Edwin L. (Edwin Luther) Green.

A history of the University of South Carolina online

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view, and also on account of the excellent education there
provided, that I believe much has been done for the cause
of general information in South Carolina by this popular
institution. The examinations are very strict; and if
adequate motives could be devised to retain the pupils long
enough, there would be little more to wish for. The high
stimulus to early marriages, held out by the facility of pro-
viding for a family, and the enterprising, uncontrolable
spirit of the Southern planters in particular, come sorely in
the way of those patient studies, those nights and days of
laborious application, by which alone scholars or mathe-
maticians can be formed. The nature of things, indeed, in
America, as I have already stated more than once, is so


decidedly averse to such attainments which minister to
none of the existing wants of that country that, I fear very
much, these praiseworthy attempts to force them must for a
long time prove abortive.

"Nevertheless it is very probable, that the enthusiasm and
the talents which are enlisted over many parts of America
in the good cause of education, do perform much service to
that country upon the whole, though the results fall greatly
short of the wishes and hopes of the men who so gallantly
stem the popular tide, which runs steadily in the opposite
direction. In elementary education, they have certainly done
great things. My remarks refer to the higher branches of


(Jefferson Papers C. 2nd Series, Vol. 22. No. 103. Library

of Congress).

Columbia 12 March 1821.
Dear Sir

I am glad to find from Mr. Eppes's information that the
Legislature of Virginia has enabled the Visitors of the Uni-
versity to proceed with their Plan.

When I passed by Monticello, it was with a view princi-
pally to ascertain whether any strong probability could be
counted upon, as to the appointment of Professors ; meaning
to regulate my conduct here, by the information I could
obtain at your house; but finding both from you and Gov-
ernor Randolph, as well as from common report that no
reliance could be placed on the good disposition of the Legis-
lature this year but that it was just as probable that the
buildings would remain useless for seven years to come, as
be put into requisition this year, I found myself obliged to
consult the necessity of immediate employment, and accept
of the Professorship here on the terms offered me. Had I
declined accepting the chair of Chemistry here permanently,
a gentleman sent for from Yale College for the purpose
(Dr. Porter) was ready to take the Situation. Under these


circumstances, I could do no otherwise than take the offer,
on the understood condition, that I should remain here.
Since that time, I have been made Professor of Mineralogy
with an additional salary of lOOOf and President pro temp,
of the College, from which I suspect I shall have no occasion
to remove, but in conformity to my wishes. My family,
my furniture, my apparatus are all here or at Charleston,
and the removal has cost me 800f at least. I must therefore
now consider myself as fixed in this place.

You want a Chemist & Mineralogist : I can with perfect
confidence & under the fullest conviction, declare that Mr.
Vanuxem whom you saw with me, is possessed of knowledge
of these subjects, beyond that of any person known to me
in the United States. I believe in pressing him on your
notice, I am doing much more service to your institution
than to him. Had I gone to Charlottesville, I should have
recommended him here; as it is, I assert without scruple or
hesitation, that you cannot do so well as to take him.

Two years incessantly devoted to these pursuits in Phila-
delphia, and three years more laboriously employed in the
same way in Paris, has given him opportunities (fully
embraced) of acquiring the knowledge in question beyond
any man in America. For his character at Paris, as an
honor to his country there, I am instructed to refer to Mr.
Gallatin who will most readily confirm my report. No Pro-
fessor from England has had equal advantages: and Mr.
Vanuxem is an American by birth. Whoever you get, must
be provided with a Laboratory and Lecture room : no apart-
ment in your University will suffice for the purpose. 1 am
desirous of promoting Mr. Vanuxem's interest, but my advice
rests on the ground of promoting the Interest of Science,
& of your Institution. If you do not employ him with you,
I shall endeavor to take measures to retain him here.

Your Grandson Eppes has talents; he is~not deficient in
Industry and he will stand at the head of his class. I advise
you to let him stay here another year and graduate. For an
hour every day, I used to read Horace with him in the inter-
vals of his class, but the duties of the President, have left


me no leisure for that. I have persuaded him to read Lucan's
Pharsalia. I will take him next year into my Laboratory.
I greatly like his temper & his talents.

