The Sixth then stood.
J. Preston 7th
The Sixth then stood.
J. Preston 7th
This year no holiday task was set at Whitsuntide proving the truth of what I advanced at No 287.
An event happened this year, which I feel confident has never had a parallel here -viz. this Dr. Williamson having mentioned at the election of 1844 that the Electors were dissatisfied with the examinations of the Major Candidates, afterwards informed the two Head Third Election Q.S. that the Electors wished to see what the Q.S. were capable of doing in their 3d Election year, by themselves, & that therefore he wished them (Milman & Ingram) to comply with their request. To this effect he also added several subsequent arguments of equal weight: and the event was a challenge between them to contend for the priority then belonging to Milman by right. The Subject was the “Hecuba” there were three challenges, with certain limitations similar to those of Minor Candidates. Milman eventually kept his place. The reasons assigned above were, & with good reason, suspected to be not the genuine ones. Of the merit or demerit of the actual circumstance of the innovation; I will leave the Reader to form his own judgement hereafter from its effects. It is yet to be determined whether this is to be a regular thing, as a sort of “Return Match” to the usual Election of Minor Candidates at Whitsuntide. The Challenge was viva voce.
There always has been ditch leaping as usual on the 1st of March. But there was not this year. It fell on a Saturday.
The Subject for Deans Verses this year was “Clypeus Britannicus” upon the model of those of Achilles and Aneas.
The List of the Sixth Townboys as it stood after Xmas 1844
G. Gillett *
T. Grahame *
W. Green *
Those marked * are Home Boarder. This is the smallest number yet & it will be perceived that it can go but one step lower with regard to Sixth Boarders. Yet there were at this time 100 or very nearly in the School altogether a greater number than has congregated here for 6 or 7 years: although few old Westminster connections. The present paucity arises from the great deficiency of Under School some 5 years back, which being now much stronger, induces me to hope for a slight increase at least for the future.
I wished very much that the Sixth Dinner should not be forgotten, & therefore proposed that it should be held as nearly as usual as circumstances would permit which was agreed to. It was held on the 2d Play Night Decr 12th /44 at Gingers. Six Town Boys only attended. And although I fear it will prove of little use, except observing it as a custom, yet if managed with care it certainly can do no harm. On account of the death of the Princess Sophia the first Play Night (of the Eunuchus) was postponed from Monday the 9th to Wednesday the 11th the 2d Night being on the Thursday.
J. Preston O.P.
I may here observe that this Play was a very good one, & brought a very fair cap also several ambassadors & persons of that description.
On Octr 31st 1844 during the time usually occupied in playing at Football the Ball having bounded repeatedly over the railings of the Green, was at last detained by the assembled ‘scis without; nor was until some sharp blows had been given & received that the Ball was again forcibly restored. After the game was finished a fight arose in Bowling Street between a Fourth Town Boy of the name of Green & a ‘Sci about his own size, a crowd soon collected near the spot, & there being but few Westminsters there, & but one Sixth Fellow (a Town Boy) it was deemed necessary to send off for a detachment of certain T.B.s and QSs assembled at Shottons who immediately were on the spot the dispute or rather fight ending in nothing at all, the disturbance temporarily died away and would have done so entirely had not a “surly quarrelsome Irish superintendant”* of Police collared a Town Boy (Andrewes) & proceeded to menace him with “divers thumps in sundry places”. This he at any rate did not prove his right to carry into execution, but during the time he was arguing with Andrewes, some Beer was obtained & drank by several of us. This he took hold of & in lieu of something better, informed Dr. Williamson of the fact. *Eight of us next day were called in & accused of disorderly conduct & language, by the Doctor, & acquitted with the exception of the one who had meddled with the Porter who got *100 lines. The Question being then put to Dr. Williamson, as to what was the proper manner of proceeding in such circumstances, the undermentioned answer was given. For in the present instance, if we did not act, we were liable to be insulted; & if we did resent injury, to be taken up “That if an aggression were made by a ‘sci upon a Westminster, & the matter terminated in fighting, in case it were brought before him, he should take no steps to punish. That in case he was violating the laws of the land, & breaking the peace; his authority would not be recognised as sufficient to protect him. That now Dean’s Yard, the cloisters & even the Abbey itself were put under the hands of the Police; if he himself were quieting a row, which was going on before his own doors, & the Police were to interfere, he could not prevent their taking up even a Q.S. – That if a ‘sci attacked a Westminster & a fight ensued, he could not expect other Westminsters to stand quietly by, & that if he (the ‘sci) got a licking, he richly deserved it; yet that as gentlemen the Westminster ought to withdraw from & avoid rather than excite & encourage such disturbances. That fighting amongst each other was not allowed by the rules of the School, although where it was not of serious character it was not interfered with, & that if the authorities complained to him he must stop it. At the same time that he professed his willingness to lay the case before, the Superintendants’ (Lowies) superiors if we thought we had been unfairly dealt with. That there always was some little difficulty attending these matters, but that we must accommodate ourselves to matters as far as we could. That if a Westminster of inferior size were defended by one of a superior size against one ‘sci or more, & that one or more of his opponents were threshed at the time or even one or two days afterwards, he thought the law could not take hold of it, but if after a greater interval of time he thought it could. That in the present case he would be content with receiving from each an assurance that he individually did not behave himself with impropriety, & would proceed to punish any one no further” Which assurance we each did give him. I felt satisfied that Dr Williamson had done us justice & to use his own expression had fairly and equitably considered and decided upon the case in point.
I have taken so much space up for this insertion knowing that such things as this frequently occur & I thought it might be useful to refer to hereafter.
*Alluding to the character he bore among the force, as another Policeman informed us.
*The names were
J. Preston T.B Sixth
G. Gillett T.B. Sixth H.B.
C.G. Andrewes T.B. Sixth
W. Green T.B. Upper Shell H.B.
F. Cooper Q.S. Senior
A. Merewether Q.S. Senior
C.R. Bedford Q.S. 3d Election
D. Markham Q.S. 3d Election
*of which 50 were let off
Monday Oct. 28th 1844 being the Feast of St. Simon & St. Jude was observed by attendance at the Abbey during morning service. But it was also the opening day of the New Royal Exchange which the Queen was to open in person. Dr Williamson therefore gave the Sixth Form leave to see the procession return from 12 till ½ past 1 & from ½ past 1 till ½ past 5 which permission was of course taken advantage of. Leave out was granted to some from Saturday noon to Monday night limited of course to throw who had invitations, & refused to others. Most however if not nearly all the Boarders had leave up Town during the day. The procession on its return disappointed many as the Queen did no come back in state.
On Saturday Oct. 25th 1844 Dr Wordsworth Head Master of Harrow was installed as a prebend of Westminster Abbey in the room of three others. We had a late Play in consequence.