Documenting the American South Logo
Legend Informational Note
See the Page Image
     Mouseover Available
Title: Letter from David L. Swain to Charles Manly, October 10, 1856 [Containing Enclosures from Elisha Mitchell, John Thomas Wheat, Albert Micajah Shipp, Charles Phillips, James Phillips, and Manuel Fetter]: Electronic Edition.
Author: Swain, David L. (David Lowry), 1801-1868
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 Caitlin R. Donnelly
Text encoded by Caitlin R. Donnelly
First Edition, 2007
Size of electronic edition: ca. 92K
Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina

No Copyright in US

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:
2007-03-22, Caitlin R. Donnelly 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 David L. Swain to Charles Manly, October 10, 1856 [Containing Enclosures from Elisha Mitchell, John Thomas Wheat, Albert Micajah Shipp, Charles Phillips, James Phillips, and Manuel Fetter]
Author: D. L. Swain
Description: 33 pages, 38 page images
Note: Call number 40005 (University Archives, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
Editorial practices
The text has been encoded using the recommendations for Level 5 of the TEI in Libraries Guidelines.
Originals are in the University Archives, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Original grammar, punctuation, and spelling have been preserved.
Page images can be viewed and compared in parallel with the text.
Any hyphens occurring in line breaks have been removed, and the trailing part of a word has been joined to the preceding line.
All quotation marks, em dashes and ampersand have been transcribed as entity references.
All double right and left quotation marks are encoded as ".
All single right and left quotation marks are encoded as '.
All em dashes are encoded as —.
Indentation in lines has not been preserved.

For more information about transcription and other editorial decisions, see the section Editorial Practices.
Swain, David L. (David Lowry), 1801-1868

Page 1
University of North Carolina
Chapel Hill, 10th October, 1856.

Sir ,

The Committee appointed to report the facts connected with Mr Whitakers case (Messrs Mitchell Hubbard and Shipp ) submitted through the Chairman the Revd Dr Mitchell , yesterday evening a Report which was concurred in by the Faculty, and a copy of which is transmitted herewith.
In addition to this Report of the Committee various members of the Faculty who voted against the dismission of Whitaker will I understand transmit separate accounts of the views they took of the discordant statements of the instructor and the pupil, and the conclusions which they deduced from them. The verdict of a jury must be unanimous, and yet it may be the case, that no two of the twelve, may understand the evidence precisely in the same way. With the members of the Faculty from the constitution of the human mind the same diversity must exist. The jurors enquiries are confined to the evidence before him, the member of the Faculty hears the statement of the instructor and the pupil, and connects with it his own knowledge of the character and conduct of both parties in their respective spheres. The final vote of the Faculty of which Mr. Herrisse complains, stood as follows, for dismission Professors Hubbard and Hedrick , Tutors Pool , Lucas, Battle and Wetmore , against it Professors Mitchell Phillips Fetter , Wheat , Shipp and Brown — 6 & 6 — Professor Charles Phillips declining to vote, on account of personal difficulties with Mr Herrisse .

Page 2
The transcript of the record shows that all the offences recorded against Mr Whitaker during the Sophomore year occurred in Mr Herrisse's department. He was instructed during the year by Professor Hubbard Tutors Pool and Wetmore who voted in the affirmative, and by Professors Fetter , Wheat Shipp and Brown , who voted in the negative. All these gentlemen concur in the statement that his deportment in their respective departments was uniformly good. Mr Lucas to whom he recited during the first session of the Sophomore year, states that he had some trouble with him at the beginning but that he improved as the session advanced.
Of the elaborate document which is understood to have been placed before the Committee or Trustees, having never heard of its existence until yesterday I am of course unprepared to speak and think it altogether probable that I shall not be disposed to say much at any time. I understand many evils are pointed out, and reforms proposed in the conduct of things here. Some of these may be and probably are judicious.
Mr Herrisse is not wanting in ability to be useful, is industrious, studious and pains taking, and the labour which he bestows on beating the air if expended in endeavours by kind intercourse with the young men in earnest efforts in the recitation room and out of it, to promote their mental and moral improvement, would leave him fewer evils to complain of and fewer remedies to suggest.
The fertility of his invention, and the confidence and pertinacity with which he presses his plans in relation to matters, not within his sphere, are probably productive of fewer blessings

