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Full text of "Address delivered before the two literary societies of the University of North Carolina, June 1st, 1865"

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STEPHEN Bo WEEKS 

CLASS OF 16861 PUR THE JOmS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY 



OF THE 



TIE WEEKS COLILECTnON 



OF 



C378 
UK3 



m 



UNIVERSITY OF N.C. AT CHAPEL HILL 



00039136988 



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University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 



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ADDRESS 



DEI.IVERED BEFOKE THE 



fuo Itl^i'acg Sod^li^^ 



UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA, 

June 1st, 1865, 
BY 

HOX. WM. n. BATTLE, LL. D., 

OF CHAPEL HILL. 



E A L E I G H : 

WM. B. SMITH & CO 
1866. 



UNIVERSITY OF N. C, } 
Dialectic Hall, Oct. SOtJi, 1865. V 

We, the undersigned, in behalf of the Dialectic Society, would tend^ 
you our sincere thanks for the very excellent Address delivered before the 
two Literary Societies at our last annual commencement, and request ft 
copy of the same for publication. 

We would, individually, enter our solicitations that you comply witk 
the above, since circumstances deterred many from hearing its dcUvcry. 
Very respectfully, 

R. W. MEANS, ) 

P. B. MEANS, J- Committee. 

E. L. MOREHEAD, ) 
Hon. W. H. Battlk. 



Chapel Hill, Od. ZQth, 1865. 
My Dear Sirs : 

I thank you for the kind terms in which you notice the Address 
■which I delivered before the two Societies at the last annual commence- 
ment of the Uuiversity. 

The same motive Avhich prompted me to yield to the wislies of the 
Society, under whose appointment the Address was made, now impels me 
to send a copy to be disposed of as the Society may think proper. 

Very truly yours, 

WILL: H. BATTLE. 

To ]\ressr3. R. W. Means, ^ 

P. B. Means, > Committee. ( 

E. L. Moreuead, \ 



ADDRESS. 



YouxG OE^'TLK^[E:\ of tiii-; 

Dialectic and Piiilaxtiiropic Scx^^eties : 

I appear l>etbre y(ju upon an occasion of extraordinary inter- 
-^:it. A war, t lie parallel to wliicli does not appear upon the 
records of liistoiy, lias just closed. Its results have been dis- 
astrous to our section of tlie country. Among; the victims of 
its fury, tliere liave been ]ii :)ne more conspicuous than the higher 
institutions of learninu-. One by one, the universities and col- 
leges of the South have been prostrated by tlie violence of tlie 
i?torm. All, save our l)eloved Alma Ifater, ]i(i\e been coin- 
pelled to suspend their exercises and to close tlieir doors. Here 
silone the college Ijell has not ceased to call students to the 
Chapel for prayers, and to tiie Professors"' rooms for re<-itatioa« 
It must be confessed, however, that our light has been almost 
-extinguished, and that only a spark of life still exists to semi 
*jut a feeble ray. To this distinction of continued existence, 
«iiir University is indebted, under (rtid, to the indomitable en- 
ergy of her Board of Trustees, and to the devoted attaclimeiit 
«»fher President and Faculty. All honor to them for their 
noble perseverance in tiie cause of science and literature. 
Jfnter arma silent leges, hut it seems that the love of leaniing" 
is stronger than the laws, for it lias still tlourished amidst i\\e 
4iiu of arms. 

At sucli an era in the progress of our University, I have 
thought, my young friends, tliat I could not better occupy 
your attention for a fevv' moments than by giving you a brief 
#ketc]i of its origin and history, adding a few remarks upon 
the influence which it has had upon the country. 

