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Title: Board of Trustees Minutes, April 9, 1874 [Containing the Report on the Condition of the University]: Electronic Edition.
Author: University of North Carolina (1793-1962). Board of Trustees
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
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Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina

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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
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2005-07-12, Brian Dietz finished TEI/XML encoding.
Title of collection: Records of the Board of Trustees of the University of North Carolina (#40001), University Archives, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Title of document: Board of Trustees Minutes, April 9, 1874 [Containing the Report on the Condition of the University]
Author: [The Board]
Description: 13 pages, 13 page images
Note: Call number 40001 (University Archives, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
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Board of Trustees Minutes, April 9, 1874 [Containing the Report on the Condition of the University]
University of North Carolina (1793-1962). Board of Trustees

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Raleigh, North Carolina
April 9th 1874
The Board met today pursuant to the order of adjournment.


On motion of Mr. Davis, Paul C. Cameron was appointed President pro tem
A quorum being present, the journal of the proceedings of the last meeting is read and approved.
Mr. Kemp P. Battle tenders a bond as Secretary and Treasurer of the Board as follows.

North Carolina
Wake County
Know all men by these presents that the subscribers Kemp P. Battle as principal and the others as sureties are held and firmly bound in the sum of Twenty thousand dollars to the Trustees of the University of North Carolina to be paid to said Trustees, their successors and assigns. Witness their hands and seals, this 2nd March 1874.
The condition of the above obligation is such that whereas said Kemp P. Battle has been duly elected Secretary and Treasurer of the University of North Carolina, now if said Battle shall faithfully keep an account for all books, moneys, funds, assets and other property and effects which may come into his hands by virtue of his office aforesaid, and shall, in general, well and truly perform the duties of said offices as may be devolved on him, then this obligation shall be void, otherwise remaining full force and effect.

Kemp P. Battle [Scribal Seal]

Wm S. Battle [Scribal Seal]

Will. H. Battle [Scribal Seal]

R H Battle [Scribal Seal]

W. R. Cox [Scribal Seal]

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On motion the bond is approved and ordered to be deposited with the President of the Board of Trustees for safe keeping.
Mr Walter L Steele , Chairman of the Committee, appointed under the resolutions adopted at the last meeting, to visit Chapel Hill and report the condition of the property and funds of the University, made the following report.

To the Honorable William A. Graham
President of the Board of Trustees of
the University of North Carolina

At a meeting of the Board of Trustees of the University of North Carolina held in the City of Raleigh on the 18th and 19th of February last, the undersigned were appointed a committee for certain purposes set forth in the resolutions touching the property and liabilities of the Institution committed to the charge of the Board by the General Assembly of the State. In the discharge of their duty it became necessary to visit Chapel Hill, the seat of the University. Accordingly by appointment two members of the committee visited the place on Friday, the 3rd of the present month, and made such investigations as they deemed advisable, or, for reasons hereinafter set forth, were allowed to make. The other member was unable, on account of pressing business requirements, to accompany them, but had, in the mean time, inaugurated inquiries upon the subject matter of their mission, which greatly facilitated their labors. The committee remained at Chapel Hill, for parts of two days, and are greatly indebted to Mr Andrew Mickle and Dr W. P. Mallett for their hospitality and kindness, to Mr Foster Utley for courteous and valuable attention, and to Mrs Cornelia Phillips Spencer , the accomplished daughter of the late Rev Dr. James Phillips , Professor of Mathematics in the University when Ex-Governor Swain was its President, for the cordial sympathy which she manifested in the objects of their mission.
During the first day, the committee made a general inspection of the college buildings and grounds, the houses and lots formerly occupied by Governor Swain , Dr Wheat , Dr Mitchell , and other enclosed lots near the buildings which are owned by the University. Besides this, having in their possession the keys of the New West Building , they visited the Hall and Library of the Dialectic, a well known Literary Association intimately connected with the history and usefulness of the Institution.