Page 3
to humanity, than he supposes. There is no executive function in connection with the University, to the proper discharge of which he does not esteem himself competent, and to which he does not aspire, from the selection of a Chaplain for the Seniors, to the appointment of tutors for the Faculty. I have earnestly kindly and perseveringly endeavoured to restrain and correct these idiosyncrasies, and make him what he ought to be a very useful acceptable and respectable instructor. I know that I have sometimes been censured in the Faculty and out of it for looking with too much indulgence upon the follies and foibles of the young. Be this as it may I can say conscientiously that I have not since my connection with the institution, borne or foreborne with any one, man or boy to the same extent that I have with Mr Herrisse , and that I would now much rather reform him than drive him to a resignation. As President of the University I have always endeavoured to sustain every member of the Faculty, in the proper discharge of his appropriate functions, and in any difficulty with a student to regard him as prima facie in the right. Beyond this I cannot go nor act upon the principle that the instructor never errs, and the pupil is always wrong.

I am with great resepct
Your obdt. Servt.

D. L. Swain

Hon. Charles Manly .

Page 4

Page 5
[Reply to the Memorial of Henry Harrisse by David L. Swain ]
Mr Herrisse complains that "the discipline at the University is lax, and impunity an occurrence of every day life" that his task as an instructor is "altogether impossible," that to "these manifold tribulations is added a disposition on the part of his colleagues to drive him to a resignation" and that "a due sense of self respect," requires him to seek redress of these evils from the Trustees.
These are no trivial allegations, and are either true or not true. If true his colleagues are feeble and inefficient in the instruction and government of the young, tyrannical, in their intercourse with Mr Herrisse and ought to be promptly dismissed from the institution, and their places supplied by abler, fairer and better men. And if this be not immediately done, and his "self respect," is in any due proportion to his self esteem, deliverance from "these manifold tribulations" will be cheaply purchased by the "resignation" of $800 per annum.
On the other hand if these charges are not true, but proceed from a peevish, fretful, fault finding disposition, it will not be very wonderful if he who deals in such indiscriminate and unsparing denunciations of the old, shall be found arrogant and supercillious in manner and harsh in remark toward the young, and neither command their respect nor conciliate their affection. What ever may be the merits or demerits of Mr Herrisse , if the Committee will in connection with Mr Whitakers case, examine the Faculty Journal for the last three years and the leading incidents in his history here, it will probably be found

Page 6
that during his connection with the Institution, he has had more personal issues with young men, than any other, if not than all the other members of the Faculty.
I shall enter into no examination of the record in Mr Whitakers case, farther than to meet the following specific allegation, of duplicity and subterfuge "Six members of the Faculty voted that Mr Whitaker be dismissed, five against it, and were joined by Gov Swain which caused the motion to be lost. After the vote had been taken and result ascertained, the President little willing as I imagine, to bear the responsibility of such an unjust measure found that the motion was out of order."
The exact truth in relation to this incident as nearly as I can state it, and I have appealed to the memory of every one present, is as follows The established rule of the Faculty practised upon for years, is that whenever an instructor summons a student before the Faculty at Evening Prayers he considers the offence, as calling for admonition only, on the part of those members of the Faculty who may happen to be present. If he regards it, in a more serious light, and as requiring suspension or dismission, previous notice to the President is required, that he may be able to have a full faculty summoned and prepared for the investigation. That Mr Herrisse understood the usage perfectly is shown by the accompanying note (A) in relation to Mr Singletary, who was suspended a few evenings before the affair with Mr Whitaker .
Mr Herrisse , without any previous notice to me in the absence of the Senior Professor, and Prof Charles Phillips , reported

