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A history of the University of South Carolina online

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elaborate defence, which he concluded on the following day.
On the 8th the trial was brought to a close with the adoption
of a resolution that the charges that his administration of
the office of president defeated the ends and aims of the
institution were not substantiated by proof. There was a
strong dissenting opinion.

Although Dr. Cooper was acquitted, opposition did not
cease: the sentiment was too strong and deep that his con-
nection with the college must be severed. In November
he expressed to the board willingness to resign the presi-
dency and requested that he be retained as professor of
chemistry with permission to open a law school in Columbia,
Dr. K. W. Gibbes to remain in his assistant's position. The
board agreed to the main part of his proposition. He
remained one year from the first of January as lecturer in
chemistry and mineralogy. Professor Henry, who had
offered his resignation, was prevailed on to withdraw it and
to act as president. The demands of the public were not
met, the cry of "reorganization" continued, in spite of the
complimentary language used by the board in a formal
resolution commending the performances of the graduating
class and declaring that at no time had there been more
satisfactory evidences of the care and attention of the faculty
of the college A committee of eight was appointed to inquire
into the present condition of the college, to investigate the
causes of the depressed state of the college, if such a state
was found, and to report the best means to reestablish the
interests of the institution. At the meeting of December 3
a resolution was passed asking for the resignation of the
entire faculty, and a committee of three was charged with
ascertaining whether some temporary arrangement could
not be made by which the exercises of the college could be
continued until a faculty could be elected. Dr. R. W. Gibbes
was asked to take the chair of chemistry and mineralogy
until the vacation in July, and Lewis K. Gibbes, tutor in
mathematics, was appointed to the full chair until a pro-
fessor could be elected and take charge. Tutorships were
abolished for the present; the professorships were reor-


ganized. Dr. Thomas Parks was made treasurer and
librarian. The board held another meeting on the 12th,
when they elected Professor Nott to the chair of logic and
belles lettres and filled the chairs of Political Economy and
History, Greek and Roman Literature, and Mathematics,
Mechanical Philosophy and Astronomy. With the excep-
tion of Professor Nott the appointees declined acceptance.
At a subsequent meeting the degree of LL. D. was conferred
on Dr. Cooper, and that of D. D. on Professor Henry. A
committee was appointed on the 17th to make temporary
arrangements to carry on the work of the college.

Of the recent faculty Dr. Cooper, Professor Henry, and
Professor Wallace were not reelected. Professor Henry
insisted that his resignation, which he had recalled to become
acting president, should be effective.

Dr. Cooper spent the remaining days of his life, until his
death May 11, 1839, in Columbia, engaged in a revision of
the statutes of South Carolina, of which he published five
volumes before he died. Perhaps Dr. Meriwether is correct
in his surmise that this work was given him as compensation
for the loss of the college presidency. His home was on a
hill long known as Cooper's Hill, about two miles from the
courthouse on the left of the Camden road. Dr. Cooper was
buried in the Guignard lot in Trinity churchyard. The
simple inscription records that the shaft which marks his
last resting place was "Erected by a portion of his fellow
citizens to the memory of Thomas Cooper, M. D., President
of the South Carolina College."

Professor Wallace retired to a small farm in Lexington
District, where he died February 18, 1851. His body rests
in the Koman Catholic cemetery at Columbia.

Professor Henry retired for a time to a farm near
Columbia and then entered the Branch Bank of the State of
South Carolina at Columbia as a discount clerk. In this
humble position he made a most exemplary officer and dis-
played a knowledge of banking that surprised his fellow
officers. In 1839 he again became a professor in the South
Carolina College.




From Dr. Henry's report to the board, November 26, 1834,
the substance of which has been preserved by Dr. LaBorde,
we learn that only twenty students had been left in the
college; at no period during the year had the number
exceeded fifty-two. Four had been admitted for the new
year. The prospect was gloomy. The faculty for the coming
year consisted of Professors Nott, R. W. Gibbes, Lewis R.
Gibbes, and Dr. Park, whom the committee appointed to
have the work of the college carried on had secured as an
assistant. Rev. William Capers was engaged by the same
committee to perform the duties of a professor of moral
and intellectual philosophy and the evidences of Christian-
ity from early in March until the meeting of the board in
November. There was no president, but Professor Nott was
appointed chairman of the faculty.

