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The History of Harvard's Commencement, Explained

THE JANUARY MONTHLY

An Article on Scholarships at Harvard and at Oxford by Professor Ashley.

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

The most important contribution to the January Monthly is an extremely interesting article by Professor Ashley on "Scholarships at Harvard and at Oxford." The holders of scholarships and their positions in the two Universities, rather than the scholarships themselves, are, more strictly, the subjects of this article in which Professor Ashley points out the lamentable "lack of position" of the Harvard scholar and gives what he thinks are two reasons for it. The chief of these is the restriction of candidates to those who, in the language of the catalogue, are "in indigent circumstances" and "in need of aid,"--a restriction which brings it about that the scholarship at Harvard is not, as at Oxford, prevented "from being associated with poverty, or with the defective breeding which unfortunately poverty too often brings with it."

Another reason, according to Professor Ashley, "is that the scholarships are of too small amounts; that there are far too few of four hundred dollars and far too many of one hundred and fifty or less." In Oxford a "scholar" gets his scholarship by examination before he enters the university and then holds it throughout his university career. The result is not only to make the scholarships more desirable, but to affect the schools which, in England, instead of "preparing men to satisfy the 'entrance requirements'", fit them to try for scholarships. So Professor Ashley ends by saying: "If the grants of Price Greenleaf Aid were raised in amount and lessened in number; if pains were taken to make them known in every part of the country; and examinations were held in every state of the Union; it is at any rate possible that the competition would be more keen and fruitful than at present. Examination is an evil but a necessary one; and it seems to me that in this connexion, as in others, the University may find itself led to make more use of them, and to treat them more seriously."

Of the other articles in the number, the two best are the second of D. G. Mason's sketches, and an article on Stevenson's letters by W. Morrow '00. The other contributions are: "The Emancipation of Greene," by W. Gros venor; "Where Man's Strength Fails," by Rowland Thomas; "A Child of the Revolution," by Frank Simonds; "Old Friends in New Parts," by B. B. Lee '01; and "Dusk," by Richard Washburn Child. The editorial contains some objections to the proposed site of the new Union.

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