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Title: Letter from David L. Swain to the Board of Trustees, July 23, 1867 : 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. 20K
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:
2007-05-31, 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 the Board of Trustees, July 23, 1867
Author: D. L. Swain
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 David L. Swain to the Board of Trustees, July 23, 1867
Swain, David L. (David Lowry), 1801-1868

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University of North Carolina,
Chapel Hill 23 July 1867.


I was appointed President of this Institution on the 5. December 1835, by the nearly unanimous vote of a very numerous Board of Trustees, and entered upon the discharge of my duties, at the beginning of the second session of the collegiate year, 12 January 1836.
The number of students was so small and the prospects so gloomy, that no catalogue was published during that year. The number of students in attendance, the second session however is shown by the records to have been seventy nine.
Fifteen months thereafter (15. April 1837) the Executive Committee, composed of His Excellency Governor Dudley Chairman, Thomas D. Bennehan, Duncan Cameron, Charles L. Horton, Charles Manly , William McPheeters and Romulus M. Saunders , published a circular which was widely disseminated. The following is a brief extract:
"The Executive Committee have the pleasure to state that although the patronage extended to the University is in no degree commensurate with the resources and intelligence of the state, there is gratifying evidence nevertheless, that it is growing in the confidence and affection of the community. The aggregate number of students at present is but eighty-five: Of this number however more than forty are members of the Freshman Class. No instance is known since the foundation of the college of so large a number of admissions into any one of the classes. It will be readily perceived that a like

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number of applicants for admission at the approaching Commencement would make a very favorable change in the condition of our affairs."
"In conclusion the Executive Committee beg leave to remark that in the respects, in which the people of North Carolina can be regarded as least true to themselves is the almost universal disposition to underrate their own institutions and their own citizens."
The address produced a very decided effect upon the public mind. The anticipated number of admissions at the next Commencement, was more than realized and the Institution continued to grow in the public favour until at the beginning of our recent troubles it had attained a patronage and reputation, greatly beyond what the most ardent of its friends ventured to hope for in 1835.
In June 1860, a well informed writer, with the records of the Institution before him, speaking of the administration of its affairs during a quarter of a century, remarks in relation to the President that "when he came to the head of the Institution, the number of students was about eighty. Our last catalogue, bears the names of more than four hundred and fifty — more than a five fold increase. Since 1835, the number of college buildings has been doubled, and that of the Faculty more than doubled, so as to give the Institution every assurance of permanence."
The results of the Civil War have sadly disappointed this favorable augury. The number of students at the time to which the writer refers, was greater with a single exception, than at any similar institution in the United States.

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The nett earnings deeded by a very meager endowment as is shown by an expense of the state of the finances in 1862, made by the Treasurer of the University, during a period of twenty-five years, added quite a hundred thousand dollars to the cash endowment and permanent improvements of the Institution.
The University was a stock-holder in the Bank of North Carolina to twice this amount ($200.000). The Convention of 1865, on the 19th of October, repudiated the war debt, broke the Bank and in the language of the Trustees in their memorial, to the last General Assembly "annihilated and more than annihilated, the entire endowment of the University."
The General Assembly thereupon transferred to the Institution, the land scrip, donated by, the General Government, to the State, for the endowment of an Agricultural College, with the reasonable hope, that the incidental aid which might be legitimately derived from this source, would enable us to retrieve our losses, and regain our former prosperity and reputation. This hope has been disappointed for the present by the subsequent legislature of Congress, postponing for a time the enjoyment of the grant.
Of the unfavorable effects upon our prospects growing out of the war I do not choose to speak, farther than to say, that during no previous period of my life were my labours more zealous, faithful, and unintermitting in the service of the Institution, and of the people of North Carolina, and that whatever may betide me in the future I am satisfied with the record of the past.
It only remains to intimate, that seeing little reason to hope, from the present indications of public sentiment

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for the early success which crowned former exertions, I am ready to give place to any one who can assume my position under more favorable auspices, at the earliest period at which the Board may be pleased, to designate a successor.

I am with great respect,
Your obt. Servt.

D. L. Swain

His Excellency,
Jonathan Worth,
President of the Board of Trustees of the University of North Carolina.