On the “Chairing day” before Whitsuntide, 1840, an event occurred, which, as it maybe useful or entertaining to those who may hereafter read this Ledger, I have thought right to notice. Mr Bentall, usher of the fifth, who, either deservedly or not, had been for some time past very unpopular amongst the fellows in general, having been hissed for some years past on the same occasion, and fearing a repetition of it this year, asked Williamson to use his authority in order to prevent it. In consequence, on the afternoon of that day Williamson (with Bentall), happening to meet several TBs and KSs walking down to the water, stopped them and gave public notice, that whoever hissed, or caused to hiss, Bentall, would be immediately expelled. Upon this, the fellows, who, had not before much idea of hissing, gave it up, as it was thought, entirely. The first and second rounds, none, or hardly any, hissing took place; and the fellows only laughed at him, as he was standing at the window. The third round, however, Lambard and Ogle, 2 third election fellows, with Merewether and Cocks, 2 second election, either heated with wine, or from some other cause, hissed and abused him for some time as loud as possible. Bentall, who of course distinctly saw them, called them all in to his house, and declared his intention of showing their names up to Williamson. He also called in Richards, a senior and some others, saying that they ought not to have allowed the fellows to hiss him.
At first some fears were entertained for the fellows, but on going into school next morning; it was only supposed that they would have a heavy imposition. Immediately after prayers, however, Williamson called up Ogle and Lambard, charged them with hissing, and abusing Bentall; and ended by sending for the monitor in order to flog them. Upon ordering Ogle (as first in his election) to take off his college waistcoat &c he refused, not wishing to cast such disgrace on his election. Lambard followed his example, notwithstanding they were urged to the contrary by Williamson, on account of their being on the foundation. They continued to refuse and were in form expelled by Williamson from school he hitting them both across their shoulders with the rod, as they were walking down! The fellows of course were much astonished, being taken by surprise, though, after the public notice that Williamson had given the evening before, it must be confessed that it was not much a matter of surprise. Ogle, however, was sent back by his father to receive, unavoidably, a flogging. Williamson nevertheless, denying the same privilege to Lambard, (if indeed he had been so inclined), alledging his previous bad character as a reason. Merewether and Cocks, being under elections, were flogged.
It is much to be regretted that the fellows should have been induced to hiss Bentall as passing by his windows in silent contempt (if he deserved it) in contrast to the cheers which they bestowed on Grant’s would have annoyed him quite as much as any noisy mark of disapprobation and it is to be lamented that they did not consider that in its present alarmingly low state; Westminster could ill bear their expulsion. It ought to be mentioned that the year before, some fellows that hissed Bentall had only 150 lines to learn. The difference of the punishments, may be accounted for by the notice which Williamson gave on the previous afternoon.
M.F. Osborn Prin. Opp.