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Title: Excerpts from the Diary of William S. Mullins, November 23 through 25, 1840: Electronic Edition.
Author: Mullins, William Sidney, 1824-1878
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 Risa Mulligan
First Edition, 2005
Size of electronic edition: ca. 31K
Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
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:
2005-04-07, Risa Mulligan 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: William Sidney Mullins Papers (#531-z), Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Title of document: Excerpts from the Diary of William S. Mullins, November 23 through 25, 1840
Author: Mullins, William Sidney, 1824-1878
Description: 6 pages, 6 page images
Note: Call number 531-z (Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
Topics covered:
Examples of Student Writing/Diary and Notebook Excerpts
Education/UNC Curriculum
Education/UNC Student Associations
Education/UNC Student Life
Education/UNC Faculty, Staff, and Servants
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.
Page images can be viewed and compared in parallel with the text.
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

Mullins' diary describes two days during examination week, which included examinations in natural philosophy, logic, and calculus as well as several orations by seniors.
Excerpts from the Diary of William S. Mullins , November 23 through 25, 18401
Mullins, William Sidney, 1824-1878

Page 1

November. 23. Monday.
Examination week has arrived again and has brought all its usual indescribable occupations, feelings, and troubles. A faithful sketch of the weeks history would be invaluable, and if I am destined to complete my Collegiate course, I will give one of a succeeding examination. At present however a rude sketch of the principal events, is the "height of my ambition". I commenced by deputing Gov. Holmes to supply my place in the Chapel at morning prayers, I myself preferring to enjoy the luxurious embrace of the warm bed. Most willingly would I have continued his authority, and made him my deputy at the breakfast table: but my offended stomach gave sundry growls, which plainly indicated that my pursuit of such a course would be at my own imminent peril. Reluctantly, therefore, but speedily, I arose, and induing my garments with all practicable haste, I described a course to Miss. Nancy,s, 2 which, not slow at first, was continually accelerated. And—oh horrible dictu! after all my suffering, I did not get a good breakfast.

Page 2
We were examined this morning in the Junior Recitation Room on Natural Philosophy by Prof. Phillips , and (contrary to his expectations expressed a few days ago in a very scurrilous speech to the Class) stood a very fine examination. The class indeed did itself distinquished credit and recited very well. The hour to dinner, to I employed in writing a letter to James W. Cade, and had I time, I should enter extracts here; a sufficient remark is that I reciprocated his desire to meet, and expressed warmly my friendship for him. After dinner we were examined on Logick by Prof. [William] Green , and that in separate divisions, though we have recited together all the session. The recitation was much better than I expected, and showed that the class had a much more thorough knowledge with Logic than I had supposed. At night I attended a wine party at Tompkin,s room, where he had abundance of fine Madeira and possum. Spaight , Bunch , L. Dancy , and yellowley were present, and J. Summerell . I enjoyed myself very much and shall long recollect it: perhaps for ever, as I deem it more than probable that I shall never meet the two first in a social party again.
"The last tie is broken
That bound us together."

Page 3

November. 24. Tuesday.
We were examined on calculus this morning, and as was to be expected, did not stand a very excellent examination. Indeed it would have been miraculous if such had been the case, and the circumstances considered, we acquitted ourselves with credit. But I cannot pass the recitation without bestowing a slight notice on Prof. [James] Phillips . I have not usually expressed my opinions of him, because it is so customary to censure him, that I feared I was only borne away by the stream and would only leave here traces of youthful folly. But I cannot forbear stating that his conduct in the Room was that of a malignant scoundrel. Such specimens of open bare-faced, rudeness, barbarousness, and [mal]ignity, I have never seen exhibited by a man occupying a respectable station in Society. I have sometimes been his apologist: but the scene of to day has left deep in my mind the impression of his perfect contemptibility, and I henceforth deem no revilings too severe.
The hour between Recitation and dinner I employed in listening to the Musicians of the Evening, while they practised for the afternoon ceremonies.

