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A Graduate's View of the Football Controversy.


The Boston Post of yesterday contained a long letter from John Codman 2d, on the foot ball controversy. We quote the most pertinent passages:

"Fault is found with Princeton for playing Ames because he has played in some base ball games for money, and therefore comes under the term professional. Affidavits have been shown to prove this, and a facsimile of a letter of Ames's tending in the same direction. It appears also that Ames and others have produced counter affidavits and declarations that the letter is a forgery. Now my first question: Why is it not fair and just to give Ames and Princeton the benefit of the doubt till the facts are established, or, at least, leave the question open? If the facts are established let us have them."

Mr. Codman then asks several questions about the alleged brutality of Princeton's play, with many unjust comments on Harvard's attitude.

"The first half of the Princeton-Harvard game it was an even thing-the sky was blue, the sun shone, the Harvard cannon boomed and everything was lovely-everybody was happy and cried, "The finest game of foot ball ever seen!" The second half, the sky clouds and lowers, the sun disappears the cannon ceases to boom, and the complaints of slugging, unfair play, and Ames resound and increase with Princeton's score, till at the close Princeton is pronounced a brute, a knave, a liar. The Princeton players were, heavier men and older men than Harvard and could stand a rough game of give-and-take longer. Was this Princeton's fault? Then, too, there is no dispute that they played a better game. But the cry of brutes-based on Donnelly's and general rough play; knave-based on the calling to Princeton of other than regular students; and of liar-based on the conduct of playing Ames-goes up on all sides. And we want to know how much there really is in it. Later there is a mass meeting of Harvard, preconcerted and encouraged by Princeton's rival, Yale, in which proposition is made to withdraw from the foot ball league at once, and which ends luckily in the withdrawal of Harvard, to take place at the end of the season, and Princeton is held up to the scorn of all true sons of Harvard.

"My sixth question then is, Why should this action have been without the notice or knowledge of Princeton? Why was it necessary to do this with any shadow of secrecy? If to obtain the desired dual league with Yale, why fear to give the college time to consider it? Why spring this alliance of the "fox and goose" on the university? The answer is, 'To take advantage of the ill-feeling excited by the Princeton game to get rid of Princeton.' Why not have done this in a straightforward deliberate way, if it is desired by both Harvard and Yale. Surely they are not bound in any way. Harvard, it is conceded, has been generally outwitted by Yale in council as well as in the field, and we read this morning that Yale is showing her love for her new friend and quondam enemy by quite as many men ruled off the field at Springfield as were ruled off the Princeton team at Cambridge. And yet, I fear, only because there is no such disparity in the score, there is mutually admiration and good feeling between Harvard and Yale. "Those of us who were in college when Princeton was the friend and Yale the enemy owe to Princeton our efforts for fair play and fair consideration, and I know that numbers of Harvard men are with me in condemning the action of the Harvard mass meeting as hasty and premature. Let us wait till the evidence is all in and sifted before casting off an old friend and falling into the arms of an old enemy. I earnestly hope that someone will reply to these inquiries and put us entirely in the wrong, but as a graduate of Harvard, a former member of university teams, a friend to Princeton and fair play, I feel I have the right to voice the sentiment and questioning of many men of Harvard, who, with the stories and facts as now presented, cannot help feeling that the smart of defeat, despite protests to the contrary, has had undue influence in the attack on Princeton. I have, I regret to say, played on Harvard teams when I blushed at the unfair play of the men next to me on the Harvard side, and if the attempt is made to eliminate every man of a mean spirit from every college team, I am humbly of the opinion such attempt is hopeless.

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