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The condition of the furniture, carpeting, portraits, statuary and tapestry, of the Debating Hall, and of the books, articles of vertu, engravings and other valuable and rare collections of the Library was critically examined. The number of volumes found on the shelves and tables was carefully counted, and it was found that there were still on hand, and generally, in their proper places, seven thousand four hundred and ninety (7.490) volumes, in a fair state of preservation. The walls and ceiling are seriously damaged by dampness and neglect. The furniture mostly good and the carpeting and oil cloths as sound and fresh as could have been reasonably expected under the general circumstances of neglect which are painfully apparent about the entire premises. The portraits of distinguished members which adorn the walls, and which served in former years years to stimulate the zeal and ambition of the students, are well preserved, and exhibited little signs of having been affected by the causes of that general dilapidation which mournfully marks the appearance of the buildings and grounds.
On the afternoon of the day, the chairman of the committee at the suggestion and with the concurrence of his colleague who was present, (Paul C. Cameron of Orange) addressed a note to the Reverend Solomon Pool, who had been appointed President of the Institution by the Board to whose powers and duties the present Board succeeded, and whose official connection had not been formally severed by resolution or ordinance requesting the keys of the college and Philanthropic Libraries.
A copy of the note and the original of the answer accompany this report, and make a part thereof, and are as follows.

Chapel Hill, April 3, 1874

Revd Solomon Pool

President of the University

Dear Sir,

At a meeting of the Board of Trustees of the University, elected by the General Assembly of the State in pursuance of a power confered by the Amended Constitution, the undersigned and Messrs. P. C. Cameron and William L. Saunders were appointed a committee to visit Chapel Hill, examine the buildings of the University and institute inquiries into the condition of its property and liabilities. In obedience to the authority thus given, a part of said committee is here with a view of discharging the duties committed to us. Learning that you are in possession of the keys to the buildings which contain the College and Philanthropic Libraries, and desiring to inspect them so that we may be able to make such a

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report as is expected of us, I beg of you the courtesy to entrust them to me for the end indicated above. After their use they shall be promptly returned.
Knowing you to be an alumnus of the Institution and to have been for years connected with its intellectual administration, and feeling sure, for these and other reasons, that you desire to see it placed once more in the situation which it occupied when you entered its portals, I indulge the hope that you will give the committee of which I am chairman, all the facilities of information and the furtherance of our commission which you can command, and give them with that cheerfulness which should distinguish every citizen of the State who desires to see the progress of learning among our people.

Very Respectfully &c

Walter L. Steele

Chapel Hill, April 4th 1874

Hon Walter L. Steele

Dear Sir,

Your note dated April 3rd inst, in which you request me to entrust to you the keys to the buildings which contain the Philanthropic and College Libraries, in order that you may discharge certain duties committed to yourself and others by a body of gentlemen who claim to be Trustees of the University elected by the "General Assembly of the State, in pursuance of a power conferred by the amended Constitution" was not handed to me until this hour.
You will allow me to remind you that the Governor of the state , in his message to the late General Assembly, in November last, shares with other eminent lawyers in the State, a doubt as to the legality of the constitutional amentments to which you allude. He also raises the questions whether, even if the legislation upon that subject had been properly done, the General Assembly could legally continue in session after the first Monday in December 1873. I am informed also, that even such legal difficulties, as above indicated, to exist, still there is doubt as to whether the late General Assembly was authorised to elect Trustees, and that in a letter to them, W. A. Graham and others, the Governor claims it as an executive function to nominate Trustees and submit his nominations to the Senate for confirmation.

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Under these circumstances I respectfully decline to entrust the keys or other property of the University, now in my care, to you as a Trustee elected by the late General Assembly.
I suppose that it would be agreeable to you, as a graduate of the University and a member of one of the Literary Societies to visit the Halls and Libraries. It therefore affords me great pleasure to loan you the keys to the Philanthropic Hall and Libraries today for that purpose. The keys to the College Library are in the hands of James B. Mason Esqr Trustee for Orange County.

