1922

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


The 72nd meeting of the Confraternity was held on Monday, the 23rd January, 1922, in the rooms of Frater Passant. After the opening ceremonies had been performed, Frater Giles was inducted as Magister Rotulorum and Frater Hind received form the hands of the retiring Pontiff, and donned, the pontifical robe. Frater Lancaster, the new Princeps, then took his seat, and the minutes of the last two meetings were ready. The Magister Rotulorum protested against the garbled version of the 70th meeting written by his predecessor, and congratulated the Confraternitas on the fact that Frater Hind had now been elevated to an office in which personal beauty and a knowledge of the ancient tongues were required, rather than sound and unbiased indignant of men and things.

Frater Stanford was elected to the senatorial bench, Fratres Rice and Temple were elected to the Tribunicial offices, and took the oath. Frater Weatherill was elected to the office of Fabricius.

The following gentlemen were duly proposed and seconded for membership of the society and their names submitted for the consideration of the senate: Messrs. Hill, Milner, Thorman and Simpson. The Socius Honorabilis drew the attention of fraters to the ancient policy of the Confraternitas only to admit gentlemen reading for honours to membership.

Letters of apology for absence were read from the Master and from Frater Hawkes. The latter was recommended to the committee for consideration. Fraters heard with regret that sudden indisposition prohibited the attendance of Frater Kerr.

The Confraternitas then proceeded to XXX audition spread by Frater Arthur in a paper on ‘Mohammedanism’. The interest with which fratres received the learned frater’s discourse was shown in the subsequent discussion, in which the merits and demerits of the Mohammedan system were debated. An attempt by the Pontifex to earn the right to smoke by giving an empty and fatuous echo of the learned eloquence of Frater Giles, was foiled through the wit of the latter, backed by the sound judgement of the Princeps.

Signed:
C. Wilfred Giles (Mag. Rot.)
E. J. Lancaster (Prin. Sen.)


The 73rd meeting of the Confraternitas Historica was held on Monday, 6th Feb in the rooms of the Socius Honorabilis. After the opening rites, Messrs. Milner, Simpson, Thorman were inducted to membership. The minutes of the last meeting were read and signed. Letters regretting absence were read from Fratres Horrax and Kerr. The following nominations for membership were submitted for the consideration of the senate: Messrs. Hill, Kerridge and Wood. Fr. Temple then called attention to certain verses in the Cambridge Review which he alleged to have been delivered by the Magister Rotulorum at the banquet of the Confraternitas. He desired to know whether the consent of the senate had been obtained for their publication. Fr Hind said that no such consent had been obtained and moved a vote of censure upon the Magister Rotulorum. Fr Stanford seconded. The Magister Rotulorum, in a powerful defence against the charges brought against him denied that the verses published in the Review were the same as those recited at the Banquet. Three verses were entirely different and , of the one that was identical in words, the spirit was by no means similar. Admitting the superficial resemblance, however, he denied the XXX of the Confraternitas to the exclusive possession of such intellectual products as its members laid before it, and urged that its function was rather to give the benefit of its enlightenment to the world at large than to keep it for its own imprisonment. Such a vote, of passed, could only be regarded by the subject thereof as a request on the part of the fraters that he should withdraw from office. The vote of censure was passed by twelve votes to two. Two members did not vote.

Fr. Hawkes, who appeared to be sweating under the reminiscence of recent castigation suggested for the consideration of the Senate that votes of censure should be prohibited. The Comes Sacrae Thesauri then produced the terminal Budget, which was framed apparent with a view to leaning to the Comes and the cabal which he had bribed to support him, a considerable sum of money from the pockets of the plebs. Murmurs of ‘Up the Rebels!’ and ‘Finding the Faces of the Poor’ became audible and the Comes, seeing that revolution was imminent, dexterously substituted an innocuous general tax on supervisions for the complicated scheme of taxes and rebates which he had advocated, as Fr. Hind said, in such a way as ‘to undermine the arrows of criticism and drown them in a mountain of verbiage’. The Budget in its second form was passed.

Fr. Hind then delivered a paper of remarkable power upon ‘The Character of Oliver Cromwell’. So poorly did the learned and remarkable Pontiff’s address affect the fratres that those who had come to the meeting heaving weighty volumes found that the subject was so comprehensively covered that they could find little to add thereto in the course of discussion. Nevertheless, the more daring of the fraters rose to add their XXX to the intellectual feast piled up by the Pontiff, who in his reply, accepted or rejected them according to his taste. The meeting closed with the usual rites, rendered less solemn than usual by the fact that the Pontifical robe was inadvertently worn inside out.