It is the boast of our State that in its organic law, provision 



6 

h made for the instruction of her youth in all useful learning. 
By the 41st section of the Constitution it is declared : " That 
a school or schools shall be established by the legislature for 
the convenient instruction of youth, with such salaries to the 
masters, paid by the public, as may enable them to instruct at 
low prices ; and all useful learning shall be duly encouraged 
and promoted in one or more universities." The merit of 
those who adopted this wise provision cannot be duly appre- 
eiatedy without adverting for a moment to the time at, and 
the circumstances under, which it was made. The war of the 
Revolution had but fairly commenced, and the Declaration of 
Independence had only a few months before been promulga- 
ted, wlien a convention of the people met at the town of Hali- 
fax lor the purpose of preparing a constitution or form of gov- 
ernment for the State. The country was poor, the people 
generally but slightly educated, and tlic war then raging wa» 
of doubtful issue, yet the members of the convention were re- 
solved that their posterity should enjoy those advantages of 
education which had been denied to the most ot them. There 
can be no doubt that a large majority of those members had 
been instructed onh^ in the plain rules of reading, ^\riting and 
arithmetic, but destitute as they were of book learning, they 
had, in the business of social and political life, improved their 
mental faculties, and had thereby educated themselves to a 
due appreciation of the rights and privileges to which, as free- 
men, they were entitled. A few, and but a few of them, were 
men who had been more fa\ored by fortune, and were well 
instructed in all the branches of a classical and scientific edu- 
cation. Prominent among these were Richard Caswell, 
Thomas Burke, John Ashe, Samuel Ashe, Abner Xasli, Da- 
vid Caldwell, Joseph Hewes, Thomas Jones, Allen Jones^ 
Willie Jones, Cornelius Harnett, Archibald McLane and 
WaightstillJAvery. Richard Caswell Avas president of the 
convention, and Thomas Burke was chairman of the commit- 
tee on the constitution, Thev were both eminent lawyers^ 



and it is to them and their enlightened compeers that we are 
indebted for that section in the constitution from which have 
emanated our University, our Colleges and our noble system 
of Common Schools. The constitution was ratified the 18th 
day of December, 1776, and the war ceased by a definitive 
treaty of peace which secured our independence in September, 
1783 ; but it was not until the year 1789 that the financial 
condition of the State justified the legislature in making the 
necessary expenditures for the foundation of a University. In 
that year the charter of this institution was granted, and 
among the patriotic and enlightened members who advocated 
it, no one stood more conspicuous than Gen'l William R. 
Davie. Of his efforts on that occasion, the late Judge Mur- 
phy, who delivered the first annual address before your So- 
cieties, thus spoke in that address : '• The General Assembly 
resolved to found our University. I was present in the House 
of Commons, when Davie addressed that body upon the bill 
granting a loan of money to the Trustees for erecting the 
buildings of this University, and although more than thirty 
years have since elapsed, I have the most vivid recollections 
of the greatness of his manner and the powers of his eloquence 
upon that occasion.'' After the grant of the charter, the first 
object which engaged the attention of the Trustees, was to 
fix upon a site for the institution. The first Board consisted 
of forty members who resided in various parts of the State, 
and were all men distinguished for position and influence. 
The committee appointed by them for the purpose, after a 
careful examination of many places which had been suggested 
to them as suitable, selected Chapel Hill. This place was so 
called from its being tlie site of one of the ante-revolutionary 
churches of the English Establishment. The church l)uilding 
is said to have stood on the lot now occupied by ( 'apt. llicli- 
ard S. Ashe. It may not be uninteresting to revert to the 
terms in which the location wa-* spoken of in one of the pub- 
lic journals of that day : 



" The se^it of the UiiivGi'sity is on the stiininit of a very liigh 
ridge. There irf a gentle deciivitj of 300 yards to the AilLige, 
wliich is situated in a liandsonie phiin considerably lower than 
the site of the public buildings, but so greatly elevated above 
the neighboring country as to furnish an extensive landscape. 
The ridge appears to commence about half a mile directly east 
of the college buildings, \vhere it rises abruptly several hun- 
dred feet. This peak is called Point Prospect. Tlie peak 
country spreads oif below, like the ocean, giving an immense 
liemisphere, in which the eye seems to be lost in the extent of 
space.'' 

The building committee, having in the year 1 TU-^ secured a 
competent contractor in the person of Mr. James Patterson, 
of Chatham county, the 12th day of October in that year, was 
fixed upon for laying the corner stone of the first l)uilding. 
The following account of the ceremony subsefpiently api'iear- 
ed in the journal to vrhich we have already referred : " A large 
number of the brethren of the Masonic order from Hillsbo- 
rough, Chathau], Granville and AVarren attended to a£sist at 
the ceremony of placing the coi'iier stone ; and the procession 
for this purpose moved from Mr. Patterson's at 12 o'clock in 
the fol}ov\"ing order: The Masonic brethren in their usual or- 
der of procession, the Conmiissioners, the Trustees Jiot Com- * 
missioners, the Hon. Judge McKay and other public oflicers, 
then followed the gentlemen of the viciiiity. On approaching 
the south end of the building the Masons opened to the right 
and left, and the Commissiijners, c*cc., passed tlirough and took 
their place. The Masonic procession then moved on, round 
the foundation of the buikbng, and halted with their usual 
ceremonies opposite -tlic south-east corner, where AVilliam 
Pichard^on Davie, Grand Master cf the Fraternity, etc., in 
this State, assisted by two Masters of Lodges and four other 
oiiicers, laid the corner stone, enclosing a plate to commemor- 
ate the transaction." 

