Edwin L. (Edwin Luther) Green.

A history of the University of South Carolina online

. (page 2 of 38)
Online LibraryEdwin L. (Edwin Luther) GreenA history of the University of South Carolina → online text (page 2 of 38)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

sistently with security from leaking; and to be covered with
slate or tile.

"According to the above plan the width of the wings must
be twenty-seven feet; and the length and narrowness of the
building can be very handsomely relieved by means of pedi-
ments judiciously placed.

"6th. With regard to the thickness of the walls, your
committee are of opinion that it will be sufficient to make
the foundation two and one-half bricks; the outer wall of
the first story, two bricks; all the other walls, one and one-
half bricks.

"7th. Your committee cannot dismiss the subject without
warmly acknowledging their obligation to the artists who
have favored them with plans, particularly those gentlemen
whose names are herein alphabetically written, viz. : Bolter,
Clark, Mills, McGrath and Nicholson, and Smith. The
designs which they have furnished afford handsome speci-
mens of American talent; and if in justice they feel them-
selves obliged to recommend Mr. Mills and Mr. Clark to the
particular attention of the board on account of the taste,


ingenuity, and variety of their designs, it is not without a
sincere and hearty wish that they had premiums to bestow
upon every one of the others above named.

"As the front ornaments of the building are not material
to the internal arrangements, your committee beg leave to
submit the adoption of a front to the taste of the board."

After this report had been heard, the board decided that
"neither of the artists who have offered plans for the South
Carolina College are entitled to the premium offered by the
board, because no plan proposed by them has been adopted.
But inasmuch as the plan adopted is founded upon some
principles taken from the plans offered by Mr. Mills and
Mr. Clark, and those artists have taken great pains to prepare
an acceptable plan, the reward offered by the board in this
advertisement shall be equally divided between these two

In accordance with this resolution of the board the presi-
dent was directed to draw on the treasury for the sum of
$150 in favor of Mr. Mills, and the like sum in favor of
Mr. Clark, payable to their order. The president was also to
draw an order for eight dollars in favor of Mr. C. Perkins
for his trouble in transmitting a plan of Dartmouth College.

A resolution was also passed that the president of the
board should write a letter to Mr. Asa Messer of Rhode
Island, to thank him for his valuable communication to them
by letter of the 20th of March last, and to inform him his
letter had much influenced the board in fixing on an appro-
priate plan for the South Carolina College.

The committee that was appointed on rules and the seal
was requested to draw up rules for the full and perfect estab-
lishment and government of the college.

When the board of trustees met on the following day, they
resolved that "instead of the building of one continuous front
reported by the committee, there shall be two buildings
fronting each other at such a distance apart as will be suit-
able to the land to be procured (say) not to exceed three
hundred feet." These two buildings were to vary in no
other respects from the plan reported for the single building,


except that the center buildings should not be higher than
the wings. Each wing was limited to eighty feet in length.
In the center of one building was located a chapel twenty-
four feet high with a suite of rooms above it; the center of
the other was to have three stories, and be "divided into as
many rooms as may hereafter be directed according to the
plan substituted."

The speaker of the House of Representatives and Judges
Grimke, Bay, Johnson, and Trezevant were appointed a com-
mittee of five to decide on the style in which the buildings
should be finished and to advertise for proposals to furnish
materials and erect the buildings either in whole or in part,
to be delivered on or before the first Monday of November
next. The proposals were to be delivered unopened to the
board at its regular meeting in Columbia. A resolution
requested that the president write to those persons who had
furnished plans and communications expressing the board's
sense of obligation for the same.

On the first day of December, 1802, the board met at the
governor's in Columbia. William Johnson was chosen presi-
dent of the board for three years; Mr. John Taylor was
elected trustee in the place of Bartlee Smith, Esq., who had
died. President Smith of New Jersey College was thanked
through the president for "much useful information respect-
ing So. Carolina College." The members of the board then
proceeded to make choice of a site for the buildings on the
squares in the plan of Columbia between Medium (College)
and Blossom streets and between Sumter and Marion streets
and the square between Richardson (Main) and Sumter
streets and between Green and Divine streets.*

Permission was granted the committee on contracts to
deviate from the general plan so far as to elevate the walls
of the center building above the wings to a height not exceed-
ing nine feet.

