[The following entries have been transcribed from the minute books kept in Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge.]
The 234th meeting of the Confraternitas was held in Fr. Passant’s rooms on Monday Jan. 17th 1944 at 8.15 p.m. The opening rites were read & the Princeps called upon the magister for the minutes of the last meeting. These were signed as correct. As there was no private business the Princeps called upon Fr. the Master to read his paper on “The Franciscans in Cambridge”. The Master began with a short survey of the Franciscan movement. They came to England a few years before the death of their founder. The Cambridge House was first founded on a site near the present Guild Hall. The exact date of its removal to the site on which Sidney now stands, is difficult to determine exactly. The Master described the buildings of the Franciscans, the Church being the most remarkable feature. Little was know [sic.] of the history of the institution, except what had happened after the dissolution when Trinity ransacked the site for their own uses. How far the Friary was in any sense a centre of learning in any modern sense is again [sp?] difficult to determine. Hastings Rashdall was the main authority, all the master questioned certain of his judgements [sic.]. The reader denied that Peterhouse had the essentials of a college in its earliest days. It was merely ‘The Bishop of Ely’s Boarding House’. The Friary, it was claimed, did perhaps develop the characteristics of an institution of learning at an earlier date perhaps.
*‘During which time the beer was drunk as there had not been the usual movement after the first word. The Princeps, by his own admission, suffered greatly from this drought. At least it was not the more customary inconvenience…’
Frater, the Master, was kind enough to answer many questions & showed a wide knowledge of the early history of Sidney & of the University. Fr. E. J. Passant thanked the Master for reading his paper to the Confraternity & making known the results of his careful research.
Later the matter of a Visitor was brought up as the Bishop of Ely had declined the invitation. It was decided the C. S. Lewis of Magdalen, Oxford, & failing him C. H. Waddington of Christ’s should be approached.
The closing rites were read before eleven.
I. H. M. Jones (Magister Rotulorum)
A. P. French (Princeps) 31.i.44
Fratres all but forgot the immediate threat to their pockets. He gave a balanced account of libation costs, XXX costs & other sundries & budgeted for the remaining meetings. A sliding scale of impositions was to be enforced [sp?], the Senate & other of the thirstier Fraticelli were to be privileged to undergo a heavier imposition. This Budget was accepted Fraticelli Wilkinson alone dissenting.
After extending a welcome to Prof. Dobic [sp?] of Texas University, who was the visiting lecturer in American History, the Princeps was called upon the Pontifex, Fr. R. J. Carpenter to read his paper on “Mr. Punch 1864”. He was not allowed to get away quickly & the Princeps XXX up his bottles of beer conveniently at hand. The Pontifex’s paper like so many things in this world & rather more in the next was in three parts. He considered Mr. Punch as a political witness of the times, a mirror [sp?] of religious & spiritualist trends & finally the critic of contemporary manners. The paper was an attempt of a step-child of Clio’s to poach on her preserves the Muse was indeed benevolent & pleased by such tender aspirations. For her novice was sound in his judgements. He remarked on the lack of interest shown in the American Civil War, quoted Mr. Punch on the political game been [sic.] played between Ben, the Waiter at the Queens Head & Pam [sp?]. The reader was much interested in the attacks & jibes as high church ritualism, which Mr. Punch tended to treat on the same plane as the spiritualist quacks of the time. Contemporary science was suspect to the supposedly liberal Punch & he was content to ridicule it in the worst of doggerel – a feature of the volume. The Pontifex succeeded in giving to Fratres an exceedingly live [sp?] picture of English society at the time & his asides & comments were obviously not his own – for they were inspired by Clio.
Discussion centred round the American Civil War, which naturally led on to the effectiveness of Prohibition in America, on which subjects Prof. Dobbic [sp?] was competent & amusing. Ritualism was further considered, what trends it reflected & its compatibility with the general conception of the greater Victorians. The closing rites were read soon after half past ten.
