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and to a considerable extent an ex officio board, and beholding between themselves and the College another non-resident body, viz. the Corporation, acting as a more direct check on the Immediate Government, felt a very relaxed zeal in the discharge of their office as visitors, and had become and in fact are still merely so in name. Thus of the three college boards, the Immediate Government wants power and responsibility, and the Overseers visitatorial interest; and both of these effects take place, because the Corporation have in some degree combined the functions of the two other academic bodies.
These were some of the objections alleged to exist against the present organization of the Corporation. We have not stated them in detail, nor illustrated them with facts and instances. Opinions will be divided as to the strength of these objections. What seems an evil to one will seem only a trifling inconvenience to another, and those who agree in the evil, will differ in the remedy. In our judgment the best remedy, though not at first view that proposed by the memorial, would eventually flow from putting the principles of the memorial in operation ; viz. a complete division of the powers now exercised by the Corporation between the two other boards, the Immediate Government on the one hand, and the Overseers on the other. Strong objections have been made to giving the Immediate Government the choice of officers and the appointment of salaries. If this could not safely be committed to them, under the check of the concurrence of the Overseers, give these powers to the Overseers exclusively, or what would amount to the same thing, let the Overseers and Corporation according to the letter of the charter, and the original practice under it, meet in convention on all these subjects.
The evils which we have enumerated in the present constitution of the Corporation, whether real or imaginary, were likely to be felt or fancied, more directly and strongly by the Immediate Government, than by any body else. Of whatever kind the evil, whether the loss of power, of responsibility, of trust, of honour, of public confidence, they were the first and the greatest sufferers. If the college did not thrive, it was of no consequence to the Overseer, who as a senator or a counsellor would cease, perhaps, in a year to be connected with the institution ; and it was of comparatively little consequence to the member of the Corporation, who, on the bench, at the bar, or in one of the most conspicuous parishes,
had other more important connexions with society. But on the prosperity and adversity of the college, the interests, honour, and happiness of the Immediate Government must almost always be exclusively dependant. Many of the objections above urged are, moreover, such as connect themselves with the daily administration of their duties.
In this state of feeling, it could not but occur to men anxious for the improvement of the system, to which their existence is so closely pledged, that this organization was comparatively a new thing. It was in the recollection of all of them, that it is only since 1806, that the Fellows (so called) have been exclusively non-resident, Dr Pearson having been the last Professor admitted to the Corporation. Those whose memories ran farther back, recollected when, besides the President, there were two of the Immediate Government in the board of Corporation. They remembered it as a sort of maxim, that one Professor, commonly the Professor of Divinity, and the oldest Tulor, at a time when the Tutorships were permanent, were members of the Corporation. Finally, those acquainted with the foundation and history of the college knew that the constitution of the Corporation had been a question of construction of the charter, keenly agitated, never decided, compromised between the parties, and still open to investigation. Under these circumstances “the memorial" drawn
up, subscribed by a large majority of the Immediate Government, and presented to the Corporation. That body inofficially declined acting upon it, on the ground that it went to their own membership. It was then submitted by the memorialists to the Overseers, and, in consequence of the size of that body, in a printed form. It was presented to the Overseers at the close of a long and fatiguing day, spent in debating another subject, and, without being read, was committed to the same committee, which had been raised to take into consideration the report of Mr Justice Story, upon which we have made some remarks in the former numbers of this articles. The chairman of that committee was John Lowell Esq., a gentleman deeply versed in college affairs; but who in the sequel declined acting as chairman of the committee on the subject of the memorial, in consequence of having already formed and expressed opinions on the subject, unfavourable to the memorial. Considering the amount of duty already in the hands of the committee connected with Mr Justice Story's report, it is to be
regretted that the memorial had not been referred to a separate and special committee. In the month of August a pamphlet was published against the memorial, being No. 6, of our list in Vol. ii. No 6, of this Gazette. This pamphlet was anonymous, but being distributed by Mr Lowell, was understood to have proceeded from his pen, and has not been disavowed. Shortly after its appearance, a reply was published by Mr Everett, with the title of “A Letter to John Lowell Esq.” To this a short anonymous rejoinder was published by Mr Lowell, with which the controversy, in the pamphlet form, closed.
At the last January session of the General Court, the overseers had their semi-annual meeting; when the committee above mentioned made their reports, one a very voluminous one growing out of the subject of Mr Justice Story's report, the other, on the subject of the memorial, and decidedly hostile to its claims. The former of these reports was briefly supported by Mr F. C. Gray, a member of the senate, and of the committee who drafted the report, and understood to be the gentleman by whom it was drawn up. At an adjourned meeting of the Overseers a very masterly, elaborate, and eloquent speech was made by Mr Justice Story against the doctrine of the memorial, considered as a legal claim.
