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Sketches of North Carolina
Chapter XXXV - Efforts to Promote Education


"MANY a day have I worked with these hands to help Charley C----- through college," said old Mrs. Skillington exultingly, and somewhat mournfully, while her brother was running his career in Philadelphia, before his removal to Kentucky to commence his labors as pioneer of medical schools in the West, as his father had been in the settlement of Cabarrus county, North Carolina; "many a day have I worked for Charley when we lived there," pointing to a log framed house, the shell of which now stands defying the wind and storm, and wasting of desertion, about a rifle-shot west of Poplar Tent meeting-house; "and I don't mind the work, for we all liked Charley."

The old lady unconsciously revealed the sentiments of hundreds of mothers and sisters of the Scotch-Irish and Scotch settlers in 1'irginia and the Carolinas. An education,—knowledge of things human and divine, they prized beyond all price in their leaders and teachers; and craved its possession for their husbands, and brothers, and sons. The Spartan mothers gloried in the bravery of their husbands and fathers, and demanded it in their sons. "Bring me this, or be brought back upon it," said one, as she gave her son a shield to go out to battle. These Presbyterian mothers gloried in the enterprise, and religion, and knowledge, and purity of their husbands and children, and would forego comforts and endure toil that their sons might be well instructed, enterprising men.

When we look over the beautiful farms and plantations these early settlers bequeathed to their children, it might seem as if large possessions were the inviting cause and principal object of the emigrants to this wilderness. Undoubtedly the desire of possession of property had its influence with all; and why should not honest, energetic poor people desire a place to enjoy their labor, not as tenants at will, but as fee-simple owners of the soil by the best of rights? and it is probable it was the ruling feeling of some, who could not get above the craving desire of human nature, and knew nothing better than wealth. But with many, and they the influential men and women, the desire of knowledge was cherished before a competence was obtained, or the labors of a first settlement overcome. Almost invariably as soon as a neighborhood was settled, preparations were made for the preaching of the gospel by a regular stated pastor; and wherever a pastor was located, in that congregation there was a classical school,—as in Sugar Creek, Poplar Tent, Centre, Bethany, Buffalo, Thyatira, Grove, Wilmington, and the churches occupied by Pattillo in Orange and Granville.

Of all these, the one in the bounds of Sugar Creek appears to have been the oldest. The time of its commencement is not certainly known; but it appears to have been in successful operation under Mr. Joseph AIexander, who for a time supplied the congregation after the death of Mr. Craighead in 1766, an eminent teacher and preacher, whose labors for a short time in North Carolina, and for a long period in South Carolina, entitled him to a kind remembrance by the churches. Vigorous efforts were made to elevate this school to the rank and usefulness of a college; and about the year 1770, a charter was obtained from the Colonial Legislature, conferring the title and privileges, without any endowment from the Province, under the name of Queen's Museum. This charter was set aside by the king and council, and amended, and a second time granted by the Colonial Legislature in 1771, and a second time repealed by the king, by proclamation. "And," says a writer in the Magazine of the University of North Carolina, "why was this? An easy answer is found in the third section of the act for incorporating the school at Newborn, and afterwards engrafted upon the act incorporating the Edenton Academy (which were the only two schools incorporated before Queen's College), compared with the character of the leading men of Mecklenburg, and the fact that several of the trustees of the New College were Presbyterian ministers. No compliments to his queen could render whigs in politics, and Presbyterians in religion, acceptable to George III. A college, under such auspices, was too well calculated to ensure the growth of the numerous democracy."

The section referred to in the charter of the Newbern school, is in these words—"Provided always, that no person shall be permitted to be master of said school, but who is of the Established Church of England, and who, at the recommendation of the trustees or directors, or the majority of them, shall be duly licensed by the governor or commander-in-chief for the time being."

Queen's .Museum flourished without a charter. Its hall was the place of meeting of literary societies, and political clubs, in the times preceding the Revolution. The king's fears, that the college would be a fountain of republicanism, were realized in the institution, and probably his rejection of the charter much hastened, and increased, the dreaded evil. The debates, preceding the Mecklenburg Declaration, were held in the hall; and every reader can judge of the merits of that famous document.

