XXXVII
PUBLIC EXERCISES
Above account was given of the Fourth of July celebrations at the
Institute in the years 1835-38, when a member of one of the Societies
delivered the oration of the day. When the Institute had become a
college, with the change of the calendar, the Fourth falling in the
summer vacation, was no longer celebrated at the College. Following
the custom of the day the Literary Societies had a part in the annual
Commencements, which during the period of the Institute came at the
close of the academic year the last of November.
At the Commencement in November, 1834, there seems to have
been no other Exercises at the close of the session than the examina-
tions. But in the year of the formation of the Literary Societies, 1835,
the privilege of inviting a speaker to address them at the annual
Commencement was granted them. By an arrangement which was
begun in this year and continued until the end of the century the
Euzelians were expected to invite the orator in the odd-number years
and the Philomathesians in the even-number years. For the
Commencement of 1835 the Euzelians invited William Gaston, who
had recently come into greater prominence than ever by his speeches
and counsel at the Constitutional Convention of 1835. He had
accepted and announcement had been made that he would speak on
November 25. But a week before that date the Biblical Recorder
carried a note from W. T. Brooks, Secretary of the Euzelian Society,
stating that Gaston, having been delayed on a trip to the North, and
under present pressure of business, would not be able to attend the
Commencement. Accordingly, after the examinations were over, on
Monday, November 23, 1835, the Principal dismissed the students
with a short valedictory address, which seemed to have increased
rather than lessened the sadness which the lads and young men felt on
the occasion of their separation from one another.1
―――――――
1 Brooks,
Diary.
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