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Title: Letter from F. L. Smith to Daniel M. Barringer, June 2, 1826: Electronic Edition.
Author: Smith, Franklin Lafayette, d. 1835
Editor: Erika Lindemann
Funding from the State Library of North Carolina supported the electronic publication of this title.
Text transcribed by Erika Lindemann and Todd Verdun
Images scanned by Mara E. Dabrishus
Text encoded by Brian Dietz
First Edition, 2005
Size of electronic edition: ca. 23K
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:
2005-05-13, Brian Dietz 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: Daniel Moreau Barringer Papers (#3359), Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Title of document: Letter from F. L. Smith to Daniel M. Barringer, June 2, 1826
Author: F. L. Smith
Description: 4 pages, 4 page images
Note: Call number 3359 (Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
Topics covered:
Education/UNC Curriculum
Education/UNC Faculty, Staff, and Servants
Education/UNC Student Associations
Education/UNC Student Life
Examples of Student Writing/Letters
Editorial practices
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Transcript of the personal correspondence. Originals are in the Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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For more information about transcription and other editorial decisions, see Dr. Erika Lindemann's explanation under the section Editorial Practices.

Document Summary

Smith informs former student Barringer about the election of new faculty (Profs. Nicholas Hentz and James Phillips) and updates him on Dialectic Society business, including an unsuccessful attempt to repeal "the whiskey laws."
Letter from F. L. Smith to Daniel M. Barringer , June 2, 18261
Smith, Franklin Lafayette, d. 1835

Page 1
Chapel Hill June 2nd 1826

Dear Genl 2

According to promise I have set down to inform you the result the election which took place on Tuesday last [May 30]. For the Professor of Languages the votes were unanimous for a Mr Hentz a Frenchman. and as you expected the election for the other professor terminated in favor of Philipps Five of the committee were present viz Badger, Hawkes, Nash, Polk and Haywood all of whom voted for Philips except Haywood .3 Although I have no doubt this choice was a judicious one and best suited the interests of the university—yet I almost wish it was otherways. Poor Mat . I cannot look at him, without pitying his loss of the election. His meritorious exertions had thus far allways been successful, belonging to a distinguished class and being among the most distinguished of it's members, since his entrance into the world, he has met the approbation and received the applauses of nearly all his acquaintances, being in this situation it must have been truly mortifying to his self pride (and like all other men I expect he has some) to have been cut out, yet it must be gratifying to him to know that he stood second among so many competitors for this distinguished post.

Page 2
As I expected no sooner was the senior class out of the way, than the faction in the society which has been so often the subject of our conversation, with Sutton as their head attempted a repeal of the whiskey laws (as it is usually termed)4 The resolutions were rejected in the committee but nevertheless were brought forward in the house, and supported by their author with his usual lengthy, nonsencial5 declamation, placing his principal argument on the rights of the society to enact such laws. Tom Robards made a flowery speech in opposition to the resolutions and as he had much the best side done tolerably well. Old Erasmus who had heard of the resolutions, attended that night and succeeded Robards in the opposition. Although I well knew North's powerful reasoning, yet I never recollect to have heard him speak before when he was much interested, at this time he appeared to be intensely so, he left off leaning on the desk as is usual with him and stood forth, a true and able defender of this law, he appeared to be at no loss for words, and his reasoning was so very conclusive that when the vote was taken, Sutton himself was either withheld by shame or something else and did not vote for the resolutions, and but one man in the house voted in their favor and he, you will be surprised to learn, was Crawford

Page 3
At the suggestion of Mr Manly6 I introduced a resolution on last night for the purpose of appointing a committee who in conjunction with a Philanthropic committee are to devise some means for choosing a person to deliver us an oration at our commencements.7 Both committees have been appointed and I have little doubt but the plan will succeed and think it will add considerable interest to our commencements. Since you left here I have become more and more impatient for the arrival of the time when I shall set out to the lovelest of all places—home—I have given you all the news of College with the exception of a little scuffle which took place the other morning in the Chapel between Yarbrough and Jordan about a seat. They were immediately parted and have been reprimanded before the faculty8—Ere you receive this you no doubt will have visited Charlotte and spent some happy hours with our mutual friends there. May the time soon roll round when we will again be in among our friends together and then—but perhaps I am anticipating too much and if so in the words of Webster, "I am willing to lay aside the dictates of prudence and follow the feelings of my own breast"9 Excuse my almost unintelligible hand as I had a bad pen at the beginning and there is no knife

Page 4
on the passage10 since Bob Allison has moved away—

My compliments to all
Yours &c.—

F. L. Smith


1. Daniel Moreau Barringer Papers, SHC. The letter is addressed "Mr Danl M. Barringer ./ Concord/ No Carolina." The postage endorsement reads "Chap Hill/3 Jun} 12." To the left of the address, on what would have been the inside fold of the envelope, a second hand has written "F. L. Smith /June 1826/ Chapel Hill ."Smith's letter is addressed to Barringer in Concord because Barringer already had left Chapel Hill for his senior vacation, a one-month holiday granted to graduates prior to commencement. As letters dating back to 1824 indicate, Daniel Moreau Barringer and Franklin Lafayette Smith had been friends before coming to Chapel Hill, and they continued to correspond after graduating.

2. Addressing Barringer as "Genl" is unusual; Smith's other letters to Barringer begin, "Dear Moreau ."

3. Smith names the following trustees, who comprised the Committee of Appointments: George Edmund Badger (Craven County), Francis Lister Hawks (Orange County), Frederick Nash (Orange County), William Polk (Wake County), and John Haywood, Sr. (Edgecombe County). Badger's proposal to the trustees on December 15, 1825, established the professorship of modern languages.

4. The minutes of the Dialectic Society's meeting on May 31, 1826, read as follows: "The two following were then read and rejected. 1st That the law which prohibits a member from bringing fomented spirits into his room be repealed. 2n That the law which fines a member $5 for intoxication be repealed" (Vol. 6, UA).

5. Smith wrote c on top of s.

6. Probably Matthias Evans Manly , who had been a member of the Dialectic Society, graduated with highest honors in 1824, and in 1826 was serving as a tutor of mathematics.

7. Smith's proposal was recorded in the Dialectic Society minutes of May 31, 1826: "That a comittee consisting of 3 persons be apointed who in conjunction with a committee of the Philanthropic Soc. shall devise some plan of eliciting an individual to deliver an oration to the two societies on the day of our annual commencement" (Vol. 6, UA). At the Dialectic Society meeting on June 7, 1826, the committee reported that an agreement had been reached and that the two societies would alternate selecting a speaker each year.

8. Faculty minutes for June 1, 1826, record the incident between Henry Yarborough of Hillsborough, NC, and George Ryan Jordan of Bertie County, NC. Yarborough , a member of the Dialectic Society, challenged Jordan , a Philanthropic Society member, to vacate his seat in the Chapel, using "reproachful and abusive language." The incident soon escalated into a scene of "personal violence." Because the two boys had been upstanding students prior to the outbreak, the faculty merely reprimanded them (3:66, UA). Both students graduated in 1827. Yarborough became a physician, and Jordan , a lawyer.

9. Smith may be paraphrasing the final sentence of Daniel Webster's "Speech upon the Panama Mission," delivered in the US House of Representatives in April 1826: "If it be prudence to meet their proffered civility, not with reciprocal kindness, but with coldness or with insult, I choose still to follow where natural impulse leads, and to give up that false and mistaken prudence, for the voluntary sentiments of my heart" (1:350).

10. "on the passage": on the hall, in the rooms along the corridor of the dormitory.