Friday June 18th gave rise to one of the most serious rows that have occurred here for many years:……. On Friday June 18th after ‘speeches’ up School a most unseemly disturbance was made by the greater part of the school, and which the masters took no steps to quell whatever. At the advice of Dr. Scott the monitors made a list of offenders, – although I must confess that the greater number did not show themselves up – Thereupon the masters jumped at the conclusion that we were going to tan them all [which was not our intention at all, we were merely acting on behalf of Dr. Scott] and sent a protest to Dr. Scott saying that we were infringing on their rights, and that we had no power to act up School. Mr James and Mr Jones then resorted to the following plan to openly insult the monitors: – at breakfast they announced that if the monitors sent for anyone they were to appeal at once. – This was utterly blackguardly and uncalled for, because, as we were acting under Dr Scott, if we had sent for anyone there could have been no appeal! I at once resigned my place as Head of Grants, but Mr Jones apologised to the house and I was satisfied.
When this apology was given however I was not present, and afterward discovered that his apology was virtually no apology at all as it only concerned me as head of the House:- Up Rigaud’s, Mr James, with that utterly blackguardly vein of humour which defies all description, held Robson up to the ridicule of the House, and stigmatized the monitors as a set of big brutes who wanted to tan fellows smaller than themselves :- What a pity it is that no rule exists to enable monitors to kick masters! – Afterwards, however, I will do Mr James the credit to say he humbly apologised for all he had said to the whole House, when he heard we acted in accordance with Dr. Scott’s wishes.
Now the reason why Dr. Scott was at first inclined to put the case into our hands was because the masters has utterly neglected their duty in allowing such a disgraceful disorder to go on, and one of them, Mr Marklove, had shirked School altogether, during speeches, & he naturally thought they deserved to forfeit their right of dealing with the case:- But the masters were determined to assert their rights; they assembled in Mr Jones’ house, signed a protest, three of them declared their intention of resigning if the monitors officiated, & so compelled Dr. Scott to give way:- Here let me say that Dr. Scott behaved admirably, & had his score off them in return by a polite circular, which, I believe, commented on Mr Marklove’s absence, [He had been bitingly sarcastic to us and inclined to pooh-pooh everything], and generally sat upon them.- Dr. Scott did not allow the masters to deal with the case, but took the matter into his own hands and gave those forms which were most to blame an hour’s work on Wednesday afternoon…. It is needless to say that the masters up School cut that hour very short….. Previous to this the monitors unanimously signed a protest, clearly laying before the masters what we thought of their disgraceful behaviour, in abusing their own authority and trying to undermine our’s…. Perhaps it was too plain, for they did’n’t like it, and demanded an apology. We said we were sorry if the masters had taken offence at what we said. The masters now thought they had sufficiently asserted and vindicated their honour, but really only held themselves up to the ridicule and contempt of all the Upper School…… We are not ‘Bargees’, but the course adopted by the masters deserves stronger language than I care to use, and for them any Public School ought to blush.
Let me add that Dr. Scott told James that such a rule as the master’s represented, viz: that monitors has no power in the presence of a master, never had and never could exist.
Magister docet, says the Latin grammar truly, but, if they cannot keep order, they need not interfere with those who can. Moral.
H. Clifton Benbow. Prin: Opp:
Cff: §205 where the masters sent a protest to Dr. Scott under circumstances of a similar character: But were over-rules, altho’ they maintained that “an offence committed in School in the presence of the masters should not be dealt with by the boys.”