No 32*

I have decided to post this entry, No 32*, after No 44 which appears to be its rightful place – ECW 08/03/2016

The papers from which this number is copied having for some time lain loose in this book I have thought it right to copy them into it for the benefit of posterity.  As no exact date is applied to them the list of the Sixth has been my guide as to the place for their insertion, the names of some who are mentioned in them, being in the list mentioned.

C. Osborn Head Boarder


About the middle of October 1821 a proceeding was set on foot, which as it maybe of importance hereafter it has been thought fit to transcribe.  It had been the immemorial privilege of the Sixth Form of West. to conduct among themselves, and determine, by their own voice, alone (and which power was acknowledged by Dr Page the late Head Master) (vide No. 7) everything relating to fagging.  To the astonishment of the whole body Mr Knox (the Usher of Mrs Du Brieux) gave out regulations relating to shoe blacking, cleaning candlesticks, knives etc none of which (as his orders [professed] to imply) were after Michaelmas day, to be done by the fags.  Upon this being communicated to the Sixth Form it was settled that the Prin Op should mention to Dr Goodenough their wish that some security should be given them that he should proceed no farther in such alterations.  Before this communication was made to him he told part of the Sixth to come to his house to hear something for their benefit, on their going thither he entered at full length upon the business and asked them their opinion on the point and on their disinclination being made known to him, he paid no attention to it whatsoever.  Great dissatisfaction was felt through the school but no further proceedings were instituted till the following Monday when a Committee was appointed to consider the case consisting of the following members – Mansel [P. Op] Morgan Mrs Stelfoxes Phillpotts, Wood Mrs Bests Wyld, Maurice Mrs Grants Shell Monk, Paget, Barton, Tryon, Dowdeswell jr Ridley.

It was then submitted to them that Mr Knox had forbidden the use of Blacking Brushes, Jack baskets or even potatoes the night before. Upon this it was resolved that a remonstrance signed by all the Upper School should be given to Dr Goodenough that if he paid no attention to their wish that no Sixth Fellow should take leave of him, on leaving, that no fellow should touch his hat to him, the other Masters or particularly Knox.  The remonstrance afore mentioned was ordered to be prepared which was to the following effect –

