Edwin L. (Edwin Luther) Green.

A history of the University of South Carolina online

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and 24 bedrooms. The bedrooms are directly back of the
large rooms; and the arrangement is such as to be very con-
venient for ventilation a circumstance very necessary to
be attended to in this warm climate.

"The munificence of the legislature towards this institu-


tion has been very honorable. They first granted $50,000
out of the public treasury for the two long buildings. They
have granted several thousands for books and instruments,
and they are to appropriate a considerable sum annually
for its constant support. The college was opened for the
reception of students some months ago. The number, I
believe, is about 30. They board together with the tutors at

a private house

"Saturday Nov. 9th P. M. Walked up to the Col-
lege about 4 o'clock, and visited the Library with Mr. Ham-
mond. The room is very spacious, airy and handsome.
About 5000 volumes have been purchased but not more than
3000 have yet arrived. Many of these have an elegant
appearance; but it is thought the selection was not made
very judiciously. It was made by a committee of gentlemen
in Charleston ; of whom Judge Johnson of the Federal Court
was a principal one. There seems to be an undue propor-
tion of modern works many of them of the ephemeral class.
There are large piles of periodical works, such as the Gentle-
man's Magazine, European Magazine, Annual Register, and
others of no more solid worth than these. Some handsome
editions of the Greek and Latin Classics and translations A
few books written in the Oriental languages."

Pages 909-910 :

"Mon. Dec. 7th. (1807). Commencement Day. Weather
delightful. The exercise of the day began between 11 and 12
o'clock. The pieces were few but tolerably good. There were
5 regular graduates besides two bachelors from Yale C. and
1 master, from Rh. College. The music was instrumental
and very good; the performers being 4 or 5 of the best in
the state. The degrees were conferred with considerable
form. The President came down from the pulpit and
addressed the Trustees briefly in Latin and introduced the
candidates. Then took an arm-chair which stood a little
forward on the stage and I took another Chair at his left-
hand holding a handsome gilt duodecimo volume of French.
They came on by 2 and 2. The Pres. addressed them in


Latin sitting. Then presented the book; which they held
while he said another sentence, and then returned to me.
They being then bachelors, the President rose from his seat
and acknowledged them as such, in Latin. Then they retired
and 2 others came on. The Pres't then pronounced a degree
conferred on one of the class who was absent, and on one
Master a Mr. King of Darlington. He then went back to
the pulpit and pronounced the honorary degree of L. L. D.
conferred on J. Drayton, Esq. of Charleston and D. D. on
the Rev. Messrs Furman and Percy of Charleston, Waddel
of Vienna and Alexander of York. After this the graduates
went out on the stage before the pulpit and the Pres. made
them a handsome parting address of about 15 or 20 minutes.

The valedictory followed and music closed the exercises

"Tues. Dec. 15th The Senate yesterday rejected

unanimously the Bill to vest the power of licenses &. in the
Trustees of the Coll. also the Duelling Bill and the Equity
Bill. How much time is lost in laboring business in one
house for the other house to knock up. The Bill respecting
licenses easily passed the H. of E. and was thought abso-
lutely necessary to prevent dissipation among the Col-

GRAYSON, PP. 44-54.

(Now in the possession of the University).

"My instruction hitherto had been confined to a little
French and to what is called an English education. At six-
teen I became ambitious of learning to read Homer and
Virgil in their own language. At this time two brothers of
Dr. Jonathan Maxcy the first President of the South Caro-
lina College opened a school in the town of Beaufort. One

of them, Virgil Maxcy Milton Maxcy remained in

Beaufort Under Milton's instruction I read the ordi-
nary Latin authors, made some progress in Greek, and at
the end of eighteen months became a candidate for admission
into the Sophomore class in Columbia College. I was

21 H. U.


examined by the Rev d Doctor Maxcy. The examination was
not half as formidable as I had supposed. A letter from
his brother had somewhat macadamized the way. I con-
strued an ode in Horace. The Doctor made a few critical
remarks on the exquisite beauty, the curiosa felicitas of the
poet's diction and the work was done. It was almost as
summary as the examination of Mr. McKibben for admis-
sion to Chancery practice as the author of the Carolina
Bench and Bar describes it. 'What will you charge a client
for filing a bill? asked the Examiner, Chancellor Thomson.
Fifty dollars was the ready reply. You are admitted, said
the Chancellor. You understand the science exactly, and
are fully prepare to practice.'