Page 4
After a good smoke to settle my dinner, I repaired to the Chapel about quarter past two.3 The Gov. [David Swain] in commencing the exercises, complimented the students on their preserving better order, than he had previously seen during his Presidency of the Institution. The Speakers were as follows:–4
    Oration on Modern Literature. By Robert Burton of Lincoln.
    Oration on the American Navy. By Wm. W. Green, of Goshen, Vir.
    Oration on An International Copy Right Law. By John C. Williams, of Cumberland.
    Oration on the Connection of Mathematics with Civilization. By Thos. B. Wetmore of Fayetteville
    Oration on Monasteries. By Robert D. Di[ckson] of Wilmington.
    Oration on the Abolishment of Capital Punishment. By Angus R. Kelly, of Moore.
    Oration on the Consequences of the Reformation. By Thomas Ruffin, of Franklin.
    Oration on the Incompatability5 of Intolerance with National Prosperity. By Jesse G. Shepard, of Cumberland.
After supper I got tight, sick with oysters, and slept with Battle until nearly twelve, when I came over to my room, and went to bed

Page 5

November. 25. Wednesday.
Thank Heaven our duties are over and I have nothing more to do. This morning we were examined on French and Latin by Prof. [De Berniere] Hooper , and thus ended the recitations of the first session of the Junior Year of 1840-41. The class stood very well and the Professor hastened us as much as the dull and inert spirit which actuates his conduct could be induced to permit. The Band practised from twelve to one, as yesterday, in Wetmore,s room, and I very contentedly sate and listened to them, as I had no occupation of a more agreeable nature. After dinner I attended the Senior Speaking, as a matter of course, and there heard the following speeches.
    Oration on the Career of Mehemet Ali . By Charles Phillips of Chapel Hill.
    Oration on the Life and Character of Nathaniel Macon. By John Sol. Dancy of Tarboro.
    Oration on the Impropriety of the present system of Conferring Collegiate Honours. By L. Lafayette Dancy .
    Oration De Omnibus Rebus et Quibusdem Aliis. By James A. Delk of Clarksville Va.
    Oration on the Propriety of Rewarding Merit. By Atlas O. Harrison of Raleigh.
    Oration on the Intimate Connexion between Law and Happiness. By Hector McAlister , of Cumberland.
    Dissertation on the Association of Ideas. By Sam,l H. Walkup , of Mecklenburg.
    Oration on Boyology, alias, The Impropriety of sending Boys to College.6
There were several circumstances connected with the Speaking, extremely disgraceful to certain of the Students. Immediately before Harrison spoke about thirty Dis rose and left the Chapel, intending to daunt him. The reason of this was that they had a private dislike to the individual. The same was repeated when McAlister was to speak, with the additional aggravating circumstance, that some who remained endeavored to annoy the speaker by laughing and disturbances.7 Indeed to such a pitch did the disorders proceed, that the Governor was compelled to interrupt the speaker and make some remarks on the rudeness of such conduct. Nor was it even stopped by this check and I am sorry to say that a few Philanthropic Members were found to participate in the disgraceful and contemptible conduct. They are those too, who would be thought Exclusives!!!8


1. William Sidney Mullins Papers, SHC. The diary is a leather-bound volume measuring 4 3/4 by 7 3/4 inches. Entries begin on October 17, 1840, and end on March 15, 1841. A second volume bound in cardboard and measuring six by eight inches contains entries from June 1, 1841, to October 1, 1841. The diaries comment on the daily lives of students, Mullins' reading, and his activities as a member of the Philanthropic Society and a smaller "Junior Phi Club" that meets regularly to conduct debates.

2. Mullins consistently placed apostrophes on the line, not above it.

3. Mullins wrote two on top of several unrecovered characters.

4. Mullins describes the fall semester's senior speakers and lists their speech topics. The Class of 1841 numbered forty-three students.

5. Mullins wrote the second a on top of i.

6. Mullins does not identify the student who composed this speech, known as "a funny."

7. What makes this disturbance unusual is that Harrison and McAlister were members of the Dialectic Society. Society solidarity and support for fellow members appears to have yielded to personal animosity toward two fellow Di speakers.

8. Mullins evidently went home to Fayetteville for the Christmas vacation shortly after writing this entry. He resumed his diary on January 8, 1841. Although he heard sixteen orations on November 24 and 25, an additional twenty-seven students presumably gave their senior orations before the end of November.