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To the Editors of the Crimson:

A listener at the debates held last evening for the selection of freshmen as members of the debating societies, could hardly have failed to be struck by two things: (1) the good material among the speakers; and (2) their lack of that finish and self-confidence which comes from experience in debate. These men are men who ought to go on to cultivate their powers, but the large majority of them are not of a grade to pass the ability tests of the existing debating societies. I take for granted the undoubted benefits of training in debate, to the individual debaters, and Harvard's standing in that matter is certainly deserving of careful maintenance. But what are these freshmen to do? Their organization, by the terms of its constitution, graduates them when they become sophomores. There is room for, there is need for, a Sophomore Debating Society. Will not these men receive the encouragement of the older societies to form such a society? There can be little doubt on that point. If the members of the class of '98 who are interested in debating will take the matter in hand, they will do the cause of debating at Harvard a real service.


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