Daily Gleaner, December 21, 1868
THE COLLEGIATE SCHOOL.
proceedings which annually grace the commencement
of the Christmas holidays at the Collegiate
took place on Friday last, 18th instant. For an hour and a half previous, a large and fashionable company had
been gradually assembling. We were agreeably struck with the vast improvement effected by recent and extensive repairs in the building itself, and with the usual excellence of all arrangements. We are credibly
informed that some anxiety was occasioned by delay in the appearance of His Excellency the Governor, who
had kindly consented to preside on the occasion, and who, in this instance at least did not exemplify the
proverbial punctuality which is so eminent a characteristic of its illustrious lady whom he represents. From the time, however, that his Excellency took the Chair all went "merrily as a marriage bell.”
proceedings of this day, looked forward to
during the past few weeks with mingled
feelings of hope and fear
by not a few [ page torn ] commenced by the Revd. Principal, Dr.M[ page torn ] the 63rd Psalm, and concluded the devotional exercises with “the Lord's Prayer.”
followed a short introductory speech in
which the Doctor expressed the pleasure with
which he welcomed
such an assembly within the walls of the Collegiate – a pleasure heightened by the thought that this was the
first day of a half year of hard, earnest work. He would refer his Excellency to the Examination Papers before
him, as a test of the real excellence required before distinction could be gained. He could not but direct attention to the Drawing Specimens, and though it was not for him to boast on such a subject, yet, considering one fact,
viz., that the drawing class had been taught for only four and half months, he thought that they would bear
comparison with those of any other artistic institution in Europe. With equal confidence could he refer to the
Writing Specimens placed for their inspection, the best of which would be selected for the prize by a committee of mercantile gentlemen nominated by the Governor. He would say nothing about the Elocution - the boys could
best speak for themselves except that the prize would be similarly decided by a committee nominated by the
Governor. The Rev Doctor then expressed his deep regret at the non-arrival of the silver medals from England.
He thought that he had done all that was requisite for their timely arrival, having written more than four months
ago to order them; but in vain expected their arrival by each successive packet, "a fact which proves,' said the speaker, that tradesmen in England, too, are not punctual." In a few other appropriate words he requested his
Excellency the Governor to occupy the position of Chairman.
Excellency then at the invitation of the
Doctor, proceeded to inspect the Drawing and Writing Specimens,
accompanied by the committee whom he had nominated to decide the Prize. Both the departments called forth
expressions of warm commendation. Our readers are aware that the Collegiate School has for years borne a
well-merited reputation for the superior excellence of the handwriting of its Scholars. That this high standard of excellence has been fully maintained, all who were witnesses of the decision of the Writing Prize mus[t] have
been convinced. Expressions of surprise and admiration were heard on all hands. The task of selection seemed
to be far from easy. It was, to borrow a phrase from the French. "Embarras des richesses." As to the Drawing Specimens, we can confidently say that we have never seen such a collection before even in the Collegiate.
We have witnessed specimen Drawings of examinations in Schools of reputation in the Mother-Country, which were positively below this standard in freedom and accuracy of style; and we can only affirm that they reflect the highest credit upon pupils and teacher alike.
The names of the Committee nominated by
the Governor to decide the Elocution Prize
having been announced
by Dr. Milne, the company retired to their seats, and the Elocution contest began. The various competitors for the
Elocution Medals were introduced by Master Charles Ewart in a speech which, though delivered with evident
signs of nervousness, was nevertheless neat and effective. The following is a copy -
me has been assigned the honour of
introducing to you my school-fellows who are
to compete for the Elocution
Medal. Ever since I entered the school as a pupil, an event almost contemporaneous with another important epoch
in my history, viz: the assumption of those manly habiliments which mark the transition from childhood to wild
frolicsome boyhood - ever since I witnessed these annual assemblies, I have wondered if in the wide world could
be found boys so happy and honored as those who give the speeches and read the pieces on this auspicious day.
I am now one of those who hold the proud position; I have gained the object of my boyish ambition, and yet,
strange to say, though I deem the honour great as ever, a funny sort of feeling steals along my limbs, and a creeping chilly tremour comes over my nerves so that I half repent of ever having aspired to the position I now
"Permit me, however, your Excellency, to do my best. I solicit your kind attention to the young gentlemen who are
now going to read pieces selected by themselves, and I fondly trust they will earn your approbation, and show
themselves not unworthy of their predecessors, who have on such occasions striven for distinction in this important
branch of education. I would also recommend to your notice the gainers of the class and special prizes and medals,
whose private struggles are soon to be crowned with triumph. The Examination Papers you see on the table in
classics, mathematics, history, geography and English literature, prove to you the severe ordeal through which we
for the last fortnight have been made to pass; and those remorseless daily marks by which the inexorable masters
chronicle “the story of our life from day to day," can "a tale unfold," which if it do not "harrow up your soul," may
dispose you to regard with favour the industry of those who win their honours, not by spasmodic effort, or
felicitous display of natural cleverness, but on the principlebeautifully expressed by the poet -
"The heights by great men reached and kept,
Were not attained by sudden flight;
But they, while their companions slept,
Were toiling upwards, in the night.”