Adieu. May God preserve you for the good of y r . Country,
many years.

Thomas Cooper.

(Madison Papers, Vol. LXIII. No. 29. Library of Congress).

Columbia S. Carolina March 12. 1821.
Dear Sir

When I first engaged to act as chemical Professor at the
South Carolina College, I refused to contract for a longer
period than a twelvemonth, expressly on account of my
engagement in Virginia. At my departure from this place
last autumn, I refused making any promise to return here
on a permanent engagement, untill I had an opportunity of
ascertaining the prospects of the Charlottesville University.
In the mean time, a Dr. Porter came here, on invitation of
some of the Trustees, recommended by Professor Silliman of
Yale College to take the chair of Chemistry should I
decline it.

When I returned here, I passed thro' Virginia, & staid a
week at Monticello. Mr. Jefferson told me, he was quite
uncertain whether the Virginia legislature would afford suf-
ficient aid to the Charlottesville institution to enable it to
go on: that it was a very unpropitious time to make the
application owing to the losses the state had lately incurred :
that if they should refuse the necessary aid, the Buildings
might remain unoccupied for seven years to come.

I found Governor Randolph also in great doubt whe r .
any thing w d . be done by the Legislature or not. I returned
with this hopeless kind of information to Columbia. I found
there the Trustees desirous of retaining me, but hesitating
about my election for another limited period: Dr. Porter
meanwhile ready for the Chair, as my Suppleant, should I
relinquish it.


I was not able to waste any more time indefinitely, my
family were anxious to join me somewhere. I had no encour-
agement to go to your State, and I was compelled to accept
of the chemical Chair on the conditions of permanent resi-
dence, and removing my family here. I have done so; and
I consider myself as fixed in this place.

Since I have been here, the Trustees have influenced the
Legislature to add 1000 Dlrs to my salary as mineralogical
Professor, and have since elected me President of the College
for a period, which will end at my option or my demise.

Under these circumstances, I feel myself bound in honour
to recommend if I can an efficient Professor of Chemistry
& Mineralogy to your Institution ; and under that obligation
I write now.

Mr. Lardner Vanuxein, now with me here as an assistant,
was formerly a student of mineralogy and Chemistry for
two years in Philadelphia, and since that time for 3 years
with exemplary industry at Paris, where he received the
public compliment of approbation in the introductory lecture
of the mineralogical professor in the School of Mines. His
good character, talents, & merit are well known to Mr.
Gallatin who will confirm this report.

I think I know every man in the United States who has
pretensions to Chemical and mineralogical Knowledge. I
speak with the utmost confidence, & without scruple, when
I say, that Mr. Vanuxem has no equal among them. You
cannot procure a person so well qualified in point of Knowl-
edge. How he would perform as public lecturer I know not,
but the necessary fluency is easily acquired, where there is
the necessary knowledge, as there is here. Mr. Vanuxem
is about 30 Years of age : of a well known family in Phila-
delphia, his father a merchant of long standing there,
attached to the Virginia politics, having a very large family
natives of the United States.

It is true I wish to render Mr.
Vanuxem a service, but I have
not the slightest motive to
interest myself in his behalf, but his merit : and it is because


I feel personally and anxiously concerned for the interest
of the Virginia Institution, that you are now troubled with
this detail from Dear Sir

Your obliged and faith-
friend and Servant
Thomas Cooper


(Jefferson Papers C. 2nd Series, Vol. 22. No. 104. Library

of Congress).

Columbia Feb. 14. 1822
Dear Sir

I send you the history of a College rebellion (an annual
case here) which may be put by among the memoirs pour
servir a Fhistoire du gouvernment academique; facts that
furnish some useful conclusions. You are to consider as
true in addition the following facts : viz That the Professors
have never been absent from a single recitation, so far as I
know, since I have been at this College.