I H. M. Jones (Magister Rotulorum)
A. P. French (Princeps)
The 236th meeting of the Confraternitas was held on Monday February 14th at 8.15 p.m. in Frater Passant’s room. After coffee the opening rites were read & as this meeting of the Confraternitas coincided by a divinely ordained chance the Foundress of the College [A note in a differnet hand reads: Foundress’s Day], a further rite was performed. Fratres, Fraticelli & guests were drawn up in XXX ranks Fratres on one knee, Fraticelli on both & guests were somehow still nearer [sp?] the carpet. Two loving cups or more accurately pewter tankards, were filled with the Cionic libation – Arthur’s beer – & after the Senate & Socius Honorabilis had sipped & in some cases gulped, in their turn, the Pontifex passed along to each member & guest present so that they might have a share. The Magister followed with the Clionic cloth satisfying the demands of the Goddess Hygea, & behind him was the Caeremonarius with his wand restraining the greedy. Each initiated member murmured Lady Francis, Clio, Truth as he imbibed, guests said ‘Thanks you’. After this awe inspiring ceremony the Magister was called upon to read the minutes of the last meeting, the only exception was taken by Fraticelli Hoskins who insisted that Hubent [sp?] should take precedence of Henry among his Christian names. Notes of absence were read from Fr. Taylor & Fraticelli Post Frater Rimmen, & Fraticelli Post Domician Haden [sp?] & Frcelli Harris. Objection was raised by the Magister to Fraticelli Hadens [Amended to Harris’] note – the Magister explained that it was in no language he knew, all he could read was Clare College Cambridg, the abbreviations P.T.O & P.S. Research among the guests revealed that it was written in a language called French & the magister was ordered to read it as though it were English. No vote of censure was passed. More rooted objection was taken to Fr. Rimmen’s apology. First he had a vote of censure owing to him from the previous meeting then in the present note. Secondly from his own mouth he preferred to enjoy himself by vuglar [sic.] pirouettings [sp?] rather than attend at the Clionic shrine, thirdly as the Pontifex was painful in pointing out he claimed direct intercourse with Our Lady thus challenging his corner [sp?] in Clionic communications. Lastly he slandered the memory ghost of the Lord Protector, of late & glorious memory ‘as an evil spirit with his arbitrary methods[’]. To deal with such successive XXX a select committee was especially appointed.
After such a sorrowful occupation, the Magister eagerly extended a welcome to guests present & proceeded to Fratres were almost glad to hear even the Magister welcome the guests & introduce the Princeps, the supreme spiritual & temporal head of the Confraternity, who was to read his paper on “Puritanism & Music”. Fr. French reacted against the popular conception of the XXX Puritans in his initial survey of the movement. He quoted the Blue Laws of Connecticut, which showed the catholicity of New England tastes. Later generations see these early American settlers through the distorted eyes of Samuel Peters, who falsely suggested that these Puritans would have nothing to do with mince pies or Jews [sp?] harps on a Sunday. The Princeps then returned to England & XXX that the tradition created by the Elizabethan madrigal writers was in no w continued into the C17th. He gave a lucid account of music during the Commonwealth, first as XXX secular music & then sacred music. The first English opera was performed during this period. The Poets were all music lovers. Oliver Cromwell, who we insist [sp?] founded this society in 1910, had music played at his meals, & at his daughters [sic.] wedding. His musical appreciation is further manifested when he pinched [sp?] the organ of Magdalene Coll. Oxford & had it installed in Hampton Court. The Princeps closed as he had begun, defending this much maligned sect & announcing that the Puritans were good & genial types.
Discussion was lively ¢red [sp?] around the old contention of whether culture was refined, but yet not created by the aristocratic class. Fratres & their guests became suddenly most erudite & displayed an astonishing knowledge of Hungarian development. We are certain it was well founded & accurate. The closing rites were read at 11.30 p.m.
I. H. M. Jones
A. P. French
The 237th meeting of the Confraternitas was held on Wednesday March 1st 1944 at 8.15 p.m. It was the Annual Visitor’s Meeting & there were many drinking coffee in Frater Passant’s rooms. Fratres had chosen well for the Guests were at once becoming if not beautiful & interested if not erudite. A rump was left in these rooms to read the opening rites while the majority of Fratres escorted their guests to the Senior Combination Room.