That the students were busily engaged in literary pursuits appears from the following document, the original of which is in the hands of the Rev. Mr. Adams of Third Creek.

"THE MODERATOR AND MEMBERS OF UNION SOCIETY

in Queen's Museum, Charlotte, to all whom these presents may come, with Peace and Safety.

BE IT HEREBY CERTIFIED THAT WE HAVE BESTOWED UPON JAMES MCEWAN THIS DIPLOMA in testimony of his having been a member of our society, and of his having through the whole time of our connection together deported himself in such manner as to merit our full approbation, both as a faithful assistant in school, and a regular, useful member of society.

Of the above let our names underwritten be a witness.

After the Revolution had commenced, the Legislature of North -Carolina granted a charter to this institution under the name of Liberty Hall Academy. The preamble of an act for incorporating the president and trustees, which was passed April, 1777, is as follows: "Whereas the proper education of youth in this infant country is highly necessary, and would answer the most valuable and beneficial purposes to this State and the good people thereof; and whereas a very promising experiment bath been made at a seminary in the county of Mecklenburg, and a number of youths there taught have made great advancements in the knowledge of the learned languages, and in the rudiments of the arts and sciences, in the course of a regular and finished education, which they have since completed at various colleges in different parts of America; and whereas the seminary aforesaid, and the several teachers who have successfully taught and presided therein, have hitherto been almost wholly supported by private subscriptions; in order therefore that said subscriptions and other gratuities may be legally possessed and dully applied, and the said seminary by the name of Liberty Mall may become more extensively and generally useful for the encouragement of liberal knowledge in languages, arts, and sciences, and for diffusing the great advantages of education upon more liberal, easy, and general terms;" therefore, &c.

The following persons were named trustees, viz. :—Isaac Alexander, M.D., president, Thomas Polk, Thomas Neal, Abraham Alexander, Waightstill Avery, Ephraim Brevard, M.D., John Simpson, Adlai Osborne, John McKnitt Alexander, and the Rev. Messrs. David Caldwell, James Edmonds, Thomas Reese, Samuel E. McCorkle, Thomas Harris McCaule, and James Hall.

The academy received no funds from the State, and no further patronage than this charter. It was entirely under the direction of Presbyterians, and under the supervision of Orange Presbytery. At the time the charter was obtained the institution was under the rare of Dr. Isaac V. Alexander, who continued to preside over it till some time in the year 1778.

From a manuscript in the University of North Carolina, drawn up by Adlai Osborne, one of the trustees, it appears the first meeting of the trustees was held in Charlotte, January 31, 1778. At this meeting, Isaac Alexander, M.D., Ephraim Brevard, M.D., and Rev. Thomas Harris McCaule were appointed a committee to frame a system of laws for the government of the academy; and also to purchase the lots and improvements belonging to Colonel Thomas Polk, for which they were to pay him £920; and preparations were made to build an additional frame-house. The salary of the president was fixed at £195, to be occasionally increased, according to the prices of provisions, which were then greatly fluctuating, owing to the war.

In the month of April, 1778, the system of laws drawn up by the committee was adopted without any material alteration. The course of study marked out was similar to that prescribed for the University of North Carolina, though somewhat more limited. Overtures were made to Rev. Alexander McWhorter, of New Jersey, so favorably known to the churches, by his visit in 1764 and '5, with the Rev. Elihu Spencer, and also by a more recent visit made to the Southern country, to encourage the inhabitants in the cause of Independence, to succeed Dr. Alexander in the presidency.

There is still extant a certificate of scholarship granted by the Board, as the right of granting degrees had not been given them, preserved by John H. Graham, at Vesuvius Furnace, in Lincoln county, the residence of General Graham.

STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA,
Mecklenburg county.

This is to certify that, Mr. JohIN GRAHAM bath been a student in the Academy of LIBERTY HALL in the State and county above mentioned, the space of four years preceding the date hereof, that his whole deportment during his residence there was perfectly regular; that he prosecuted his studies with diligence, and made such acquisitions both in the languages and scientific learning as grave entire satisfaction to his teacher—And he is hereby recommended to the friendly notice and regard of all lovers of Religion and Literature wherever he comes. IN TESTIMONY of Which this is given at LIBERTY HALL, this 22d of November, 1778, and signed by

ISAAC V. ALEXANDER, President.
EPHRAIM BREVARD, and ABRAHAM ALEXANDER, Trustees.

