Edwin L. (Edwin Luther) Green.

A history of the University of South Carolina online

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Professor of Ancient Languages
University of South Carolina










to whose encouragement

the publication of this

volume is largely due.



Dr. Maximilian LaBorde's History of the South Carolina
College appeared in 1859, bringing the narrative down to the
close of 1857, the beginning of Judge Longstreet's presi-
dency. A second edition, published in 1874 after the author's
death, continued the story to the end of the year 1865 and
the establishment of the University of South Carolina. The
present volume covers the life of the institution from Gov-
ernor Drayton's message in 1801 to the resignation of Presi-
dent Mitchell in 1913. It has been found necessary to omit
the biographical sketches of the trustees, faculty and officers,
which it was at first expected would be included. They will
require another volume and await the verdict of the readers
of this.

The minutes of the board of trustees and of the faculty
have been consulted on all points. All other material that
could throw light on any phase of the University's life has
been examined. Dr. LaBorde's history has of course often
been used : he was an actor in a large part of the events of
the period whose story he tells, and frequently, especially
in matters biographical, he is the only authority.

The author wishes to thank the many friends who have
come to his assistance, especially Professor Charles Wood-
ward Hutson, of New Orleans, of the class of 1860, who
kindly answered many questions and lent letters of his col-
lege days ; Hon. J. F. J. Caldwell, of Newberry, of the class of
1857 ; the late R. W. Shand, Esq., of Columbia, of the class of
1859 ; Hon. W. A. Clark, of Columbia, of the class of 1862 ;
Dr. J. W. Babcock, of Columbia, for information especially
relating to Dr. Thomas Cooper ; Professor Andrew C. Moore,


whose catalogue of the alumni is soon to appear; Professor
Yates Snowden, who has given with generous hand. To Mr.
August Kohn, trustee of the University of South Carolina,
whose untiring zeal for the University is evidenced on all
occasions, the author is indebted for constant advice and

Columbia, S. C., November 8, 1915.



The Founding of the College at Columbia 9-22


South Carolina College Opened President Maxcy's
Administration 23- 33


President Cooper Nullification Trial for Heresy
Low State of the College 34-43


Reorganization of the College New Buildings
Administrations of Robert W. Barnwell, Robert
Henry and William C. Preston 44- 55


The Administrations of James H. Thornwell, Charles
F. McCay, Augustus B. Longstreet 56- 67


War Days 68- 78

The University of South Carolina 79- 95


South Carolina College of Agriculture and Mechanics 96-1 04


The South Carolina College Again President John
M. McBryde, 1882-1888 105-112


The Second University, 1888-1891 113-119


The Third South Carolina College, 1891-1906 120-128


The University of South Carolina, 1906 129-135




The Lands of the University ....................... 136-142


Buildings ....................................... 143-171


The Curriculum .................................. 172-209


Trustees, Faculty, Rewards, Punishments, Session,
Chapel ....................................... 210-236


Law School ..................................... 236-240


Student Life on the Campus ....................... 241-255


The Honor System ............................... 256-263


Clariosophic and Euphradian Literary Societies ..... 264-274


The Library ..................................... 275-285


Steward's Hall .................................. 286-293


Cost of the University to the State Salaries Stu-
dent Expenses Scholarships .................... 294-308


The University and the State ...................... 309-317

Appendix ....................................... 318-470



In the period preceding the Revolution there were no
inducements for the rich settlers of the coast country of
South Carolina to establish institutions of higher learning:
their sons went to England, Scotland, or to Yale, Harvard,
or Princeton. The upper section of the province was the
home of the Indian and the hunter until it was opened for
settlement by Governor Glenn's treaty with the Cherokees
in 1753. When the war with England began, the upper half
of the province had more inhabitants than the lower, not
homogeneous in character as the people of the coast region
and widely differing in sentiment from the great planter
class. These people were debarred from the educational
advantages enjoyed by the low country men. Especially
was the need of collegiate institutions felt among them.