[verse from 'The Ladder of St Augustine' by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow]
would respectfully; direct your special notice
to the English Essays handed in by the
more advanced pupils.
They are the genuine bona fide composition of the boys whose names they bear.
I hope your Excellency will regard with
some interest those incipient efforts to
know and use the language of our
Mother-country, - the language which brings
to us the treasures collected by the
great and good that have gone
before - the language which girdles the globe with a zone of surpassing splendour and beauty, and of which it has
been said –
'It spreads where winter piles deep snows on bleak Canadian plains
'And where on Essequibo's banks eternal summer reigns;
'It glads Arcadia's misty coasts, Jamaica's glowing isle;
'And bides where, gay with early flowers, green Texan prairies smile.
'It tracks the loud swift Oregon, through sunset valleys rolled,
'And soars where Californian brooks wash down their sands of gold.'
[lines from 'The Triumph of our Language', by the Rev J G Lyons]
"Your Excellency, Ladies and Gentlemen,
cannot close without saying how grateful we
all are for your kind presence amongst
us to-day. I consider that
the honour you do us is not only a pleasing reward for the toils of the past, but that it will encourage us in the
work which seen or unseen, is before us in the future.
'Let us do our work as well,
'Both the unseen and the seen; .
'Make the house where God may dwell,
'Beautiful, entire, and clean.
'Thus alone can we attain,
'To those turrets where the eye
'Sees the world as one vast plain,
'And one boundless reach of sky.' ''
[lines from 'The Builders' by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow]
do not intend to mention names or
formally criticise each of the competitors.
We would not be understood
to maintain that each of the performances as equal in force of conception, in spirited and accurate delivery.
Where all did well it would be invidious to particularize. Suffice it to say, that in the delivery of pieces by no
means easy, there was a combination of spirited and eloquent declamation, delicate modulation of voice, with appropriateness of look and gesture, which produced a profound and most pleasing impression. We heartily
congratulate our young fellow citizens on the evident zeal and success with which they are pursuing the noble
study of Elocution. We feel sure that as in the past, so in the future the Collegiate will turn out men who will
achieve distinction at the bar and in the pulpit.
elocutionary contest was followed by the
distribution first of special, then of class
prizes, each boy coming
forward in turn, receiving his prize from the Governor, and .then standing in line before his Excellency, who,
after distributing the prizes, addressed to them a few words of simple and earnest counsel.
with an expression of pleasure at occupying
his present position in the chair, and
by such an assembly, he proceeded to congratulate the boys who by dint of sheer hard work had won for
themselves the coveted distinction of prizes. He offered his congratulations equally to those who had struggled
and worked hard without being fortunate enough to grasp the prize, “for believe me,” said the speaker, "the
value of these things lies not so much in the prize which is at best but a small thing, as in the struggle, the discipline, the mental exercise involved in the contest." Those who would remain in the School, he reminded
of the great privilege secured them by their friends in placing them at an institution which was doing so
excellent and effective a work, an Institution which was a credit and benefit to the country. If they were unmindful of the privilege and misused the time and opportunities thus placed within their reach. There would
come a time when they would bitterly an perhaps vainly lament such folly. He urged on them renewed and
increased diligence. Those who were leaving school now, he reminded "that they were about to enter a
much harder school - the School of Life,” he begged them to remember that what they had already acquired
was but “a foundation laid' “It was for them to rear the superstructure." He advised them to begin the great
work "that very day," and by a diligent, continued development of every faculty of body and mind, to rise to
the utmost height of culture and gain those prizes which are awarded only to the highest excellence; assuring
them that they might go on in the diligent acquisition of knowledge “for fifty years,'' and yet find at the end
that they would still have to learn something fresh every day.
proceedings were then closed by a humorous
speech from Master Charles Delgado, the boy
return thanks for the school. This young gentleman was thoroughly at home in his work; and in his allusions
to the Governor, the Ladies, the Gentlemen, as in leading the lusty hurrahs of his comrades, distinguished
himself by a happy ease and facility thoroughly delightful to see.
ended a pleasant, successful gathering, which
brought vividly to our recollection the
lang syne” when, undistracted by anxious care, untroubled by sad remorseful recollections, unconscious of the “infinite burdens of life,” we trod with careless, confident, eager steps the happy round of study and
pastime which blessed the flowery paths of childhood, the frolicsome hours of boyhood; and we could not help wishing that his Excellency's administration may be providentially blessed to the perfecting of
wise and beneficent measures which shall restore such prosperity to our "glowing isle," that openings may more readily be found for the Intelligent, moral and capable lads who, year by year, are turned out
by the Collegiate.