Dr. M'Whorter having, on account of the deranged state of his affairs, declined accepting the Presidency, Mr. Robert Brownfield was appointed, and agreed to accept for one year. The next year the invitation to Dr. M'Whorter was renewed, and a committee consisting of Rev. Samuel E. M'Corkle and Dr. Brevard was sent to New Jersey to wait upon him; and in the event of his still declining, to consult Dr. Witherspoon and Professor Houston, of Princeton College, respecting some other fit person for the office, to whom the Presidency should be offered. In compliance with this second invitation Dr. M'Whorter removed to Charlotte. But, owing to the invasion of the Carolinas, 1780, the operations of the Academy were suspended and not resumed during the war. After a short stay in Carolina, Dr. M'Whorter returned to New Jersey.

During the occupation of Charlotte by the forces of Cornwallis, Liberty Hall, which stood upon the ground now occupied by the dwelling house of Mr. Julius Alexander, was used as a hospital, and greatly defaced and injured. The numerous graves in the rear of the Academy, upon the departure of the British army, was one evidence of their great loss in this hostile county.

After the peace, Mr. Thomas Henderson, who had been educated at the Academy, set up a High School, which he carried on with great reputation for a number of years. And from that day to this Charlotte has been favored with academies and female seminaries. But the pre-eminence of Liberty Hall, as supplying the place of a college, for the South, was transferred to Mount Zion College, in Winnsborough, South Carolina, over which the Rev. Thomas H. McCaule, the pastor of Centre congregation for some years, and trustee of Liberty Hall, presided. This was owing to the liberality and activity of some pious persons by the name of Winn, who gave liberally in the cause of literature and religion, and exerted themselves for a college, while the friends of literature, and science, and religion, in North Carolina, relaxed their efforts for a college in their own State.

Mount Zion college, in Winnsborough, over which the popular McCaule presided, being near, and the college in Princeton, New Jersey, with which Professor Houston from -North Carolina was connected, under the Presidents Witherspoon and Smith, had so attracted public attention, the Presbyterians of North Carolina made no effort for a college under their own care and patronage, for many years. In this they miscalculated more than in any other matter of importance in which they were called to act. Whatever was the motive, the event shows the mistake.

Classical schools of a high order were numerous after the Revolutionary war, under the direction of Presbyterian clergymen. The high school in Charlotte has been continued, in some form, till the present time. Dr. Caldwell continued his in Guilford, with an interruption during the war, till his death. Dr. McCorkle had a flourishing school in Rowan, which was continued in Salisbury. Poplar rent has been favored with one from the time of the Revolution till near the close of Dr. Robinson's life, with some intermission. Rocky River had a famous one under Dr. Wilson; and Bethany under Dr. Hall. Sugar Creek enjoyed one for some time under Caldwell. There was a flourishing one in Chatham under the Rev. William Bingham, and one in Burke. Providence has been particularly favored, as also Fayetteville, and the Grove, in Duplin county, in all which there have been a succession of classical teachers. In these, classical instruction of a high order was imported, both before and since the establishment of the University.

Common schools were numerous. Public opinion in the Presbyterian settlements demanded that all children should be taught to read; and, as Dr. McRee tells us, not to be able to repeat the Shorter Catechism of the 'Westminster Assembly was a mark of vulgarity among the people who claimed a natural equality. From the great efforts made by Presbyterian pastors and missionaries in establishing schools and promoting education among the people at large, and from the deep conviction of the importance of some degree of education impressed upon the hearts of Presbyterian families, it came to be the fact, that in the bounds of the original Presbyterian settlements in North Carolina, very few persons grew up unable to read intelligibly. By the change wrought in the population of some sections by emigration to the west and-south, and the immigration of other families differently disposed on the subject of religion and education, a greater proportion are now unable to read than in the commencement of this century. This is believed to be the fact, though there are no certain statistics that will completely establish it, from want of returns duly made by authority the latter part of last century. Many a parent that felt the necessity of his child's being able to repeat the Catechism when young, would make efforts for his being taught to read he never would have thought of making but for that necessity The religious feeling is the most. friendly to education in all circumstances, and most diffusive of its benefits.