We Antoninus, Princeps, Research Student man of XXX etc. introduced the Prof. E. H. Carr, the Visitor. Knowing that the Annual Guest night would fall on the eve of the Feast of Fr. David, Fratres felt it proper that an invitation should be extended to this, a Professor, of the oldest College of the University of Wales. Prof. Carr is also assistant editor of The Times – a newspaper. His subject was ‘The Age of Private Enterprise’. After
We Antoninus, Princeps, gave to Guests an inkling [sp?] of a true conception [sp?] of the Confraternity & its mistress. Prof. E. H. Carr, Professor of International Politics at Aberystwyth & assistant editor of the Times newspaper. Fratres knowing that the XXX Visitors meeting would fall on the eve of the feast of St. David, felt it proper that there would be invited a professor of the old college of the University of Wales. Prof. Carr’s subject was “The Age of Private Enterprise” & he started in no uncertain fashion [sp?] “The age of private enterprise, he said, is dead & is in need of a decent burial.”
After admitting that the capitalist ethic had its origins during the period of the Reformation Prf. Carr proceeded to examine its manifestations during the C19th. Property had during that time a real moral significance; its presence was a strong suggestion of virtue, its absence indicated vice [sp?]. Prof Carr then showed how that ethic was broken down, & finally discarded in the C20th. Property ceased first of all to have that intimate [sp?] connection with the individual which was an essential part of its justification. The growth of Companies, Controls [sp?] & Trusts made the identification of wealth & a single personality impossible. With this divorce between property & the individual there was an increased irresponsibility in its use [sp?]. Property conferred [sp?] rights but no longer any responsibilities. Further the apostles of the age of private enterprise turned their back on their own ethics by cooperating [sp?] among themselves, competition gave way to monopoly & individual effort became helpless against XXX trust. Finally there came a certain suspicion that money & wealth were no longer respectable. Poverty was envied [sp?], so long as it was not actually suffered. The XXX & XXX were anxious to be rid of their almost ill-gotten gains. The capitalists now defend themselves on grounds of efficacy rather than of morals. Society now had no accepted social ideal & Prof. Carr insisted on the necessity of agreeing on a new moral ideal to replace the old one. He would not dare prophesy, but the age of private enterprise seemed in danger of giving way to the age of representation. Fratres were left echoing Eve’s remark to Adam as both left the Garden ‘We live in an age of transition.[’]
Fratres & their guests in their questions showed their wish to escape this rather gloomy prospect. Frater Passant, however, in a pew finely crafted [sp?] & weighty remarks showed how applicable Prof. Carr’s thesis was to Germany between the two wars & had no illusions as to the difficulties of the task before us. A female concern was shown for the future of the small shop keeper. Others saw a decay in the traditions of local govt, when towns went robbed of their retired business men. The Guest had indeed forced us to think if only by presenting to us so forcible the great darkness into which we were about to enter. The meeting closed at 10.30 p.m.
A. P. French 9.v.44 Princeps Senatus
The 238th meeting of the Confraternity was held in Frater Passant’s rooms at 8.15 p.m. on Monday, 8th May 1944. The opening rites were read, with hardly the degree of solemnity due to our Lady Clio, and the Magister was called upon to read the minutes of the last meeting. The Princeps having requested fratres to raise any matter of private business which troubled them, Frater I. H. Jones suggested that the close of the Academic year be celebrated in due manner by some unspecified species of jollification. Fratres seemed somewhat unenthusiastic, perhaps because it was suspected that Fr. Jones’ had ulterior motives in suggesting that female worshippers of our Lady should take part. The presence of such distractions was felt to be a restriction upon rather than an incentive to due celebration of singing out the old Clionic year, and yet fratres felt thought that a purely celibate evening would perhaps not be satisfactory either. Finally, Fr. Jones withdrew his resolution, and no doubt determined to commune with Clio in his own ardent fashion. The Princeps then called upon Frater Coupe to read his paper on Samuel Ward Master of Sidney, 1610-43 (it being the annual Cromwell night, when the fame of some past or present member of the college in set forth in imperishable definitive words). After passing briefly over the childhood of Samuel, owing [sp?] collection of his Samuel’s Theological Works of which he was not brought to press until 1658. The last months of Dr Ward’s life were disturbed by a conflict with a former pupil, of sacred memory in the Society, namely Oliver Cromwell, who was in 1643 extorting loans from Masters in aid of his cavalry troops. Dr Ward was upon refusal incarcerated in St. Johns College, an experience which no doubt hastened his death on Sept. 7, 1943. Frater Coupe concluded by quoting Thomas Fuller’s XXX: “Yet he was a Moses, not only for his slowness of speech, but otherwise, meekness of nature.”