I have the honor to be
With high regard
Your obt. servant

Solomon Pool , Prest University

The attention of the Board is especially directed to these letters, in as much as the answer of Mr Pool evinces a determination to resist the authority of the Board and prevent if he and his sympathizers can, the Institution from being governed and controlled by those to whom the General Assembly has delegated its almost omnipotent power. It will, therefore, the committee believes, become imperative on the part of the Board, to take promptly, such steps as may be deemed advisable to obtain possession of the entire property and rights of the University to the end that the same may be used for the advancement of the high purposes which moved our fathers when they provided for the establishment of this once valuable but now fallen seat of learning. Those who deny the authority of the Board, who set the Legislative will at defiance, and who have the means, unfortunately for the cause of education, of delaying the resuscitation of the University by unyielding obstinacy: who failed most disastrously to maintain the Institution when committed to their keeping, and who managed so as to sink it below its proper level — in other words, who blotted out all, except its mere chartered existence, have shown that they do not mean to yield except to the potent mandate of the Courts. Whether this refusal is from a sincere desire, as they allege, of preserving lawful authority, or from a disposition to allow no one to make an effort to accomplish that which they have failed to accomplish, a determination to let the College die sooner than it shall live by other nourishment than that which they shall give, the committee will refrain from expression of an opinion.
It is to be hoped that the Board will speedily test the question of right, and if sustained in their views by the Judicial tribunals, proceed, as expeditiously as possible, to bring into practical use

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all the means at their command to impose life and vigor and usefulness into the dead body of this once honored seat of intellectual and moral culture.
It will be seen from the letter of Mr Pool , that although declining to yield the use of the keys of the Philanthropic Hall and Library to your committee as Trustees of the University he nevertheless did the committee that favor "as graduates of the Institution, and members of the Literary Societies." As to the keys of the College Library, the committee were informed that they were in possession of "James B. Mason Esqr , Trustee for Orange County." They were never surrendered by Mr Mason , although a request of him, to that effect, had been previously made through Mr Foster Utley to whom he stated he would do as might be suggested by Mr Pool . In as much as he was, with several others, present at Mr Pool's residence when the Messenger obtained the keys of the Philanthropic Hall, it is presumed that the failure to obtain them was the result of a premeditated design upon the part of Mr Pool and his associates. The committee are at a loss to conjecture the reasons why one request was granted and the other refused "to a graduate of the Institution and a member of one of the Literary Societies" unless that the condition of the College Library under the charge of "James B. Mason Esqr , Trustee for Orange County" was not fitting for the inspection of persons, who for several years were students at the University, and a still longer period its Trustees, the legality of whose appointment, no one, by refined technicalities, felt disposed to question. The committee were, therefore, obliged to leave without further view into the building which once contained one of the rarest collection of books to be found in the South, than such as a broken pane and undusted windows would allow. Even this was confined to the basement.
Highly gratified, however, with the prospect of a partial discharge of their duties, the committee made a critical examination of the Halls of the Philanthropic Society, which with its colleague, has shed luster upon the history of the State. The committee regret to say that the general condition was not equal to that of the Dialectic Society. There was evidence of more neglect to be seen. The furniture and carpetings were in much the same order, but the floors had been more carelessly attended to, the books were in greater confusion, and more of them damaged, the portrait of the late Dr Frances L. Hawks had been mutilated by the thrust of a stick or some sharp instrument, and the bust of the learned and lamented Judge Gaston had been removed. Six thousand

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nine hundred and one volumes were found. The committee learned that a number of others, belonging to both Societies, chiefly the property of the Dialectic , were scattered around at various houses in the village and elsewhere. The alcove pillars had sunk over an inch by the settling of the Library floor, leaving at the top an unsightly crack. A leak on the roof had caused water to fall on the oil cloth near the stair landing which was standing when the committee made their visit. Such was the general view which presented itself — a view by no means agreeable to the feelings or the pride of the committee.
The buildings in the College campus, eight in number, consist, first, of "Person Hall" or the "Old Chapel," 36 X 54 feet in dimensions, and one story high. It was converted into four recitation rooms many years ago. With the exception of the bricks over the door arches, the walls are in sound condition, and the roof appeared unharmed. Some damage had been done to the steps and flooring, and some of the window panes were broken. Mr Utley estimates the cost of needful repairs at $125.
The "New West" building has a size of 40 X 114 feet and is three stories in height. It contains 14 dormitories 16 X 18 feet, 2 recitation rooms 16 X 36 feet and 2 Society Halls (the Dialectic) 36 X 54 feet. The flooring in one place needs attention, many of the lights are broken, the choked water pipes have, in several places, defaced and damaged the walls. It is, in the whole, in a better state than any of the buildings which the committee had the means of examining. Mr Utley's estimate for repairs is $150.
The "Old West" has a size of 36 X 120 feet, and is three stories in height. It has 28 sleeping rooms 16 X 18 feet, with two Halls 30 X 36 feet, formerly used by the Dialectic Society, but since its removal to the "New West" not, so far as the committee knows appropriated for any purpose. This building is sadly in need of repairs. One of the large end windows, connected with and lighting the Halls, was destitute of sash, and the floors at the mercy of the rains. Not being able to enter the Halls, the committee could not ascertain their condition. The windows are all, more or less, damaged, and some entirely without sash. Many of the doors are broken, the plastering, in various places, fallen, the walls discolored by choked pipes, the lower rooms in the south end open, and with the passage, defiled by the ordure of cattle and horses. The estimate for this building is $500.
The "Old East" is of the same size in all respects as the "Old West." The north gable has been damaged by the falling of a