As the law required the election of professors at the
annual meeting in December, the board decided at the meet-
ing in June, 1835, to elect them binding itself to ratify its
action at the regular annual meeting. The trustees there-
upon proceeded to elect a professor of chemistry in the
person of Dr. William H. Ellet of New York, who had been
nominated by Dr. Cooper. This was on the 4th. On the
next day they established a professorship of the Evidences
of Christianity and Sacred Literature, the holder of which
should be the chaplain. The purpose of the foundation was
to counteract the effect of Dr. Cooper's views on religion.
Rev. William Capers was chosen for the chair but did not
accept, although he performed the duties agreed upon with
the committee until the close of the session. Reverend


Stephen Elliott of Beaufort was on the 15th of December
elected to the professorship. At the meeting on June 5
Dr. Francis Lieber was elected to the chair of History and
Political Economy; Isaac W. Stuart, to the chair of Greek
and Roman Literature; Thomas S. Twiss, to the chair of

The college opened the first Monday in October with
Professors Ellet, Twiss, Stuart and Nott present ; Dr. Lieber
arrived the next week. Professor Nott continued to act as
chairman of the faculty. In his report to the board in
November he gives the number of students as 82, of whom
55 had entered in October.

Hon. Robert W. Barnwell of Beaufort was elected presi-
dent at the annual meeting December 2, 1835. "His clear
head, his good sense, his labors, his honor, his courage, his
love of justice, these exhibited themselves most promi-
nently and furnished a broad basis for confidence." He was
supported by an exceptionally strong faculty. The college
regained its old position in the affection of the people as if
by magic and grew beyond the capacity of the old buildings,
so that new dormitories and professors' houses had to be

As early as 1808 the board had decided to enclose the
grounds with a wall. The old picture of the college in the
library represents the campus as surrounded by a close
fence, and in December, 1835, the committee on college
repairs reported that the ragged wooden fences about the
colleges had always an air of dilapidation and decay. From
certain monies on hand the committee just mentioned
decided to set by a sum for a brick wall "six feet nine inches
high and of such thickness as would insure durability." At
the time of the report the wall was in the course of con-
struction. It was the conviction of the authorities that
besides improving the appearance of the grounds the wall
would aid in maintaining better discipline.

The third double house for professors' residences, facing
the library, was erected in 1836. This was first occupied by
Reverend Stephen Elliott and Professor Lieber. President


Barn well called the attention of the trustees to the large
increase in the number of students at the close of the first
year of his administration which necessitated more dormi-
tory space. There were, he said, 142 students enrolled. An
appropriation of $25,000 was secured from the legislature,
which, supplemented by an additional fl,000, sufficed to
erect the two dormitories now known as Elliott and
Pinckney Colleges. One was ready for occupancy by the
1st of October, 1837, the other by March 1st, 1838.

At the time he had urged the dormitories President Barn-
well called attention to the need of a separate building for
the library, as the old rooms were in a sad state of dilapida-
tion and were insufficient to contain the increasing volumes.
He also urged the formation of a library that would obviate
the necessity of going abroad for library facilities: South
Carolina should have a library that would meet the wants
of scholars. His views prevailed, and from then to the end
of the old college, to be more accurate, until 1860, large
annual appropriations were made for the purchase of books.
The library building constructed after plans furnished by
the professors was completed by May, 1840, as shown by the
president's report of May 6 of that year. It was the second,
if not the first, separate building devoted to library purposes
erected by any educational institution in the United States.

With the reorganization of the college a regulation of the
board required incoming professors thereafter to deliver
inaugural addresses, which were made before the legislature
and were afterward published by the board. The practice
continued until the close of the old college and was not
revived doubtless on account of the lack of means to have
them printed.