Since the establishment of the university of the State, the preponderance of classical schools has not been so entirely in the Presbyterian church; though they are undoubtedly far ahead in the religious and patriotic work of training the youth of the country to a high degree of science and literature.

Besides the numerous classical schools in different parts of the church, the Presbyterians took up the matter with renewed vigor a few years ago, and each of the three Presbyteries, into which the State is divided, made successful efforts to establish literary institutions of a high order. Each of these demands some particular notice.

First, the CALDWELL INSTITUTE. In the spring of 1833, Orange Presbytery appointed the Rev. Messrs. A. Wilson, Harding, Russell, Goodrich, Graham; and elders, Messrs. D. Atkinson and Sneed, "a committee to inquire into the expediency of altering, and if expedient, what alterations are necessary in the mode of preparing young men for the gospel ministry, during their literary course of study." In the fall of the same year, Rev. Joseph Caldwell, D.D., President of the University of North Carolina, and Mr. Morrow, were added to the committee.

The report of this committee, as amended and adopted, was, "It is recommended to the Presbytery to proceed without delay to make such provision as shall be necessary, for imparting education agreeably to their own views of the subject, in its essential merits and great and important ends." The Presbytery then resolved, "1st. That it is expedient to establish a literary institution, within the bounds of Orange Presbytery, on principles such as to secure a strictly Christian Education.

"2d. That the site of the institution shall be in or near Greens-borough, in the county of Guilford, North Carolina."

The institution went into operation on the 1st of January, 1836, under the instruction of the Rev. Alexander Wilson, a member of Orange Presbytery, from the north of Ireland, for some years pastor of Grassy Creek and Nutbush, and Mr. Silas C. Lindsay. The number of students so increased in a year or two, that a third professor, Mr. Gretter, was chosen. In less than six years from its commencement the number of students was about one hundred in regular attendance, and these from all parts of the State.

Article 4th, section 1st, in the plan of the institution, provides, "The Principal of the Institution shall be considered as sustaining the pastoral relations to all the students, and shall be required to perform towards them the duties appertaining to the office. It shall be the duty of the professors to afford such religious instruction as they shall deem necessary, but it shall be considered indispensable that portions of the Bible or the Evidences of Christianity, together with the Westminster Catechism, be studied by all the classes on the Sabbath."

Section 2d provides, "The Greek and Latin classics, upon an enlarged plan, shall be considered as forming a necessary part of the course of study." The Trustees, in their plan of education, say, "When studied in connection with the pure and mixed mathematics, the classics constitute, it is believed, not only the basis of solid learning and correct taste, but furnish also to young men emulous of distinction, the very best means of mental discipline." Again they say, I- Indeed the grand design of the Presbytery in attempting the establishment of Caldwell Institute is, to furnish our denomination, and the friends of learning generally, with a truly Christian education, in which the BibIe will occupy its proper place, and the paramount claims of Christian education he duly and fully recognized."

A charter was obtained in 1837, by which the right of appointing Trustees is vested in Orange Presbytery. The number of Trustees is at present 18, one-third of which go out each year, but may be re-elected. The attention of the Faculty and Trustees is not so much turned to obtaining students, as to preventing the admission of incorrigible and dissolute boys. They utterly decline having the institution considered as a place to which rude boys may be sent "to be broke in." They decline in all cases receiving such. They design the institution for the education of youth of good habits, without exposing them to the contamination of dissipated youth, and immoral young men.

In the year 1845, dissatisfaction leaving arisen with the location, the institute was removed to Hillsborough, the academy in that place, much enlarged, being appropriated to its use. In its new location its prospects are no less encouraging than at Greensborough.

Every day the students attend prayers in the public hall. On Sabbath the students attend public worship in the appointed place; and in the afternoon are engaged in Bible Class and Catechetical Recitations. All, without exception, are required to recite parts of the Westminster Shorter Catechism each Sabbath. The greatest number required of the most advanced, at one time, is ten; of the younger students, and those who have not previously studied the catechism, a less number is expected. The number of chapters in the Bible, for recitation, varies according to their length, and subjects, and other circumstances.