"Before my formal initiation, during the first night of my
arrival in Columbia, I was introduced by an acquaintance
to the mysteries of College life. In one of the recitation
rooms we found an assemblage of students engaged in a
scene of great jollity and good humor. Some were singing;
some talking; some mounted on benches and making set
speeches ; some interpolating critical remarks on the Orators,
while the young freshmen performed the part of silent and
admiring auditors. George Davis, of whom Mr. Petigru
speaks so warmly in his address, and John M. Davis were
conspicuous actors in the play. At this period a rage for
the French Revolution was the popular sentiment. It had
convulsed the Republic during Washington's administration
and was still prevalent in the country. The Gallic propo-
gandists of liberty were all patriots and heroes. The 'Rights
of Man' and the 'Age of Reason' were the great books of the
day. Their author was the most admired genius. Men who
had never heard of Shakespeare or Milton were deep in the
pages of Paine. On the night of my introduction to the
social life of Alma Mater the song sung was one in praise of
the French Convention and the rights of man. It announced
that in America these rights first began, and a noisy repeti-
tion of 'viva las' for the Convention, the rights of the race
and America, closed every stanza and was shouted out by
voices in full chorus. The scene differed as much as possible


from that of the pale student, the midnight lamp and the
classic page.

"The proposed design of the legislature in establishing the
South Carolina Collge was to enlighten the minds of the
people and better fit them for the task of self government.
When it was proposed at the beginning of the century to
revise the Constitution and extend to the interior a due share
in the powers of the government proportionate to its increase
in population, the proposal was objected from below. It
was said that the people of the upper, or back, country were
too ignorant to be entrusted with a larger participation In
the toils of the privileges of ruling. There was a great deal of
complacency, it must be confessed, in this opinion of the
country gentlemen for which there was very little reason.
The means of instruction were almost as scanty below as
above, and education was everywhere imperfect and super-
ficial. This however was only another reason for the college.
It was established after much opposition from those chiefly
who were thought to be most in need of its aid. The work
of imparting knowledge to the benighted was successfully
begun under the auspices of Dr. Jonathan Maxcy. Few men
were better fitted to pioneer a way for intellectual progress.
He possessed a control over the hearts and minds of his
pupils that no one of his successors has equalled or
approached. His influence was that of genius, moral worth,
tact and commanding eloquence. His eloquence was irre-
sistible. No youth however rough his training could with-
stand its power. Its force was felt by others. When 011 one
occasion the Trustees of the College came to the conclusion
that President Maxcy had been negligent in his duties and
arraigned him before the board, they were so overwhelmed
by his defence that they dropped the charge without another
whisper of discontent.

"The great merit of the South Carolina College is that it
tended to make the State one people. At the Revolution and
some years after, the upper and lower country were two
communities with little intercourse and less sympathy with
each other. I remember hearing a lady of Greenville express-


ing in Columbia an angry impatience at the increasing
intrusion of the low country people when forty years ago
they began to find their way to the mountain region. Their
coming she thought had enlarged the price of eggs and
chickens to the housekeeper with no corresponding advan-
tages to the people. She considered their advent a nuisance
which she would gladly abate. The traces of these former
differences between the two portions of the State are still
discernible in their civil divisions and their names. The
lower or older part is a region of parishes and saints; the
upper, of districts and less holy men. Below, we find
spiritual chiefs, St. George, St. John, St. Peter, St. Paul;
above, secular worthies only, Sumter, Pickens, Pendleton
and Anderson. But the real differences of which these names
are signs were removed or weakened by the influence of the
College, by its establishing cordial and enduring friendships
between the young men from every part of the State. The
College associations became so strong as to regulate the dis-
posal of the State offices in the legislature and to excite the
jealousy of those who were not free of the corporation.

