Class History

For the privilege of one short glance into the future how much we would give, and how easy then would be the task of penning the history of the Law Class of “Noughty-one.” How pleasant it would be to positively predict the illustrious future of some of our leading lights, and equally satisfying to point out the certain disaster that shall overtake some of our less virtuous comrades if the traditional “new leaf” be not turned. To prepare Place for the high place reserved for him in the highest place; to think of McMaster instilling into the mind of the student youth of a class somewhere in the nineteen hundreds the uselessness of forestalling a lecturer with premature questioning; of “Professor” Doak insisting upon the door being closed and barred after the calling of the roll for his lecture. A voluminous class history of Law ‘or might without difficulty be written in this strain, were not cheap wit and idiotic personalities too much for the already overtaxed brain of the poor student.

It must be with a certain pardonable pride, however, that the history of our class is undertaken. Firm is the conviction of every one of us that many of the shining luminaries of the legal profession of the near future are to come from this class. Such a feeling is hardly conceit; it is true appreciation of our own merit. Yet, in spite of our high opinion of ourselves, there is nothing of an unusually important or exciting nature to chronicle in our history up to the present time. The truth of the old saying that “Happy is the people whose annals are uninteresting,” is with us, once more, proved correct. Our relations one with another have been harmonious—one might even say cordial. Rivalry there is, and rivalry there always will be; but it is the right kind—that which incites a man to harder work and possibly to a greater appreciation of the good qualities of his classmates.

Some few of the starters dropped out of the race. We sympathise with them, be it the result either of their own inclinations or the hard fate of the gods. We were a large class at the start, and will undoubtedly make a large finish. And this suggests the thought that “our finish” will be an interesting one. We have marked an era in McGill’s law history—the beginning of really large classes; but we have also come upon the time when a comparatively large portion of the class is working for first place. He will indeed be a good man who gains that coveted position. But to a good man of us—the “mediocre” men, let us say—remains that delightfully soothing thought that not always does the man of middle standing in college take a medium stand in his life-work. It is true he sometimes falls lower, but it is equally true that he frequently rises higher. For this reason we see among the future Justices of the Supreme Court, members of Parliament, and others whom it delighteth the gods to honor, many of our own men who at present are not “featuring” in the prize lists, but who all the same are getting a firm groundwork in the intricacies of our most intricate law.

We have done our share in college athletics, in literary work, and in college fun. We have occasionally revelled in our work, but much more often have become heartily wearied of it, and we, one and all, look forward with dread to the final and fearful struggle before the Bar of our Province, when we shall be rudely awakened from our dreams of self-importance to the fact that we know very, very little of law after all.

The Law man of McGill sees little of University life—less in comparison, than any of the students of the other faculties. But he is not a whit behind any in his affection for his Alma Mater, or in his loyalty to her now and for all time. Our course can hardly be termed the training school of life, but a great training it undoubtedly is for all of us, and the results will be shewn in our good work in practice. With the faculty there have always been the friendliest relations, and we have, one and all, from our first meeting with the Dean, been assured of his kind interest in our individual welfare.

In a word, if we have but taken advantage of or opportunities, and endeavoured to live up to the ideals that McGill has placed before us, neither our Alma Mater nor we ourselves will have much reason for complaint in the future.

Source: McGill University Archives, Unknown, Class History — Law, Class of 1901, 1901, 131-132

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