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

The 192nd meeting of the Confraternitas was held on Saturday, January 28th [1939] and was employed for the purpose of the Annual Banquet.

Fratres foregathered in Frater Passant’s room and after both opening and closing rites had been read, Fratres learnt with regret of Frater Passant’s inability to pay his always hearty respects to his favourite goddess Clio. All however welcomed his invitation to take a glass of wine with him, and urged by his exhortation to pour libations to the aforementioned goddess, proceeded to the Hall where waited an excellent (repost?). (Hall?) justice was done by all, especially by one who was later to give fratres a fine demonstration of the stimulating effects of the dinner, to the better enjoyment of all. After various excursions of devotion to La Chafelle Blanche, fratres gathered once more in Frater Passant’s room in order to prove to each other that they really had dined well. This entertainment was led from the start by one frater Norman, commonly known to many present as ‘Nasty Norman’, of ‘Blast’ fame. Particularly appreciated were his two papers on the disputed historical subjects of Magna Carta and the Battle of Hastings, sources our Albert. The frater produced entirely new theories on each of these controversial questions, which blended well with the Princeps delving into the unknown world in search if the roots of feminine attraction, and also with Frater Smail’s touching little love story in his best classical style. As the evening advanced, and especially after the belated appearance of Frater Passant, the scene became more and more animated, and various glee unions could be seen and heard competing with each other in different parts of the room. Fratres Timbs and Smail were seen to be following in the footsteps of Ginger Rogers and Fred Astire, and along with Frater Taylor and others led an original version of Sir Roger de Coverly, whilst the above mentioned Frater Norman proved his natural aptitude for the auxiliary fire-fighting unit with the aid of a sode syphon. The music became less and less compatible with B.B.C censorship, ad gradually fraters wandered on their various paths to bed, leaving an exhausted Clio to her well deserved slumbers.

J. C. Hatch (Mag Rot)
Princeps (Donald Mathew)

The 193rd meeting of the Confraternitas was held on Monday February 13th [1939] in Frater Passant’s rooms.

Upon the Princeps calling on the magister to read two sets of minutes it was discovered that the venerable, note book in which are recorded the momentous doings of the Confraternity ad been replaced by the lewd suggestion book of the Amalgamation Club. The magister resisted the temptation to comfy the demands from fratres to read the suggestions, considering it unsuitable matter for such an august assembly, especially as there were present three ancient gentlemen whose advancing age is emphasised by their refusal to wear the dress of the Confraternitas. After the minute book had been retained, and the minutes read, Frater Singleton was called upon to read his paper on ‘Hitler’. Frater Singleton explained however that he had no paper to read and that as he had a cold he would not read it. He therefore handed the Princeps a magazine from which to read, and the Confraternity spent the next three-quarters of an hour listening to the Princeps’ able reading of English, and somewhat original rendering of German and Greek. The fratres then almost unanimously attacked Frater Singleton’s views as outlined in the article, and a vigorous, though rather one-sided discussion took place on the subject of the benefit or otherwise of the Nazi programme to Germany, and the value of what Frater Singleton termed the ‘German Community’. Frater Passant enlivened the discussion with a personal, but hardly discreet, reminiscence, but the feeling of the meeting was definitely opposed to Frater Singleton’s theories, and the meeting broke up quite early.

J. C. Hatch. (Mag. Rot)
Donald Mathew

The 194th meeting of the Confraternitas was held on Monday February 27th [1939] on the occasion of Frater Leicester’s paper on ‘Dialectical Materialism’.

The paper was no doubt very erudite, well read, and enjoyed by all present. Unfortunately the present writer was not present, and has discovered few if any fratres who were. Apparently custom and precedent lapsed, and even the closing rights were never read, so that it appears that either the meeting never took place or it is still taking place. The one record of the intention of holding such a meeting is a characteristic note of excuse from our late lamented Caeremoniarius, Tony Timbs B.A. [A.B.?], to whit, ‘Dear Hatch, Laurentian [Leicester] abstractions on dialectical materialism would make my BLIMPISH blood boil. The evening must be spent in an atmosphere of stark reality. I therefore shall be unable to attend this evening’. Apparently the majority of fratres agreed with him.