"One of my class mates was James L. Petigru of Abbeville
District. We were intimate companions, talked together
with the ambition of undergraduates, read to each other
Horace and Rabelais, Pope and Bacon, and were admitted
by all parties to be the two best scholars of the class. He
wrote verses in College, but was compelled by the law to
forswear the company of the lighter Muses. He has been
distinguished through life for many exalted virtues, gener-
osity, devotion to friends, the undaunted defence of the
oppressed and the vindication of truth and right at every
hazard. He rose to great distinction at the bar and was for
many years and continues to be its head and ornament. The
friendship begun between us in the rooms of the College has
never ceased. At the end of more than half a century, it
remains unchanged. The fact may illustrate the general
effect of College companionship in amalgamating the two
sections of the State.

"My room mate was Thomas J. Dupont of St. Luke's


parish So. Carolina. There never was man more worthy
to be loved for the gentleness, liberality and frankness of his
nature. He was one of those who redeem our race from the
contempt or aversion we are sometimes tempted to feel for it.
He studied medicine after leaving College and practiced his
profession in the neighborhood of Bluffton before Bluffton
was yet a village. In the same tenement was Thomas Gail-
lard, James Dent, Robert Campbell and Alexander Bowie.
Gaillard moved to Alabama and has written a book on the
history of the church. Dent I have lost sight of. Campbell
has been a member of Congress from the Marlborough dis-
trict more than once. He was some years consul for the
United States at Havana and subsequently in London. He
has maintained in every position the character of a gallant
and chivalrous gentleman and man of the world. Bowie has
been a successful lawyer. He removed to Alabama and
became a judge, adding one more to the number of distin-
guished men given by the College to the younger sister of
So. Carolina.

"Notwithstanding the direct and incidental advantages
secured to the State by her college, the institution, it seems
to me, may be made more practical and useful. The whole
system of American collegiate education is defective. It does
not answer the end proposed. If its alumni succeed in life
they succeed not in consequence of college influences, but in
spite of them. Distinguished men have been educated in our
colleges, it is true, but their progress has not been more rapid
than it may have been under other auspices. Eminent men
indeed are independent of circumstances. It is the mass of
students that must be considered and provided for. For them
our college system is an inefficient contrivance. It is sort of
hybrid between the English high school and University with
the advantages of neither. In the English high school, boys
find discipline and diligence; in the University young men
enjoy ample accommodations and thorough scholastic aids.
With us, young boys are sent to college where they are
subject to little restraint and the senior, a man grown, lives


like the freshman in coarse lodgings and with scanty aids in
his studies and no social advantages.

"The end of education is to improve the manners, morals
and mind of the student. Our system operates lamely for
these purposes. To refine the boy's manners he is taken
from the guidance and restraints of home and placed in rude
barracks, with boys of his own age, removed from the checks
imposed by female society and by older persons of his own
sex and left entirely to his boyish devices. He sees his pro-
fessors for an hour or two only every day. There is no social
relation between them. The student herds with boys alone,
and if he escapes from becoming a bear in his habits he will
owe his good fortune to his stars and not at all to the influ-
ence of college life. What a charming school for manners,
the Steward's hall afforded where greasy bones were hurled
about and joints of meat badly cooked thrown under the
table! Perhaps the cooking is better nowadays or the dis-
approbation less emphatic on the student's part

"At the time of my College life, Columbia was a rambling,
ill built, village. It contained but two private dwellings of
brick, those of Mrs. Dinkins and Mr. Ben Waring. The
College buildings were the President's house, the Steward's
house and the two old colleges. The central building of the
North College was not yet finished. The principal hotel or
tavern was Dr. Green's near the State house. It was a large,
rough, wooden house with poor lodging and worse fare. The
Doctor in addition to his professional avocations was post-
master, tavern keeper, steward of the College, and a general
authority with his neighbors on all subjects ordinary and
extraordinary. He was a man of singularly simple manners
and modes of speech, as far removed as possible from the
pomp and phrases that are common on public occasions.
The last of these in which the old doctor took part was a
meeting caused by the death of Lafayette. A large number
of people assembled, and Doctor Green was called to the
chair. Mr. James Gregg, the father of the Brigadier whose
death at Fredericksburg has made his name illustrious, rose
to propose the resolutions. Mr. Gregg's manner was remark-