At the adoption of the constitution of 1791 the upper
country had a much smaller representation in the legisla-
ture allotted to it than the lower country, although the latter
was far inferior in population. The people of the upper
section insistently demanded a larger share in the govern-
ment. "This the people of the lower country," says Chan-
cellor Harper in his memoir of Chancellor DeSaussure,
"feared to grant on the ground of general deficiency of educa-
tion and intelligence in the upper country, which would
render it incompetent to exercise wisely and justly the
power which such a reform would place in its hands. It
was to remedy this deficiency that it was proposed to estab-
lish a college at Columbia. The act was passed not without
difficulty, nor without the strenuous opposition of many
whom it was intended more especially to benefit."

The problem was twofold, the education of the people
and their unification. The true plan to accomplish this
sympathy and unity among all classes was the education of


the youth of the State by the State herself in a central college
located at the capital, itself the geographical center of the
State. "Here should be established one central college,"
writes Professor R. Means Davis, "in which the youths of
all sections, all classes, and all creeds should meet as sons
of a common mother, to sit in one common lecture room,
lodge in one common dormitory, and feed at a common
table, and thus learn to know and respect one another, to
appreciate, if not to imbibe, the opinions of one another,
and to form ties of perpetual friendship with one another."

In his message to the General Assembly November
23, 1801, Governor John Drayton expressed conviction
that "proportionally advantageous also to the citizens of
the State will be any attention which you will bestow upon
the education of her youth. At the commencement of your
last session I took pleasure in submitting this to your con-
sideration, and I now repeat the same to you as a matter
claiming your serious and early attention. Were a person to
look over the laws of the State, he would naturally imagine
we had already arrived at an enviable excellence in litera-
ture. He would perceive a College located at Charles Town,
one at Cambridge, one at Winnsborough, one at Beaufort
and one by the name of Alexandria College in the upper part
of the State all of which are empowered to confer degrees.
But were he to direct his inquiries further concerning them,
he would find that Cambridge and Winnsborough Colleges
were soon discontinued through a want of funds; and
although the last mentioned one has been lately renewed
through the exertions of the Mount Zion Society, it is still
nothing but an elementary school, and one which can never
rise to eminence as a College from its present support.
Beaufort and Alexandria Colleges are as yet scarcely known
but in the land which incorporated them, and Charleston
College is at present not entitled to an higher appellation
than that of a respectable Academy or Grammar School.

"Could the attention of the Legislature be directed to this
important object, and a State College be raised and fostered
by its hand at Columbia, or some central and healthy part


of the State, under proper directors and trustees, including
as ex-officio members the Executive and Judiciary of the
State, and any other suitable public officers, there could be
no doubt of its rising into eminence, because being supported
at first by the public funds the means could not be wanting
of inviting and providing for learned and respectable Pro-
fessors in the various branches of science. Well chosen
libraries would be procured, and philosophical apparatus
lead the pursuits of our youth from theory to practice. The
friendship of young men would thence be promoted, and
our political union be, much advanced thereby."

At this time the finances of South Carolina were in the
hands of an able comptroller, Paul Hamilton, whose reports
to the general assembly showed such a flourishing condition
that that body was encouraged, says the historian Ramsay,
"to establish and endow the South Carolina College at the
central seat of government." Opposition to the establish-
ment of the college on the part of those who might have
objected on the score of an empty treasury was thus put out
of the way. To Comptroller Paul Hamilton belongs a large
share of the credit for the new college.

That part of Governor Drayton's message recommending
the establishment of a state college was referred to a com-
mittee consisting of Mr. Thomas R. Smith, Col. W. B.
Mitchell, Col. Mays, Mr. Horry, Thomas Smith, Col. Ker-
shaw, Mr. Bennet, Gen. Anderson, and Mr. DeSaussure.
This last named gentleman took the liveliest interest in the
passage of the bill and deserves most credit for its success-
ful enactment in the face of sharp opposition. During the
following session of the general assembly two petitions were
presented "from many inhabitants" of one of the upcountry
districts praying for the repeal of the act.