The Pev. Dr. McCorklc, a member of the Board of Ti-us. 



9 

teen, tlieii iiuidc an a])pn»})riate and eloquent address to Lis 
fellow nieiabcis and the spectators, which closed as follows : 
" The seat of the rniver.-ity was next sought for, and the pub- 
lic eve selected Chapel Hill, a lovely situation, in the centre 
of the State. ;it a convenient distance froiu the capital, in a 
hoalrhv ;ind fertile neiii-lihorhoud. Mny this hill lie for reli- 
irion as the ancient hill of Zion ; and for literature and the 
muses may it surpass the ancient Parnassus ! AVe this day 
enjf.tv tlie pleasure of seeing: the corner stone of tlie I ni\-crsity, 
its fnundations. its nuiterial. and the arcliitect- of the buildings, 
afid we hope ere lonii: to -ee its stately walls iuid spire ascend- 
m<i to tlieir smnniit. Ere long we ]io])e to see it adorned vrith 
an elegEint Aillage, acconmiod.ated with vAl the necess.iries and 
conveniences of civilized society." This uddi'ess was followed 
•bv a short pravei". Vshich closeil with the united Amen of an 
immense conet^.n'se of ]K'op]e. 

The l)uilding, since called the Ejist, ha\ing been suthcieutly 
}>reitared, Mr. ITinti<n rlauies, of Wilmington, the iirj.t student, 
arrived on the Hill the \-2[]\ day of February, IT'.)-', a.nd the 
exercise-^ of tiie in^tituriou wcw .-oon a.tVer comnu'jiced. The 
lirst instructor wr.s the llvv. Diivid Kerr., a graduate of Tj'ini- 
•ty College. Dublin, who was Profe-sor of Ancient Languages, 
and he wa,- ;i--'iste'i by Samui'l .Vileu llolmc- in tlio prepara- 
tory tlL'[»artmei!t. Shortly afterwa.rds Charles W. liariis, a 
nati\e of Iredell county in this State, and a graduate of Prince- 
ton ('(■liege in Xew .Ier^ey. >\as a})poiiited Professor of Mathe- 
nuitics. ])ut he ijeld tlie oiriee only oU',' year, when lie was suc- 
ceeded by the Rev. .iose[ih C alilwell, who v>'as al.-o a grailuate 
of Pi'i'nceton. au;l a nati\'e of Xevr Jersey. The tirst com- 
me7ice:i!ent. at which the degree of J>achelor of Arts ',vas con- 
ferred, ^ra.- held in tlie year ITl'S. when seven y(.)ung gentle- 
men, among' whom wa> Mr. Hinton .lames, received that de- 
gree. 

For several years after the erecticn of the lirst building:-, the 
iVccoiiim<.)dations for the students, both in the collegiate and tlie 



10 

preparatory department, remained nearly the same, Tlie old 
Chapel and tlie East were the only edifices, and the latter \va* 
then only two stories high, and contained but sixteen rooms. 
The old chapel was the Aula Personica in which the degrees 
were for many years conferred. 

The South building was commenced, carried up a story and 
a half, and then left for a long time in an unfinished state. We 
are told by Dr. Hooper in his admirable address before Alumni 
of this institution, entitled "Fifty Years Since," that the stu- 
dents who could not well prepare their lessons in the crowded 
dormitories of the East, were in the habit of erecting cabins, 
in the corners of the unfinished brick walls of the South, wher& 
they could pursue their studies to better advantage. .Hut l)r, 
Caldwell, who was then President, could not long endure thi* 
Btate of things ; and by his active exertions, the sum of twelve 
thousand dollars was raised by subscription, which enabled 
the Trustees to have the South building completed. This wa* 
done in 1812 ; and about the year 1821-, the West building 
was erected and an additional story was put upon the East. 
Shortly afterwards the new chapel was built ; and in 181-8 ex- 
tensions were added to the East and West buildings, whicli 
was done mainly for the accommodation of the two Literary 
Societies, whose rooms in the third story of tlie South had be- 
come too small for tlie in(^reased numl)er of members. The 
buildings since erected liave been the University library, and 
the wino;s to the East and West. The two last were fi.nished 
and prepared for occupation only a short time before the com- 
mencement of the war. The beautiful and commodious So- 
ciety Ilal Is contained in tliem have been 1he admiration of all 
l)eholders. 