The Institute bears the name of the first president of the university of North Carolina—Caldwell, its firm friend, from its inception, during his life. He strongly urged upon his brethren a return to the old-fashioned discipline and studies of Presbyterian classical schools, the course somewhat enlarged. He declared that it was not sectarian for denominations to have denominational schools; that religion must be taught by somebody, and in classical academies, but one denomination could be engaged in a single school to advantage. In these sentiments of Dr. Caldwell the community now generally agree.

The success of the Institute in making scholars, has been equal to the anticipations of its friends. The students take an honorable and becoming stand in the university; are in high repute as preceptors of academies, and teachers in primary schools. The thorough drilling they are called to undergo, fits them for a professional course, and a pleasant pursuit of literary studies in after life.

Upon the removal of the institute from Greensborough, the friends of education in and around that village continued the classical school in the buildings vacated, under the tuition of the Rev. Eli W. Caruthers, the successor of Dr. David CaIdwell, and author of his memoirs; and Mr. Lindsey, who had been an instructor in the Institute from the first. This school has flourished, and has fair prospects of success. Its discipline and course of studies are formed upon the model and experience of the school that preceded it; and Greensborough still holds out strong inducements for the patronage of the public, for the education of boys.

THE DONALDSON ACADEMY was founded by Fayetteville Presbytery, about the same time with the Caldwell Institute, and located in Fayetteville. Its object was the same, and the discipline and course of studies very similar. It received its name from a liberal patron in New York. It was commenced on the manual labor plan; as was also the design of the Caldwell Institute at first. Its success under the tuition of the Rev. Simeon Colton, was flattering both as to the numbers and progress of the students. But the manual labor system was found unprofitable and inexpedient, and was abandoned in a few years. Some unpropitious circumstances led the trustees to dispose of the academy buildings, and the preceptor, Mr. Colton, has since carried on a flourishing classical school in Fayetteville on his own responsibility, until in the present year (1846), his acceptance of the presidency of a college brought his school to a close.

DAVIDSON COLLEGE was founded by Concord and Bethel Presbyteries; the first embracing the upper part of North Carolina, and the other an adjoining section in South Carolina. In the year 1835, the Concord Presbytery, at their regular spring meeting held at Prospect Church, formerly a part of Centre, took steps for the endowment of a college, to he located somewhere in the beautiful region occupied by the Presbyterian population in the upper part of the State. In the fall of the same year, vigorous measures were taken for putting up suitable buildings. The site was chosen in the northern part of Mecklenburg county, near to Iredell, Rowan, and Cabarrus, about two miles from Centre Meeting-house.

Its name was given in honor of General Davidson, who fell at Cowan's Ford, whose numerous relatives were generous patrons of the College. Operations were commenced the first Monday of March, 1837, under Rev. R. H. Morrison, D.D., pastor of Sugar Creek, president; and Rev. P. J. Sparrow of Salisbury, professor. By these gentlemen, with the assistance of a tutor, Mr. Johnson, the regular classes were formed, and carried through a regular college course.

The college was opened as a manual labor institution; and all the students were required to labor some hours each study day upon the college farm, for which they received compensation. After about four years' trial, the system was modified from necessary to voluntary labor; those laboring receiving a suitable compensation.

In the year 1838 an ample charter was obtained from the State, empowering the Board of Trustees chosen by Concord and Bethel Presbyteries, to manage all the affairs of the college, and hold property to the amount of two hundred thousand dollars. Vacancies in the board are to be supplied by the Presbyteries that founded the college; and such other Presbyteries as they may associate with themselves.

By Art. 2d, Sec. 3d, of the Constitution, it is provided, that the teachers and professors shall, on their inauguration, enter into the following obligations, viz.—"I do sincerely believe the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the word of God, the only infallible rule of faith and practice. I do sincerely adopt the Confession of Faith of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, as faithfully exhibiting the doctrines taught in the Holy Scriptures. I do sincerely approve and adopt the Form of Government and Discipline of the Presbyterian Church in these United States of America. I do solemnly engage not to teach anything that is opposed to any doctrine contained in the Confession of Faith, nor to oppose any of the fundamental principles of the Presbyterian Church Government, while I continue a teacher or professor of this Institution." By Art. 1st, no one is eligible to the office of trustee but such as are "members in full communion of the Presbyterian Church." It is also provided, that " no person shall be inducted into the office of teacher or professor but a member of the Presbyterian Church in full communion." Great pains are taken to impart suitable religious and moral instruction to the students, and to enforce the necessary discipline. The charter provisions make it an offence cognizable by the common law courts, for any person to set up or open to the students any allurements to dissipation within two miles of the College.

