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Title: Letter from Walker Anderson to the President of the Board of Trustees, November 1834: Electronic Edition.
Author: Anderson, Walker, 1801-1857
Funding from the University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill supported the electronic publication of this title.
Text transcribed by Bari Helms
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First Edition, 2005
Size of electronic edition: ca. 25K
Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
© This work is the property of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It may be used freely by individuals for research, teaching and personal use as long as this statement of availability is included in the text
The electronic edition is a part of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill digital library, Documenting the American South.
Languages used in the text: English
Revision history:
2005-06-28, Brian Dietz finished TEI/XML encoding.
Title of collection: University of North Carolina Papers (#40005), University Archives, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Title of document: Letter from Walker Anderson to the President of the Board of Trustees, November 1834
Author: Walker Anderson
Description: 10 pages, 12 page images
Note: Call number 40005 (University Archives, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
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Letter from Walker Anderson to the President of the Board of Trustees, November 1834
Anderson, Walker, 1801-1857

Cover page

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Univ. of N.C. Nov. 1834
The defects of the present organization of our University, seem to the subscriber to be so fundamental, that in preparing to lay before the Trustees his views of its condition, he is tempted to enter more at large into the subject & to suggest more extensive alterations, that may comport with the relation in which he stands to the institution. A subordinate officer may however be permitted to suggest amendments, the adoption or rejection of which is to be determined by the better judgment of the Trustees and as the subscriber presents his views with unaffected diffidence, he will cheerfully acquiesce in the reception that awaits them of whatever nature it may be.
Though I speak of defects, it will be seen when I enter into detail, that they are not of a character to bring the smallest censure upon the gentlemen who have had charge of the institution. On the contrary, their most zealous efforts have been expended tho' unavailingly in counteracting the adverse influences to which I allude & my more intimate acquaintance with them & better opportunity of witnessing their labours have but increased the veneration & affection with which I long ago learned to regard them.
In order to brevity & distinctness I will proceed at once to speak of what seem to be defects & afterwards of their appropriate remedies, regard being had in this latter particular to the limited means of the institution.
1. The first defect to which I shall allude is radical & unfortunately too obvious to need

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any proof — it is the low standard of scholarship in the University, not perhaps as compared with other colleges, but with that estimate of good scholarship which is formed in every plain practical understanding. Our graduates in a large majority of cases carry with them from college the most slender & superficial knowledge of what has occupied them for years & in all our examinations it is difficult to find a problem in mathematics, a principle in physics or morals, or a passage in the classics simple or easy enough not to present an impossible obstacle to the candidate.
There are two causes for this mortifying state of things, so influential in their nature, as to set at defiance the most devoted labours of our faculty. One is, the general deficiency of our academies & primary schools, with the consequent defective preparation of the young men who enter our college — the other is the utter inapplicability of University discipline to the regulation of boys, of persons so young as to be insensible to every thing but coercion. The first of these causes presents us with an annual succession of materials, of which it is impossible, while under the influence of the second, to make good scholars. We may build but our labours are in vain while the foundation is unsound & we have no means of repairing the defects of elementary instruction, while we can only present moral persuasions to boys revelling in all the consciousness of perfect security from the rod. Some half dozen of the members of the lower classes are stimulated by the hope of distinction, but the multitude,

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insensible to the desire of distinction, perfectly unconscious of the value of time & opportunity, & secure in the panoply of college privileges, plod their weary way thro' the stated routine, impenetrable to all the motives we can present.
2. The second defect to which I shall allude grows in part out of the efforts made to correct the first. The subjection of young men & boys to the same kind of discipline, is almost certain to be attended with mortification to the disciplinarian & irritation and alienation on the part of the young men. The general insensibility of boys to moral sanctions — to such discipline in short as would be proper & probably successful with young men, compels the faculty to a stricter enforcement of what authority they have, than would be otherwise needed, so that from a deficiency of authority in regard to the one class & from a necessary strictness in the enforcement of what they have in the other, a failure of wholesome effect is the consequence in both cases. The young men are alienated by a discipline, of which they cannot understand the motives — while the boys soon detect its inefficiency & set at nought its requisitions.
Boys learning Latin & Greek & the elementary parts of Mathematics as is the case with our two lower classes ought to be in school under the immediate eye of the master. I am persuaded that in three cases out of four they will not otherwise apply half the required amount of labour on their lessons. Young men entering on the higher branches of the sciences if they had had thorough instruction in the elements