J. C. Hatch (Mag Rot)
J. C. Hatch. f.f. D. R Mathew (Princeps)

The 195th meeting of the Confraternitas was held on Sunday March 13th ,[1939] being the occasion of the annual visitors’ meeting. As usual, fratres assembled in Frater Passant’s ‘other room’, where coffee was drunk with the visitors, and then proceeded to the true sanctum to read both the opening and closing rites. The assembly then moved to the Senior Combination Room where Mr Wellbourne of Emmanuel College read a paper on Charles James Stewart. The paper was read in Mr Wellbourne’s usual humourous style, but many fratres expressed their disappointment to the magister than the reader found it necessary in the presence of Ladies to resort to the notorious British policy of expurgation. Mr Wellbourne delved into the mysteries of finance with notable facility, but it is to be feared that he left most of the assembly far behind in his travels into the realms of gold, and the heated discussion which traditionally succeeds meetings of the Confraternitas was notable for it’s absence. We must however refer our gratitude to Mr Wellbourne for his amusing style, and only lament that he fond it necessary to delate the true points of his many jokes.

J. C. Hatch (Mag.Rot.)
J. C. Hatch f.f. D. R. Mathew (Princeps)

The 196th meeting of the Confraternitas was held on All Saints Day, Wednesday the 1st November [1939] in Frater Passant’s rooms.

To this meeting, the history freshers were invited, and were prepared for initiation as full members of the society. After the opening rites had been performed, each of the new members was solemnly ushered into the room, and there the traditional ceremonies were performed with due propriety and custom. Frater Wilson, the Pontifex Maximus, received the oath of loyalty in turn from Meoser, Blackburn, Brachenburg, Gill, Gillespie, Hunt, Manners and Taylor. The minutes of the last meeting were read and by the fortunate presence Frater XXX Taylor, last year;s Pontifex, it was decided that a meeting held last year and never closed should be officially closed with proper reverence at the end of the meeting. Messrs. Carpenter and Hunt were elected as Tribunes of the People, their oaths of allegiance being deferred to some later meeting. The Princeps then delivered the customary address to the Confraternitas, in which he welcomed the (noutiales?) and admonished them to do their duty as the (root?) and (premise?) of the society. He announced that in the event of war conditions, the wearing of dinner jackets could not be enforced, but nonetheless it would be expected where possible, and where impossible lounge suits should be worn. The Magister Rotulorum responded, and then took the chair, so that Frater Hatch could read his paper on ‘Faith, Force and Reason’. After admitting that war is natural only so far as disease may be termed natural, the Princeps considered the reasons which had led men to periodically destroy one another, and the possibilities of the destruction being prevented in the future: in the strengthening of the faith, the abandonment of (fury?) and the determination of reason, and built upon that reason, self-preservation can be achieved. Frater Hatch went into an analysis of the question of faith and of our desperate lack of it, and concluded that a union of religion and politics, the healing of the gap between man’s religion pretentions and his political and civil actions can and must achieve this aim. The absence of faith led the speaker to the question of the need for fascism in this world, and the possibility of the world prospering were the real fruit cut away, for force can only lead to further force and this can only lead to destruction. In the rule of reason, the Princeps saw the hope of a sane world: by the union of religion, politics and philosophy, a hardy and just order would result. The paper was well illustrated by specific examples, and quotation. After the Princeps had been thanked and the Confraternitas had shown its appreciation, a very interesting discussion ensued so interesting that it seemed at one stage to be interminable: the attention of the fratres changed from regionalism to Indian politics, and from original sin to the treatment of the Jews in Germany. An excellent beginning to the year, concluded with the closing rites.

A. Briggs (Mag Rot)
J. C. Hatch (Princeps)

The 197th meeting of the Confraternitas was on Wed Nov 15th [1939] in Frater Passant’s rooms.

After the new fratres had seen the opening rites performed I all their splendour, the Minutes were read, and the confraternity proceeded to discuss the question of a banquet and a guest evening. It was XXX (decided crossed out) that if at all possible, a banquet should be held, and though nothing definite was decided, certain names were put forward as tentative suggestions for a visitor’s night – Professors Power, Laski and Tawney being proposed and seconded. It was felt that the galaxy of talent provided by the London School of Economics should not be wasted, and a final decision was withheld until the next meeting. All due formalities having concluded, and an ancient hour glass having been unearthed from among the heirlooms of the Confraternitas in order that fratres might not forget the passing of time while papers were being read, Frater Wilson began to read his paper on the Kirk – o’ – Field Murder’.

