1953

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


On the sixth day before the Ides of March [9.3.1953] Fr. Woodrow presented a paper under the elusive title, “The French Revolution from Burke to XXX.” Then Baroness Orczy’s Scarlet Pimperel rightly took his bow in this historiological review. We were treated to many excerpts from the classics, from the periods of Carlyle to the method of Maltier. It was altogether a competent piece of redaction of an XXX topic.

A full year’s programme was rounded off on the tenth day prior to the calends of May when for our Cromwell Night we were invited by the Master’s gracious hospitality to impart the Muniments. The college silver was on show and our host explained the points to look for. Dr. Smail then discussed and displayed a selection of Sidney’s medical books. This evening was a worthy precedent and delightful enough to recommend for a repeat performance.

Senate 1953-4

Princeps: P.W. Wolfe
Pontifex: F.J. Silvester
Magister: J.M.M. Bell
Caeremonarius: P. Salway
Fabricius: S.L. Kohn
Comes: B.J. Rand

15/10/54 Subscription reduced from 5/- to 4/- per annum.


On the day after the Kalends of November, All Souls Day, [2.11.1953] for the 306th meeting of the Confraternitas we were honoured to have for our speaker Frater Thomson who gave us a most interesting talk entitled “Clio in Paris.” He showed us the remarkable way in which French history seems to repeat itself: Constitutional Monarchy and Republic to Autocracy to Monarchy again; this cycle repeating itself until the end of the Third Republic with the Régime of Vichy. Another recurring factor is that in crises France always turns to her eldest statesman for example Thiers in 1871, Clemenceau in 1914 and Pétain in 1940.

Before the talk began however, the suggestion was made that the Confraternitas should not omit to celebrate the tercentenary of the entry into the Office of Lord Protector by Oliver Cromwell. A guest night was suggested by Fr. Smail to take place early next term when some Cromwellian authority might be persuaded to come and speak. The suggestion has now been placed into the capable hands of the Senate for further investigation.

Also, Frs. Smail and Thomson demonstrated the value of oral tradition in a most XXX fashion. Hearing that by some mischance the record of the form of the rites of imitation had perished they were able to recollect them for us. Unfortunately the inscription was not undertaken until after the meeting had closed. As there were four aspirants in attendance the Senate thought it only proper that the 307th meeting by instituted for the induction of the new fratres so we can only trust that the Lady Clio has forgiven us this further intrusion on her time and attention.

Signed:
P.W. Wolfe (Princeps).
John M.M. Bell (Mag. Rot.)


The 307th meeting of the Confraternitas was held in Frater Smail’s rooms on the feast day of St. Edmund, the fifteenth day before the Kalends of December [16.11.1953]. (The Magister Rotulorum feels himself bound to protest against the use of this barbaric calendical notation especially in view of its overly recent adoption by the Confraternitas. Doubtless the wisdom of the present Senate will see fit to return to the custom of our predecessors.)

The accustomed opening rites were duly performed with becoming gravity by the Pontifex Maximus before the assembled fratres. The Senate however seemed rather depleted in numbers and the Fabricius being forced to leave his more mundane worries to wield the ceremonial pike. The rites accomplished the Confraternitas was pleased to welcome two new fratres to its bosom – Messrs. Shorthouse and Sennett. Following their induction into light, the assembled Plebs were bidden by the Princeps to choose their representatives on the Senate. Despite a becoming if inconvenient modesty, two nominations were secured, seconded and accepted – Fratres Andrews and Ballantyne. After the meeting had closed, it dawned on the Magister that the tribunicial oath had not been administered to the tribunes elect.

There being no further administrative business, Frater Grisbrooke then read his scholarly paper on “Some Aspects of the Reformation” dealing particularly with the Eucharist. Exceedingly stimulating to thought and provoking prejudices fundamental to the hearts of fratres, this talk might well cause them to consider where exactly they stand in regard to this and kindred on other important matters.

The meeting was closed in the customary manner about 10.15.

Signed:
P.W. Wolfe (Princeps)
John M.M. Bell (Mag. Rot.)


The 308th Meeting of the Confraternitas was held on St Andrew’s Day, the day before the Kalends of December [30.11.1953], in Frater Smail’s rooms, when Professor XXX D. Edwards, Visitng Pitt Professor of American Institutions unfolded the mysteries of American advertising before the astounded eyes of a goodly number of fratres.

Apparently the two basic postulates of this profession are that people cannot think and that everyone is motivated solely by emotion. Nonetheless advertisers are frequently forced to admit that some campaigns must inevitably fail e.g. shoe XXX vs. shoe XXX, and that pioneer trails can soon become ruts. Over exposure can lead to a horrid cynicism and scepticism. The advertiser has to work hard to keep the public spending. Still, mere lack of belief does not preclude influence.

Advertising is not completely maleficent in its effects – apart from anything else, it means that the consumer pays considerably less for many advertising media – especially newspapers or magazines – than they cost to produce.

By definition advertising is the art of persuasion by experts in an amoral setting, based on objective study of human nature, and in conclusion, Professor Edwards pointed out the danger of the art being applied to politics, instancing the late Dr. Goebbels.

This most interesting and informative talk, backed up as it was by frequent references to an opulent looking American magazine raised a vast number of questions in the bosoms of the assembled which Professor Edwards answered with ready good humour.

The meeting was closed in the accustomed manner about 10.15.

Signed:
P.W. Wolfe (Princeps)
John M.M. Bell (Mag. Rot.)

 

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