1912

[The following entries have been transcribed from the minute books kept in Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge.]


The Sixteenth Meeting of the Society was held on Monday 29th Jan [1912]. Owing to the presence of a considerable quantity of carbon and attendant chemical compounds in the rooms of the Princeps, the Fratres adjourned to the rooms of Fr. Knox Shaw. Fr Mitchison was admitted to the Confraternity with the accustomed ritual. The minutes were read and Fr Chapman gave his paper, which had ‘John Knox’ for its subject. His discourse led to an interesting discussion, after which the meeting was formally closed.

 Signed:
J. W. Reynolds (Prin. Sen.)
H. R. Simpson (Mag. Rot.)

 An amendment was put forward that the induction of the new officers, of Fr Pakeman to the office of Pontifex, of Fr Simpson to the office of Magister Rotulorum, should be mentioned. The Magister expressed his contribution and stood corrected.


The Seventeenth Meeting of the Society was held on Monday Feb 19th [1912] in the rooms of the Princeps. After the meeting had been solemnly opened by the Pontifex Maximus, the minutes were read. An objection was raised that mention of the election to Senatorial dignities had been omitted and the fault was corrected. Fr Knife then read an interesting paper on ‘Egypt’ and a discussion ranging over many subjects followed.

After the meeting had been formally closed the following proposals were made to the Society by the Senate. First that a visitors meeting be held. Secondly that the subject of the paper be ‘Oliver Cromwell’. Thirdly that the Cromwell Club be invited. The Fratres, who though few in number, formed a majority of the fraternity, passed the motion unanimously.

The notice card of Fr. Knife, or person of the same name was acquired by the society.

 Signed:
J. W. Reynolds (Prin. Sen.)


The Eighteenth Meeting of the Society was held on Monday Feb 26th [1912] in the rooms of the Princeps. After the usual ceremonial had been performed a question was asked by a private member as to the identity of the legal sovereignty during meetings of the Society. Fr. Knife and the Magister Rotulorum replied. It was decided that the rolls of the society contained no definite ruling on the matter, and the discussion was closed.

Fr. King then read an interesting paper on the ‘Right of Sanctuary in the Middle Ages’ which evoked a more or less relevant discussion. Two propositions were afterwards put forward and carried; that firstly a meeting open to visitors should be held, and that secondly the subject of the debate paper should be Oliver Cromwell.

The meeting was then closed with the accustomed ritual.

 Signed:
J. W. Reynolds (Prin. Sen.)
H. R. Simpson (Mag. Rot.)

 At a committee meeting held previously the following new rules have been added to the laws of the society.

I. That the Princeps, or member of the Senate XXX occupying the chair, shall have sole power to direct the meeting, and shall call upon the Pontifex to close the meeting with the accustomed ritual.


An extraordinary meeting of the Society was held on Monday 17th Feb [1912] when the society received a very kind invitation from the Rev. P. N. Waggett to listen to the views of Hilarie Belloc on the subject of Property. The society was conveyed to Chesterton by taxicabs generously provided by the Princeps and arrived at the house backwards, probably the result of some obscure ruling by the Chesterton Borough Council.

We proceeded at once to take our seats but it was some time before Mr Belloc appeared. We at once recognised him, an easy matter, considering he was the only person with a crooked tie in the room. Little time was spent in arranging a thoroughly efficient draught, but at length Mr Belloc commenced his lecture. No detailed account of it is needed here; it is sufficient to say we enjoyed it very much. It was perhaps fortunate that Mr Belloc possessed a peculiar method of pulling down the corner of his lips when he said anything particularly clever, as this enabled us to applaud at the right moment with considerable precision. After he had concluded, all the best speakers in the room were called on to express their opinions, but our own noble Princeps hid himself behind the gown of the late Pontifex of the society. In conclusion, we must express the very hearty thanks of the society to the Rev Father Waggett for the intensely interesting evening we spent, an evening, in fact, only clouded by the fact that from among all his ideas on Property, Mr Belloc gave us no advice on how to acquire it.

 Signed:
J. W. Reynolds (Princ. Sen.)