Professor Nott resigned from the faculty in 1837, having
given notice the previous December. He and his wife were
lost on the ill-fated steamer "Home" off the coast of North
Carolina, October 13, 1837. Professor Nott could have
escaped, but he would not leave his wife and met death with
her. Profound grief was expressed throughout the State that
so brilliant a scholar and writer should be thus cut off in the


maturity of his powers. He was a skilful and captivating
teacher, a fine scholar, and displayed such ability as chair-
man of the faculty as to call forth special commendation
from the trustees. Says Dr. LaBorde, "His natural genius,
and his training were precisely such as to fit him for the
chair (Belles Lettres) to which he was appointed. He had
read and mastered all that was valuable in polite literature."
The historian regards him as deserving to be remembered
among the distinguished officers of the College.

At the meeting of December 12, 1836, application was
made to the legislature for an addition of $500 to the salaries
of the president and professors. This being granted, the
salaries were $3,000 for the president and $2,500 for the
professors, which continued to be the amount paid the
members of the faculty as long as the old college existed.

Professor Nott's chair was filled, December 6, 1837, by
Kev. James H. Thornwell, who also taught logic. He was
given the instruction in metaphysics a year and a half later ;
on the resignation of Professor Elliott, to take effect January
1, 1840, he was elected to the chair of Sacred Literature and
Christian Evidences.

With Professor Elliott began the custom of the sopho-
mores presenting to the chaplain a Bible inscribed with his
name for use in the chapel. When the chaplain left the
institution he deposited the Bible in the library. The book
used by Bishop Capers seems to have been his own. The
volume until lately on the chaplain's desk was given to the
chapel by the sophomores of 1856. According to a note on
the fly leaf it was sent to the sophomore class of Princeton
by the sophomores of 1862. The tradition is that it came
back after the war through Professor J. L. Reynolds. No
explanation has been given for the sending.

Professor Stuart, having given notice in May, 1839, left
the college with the close of the year to return to his native
state, Connecticut. Here he engaged for a time in politics
and then devoted himself to historical study. The students
loved and admired him for his scholarship and for his per-
sonal qualities.


Another beloved instructor departed in the person of the
Rev. Stephen Elliott, who resigned to become Episcopal
bishop of Georgia. Trescott, eulogizing Bishop Elliott,
dwells with peculiar delight on his life as a college pro-
fessor. One special pleasure was to take a student into the
library and talk to him about the books. To his selection
are attributed many of the elegant volumes purchased during
his connection with the college.

Dr. Robert Henry came back to the college as the successor
of Professor Thornwell in the chair of Logic, Rhetoric and
Belles Lettres. Reverend William Hooper succeeded Pro-
fessor Stuart.

At the time of the reorganization George McDuffie was
governor of South Carolina and ex-officio president of the
board of trustees. He took the liveliest interest in the affairs
of his alma mater, and his messages to the legislature con-
tain many suggestions about the college. His second mes-
sage urged the study of the history of our country, and that
no student be allowed to enter the sophomore class who
could not "stand an examination on the historical narrative,
nor the senior class, who could not stand an examination on
the political exposition." He also wished the establishment
of a chair of civil and military engineering, which would
train civil engineers for the work of the internal improve-
ment of the State and foster the military spirit and furnish
training that would spread throughout the schools to the
young of the state, so that they might be prepared, should
there ever be need. A chair of modern languages, he
declares, had been needed from the foundation of the insti-
tution. In proposing this chair he had in view an educated
merchant class to carry on trade with foreign countries
without the intervention of Northern merchants.