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tree, and a portico on the east, designed to support the walls, is in a state of ruin. One of the scuttles on the roof was open and the door displaced, leaving full access to the rain. Doors were broken, mantels fallen down, floors covered with broken plaster. One floor badly cut with an axe — all, except the outer walls, presenting a mournful aspect of neglect and ruin. In addition to this, the committee observed that in many of the fireplaces the iron supporting the arch had been removed and carried away for other uses " thus taking away the needful support, at the hazard of considerable damage. Mr Utley's estimate for repairs is $600.
The "New East" building which is of more recent construction tha[unrecovered], has a size of 40 X 116 feet, and is four stories in height. It has 22 dormitories 16 X 18 feet, 4 recitation rooms 16 X 24, and the Debating Hall and Library of the Philanthropic Society, each of which has an area of 36 X 54. The committee have already set forth, to some extent the condition of a part of this edifice. It is apparently the most illy constructed of all the buildings. Too much very inferior mortar was used, which has resulted in some places near the basement, where the water was thrown against the wall by the foul pipes, in the falling of the stucco, and the washing out of the unadhesive mortar. Here, as elsewhere, they were many broken window panes. One scuttle was open through which the rain had damaged the building. This and the "New West" were heated with pipes. The heating apparatus, in both, is in bad condition, and will need repair before they can be used in the winter months. The plastering overhead, in both, needs but little work.
The "Ball Room" or Smith Hall as it was named by the Board of Trustees, located about 120 feet south of the "Old East," and with the basement, two stories high, has a length of 122 feet and a width of 35 feet. The walls of this building are in excellent condition; but being denied the keys to the College Library, which is supposed to occupy the second floor, the committee had no means of ascertaining the condition of the roof or the state of preservation of the books. Some glass in the basement had been broken, through one of which were seen some chemical instruments. In the basement there appeared to be some lumber, the purposes of which and the propriety of the storage place for it, your committe were at a loss to conjecture. From their observations, the committee are clearly of the opinion that the special custodian of this building has paid a greater degree of attention to the preservation of some plank than he

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has to the preservation of the valuable building and Library committed to his charge. The committee learned that it was supposed that the Chemical and Philosophical apparatus, and the Cabinets of Minerals were somewhere in this building; but for reasons heretofore given, they are unable to speak with certainty. No estimate for repairs was made.
West of this, and occupying the most prominent position among the group, is the "South Building." Its dimensions are 50 X 116 feet, and is three stories high, with an attic and belfry. It has 24 dormitories 16 X 18 feet, 2 about 12 X 15, 2 recitation rooms 28 X 36, and 3 20 X 30. One of these rooms, on the second floor was open — evidently opened by a key — and some valuable instruments belonging to the Engineering Department, as well as the Philosophical, exposed to damage and removal. The opposite room on the North side, once used as a recitation for Mathematics, was locked. The committee saw, however, that the clocks were standing as they formerly did. This building needs extensive repairs to the doors, windows, and plastering. The roof is in worse condition than any of those which are covered with tin, and will need a considerable outlay to render it protective to the interior of the building. The Old Dialectic Hall on the third floor, is remarkably well preserved, especially in the overhead plastering, where the gilded name of the Society and its motto look as fresh and bright as they did more than forty years ago. On the whole, the edifice presents a sad appearance, especially to those whose memories carry them back over a space of thirty years, when Swain was President, and Mitchell , Phillips , Green , Hooper , and Fetter occupied Professor's chairs, and give the students the benefits of their learning within hallowed walls. Mr Utley's estimate is $800.
The last building, which the committee describes is "Gerard Hall," or the "New Chapel," which stands west of the "South Building" and south of the "Old West." It is 45 feet by 64, with two doors and a gallery. It is covered with shingles which are in a state of decay, having been in use for nearly or quite forty years. This roof needs immediate attention. Here too some damage has happened to the overhead plastering by defects in the covering and the sash need glazing to a considerable extent. Mr Utley's estimate, including a new roof, $375. All of the foregoing buildings are of brick, and, except Gerard Hall , covered with tin.
The estimates above are those made by Mr Utley who though a mechanic of much experience has, in the opinion of the committee, greatly underestimated the expense which it