Page 7
Mr Whitaker at Evening Prayers for disorderly conduct in his recitation room. I was unwell, the evening was far advanced cloudy and damp, and my deafness, at the time so great that I was unable to hear a word spoken either by Mr Herrisse or Mr Whitaker . Mr Whitaker as usual in such cases was reprimanded by the several members of the Faculty in turn, and at the close by me. I remarked to him in substance that I had not heard a word of his defence, but could easily infer from his manner then, and his previous course of conduct, that his deportment towards Mr Herrisse was very reprehensible. That his previous difficulties should have produced a spirit of forbearance, and that his course was wanting in magnanimity &c.
I then directed him to retire, regarding the case was at an end, when I was surprized by a motion of Prof Hedrick to dismiss him. Supposing that the Faculty would perceive the irregularity of the proceeding and reject the motion without a count, I put the question, and found Professors Hubbard and Hedrick Tutors Pool , Lucas Battle and Wetmore for the motion and Professors Phillips , Fetter , Wheat Shipp and Brown against it. The vote standing 6 to 5 I simply remarked I should vote in the negative, that the motion to dismiss ought to have been ruled out of order, as a full Faculty was not in attendance, and no notice had been given to summon one.
It is proper that I should state now that I neither knew, nor suspected until the receipt of the Resolutions of the Executive Committee adopted on the 4th. inst. of the existence of these charges of Mr Herrisse .
On the 9th August while the matter set forth in the extract from the Faculty

Page 8
Journal marked B was under the consideration of the Faculty, Prof Hedrick addressed me a letter (C) from which I make the following extract "I saw Mr Herrisse a short time after I left you. He was very much excited on account of the insults which had been heaped upon him by Professors — said that he had intended to meet you in the same kindly spirit which you had manifested towards him that evening, but had been prevented from doing so, by the assaults made upon him by other members of the Faculty. He also said "as soon as things become quiet and all outside pressure is removed you will see me come out and give Governor Swain all that he asks and even more."
When the vote of the Faculty was taken upon the subject on the 15th August Professor Hubbard "declined voting on the ground that the whole subject to which the Resolutions refer was before the Trustees to be acted on by them, having been brought before them by an appeal on the part of Mr Herrisse . He considered the subject therefore on the merits of which he declined voting to have been placed out of the proper jurisdiction of the Faculty."
Instead of the reparation promised through his friend Professor Hedrick on the 9th August I find myself impeached before the Executive Committee on the 27th of September. Where the "Appeal" is or what it is (spoken of by Professor Hubbard ) I have no knowledge. I suppose it is not before the Trustees or I would have received notice. What other communications may have been made to the Board, or the Committee, or to individual members of

Page 9
either, I know not. I only know that I have neither written, nor spoken any thing of Mr Herrisse that has not been communicated to him.
I have entered very reluctantly into this matter. I have never given the Trustees any trouble in relation to dissensions in the Academic corpse, and on the other hand, am now for the first time arraigned by one of my "colleagues." I had hoped that the vote of the Faculty on the 15th August in relation to the proceedings set forth in the paper B above referred to, would have rendered all further reference to the subject unnecessary, and did not even direct the statement to be recorded in our Journal until yesterday. Mr Herrisse's recent proceedings admonish me that this determination was characterized rather by kindness than prudence. I therefore beg leave to invite the particular attention of the Executive Committee to the paper, and invoke their decision upon all the points discussed and considered by the Faculty.

Page 10

Page 11
Extracts from the Faculty Journal, containing all the proceedings of the Faculty, in cases wherein Wm Whitaker has been reported to them for discipline by Mr Herrisse , from October 4th 1855 until this day Oct 6th. 1856.
October 4th. 1855.
"Messrs Ringo and Whitaker appeared before the Faculty, and were admonished for disorderly conduct and disrespectful language to Mr Herrisse at recitation. Mr Whitaker , having made an insulting remark about Mr Herrisse before the Faculty, was required to send a written apology to morrow, on pain of being dismissed, if he should fail to comply with this injunction."
"Nov. 13th.
Mr Whitaker was reprimanded for impertinence to his instructor in the same (French) department. After he retired, it was moved, in consideration of his repeated offences of this kind, that he be dismissed. This motion was ordered to lie upon the table, and Prof Mitchell was directed to inform him, that it would be taken up and carried, if he should appear before the Faculty again upon a similar occasion."

Page 12
"February 15th. 1856.
"Mr Whitaker of the Sophomore Class appeared and was admonished for impropriety at recitation. A motion was made to dismiss him in consideration of his repeated offences of this description. It was ordered that this motion should be laid upon the table and that he be informed of the fact as a warning against further transgression."
(In this instance, the record does not state at whose recitation the impropriety was committed, but the Secretary distinctly remembers that it was at Mr Herrisse's ).
"August 14th. 1856.
"Whitaker of the Junior Class appeared before the Faculty — reported by Mr Herrisse — to answer for impertinence to him at recitation. A motion was made to dismiss him, which was lost by the casting vote of the President, because there was not a full meeting of the Faculty and no application had been made, according to the usages of the institution to have one summoned. The ayes were — Profs Hubbard , Hedrick and Tutors Pool , Lucas, Battle and Wetmore . Nays — Profs Phillips , Fetter , Wheat , Shipp and Brown .

