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THE remark has often been made, that many graduates of Harvard, despite the instruction in Rhetoric, and the number of required themes and forensics, are unable to write a respectably good letter; meaning, thereby, one that is correct in grammar, spelling, and expression. That this is the case is not at all improbable, as men receive their degree on the average mark in all the studies; and thus a very low mark in a certain study, if accompanied by a high one in some other branch, does not preclude a degree.

This great disgrace (for, no matter how it is explained away, it is a disgrace) might be remedied by exacting many more themes and forensics from those who should fall below a certain mark than are now required. There is no doubt that if the men were required to write a theme, say once a fortnight, the more obvious faults of their style - if they can be said to have a style - would be so often brought to their notice, that even the dullest could not help correcting them. The College has already taken this matter in hand, as is proved by its requiring the candidates for admission to write short essays at their examination; but it is feared that these requirements, unless carefully kept in the light by those who desire a change in the present system, may pass into as dark a shadow as that which has fallen upon the requisitions in English reading. These entrance examinations might furnish a basis on which to divide the class into several sections, which should differ from each other both as regards the time when themes should first be written, and also as regards their number. These suggestions are made merely to show that the undergraduates take fully as much interest in this subject as the alumni, and feel just as keenly as they the disgrace that comes upon a college when any of its graduates are found to be ignorant of the rudiments of an ordinary English education.

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