At tlie commencement of the institution, and for several 
years afterwards, the range of studies was very contracted, 
(xrcek was not introduced into the course until 1804, and in 
the year 1807, we learn that Morse's Geography was one of 
the principal studies of the Sophomore class. The higher 



11 

mathematics were not introduced until tlie Rev. l^rflia Mitch- 
ell came here as professor of that science in ISIO. The same 
year witnessed the advent of Denison Olmsted as the first Pro- 
lessor of Chemistry ; and in the year following, tlie Rev. Shep- 
herd K. Kollock, was in like manner the first Professor of 
Rhetoric and Logic. After that time the number and variety 
of studies were greatly iiu^reased, and it is believed that the 
present college curriculum is on as high a scale as any in the 
United States. 

The University has, in the main, been fortunate in its gov- 
ernors and instructors. During the first nine years of its ex- 
iBtence, it had no president, but M'as under the management 
of a professor as presiding oflicer ; that ofiicer, however, was, 
^or the greater part of the time, the same distinguished gen. 
tleman who afterwards became its first president. Of his emi- 
nfeut merits in that respect ir is unnecessary for me to speak 
at this time and in this place. The beautiful monument erect- 
ed to his memory by tlie Alumni of this institution, and which 
now graces and adorns the college campus, fully attests his 
claim to distinction, not only as the head of the University, 
hut as a learned divine, and an early and efficient advocate of 
a system ot internal improvements and of common schools in 
the State. Ris presidency extended from his first appoint- 
ment in 1804, until his death in 1835, with the exception of 
an interval of four years, from 1812 to 181G, during which 
the unsuccessful administration of Dr. Robert H. ( /hapman 
occurred. Of the present incumbent, I shall say nothing, ex- 
cept that he has filled the office with distinguished success for 
nearly thirty years. In administering tlie affairs of (college. 
and in business of instruction, the presidents were aided by a 
succession of many learned and able professors. Of those 
who are now members of the faculty, it M'ill not be expected 
of me to speak ; and of those who have gone from us and are 
still living, I will merely refer you to Dr. William Hooper 
and John DeBerniere IIoo])er. to Bishop Green, of MissLssip- 



12 

pi, to Professor Iledrick, and to Drs. Deems, Wlieat and Sliipp. 
Among the dead there are several names Avliicli the friends of 
the IJniversitv ought not to permit to be forgotten. There 
wns Charles AY. Harris, to whose brief sojourn here we were 
iiulebted f<^)r Dr. Caldwell ; there was Archibald D. Mui-phy, 
who afterwards became one of the most distinguished jurists- 
and statesmen of Xortli Carolina ; the Ilev. "William Bingham, 
of whom Chief Justice Taylor said, that as a teacher of a 
scj!<*(>l he Avas well qualified to raise its reputation, "by the 
extent of his ac(iuirements. the purity of his life, and the judg- 
ment by which he accommodated the discipline and instruc- 
tions of the sciiool to the various talents and dispositions of 
tite youth." There was Dr. Ethan A. Andrews, so Avell kno^\•^^ 
for ids clrissical labors; and Dr. Olmsted, who, as Professor 
of Xatural Philosophy at Yale College, so greatly increased 
the reputation which he had established as Professor of Chem- 
istry here; there was ]S"icholas M. Ilcntz, a learned man, but 
not so Avidely known as his accomplished wife, Mrs. Caroline 
Lee Ilentz; there Avas AValker Anderson, Avho afterwards re- 
moved to Florida aiid became Chief Justice of the Supreme 
Court of that State; and linally there Avas Dr. El isha Mitchell, 
Avhose A aried, extensive and profound literary and scientific 
acquirements Avere lost to the Avorld a fcAv years ago by a tra- 
gical event Avliich sent :i ])ang of sorrow to every votary of 
science throughout the land. 