That the Students are repeatedly invited & requested to
apply to any of the professors at any time for a repetition of
instructions, or a solution of difficulties in the course of their

That so far as I know the Students have been treated with
unabated & uniform kindness & respect by all the Professors :
this manner of behaving to them has been deliberately and
systematically adopted and pursued. And every proper
indulgence has been conceded at all times to the Students
individually & collectively. On the other hand

The Senior class have adopted as their guiding system of
morality, that they are under no obligation to obey the laws
of the College, but merely to abide by the punishment
inflicted on disobedience if they should be discovered They
distinguish openly avowedly & professedly between malum
prohibitum and malum per se.

They have prohibited every student of that class from
applying to any professor for information, or for the expla-


nation of any difficulty, regarding it as evidence of a design
to curry favor with the faculty, and as taking an unfair
advantage. Hence also the students are forbidden to visit
at the Professors' houses or to have any intercourse with
them M*. Eppes cannot pay a visit of common civility to
Mrs. Cooper.

Every student ill College, holds himself bound to conceal
any offence against the Laws of the Land as well as the Laws
of the College : the robbing of henroosts, the nightly prowling
about to steal Turkies from all the houses in the neighbour-
hood are constant practices, among a set of young men who
would never forgive you, if you doubted their honor, altho'
I know this form of declaration is little else than an insolent
cover for falsehood among many of them.

Mr. Baker of Richmond is a strong advocate for the dis-
tinction between malum prohibitum & malum per se ; and he
led off the revolt.

After consenting to refer the dispute to the Trustees con-
vened by the Governor, they were guilty the next night of
every outrage that they had the power to commit. The Pro-
fessors were threatened, pistols were snapt at them; guns
fired near them. Col. John Taylor (formerly of the Senate
from this place) was in company with myself burnt in
effigy: the windows of my bedroom have been repeatedly
shattered at various hours of the night, & guns fired under
my window. If we were to ask any young man, who did so,
he w d . feel insulted at the question, and deemed his honor
injured by being asked if he knew the perpetrator of a crime,
altho' he stood near the offender at the time. Of the junior
class we have suspended about 20, and reported for expulsion
4 or 5 others. The senior class, at present knowing our full
determination not to give way, are very regular now, &
probably will continue so.

The trustees resident in this neighbourhood, are deter-
mined to recommend that no Student be hereafter admitted,
but on condition of signing the paper we required the junior
class to sign ; and also to apply to the legislature to make it
a penal offence cognizable before a magistrate for any

. u.


student to remain in College 12 hours after being ordered
by the faculty to leave it. A provision now seen to be of the
first necessity.

Republicanism is good : but the "rights of boys and girls"
are the offspring of Democracy run mad. No professor of any
reputation will stay at an institution where their authority
is to be disputed inch by inch, and their lives put in jeopardy
if they resist the encroachments of a set of hot headed boys,
whom no kindness can conciliate, and who regard all exer-
tions made to promote their improvement as mere matters
of duty for which no thanks are due. Some of the very
young men to whom last year I gave a daily lecture more
than I was bound to give who were incited and tempted to
attend that lecture as an extra duty to whom I continued
to give instruction to the last day of their remaining in
College, stole my horse out of the stable shaved its tail &
mane, and rode it about in the night till it was nearly
exhausted. I found them out & forgave them, but it pro-
duced no amelioration in their accomplices who remained,
and are now suspended.

Dr. Dwight prophesyed that no collegiate institute could
be permanent south of Potowmack. In my own opinion the
parental indulgence of the South, renders young men less
fit for college government than the habits of the northern
people; and the rigid discipline of the northern seminaries
must be put in force inexorably in the South, or the people
who are sent for instruction, will permit their teachers to
give it to them, only when the student condescends to be

In all these proceedings, about 10 or 12 lead the rest
astray, and the defect of moral courage that courage which
determines a man to do his duty at all hazards renders the
peaceable, the tools of the turbulent.

I know little how Mr. Eppes is going on: but his habits
are studious, regular, and kind. All the Professors speak
well of him, & in my opinion deservedly.