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might be relied on as sufficiently alive to the importance of improving their opportunities.
3. The third defect I shall mention arises out of the location of the University. This is a subject so familiar to the minds of the Trustees from recent discussion, that I shall forbear to enlarge on it, except to say that from observation I am persuaded that a village may abound with all the temptations which are supposed to be peculiarly dangerous to young men in a larger town, while it is destitute of all those countervailing influences which are furnished by the latter in the restraints imposed by the countenance of an enlightened & Christian community.
I might enter into an enumeration of other defects arising out of circumstances incident to our present organization, but I conceive it superfluous, as those already mentioned are so important, as to show the necessity of some change. I proceed then at once to the proposed remedy & beg leave respectfully to present the following views to the Board. From a consideration of the preceding statements it appears that we want — 1st More faithfully & efficient elementary & academical instruction — 2nd The subjection of boys to school discipline until they attain to years of probable discretion — 3rd A more elevated standard of scholarship, both in the languages & the Sciences — 4th That young men should be placed within reach of an improved & Christian society — & 5th That these objects be accomplished without adding materially to the expenses of the Institution.

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I propose then that the institution under the care of the Trustees be divided into two departments, the one to be called the "Collegiate Institute of N.C.," & the other "the University of N.C.," the former to be located at Chapel Hill under the charge of a Rector & three tutors & organized after the model of the High Schools of Europe & our Northern States — the pupils to be instructed in the studies that are preparatory to the present Junior class & prepared to undergo a strict examination for admission into the University upon "Latin & Greek" nothing being said of particular portions of particular authors, but the candidates required to read those languages so well as to lie ready for an examination on any classic author. The same with elementary mathematics. The discipline of this institute to be distinct from College discipline and adapted to the age of the scholars — I do not conceive it necessary to enter into detail here. My single object would be to have a preparatory school upon the very best plan & of the very highest grade.
The University proper I would have located in some town, perhaps the capital of the State would be preferable to any other, and its officers should consist of four Professors, (one of whom should be the President) namely a Professor of Mathematics & Astronomy — a Prof. of Chemistry & Nat. Philosophy — a Professor of Moral Philosophy & Pol. Economy & a Professor of Belles Lettres & Ancient Literature. There should be three classes in the University & three years be required for a complete course. Students might be received, tho' not as candidates for a degree

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who were not prepared to stand an examination on the Languages.
The four Professors should be required to give instruction not only in their particular departments, but according to some equal distribution in all the sciences belonging to a collegiate course. I think four Professors would make a complete faculty competent to the discharge of all these duties, unless it be found expedient hereafter to establish a Professorship of Law.
The Professors should be required to reside under the same roof with the students & such rules of discipline be established, as may be suitable for the advanced age of the young men — none under 18 being admitted.
It should be the object of the Professors to carry their pupils to the highest possible acquisitions in Science — this would be greatly facilitated by the high degree of preparation required of the applicants for admission & the opportunity afforded the Professors of devoting their whole time to their peculiar duties, whereas at present they not only have to begin at a low starting place, but are much impeded by a necessary attention to many anxious duties.
The details of this department need no particular enumeration any more than the other. My object would be to have a University of the highest grade, to accomplish which, I conceive some such plan as this indispensable. The half grammar school & half college we have at present can never from the nature of things attain a character essentially different from the present.