able for gravity and abruptness. 'Sir,' said he, addressing
the chair, 'Lafayette is dead/ 'Dear me! Is it possible?' the
chair remarked. 'Yes, Sir,' the speaker went on to say with
still greater emphasis, 'Lafayette is dead.' 'What a pity!'
replied the chair. 'I am very sorry to hear it. What was
the matter with him?' The gravity of the meeting was some-
what disturbed, but that of the chairman and speaker was
imperturbable. The chief merchant of the place was Ainslie
Hall. He carried on a large and profitable business at the
corner of Main Street and the first cross street North of
the State House. Among the inhabitants and neighbour-
hood were two of the famous partizan chiefs of the Revolu-
tionary War, Col Thomas Taylor and Colonel Wade Hamp-
ton. He became General Hampton in the war of 1812. They
were prosperous, wealthy, and remarkable, among other
meritorious acts and qualities, for sometimes inviting a
number of the College lads to take part in their good cheer.
Their dinners were a great contrast to those of our worthy
Steward, whether at the Steward's hall or in his own house,
where bacon and 'long collards' constituted the standing
dish. We gave our kind entertainers the most convincing
proof that we appreciated the difference. Col Hampton's
table was adorned not only with dainties and dishes of sub-
stantial excellence but with magnificent cups and vases of
silver won by his horses on the turf and set out in comple-
ment to his young guests. He was uniformly courteous to
them all and made the day pass very pleasantly. His planta-
tion, a few miles below Columbia was the scene of the feast.
Col Taylor was not less cordial in his welcome though plainer
in his mode of giving it.

"Columbia was not at that time a city of gardens as it
has since become a place of abundant fruits and flowers.
Dr. Benjamin Waring was the first, I believe, to plant a
garden and fruit trees on a large scale. Mr. and Mrs. Her-
bemont followed and set the example of cultivating the grape
for making wine. When a member of the legislature and
invited by the urbane and kindhearted cultivator to test tne
virtues of his manufacture, I thought the wine very pleasant.


But not so my more experienced colleagues, adepts in old
Medeira and Sherry; they held the home article in very
slender estimation. They thought it, as they said, a good
wine to keep, and were content that it should be kept accord-
ingly. The making of wine however has not ceased and from
this small beginning is gradually extending in various parts
of the State. Some centuries hence our State may be as
famous for wine as for cotton or rice.

"I graduated in 1809. During the last summer of my stay
in College I fell ill and was obliged when convalescent to
leave Columbia without standing the final examination or
the ceremonies of commencement. I had no claim therefore
to the honors of the class. They were assigned to James L.
Petigru and Alexander Bowie. The authorities sent a
diploma without the required examination. I became a
bachelor of arts with the usual inaptitude of the tribe for
any definite or useful employment. I was fairly launched
on the great sea of life with no acquired skill to buffet with
its waves."




"Mounted on horse-back with a negro servant to wait on
and take care of me, I proceeded on my lonely journey.
Columbia, So. Ca., lay in my way. There I put up at a tavern
situated on the spot now occupied by the high sounding Con-
garee House then bearing the most characteristic appellation
of Goat Hall. There I met with several young men, Charles-
ton boys, who had come up to join the South Carolina Col-
lege. These youngsters, whose address and manners were
very attractive, easily persuaded me that I was far enough
South for my health, and that the new and flourishing Col-
lege which they were about to enter was a fit place to obtain
an education. So after a night of anxious thought I
acquiesced. I knew that my father's plan of education for
me was that I should go through some Southern College,