The text of the act, which was approved by Governor
Drayton December 19, 1801, is in full :

"AN ACT to Establish a College at Columbia.

"Whereas, The proper education of youth contributes
greatly to the prosperity of society, and ought always to
be an object of legislative attention ; and whereas, the estab-


Hshment of a college in a central part of the State, where
all of its youth may be educated, will highly promote the
instruction, the good order and the harmony of the whole
community :

"I. Be it therefore enacted by the Honorable the Senate
and the House of Representatives, now met and sitting in
General Assembly, and by the authority of the same, That
his Excellency the Governor, His Honor the Lieutenant
Governor, the Honorable the President of the Senate, and
the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Honorable
the Associate Judges of the Court of Equity, shall be,
ex-officio, together with General Charles C. Pinckney,
H. W. DeSaussure, Thomas Taylor, the Reverend D. E.
Dunlap, the Reverend Mr. John Brown of Lancaster,
Wade Hampton, John Chestnut, James B. Richardson,
Dr. Isaac Alexander, Henry Dana Ward, the Reverend
Samuel W. Yongue, William Falconer, and Bartlee Smith,
trustees to continue in office for the term of four years from
the passing of this Act, and at the expiration of the said
four years, and every four years thereafter, the Legislature
to nominate thirteen trustees to succeed the said thirteen
above named, one body politic and corporate, in deed and
in law, by the name of 'The Trustees of the South Carolina
College*/ and that by the said name they and their succes-
sors shall and may have perpetual succession, and be able
and capable in law to have, receive, and enjoy, to them and
their successors, lands, tenements, and hereditaments, of any
kind or value, in fee, or for life or years, any personal prop-
erty of any kind whatsoever, and also all sums of money
of any amount whatsoever, which may be granted or
bequeathed to them for the purpose of building, erecting,
endowing, and supporting the said College in the town of

"II. And be it enacted by the authority aforesaid, That
there shall be a stated meeting of the said Trustees on the
first Wednesday in December in each year, during the session
of the Legislature ; and that the President of the said College,
and four of the said trustees, shall have full power to call


occasional meetings of the Board whenever it shall appear
to them necessary ; and that at all stated meetings the Presi-
dent of the Board of Trustees aforesaid, and ten of the
Trustees, shall be the number to constitute a quorum, and
to fill up, by ballot, any vacancies that may occur in the
said Trustees, except those who are hereby declared to be
Trustees ex-officio; and the President and six of the other
Trustees shall be the number to constitute an occasional
meeting; and the said Trustees, or a quorum of them, being
regularly convened, shall be capable of doing or transacting
all the business and concerns of the said College; but more
particularly of electing all the necessary customary officers
of the said institution, of fixing their several salaries, of
removing any of them for neglect or misconduct in office, of
prescribing the course of studies to be pursued by the
students; and, in general, of framing and enacting all such
ordinances and bylaws as shall appear to them necessary
for the good government of the said College: Provided the
same be not repugnant to the laws of the State nor of the
United States.

"III. And be it enacted by the authority aforesaid, That
the head of the said College shall be styled The President',
and the masters thereof shall be styled 'The Professors' ; but
the professors, while they remain such, shall never be capable
of holding the office of Trustee; and the President, or a
majority of them, shall be styled 'The Faculty of the College' ;
which Faculty shall have the power of enforcing the ordi-
nances and bylaws adopted by the Trustees for the govern-
ment of the pupils, by rewarding or censuring them, and
finally, by suspending such of them as, after repeated
admonitions, shall continue disobedient or refractory, until
a determination of a quorum of Trustees can be had; but
that it shall be only in the power of a quorum of Trustees,
at their stated meeting, to expel any pupil of the said College.

