In Defense


(Ed. Note--The Crimson does not necessarily endorse opinions expressed in printed communications. No attention will be paid to anonymous letters and only under special conditions, at the rest of the writer, will names be withheld.)

To the Editor of the CRIMSON:

Aside from the fact that your prospectus of Professor Morison's course in American Colonial History showed an utter ignorance of what it pretended to discuss, the mendacity of the reviewer approached outright maliciousness. If not libelous to the word, the writer's phrasing ill-concealed an uncritical dislike.

I did not receive an honor grade in the course. I found the marking fair and impartial. The reading assigned was not onerous, tests were few, and essays often replaced hour examinations. The midyear and final examinations gave a wide latitude of choice in the questions, and the papers were not red-pencilled for meticulous factual errors.

Your reviewer renders brief refutation impossible by the multiplicity of his fallacies. I will quote only two of his more bilious witticisms.

". . . there is a certain aroma of a cold New England codfish over the entire half-year." That, of course, is a pretty low brand of tripe. Morison focuses his historical spotlight quite impartially over all the thirteen colonies. If he does devote two lectures to the early history of Harvard College, he carefully specifies that he considers the diversion a trifle disproportionate, unnecessary modesty, one would think, from the College's official historian lecturing in one of the College's very oldest buildings, especially since the early history of Harvard is almost one with that of the colony.

". . . the general dryness and unapproachable frigidity of the lecturer . . ." If your reviewer desires a slap-you-on-the-back, Y. M. C. A., up-your mark-ten-points-for-a-quart-of-rye, he's out of his element in the presence of a brilliant gentleman such as Professor Morison. The critic who confuses cultural restraint with congenital coyness ought to be drowned in his own pink ink. Samuel Eliot Morison is one of the ensiost and most sympathetic men to work with I have ever known. His ability as a stylist and an orator renders his lectures as interesting as their lueld, well-proportioned content. He dramatizes the past. One does not have to remember much of what he says; it simply becomes an integral part of one's working knowledge at first shot.

And then, of course, there is always the glamour of studying under one of the great creative historians of our time. I think the CRIMSON owes a very humble editorial apology. Frank E. Sweetser, Jr. '36.