Signed:
C. Wilfred Giles (Mag. Rot.)
E. J. Lancaster (Prin. Sen.)


The four and seventieth meeting of the Confraternitas Historica was held on Monday 20th February, 1922, in the rooms of Frater Passant.

After performing the opening rites with his usual charm of manner, the Pontifex Maximus admitted Fr. Hill to membership. The names of Messrs. Wood and Finch were submitted to the August Senate for consideration with a view to their election to the Confraternitas.

The Princeps promulgated a Senatorial Decree declaring the vote of censure passed at the last meeting to have been conceived and passed in a spirit of levity and not to involve the Magister Rotulorum’s withdrawal from office. Fr. Passant, in whose visage anger and sorrow strove for mastery, deprecated the tendency of members to hold the threat of resignation over the heads of the senate at any hint of criticism. The Magister Rotulorum summarised passages of XXX Laws of the Constitution, Chapter XV.

It was decided that a short summary of the proceedings of the Confraternitas should be supplied to the ‘Pheon’.

The Pontifex Maximus and the Comes Sacrae Thesauri then entered the arena, and indulged in a short but sharp XXX combat on the question as to whether the Budget had the approval of the Financial Board. The engagement terminated indecisively, its only effect being to draw from Frater Horrax the comment that public bickering was in danger of robbing the Senate of all prestige. Frater Stanford then gave a paper on ‘The Early History of the English Press’, in which he dealt in a scholarly and interesting manner with the origin and development of newspapers in this country. The paper produced a discussion not only upon the history of the newspaper press, but upon its present condition, and the profound gloom into which the meeting was plunged by the contemplation of the melancholy state of affairs at present obtaining, was only heightened by the exhibition of some early English printed books from the college library. Fr. Passant gave a short account of the interest and merit attaching to each book and fratres were privileged to handle reverently volumes of great worth.

Signed:
C. Wilfred Giles (Mag. Rot.)


[The 75th meeting was not minuted. Instead, the entry in the minute book reads as follows.]

Clapham, 10th October, 1922

I, Charles Wilfrid Giles, e(?) Collegia Dominae Franciscae Sidney Sussex ejactus(?), sometime Magister Rotulorum of the Confraternitas Historica of the said College, finding myself in irregular possession of this Minute Book, offer my apologies to the Fratres who yet dwell in (sp?)Olymfus?(sp), both for my unlawful detention of the said book, and for my omission to record the minutes of the last meeting. A dog-caved card, pathetic remembrance of XXX a thousand glorious days, tells me that a Visitors’ meeting was held on Monday, March 6th, 1922 in the room of Fr. Passant (may he live a thousand years.) Sir G. G. Powler, K.B.E., M.A., read a paper on the Washington Conference. Surely the memory thereof is so fresh in the minds of fratres that they will not require that the substance of the paper should be recorded here! And if they think that posterity will regret such an omission, let my able and more diligent successor see to it.

And now, patres conscripti fratres, we whom fate has torn from your midst bid you farewell. We neither ask you to rejoice nor to weep, to forget nor to remember, but as we have deserved we shall suffer, and we are content to abide thereby. For those who have left no memorial may still cry “Floreat Sidney Sussex”.

Signed C. Wilfrid Giles, Sometime Magister Rotulorum of the Confraternitas Historica, on behalf of those who have gone down.


 

The 76th meeting of the Confraternitas Historica was held on Monday 23rd October 1922 in the rooms of Fr. Passant. The opening ceremonies were performed by Fr. Passant, the Pontifex. Frater Temple, the new Princeps, then took his seat and the confession of Frater Giles read. After this highly affecting oration the society proceeded to the election of senators, Fratres Rice, Hill and Milner being chosen. Fr Hill was elected Magister Rotulorum, Fr. Rice comes and Fr. Milner Ceremonius. Fratres Simpson and Thorman were elected Tribunes and took the oath with due solemnity.

A letter was read from Fr. Hawkes tendering his resignation, which was accepted with regret. The following gentlemen were duly proposed and seconded for membership of the society and their names submitted to the Senate: Messrs. Smith, Finch, Wood, Chamberlain, Reeves and J. W. Welch.

Then came the chef d’oeuvre of the evening in the form of the Princeps Charge, which was delivered in his well known bold and dramatic manner. The Magister was so overcome by the wit and eloquence of the Princeps that he omitted to take notes and, being unable to decipher the hieroglyphics on the paper submitted to him, was obliged to rely on an uncertain memory for his report.