The laws of the college printed in 1836 contain evidences
of the great concern of the trustees over the expenditures of
students, how to avoid extravagance, and how to attain
uniformity of expenditure. A committee was appointed to
ascertain what were the necessary expenses of a student
during the collegiate year. The amount was placed at $350


exclusive of the furnishing of the room, which was, however,
a permanent outlay for the four years, and of the books
required in the course ; fifty dollars were allowed for pocket
money. Chapter X of the bylaws defines minutely the sums
needed during the session. A uniform was prescribed : "The
coat shall be of dark grey cloth, single breasted, with a
standing collar, trimmed with black braid, the skirts shall
be of moderate length with pocket flaps, and black covered
buttons; the waistcoat shall be white or black, and single
breasted with a standing collar; the pantaloons shall be of
cloth, cassimere or cassinet, of a dark grey colour, and of
the usual form." Exceptions were permitted on occasion.
The uniform, if worn at all, must not have been enforced for
a period of any length, as the next edition of the laws twelve
years afte** make no mention of regulating expenses in this
or other respects. An act of the legislature was secured in
1837 forbidding the sale of liquor to students as minors;
drinking was the cause of the greatest disorders on the
campus, and mention of liquor is frequently made in the
minutes of the faculty.

President Barnwell sent in his resignation by letter from
New York, to which place he had gone on account of his
health, to the board November 24, 1841. The election of
a successor was postponed for a year. Professor Henry
serving as president in the interim; the president's duties
in the classroom were assigned to him and to Professor
Thornwell. Professor BarnwelFs administration had been
eminently successful. There had been on the whole good
order on the campus; he was beloved by students and fac-
ulty; the college had grown and now numbered 169 with a
faculty of men whose names are illustrious. Lieber, Thorn-
well, Elliott began their careers under Barnwell.

President Barnwell retired to his plantation near Beau-
fort, where he lived in quiet. He served for a few months
in 1850 in the United States Senate on the appointment of
the governor to fill an unexpired term. During the life of
ihe Confederacy he served as senator at Richmond. After
the close of the struggle, when the college was turned into

4 H. U.


the University of South Carolina, he came back to the insti-
tution as chairman of the faculty and professor of history
and political economy.

Professor Henry was asked to act as president for the
year 1842, at the close of which he was made president.
This position he occupied for three years. Dr. Maximilian
LaBorde, the historian of the college, who was elected to
the chair of Belles Lettres and Logic at the same meeting
of the board, knew Dr. Henry and loved him, as did the
students and the other members of the faculty. Dr. LaBorde
dwells in his sketch of President Henry's administration
on his constant references to discipline, in this giving the
evidence for the criticism which he makes in the biography
of Dr. Henry that he was too sensitive and was worried by
every little disturbance almost to the point of illness. He
resigned at the end of 1845 to take the chair of Greek Litera-
ture, which had been created as separate and distinct from
Latin. Dr. Hooper continued to teach the Latin.

Tutorships were abolished after July 1, 1843. A change
in the management of the steward's hall was made in
November, 1842, whereby a bursar was elected at a salary of
$1,500, with the hope that as he would expend all monies
paid in for board on the table, except enough to provide for
his salary, thus eliminating the feature of profit, there would
be no further trouble. A vain hope, as only a short time
sufficed to show. The new system was, however, received
with great rejoicing. The president reported, November
29, 1843, six resident graduates on the campus, the first
mention of graduate study by residents. They pursued a
course of reading arranged for them by the president.
During 1844 and 1845 Professor Ellet delivered to the
seniors a series of lectures on agricultural chemistry,
especially bearing on the great staples of the State. From
the beginning of 1836 prayers in the chapel on Sunday morn-
ing had been omitted; in 1844 they were restored at the
instance of the president. The faculty was required by the
trustees to attend chapel as an example. Under the impulse
of the creation of a state temperance society, which was


headed by a distinguished alumnus, John Belton O'Neall,
the students in 1845 founded a South Carolina College
Temperance Society, and permission was given by the
trustees that the society might use one night in the year for
the delivery of an anniversary oration, a custom that existed
certainly until 1857.