Page 13
Prof Phillips was then appointed to visit his mother and inform her of his conduct and of his peculiar relations to the Faculty."
"August 15th. 1856.
"Prof Phillips reported that he had discharged his mission to Mrs Whitaker to day; that among other things she remarked about her son , that he was very desirous to be withdrawn from college, and that she had written to ask his father's advice upon the subject, and that until an answer should be returned, she begged for him the advice of the Faculty, as far as might be"
A true copy

Teste A. G. Brown
Secretary of the Faculty

No charges of improprieties committed by Mr Whitaker in any other department of instruction are of record during the time above specified

Page 14

Page 15
[Report of Elisha Mitchell , Chairman of the Committee]
The committee to whom was given in charge the memorial of Mr Herrisse to the Executive Committee of the Trustees of the University, with instructions to prepare a minute explanatory of the course of the Faculty in the matter of the discipline of the institution and exculpatory of certain members of it in their relations to Mr Herrisse to be transmitted to Raleigh along with the record of the proceedings in the case of Mr Whitaker , respectfully offer the following.
The passage of the memorial which first of all demands attention is the opening paragraph.
"It is a difficult matter at all times to command the attention and respect of a large class of college students; but when the discipline is lax and impunity an occurrence of every day life the task of the instructor becomes altogether impossible. If to his manifold tribulations we add a disposition on the part of his colleagues, to drive him to a resignation, or if such a belief is current among the students, a due sense of self respect makes it incumbent on him to apply for redress to those to whom the individual welfare of the members of the Faculty is intrusted."
Two particulars require attention here — the representation that the discipline of the institution is lax, and impunity common — and the charge that there is a disposition on the part of his colleagues to drive him to a resignation.
1 We can very well conceive that to a person born and educated in Europe where the governments are so much stronger and the administration of justice is more despotic than amongst ourselves the discipline of the American colleges generally may appear some what lax, but we are far from believing that it is necessarily the worse on that account. That government is the best which is best suited to the characters, habits and feelings of the people whose condition is to be influenced and their conduct to be regulated by it. And whatever may be the individual opinions of any one of our number we are compelled in the administration of discipline to pay a considerable respect

Page 16
to what we suppose to have been the early training of the young men and the views of what is right and proper, that they have been led to entertain at home. It is our object to maintain as strict a discipline as public sentiment in the country and the best interests of the young men may seem to permit or demand. Beyond this it appears to us a folly to attempt to go. If the decisions of the Faculty are in the view of the students, of uncalled for severity, arbitrary, and as some of them may be led to represent, tyrannical, a spirit of opposition to the government of the institution is gotten up which is likely to do more mischief than impunity sometimes occurring. It has been our object therefore to have the discipline of the University mild and parental, rather than severe and disregardful of the interests of such as might be unpleasantly affected by it. In this way the judgments of nearly all the students are brought to approve of the decisions of the Faculty. There is no revulsion of feeling on their part, and condemnation of what we have done. These are important elements of quiet and order.
With very nearly 400 students in attendance on the duties of college, many from places considerably remote as well as those near at hand, it is by no means as easy to maintain order and quiet as if there were only one fourth the part of this number. Irregularities there always will be, but these have been promptly and effectively checked, whenever there seemed to be an occasion and opportunity for the interposition of the Faculty, and as we think, in a way to conduce to the welfare of all concerned. It is our belief that the session which is passing does not fall behind those which have preceded it, in a general correctness of deportment on the part of the students and we suppose it to be pretty far in advance of many sessions in this particular.
2. With regard to the charge of Mr Herrisse , that there is a disposition on the part of his associates to drive him to a resignation we have only to say that we hope it is unnecessary for us to assure the Committee that we have entertained no such purpose and have indulged in no such feeling. It may be mentioned in evidence of this, if proof shall be deemed necessary, that the appointment of Mr Herrisse to the place he now fills, in the first instance, was on the recommendation of the Faculty

