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Title: Address of Iveson L. Brookes to the Dialectic Society, September 1818: Electronic Edition.
Author: Brookes, Iveson Lewis
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. 25K
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:
2005-10-20, Brian Dietz finished TEI/XML encoding.
Title of collection: Records of the Dialectic Society (#40152), University Archives, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Title of document: Address of Iveson L. Brookes to the Dialectic Society, September 1818
Author: Iveson L. Brookes
Description: 9 pages, 9 page images
Note: Call number 40152 (University Archives, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
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Address of Iveson L. Brookes to the Dialectic Society, September 1818
Brookes, Iveson Lewis

Page 1

Fellow Members,

Having been honored with the choice of your suffrages, imperious duty bids us in obedience to the dictates of our Constitution enter upon the discharge of an office whose functions require the exercise of genius in the difficult art of governing. It is with much diffidence that I approach the post of highest elevation in this enlightened Society and assume a seat whose respectability is estimated according to the honor of the body above which it is elevated and whose dignity should be enhanced by the character and conduct of him who occupies it. I can only promise that in my administration of this responsible office's arduous duties which can meet a recompence only in the honor it confers shall be conducted according to my best ability; and can only hope that the inexperience of my age if not the imbecility of my youth will amply apologise for my errors. The field from which the materials are to be selected for composing an address to be delivered from this chair has often been unsparingly gleaned and much of the time allotted us to write more having been necessarily devoted to preparation for the public stage. It need not be expected that my present communication will be fraught with much new matter calculated to afford entertainment or impart instruction. It shall by my object however to set before you the general importance of education & the particular excellence of our collegiate and social duties, including in my remarks some motives calculated to stimulate your application to literary pursuits and excite your attention to regular decorum as students of college and as members of this Society.
When man has attained to a state varying toward maturity of mind and body he is perhaps not improperly stiled the sovereign of the animal world. It is then his wisdom commands obeysance from the rest of the animals and renders surrounding nature subservient to his purposes. It is then

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his inventive genius secures his dominion and his acquired majesty bespeaks his acknowledged sovereignty. But is not like a series of years has added strength to his body that his approach affrights the ferocious beast of the forest nor till a course of education has matured, his reason polished his manners and robed his mind in a mantle of wisdom that his countenance is truly majestic or his appearance indicative of power and dominion, for on man's regress into the world his situation both as to body & mind would seem of all creatures the least characteristic of the prowess which he is destined to wield. When we contemplate the animal creation in their infantile state man's progress appears indeed to wear a gloomy aspect; for the young brute surpassing him in strength and knowledge would seem to claim the title to dominion and bid fair to bear the scepter. In almost all the species of the brute creation the young shortly after its birth is possessed of strength and agility which enable it to act in self defence or procure its escape from danger. It is furnished by nature with restrictive knowledge which immediately points it to the fountain of sustenance afforded by the mother or which directs it to browz on the herbage of the field or to seek its prey in the forest according to the nature of its species. But infantile man completely helpless and utterly insensible of his wants presents a spectacle which demands the fury of the spectator and implores the mercy of all surrounding creations.
He has neither strength to seek his own food nor knowledge to direct his choice. The tenderest care of the cautious, provident, and affectionate nurse is required to guard his defenceless state. The wisdom of the adult must select and the munificent hand of the experienced must administer the nourishment suitable to sustain life and impart strength. A few months completes the growth of the brute and confers its full portion of bodily strength and its knowledge is parallel with its existence

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and appears in its highest perfection at an early period of life. But a tedious course of years is required to increase the human body to its purposed bulk and impart to it its destined strength while the mind as a blank capable of receiving impressions is to be furnished with knowledge by the exertions of the possession and may be comparable to the field rich in soil but not prolific in production without proper cultivation. When the human mind is capable of continual improvement without ever arriving at perfection. Bountiful nature furnishes the brutes with their full scope of knowledge without self exertion and spreads before them in lavish abundance the provisions for their subsistence of which they partake as well and are satisfied. But in the human species as provident Nature supplies the source from which the bodily support is to be derived but leave the preparation of the materials to be affected by the sweat of the brow so sovereign nature furnished the faculties which constitute the foundation of the mind upon which the superstructure of knowledge is to be reared but the cultivation necessary to mature the mind is not less the effect of personal effort and laborious application to study than the collection & preparation of the materials for bodily subsistence are the fruits of labor and the rewards of industry. The draught of these remarks presents to our view on the one hand the general utility of education as the prolific source whence the faculties of the mind derive that strength and polish which render the human species superior to the brute creation and which discriminate between the untaught savage & the enlightened citizen. On the other hand the necessity of preserving application as indispensable to the acquisition of that knowledge which qualifies a man to occupy a seat of eminence or fill a station of usefulness in the world.
We will now advert to the system of education prescribed by the patrons of this Institution (College) and make a few observations on the several branches of College studies and the