In referring to the instructors of the institution, the tutors 
>ltonld not be passed over Avithout a notice. Among the liv- 
ing and the dead, they have very able and distinguished rep- 
resentatiA'es. Among the living are ex-Governor Morehead» 
Hamilton C. Jones, Anderson Mitchell. Giles Mebane, Judg« 
Manly. ex-Secretary Jacob Thompson, and others Avhose names- 
nuiy yet SAvell the trump of fame. Among the dead, I Avould 
point you to James Martin, afterAvards a Judge of the Su- 
perioi- Court ; to Gavin Hogg, long one of the ablest hxAvyers 
of the State; to LeAvis Williams, avIio Avas a member of the 



13 

House of liepreseiitatives so long that he acquired the name 
of the father of tlie'IIottse; to William D. Moseh', for many 
years Speaker of the Senate in this State, and afterwards Gov- 
ernor of Florida ; to James II. Ote}', the able and learned 
Bishop of Tennessee ; to the Rev. Joseph II. Saunders, whose 
early death cut short a bright career of usefulness in his 
cliurch ; to Edward D. Simms, whose growing reputation as a 
professor in the University of Alabama was closed by death 
before he had attained the meridian of his years ; and to Abra- 
l»am F. Morehead, the youngest member of a distinguished 
family, who would doubtless have greatly increased the fame 
of that family, had he not died in the earliest dawn of man- 
hood. I name with peculiar sadness George P. Bryan, George 
B. Johnston, Iowa Royster and E. Graham Morrow, who have 
so recently been consigned to soldiers' graves. 

From this hasty and imperfect sketch of the origin and his- 
tory of the University, it appears clearly and strongly that 
the founders of our republic and their successors, have always 
had a deep sense of tlie importance of a collegiate education. 
The enquiry is n-aturally presented how far their hopes have 
l)cen realised from this institution ; in other words, with what 
measure of success has it been attended in promoting and ad- 
vancing the weal of the State ? A practical solution of thk 
enquiry may perhaps be obtained by ascertaining, if we can, 
what influence the men who received their education here 
have liad in the management and direction of the affairs of 
the General and State governments. It is unnecessary on this 
occasion, to go into minute details on this subject, but we can 
say in general, and say with certainty, that there is scarcel}' 
An oftice or place of profit or trust, or any position in the bu- 
siness of life, professional or non-professional, ecclesiastical or 
lay, military or civil, which has not been filled, time and again, 
by some one who has received his education, in whole or in 
part, at this University. To the General government it has 
ftirjiished one President, at least five members of the cabinet 



14 

and four ministers to foreign courts, while of the number which 
it has sent to the Senate and House of Representatives it is 
difficult to make a reckoning. In the State government there 
is hardly any office, which has not been filled by those who 
have gone forth from these lialls. It has its representatives in 
the highest places of the church, among the leaders at the bar, 
and in the chambers where suft'ering humanity most needs the 
aid of educated science and skill. It has supplied banks and 
railroads witli presidents, clerks and superintendents. It sends 
its Alumni to explore mines and to construct railroads; and 
above all, and best of all, it famishes to agriculture and com- 
merce some of their most enlightened, energetic and skillful 
votaries. 

The exciting times through which we have just passed and 
are now passing, have prevented me from bringing more par- 
ticularly to your attention the men whom our University has 
sent forth to act their parts in the world. It is only by the offices 
which they have filled, or the places which they have occupied, 
that I have recalled them to your recollection. Many of them 
have paid the great debt of nature, and gone to render to, their 
Maker an account of their stewardship. Others are still liv- 
ing to perform, it may be, higher duties to their country, and 
to obtain greater rewards for themselves. Of all these, dead 
or living, I have nothing farther to say. But with your in- 
dulgence, I will occupy a few more moments of your time in 
recalling from the dim recollections of the past the names of 
a few men, each of whom was regarded as the college genius 
of the day, and wdio, with w^ell directed energies and a longer 
life, might have left a name which the world would not will- 
ingly have let die, 

William Cherry was a native of Bertie county, and was 
graduated here in the year 1800, While in college he was 
not a very diligent student, but his aptitude for learning was 
so marvellous that, it was said, he could prepare his lesson af- 
ter the recitation bell had commenced ringing. Having se- 