Page 17
and that this recommendation has been a certain number of times renewed (we cannot say how many times) at the close of a session. That a charge of the kind mentioned may have been brought in some particular instance by a student who was wanting in judgment or in good feeling towards the Faculty, we can readily believe, and that it may have been regarded as well founded by some person or person or persons, is not altogether incredible but that a belief has been current amongst the students that there was or is a disposition on the part of Mr Herrisse's colleagues to drive him to a resignation we have no doubt is a total mistake. There is so much of generosity, and such a love of fair dealing amongst them as would serve to create a reaction in Mr Herrisse's favor. He would be placed above the machinations of his colleagues, one and all, if it were supposed or even suspected that they are inclined to act in such manner against him.
William Whitaker with the history of whose misdemeanors, and the proceedings of the Faculty in connexion with them, the memorial of Mr Herrisse is mainly occupied is the son of Col. Spier Whitaker formerly Attorney General of North Carolina. Col. Whitaker has had four sons educated at the University, three of whom are graduates. He has two other sons now with us, and a third in training near Hillsboro for the next freshman class. William Whitaker has conducted himself tolerably well at the recitations of his other instructors, and at some of them remarkably well. Against Mr Herrisse he seems to have entertained a dislike from the beginning of his coming under the tuition of that gentleman. We are all liable more or less to these accidents and hold ourselves bound to treat such cases with a peculiar tenderness and care. It has been the opinion of some members of the Faculty that Mr Herrisse did not always manage them with tact, judgment and good temper: that he sometimes made issues which might have been avoided.
Their children not getting along in a way to please them, it was arranged between Col Whitaker and his Lady, that he remaining in Iowa; she should come to Chapel Hill, purchase if possible a house, reside here, advise with, and as far as she could, control her sons. A lot was purchased and the house is now partly finished. Under

Page 18
these circumstances occurred the difficulties that are the subject of Mr Herrisse's memorial. The young man conducted himself badly, beyond doubt, though it was thought by some members of the Faculty that Mr Herrisse himself had acted indiscreetly and goaded him on to the improprieties into which he was betrayed. As is stated in Gov. Swain's communication to the Executive Committee read last evening to the Faculty — William Whitaker was cited by Mr Herrisse to attend after evening prayers when, as the whole body of the Faculty is seldom present, it is not in order to do more than reprimand for misconduct. It is not according to the regular course of business to offer a motion to dismiss or suspend. A motion to dismiss was nevertheless made and lost by the casting vote of the President. Dr Phillips was then sent to have an interview with Mrs Whitaker and his report was of such a character as to induce the Faculty to suspend for the time being, all further proceedings against the young man. Mrs Whitaker desired a postponement of the whole business, till she should be able to communicate with her husband and receive his reply. We supposed that the Whitaker case would give us no farther trouble. It was called up at length to be finally disposed of, and with the hope and belief, entertained by some of our number, that the presence and influence of the mother would prevent future disorder on the part of the son, the motion to dismiss was lost. These hopes and expectations have not been disappointed.

Respectfully submitted

E. Mitchell
Chairman of the Committee

Page 19
His Excellency Charles Manly , Secretary of the Board of Trustees of the University of N. Carolina:

Dear Sir

As far as I am concerned in the matters brought before the Trustees by Mr. Herrisse , I should be entirely satisfied not to add a word to what has been so well said in reply; both by the President & by the Committee appointed by the Faculty. The other gentlemen complained — I think it advisable, however, that each one of us should give his own judgment of the case, and I beg leave, therefore, very respectfully to submit my views of it.
When I first came here, seven years ago, I thought, as Mr. H. does, that the discipline of the college was too lenient. I had some difficulty also in keeping order in my recitation room; & was obliged, sometimes, to invoke the interposition of the Faculty. I have gratefully to acknowledge that my inexperience & blunders were charitably regarded by my colleagues; that they helped me out of my personal difficulties & counselled me wisely as to the ways & means of avoiding them. I think I may say I profited by their advice; for I have not had occasion to bring a student before the Faculty for years past; & I have long been persuaded that the policy pursued

