MR. ARNOLD AND THE CAMBRIDGE DIGNITARIES,
(TO THE EDITOR OF THE "SPECTATOR."]
Sra.,--In your review of Mr. Arnold's "Literature and Dogma" I observe that you quote a passage which you describe as placing " the dignitaries of the University of Cambridge in a ridiculous light." May I repeat you to inform your readers that the " dignitary " formally responsible for the subjects of the annual Prize Poems is the Vice-Chancellor for the time being, and he only. It has, however, been the courteous and not unreasonable practice of that officer to request the givers of the two medals, the
Chancellor's and the Powis, themselves to suggest the subjects for the current year. This practice, I have reason to know, was not departed from in the instance referred to by Mr. Arnold.
It is but fair to Professor Birks, so very unnecessarily named by Mr. Arnold, to say that he had no more concern in the choice of - the subject objected to than the Committee of the Athenmuun. Club, or any other "authorities" in or out of the University, with the exception of those just named.
Mr. Arnold, I am sure, will delight to learn that the successful poem, a good one in other respects, contains nothing which the sweetest or most prudish of the Sons or Daughters of Light could, reasonably object to.—I am, Sir, &c., AN " AUTHORITY " IN A SMALL WAY.