When the board met November 28, 1845, the presidency
was declared vacant, and Dr. Henry was offered the newly
created chair of Greek Literature, which he accepted. The
trustees refused to allow Professor Thornwell to resign, but
accepted the resignation of Professor Hooper to take effect
January 1, 1847. Professor Hooper was made acting presi-
dent for the few days remaining in 1845; President Henry,
however, officiated at the commencement exercises. Hon.
William C. Preston, a graduate of the class of 1812, lately
United States senator, esteemed one of the greatest orators
the country has produced, was elected president from
January 1, 1846. The catalogue of the year shows 122
students, 40 less than at the close of Mr. BarnwelPs

President Preston entered on the duties of his office on
the 5th of January, 1846. The most brilliant period in the
history of the old South Carolina College now begins.
Mr. Preston's name carried the reputation of the college
throughout the entire South and attracted many young men
from all parts of that section. The catalogue for the year
1849 shows 237 young men in attendance, the largest in ante-
bellum days. It had been necessary to erect two new dormi-
tories, those now known as Harper and Legare Colleges,
the former on the site of the old steward's hall, the latter
where the science hall and old library had stood. They
were completed in 1848. Following a suggestion of the
editor of the Daily Telegraph, published in Columbia, the
present names of the buildings on the campus, DeSaussure,
Rutledge, Legare, Pinckney, Harper, and Elliott Colleges,
were this year attached to them in honor of distinguished
alumni and trustees. Rutledge was a name intimately asso-


elated with education and early efforts to found a state

Daniel Webster visited Columbia as the guest of
Mr. Preston in 1846. The students did honor to him with
a torchlight procession on the campus, serenading him at
the president's house. One of their number, James Farrow,
welcomed him on behalf of the student body. Mr. Webster
replied in a manner so indifferent that the students were
indignant at what they regarded as discourtesy after the
great preparations they had made. But the students then
as perhaps always took themselves with the greatest

Keports from boards of visitors appear for several years
beginning with the one made December 1, 1848. In the
report of 1849 it is stated that "among too many students
a rather low standard of scholarship is still acquiesced in,"
which is charged in part to the low age of entrance and
the small number of professors in proportion to the number
of students. This report strongly urged the establishment
of a chair of modern languages, the lack of which detracted
from the standing of the institution.

Professor Ellet resigned at the close of the session of
1848; his successor was Richard T. Brumby, a graduate of
the class of 1824, at the time of his election professor of
Chemistry, Geology, and Mineralogy in the University of
Alabama. Professor Ellet was one of the eminent chemists
of his day. Dr. LaBorde relates that Dr. Cooper after
visiting Dr. Ellet at his laboratory in New York in his
emphatic way pronounced himself a fool by comparison.
He was fully the equal of Dr. Cooper as a lecturer and
greatly his superior in learning. He was the first to make
a daguerreotype in this country and the first to fire a gun
by means of gun cotton in the South, if not in the United
States. For his formula for the preparation of the cotton the
legislature of South Carolina complimented him with a
service of silver. He popularized chemistry, so that his
benches were often filled with the citizens of Columbia as
well as by students. After his resignation from the South


Carolina College he returned to New York, where he died,
January 27, 1859.

Professor Brumby was more interested in geology than
his predecessor. He made great effort to increase the
geological collection and to arrange the specimens; his
catalogue is still preserved. His own large collection was
offered to the college after his departure, but was not

Profafesor Louis Aggasiz visited Columbia in March, 1850,
and lectured before the students and faculty of the college.

In December, 1846, the college lost Professors Hooper
and Twiss. Professor Hooper left to become the president
of Wake Forest College in his native state. He was a good
scholar and insisted on accurate work from his students,
which he says in a report to the trustees was not appre-
ciated by them. "I have never known a more honest and
careful teacher," says Dr. LaBorde. Professor Twiss, or
"Old Twiss", went from the college to the superintend ency
of some iron works in Spartanburg District. He was a
graduate of West Point, a master of all the mathematics
required by the curriculum, but he is best remembered as
a disciplinarian. "He arraigned more offenders than any
other two officers of the Faculty." It was a common belief
that he did not require sleep for weeks together. He was

Online LibraryEdwin L. (Edwin Luther) GreenA history of the University of South Carolina → online text (page 4 of 38)