Frater Wilson’s was a survey of the period from the murder of (Kizzeo?) in the reign of Mary from Scotland. The evidence with relation to the murder of Darnley was examined in great detail, and the Pontifex Maximus built up a picture of the fateful scene, that held the listeners spellbound. The difficult question of the alleged love affair between Mary and Bothwell was also carefully examined, and the paper concluded with a critical consideration of the evidence of the Casket letters. Frater Wilson supplemented his very XXX (interesting crossed out) paper with a brief account of a startling new theory by Major General Malon, who suggested that the Darnley episode was part of a papist plot that never came off.

The question was given a long and detailed examination by the fratres, who brought forward several new pieces of evidence- pictures of the terrible scenes were reinterpreted, nice points of climate and weather conditions were settled and the fates of mysterious old women and marching men who disappeared in the night were investigated. New hypothesises were put forward, and some of the fratres felt justified in writing new articles on the subject.

The meeting concluded at about 10.40, and the fratres wended their diverse ways home, musing on the strange events of three centuries ago.

A. Briggs (Mag Rot)
J. C. Hatch (Princeps)

The Princeps proposed a revolution which was carried that new fratres should be congratulated in their wearing the socks of the Confraternitas.

The 198th meeting of the Confraternitas was held at 8.15pm on Wed Nov 29th [1939] the eve of the feat of St. Andrew in Frater Passant’s rooms.

[NB: This entry proved difficult to transcribe in full, and all uncertainties are indicated.]

At first there was some confusion: some fratres arrived late after the opening rites had been pronounced, and the Confraternitas welcomed Mr. D. M. Lowe to their midst for the evening. The senate had decided in their august wisdom that all fratres should sign the XXX, since this practice had been suspended for some time and the Pontifex Maximus generously presented a quill pen for the enrolment of names. The enrolment was carried out amid loud noise, and the noise even greater when it was decided that a pole should be held to decide whom the Confraternitas should invite for the visitor’s meeting. The atmosphere was the of a hectic Rome council election meeting with bullying threat, cajoling and XXX XXX. The result was that Bishop Henson came first. Prof Hurleyan second, Professor Laski third, Professor Power fourth and Professor Tawney fifth. After the election results had been announced amid acclamations and exclamations of disgust, one fifth of the Senate made various attempts to propose a vote of censure on the majority, attempts which were silenced by the indifferent aloofness of the mob of the fratres, and the XXX protests of the rest. It was fitting that the tumult should be hushed the (ratified change?), which Frater Wilson then read out. He maintained that he was (reviving?) a good and wholesome custom, and chose for his text the words of XXX David “The (lot?) is fallen (units?) me in a fair ground: yea home, (hardly?) (hesitating?)… Walk about Zion, and go round about her and the tower hereof. Mark well her bulwarks, set up the homes, that you may tell them that came after”. It (shined?) our XXX XXX, warned us against the perils of complacency, XXX in its XXX the constitution and XXX the rites lamented the absence of the mature judgements of Frater Passant and Smail; and prayed this give us a XXX adventure.

When all this business had at length come to an end, the Magister read his paper on ‘The influence of Seapower on the history of the East India Company’. He dealt with the genesis of the company in the expanding Europe of the C17, with the revival of navigation and of shipping, with the first exploratory voyages to the East, with the exploits of Best and Downton. Then he went on to discuss in detail the (lay?) (slingles?) with foreign raids in the Eastern Seas with Portugal, Holland, and France, the Massacre of Amboyna to the Napunani Wars. Frater Briggs showed the importance of naval action in impressing local rulers, and in developing trade with China and Bunnak land he described a typical year in the so called ordinary trading activities of the company. And that remains of the Company now, the magister concluded, was in stone in the Messrs. Blacknell’s pond, and a coat of arms in Putney Pubic Library.

The paper gave way to a long discussion, which initially brought in modern Indian politics and incidentally some considerations of historical questions. The meeting came to an end at 10.40pm.

A. Briggs (Mag Rot)
J. C. Hatch (Princeps)

Ordend to be added.
Mr. Briggs’ paper won the Royal Asiatic Society’s Diploma for the Universities (1939)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s