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Title: Letter from Charles Harris to Dr. Charles Harris, April 10, 1795: Electronic Edition.
Author: Harris, Charles Wilson, 1771-1804
Funding from the University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill supported the electronic publication of this title.
Text transcribed by Sarah Ficke
Images scanned by Bari Helms
Text encoded by Sarah Ficke
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:
2005-08-08, Sarah Ficke finished TEI/XML encoding.
Title of collection: Charles Wilson Harris Letters (#315), Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Title of document: Letter from Charles Harris to Dr. Charles Harris, April 10, 1795
Author: Chas. W. Harris
Description: 7 pages, 7 page images
Note: Call number 315 (Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
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Letter from Charles Harris to Dr. Charles Harris, April 10, 1795
Harris, Charles Wilson, 1771-1804

Page 1
April 10th 1795

Dr Sir,

We have begun to introduce, by degrees the regulations of the University, and as yet have not been disappointed. There is one class in Natural Philosophy & Geography & four in the Languages.
The constitution of this college is on a more liberal plan than any in America, & by the amendments which I think it will receive at the next meeting of the trustees, its usefulness will probably be much promoted. The notion that true learning consists rather in exercising the reasoning faculties, & laying up a store of useful knowledge, than in overloading the memory with words of a dead language, is becoming daily more prevalent. It appears hard to deny a young Gentleman the honour of a College, after he has with much labour

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& painful attention acquired a competent knowledge of the Sciences; of composing & speaking with propriety in his own language, & has conned the first principles of whatever might render him useful or creditable in the world, merely because he could not read a language 2000 years old. Tho' the laws at present require that the Latin & Greek be understood by a graduate, they will in all probability be mitigated in this respect. These old forms, "which have been sanctioned by time but not by utility" ought to be dispensed with. I have lately found many good hints on education in a book entitled the rights of woman. a book of very great merit, the production of an original genius, & penned in such a strong, masterly style that you would scarcely believe it the work of a woman. For we are taught to believe, by many able writers & tolerable accurate observers of mankind that the natural weakness of a woman's body extends to her mind, & becomes characteristic of

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her thoughts & words as well as of her actions. Miss Mary Wollstonecraft is the lady born effectually to rectify these misrepresentations from which so much evil has spring. Miss' intention is to bring about a total reform in the education of women. But takes occasion to speak of the errors in the present plan of teaching young men & Boys in Europe. "The memory" says she "is loaded with unintelligible words, to make a shew of, without the understanding's acquiring any distinct ideas; but only that education deserves emphatically to be termed cultivation of mind, which teaches young people how to begin to think." She effectually overthrows Chesterfield's plan of bringing up boys. The amendments which she proposes are too Numerous to be detailed in a letter, but are such as do the greatest honor to the authoress & may be highly beneficial to mankind. That there is much wrong in the old manner of educating is plain & whatever alterations will be made in our

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University will be made by those who can be actuated by no other principle than general utility. At present we find much difficulty in procuring books. The trustees have ordered 200 Dol. to be expended for that purpose; but it is very uncertain when the Books will arrive; Dr Williamson is commissioned to purchase & he is so totally engaged about his own book which he is preparing for the press, that he may forget others of less importance. Col. More presents us with Globes Mr Benehan with an air pump as soon as it can be procured. We will shortly have an Electrical Machine & other trifles.
Our society is not so good at this place as we could wish. My only resort is to Mr Ker who makes ample amends to me for the want of any other. He is a violent Republican & is continually deprecating the Aristocratical principles which have lately prevailed much in our Executive. The debates on self-created societies has brought

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to light many unrepublican principles that have been secretly growing in the bosom of our government. The Rev.d. Stanhope Smith has in the last winter become a politician. He declaims against Libertinism in politics as being attended by no less an evil than Atheism. Smith has been long known to be an aristocrat & he is not a man of such conciliating manner as to have avoided the creating some personal enemies. A writer styled Arbiter in Oswald paper is not delicate in his remarks on the vice-president & is indeed illiberal in some general reflections on the Clergy. Smith's sermon referred to by Arbiter on the subjects of national Gratitude lies on my table. It has many fine turned periods; many fine thoughts, But besides Mr Arbiter's objections. His description of the present government is too highly coloured to be the copy of a human fabrication, his

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Encomium on the President is quite fulsome. Tho' he be the greatest man in America, it smells strong of Brittish seasoning. In page 23 he says "I see him like a rock in the midst of the ocean, receive unshaken all its waves, violence, intrigue, faction, dash themselves to pieces against him, & fall in empty murmers at his feet."
I have been engaged in such a manner since I arrived here, that I have done but little for myself; Blackstone's 1mo Vol. is nearly finished but the remaining vol. will require much more time and attention. I wish to ground myself well in the principles of Law, yet have made no provision for supplying books of a proper kind. I have interested myself much in the education of my brother, he is now growing fast & receiving none of those improvements which he ought. I could not prevail with my father to let him come to this place. I wish you would again mention it to

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him in a way that you may think proper; it can scarcely be pecuniary wants that hinder his complying with my request. Nor can it be I hope, any distrust of my principles, as I have heard suggested, he & I have ever been very free in speaking on tenets & I never observed any great degree of disapprobation. If the latter be the cause I have no more to say. Please send me your communications by every opportunity.

I am yours
with much

Chas. W. Harris

Doctor Charles Harris.

Aunt Sally will please accept of my best wishes for her happiness & Mrs. Ker has particularly requested that her respects may be received thro' the medium of my Letter, tho' never acquainted personally with aunt, by hearsay she is interested in her welfare.

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