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will be necessary to incur to place the buildings in such condition as the uses for which they were erected should require. The extent of the error cannot be stated with certainty but it is thought by the committee, some of whom have had much experience in matters of the kind, that the cost will exceed the estimate by at least one hundred per cent; especially if the work is done in a neat and substantial way, of first class materials, and the window frames, doors, seats and roofs are painted — an expense so far as a part is concerned of unavoidable necessity and unquestionable economy.
In regard to the College grounds proper, consisting of perhaps forty acres once enclosed with a stone wall, the committee beg to say that they are in a state of total neglect. Once, they were among the most lovely in the State. Now the wall has, in one or more places, been allowed to go down; the the gates are rotted or kept open, a wagon way for general uses, is located, or at least condemned, through the gate near to Dr Mitchell's former residence, passing near the South Building , and out in the direction of the cemetery; the two excellent wells are a ruin; the beautiful shrubbery has been grazed and broken down by cattle, horses, and hogs; the well-graded walks are rugged and worn; the embankments thrown up around the base of the buildings are defaced and trodden down, and the old oaks, in many places, seawed and chopped with the axes of wood poachers — all bearing unmistakeable signs of utter neglect.
There are four dwellings belonging to the University, once occupied by Professors of the Institution. Each had valuable grounds attached for lawns and gardens. These are all occupied by parties under the authority of the late Board, it is presumed. The committee entered none of them, but, viewed from the streets, the grounds and exterior appearances. The shrubbery of one or more of the gardens has been cut down, and the soil devoted to the cultivation of cotton. The walls enclosing them are somewhat dilapidated, the houses have neglected look, and the porticos and piazzas are sadly decayed. The committee learned that a floor had been partially or wholly removed from one of the out buildings and used as fencing boards. The shingle roofs of the buildings, which are all of wood, are in great need of attention. Mr Utley's estimate of the cost of repairing the whole of them is $900. The committee think it an underestimate to a considerable amount. Within the limits of the village there are eleven lots, of sizes ranging from one to eight acres in the

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occupancy of various parties, for it is understood a stipulated rent, either in money or in kind. The committee learned that some rents had been paid by the lessees, which payments are held, of course, in trust for the University. What the amount has been, the committee has been unable to ascertain, or to whom the payments, except in one case, have been made.
Under the reslution of the Board, the committee empowered Mr Andrew Mickle , a resident of Chapel Hill and a gentleman of of intelligence and character, to take charge of the buildings and grounds of the University. No rate of compensation was agreed upon. Mr Mickle has promptly entered upon the duties, and so far as he has been able, has acted to the entire satisfaction of the committee. They are happy to state that the services of so competent and reliable a man have been secured. To him the committee are indebted for much of the information which they obtained.
It is but proper to say that, in the opinion of the committee the buildings can be protected from further damage, and sufficient parts of them fully prepared for use as will probably be necessary for the accommodation of such a number of students as may be reasonably expected for several years, at a cost far less than would be required for thorough repairs. The other parts can be fully renovated as the patronage and means of the Institution shall increase.
In regard to the lands belonging to the University, the committee could obtain but little information. They had hoped to have the active and hearty cooperation of the Mr R. W. Lassiter, the former Treasurer, who had, by letter, courteously tendered his aid; but, from some cause to the committee unknown, they failed to realize their expectations. From a report made by this gentleman to the former Board dated November 19th 1872, it would appear that the University owns a large and valuable estate in lands in Buncombe, Henderson and Madison counties, and that they are in charge of Messrs. Woodfin & McLeod , attorneys residing at Asheville. Their quantity and nature are unknown. Besides these there are one or more tracts lying near and contiguous to the village of Chapel Hill, amounting to seven or eight hundred acres. A survey of them will become necessary in order to determine their extent. It has also claims of more or less strength, to valuable lands lying in Gibson, Obion and Lake counties in West Tennessee, the interest in which is under the control of attorneys in that section. The committee would further remark that the late John Calvin McNare of St. Pauls in Robeson county is understood to have devised to the University a valuable landed estate lying in that county, subject to the life of his mother who