The first meeting of the Society to which visitors were invited was held on Wed, Mar 13th [1912] in the rooms of Fr. Barker and Fr. Chapman, which had very kindly been put at the disposal of the society. The usual ceremony was held in the rooms of the Princeps, and from there the Fratres proceeded to meet their guests. The subject for discussion was ‘Oliver Cromwell’, and Fr. Simpson opened the debate with a more or less biographical sketch of the subject. Fr. Hayward then opened the case for prosecution and after his hearers had made up their minds that Cromwell was indeed a villain, Fr. Smith persuaded them that he was not. The Pontifex spoke next, followed by a few visitors, and finally the Princeps. The discussion was only closed after many talented remarks had been made. The Society and its guests then adjourned for refreshments and finally dispersed. The Society must be congratulated on its second public manifestation, which undoubtedly enhanced its reputation and glory.

 Signed:
J. W. Reynolds (Prin. Sen.)


The 20th meeting of the Society was held on Wed, May 1st [1912].

The business of the meeting was the discussion of a bill by which the Senate replied to the petition lately presented to them by the Fratres. After the usual ceremonies Fr. Hayward was admitted to the office of Magister and proceeded to the reading of the minutes. Fr. Swainson then proposed a vote of thanks to the Frater who had carried through arrangements for the visitors meeting. The Princeps in replying desired the Society to bring forward suggestions for the future activities of the society. It was proposed that a Historical Play should be performed. The reply of the Senate to the petition, set in the form of a Bill, was then read by Fr. Reynolds and the introductory speech made by Fr. Pakeman. Fr. Barker and others immediately spoke against it, the first clause, dealing with the proposed Supreme Court, was rejected and finally the whole Bill was thrown out. The Senate retired from deliberation and when they reappeared declared through the mouth of the Magister that the Senate had resigned and that the Society was a constituent assembly.

Fr. Knox Shaw was voted into the chair and under his presidency laws of regulation and representation were formulated and passed. The election of officers was proceeded to, and after Fr. Reynolds had refused to retain office, Fr. Pakeman was elected Princeps and Fr. Barker, Magister Rotulorum. The meeting was at this point adjourned.


On Wednesday May 8th [1912] the adjourned meeting of the constituent assembly was resumed. Shortly after the Princeps had taken his seat, Fr. Reynolds rose to propose a constitutional reform providing for the terminal election of Tribunes, who might by subsequent re-election secure a seat in the Senate. The scheme appealed to the Fratres and after a short period of questions and explanations, received their suffrages. The Fratres proceeded at once to elect a new Senate, Frs. Reynolds, Smith, Barker and Simpson being elected. The meeting therefore concluded.

 Signed:
S. A. Pakeman (Prin. Sen.)


The 21st meeting of the Society was held on Monday, May 13th [1912]. After the Pontifex had opened the meeting, the Magister read out the results of the Senatorial elections, in which Fr. Reynolds was chosen to the office of Pontifex, Fr. Simpson to that of Magister Rotulorum, Fr. Smith to that of Comes Sacri Thesauri and Fr. Baker to the office of Ceremonius; these were therefore admitted to their dignities. The Pontifex Maximus then called upon the society to elect two tribunes according to the new constitution. Frs. Swainson and Rouquette were elected and swore the imposing oath of the tribunate. The suggestion of a pilgrimage was submitted to the Confraternity, but a final decision was not made, lest the distinguished visitor who was to read the paper should be kept waiting. After coffee had been served Mr Sproseton [A note reads: Scholar of Peterhouse, Gladstone Prize winner 1911.] rose and delighted us with an extremely interesting paper which dealt so thoroughly with the subject of ‘Medieval Christians’ that no Frater seemed willing to try to add anything to it. Some very pertinent questions, however, were put to Mr Sproseton, to which he replied in a manner that delighted us perhaps more than his paper had done. The meeting was then closed with the accustomed ritual.

 Signed:
S. A. Pakeman (Prin. Sen.)
H. R. Simpson (Mag. Rot.)

 Additional:

The Senate regret that they have received notice of the resignation of a member of the Society, Fr Molony.


The Twenty-Second meeting of the Society was held on Monday, May 20th [1912]. After the Pontifex had opened the meeting Fr. Rouquette read an interesting paper on ‘The Greek Mind’, which was followed by discussion on which a learned visitor who had been introduced into the Society for the evening also took part.

