. An amendment to the Constitution offered by Mr. Ferry of Yale subsequently withdrawn, and on motion of Harvard all amendments to the Constitution deferred till the April meeting. On motion of Mr. Ferry, the Regatta rules were now amended to correspond in the main with those used by the National Rowing Association. Proposition of Yale to hold regatta on the 15th of July amended by Harvard to read the 14th, and carried. A motion in regard to the time of day was tabled.
The delegations from New London and Saratoga were allowed the floor, New London speaking first. Mayor Waller in a few remarks introduced Judge Tibbets of the Citizens' Committee, who read a paper containing the propositions of the people of New London, which were of a most generous and satisfactory nature. The final action of Convention in favor of Saratoga was largely due to the fear that the river at New London would not be wide enough to give a straight course to all the contestants in the next regatta. Saratoga's propositions were presented by Mr Ames of the S. R. A. in a much less able and succinct manner, and the Convention went into committee of the whole with closed doors. After a lengthy discussion the committee decided, on the casting vote of the chair, to recommend Saratoga if certain stipulations suggested should be agreed to by responsible parties at Saratoga, secured by bonds of forfeiture with a monetary consideration, such contracts to be made with and to the satisfaction of the members of the Regatta Committee before the April meeting, when, if not completed, the question of place will be still open. Report of Committee accepted by Convention, and the thanks of the Convention were returned to the Mayor and Committee of New London. Also to the Saratoga R. A. for their kindness in the past, and their offers of the present year. Mayor Waller left the offer of New London open till April, and renewed his generous offers of anything or everything "except the town." Adjourned till half past seven o'clock.
The first business of the evening session was a proposition of Yale to buoy the course in the next regatta by lines of flagged buoys, at intervals of an eighth of a mile. Amendment offered by Harvard to row the next race with coxswains was carried without discussion, and the discussion came in on the original motion as amended. Mr. Gunster of Williams spoke strongly in favor of coxswains, while Mr. Cook of Yale opposed them as too sudden an innovation. Harvard urged the proposition, which was finally assented to by a vote of 6 to 4, - Yeas, Columbia, Harvard, Trinity, Williams, Princeton, Brown; Nays, Yale, Trinity, Wesleyan, Cornell.
The proposition to buoy the course then came up on a separate motion, and was carried. A motion to allow coxswains to be taken from graduates of a college was deemed unconstitutional, on the ground that they were members of a crew, and therefore came under the regular rules of eligibility. It was then moved and carried that the Regatta Committee be a committee of qualification.
Mr. Cook now moved that it be left to the option of the colleges to row with or without coxswains, and supported his motion on what seems to us the specious ground that, because it was claimed by some that as good time could be made with coxswains as without, it was proper to allow those who thought they could make better time without coxswains to do so. All boats, we think, should be on the same footing, and the considerations in favor of coxswains are many besides that of time, which, in fact, is of small consequence any way in an amateur race. The motion, it was thought by Harvard, would certainly be lost in a Convention which had just voted in favor of coxswains, and consequently was not strenuously opposed. On the vote, Columbia voted ay, which divided the house; and the President, according to a former precedent, which in this case was obviously unfair, voted in the affirmative, and the previous action of the Convention in regard to coxswains was practically nullified. That the Convention was really in favor of coxswains is shown by the fact that Trinity, the College of the President, is in favor of coxswains, but he, as a presiding officer, did not feel at liberty to use his power for a change.
On motion of Mr. Ferry, it was decided to have two gentlemen, not graduates of colleges, but familiar with boating matters, to serve as witnesses of the race, to be called upon by the judges in case of any disagreement. On motion of Yale, it was also carried to allow a judge to every college, and to levy a tax of $25 on each college, to provide flags for the Freshman race and a flag for the single-scull race, the former not to exceed the value of $60, and the latter of $30. Each college then presented the name of a candidate for the Regatta Committee, and balloting began. On the first ballot Wesleyan's candidate, J. E. Custis, '74, having obtained a majority of the votes, was declared elected; Columbia having four votes, Harvard four, and Yale four. On the fourth Princeton's candidate, J. C. Drayton, '73, was elected. Four ballots followed without a choice. On the last two the vote stood, Harvard five, Yale five. On the last Yale's candidate, C. H. Ferry, was elected. The article of the Constitution forbidding the use of professional trainers was then called to the attention of the Convention. On motion of Mr. Ferry, it was agreed that, in order to more easily distinguish the position of boats at the finish, each boat should carry its number on a wire gauze frame raised on the bow.
It was also decided that the single-scull race should be in all respects subject to the Constitution and rules of the Association. A motion was then made and carried that any cups offered as prizes by the citizens of the town in which the regatta is held would be accepted by the Association. The Convention then adjourned to the Massasoit House, Springfield, at ten o'clock on the first Monday in April.
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