Colonel Thomas Taylor, Colonel Wade Hampton, the
honorable the speaker of the House of Representatives,
Reverend D. E. Dunlap, and John Taylor, Esq., were made
the committee to contract for the building of the college in

*Additional lands were secured, on which the buildings were located.
See the chapter on "Lands."


accordance with the plans adopted, either in whole or in
part, and to furnish the requisite material and "forthwith
proceed to carry this resolution into effect." The contractor
or "undertaker" was Mr. Edward Clark.

At the next meeting in the senate chamber, April 26, the
chairman handed in a report with a supplementary contract
which were read and approved. The president of the board
was empowered to procure from the comptroller upon his
own order any sum or sums not exceeding twenty thousand
dollars out of the treasury of the State to discharge all con-
tracts for completing the college as they fell due. A system
of rules and regulations for the government of the college
was drawn up and ordered printed to the extent of three
hundred copies for the use of the trustees and the legislature.
A committee, the governor, General Pinckney, H. W. DeSaus-
sure, Judge Waites, and William Falconer, Esq., was formed
to see to the purchasing of books, charts, mathematical
instruments, globes, maps, and philosophical apparatus. A
seal with the device of the figures of Liberty and Minerva
with the eagle hovering over them and the motto "Einollit
Mores nee Sinit Esse Feros" (Ovid, Pont. II 9, 47) was

When the trustees met in November at the house of
Mr. Martin in Columbia instructions were given the building
committee to place the two buildings facing each other, and
a second sum of f 20,000 was given in charge to the president
of the board to meet the expenses of construction. The
salaries of the president and professors were fixed at this
time, that of the president at $2,500, that of the professor
of mathematics and natural philosophy at $1,500, while the
others were to receive $1,000 each. Provision was made for
a comfortable house for the president; the professors were
to have board and lodging within the college. The trustees
requested the president of the board to write to the heads
of various colleges in America and to others to nominate
persons for the offices to be filled and otherwise to make
known the resolution of the board. At a meeting a few


days later they ordered the election of the president and
faculty for the following April.

The board met April 29, 1804, in the senate room.
Dr. Jonathan Maxcy, president of Union College, was elected
president ; Mr. John McLean was offered the chair of mathe-
matics and natural philosophy. On the day following
Mr. Eobert Wilson was elected first professor of languages
and Enoch Hanford second professor of languages. They
were all to enter on their duties in November.

The members of the board came together again on
December 5 at the court house in Columbia and sat during
three days. Rules and regulations drawn up by Judges
Johnson, James, and Waties, Dr. Maxcy, and Henry Dana
Ward, Esq., were read and ordered printed. Judges Johnson
and Brevard, Dr. Maxcy and Colonels Taylor and Hampton
were constituted a committee to report to the board the
practicability of putting the college in full operation on
the 10th day of the next month. On the favorable report
of these gentlemen a standing committee, consisting of
Colonels Taylor and Hampton, Mr. John Taylor, Dr. Maxcy,
and Judge Brevard, was appointed and directed to contract
with a steward and make all other arrangements for opening
the college on January 10.

An offer from Messrs. Thomas and John Taylor of the
property of the Columbia Male Academy for the purpose of
forming an academy preparatory to the college was at first
accepted, but later declined.





The South Carolina College opened its doors to students
January 10, 1805. Professors McLean and Wilson having
declined their appointments, the faculty was President
Maxcy and Professor Enoch Hanford. These two held their
first official meeting on the opening day. South Building,
or Rutledge College, as it is now known, was completed
in time for the opening; the second or North Building,
now DeSaussure College, was only just begun and was not
finished for four years. William Harper of Newberry was
the first matriculate; his brother Wesley the second, both
as sophomores. On the same day Charles W. DeWitt,
Thomas W. Robertson, John N. Davis, James Goodwin,
John T. Goodwin, John May rant, and Benjamin Waring
entered the freshman class. Andrew Crenshaw was admitted
as a junior on the last day of January. Before the session
came to an end in July twenty-nine students had been
enrolled. Two new professors were added in April,
Clement Early and Elisha Hammond. An oral examina-
tion of the freshman and sophomore classes was held on
July 11, the latter in the morning, the former in the after-
noon. The sophomores were found to have made good
progress; but a few of the freshmen were admonished for
culpable deficiency.