Discussion was lively, XXX significantly on the more revealing [sp?] personal details of Ward’s life, a certain obsession with the gustatory chastisements being shown by fratres. The closing rites were read shortly before 11 o’clock.
Molmanicus Ball (Mag. Rot.)
I.H. Jones (Princeps Senatus)
double influence of the one upon the other: there were two traditions. The pagan Saxon mythology producing literature in which the idea of a dark uncontrollable power, a dreadful “Wyrd” controlled the destinies of both men and gods – all succumbed to this dire Destiny, but were overwhelmed fighting in desperation against it [sic.]. This indigenous culture had XXX to come to terms with the immigrating religion. The new subject of poetry which Christianity brought with it, to story of Christ’s passion was treated by the Anglo Saxon poets in the depersonalised way natural to them – vocabulary remained similar, subject alone was altered. In the poem Genesis 13, Fraticelli Hoskins noted the similarities with Milton’s conception of Satan – “an inverted hero” – a Satan who finds himself in the traditional heroic situation, and who faces up to it in the pagan fashion. Analysing another example, the Dream, depicting Christ on the Cross Fraticelli Hoskins discussed the attitude evinced by the author towards Christ, who is reminiscent of a saga hero as he stands before his enemies. Throughout Anglo Saxon Xianity is shown as being deeply influenced by the pagan ethic. Discussion was lively, showing a lamentable tendency to stray [sp?] from the point – the inevitable discussion of Hobbes [sp?] arose – a new light being thrown upon that many sided individual by Fr. Coupe. The Princeps cordially thanked Fraticelli Hoskins for such a learned and stimulating paper. The closing rites were read shortly before 11 o’clock.
M. Ball (Mag. Rot.)
K. J. Carpenter 20.11.44 (p.p.) Princeps Senatus
The 240th meeting of the Confraternity was held in Frater Passant’s rooms at 8.15 p.m on Monday 20th October November 1944. After coffee the opening rites were read, and the initiation of one Frater and one Fraticelli Comes Senatus was celebrated. The Pontifex Maximus, in the absence of the Princeps, then called upon the Magister for the Minutes of the last meeting, which were received without objection. A note of absence from Frater Coupe was also read and it was remarked that no notes of absence had been received from Frs. Thomson and Lox [sp?], nor, what was even worse, from Fraticelli Wilkinson. The Magister having explained that there was a possibility of a fresh [sp?] supply of the Confraternitas socks from Messrs Ryder & Amie, the Caeremonarius cast Fratres into despondency by mention of sordid fiscal details – a levy of 10/- per caput being imposed.
There being no further business, the Pontifex called upon Fr. Ball for his paper on Oswald Spengler and National Socialism. After pausing most accurately after the first word whilst the customary rush for libations took place, Fr. Ball proceeded to sketch the historical philosophy of Spengler, who conceived of History as the operation of Destiny inescapable Destiny upon a series of wholly independent Cultures, each of which passed through stages analogous to those of animal life – growth, maturity, old age, and death, or, on the analogy of the seasons: Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. Our own Culture is now entering the final phase, characterised by a materialistic outlook, and politically by “Caesarism”.