Page 20
here, in the exercise of authority & enforcement of discipline, as the very best — the only expedient mode of college government that can be employed. I have seen numerous instances, when patient forbearance, kind admonition, & a ready reception of any, even a slight, promise of amendment, have resulted in saving the student from disgrace & ruin. And if an administration is to be judged by its results, surely the present condition of the University must be allowed to be very satisfactory. The number of students has been considerably more than doubled since I came here; &, instead of increasing disorders, there has been a most remarkable improvement in their general deportment.
As to the particular grievances of Mr. Herrisse , I cannot but think them mostly owing to his own peculiar faults of temper & character. In the Whitaker case, I could not sustain him, as I had often before done; because I really believe that, with ordinary prudence, he might have avoided the difficulty, altogether: &, again, when he did make the personal issue with Wm W . he had no right to forestall the judgment of the Faculty & call upon us to execute his sentence. Mr. Herrisse feels at liberty to impugn the motives of those who voted against dismissing Whitaker , alleging that they

Page 21
thus sought to drive him to a resignation. Had he not, rather, sought to drive us to the dismissing of Whitaker by threatening to resign, if we refused? There are some things, however, which even Mr. Herrisse cannot do; but I am afraid he will not learn the lesson, short of the operation of Trepanning; so wittily recommended, in the case of a certain English politician, by the Canon of St. Paul's.

With the request that this may be laid before the Executive Committee along with the other papers upon the subject, I am, my dear Governor
Yours truly

J. T. Wheat

Page 22

Page 23
Wm. Whitaker Case — 15th Aug. 1856.
I did not vote to dismiss Mr Whitaker when reported by Mr. Herrisse at evening prayers in the Chapel to be lectured for disorderly conduct in his recitation room because I thought him already sufficiently punished for his offence by the rebukes which he received from different members of the Faculty who were called upon in turn to admonish him. Mr. Whitaker denied warmly the justness of the representation given by Mr. Herrisse stating that he had exaggerated his case which I believed to be true as almost every case reported by Mr. Herrisse had been an extreme one. It did not appear from the defence that Mr. Whitaker had any deliberate intention either to disturb the order of the recitation

Page 24
room or to set at defiance College authority but on the contrary that he declined to recite when called on by Mr. Herrisse because he had not prepared the lesson and therefore as is common in all such cases — in the language of the students — "fessed" — using a slang phrase (very improperly) to signify the fact. The laughter that ensued in the class was believed to be more the result of Mr. Herrisse's manner than the language used by Mr. Whitaker . This declination to recite in the peculiar relations existing between the parties I thought Mr. H. ought to have accepted & not to have rushed into a personal altercation with Mr. W. in the recitation room & in the heat of the quarrel to have ordered him out closing the scene with an authoritative menace that he would either have Mr. W. dismissed from College or he would leave himself. This committal

Page 25
on the part of Mr. H. I most decidedly disapprove of. The resolution to dismiss Mr. W upon a recurrence of disorder in the recitation room passed in the preceding session I did not consider necessarily binding during the present as it is our custom to begin each session or unrecovered making each answer for its own offences.
In the final action of the Faculty on Mr. W.s case I did not vote to dismiss because in addition to the above and pending the difficulty with Mr. W. Mr. H. thought proper to complicate the case by divulging and misinterpreting language used in Faculty meetings in reference to Mr. W. giving out to the students that the Faculty did not dismiss Mr. W. because he was thought to be deranged which was wholly untrue — and because moreover in view of letters received from his Father & interviews had with his Mother now residing in

Page 26
in Chapel Hill & Mr. W. himself, it was deemed on the whole to be best — it being my confident belief that under fair & proper treatment there would be no recurrence of difficulty on the part of Mr. W. as the rest of the Faculty have no cause to complain of his deportment but rather to commend it and as in my own recitation room he has always conducted himself in a most unexceptionable manner.

Page 27
Chapel Hill.
Friday Oct. 10h. 1856

My dear Sir.