This was an era of change, said the Princeps; two crises had recently occurred, one that afternoon in the college and the other the preceding Thursday in the Carlton Club. He then compared himself to Mr Bonar Law and the Pontifex to Mr Lloyd George. The Pontifex seemed unable to decide whether this was a compliment or a valued innuendo and finally decided that it was the latter. The speaker read messages he had received (or so he said) from members of the Confraternitas. Fr. Lancaster enjoined him to Carry on! And Fr. Kerr, sojourning on the banks of Severn, wrote, ‘Quite ye like men and shrink not’. Fr Stanford’s charge was, ‘The Confraternitas can move mountains: let it do so, and quickly’.

The Princeps went on to review the material at the command of the society. He described the noble Pontifex as the ‘Ruler of Debate’, a beacon to men, a light to head home etc. and only stopped when his metaphors became inextricably mixed. Fr. Milner was a ‘tree of knowledge’; Fr. Rice was widely known as a ‘writer of profound wisdom and deep wit’; Fr. Hill was dismissed in a daggered couplet as a conservative and reactionary; according to the Princeps the fate of the Conservative Party depended on the whim of Fr. Simpson, ‘his heart was iron, but iron mixed with honey’. The peroration had been specially printed, said the speaker, but it sounded suspiciously like that morning’s ‘Times’ leader, and suspicion was strengthened by the fact that the Princeps immediately burned this priceless example of perfect literature.

After the charge had been delivered, the ‘ghost’ of Fr. Giles rose to move a vote of thanks in the hope that the members would show their disapproval of what he described as this ‘insolent speech’ by rejecting the motion. The Princeps craftily circumvented this insidious attack by declaring the motion carried and proceeding to further business.

The members had hardly recovered their usual attitude of dignified composure after the feast of rhetoric and wit provided by the Princeps when a very enjoyable meeting was closed with the customary rites.

Signed:
L. Hill (Mag. Rot.)
D. C. Temple (Prin. Sen.)


The 77th meeting of the Confraternitas was held on Monday, 6th November, 1922 in the rooms of Fr. Passant. After the opening ceremonies, the Pontifex admitted Fratres Smith, Wood and Finch to membership of the society with just that nuance of boredom appropriate to the occasion.

The names of Messrs. Forbes and Welch were submitted for the consideration of the Senate, and a letter was read from Frater Simpson deploring his unavoidable absence that evening.

The Princeps then gave his paper on ‘The Limits of Internationalism’. He dealt first with the meaning and limits of internationalism and then outlined and discussed the constitution and aims of the League of Nations as expressed in the Covenant. During the reading of the paper his audience was spellbound by the wealth of erudition and the almost superhuman broadmindedness demonstrated by the noble Princeps.

The members were so overcome by the reader’s Scotch accent in the quotation at the end of the paper that they were rather slow when the discussion began. The Pontifex stepped into the breach with his usual nimbleness of wit and Frater Wood expressed his conviction that war was quite an exciting pastime really. A very instructive meeting closed with the usual ceremonies.

Signed:
L. Hill (Mag. Rot.)
D. C. Temple (Prin. Sen.)


The 78th meeting of the Confraternitas was held on Monday, November 20th 1922 in the rooms of the Princeps (Fr. Temple). After the minutes of the last meeting had been duly accepted, letters regretting their absence were read from Fratres Milner and Wood. Frater Wood pleaded bodily fatigue and literary calls, while Frater Milner, with Olympian assurance, vouchsafed no reason whatsoever. After some discussion the matter was left for the consideration of the Senate.

Frater Rice proposed that the Dean become Frater Honorabilis and Mr Forbes was proposed for membership of the society. Mention was also made of the joint meeting with the Peterhouse Historical Society on the 16th February, 1923.

The society then proceeded to the consideration of the Budget presented by the Comes. After a little amusing byplay between the Pontifex and the Comes, the Princeps in a lordly manner commanded that the Budget should be read in a standing position.

A budget, said the Comes, should be funny and short, but after attempting that afternoon to drive the point of a joke through the Scotch mists of the worthy Princeps cerebellum, his humour had received a setback. He then raised the question of the exorbitant charges made by Mr Spelding for printing and instituted an electioneering campaign on behalf of Mr Metcalfe. At this point the Pontifex again made himself a general nuisance by loudly demanding the presence of the sacred golden coin. This being produced and the obstructionist placated, the house listened to a learned disquisition on lies by Frater Simpson and Rice. Finally it was decided to leave them matter to the Financial Board and the Budget was passed by the Princeps, though nobody seemed quite certain what its provisions were.

Fr. Berwick gave a most interesting and vivid account of ‘Manxland’ and created an edifying discussion on the Manx language, character and constitution.

A very instructive meeting closed in the customary manner.

Signed:
L. Hill (Mag. Rot.)
D. C. Temple (Prin. Sen.)

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