In this powerful speech, Judge Story confined himself chiefly to the first branch of the argument, which will hereafter be specified; it being understood, however, that he was equally prepared to go through with the other topics, and was only prevented by want of time. In the afternoon of the same day, some remarks were made by Mr Richardson, of the senate, in favour of the memorial, closing with a motion, that an opportunity should be offered to the memorialists of being hcard in its support. This was opposed by some members of the board, on the ground that the memorialists had been offered, and had declined a hearing, before the committee. The hearing, however, was finally granted, rather as an indulgence than a right; and, on motion of Mr Lowell, was assigned for the then next semi-annual meeting of the overseers, in the month of June. At a meeting of the overseers the next week, a motion was made by Mr Lowell, to reconsider this vote assigning the month of June for the hearing; and proposing to fix it at a period of two or three weeks. In the debate on this motion, the memorialists were handled very severely, for asking a hearing before the board in that state of the pro
ceedings, after having declined it before the committee. The motion for reconsideration, finally prevailed, and the third of February was fixed for the hearing. The Overseers assembled that day, in the Senate Chamber, their former meetings having been in the much larger hall of the House of Representatives. They were addressed in the forenoon by Mr Everetl, and in the afternoon by Mr Norton in defence of the memorial. The former confined himself, principally, to the question of history and fact. In an introductory attempt to explain the alleged inconsistency on the part of the memoralists, in having sought a hearing of the Overseers, after having declined it before the committee, and generally to justify the manner in which the memorial had been brought forward, he was called to order, and desisted from that part of the defence. The argument of Mr Norton was principally on the subject of the expediency of adopting the principles of the memorial. His very able speech, marked No. 10 in our list of lilles at the head of this article, has since been published; and it will therefore be in our power to lay an analysis of it before our readers.
At the opening of the meeting of the Overseers, at which that kody was addressed on the subject of the memorial, by Mr Justice Story, Mr Lowell had moved three resolutions, as a conclusion to the Report; setting forth,—1st, that the resident instructers had not an exclusive right to be elected members of the Corporation ;-2dly, that there is nothing in the charter nor in the usage of the College, requiring the members of the Corporation to reside; and—3dly, that it would be unwise and indelicate in the Overseers, to express any opinion on the subject.
These resolutions, for what reasons we do not know, were withdrawn, and on the opening of the meeting of the Overseers, the day after the defence by Messrs Everett and Norton, the following were substituted in their stead.
“Resolved: That it does not appear to this Board, that the resident instructers at Harvard University have any exclusive right to be elected members of the Corporation.
6 Resolved: That it does not appear to this Board, that the members of the Corporation forfeit their offices by not residing at the College.
“ Resolved: That in the opinion of this Board, it is not expedient to express any opinion on the subject of future elections."
Mr Gray then followed in support of these resolutions, in a speech of considerable length; and at an adjourned meeting in the afternoon, Chief Justice Parker and Mr [late] Justice Jackson spoke on the same side of the question. The vote was at length taken unanimously in favour of the resolutions.
At a meeting of the Overseers held shortly after, Judge Jackson was presented for confirmation, as a member of the Corporation, and was rejected by a vote of 18 to 20. This rejection was pretty generally ascribed to the fact, that though the Overseers opposed the claim of the memorial, as a matter of right, they favoured the introduction of resident instructers as a matter of expediency. The next week, however, Judge Jackson was again nominated, as a member of the Corporation, and chosen by a vote of 30 to 21.
It was denied by those opposed to the memorial, that the Overseers divided, either on the ground of right or expediency, in reference to the claim of the memorial, in the question of concurrence in the selection of Judge Jackson ; and it was binted that the dividing line was political. This intimation, however, we regard neither as very likely to be true, nor very highly complimentary to the Overseers. Since this time, Mr Justice Story of Salem has also been elected a member of the Corporation, in the place of the Hon. Harrison Gray Otis resigned.
It would be manifestly impossible, as we have already observed, to go over the whole ground of this controversy, but we shall endeavour to give a sketch of its leading points.
[To be continued.]
Essays on some of the First Principles of Metaphysics, Ethics,
and Theology. By Asa Burton, D. D. Pastor of the Church of Christ in Thetford, Vermont. Portland. 1824.
THERE is a most interesting promise made to the reader in the Introduction to this volume.
The author of the following Essays, when he first entered on the study of theology, felt the importance of forming a just and true theory of the human mind. This feeling prompted him to read with atten.