Govr. Swain has intimated in one of his late letters to you that my relations to Mr. Herrisse are not of a friendly kind. I might therefore be excused from noticing his criticisms as far as they comprehend me. But that it may appear that I am really one of those arraigned — although now always voting a non liquet where Mr. Herrisse is concerned — I send this my adhesion to the acts of the majority — lax as they may be. This imputation of lax discipline is to say the least a very cheap criticism — one readily listened to, and among the thoughtless likely to gain one credit. Whether it is deserved here — no one can tell from the inspection of our records which generally give the results without the reasons for them. If our pupils are surrounded with stricter and holier influences here than they are in the majority of the villages

Page 28
and homes of the country — I am sure that we are doing a good work here — we are elevating the moral tone of the community — it may be slowly but is it not surely. Now it should always be remembered that a stern and rigid discipline is an easy one for the Governors of an Institution. To prescribe a punishment — to decide whether it has been incurred — and to inflict it are rapid and easy processes. By promptly cutting bad scholars we save ourselves much trouble, vexation of spirit — many worryings and expostulations, and mortifications that such an ignoramus was our pupil. But our object if I understand it aright should be not only to improve the good — rather to keep them where they are. It should also include the making the bad good How can we do this if we do not keep them as long with us as we can. I know that it is written "Because sentence against an evil look is not speedily executed, therefore the hearts of the children of men are fully set in them to do

Page 29
evil.." But He who thus graciously reminds us of the dangers that beset us — bears with us time and again.. I do not say that we must shut our eyes to the deliquencies of our pupils — or that they should ever be allowed to think us weak or forgetful. But there is a "Charity that covers a multitude of sins." How many it ought to cover is a serious question — and one I beg leave to submit not likely to be intuitively decided by one of a defective education and regardless of the precepts of our holy Religion.
I am a teacher's son — one whose long success shows that he can teach. I have been accustomed to hear the private discussions of eminent teachers at home and abroad. I have been a teacher now for fifteen years — I love to teach, and I expect to die a teacher among the people who have known me from infancy — and have honored me more than I deserve. Having thus proper instincts to gratify and a professional reputation to secure, it is not likely that I have

Page 30
lightly or wickedly pursued such a course as that imparted to me and my colleagues by Mr. Herrisse . Among other criticisms issued so infallibly by Mr. Herrisse is one that your honorable body has been so careless as heretofore to have made Professors of the French language and Literature out of bakers and fencing masters. This may have been a misfortune, but many of us think that it is not relieved by having them succeeded by a watchmaker. There is something in being "to the manner born."
Our plans are practices here may be such as surprise all who do not know us. But one thing may be said that endorsed by our experienced Board of Trustees they have in twenty years given us access to the heads and hearts of 395 of our young fellow citizens instead of 89.
We rejoice — Sir — to learn that the pains of your body have been mitigated, and that you may for years to come help us with your wise counsels and judicious approval.

With high respect, I am,

Charles Phillips

Page 31
Chapel Hill
Octr. 10th. 1856,

My dear Sir,

Before I am "hung, drawn & quartered" on account of the serious charges exhibited by Mon. Herrisse against sundry members of the Faculty, amongst whom, your humble servant, unfortunately, happens to be found, I desire to say a word or two in palliation of my offence & in mitigation of my sentence.
Mr Whitaker was cited before the Faculty, as stated in Gov. Swain's letter to the Trustees, by M. H. & a motion made to dismiss him, which was lost by the casting vote of the President, who remarked that the proceeding was irregular because a full meeting had not been called & was not present. A motion was then made instructing me to see Mrs Whitaker, his mother, state the case to her fully & see if she could not bring her authority to bear on her child, that, at least, no further trouble from him might be apprehended. She expressed her thankfulness for the kindness shewn to herself & the leniency with which her son had been treated & begged that, if possible, no further steps should be taken for the present in the case until a reply to a letter written to the Col. should be received. She further said that William had told her of what had occurred & on her remonstrating with him for his disrespectful conduct towards his teacher he said that he believed, & his class also, that the "Frenchman was a liar & an infidel," & that he could not respect him. This conversation I reported privately to Gov. Swain , before the meeting of the Faculty to whom I only made known Mrs W's feelings & her request for a respite.
As to the vote I gave in the Faculty I must say that after the lapse

