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Dartmouth-McGill Game Recalls Momentous Contest With Canadians in 1884 and Flow of Champagne Afterwards


The resuming of international relations in football last Saturday when Dartmouth played McGill University of Montreal and defeated the invading Canadians 52 to 0 is reminiscent of the first rugby game ever played at Harvard in 1874, in which McGill was the University's opponent. This game was monentous in its influence on athletic activity in American colleges. It was the first time intercollegiate Rugby had ever been played in this country and marks the conception of the development of the American game of football.

After considerable letter writing had arranged to overcome the differences in rules by playing one game according to the Rugby rules and one according to the Harvard development of the game, the Harvard University Football Club commenced preparations for the coming match. Goal posts were erected on Holmes Field for practice at a cost of $2.50. The Advocate was used to urge the students to come out for the team. The following notice appeared in the Magenta, for May 8, 1874, which occupied in college life the place the CRIMSON does now.

"The McGill University Football Club will meet the Harvard Club on Jarvis Field, Wednesday and Thursday, the 13th and 14th at 3 o'clock. Admission 50 cents. The proceeds will be devoted to the entertainment of our visitors from Montreal."

At last the great day arrived. Each team lined up with eleven men in the first game. The McGill men appeared dressed after the English fashion and consequently made a much better impression than did the University eleven whose members appeared on the field attired in a dark pair of trousers, a white undershirt, which had the advantage of ripping when seized, and a magenta handkerchief tied upon the head as was traditional with the crews. The clothing survived the first match which, being played under the Harvard rules, was not as rough as the second played under the McGill Rugby rules.

Quite a considerable crowd of men in college turned out, estimated at about five hundred. Any anxiety that was felt for the outcome of the match was soon relieved as the University team demonstrated their absolute superiority. In fact from all appearances the Canadian team had not taken the trouble to study the American method of play.

On the next day the second match was played and this turned out to be a different story, due to the fact that it was played under the Rugby rules. Instead of a round rubber ball, as had been used the previous day, a leather covered oval ball, much after the manner of the present day football, was put into service. The result was a scoreless tie.

After the matches had both been played a round of entertaining set in and as a final sendoff the University eleven gave a dinner at Parker's in Boston, at which the account reads "champagne flowed as it will never do again."

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