Suggesting briefly the characteristics of the Nazi revolution – a complete nihilism, hidden by a façade of spurious continuity and social myth, Fr. Ball tried to relate the events of 1933 to Spengler’s writings, making use of the more positive “Russia and Socialism”, in which Spengler reveals his contempt for the Western constitution as an alien form imposed against the whole tradition of the German, or particularly Russian ideal of service [sp?]. Passing then to Spengler’s final work: “The Hour of Decision”, which sets the Revolution of 1933 against the sensational background of two great threats to European civilisation – the threat of barbarism from within (Bolshevism, conceived as a purely Western European phenomenon, common to all states), and from without (the coloured peoples, red, black and yellow, including Russia, XXX XXX for Asia in the person of Stalin). Germany was best fitted to defend Europe’s heritage against these threats, but it was no lasting triumph which was offered to her – merely the domination of Europe as an ‘Imperium Mundi’, until Inevitable Fate overtook “Faustian Man”.
The Discussion was aggressive, but Frater Ball was in the happy position of XXX knowledge of Spengler which enabled him to make assertions of Spengler’s meaning without fear of disproof in fratres. Interest was particularly directed towards the metaphysical basis of Spengler’s philosophy – and it appeared that there was in fact no such justification, beyond a claim of the intuitive perception of Reality on his part.
The closing rites were read at about 10.30 and the meeting became informal – the Dead structure of a living culture dragging out its existence until the last Frater XXX, leaving excellent manifold testimony of the ardour of their communion with Clio scattered upon the floor.
J. N. Ball (Mag. Rot.)
I. H. M. Jones (Princeps Senatus)
The 241st meeting of the Confraternity was held in Fr. Passant’s rooms at 8:15pm on Monday, 27th Nov. 1944. After coffee the opening rites were read and the Princeps* explained to Plebs the institution of the Tribunes, and asked for nominations for the two vacancies. Frs. Goodfellow and Jones were nominated and duly elected. The ceremony of the Tribunicial Oath was postponed till a later meeting, on account of technical difficulties beyond the control of the Senate. The Princeps then introduced Mr. Guerson [sp?], a figure well-known in Cambridge haunts, and asked him to read his paper on “Lord Acton’s “Historical Forgeries””. Having explained the ambiguity of his title, Mr. Guerson [sp?] indicated briefly the historical forgeries with which he proposed to deal, and then dealt in detail with several of them.
*Called for the minutes of the last meeting to be read, and these being duly signed, a note of absence was read from Fraticelli Hoskins. The Princeps then moved a vote of censure on the Magister for failure to read a note of absence from the Princeps himself at the previous meeting. The Magister having failed to give an adequate explanation of his inefficiency, other than that he had erroneously interpreted the note as a previous communication addressed to him alone, the vote was duly carried.
There was the Monita Secreta, forged to minister to the traditional Reputation of the Society of Jesus, and purported to be secret XXX to the Society – containing prescriptions for increasing the power & wealth of the Society. Other XXX inferences were made to forged amorous escapades of Marie Antoinette and then Mr Guerson [sp?] tuned to his pieces de Resistance: The fabrications of Shapira of Simonides, who forged the Moabite antiquities, disposing of them to the Berlin museum for the XXX sum of £3,750. But the Shapira Bible: he “found in a cave in Arabia fragments of the Pentateuch, so hence [sp?] he conveyed them to London demanding £1 million of the British Museum, only to be discovered in his XXX by a fortunate [sp?] accident.
The figure of Constantine Simonides was much greater, who was a considerable calligrapher, and succeeded in disposing of a mixture [sp?] of forged & genuine Greek manuscripts.
Finally he came to the “deft deceiver of Chasles”, who fittingly claimed to have copies of a letter from St Mary Magdalene to St Paul – rather strangely on C18 paper and in French. With this farcical climax the paper concluded.
Questions were asked by Fratres about the Casement Diary and the Zinoviev letter, and were duly enlightened. The Closing rites were read at about 10.30.
M. Ball (Mag. Rot.)
K.J. Carpenter (Pontifex Maximus) (pp. Princeps Senatus)