Page 32
of so many weeks I see no reason to change it. It is true, that Mr W's reply when called to recite was improper; but it was scarcely prudent in his teacher , knowing the state of his pupils feelings towards him to press the matter any farther & get into a controversy with him before the class, nor does it appear to me that the complexion of the case changed for the better when M. H. ordered him to leave the room. It was exercising the highest power of a single college officer, — a power which me judice, ought seldom to be used & only in extreme cases & when the teacher is calm, collected & unexcited; a state of mind & feeling which M. H. did not possess. But admitting all this to be precisely what it ought to have been I do not think, I can't think that Mr Herrisse had any right to threaten dismission or suspension, or, should he fail in securing such a sentence, he would resign his situation; & I do not think it was either courteous or courageous secretly & without the least semblance of truth to ascribe motives to those, who felt they could not sustain his views, which they do not think themselves base enough to entertain. To a want of prudence on the part of M. H must be attributed the fact, that when subsequently interrogated by a member of the Junior Class why Wm W. was not dismissed, he replied "because the Faculty deemed him insane," & for which there is reason to believe, he would have been treated roughly but for the timely & active interference of one of the accused.
As to the charge of a design, on the part of some of M. H's "colleagues," to drive him from the Institution, I must say there is not a particle of truth in the allegation; & I can only account for the charge being made by supposing, that he was conscious that his petulance & arrogance would justify such a course. I do say this is a very inconsiderate charge. It implies so much blindness on our part, such a want of the power of perception in his enemies, that makes one ashamed. Why, my

Page 33
dear Sir, the manner in which he thrust himself on the Faculty, the tenacity with which he has held on, & the modesty with which he has pressed his claims on the trustees for a Professorship, indicate so surely his delicate sensibility to what was due to himself, & his mere appreciation of the "το πρεπου" of the ancient Greeks, that forbid all hope of success in such an eliminating process.

Hoping that you have been restored to your usual health & that for many years yet future you may be spared as a light to your family & your Alma Mater

I am
My dear Sir
Most cordially

James Phillips

P.S. This is —entre nous, s'il vous plait, Monsieur. P

Page 34

Page 35
Mr. Whitaker's Case on the 15th of August was as follows.
Mr. Whitaker having been summoned by Mr. Herrisse to appear before the Faculty in the Chapel after Evening Prayers, was charged by him with grossly improper conduct in his Recitation Room — that when called upon to recite, he refused to do so, replying in a slang phrase, "you are out of it," which phrase (not being understood in the sense in which it was intended) was regarded as the language of insult by Mr. Herrisse , who, after indulging in some severe remarks, told him that he must either recite or leave the room. Mr. Whitaker declined to do either, whereupon Mr. Herrisse , becoming excited, ordered him to leave the room, & on his refusing to do so, declared that he would have him dismissed from College, or if that were not done, that he would

Page 36
leave himself. Mr. Whitaker , when called upon for his statement, replied that Mr. Herrisse's account of the affair was exaggerated — that he did not know his lesson & had used the phrase above quoted to inform his Instructor of the fact — that he stated in the Recitation Room that he had made no previous preparation & therefore could not recite. This statement made by Mr. Whitaker in the presence of the Faculty, was not contradicted by Mr. Herrisse at the time. Now I do not wish to be understood as defending the conduct of Mr. Whitaker . On the contrary I consider it very improper & as deserving of punishment. But, under the circumstances, I am free to say that this unpleasant difficulty might easily have been avoided by the exercise of a little tact & ordinary prudence. Mr. Herrisse having been the only member of the Faculty, who has ever cited him to appear before them, or who has, at any time, had any serious trouble with him, & knowing the peril in which he (Mr. W. )

Page 37
stood, in the event of his coming before that Body again seemed to me to have taken advantage of his position in his treatment of him & to have goaded him into resistance.
Another motive operated upon me in voting as I did, viz, that no member of the Faculty has a right to commit the whole Body to any course, which may seem agreeable to himself, especially when he may be excited by anger, or heated by passion. In my opinion, it would be far better for the interests of the College, that the offender should escape unpunished, than that arbitrary power of this kind should be placed in the hands of a single individual. Such a practice, if once adopted, would introduce a host of evils into the government of the Institution, which would, in a short time, drive from its walls all honorable & high-minded young men. I have always held this opinion & stated it, at the time, to Dr. Phillips & Prof. Shipp , as the ground of my action in the premises. I did not then, nor do I now think that Mr. Herrisse ought to have been

Page 38
sustained in the course he chose to adopt of threatening a student with dismission, simply because his orders were disregarded by him.
My own intercourse with Mr. Whitaker has been pleasant & agreeable. He has always shown a commendable diligence in the studies of my department & has been very attentive in my Recitation Room.

M. Fetter

Chapel Hill N.C.
Oct. 10. 1856