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Title: Letter from Elisha Mitchell to Charles Manly, December 27, 1849: Electronic Edition.
Author: Mitchell, Elisha, 1793-1857
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. 15K
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:
2005-06-15, 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 Elisha Mitchell to Charles Manly, December 27, 1849
Author: E. Mitchell
Description: 4 pages, 4 page images
Note: Call number 40005 (University Archives, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
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Letter from Elisha Mitchell to Charles Manly , December 27, 1849
Mitchell, Elisha, 1793-1857

Page 1
University of NCa. Dec 27th 1849

To his Excellency
Charles Manly


Whilst the Board of Trustees of the University at their annual meeting are filling vacant professorships, creating new ones, and arranging the more important concerns of the institution there are certain things of less moment which require attention. These would probably have been brought before the Board at their late meeting but for a misapprehension on my part of what was expected of me in regard to the preparation and transmission of a paper in which they should be set forth. They are however from their nature quite as appropriate to be considered and decided upon by the Executive Committee as by a large body of Trustees who have not time or patience to deal much with details.
1. Measures have been taken during the years 1847-8 and 9 for the improvement of the grounds around the College buildings — during the first named year mainly at the expense of Gov. Swain and myself (the burthen however falling more heavily upon him than upon me) — and in the years 1848-9 there has been an appropriation of one thousand dollars annually for the promotion of these objects. The improvements extending over a large space do not make a great show at any particular spot, yet a good deal has been accomplished and the heaviest part of the work done. The giving of some grace and beauty to the approaches to the buildings and to the walks around them

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is supposed to have a good influence upon the manners of the young men and to impress strangers favorably. No formal vote upon the subject has been taken in the Faculty but my belief is that they would regard an appropriation of five hundred dollars annually for the same objects at least for a year or two as wisely made.
2. The tin roof put by Reeder upon the South Building some years since does not appear to have been made with any great degree of skill and requires present attention. The effect of heat and cold in succession upon it has been to draw out the nails put in to confine the sheets of tin to their places and leave holes through which the rain enters, injures the wood work and brings down the plastering. There are other defects and injuries at one or two points. Unless the thing is attended to, the whole covering may be expected to go rapidly to decay. I do not see that any thing better can be done than to go over the whole roof, repair it where repairs are needed and then cover it with a good coating of Smiths plumbago paint. This will make it even more sensitive to the effect of heat and cold than now, but it seems to be the only way of hindering it from being speedily and totally destroyed as when the atmosphere has access through the tin to the iron that lies beneath and that constitutes the main body of the plate it operates with great effort. The paint would cover it all over and prevent this. I find in Count Segur's history of the French expedition to Russia that the houses in Moscow before the city was burnt were many of them and perhaps most of them covered with iron without any coating of tin upon it but simply painted. It is hard to say what the expense necessary to put this roof into good condition will be as we cannot well get at it to see what

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it wants. Mr Waitt speaks of doing it for several hundred dollars, but his estimates seem to me to be extravagant.
3. The place recently left vacant by Dr Green and that occupied by the President of the Institution both need extensive repairs. On the former there is a multiplicity of buildings unnecessary to a small family — a large dwelling house, two small buildings of the nature of offices, two kitchens, Etc almost all of which are out of repair, as are also the inclosing fences. These last in all cases where the eye would not be offended by them, should be built of stone. We have plenty of the article here, and it neither burns nor rots. also if faithfully put up it is found to stand well on our soil. A part of the house occupied by the President is very old and so leaky by decay as to be hardly tenantable. It would probably require an expenditure of 12 hundred or 15 hundred dollars to put these two places in such a state of repair as to be comfortable and pleasant places of residence.
4. I might mention further as requiring attention and an outlay the upper part of the South Building within the roof including the former halls of the two Societies which are now hardly available at all for the benefit of the Institution — also the small building containing the bell which was faithfully and securely fixed under my direction some years since and appears to be firm now; but its base is so small in proportion to its height that I am apprehensive about it when ever there is a violent wind.
5. There is a tendency to encroachment on the property of the Trustees on the part of certain persons living in and about

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the village which has to be constantly visited and is carried to a considerable extent sometimes before we find it out. A man of the name of Couch obtained leave of Mr White who owns a piece of land adjoining that of the Trustees to erect a small cabin on his ground. Couch of whom I can hear no good in any quarter thought it safer though warned by some who knew of his proceedings that he was over the line and trespassing, to place his building on the ground of the the Trustees so as to be able to plunder his wood and also be close at hand to supply the students with whiskey, whores, fighting-cocks, and other articles of the kind whenever any might imagine themselves to stand in need of them. I have during the vacation taken it upon myself to forbid him to go any farther with his work and he is wrathful on that account. The whole matter wants some regulating.
I think the Executive Committee should as they have opportunity consider of the different items to which their attention is here called and if they shall see fit, give directions concerning them. The article of the improvement of the grounds in particular requires immediate care with reference to the employment of a gardener and the supplying him with the necessary aid. I shall pass this paper through the hands of Gov. Swain and Judge Battle with a view to annotations and corrections.

I am very respectfully
Your Excellencys Obednt Servant

E. Mitchell Bursar Etc.

For Gov. Manly
Chairman of the
Executive Committee

This letter has been exhibited to me since I wrote the one which you will probably receive by the same mail. I concur in the views and recommendations herein contained.