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Title: Letter from Robert Donaldson to David L. Swain, November 10, 1843: Electronic Edition.
Author: Donaldson, Robert, Jr., 1800-1872
Funding from the University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill supported the electronic publication of this title.
Text transcribed by Bari Helms
Images scanned by Bari Helms
Text encoded by Brian Dietz
First Edition, 2005
Size of electronic edition: ca. 12K
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:
2005-06-27, 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 Robert Donaldson to David L. Swain, November 10, 1843
Author: Robert Donaldson
Description: 3 pages, 4 page images
Note: Call number 40005 (University Archives, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
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Letter from Robert Donaldson to David L. Swain , November 10, 1843
Donaldson, Robert, Jr., 1800-1872

Page 1
Blithewood — near Red Hook
Nov. 10th 1843

Gov. Swain
Dear Sir,

I have the pleasure to acknowledge your favor of the 17th ulti., and to say in reply that I will very cheerfully co-operate in carrying out the Resolution of the Trustees of the University for improving the College grounds &c &c. The examination of their Plans would of itself be a source of pleasure & interest to me — and I consider it too only a filial duty to assist in giving some outward attractions to my Alma Mater.
I have consulted an Arch. Mr. A. J. Davis , with whom I have long time acquainted, about the Halls for the two Societies. He is thoroughly acquainted with his business — can give designs for exteriors & also for interior arrangements for Libraries & Busts & Works of Art — for Gates &c &c. In fact, there might be too much temptation held out by his futile inventions & suggestions. He will either furnish a design — with working drawings & ample specifications for the proper execution of the work for $800 — or superintend the execution for 5 percent on the cost. If the funds ($400 for each) can be relied on, they are sufficient and I

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recommend, as by far the best way, that he should visit Chapel Hill at once to confer with you & the young gentlemen of the Societies. He told me that for $100 to cover the expenses of the journey he would go on in Dec. Let me hear from you in reply as soon as possible.
For the improvement of the Campus & College grounds, & particularly for perfecting a Botanic Garden, I have no hesitation in recommending Mr. Downing of Newburgh. In a letter just received from him, he mentions that he is at present much occupied in preparing some of his works for the Press, but that he may be able to visit you next month, or during the Winter. He has been lately supplying the Botanic Garden of Cambridge with trees & plants, and is perfectly impatient to direct all upon contemplated improvements. What amount can be annually relied on to keep in order the grounds & sustain the Botanic Garden?
The treatment of the Campus is comparatively a simple business — viz. to trim & cut out failing trees, to manure, by top dressing, the ground & get into grass (blue grass) — to plant out or exclude the sight of the rears of the lots & out houses which

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adjoin the Campus, by planting a belt of trees & shrubs " Willows, thorns, locusts, &c &c — a handsome gate or two — for approach on Public occupies & the roads to be graded & graveled & the superficial water carried off by sub-drains, made by digging trenches 2½ feet deep & wide & filling them with small stones. But I am most anxious to see a Botanic Garden well perfected — with room for a little experimental farming & a depot for models of Agricultural machines & implements to save seeds. To insure the students with a love of such things & to give them some knowledge of agriculture, upon which a large portion of them eventually fall back for the means of support, when other things fail. What an instructive & delightful appendage — such things would be to the College which is so much in want of decorative objects.
I should think a fund of $2000 a year would accomplish all this. My paper forces me to cut this communication short, & I regret that I cannot confer personally with you.
Let me hear from you in reply to my enquiries soon.

Yours very truly,

Robert Donaldson

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