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Title: Letter from Joseph Caldwell to Calvin Jones, September 5, 1811: Electronic Edition.
Author: Caldwell, Joseph, 1773-1835
Editor: Erika Lindemann
Funding from the State Library of North Carolina supported the electronic publication of this title.
Text transcribed by Erika Lindemann
Images scanned by Mara E. Dabrishus
Text encoded by Sarah Ficke
First Edition, 2005
Size of electronic edition: ca. 15K
Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina

No Copyright in US

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:
2005-03-15, Sarah Ficke finished TEI/XML encoding.
Part of a series:
This transcribed document is part of a digital collection, titled True and Candid Compositions: The Lives and Writings of Antebellum Students in North Carolina
written by Lindemann, Erika
Title of collection: Calvin Jones Papers (#921), Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Title of document: Letter from Joseph Caldwell to Calvin Jones, September 5, 1811
Author: Joseph Caldwell
Description: 3 pages, 4 page images
Note: Call number 921 (Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
Topics covered:
Education/UNC Student Life
Education/UNC Administration
Writings by Non-Students
Editorial practices
The text has been encoded using the recommendations for Level 5 of the TEI in Libraries Guidelines.
Transcript of the personal correspondence. Originals are in the Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Original grammar, punctuation, and spelling have been preserved.
DocSouth staff created a 600 dpi uncompressed TIFF file for each image. The TIFF images were then saved as JPEG images at 100 dpi for web access.
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Any hyphens occurring in line breaks have been removed, and the trailing part of a word has been joined to the preceding line.
Letters, words and passages marked as deleted or added in originals have been encoded accordingly.
All quotation marks, em dashes and ampersand have been transcribed as entity references.
All double right and left quotation marks are encoded as ".
All single right and left quotation marks are encoded as '.
All em dashes are encoded as —.
Indentation in lines has not been preserved.

For more information about transcription and other editorial decisions, see Dr. Erika Lindemann's explanation under the section Editorial Practices.

Document Summary

Pres. Caldwell informs trustee Jones that students involved in recent disturbances will not be reinstated and that he is preparing a narrative of the events for the newspaper.
Letter from Joseph Caldwell to Calvin Jones , September 5, 18111
Caldwell, Joseph, 1773-1835

Page 1
Chapel Hill Septr 5. 1811

Dear Sir,

I have to acknowledge your obliging letter upon the subject of our troubles here.2 The Faculty have endeavored to the best of their judgement to adapt their measures to the emergences of the times. Reconciliations and amnesties have been so often tried; and boards of Trustees have been so often called, that we were resolved if possible to make an experiment upon some plan which might prove more efficient. If this shall not succeed, we know that others have failed, and the difficulties with which we have to contend will only be more fully exhibited.

Page 2
A very submissive petition was at last sent in by the suspended students; but to restore upon such a ground, after all that has passed lately, and all that we know of this college, could not but strike us as quite nugatory.3 It might have answered for the present day; but this college is not ephemeral, or at least ought not to be, nor ought it to be conducted as if it were.
I am making out a plain account of the disturbances and proceedings of the Faculty, for the publick information. It will be so much a narrative of events, that I believe the students will not deny the verity and justice of it. It cannot be sent now. I began it on tuesday, and have been very much interrupted since. It will be

Page 3
ready for insertion in the next paper.4
Please to give my thanks to Mr McPheeters for his kind and animating letter. You have judged rightly when you supposed we stood in need of cooperation in the measures we adopted.
I would write to Mr McPheeters but am abridged of time at present. I shall probably be at Ralegh at the time he suggests.

I am Sir your's &c.

Joseph Caldwell

Envelope page


1. Calvin Jones Papers, SHC. The letter is addressed to "Doctor Calvin Jones Esquire / Ralegh"; the postage endorsement reads "Chapel Hill/6 Septr 1811} 8." To the right of the address a second hand has written "Rev. J. Caldwell /Sept. 1811."

2. The "troubles" of 1811 began when students set out to interrupt a disciplinary hearing by rolling stones down the hallway and setting off gunpowder charges. A disturbance also occurred in Steward's Hall. According to President Caldwell , students "entered in a disorderly manner, dashing the victuals everywhere, breaking some of the plates, tossing others out of the door, joining in the most boisterous vociferations, and shrewing at the servants till they were forced to leave the room" ("Account" 148). Five students were suspended. When two of them were not readmitted upon petition, protests of larger proportions followed. One end of Old East was barred, and classes were disrupted by students' throwing planks and stones. One evening after curfew, two students emerged from Old East just as a block of wood stuffed with gunpowder exploded in the inside corridor. A black boy found in a corner of one student's room said that he nearly had been shot. When the suspension of these two additional students was announced before the student body in the chapel (Person Hall), thirty-eight students, better than a third of the student body, stormed out in protest. All were suspended for six months, among them six seniors.

3. The faculty usually accepted petitions from contrite students. In this case, however, the faculty—Professors Caldwell and Andrew Rhea and Tutors William Henderson and Lewis Williams —rejected a petition for reinstatement signed by twenty-three students. The Joseph Caldwell Papers, SHC, contain a September 5, 1811, letter from Caldwell to College of New Jersey (Princeton) President Samuel S. Smith, informing him that the thirty-eight students named in the letter had been "suspended from this university the space of six months from the present date, which term will expire on the first day of March next ensuing." The faculty also directed "that notice of this proceeding in this university, together with the names of all the persons against whom it is had, be transmitted forthwith to all the Colleges within the United States." Some of the students returned to the University after their six-months' suspension and completed their degrees. Three of the six seniors obtained their diplomas a year late, in 1813.