think he has not shewn himself to be already such a man as ought to be admitted into the society. The probation in short is not designed to make a man what he ought to be, but to shew what he is. If the Statutes (which is not clear to me) admit of our extending the term in any case, it is plainly in one where from a man's necessary absence, illness, or any other cause our minds are left in doubt (not as to his future, but) as to his present character. Now all that you promise is to become quite a new man; I am far from being without hope that it will be so: but even the fullest confidence of that, in all our minds could only relate to the future, and would not justify us in admitting into the society one whose past conduct had not proved him worthy of it.
You understand, I believe, that no formal decision of the College has taken place; but in Octr. we shall be called on to pronounce our opinion as to the period which has now expired; and it is hardly to be doubted that the non-residents will be guided by our observation, which lays us that are resident under a still heavier responsibility. At that meeting if I thought that a probationer had shewn himself worthy of admission I should vote for it: if my mind was in doubt as to the character he had displayed, and I felt that from any circumstances I had not had sufficient opportunity of observing him, I should perhaps feel justified in proposing an extension of the term: but if I felt no such doubt as to the past, whatever might be my hopes as to the future, I could not in conscience sanction anything but his rejection. I have a duty to the College to perform which if my own brother was the person concerned I trust I should not shrink from. Do not therefore cherish any hopes of this nature; but endeavour, (as you profess your intention) to derive moral profit from what has befallen you: remember that your delinquencies are not merely academical but moral also: and consider that you are still under a more important probation at the termination of which there will be no profit in lamenting the past, no room to amend the future, and no hope of eluding the eye of an 'All-Seeing' Judge.
Believe me, Yours very sincerely R. WHATELY.
Letter from EDWARD HAWKINS, Fellow of Oriel, to HARTLEY COLERIDGE, June 11, 1820, informing him that his letter had been read to the Provost and Fellows, but that there was no probability of an extension of his probation.
Oriel College, June 11, 1820.
I have read, as you desired, your letter to the Dean, and I shall have unfeigned satisfaction in learning hereafter that your resolutions of amendment take effect.