15 

lected the law as his profession, he had already attained an 
extensive practice and a high rank at the bar, when his career 
was cut short by death, caused by intemperance, at the early 
age of twenty-seven. Those who were engaged in practice 
with him could not but wonder at the admirable manner in 
which he managed his causes, knowing as they did that the 
time which he ought to have spent in the preparation of them, 
was passed at the card taT)le and around the intoxicating bowl. 
A «tory is still remembered, that on one occasion, in the for- 
getfulness caused by a deep debauch, he opened an important 
cause by making a very able argument on the wrong side ; 
but being made aware of his mistake just as he was about to 
close, he, immediately, with admirable presence of mind, com- 
menced a reply for his own client, by saying that the argu- 
ment which he had just made was what he supposed would 
be urged by his opponent, and that he would proceed to an- 
swer it, and expose its fallacy. Tradition, however, reports 
that his first argument was so masterly that he could not an- 
swer it successfully, and thus lost his cause. 

About fifteen years after Mr. Cherry left the University a 
young man from the county of iN'asli was, with many othci-s, 
suspended from college in consecpience of what Avas long known 
«s the great rebellion of 1810, which resulted in the expulsion 
of the leaders, Messrs. George C. Drumgold and William B. 
Shepard, and the resignation of the President, Dr. Chapman. 
The expelled members both afterwards became distinguished 
men, but talented as they undoubtedly were, they were de 
cidedly inferior in genius to their classmate and friend, Thom- 
as jS^. Mann. lie became a lawyer, and at the time when he 
fell a victim to consumption, while under thirty years of age, 
he was one of the best read and most profound lawyers in the 
State. Though so young, he was appointed by the then Presi- 
dent of the United States as Qliarge d' Affaires to Central 
America, and died while on his way to the court of that 
country. 



IG 

In tlie yesir 1824, Thonuis Dewes, u young niaii iVoni the 
county of Lincoln, took liis deg-ree of Bacliel<n* of Arts, divid- 
ing with Prof. Simms, Judge Manly aiul ex-Governor (rraJiam 
the highest honor of the cla.ss. lli.-^ parents M'cre i)i)or, and it 
is said resorted to the humble occu[)ation of selling cakes for 
the purpose of procuring means for the e<Iucation oi their 
promising boy. .Vfter his graduati<^)n, he studied hur and 
commenced the ])ra(^tice with t^vi^vy pros])ect of eminent stic- 
cess, when, unhappily, a morbid sensitiveness of temperament, 
drove him to habits of intemperanci-, during one of the tits of 
M'hieh he came to an untimely end. His name which ought 
to have gone down to posterity on account of great deeds 
achieved by extraordinary talents, will [)ro})ably be remem- 
bered only in connection with a haj)pily turne<l im})romptu 
epitaph. When ex-Govenior Swain Avas at the bar, he wa>, 
on a certain occa^sion, at the same court with Messrs. -lames 
Tl, Dodge, llilhnan and Dews. Mr. JSwain had seen some- 
where a punning epitaph on a man named Dodge, which ended 
with the couplet that 

'• \i\cT dodging' all he could, 
lie couldn't dodge the devil." 

This he wrote on a piece of paj)er and handed it to the 
other memljers of the l)ar, whose merriment it very much ex- 
cited. After a while it reached the hand^ of >Ir. Dodge him- 
self, wlu), seeing from M'hom it came and supposijig that ilill- 
man and Dews w^w paHicipes criminis, immediately wrote on 
the back tlu^ following : 

'■ Here lie a Ilillinau and a Swain, 

Their lot let no man choose, 
Tliey lived in sin and died in pain, 

And the devil has Viis Dews."' 

Those wlio are familiar witli the playful and hap[)y tiirn\)f 
thought and expression Mhich distiiigiiish the lighter writings 
of Washington Irving will not l>e surprised to learn tliat Mr, 
Dodge is his nephew. 