The meeting then concluded with the accustomed ritual.

It was decided that, if possible, a pilgrimage should be made to St Ives, but the matter was left to the arrangement of the Magister. It was also decided that each member in turn should provide refreshment and tobacco for the entertainment of the Fratres.

Signed:
S. A. Pakeman (Prin. Sen.)
H. R. Simpson (Mag. Rot.)


The 23rd meeting of the Society was held on Friday, June 17 [1912] to discuss the project of the yearly pilgrimage. After the usual ritual had been performed, and the minutes read, it was decided after a short discussion to postpone the pilgrimage until the Michaelmas term. The Society also determined to accompany the Fraters who had successfully combated with examinations to the Senate House on the degree day.

The meeting was then closed.

Signed:
S. A. Pakeman (Prin. Sen.)
H. R. Simpson (Mag. Rot.)


The 24th meeting of the Society was held on Friday, October 15th [1912] in the rooms of the Pontifex. After the meeting had been formally opened the Princeps proceeded to deliver the address which is customary at the beginning of each academic year. Fr. Simpson as Magister Rotulorum replied to the address, which Fr. King, although dissenting to much that the Magister said, resounded the reply in exceedingly neat terms. Two parties, historical and progressive, were formed in the evening debate and the latter gained notable triumphs in forcing through the house notions that ‘the power of the historian has increased, is increasing and ought to be diminished’ and that ‘the yearly pilgrimage should be immediately undertaken’. The debate was then closed.

The Princeps thereupon announced that two places were vacant on the Senate by the retirement of Frs. Smith and Simpson, the former regrettably through illness. Elections were then held and Frs. King and Simpson were declared to have received a majority, and accordingly became members of the Senate. The tribunarian elections were proceeded to and Fr. Rouquette was elected for a second term in office and Knox Shaw elected for a first time. They swore the accustomed oath and were admitted to the dignities of their office.

The meeting then closed.

Signed:
S. A. Pakeman (Prin. Sen.)

Insert:

At this meeting the new Act Additional drawn up upon a basis of three resolutions passed by the Constituent Assembly, was read. It provided for the Election and Powers of Tribunes, and the establishment of a Financial Board; for a new method of retirement from and election to the Senate; and for the election of new members. These laws were then placed among the Archives of the Society.

Signed:
S. A. Pakeman (Prin. Sen.)


The 25th Meeting of the Society was held on Sat, Oct 19th [1912] in the rooms of the Pontifex. Only the Senate and one Tribune, Fr. Rouquette, were present. After the meeting had been ritually opened, and the minutes of the last meeting read, the names of four persons were duly announced, with those of their respective proposers and seconders for election as new members. Those names were submitted to the members of the Society, who should send a written protest to the Magister against their election as new members within 48 hours or forever hold their peace. The meeting was then closed.

At a subsequent meeting of the Senate it was decided that all absentees from this meeting should be told to have a good and valid excuse for their absence.

Signed:
S. A. Pakeman (Prin. Sen.)


The 26th meeting of the Society was held on Monday, 28th October [1912] in the rooms of the Pontifex. Coffee was first served in the rooms of Fr. King, the Society then moving across. The meeting was ritually opened, and Frs. Barker and Simpson invested with the offices of Mag. Rot. and Com. Sac. Thes. respectively. Meanwhile the Prin. Sen. duly instructed two novices, who, having been summoned by the Ceremonius and followed by the two Tribunes academically attired, swore the oath of the Confraternity and were admitted members. Fratres Raff and Pearson then signed the roll of the society.

The results of the election to the Senate were then announced. The offices of Mag. Rot. and Com: Sac: Thes: as admitted previously, Fr. Reynolds retaining the office of Pontifex Maximus and Fr. King receiving that of Ceremonius. The minutes of the two preceding meetings were then read and passed.