Accept dear Sir my best and kindest respects and good
wishes for your welfare.

Thomas Cooper.


Extract from a letter of Thomas Cooper to Governor P. M.
Butler, July 1, 1837; published in the Southern Literary
Journal, Vol. IV, pp. 540-549 :

"Dear Sir: I address this letter to you, because I know
the interest you take in our public Institutions, particularly
the College. I offer my view for public discussion, patiently
abiding the course of public improvement, which discussion
is sure to produce. The time has never been when I have
not thought highly of classical attainment; but I do not
think it repays all the time and attention we unskilfully
dedicate to it. I say unskilfully, for I have never seen a
young man turned out as a graduate from the South Carolina
College, who would be considered as a good classical scholar,
at any of the great schools, or Universities of England. We
have never had a good grammar school under proper and
rigid discipline attached to the College. The time of our
youth, until the age of sixteen years, has never been skilfully
or fully employed. Parents and children are anxious to
commence a collegiate course before the young men are really
prepared; and if the due requisites are exacted at entrance,
the college would have much room unoccupied. We were
all sensible of this in my time, and we were as rigid in our
admission-examinations, as we could afford to be; and not
without corresponding good effects. The character of our
grammar schools throughout the country depends on the
condition really exacted for admission into the college.
Translations from an ancient into a modern language, and
from a modern into an ancient one, at least twice a week,
with original compositions in Latin prose, weekly, till four-
teen years of age, and in Latin verse weekly for two years,
appear to me, from personal experience, and much actual
observation, indispensable to the fluent acquisition of the
classic tongues. Which of our grammar schools exact this?
Which of them are competent to exact these duties? My good
friend, Dr. Park, may remember translating for me a page
of Greek poetry, by Charles Fox, as a University Exercise,
published. This was the result of the discipline I have been
proposing. His critical letters to that learned man, Gilbert


Wakefield, would show his attention to these subjects. He
brought like every great man, great labor to his pursuits.
But Greek poetry and classical criticism, might have been
beneficially superceded by the study of The Wealth of
Nations, which his intellect was too scholastically drilled to
relish or understand.

"A youth entering college, with such a portion of classical
acquirements as I have described, and the usual complement
of arithmetical, algebraical and mathematical knowledge,
might dispense with the classics entirely as a college exer-
cise. If to a short course of Moral Philosophy, there were
added a course of International law by the same instructor,
I think it would be an improvement.

"To these alterations I would add, that no young man
should be permitted to enter college till after an exact and
full examination in the Latin and Greek classics; in his
readiness to write on any given subject, at least in Latin;
his knowledge of ancient geography, customs and manners,
with a competent knowledge of modern geography. All
this will be easy to a well educated youth of sixteen. Nor
should any young man be allowed to enter college for a less
term than four years.

"These changes would admit of a more full course of
Chemistry as applied to the arts of Mineralogy and Geology,
now indispensable, but for which time is not at present
allowed in our Institution. I would also admit of a daily
course of reading in the French language. I despair of pres-
ent, but not of future success in these proposals. I shall
offer another by and by. I say nothing of the constitutional
objection to a part of the present course, because, regarding
as I do, the constitution to be in real amount no more than
a piece of waste paper against popular prejudice, I would
not dwell on an unpleasant subject, without prospect of

"I am not so prejudiced as to deny the uses to which even
our present system of imperfect education may lead. It
tends to make better lawyers, and better doctors; more skil-


ful polemics in the disputatious field of controversial divinity,
more fluent declaimers; men better skilled in the wordy
contests of party tactics; more efficient party politicians.
It will enable a man to dilate for two hours on a subject that
might be exhausted in fifteen minutes."

"The age of common sense, I presume, will approach us
by slow journies. One symptom of it in South Carolina, will
be the enforcing, in her school of education, a more accurate
acquirement of mathematical, mechanical, chemical, and
geological knowledge than is now prevalent among us;
another symptom will be the establishment of a school of
engineers, as an appendage of two years to the usual college

"You want a full course of mathematics applied to

"You want a course of fluxionary and algebraical calculus.

