The Yale News congratulates its college on the discovery that Yale receives a larger percentage of its students from the west than Harvard. This dicovery is based upon certain statistics published by two Harvard papers which argue that since the number of students at Yale from Connecticut and New England is nearly stationary and the per cent from the west is increasing, while the per cent. of such men at Harvard is more nearly stationary, Yale is laying a surer foundation for future growth than Harvard. Now the fact is that Yale started much ahead of Harvard in the west. In 1820 we did not have a single student from beyond the Alleghanies, while Yale had many from beyond the Hudson river and even from the Western Reserve. Since that time Harvard has grown faster than Yale in every way. Our constituency in the west has grown until at the present day there are very few more western men in New Haven than in Cambridge. In 1878, the year at which the statistics start, we had less western men than Yale, and the same is true now, but since that year the increase in actual numbers of western men has been almost exactly the same in both colleges, so that Harvard has gained a larger per cent, over its original numbers than Yale.
Colleges grow like nations-not from hour to hour, nor from day to day, but from century to century. The argument that Yale has gained more students in proportion to her former numbers during the last three years than Harvard and that on account of this Yale is destined to surpass Harvard is fatuitous. Unless Yale gains not merely in per cent but gains more in actual numbers than Harvard, it will always be behind; and whatever may be true for the last three years, during the present year, Harvard has gained not only more numerically, but more proportionately than Yale. The same is true when we consider the past ten years, the past twenty years or the past century. What right have we to argue on the paltry data of three years? What good will it do us to pick out of a hundred years the three in which accident gave Yale a greater proportional increase than Harvard and argue from this trifle that Harvard is going to the dogs? Why, if we take a broad view of the history of the two colleges, these three years only appear like an exception to illustrate the rule.
To return again to the percentage of western men it is evident that since Yale is not making a greater gain in numbers than Harvard, it cannot more than hold its present lead, while if Harvard increases the number of its constituents from the west, whatever the percents may be, it will eventually surpass Yale. From the analogy of history this result is not only possible but likely: so that the surprising discoveries of the Harvard papers do not furnish Yale so much to brag about after all.