"IV. And be it enacted by the authority aforesaid, That
the Trustees of the said College shall and may have a common
seal for the business of themselves and their successors, with
liberty to change or alter the same, from time to time, as they


shall think proper; and that, by their aforesaid name, they
and their successors shall and may be able to implead and
be impleaded, answer and be answered unto, defend and
be defended, in all courts of law within this State and to
grant, bargain, sell, or assign any lands, tenements, heredita-
ments, goods, or chattels ; and to act and do all things what-
soever, for the benefit of the said College, in as ample a man-
ner as any person or body politic or corporate can or may
by law.

"V. And be it enacted by the authority aforesaid, That
the Trustees of the said College are hereby authorized and
empowered to draw out of the treasury of this State the sum
of fifty thousand dollars, to be appropriated to the purpose
of erecting a building of brick or stone, and covered with
tile or slate, suitable to the accommodation of the students
of the said College, and suitable for fully carrying on the
education of the said students, and for the erection of such
other buildings as may be necessary for the use of the said
College; and that the Comptroller be authorized and
empowered, upon application of the said Trustees, to pay
over to the said Trustees the sum of six thousand dollars,
yearly and every year, to be appropriated to the purpose of
paying the salaries of the Faculty of the said College, and
for the future support of the same ; and the Trustees of the
said College shall be accountable for the proper appro-
priation of the said monies to the Comptroller, who shall
report thereon annually to the Legislature.

"VI. And be it enacted by the authority aforesaid, That
this Act shall be deemed a public Act, and as such shall be
judicially taken notice of, without special pleading, in all
the courts of law or equity within this State.

"VII. And be it further enacted by the authority afore-
said, That the said Trustees, with the concurrence of the
Commissioners of Columbia, shall be empowered to make
choice of any square or squares, yet unsold, in the town of
Columbia, for the purpose of erecting said College, and the
buildings attached thereto, having strict reference to every
advantage and convenience necessary for such institution.


"In the Senate the nineteenth day of December, in the
year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and one, and
in the twenty-sixth year of the Independence of the United
States of America.

"President of the Senate.

"Speaker of the House of Representatives."

The first meeting of the trustees was held "at his Excel-
lency the Governor's in the city of Charleston, Friday the
12th day of February Anno Domini, 1802," the following
members present: His Excellency the Governor, Judges
Rutledge, Johnson and Trezevant, General Charles C.
Pinckney, H. W. DeSaussure, Thomas Taylor, Wade Hamp-
ton, Henry Dana Ward, Esquires, and Rev. D. E. Dunlap.
As there was not a majority of the trustees present, the
meeting was adjourned to half past twelve the following
Sunday. On that day Governor Dray ton was elected presi-
dent of the board until the December following. The first
business was the appointment of a committee to formulate
rules for the preservation of order and decorum at the meet-
ings and to determine on some appropriate device for the
seal of the College. Colonels Taylor and Hampton, Rev. Mr.
Dunlap, Judge Brevard, John Chestnut, Henry D. Ward,
Bartlee Smyth, and James B. Richardson, Esquires, or a
majority of them, were appointed a committee to examine
and report at the next meeting a proper site for the college
and to inquire into the practicability of procuring stone near
at hand. The Governor was instructed to advertise for plans
to be transmitted to him by the fourth Monday in May next.
The building was not to cost more than $50,000. For the
plans that should be accepted the board offered the sum of
|300. The governor was also requested to ask from the
presidents of colleges in the United States plans or descrip-
tions of the institutions over which they presided.

