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THE criticisms made by the Editors of the Advocate on the communication of C. E. P. deserve some consideration. I therefore beg leave to make use, on this occasion, of your paper.
Wisely waiving "the contemptuous treatment of the minority," and "the dragging of this matter into the Boston papers," the Editors of the Advocate devote their attention to "the coalition, prearranged or implied," which, in their opinion, is sufficient to render null and void an open election. Without examining the peculiar constitution of an election, whose validity is made dependent upon conditions, the existence of which it would be impossible to ascertain, and which were not declared to be binding until after the election, and then by a deeply chagrined minority, I shall devote myself to the consideration of coalitions, in general and in particular.
In the opinion of the Editors of the Advocate when one society and a certain number of non-society men vote several times for the same men, the inference is irresistible that there was a coalition. Apply this method of reasoning. In the case of each of these offices, about the possession of which there has been so much dispute, but two candidates were balloted for: one was a Pudding man, the other was not. Was it, then, necessary for a person who belonged to a division of the class outside the Pudding to vote for a Pudding candidate when he was not voting for one of his own candidates, lest, forsooth, he should be a guilty partner in a coalition? The Advocate or advocates have somewhat stupidly overlooked the reductio of their own reasoning: for, since there were but two sets of candidates, and the balloting throughout was pretty close, if one body of men voted constantly for one set, it is deducible that another body voted constantly for the other set; and the same "irresistible conclusion" which may be drawn from one line of action may be drawn from the other. (The fact is, there was some changing of votes, and, disastrous though it be to these exclusive defenders of "intrinsic fitness," the truth must be told that it was from the Pudding candidates, and not to them.)
The Advocate leaves its readers to infer that this unanimity in the case of the Pudding and its adherents was owing to the influence of personal acquaintance and friendship. Undoubtedly, that, or the expectation of it. Hostile though the intention may be, I am glad the Advocate denies the majority that basis of union. However productive of friendship the action of the Pi Eta was, there was yet a principle, in accordance with which non-society and society men directed their efforts. That principle was the mutual recognition of each other's rights, and the determination to maintain them.
Another proof to the Advocate of the existence of a coalition between the non-society and the Pi Eta, is the fact that the Pi Eta indorsed the non-society candidates. Remembering the refusal of the non-society to indorse the Pi Eta candidates, I doubt the convincing effect of this evidence, especially when one is informed that not only did the Pi Eta indorse the non-society candidates, but also the Signet candidates. From which latter circumstance it might, with equal propriety, be inferred that there was a coalition between the Pi Eta and the Signet!
There was no coalition between the Pi Eta and the non-society. Nobody will deny that there was an understanding ("implied coalition," if you prefer) between individuals as to whom they would support; and this was only and solely for the purpose of electing those men who, taking into account their ability and surroundings, it was thought could best fill the offices.
This is the extent of the coalition which the Advocate so loudly decries; but why should it be regarded more detrimental to an open election for men, non-society and society, to unite in supporting a certain ticket, than for men inside a society to unite in doing the same thing? That there was a "coalition" between the members of the Pudding, not to mention persons outside of it, is evident from the facts, first, that before the meeting several Pudding men, in one case as many as four, were nominated by Pudding men for the same office; and, secondly, that in the meeting all these Pudding men voted solidly for one Pudding candidate. Here it is indisputable that there was "bargaining," although, unlike charity, it began at home.
In short, the rules of action approved by the Advocate and adhered to by the Pudding seem to be about as follows: See that your own society is larger than any of the others, with members united as to their course of action, and that outside bodies are divided as to what they should do; then, if these latter begin to recognize that there are claims, although coming from beyond the limits of each one's own society, which are worthy of their consideration, if they begin to show a kindly and proper regard for each other's rights (as the members of any one society are perfectly justifiable in doing), denounce their proceeding as "bargaining"; stigmatize the majority, when your candidates are defeated, as a "coalition"; loudly declare that you stand immovably on the principle of "intrinsic fitness" (yourselves being the judges as to where the same resides); and, as a final and convincing proof of your independent and manly spirit, secede and have nothing to do with your unappreciative class.
J. K. R.
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