"You want a practical knowledge of scientific instruments,
as a distinct course of lectures.

"You want a daily exercise in drawing, and delineations
of the machinery from the machines.

"You want French as absolutely indispensable; and Ger-
man as very desirable.

"You want more official attendance and solemnity at your
public examinations, and a more insisted and compelled pro-
ficiency. Degrees are too easily acquired.

"I have said nothing of the elements of anatomy and
physiology, or of the application of galvanism to the piles of
the human body, as well as to the piles of Volta, or to the
coasting of ships at sea. nor of the elements of botany, so
essential to the agriculturist, the gardener, and the physi-
cian. I fear time is wanting, and patience is wanting. Our
young men and their parents, are alike impatient of college
confinement, and anxious for escape into the world, con-
tented with the smattering of knowledge, that has been
"panged" into them. What is the consequence? Look at
your Rail-Road. The school at West Point, imperfect as it
is, has provided in some degree for useful attainment; your


engineers are, with two or three young exceptions^ students
from the school of West Point and you are compelled to
borrow them from the federal government, because you have
neglected or disdained to breed them for yourselves ! Ought
this to be? No: pudet haec opprobria nobis et did potuisse
et non potuisse refelli.

"How often has a professorship of modern languages been
pressed on the attention of the trustees and the Legislature
in vain ! Is there a gentleman in Europe ignorant of French?
Can you go into a company of merchants in England where
that language is not familiar at the dinner table, where it
is not a matter of surprise that any foreigner should be
ignorant of it? Can a mathematician, a physician, a well-
bred lawyer dispense with French?

"The standing of South Carolina depends, 1st, on the
known honorable character of her citizens as public men.
Our Representatives in Congress have been for the most part,
and now feel that they are gentlemen. That they have to
support, untainted, in that house of ill fame, the high char-
acter of a South-Carolina gentleman. God grant, that
whether through good report or evil report, they may never
flinch or fail in maintaining that really noble character:
and I thank God it is supported.

"2d. South-Carolina must earn pre-eminence by superi-
ority, not merely of talent, but of knowledge. Not merely
of knowledge, but of useful knowledge. To this imperious
duty we have not paid due attention. Our public school of
instruction is a very incompetent institution. Our legis-
lators have liberally voted for bricks and mortar ; but science
does not flourish in that school. Not from incompetence of
professors, for I most willingly bear my own personal testi-
mony to the professional merit of your mathematician and
chemist. The college is under the care of men, to whose con-
duct as professors, I know of no objection that can be made.
But the trustees and the legislature ought to institute some
more efficient mode of exacting due proficiency. When do
they attend the examinations? It is a disagreeable duty:


but it is a duty which a patriot ought not to shrink from.
You can not get on without a pattern grammar school. You
ought to have an uniform."


An old note book kept by a student of the class of 1852
has been preserved. From it come the following verses by
James K. Chalmers, A. B. 1851, H. H. Caldwell, A. B. 1851,
and J. Wood Davidson, A. B. 1852. Professor Yates Snow-
den, the present owner of the note book, fortunately rescued
them from oblivion. Billy Maybin, originally from New-
berry, kept the old Congaree Hotel, which occupied the site
of the present Jerome Hotel. The lines by Caldwell and
Davidson relate to the rebellion occasioned in April, 1850,
by the assignment of certain periods of recitation belonging
to Dr. Thornwell to Professor Brumby during the former's
absence. The students claimed as a favor granted by for-
tune the periods left vacant by a professor's absence, which
could not be filled by any one else.


Come, doff your gowns, good fellows, don't put your coats

on slow,

For a drinking at old Billy's we are ready for to go;
Above he gives good suppers, good dinners down below,
And many a time we've had a spree at Billy Maybin's, O!

There "Uncle Ned" and "Vive 1'amour," the singers nightly


While those who are less tuneful in drinking do keep time;
And when before the counters we stand up in a row,

Online LibraryEdwin L. (Edwin Luther) GreenA history of the University of South Carolina → online text (page 28 of 38)