IT 

The next and last college genius to wlioni I shall call your 
attention was the late General James Johnston Pettigrew. 
Born in the county of Tyrrell, he was prepared for college at 
the celebrated school of "William J. Bingham, a son of the 
Bev. William Bingham already mentioned, and entered the 
Freshman Class here in tjie year 1843. His whole college 
course Avas a continued series of literary triumphs. In a class 
containing many members of more than ordinary talents he 
was among the best, if not the very best, in all his studies ; 
but mathematics was his speciality. In that he was far ahead 
of all liis classmates. I well remember being present at the 
examination of the class on Astronomy, Avlien the learned- 
Professor, after having worried several members by putting 
questions which they could not answer, called up Mr. Petti- 
grew. As he did so one of the class, in a whisper loud enough 
to be heard half across the room, said, " You can't stick him," 
and sure enough he couldn't. After taking the Bachelor-s 
degree, and after a short term of service in the Naval Obser- 
vatory in Washington City, he selected the law as his profes- 
sion, and went to Europe to perfect himself in that depart- 
ment of it called the civil law. On his return he settled in 
Charleston and became connected in practice with his distin- 
guished relative, the late Hon. James L. Petigru, who was 
perhaps the ablest and most profound lawyer in South Caro- 
lina. During his brief residence there he became one of the 
Tepresentatives of the city in the Legislature of the State. 
"While a member of tliat body he greatly distinguished him- 
self by sending in from a committee a minority report against 
a scheme then proposed for taking steps towards the reopen- 
ing of the slave trade. He himself constituted tlie minority^ 
and his report was so profound in its views, and so convincing 
in its arguments, that the proposed measure failed to secure 
the sanction of the Legislature, though strongly urged in a 
report agreed upon by all the other members of the com- 
mittee. 



18 

AVlien the war broke out between the JSTorth and the South 
he espoused the cause of his section of the country. After 
eorae service at Charleston he came to this State, was elected 
Colonel of one of its regiments and was afterwards promoted 
to the rant of Major General. Of his merits as a soldier 
nnd an officer it is unnecessary for Inenow to speak. His un- 
timely death, in a slight skirmish near the banks of the Po- 
tomac during General Lee's retreat from Pennsylvania, caused 
his friends and his country to deplore an event which extin- 
guished the light of his genius long ere it had attained its me- 
ridian splendor. 

^ly young friends, my task is done and no one can feel 
more sensibly than myself how imperfectly it has been accom- 
plished. Ko one can know more fully than myself how dif- 
ficult it has been to withdraw my thoughts from the unhappy 
condition of our country and apply them to tlie work of at- 
tempting to prepare an offering worthy of your acceptance. 

In the commencement of my address I had occasion to re- 
fer to the low condition to which the ■war had suddenly re- 
duced our beloved University. Its declension was as great as 
it was sudden. Before the war it had attained, in a very few 
3'ears, a height of prosperity of which scarcely a parallel can 
be found in any country. In the extent and variety of its 
studies, the number and ability of its instructors and the num- 
ber of its students, it surpassed nearly all similar institutions 
in our own section of the country, and was beginning to rival 
tbe old, time-honored establishments of Yale and Harvard. 
In the year 1858 its catalogue showed a larger nmnber of un- 
der-p-raduates than that of any other college in the United 
States, except Yale. All this success was accohiplished in a 
very short time. A glance at the rapidly' increasing ratio of 
its graduates will illustrate the truth of my, remark. For the 
first ten years after the date in which degrees were conferred 
by the University, the number of students who received the 
Baccalaureate was 53 ; for the second decade it was 110 ; for 



19 

the third 259 ; for the fourth 146 ; for the fifth 308 ; for the 
sixth 448 ; and for the seventh the annual number was going 
on at a rate which would have produced 882, nearly the double- 
of that which immediately preceded it. 

Another striking manifestation of the grov/ing fame and 
the wide-spreading influence of the University was afforded 
by the honor of having had among the visitors at each of the 
commencements of 1847 and 1859 the then President of the 
United States and a part of his cabinet. On the first of these 
occasions one of her own sons came to greet his fair mother, 
and on the second a stranger from a distant State came to do 
her honor. But the scene is now changed. The war has ai*- 
rested our Alma Mater in her proud career of success, and she 
ss now reduced to a low, very low, condition ; but as peace 
has once more dawned upon the country, let us cherish the 
fond hope that she will soon emerge, with fresh strength and 
renovated energies, from the deep valley of humiliation, and 
again take her seat upon the high hill of prosperity, whence 
she may spread abroad all over the land the blessings of edu- 
cation and religion, with their attendant benefits of civilization 
and refinement. 



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