then to Yale or Princeton and complete my course in Europe.
His notion impressed upon me from my earliest days was
that I was to be a well educated man and then to study law
as my life-time profession. This was always his purpose,
and my own never deviated from it. I entered the Sophomore
class December, 1809, being a few days under 15 years old,
but looking several years older, so that no questions were
asked as to my age. In College I took and maintained a
good stand. The state of discipline nor the course of instruc-
tion at that time were much calculated to confer a high edu-
cation. I graduated with distinction in 1812, having gone
thro' pretty much upon such acquaintances as I had made
under Whaley. I had a considerable reputation for speaking,
and that was the principal source of reputation at that time
Legare and McDuffie were the most distinguished students
of my day, and they maintained it thro' life. Indeed I think
that in most instances the relative position of students in
College has been continued afterwards. When I graduated,
I was not quite 18 years old."



1825 and 1826

by His Highness


Volume I, p. 209: "I became acquainted with two Pro-
fessors of Columbia College, Messrs. Henry and Nott; the
first is acquainted with the French and German languages,
he has translated Niebuhr's Roman History into English.
Mr. Nott studied in England and France, resided for some

time in Ghent, and married a lady of Brussels The

acquaintance I made with a Frenchman, Mons. Herbemont,
was very interesting to me ; he has been an inhabitant of the
United States for more than forty years, was formerly Pro-
fessor of Botany in Columbia College, and now lives upon
his income."

Volume I, p. 210: "From the state-house we went to


Columbia College; it is a university, but has neither medical
nor theological faculties. There are six professors. Dr.
Cooper is the president, with whom I became acquainted last
summer in Boston : on his return home he was taken sick in

"The number of students was one hundred and twenty,
who live in two large buildings, opposite each other; between
them is the house of the president and on both sides the
houses of the professors. We paid a visit to Mr. Vanuxem,
Professor of Natural History. He showed us the collection
of minerals belonging to the college, but not so interesting
as the collection of minerals of South Carolina, made by him
last summer. There were several fine tourmalines, emeralds,
pyrites containing gold; a new kind of metal called Colum-
bian, asbestus and different specimens of primitive rocks.
There was also pure gold from North Carolina, which was
only discovered about six years ago. When at Cheraw, I
was willing to make an excursion to the gold mine, but it
would have taken me a couple of days. I was told, gold is
found in a slime, which is dried up and then sifted, the gold
remaining in the sieve. But miners are expected from Ger-
many, and at their arrival, they will begin a regular explora-
tion. It is said that at present the company has a profit of
twenty dollars a week. I visited also the library, which was
not considerable, and did not contain anything remarkable.
On this occasion I made the acquaintance of a Mr. Elliott,
who had published a Flora of the state of South Carolina;
he extolled the botanical treasures of that state. A small
observatory was shut up; perhaps they would not show it
to me, because there were but few instruments."

Volume I, p. 212: "At Professor Henry's, a very agree-
able society assembled at dinner. At that party I observed
a singular manner which is practised ; the ladies sit down by
themselves at one corner of the table. But I broke the old
custom, and glided between them : and no one's appetite was
injured thereby."



in the years 1827 and 1828

Captain Basil Hall

"Next day, the 20th of February (1828), we hired an
extra stage, and proceeded at our own pace, leisurely, to
Columbia, the seat of government of South Carolina ; a city
interesting on many accounts, but chiefly so to a stranger,
from the intelligence and learning of the professors of the
college, and of many other persons who reside there,
pp. 126-127.

"On the 22d of February (1828), I visited the college of
Columbia, along with several of the professors. The young
men were not in their classes, however, which I was sorry
for. It was the anniversary of General Washington's birth-
day, and all the world were out amusing themselves. The
students at the college reside in the building; and the dis-
cipline, I understand, is quite as rigid as can well be
enforced. But this costs a good deal of vigilance and trouble
on the part of the professors. I heard the same complaint
made here, as in most other parts of the Union, that there
was the greatest difficulty in persuading the young men to
remain long enough in training, to acquire an adequate
amount of classical knowledge. The advantages of the col-
lege are, however, so considerable in economical points of

Online LibraryEdwin L. (Edwin Luther) GreenA history of the University of South Carolina → online text (page 27 of 38)