The first "rising" examination was held on November 25;
the members of the several classes acquitted themselves so
satisfactorily that all were allowed to rise to the next higher
class. There was no commencement, as there were no
seniors ; but on December 4 the students of the three lowest
classes gave a "public exhibition of declamations and


Governor Hamilton called the attention of the board to
the withdrawal of the judges of the Court of Sessions and
Common Pleas from membership in the board on the
ground that the act creating the college did not appoint
them as trustees. On his suggestion the matter was referred
to the legislature, which legalized the past acts of the board
and appointed the judges members thereof. On the
20th of December Professor Early, who had incurred the
censure of the trustees, was dismissed.

An appropriation of $6,000 was made for the erection
of a steward's hall, which was completed in 1806. This
first hall, or "Commons," stood on the site of Harper College.
Before it was built the students had been boarded or
"dieted" at a tavern.

At the close of the first year of its existence, January
9, 1806, the college had forty-six students on its roll. The
first case of discipline was the suspension during February
of William Davis for bad behavior in the chapel. At its
April meeting the board requested the president to hold
divine services on Sunday in the chapel and occasionally
to invite clergymen of various denominations to officiate
at these services. Anderson Crenshaw, who had entered
as a junior, completed the work required for graduation
by December 1, 1806, and the degree of bachelor of arts
was conferred on him by resolution of the board on that
day; but he deferred, according to a note in an old manu-
script catalogue of the students of the South Carolina Col-
lege from 1805 to 1834, the formality of graduation until the
following year. The records do not mention his name in
connection with the graduating exercises in 1807.

Professor Hanford resigned from the faculty at the close
of 1806; a few days later Professor Hammond also with-
drew. Reverend Joseph Caldwell was elected professor
of mathematics and natural philosophy, and Thomas Park
professor of languages, November 28, 1806. Three days
later the trustees elected Paul Perault to the chair of
French, which he occupied until the April meeting of 1807,
when he was transferred to the professorship which


Mr. Caldwell had declined, and the instruction in French
was placed in charge of Tutor Nicholas Herbemont.
Edward Hooker was chosen tutor in mathematics,
February 25. At a meeting on April 23 the board selected
"Collegii Sigillum Carolinae Australis" as the seal of the
college and appointed Judges Bay and Trezevant to have
the seal made.

During 1807 a house was erected for the president with
the appropriation of |8,000 granted by the legislature in
the previous December. President Maxcy had been board-
ing at the house of a Mrs. Brown. The professors were
domiciled in the dormitories with the students. The first
house built for professors was the double structure on the
site of the houses occupied by Professors Burney and
Wauchope on the south side of the campus next to Rutledge
College. This was completed in 1810. The building for
the accommodation of two professors' families facing it
was erected in 1813.

The first spring exhibition was held May, 1807. Capers,
Dinkins, DuBose, Dupont, Gaillard, Grayson, Hampton,
Lyde, Patrick, Shaw, and B. Taylor of the sophomore class
recited declamations; they had the liberty of giving a dia-
logue, if any two desired. Finch, Evans, and Waring of
the junior class carried on a disputation against their fellow
classmen Smith, DeWitt, and Mayrant. J. F. Goodwin,
McKenzie, Lowry, Taylor, W. Goodwin, McRa, Muldrow,
Miller, W. Davis, Gaillard, Strong, Heriot, and Mclver,
juniors, were the orators of the occasion.

