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Title: Letter from Charles Phillips and Benjamin Sherwood Hedrick to David L. Swain, October 13, 1853: Electronic Edition.
Author: Phillips, Charles, 1822-1889
Author: Hedrick, Benjamin Sherwood, 1827-1886
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. 17K
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:
2005-07-01, 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 Charles Phillips and Benjamin Sherwood Hedrick to David L. Swain, October 13, 1853
Author: Charles Phillips
Author: B. S. Hedrick
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 Charles Phillips and Benjamin Sherwood Hedrick to David L. Swain , October 13, 1853
Phillips, Charles, 1822-1889
Hedrick, Benjamin Sherwood, 1827-1886

Page 1
Cambridge, Mass.
Oct. 13.h 1853

Dear Sir

Circumstances, of which you are well aware, have hitherto prevented us from making formal suggestions respecting the precise aims and methods to be pursued in the "School for the application of Science to the Arts," which the Trustees have committed to our care. The name of this school you will notice to be a very vague one, in one sense comprehending the whole area of man's knowledge in this world. It is hardly to be expected that teachers as young, ignorant and inexperienced as we are now should attempt at first to realize to the Trustees or to the public the fulness of their intentions in establishing this school. We therefore make the following suggestions as to what we deem attainable and necessary for a beginning to our labours, hoping that time and extended observation may develop new objects and methods of instruction.
Civil Engineering, although in practice it requires more or less acquaintance with all that man can know of the material world around him, yet has certain definite, indispensable acquisitions, which experience seems to dictate as attainable in only one way. We therefore propose that the course in this department be as follows. The pupils shall be required to possess a competent knowledge of Arithmetic, Algebra, Geometry, & Trigonometry. With us they shall be instructed in, descriptive Geometry and its applications in determining, the rules for shades, shadows, perspective and the representations of Machinery, Field works &c — Analytical Geometry, and the Calculus. To these severer studies shall be joined instruction in drawing, mechanical and landscape, the use of instruments in field work and the making of plans and necessary calculations

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in order to make the instructions as practical as the time of the teacher will permit. Then will follow a course on Mechanics, theoretical and applied , which will be supplemented by a course of reading and teaching on many important points for practice, such as canals, rivers, bridges, roads of all kinds, &c, machinery, carpentry, &c, &c.
The text books to be used we would take from the set used at West Point, the most successful engineering School in our country, and have them faithfully taught in daily recitations. Doubtless the teacher will find many occasions to add from other stores what he thinks deficient in these books, and occasional lectures may supply what they do not profess to communicate.
The apparatus peculiar to this school, necessary for the present and additional to what the College already has, will be a Theodolite & Compass Plates to be copied in drawing, drawing stands and boards, costing perhaps, five hundred dollars. We suggest only what is indispensable at first, expecting that gradually from various sources, our means of instruction by instruments, models and pictures may be very ample. The pupils will be expected to provide themselves with drawing instruments and material, costing on an average twenty dollars.
It will be seen that we do not now offer to teach Natural Philosophy as in general it is understood. Engineering strictly teaches us how to control the forces of Nature, not how to obtain them. Our pupils should be acquainted with Electricity, Magnetism, Optics &c, but we, as others do, must refer them for information on these important subjects to the Academic course of the University. Nor have we time or ability now to teach practical Astronomy, besides we have no Observatory and hence may be relieved from considering it at present.
As to the department of Analytical and Agricultural Chemistry, we would suggest that for admission to its teachings, pupils be required to possess a general elementary knowledge of the objects and subjects of Chemistry, such as may be obtained from some one of the many good books now published, or better still such

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may be obtained from the Chemical course of our Colleges. So prepared the pupil shall be allowed the use of instruments of the Analytical Laboratory, and under the immediate inspection of the Professor be taught fully the various methods of analysis both qualitative and quantitative. In this course of instruction there will be but little room for lecture. A part of the course of instruction will be common to all pupils in Chemistry whatever be their professional aims. After this has been gone over according to the wants of each pupil he shall special instruction, whether it relate to Agriculture, mineralogy, metallurgy, pharmacy, manufactures, the investigations of the Custom House, or physiology. To this course of manipulations it is proposed to add a course of lectures on Agricultural Chemistry as modified by our own climate and soil, and to this end the professor in this department hopes ere long to fully acquaint himself with the peculiar wants and capabilities of N. Carolina and the other Southern states. Other lectures may be given as our necessities indicate.
The apparatus necessary for the commencement of our labours will as far as we can learn cost from seven to eight hundred dollars. The most costly article will be a furnace contrived to furnish a sand bath, evaporating chamber, hot and distilled water. Prof. Norton contrived one for Yale College which is generally thought to answer every purpose and we understand that it will cost about three hundred dollars. Balances will require about one hundred dollars. Chemicals, Retorts, bottles, lamps, and fixtures will in all probability consume the rest of the $7 or 800 for a beginning. The Prof. in this department would like to know what is the sum he will be allowed to spend on his laboratory. It will be altogether the cheapest to import Chemicals, glass, & porcelain ware, & many of his instruments, as they are admitted duty free when intended for literary & Scientific institutions. This is the common practice of the Institutions in this part of the country, and it is of importance to have these things at the beginning of our instructions. These remarks will apply but not so forcibly to the procuring instruments for use in Engineering.

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As to the fees to be required of the pupils, we would leave them to be settled by the wisdom of others. At Harvard the fees for the whole course on Engineering amounts to $100.00, at Yale to $90.00, pr. annum. For Chemistry, to $200.00 at this place, at Yale to $175.00. Then partial course pupils pay smaller fees according to what they study. At Brown University the fees are much less, being modified by the peculiar relations between the scientific & general students. Brown University is professedly a College for the poorer, middling classes of Society. As to the time to be occupied, similar institutions hereabouts agree in requiring two and a half or three years for the full attainment of their benefits, nor do we see now how less time than this can be required. Of course it will be abridged by the advanced standing of a pupil at his entrance on professional education. We would also propose that the Scientific Students be subjected to the wholesome oversight and discipline of the University, as are the Academic students, their names being on the College role, they being required to attend prayers &c, absences being recorded and stated reports being made. In this we would imitate Brown and not either Harvard or Yale.
These necessarily crude and imperfect suggestions we would make to you and our brethren of the Faculty, to excite attention and discussion, hoping to receive in return your own suggestions and decisions. Many points of importance and interest we have not touched. For instance, to what extent unscientific, empirical students shall be encouraged to apply for instruction & improvement. Brown University is the only school that invites them, in this country. Were teachers abundant they might be provided for. Also in what points the professional shall osculate the Academic course, to what extent elections shall be offered the Academic students, and at what periods of their own course, and upon what terms the professional Students may avail themselves of the Academic departments, also when our services may be of use to the general system, it seems to us should be settled by those who have so long and so ably presided over our University and to whom we are so deeply indebted for present positions.
Hoping to hear from you soon and at full length we are —

Yours respectfully,

Charles Phillips

B. S. Hedrick