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exercises of this Society which jointly constitute the source of our literary improvement.
This college was not erected for the benefit of the infantile state nor does the prescribed system include the first rudiments of knowledge. It was designed to benefit youth who no longer need the fostering care of the infant's nurse and whose minds having already recovered the first principles of education are now to be expanded and reared to maturity by the higher refinements of scientific knowledge. As the child must be taught to crawl before it can walk and to walk before it can run, as the body is slow in its growth and must be imuned to hardship by degrees before it can sustain the effects of fatigue or undergo laborious exercise; so the mind in its progress to the temple of Science must rise from lower to higher grades; must first engage in studies adapted to its comprehension and which will enlarge its powers and fit its capacity for the acquisition of the more difficult branches. Hence in our collegiate course the study of the dead languages, Geography, & Arithmetic conducts us to the study of the Mathematics and that introduces us to the study of Philosophy and Rhetoric which completes the course by including English Grammar. But the objections urged against some of these branches are neither few nor inconsiderable. To efface the effects of calumny and unjust aspersion which have been thrown upon the study of the Languages or to remove the deep rooted prejudices excited in the minds of some against this branch of study would afford exercise to the pen of a superior genius and require a separate essay. It falls under my province only to say that the knowledge of the Latin and Greek Languages is indispensable to a thorough knowledge of our own in as much as the English Language has derived many of its words and the grand principles of its government from those Languages. Since also it is by comparing one language with another that we can attain to accuracy in any we may infer that the utility of the dead languages in this point is sufficient to render them worthy of attention.

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The nature of this study too gives it a just title to the first link in a regular course of Education. For it is calculated to train the young mind and impart to it that strength which will enable it to dive with the more facility into the abstruse rigors of Science. If then you would be able to acquire a knowledge of Mathematics with ease if in short you would be called accurate scholars you who are in the first classes of College are advised to pay diligent attention to the study of the Languages. The practical use of Arithmetic and Geography gives them unexceptional sanction and demands strict attention. But the noble study of Mathematics is far from meeting universal approbation. It is objected to some branches of this study that they lead the mind into a habit of dull formality and take from the orator much of the force and vehemence of natural eloquence while they afford little or no assistance in any practical business in life. But if the study of Mathematics does in a measure restrain that wildfire in the orator which plays upon passions, it perhaps makes more than double compensation by introducing systematic connection in the discourse of the speaker which gives strength to the memory and information to the judgment of the audience. Altho it is true that many of the algebraic operations and mathematical demonstrations will never come into actual use or absolutely necessary to the performance of any discipline or mechanical business or to the discharge of any professional or official duty yet these studies are of high importance, and are well calculated to impart strength and discipline to the mind. They afford mutual exercise to all the mental faculties by calling into exertion at the same time the memory, the judgment, and the powers of reason. Hence the great utility of the mathematics consists in its tendency to give that equilibrium to the powers of the mind which enables us to reason truly, judge accurately, and decide correctly upon such subjects as fall under our investigation. Then you who are members of the Junior class

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are exhorted to diligence under the assurance that you will reap the reward of your application. The studies of the Senior class are perhaps universally acknowledged to be of unexceptionable importance. By Natural Philosophy we are enabled to trace effects to their causes, to see the process of natural events, and to behold with satisfaction and delight the order and harmony of the Universe. By Moral Philosophy we are instructed in the nature and principles of civil policy and moral duty. By Rhetoric and Logic we are taught the structure of language, perspicuity of arrangements and elegance of stile in composition, and beauty and force of eloquence in public speaking. It is perhaps needless to mention that English Grammar is one of the most important and useful studies in the whole course of education and altho it is included in the studies of each class it is too much neglected in all.
Your attention has been particularly called to the studies of College and their important use presented to you for two reasons; first, because these studies constitute the principal source of improvement which is strengthens the mind and prepares it for usefulness in the world and for the acquisition of which we are especially sent to this Institution; secondly because I do not recollect to have heard them adverted to particularly in any former address from the chair while the duties of Society have been continually reiterated and their utility exhibited in the most suitable manner to enforce attention to them. But I would by no means be understood to value the advantages of the Dialectic Society at a low price. They are of great importance and merit due attention. The studies of College are of primary utility as they constitute the theory of education and lay the great foundation for business in life. But the exercises of Society are of secondary importance because they put that theory in practical operation as it were by exercising us upon the principal points on which we shall be called to act, and thus embolden and qualify