The first commencement took place December 7, 1807, the
first Monday in the month, as the bylaws ordered. The
seniors had been examined six weeks before, in order that
they might have abundance of time to prepare for their
commencement parts. An invitation was sent to the legis-
lature, which was in session, to attend the exercises. Twelve
juniors were assigned parts on the program for orations,
a dispute, and a conference on "the Comparative Advantages
of Moral Philosophy, Logic, and Criticism." Walter Cren-
shaw, John Caldwell, George W. Glenn, and John Wesley


Harper formed the graduating class. The valedictory,
which was regarded as the first honor, was delivered by
Walter Crenshaw; the salutatory, or second honor, was
given to John Caldwell. Whether this was in Latin or
English is not recorded. Two intermediate orations were
assigned to Harper and Glenn. Glenn was also to recite
a passage in French, while the others were required to hold
a disputation. Dr. LaBorde adds that the names of a few
of the most distinguished in each class were read out at
this time. The degree of Doctor of Laws was conferred
on John Dray ton; that of Doctor of Divinity on William
Percy, Richard Furman, Joseph Alexander, and Moses
Waddle. No diplomas were given. Governor Drayton
wrote, June 8, 1809, to President Maxcy urging that the
delivery of diplomas should not be put off any longer, as it
was a disgrace to the college that they had not been given.
The form of the graduates' diploma had been adopted two
years before; Dr. Maxcy presented a form for the honorary
degrees at the meeting of December 13, 1809. As the board
had authorized the purchase of diplomas in April, 1809,
those to whom they were due received them at commence-
ment in 1809. Both diplomas were in Latin, and the
wording of that for the first degree survives to this day.

James Gregg was elected tutor December 2, 1808, in the
place of Edward Hooker, who became a tutor in Yale
College. The college had grown rapidly ; the administration
was vigorous. There was a senior class of thirty at the close
of this, the third year in the life of the institution. Several
honorary degrees were conferred at this commencement.
At a meeting a year later the trustees passed a resolution
that thereafter twelve months' notice would be required
before any honorary degree was given; in consequence there
were fewer honorary degrees. Reverend John Brown was
elected professor of Logic and Moral Philosophy, April
25, 1809.

In accordance with a resolution of the board adopted at
the April meeting of 1810, that in the future the secretary
should record in its journals all letters of information


received from the president or professors, or letters upon
subjects required to be communicated by them, the report
of President Maxcy appears in the minutes of the trustees
for November 30, 1810. At this meeting a committee was
appointed to petition the legislature for an appropriation
of $1,600 to pay the salary of a professor of chemistry:
Professor Perault had lectured the seniors on chemistry.
This sum was secured, and Charles Dewar Simons of
Charleston was elected to fill the new chair May 1, 1811.
Professor Simons entered upon his duties in October, per-
forming them with great ability; but on his return from
Charleston in January, 1812, he lost his life in the swamp
below Granby. His report to the trustees formed the basis
of an elaborate report to the legislature and of the request
for $5,000 to fit up a room for chemical experiments and for
chemical apparatus. Dr. Edward Darrell Smith succeeded
Professor Simons.

Professor Perault was removed from his professorship
at the instance of President Maxcy in April, 1811, for neglect
of college duties. Though skilled in mathematical science,
he lacked "that dignity which a Freshman would expect in
a learned Professor." He became attached to the army as
a topographical engineer. Professor Brown also withdrew,
handing in his resignation on May 1 to take effect at the
close of the year. Tutor Gregg performed the duties of the
professor of mathematics until his successor was elected
at the close of the year in the person of George Blackburn.
Rev. Dr. Montgomery was at the same time elected to fill
the chair left vacant by the resignation of Professor Brown.
Tutor Gregg resigned at this time.

A severe earthquake in December, 1811, damaged some
of the walls of the college structures, especially North
Building, to such an extent that iron rods had to be used
to pull them together.

The duties of the college were suspended from May
22, 1813, to the close of the session on account of an epidemic
of typhoid fever. At this time there were one hundred
and twenty-two students enrolled. A poll of these taken


with reference to their church affiliations gave 77 Presby-
terians, 31 Episcopalians, and 20 Baptists. A similar can-
vass of the student body next fall revealed in addition to
the above three denominations a few Methodists. Students
were allowed to attend any church they preferred ; monitors
were appointed for the various churches to keep up with
the attendance. The canvass to find out the religious affilia-
tions was designed to aid the pastors of the city in their
efforts to reach the students.