We the undersigned protest against the alterations which Dr Goodenough is making, against the system of fagging, merely on the ground of having no security against further innovation and we are of opinion that the Princeps Oppidanus, should request Dr Goodenough to give his promise to that effect —  On Tuesday these papers were brought into School, signed, but just before they were to be given up – two or three of the sixth withdrawing their names, the whole sixth! followed their example – it was too much odium to throw upon the shell alone and therefore the remonstrance was dropped, previous to this however, Mr Knox called in Mansel and told him, that he must be cautious how he acted in this affair, that he was watched, and that he (Mr Knox) was convinced that Mansel intended to oppose both Masters and Ushers, and that he should recommend Dr Goodenough expel him on the spot. But after some time, said that he would not mention it to Dr G – if Mansel would promise not to say, that he (Mr Knox) had threatened him, which was accordingly promised, the conversation (tho’ not with whom) being mentioned, it was determined that Mansel could proceed no farther with safety – things were in this situation when the lists were deprived of the names of the 6th. It was then thought right to ask Dr G – to allow the head of the Boarding houses to wait on him, at 12 o’clock – which he readily assented to, they first represented to him that the school were desirous for a promise to be made , and  that he would endeavour no further to alter the rules of fagging, in any way whatever – to wh[ich] he answered, that he could not fetter himself in anyway whatever, that he had no intention however remote, of doing so, but that still he left himself the discretion, if he found it necessary to use it.  That with respect to Mr Knox in his Boarding House, he could give no redress.  That if Mr Knox had used improper language, it would afford us an excellent opportunity of exhibiting an example of forbearance. At this time a report was spread by some fellows at Mrs Du Brieux’s that Mr Knox had ordered the maids to tell him whenever they saw anything boiling at the Kitchen Fire – Previously to this Mr Knox had told Mansel that now it would be a double crime in him (Mansel) as Prin Op if he interfered in any of the rules of the house. This naturally acted as a preventative to Mansels’ making any more objections, at this stage of the business it was determined that Dr Goodenough should be hissed, upon entering the school early in the morning, but an agreement being made overnight that Mansel should not but that Morgan 2dTB should represent first to Dr G – the pitch to which the feelings of the fellows were roused, this was accordingly done, Mansel having been requested, not to proceed any farther and an appointment made for 12 o’clock it was then agreed that all plans agreed on before- should be suspended till then. Upon Morgan’s going to Dr G he repeated his former communication merely adding that if any boy at Mrs Du Brieux’s had a complaint to make, he would hear it (which consent, under existing circumstances, was considered nearly equivalent to a refusal) – Telling Morgan at the same time, that Mansel had wisely withdrawn himself, and that he placed himself in a very responsible situation, this threat, in terrorem, caused Morgan to withdraw himself entirely and thus the succeeding part of the affair was managed by the Shell, to whom the greatest thanks is due for coming forwards readily on an occasion of so much importance, the answer of Dr Gs having thrown no light upon the subject it was resolved that he should be hissed  – it was accordingly done.  The whole school being drawn up in a semi-circle to receive him, on his entrance he was received with some very warm hissing, upon his commanding them to desist the hissing was still more vigorously repeated, at length exasperated he ordered some fellows by name to sit down in their places which being complied with, the rest followed.  After prayers the hissing was renewed, he more indignant ordered the monitor to stand at the door and not to let any one out and at the same time told every one who had a complaint to make to come out.  No one came out and thus the affair was dropped. About ½ past 5 the same evening Mr Knox requested the Sixth to wait on him which they did and he represented to them that he had no intention of doing away, with any part of fagging and desired Mansel to state, what innovations, Mr Knox had been making – an explanation then took place and after some abusive language from Mr Knox to Mansel, Morgan (who with the assistance of 3 others had acted as judge) expressed his opinion that Mr Knox had completely cleared himself of all the charges and that Mansel had perverted whatever Dr. G said into the most glaring colours possible.  Phillpotts immediately got up and said “Yes Sir, and I can prove it” Mr Knox then shook hands with them and wished them “Good night” and immediately afterwards Morgan sent the following letter to Mansel –


Upon mature consideration, I think it necessary to retract as false, and unfounded that which I said in Mr Knox’s apartment this evening.  Concerning your having perverted what Dr. Goodenough said in his house, to us, as I have very good reason for so going – I likewise request you will show this to Mr Knox and request him, not to mention anything about it to Dr. Goodenough as I certainly shall not substantiate it if by chance I should be called upon to do so.  I trust you will ever find my ready, when I have done an injury or said anything improper, to make ample reparation if you consider necessary let me have one.



(A copy agreably to his request, this letter was shown to Mr Knox the next morning, Dr G. told the heads of house to come to him, at their coming, he asked Morgan, if the was not satisfied, that Mr Knox had cleared himself about the rules, innovations &c to which he answered, “yes perfectly Sir” sentence of expulsion from office was then passed upon Mansel.  A charge was them immediately made against Morgan (44) in his own vindication by Mansel.  Mr Knox submitted his conduct to the investigation of the Shell against the wishes of Masters, Ushers &c. but the Sixth declined it, Mr Knox as a last response sent an official letter to Dr Goodenough and by the advice of the Dean it was determined that Mr Knox’s request should be agreed to, that he, Mr Knox, would not remain, if Mansel was not removed during the week other circumstances rendering it impossible for Mansel to go to any other house, and therefore his being about to leave Dr Goodenough, to prevent his leaving with any reflection on his character, restored him to his former station and placed him in the exercise of the official acts belong to it.

This is all that is contained in the manuscript alluded to.  Whether any other is missing, it is impossible to say.  No names is affixed to it and in some places it is almost impossible to decipher it.

Added by C.D. Osborn H Boarder

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