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us for the more successful discharge of our duties in life or the more expeditious performance of active business in the world. Composing, speaking, and debating are all productive of great improvement when properly regarded. As to composition and speaking: I would here only observe that to compose well it will not be amiss to attend to the directions of Horace who condemns the writer that composes much in little time and directs "Vertere stylum" by which is intimated the necessity of time & frames in arranging the subject on which we write and on selecting appropriate words to express our ideas with force, precision, or elegance; and to speak well due regard should be paid to the proper selection of speeches and suitable attention paid to the dictates of natural impulse which impress us with the sense of the subject and prompt us to speak with vehemence. Debating is a source of great improvement in itself and should be more especially prized and attended to by us because we can enjoy it only only in this hall. I would not in general recommend writing and memorizing debates. But I would have you study your subjects of debate maturely, seek suitable information on the question, make yourselves acquainted with its principles; and when called upon in the debate enter into the merits of the discussion with becoming zeal and animation. To engage in a regular course of reading during a collegiate course is not perhaps to be recommended, as the small knowledge of history which could be acquired in the intervals of time that could be devoted to reading without neglecting the studies of college or exercises of Society would make but a partial impression on the mind. This remark should not however be understood to exclude due attention to useful essays on the opinions of good authors on various subjects of common information especially such as may have connection with our social exercises or as may assist us in writing compositions or preparing debates.

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Having set before you the general importance of education in the foregoing part of my address and dwelt considerably on the particular excellence of the College studies and the great advantages to be derived from the duties of Society permit me now to close with a few remarks on the necessity of orderly conduct including some further motives to application. Fellow members, it is evident that our Society must cease to flourish within so soon as its laws cease to be obeyed or its Constitution to be observed; its reputation must sink without so soon as its members cease to display an active zeal for its prosperity or to maintain an upright character and dignified conduct. Since then the reputation of the Dialectic Society must necessarily rise or fall with that of its members I would take occasion not only to enforce the necessity of obedience to the law of Society and the utility of regular conduct within its walls, but would likewise recommend in the strongest terms the strict observance of the laws of College and due attention to your general deportment as students.
Youth is the season in which the mind is tender and susceptible of impressions. It is then it must be replenished with the treasures of useful knowledge which are to expand and strengthen it. It is then the mind is to acquire habits and imbibe principles which are to accompany it through life. Hence the deportment that is fraught with habits of industry and sobriety; that is characterized by a manly dignity and moral conduct, ever obtains present reputation bespeaks future usefulness in life and strikingly points to the acquisition of earthly fame & greatness. The human mind is ever active and is necessarily employed in the performance of good actions or engaged in the invention of mischievous stratagems. Hence idleness has never

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failed to generate evil habits which lessen reputation or lead to ruin. Idle habits and mischievous intrigues may satisfy the ambitions are amuse the disposition of the little minds; but cannot add to its stature or redound to its benefit. The bursting of trees and exploding of moles may incur the censure of faculty and justly expose the student to the contempts of the public, but such conduct cannot presage a rise to future greatness, nor impart a solitary way of useful knowledge to any benighted corner of the mind. Finally, would you acquire . . . . . reputation . . . . . illegible . . . . .You must maintain a dignified conduct within and without its walls. Would fulfill the anxious hopes of your parents and guardians in your youthful days and be enabled in advanced age to take a retrospect of your past life with conscious peace you should now improve your talents and spend your time and opportunity to pompose. Would you answer the high expectations of your country as be useful to your species, you should profit by the advantages you now enjoy and replenish your minds with a fund of Scientific knowledge which will exalt your characters and shed a brilliant light around you

Iveson L. Brookes

September 1818