On the 24th of May the trustees met at the governor's
home in Charleston. The commitee reported, "That in fixing


upon a proper site whereon to erect the college at Columbia,
they have met with considerable difficulty. The law estab-
lishing said college empowers to make choice of any square
or squares of land yet unsold, for the purpose of erecting
thereon the necessary buildings. Under this restriction your
committee could not please themselves fully and at the same
time comply with the law. . . . Amongst the unsold squares
in the town of Columbia, there is not at present any two
or more squares nearly contiguous which would be eligible
sites for said college. Your committee anxious, however, to
have so valuable an institution located and speedily organ-
ized, would be unanimous in favor of erecting said college
on a public square, known by the name of Moultrie Square
in the plan of the town of Columbia, was it not that said
square lay too near a mill pond, now erecting by Mr. Purvis
on Rocky Branch, just above where the road leading from
Columbia to Granby crosses the same. . . . From this
consideration your committee beg leave rather to report a
square of land to the eastward of the State House as being
the most eligible site whereon to erect the South Carolina
College." The committee further reported that no quarry
could be found convenient and suitable for making the
building entirely of stone ; and they were of the opinion that
if the wall of the college building could be raised as high as
the "water table" with stone, it was as much as ought to be
expected. There had been no answer to the advertisement
for stone near at hand or to an advertisement for stone to
be used in the building; but the committee believed that
enough stone could be found to lay the foundations.

Judges Grimke and Johnson and Colonel Hampton were
appointed a select committee to consider and arrange the
plans that had been offered for a building and to report at a
meeting of the board on the following day. There was no
quorum, however, next day, so that an adjournment was made
to the 26th.

On the 26th the select committee reported in the following
manner :


"That after attentively considering the several plans
rendered in to the trustees they were of opinion that no one
is sufficiently perfect in the internal arrangements to be
entitled to an exclusive adoption. They have therefore from
a view of the whole, from considering the letter of Mr. Asa
Messer, and their own knowledge of the subject, thought
proper to recommend to the board certain principles on which
in their opinion an appropriate plan should be predicated :

"1st. The building should be calculated to accommodate
one hundred students and three professors, allowing two
students to each room generally, and three of the youngest
to a few, and one room to each professor; this will require
about forty-eight rooms.

"2d. That as the health and comfort of the students is a
primary consideration, each room should be twenty-four feet
long and sixteen broad and open to the north and south.
These dimensions will admit of two windows in each front
and a partition at eight feet distance from the north side,
which will be a sitting room of eighteen [sixteen] feet
square and a smaller room of sixteen feet by eight feet, which
may, if thought necessary, be sub-divided into two studies of
eight feet square.

"3d. That to preserve order and discipline every six rooms
should form a separate division of the building; that is, the
building should be three stories high and a staircase run up
between every other two rooms ; the doors all opening on the
front of the building into an entry six feet wide leading to
the staircase, and common to every two rooms. Separating
the house after this manner by partition walls run up
through the roof will also be a great protection from fire.

"4th. It will be necessary to have a chapel or hall forty
feet by fifty feet, two lecturing rooms, a library and a few
spare rooms that may be converted to very excellent purposes.

"If the above ideas be approved of, it will be necessary to
have a building of the following plan and dimensions:

"A center building fifty feet square, which will give you on
the first story a hall fifty by forty and leave a vestibule of ten

2 H. U.


feet for the staircase; in the second story a lecturing room,
and library, and an entry.

"The first story of the center building we recommend to
be twenty-eight feet high ; the second story fifteen feet high ;
the roof flat or nearly so, with a balustrade for an observa-
tory; and covered with sheathing paper, etc.

"5th. We recommend that from the center building there
should extend two wings, one eastwardly, the other west-
wardly, each one hundred and sixty feet in length. These
according to the above plan will furnish forty-eight rooms.

"That the foundation of the whole building should be
raised four feet from the ground, leaving cellars in the
foundation of six feet in height.

"That the first story of the wings be eleven feet high ; the
second be ten feet high ; and the third be nine feet high.

"And that at some future day when the funds of the college
will admit of it, a balustrade shall be carried round the roof,
for which purpose it should be made as flat as possible, con-

Online LibraryEdwin L. (Edwin Luther) GreenA history of the University of South Carolina → online text (page 1 of 38)