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The location of the proposed University within the influence of good society, would afford this unquestionable advantage to that class of students who need it, while the younger boys would enjoy all the advantages of seclusion if there are any.
But it may be asked supposing all these things to be desirable, is the University in circumstances to undertake a change involving the outlay of so much money!
For this inquiry I am prepared & think I shall be able to show the adaptation of the projected change to the present pecuniary condition of the University.
The present expenses of the University (estimating the Tutors' salaries as they are to be hence forward at $600) amount to the annual sum of $8560. But as the condition of the President's health requires a supernumary officer at present whose salary is $1240, this sum may be deducted from the former amount & will leave a balance of $7320 as the ordinary annual expenses of the college. The tuition fees recd from the students contribute not quite $3000 towards this amount leaving near $4500 a year to be provided for from the other means of the Institution.
We will now make a calculation of expenses under the new arrangement. The salaries of the Rector ($1200) & the 3 Tutors $600 each of the "Institute would amount to $3000," which would be discharged by the tuition fees, since the extension of the plan to the receiving of elementary students would certainly keep up the number at present belonging

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to the college, tho' the two higher classes would be removed. I apprehend however that this matter might be made certain & perhaps put upon a better footing, by giving up the proceeds of the school to the Principal under certain regulations. This method would certainly present advantages sufficient to induce instructors of the highest ability to engage in the enterprise.
The salaries of the 4 Professors then would be the only charge on the University fund & as the tuition fees from the students of the "University" would aid in its liquidation, the annual draft on the fund would scarcely amount to the $4500 now charged upon it. I would recommend indeed that each Professor receive annually $1000 and that the tuition fees ($40 per annum) be divided among them in this proportion — two fifths to the President & one fifth each to the other Professors. Thus with 40 students would make the salaries about the same as at present. The charge on the Univ. in this case would be but $4000 a year.
Thus far we see that the annual expenses of the Institution would be rather lessened than increased by the proposed change but there is one item of expense that has not yet been considered & which may seem to present a fatal obstacle. I allude to the erection of suitable buildings to accommodate the University, but I think a little reflection & calculation will remove this difficulty also. It is understood that the Trustees expect to be in receipt of a yearly sum beyond the current demands of the Institution,

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which it will be necessary to insert in some productive fund. Might not this productive fund be permanent buildings yielding rent to the amount of 6 or 7 per cent? Would not an investment of this sort effect the two fold object of providing suitable buildings for the University & an annual revenue towards the annual expenses? Room rent is required from students in all colleges & in some cases I think to the amount of $16 a year and this latter charge would make the investment I speak of, a truly advantageous one. Neither would the capital required be a large one. Such a building or our Central building here, which I presume (& I judge from an estimate made for a somewhat similar building for the Episcopal school) would not cost over $10,000, would afford 4 Lecture rooms & accommodations for 64 students, who at the rate of $16 a year room rent would pay 10 per cent on the cost. I should recommend however that a range of rooms be taken off from such a building for a Professor's house reducing the number of students accommodated to 50 & the annual rent to 8 per cent on the capital. Similar provision might be made for the other Professors as other houses were required for the students & ultimately the whole Faculty would live in close vicinity to the students — an arrangement which would doubtless in some respects be disagreeable, but which I think should be submitted to, for the general good.
Should the University upon this

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plan be patronized as much as a majority of the Colleges in the United States, it will appear upon a calculation, that it may be made to support itself & thereby relieve the Trustees of the annual burden of $4500 now resting on them. Supposing the Professors' salaries be limited to a maximum of $1500 with an additional $500 to the President, it will be seen that 120 students (no very improbable number) at the rate of $40 for tuition & $16 for room rent, will sustain the Institution independently of any other aid & the Trustees be relieved of all charges upon the property of the University.
This number of students could be accommodated, together with the four Professors in three such buildings as I have before described & thus an investment of $30,000 would in this manner meet a charge which in present circumstances consumes the interest on $75,000.
I have entered into these statements however not with a view of urging their results upon the Trustees as an argument for the changes I advocate, but merely to meet the objection arising out of the apprehended inability of the College to undertake them. I rely chiefly on the great probability that a change somewhat like the one I propose, will correct the evils under which we now labour & which nothing in my opinion short of some radical change will ever remove.


Walker Anderson

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