The next business before the Society was the consideration of the first budget presently by the newly elected Finance Board. The Senate having vacated their seats in favour of the above mentioned board, the budget was introduced by the Comes Sacri Thesauri. The accounts for the past year showed a deficit of 2 ½ d. The estimate for the ensuing year included a proposal to raise the matriculation fee from 2/6 d. and to fix the fee for admission as a fellow of the society at 5/-. An insurance scheme followed, by which each member was to insure himself for 2/4- against receiving at the hands of the University Examiners a lower class than had been assigned to him by the chosen body of the Confraternity, which should consist of the Senate – the Comes to be excluded. Each insurance fee was to cover cost of cards etc, and other monetary benefits. Further, reducer fees were arranged for special circumstances, and fees were also levied on Post-Graduate members. Lastly for a composition payment of 5/- any member ‘in a benefice’ was entitled to received cards and other notices for 3 years.

A long and animated discussion followed. First and second readings were passed. In committee stage a small but active minority was formed, and several amendments were adopted, before closure by guillotine was brought into action. The fees for Fellowships were revised to 6/8 and fines were adopted for misdemeanours. The budget then passed its third reading.

The Pontifex then acquired the opinion of the Society upon the election of Freshmen as new members, but the latter was sharply divided on the subject. Discussion was accordingly extended to a late hour and consequently the reading of the paper prepared by the most worthy Comes, in addition to all his other efforts on behalf of the Society, had unfortunately to be indefinitely postponed.

The accustomed ritual then closed the longest meeting dealing with purely business matters and ever recorded in the annals of the Confraternity.

Signed:
S. A. Pakeman (Prin. Sen.)
R. A. Barker (Mag. Rot.)


The 27th meeting of the Society was held in the rooms of Fr. King, adjoining to those of the Pontifex, on Monday, Nov 11th [1912]. The minutes were then read and several amendments inserted. Private business being postponed, the Ceremonius forthwith summoned the guest of the evening from the spot where he had sheltered while the Secret Mysteries were duly performed. Mr Ransom, a scholar of the Rhodes Foundation of Christ Church, Oxford and Tennessee, USA delighted his audience by expounding the methods and organisation of Confraternities across the Atlantic. Passing from the aims of such Confraternities as expressing in the Aristotelian φιλιδ, he proceeded to show how such organisations were indigenous to the American character.

Leaving generalities, he pointed out the advantages, and also the pains and penalties they afforded to the American Frater, and also the great extent to which their influence was felt.

Altogether it was a paper which afforded the society extraordinary pleasure, and inspired it to emulate many of the ideas which prevail among our American cousins. A series of questions and answers followed, which clearly demonstrated the great interest taken by the Confraternity in the paper. A formal, but none the less hearty, vote of thanks was then unanimously and enthusiastically passed, to which our Honoured guest made a brief reply. He was then escorted to rooms where, we believe, he was supplied with all creature comforts and the society proceeded with private business.

The most reverend Dean began by suggesting that a smoking jacket of suitable colour and material might be adopted by the society. Owing to lack of estimates etc. the matter was necessarily left very vague, but on a vote of the society being taken, it was decided that the matter be proceeded with. Proposals for five new members were then announced by the Mag. Rot. in a clear voice, in accordance with the statutes, together with the rules regulating their election.

It was also decided earlier in the evening that Mr Ransom’s paper, by well his permission, be preserved in the archives of the Confraternity. The meeting was then closed with Nonc Dimittes, but the society contravened its social intercourses till a late hour, when members separated carrying with them a deep sense of indebtedness to the first member of our sister University to lay his learning at the feet of Clio.

Signed:
S. A. Pakeman (Prin. Sen.)
R. A. Barker (Mag. Rot.)


The 28th meeting of the society was held in the rooms of the Pontifex on Monday, Nov 25th [1912]. After the opening mysteries had been performed, the Magister announced the election of three new members to wit, Fratres Rosier, Ramsden, and Mayall. These were duly initiated after the aims, ideals and practice of this learned and ancient Confraternity, had been expounded to them by the Princeps. They then signed the roll, and received the accustomed greeting of each individual member of the Confraternity. The minutes were then read, and the word Dean having been substituted for Chaplain, on the motion of the indignant holder of that reverend office, further private business was postponed till after the reading of the paper. The M.R. then read his paper on ‘William the Conqueror as a Statesman’. After the initial modesty of the Fratres had been overcome, a learned and sustained debate followed, when almost every member spoke, and many pungent criticisms were preferred. To those the Magister felt moved to reply, at such a length that the Princeps had purpose to protest.