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who is far advanced in years. When this estate is determined and the property and uses vested in the University, it will be worth several thousand dollars.
In regard to the personal assets, the committee would say that by the report of Mr Lassiter to the former Board, made November 19th 1872, it appears that the sum of $79396 in cash, was in his hands, besides bonds and other evidences of debt and Public Securities, amounting to $291.240. A part of the Public Securities are deposited in the Bank of the Republic in the City of New York, a part in the Raleigh National Bank, and a part, amounting to $36.700 are hypothecated with the Treasurer of the Board of Education to secure a loan. Some of the N.C. Bonds were issued before 1861, but the greater part of them are of that class generally known as Special tax Bonds. These bonds are the proceeds of $122.000 in cash, received from the Bank of the Republic in payment of the Land Scrip, donated by the Federal Government, which money was received by Mr Lassiter as Treasurer, and as he says, invested as above by order of the Board of Trustees. The committee are informed that the first order was that the investment should be in Securities of the United States, but that on the next day, or very soon thereafter, the said order was so altered as to leave the whole matter to the discretion of the Treasurer. Accordingly, in the exercise of that discretion, he invested a large part of said sum in securities, which he should have known bore a suspicious character, and some of the purchases were made, as the committee are informed even after the General Assembly had set upon them its seal of condemnation. Under all the circumstances it was, at best, an exceedingly unwise financial operation. From, or by whom, or under what influences the purchase was made the committee are not advised. The predecessors of the Board of which Mr. Lassiter was Treasurer had effected a sale of the Land Script at what they considered a fair price, although they knew the purchaser expected to realize a profit on the transaction. It was believed, however, from the past experience of the Board in regard to lands lying outside of the jurisdiction of their own courts, and from the peculiar condition of the University at the times of the sale, that it was wise, in all respects to make the transfer of the Script, and by that means, whilst fully and honestly carrying out the intention of the grantor, they would succeed in forcing the Institution under their control from embarrassment, and continuing it as an important instrument in the advancement of the State.

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No "speculative" intent, as was charged upon them, in a report made to the Board of Trustees by a committee, governed their action. The character of the men comprising the Board at the time the contract was made, is sufficient to repel all such aspersions upon their motives. The two transactions may make their own comparison.
The duties imposed on the committee by the Resolutions of the Board, it will be seen by reference to them, are very comprehensive, and their full discharge entirely impracticable, owing to a want of information which they had hoped to derive from the former authorities. Unfortunately they have appeared to feel no sympathy in the purposes and movements of the Board elected by the General Assembly. Almost entirely without a cooperation which was promised by certain persons who had occupied official positions from the former Board, the committee can only refer this Board to the reports of Mr Robert W. Lassiter the Treasurer, made to the meetings of the Trustees at various times from 1868 to 1872 inclusive, for information concerning the assets and liabilities of the Institution, and the application of the funds which came into his hands. Besides this Mr Kemp P. Battle , the present Treasurer, will lay before you a report, proper to his office, in which will be found a detailed statement of all the facts which have come within his knowledge, or which he has been able to obtain for the reasons herein before given. To this, a reference must be made for some of the points put in the charge of your committee.
Having endeavored to carry out the instructions which were given them the committee submit the result of their labors with an expression of the earnest hope, that they may be of some use in enabling the Board to devise the means of reestablishing the University upon such firm foundations that it may dispense the blessings of useful learning to our people so long as free institutions and constitutional liberty shall remain.
Respectfully submitted

Walter L. Steele . Chairman

Paul C. Cameron.

William L. Saunders .

The Secretary and Treasurer submitted a report which was read as follows.