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The History of Harvard's Commencement, Explained

The Union Debate.

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

The regular fortnightly meeting of the Harvard Union took place last evening. The question for the evening was, "Resolved, that the inter-collegiate contests of Harvard should be with Yale alone." Mr. J. A. Bailey was the first gentleman to dispute in favor of the affirmative. He said the respective merits of Harvard and Yale in field and track athletics were materially obscured by the admission of smaller colleges in the league. The financial aspect of the case was of great importance and could not be ignored. Harvard's share of the gate receipts in New York would be minute compared with the returns if the games were played alternately at Cambridge and New Haven. Under this system more men would be drawn into the contests; there would be better grounds for the sports; more enthusiasm would be aroused, and athletics in the two colleges would not have a tendency to run in special channels. Mr. H. M. Williams spoke first in behalf of the negative. He said that games with the other colleges could continue as usual, but they should be practice games only. If Harvard struggled with Yale alone, the Lacrosse Club, Gun Club and Cricket team would be without rivals. Oxford and Cambridge, the two great English universities, could not be cited as a favorable example of the proposed scheme, as their contemporary educational institutions were decidedly insignificant, savoring somewhat of the "fresh water" colleges of the West. Mr. W. C. Boyden argued for the negative. He stated that the Harvard-Columbia race was an excellent instance of the inadvisability of including several colleges in the league. In this case the Harvard crew lost much by rowing Yale so soon afterwards, and if the race with Columbia took place earlier there would be a waste of time as well as of money. Mr. W. D. Clark spoke in favor of the negative. He said if men were hurt in championship games, they were just as liable to injury in practice games. If the other colleges were given up and the number of games between Harvard and Yale were increased, the interest would be lessened, and the attendance would diminish. In case of a dispute, the representatives would disagree and a deadlock would be the consequence, and neither would be willing to submit to arbitration. When the question was thrown open to the house, a large number availed themselves of the opportunity. The following gentlemen spoke in favor of the affirmative: A. Burr, '89; F. B. Williams, '88; C. Hunneman, '89; A. J. Wells, L. S.; S. C. Lawrence, '90. The following addressed the meeting in belief of the negative: H. A. Davis, '91; C. P. Blaney, '91; C. Warden, '89; W. Naumburg, '89; A. D. Hill, '91; A. E. Healey, '91; A. E. Beckwith, Sp.; W. Williams, L. S. The votes were as below: On the merits of the question, affirmative, 14, negative, 14; on the merits of the principal disputants, affirmative, 25, negative, 11; on the arguments as a whole, affirmative, 8, negative, 1, The question for the next meeting is: "Resolved, that the University nine should be allowed to play with professionals."

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