The discussion on private business was then resumed. A motion was proposed by Fr. King for the resounding of the motion passed at the 24th meeting to the effect that ‘the power of historians has increased, is increasing and ought to be diminished’ and of substituting it by a motion of the contrary effect. This motion met with a vigorous opposition and the house was about equally divided. However, the unexpected arrival of Fr. Hayward upset the plans of the supporters of the motion, of three of the forty now styled Humanists. The arrival of a second member of their forty seemed to secure to them a majority, but the withholding of his vote by the single occupant of the Tribunician bench, left a casting vote with the Princeps. Considering the tense state of the society’s nerves, a recent precedent in another assembly of debate, forthwith called upon the Pontifex to close the meeting. This precluded any further business, and the Dean closed the meeting, which throughout had maintained a high standard of controversial skill.

Signed:
S. A. Pakeman (Prin. Sen.)
R. A. Barker (Mag. Rot.)


The 29th meeting of the Society was held in the rooms of the Pontifex on Monday, Nov 25th [1912].

After the meeting had been opened the minutes and several emendations inserted, facilities were promised for the discussion of the term ‘Matriculation’. Fr. Hutchison then asked leave to deliver a message from our right worthy and reverend first Pontiff, which was readily granted. The aforesaid Pontiff, after relating his high estate and exceeding great prosperity, bestowed by the mouth of Fr. Hutchison his ex-pontifical blessing upon the assembled Confraternity. Further private business being postponed, the Comes Sacrae Thesaurae read a most learned paper on the ‘The English Myth of Liberty’, in which he delivered a spirited attack upon the Whig ideal. Discussion followed till approaching the hour of half past ten, when in the interests of those who labour at the oar, the discussion was closed, after a few chosen words by the Princeps bearing upon the approaching Banquet, the Pontiff read the ‘Nonc Dimittis’.

Signed:
R. A. Barker (Mag. Rot.)
J. W. Reynolds (Pont. Max.)


The 30th meeting of the Society was held on Monday, Dec 9th [1912] at 7:15. The Fratres assembled in the rooms of the Pontifex, who, having opened the meeting, seated on his throne, called the Mag. Rot. to read the minutes, which he then signed. Thereupon the Magister presented to the Pontifex his pontifical charge, kneeling on one knee, and took his stand together with the Comes, behind the throne. The Pontifex remaining seated in his cape, then read his Pontifical Charge, in which he recounted the great deeds of the past, and exhorted the Brethren to emulate them in the future. The charge was then placed among the archives of the society, and the meeting closed with the accustomed mysteries.

The Confraternity then made their way to the Taylor Reading Room to partake of the Annual Banquet. The table was decorated with holly and scarlet ribbon, and menus were designed by the master pen of the Comes. The Fratres partook of a right old English dinner. The menu of the feast is in the hands of each frater, but for future generations ‘the Sotletie of Suckynge Pygge’ bound about his neck with the scarlet ribbon of the Confraternity, the ‘Plumpuddyng afire with sauce of Usgae Caugh’, containing various indigestible articles, and the ‘Fell and Fierie Snapple-dragon’ should be mentioned.

The ‘Puffe of Ypocras’ was circulated with due formality, and five toasts drank in proposing and replying to which many fratres distinguished themselves to wit and wisdom. Two epistles were read from absent members, to XXX the 1st Pontiff and 1st Mag. Rot.

The Fratres then withdrew for the consumption of ‘ye Payneum Drynrke from Araty’ in the Bodell by Parlour after which they returned to the Deans’ Chamber for masques and disguisingings. The Misfortunes of Richard the Lion Heart and the Coolness of Drake, were first presented, followed by the first appearance of Clio in bodily form in our midst, as the presiding genius of ‘The Pageant of History’. At intervals Rum Punch, Mulled ale and other good Christian drinks were served from ‘ye jolly seneschal’. The evening proceeded with song, while Churchwarden pipes and birds eye tobacco were smoked, nor was the Confraternity wholly indifferent to the charms of Snuff, while the evening was finally concluded with the reading of a ghost story, after which the society retired bed ward, morning being as yet but young.

Signed:
S. A. Pakeman (Prin. Sen.)

R. A. Barker (Mag. Rot.)

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