Disorders, firing of guns on the campus, "fisticuffs," begin-
ning in 1812 and increasing during the following year
culminated on the night of February 8, 1814, in a riot, which
the militia of the town was called out to quell. One of the
professor's houses was stoned, and his family driven out;
Tutor Reid's windows were smashed with brickbats;
Professor Blackburn was burned in effigy. The faculty and
the trustees resident in Columbia could do nothing. Even
after the militia was called in, it was necessary to station
a guard all night in a professor's house. The students whose
names were known to the faculty were reported to the board
of trustees for expulsion and were sent home, while others
had legal proceedings begun against them to obtain pay-
ment for damages to college property. Disorders continued
in some degree for over a year, until after the departure of
Professor Blackburn. They were aggravated also by the
ill health of President Maxcy.

Professor Blackburn offered his resignation November
30, 1814, to take effect on the 1st of the following July.
He was a native of Ireland, professor of mathematics and
astronomy at William and Mary in Virginia before he came
to the South Carolina College. He was of an irascible
temper, which kept the students constantly angered. On
one occasion he remarked to the senior class "that it might
be that half of his class were very smart fellows, for he
never saw them; but the half who attended his recitations
were as laborious as oxen, but as stupid as asses." This,
of course, led to a rebellion. While he was connected with
the college, he was employed in the vacation of 1812 by


the State to run the boundary line between South and
North Carolina. Reverend Christian Hanckel, who had
been elected as tutor in mathematics to succeed Mr. Reid,
was placed in charge of the chair left vacant by Professor
Blackburn's resignation.

Dr. Maxcy's health was beginning to fail, so that he was
unable to perform his duties with the regularity that
successful management of his office required. The entry
ways of the buildings were allowed to become filthy, and
physicians pronounced the general condition of the insti-
tution as unsanitary. Dr. Maxcy was summoned before
the trustees to show cause why he should not be deposed
from the presidency. His defence, while not recorded, must
have been satisfactory, as there was no further mention of
the matter ; but there is record that a better sanitary condi-
tion thereafter prevailed.

Under President Maxcy great attention was paid to
elocution. The students of his time were especially noted
for their oratorical powers; some of the most renowned
of the orators of South Carolina, indeed of the whole
country, George McDuffie, Hugh S. Legare, William C. Pres-
ton, were students of the college at this period. Dr. Maxcy
was himself one of the greatest of the pulpit orators of
the United States. Elocutionists gave lessons in private to
the students, and on occasion arrangements were made by
the board with these men for a course of instruction in
rhetoric and elocution. One of these elocutionists was the
"celebrated orator" Mr. Ogilvie. Dr. Maxcy's successor,
Thomas Cooper, decried the study of the art of public
speaking. Only again in the days of Preston's presidency
was stress laid upon it, when he performed the duties of
professor of elocution, and his own example as one of the
leading orators of the country fired the students to emula-
tion. All students were required to deliver declamations
or orations of their own composition before the officers
of the college; these were often the most perfunctory.
President Maxcy proposed to the board the establishment
of a chair of elocution and belles lettres, the suggestion not,


however, being accepted, as particular emphasis was at the
time laid on securing instruction in mineralogy.

The curriculum of the University will have a special
chapter; but the student of the minutes of the trustees for
this period will be struck with the wide-reaching and
progressive views therein exhibited. He finds that Dr. Maxcy
suggests a professorship of law, or instruction in law to
the seniors, and a chair of political economy, this in 1815.
Great attention was paid to the sciences: chemistry became
a regular chair in 1811; mineralogy was attached to chem-
istry in 1815 ; natural philosophy, or physics, formed a part
of the chair of mathematics from the first, and one of the
first purchases made by the board was physical apparatus.
Provision was made for those students who did not wish
to take Greek or Latin. The minutes of the faculty for
April 19, 1808, record the change of a student named Dick
from "linguist to English scholar." French was taught
during almost the whole of Dr. Maxcy's administration, but
was pronounced not a success. It was not introduced again

Online LibraryEdwin L. (Edwin Luther) GreenA history of the University of South Carolina → online text (page 2 of 38)