The College was deprived of the valuable services of its first President, Dr. Morrison, by protracted ill health, which for a time rendered any effort at teaching or preaching impracticable; and of Professor Sparrow, by resignation. Dr. Morrison, after retiring to his farm, recovered his health, and is now preaching; and Mr. Sparrow is President of Hampden Sydney College, in Virginia. Davidson College has been pretty regularly increasing in the number of its students and the extent of its influence; and the standard of its scholarship is rising as fast as that of any infant institution in our land. Its instruction is imparted by a President, Rev. Samuel Williamson, and two Professors, Rev. S. B. O. Wilson, and Mr. Mortimer Johnson, with the assistance of tutors.

There are, or ought to be, students enough in the State to fill the University and this College also. There ought to be enough connected with the ten thousand communicants of the Presbyterian Church to sustain this College to the full, and spare some students to the University. And if the whole State is ever aroused to a just apprehension of the value of education, these two institutions will not contain the youths thirsting for knowledge; and, if ever the Presbyterian population become alive to the real value of classic instruction chastened by Christian morality and truth, this College will neither want funds nor students.

In reviewing the efforts of the Scotch and Scotch-Irish, and their descendants, worthy of all praise and imitation, we can but lament that the citizens of Mecklenburg and the neighboring counties suffered themselves to be beguiled from the good work of establishing a College on a liberal foundation, and their attention to be turned to the neighboring excellent but short-lived Institution at Winnsborough, and to the more imposing and permanent one at Princeton. It is scarcely possible to conceive the amount of influence that long before this would have been put forth in the South and West, following the stream of emigration towards the Mississippi, had the Queen's Museum or Liberty Hall been sustained with the spirit and liberality with which they were founded.

There is another feature in the efforts at education among these people, worthy of notice, and that is, the attention paid to the instruction of females. Before the Revolution, and for some years afterwards, females were not generally favored with an opportunity of an education beyond the rudiments taught in the common schools. How men who thought so wisely on religion and politics, and vindicated them so nobly, and prized the liberal instruction of their sons, should have so overlooked their daughters, can be solved only by a reference to their precious history and the circumstances in which they were placed. But the fact remains, that the men who built the College at Charlotte and those who founded the classical schools in different parts of the State, were contented for the most part with affording their daughters a very limited course of study. To reading the Bible and repeating time catechism, and writing a legible hand, few studies were added. Grammar, arithmetic and geography, were seldom numbered amongst the studies of females. There were some noble exceptions in daughters of clergymen and some others. Dr. Caldwell, of Guilford, gave his daughter the best education that could be obtained. Some sent their daughters to Philadelphia. But the mass were contented with a very low standard of acquirements. As a consequence, the females, who were, as females generally are, admirers of mental accomplishments, and who labored hard that their brothers and sons might obtain the advantages of knowledge, were themselves sometimes neglected and ready to cry out, "many a day have I worked with these hands," in sickness of heart.

This evil has been of late passing away before the commendable efforts to establish schools of high reputation for young females. These have sprung up in different parts of the State—some few, public institutions, and many on private responsibility. And at this time, the daughters of Carolina are not compelled either to grow up with few acquirements besides what their own native talent could, unaided, accomplish, or seek in some other State the privileges denied in their own. In their native State, they can now enjoy advantages for a literary, scientific and ornamental education, not surpassed in any of the Southern States, and which may compare advantageously with the most favored sections of our country. These institutions are found both in Eastern and Western Carolina.

The efforts now making by the State to ensure the instruction of all children of the community in the common branches of education, in conjunction with the exertions made by different denominations, for the proper training of the youth under their care, will, by a divine blessing, secure to all the privilege of reading, and to multitudes a liberal course of study.

MARTIN ACADEMY, in its history and influence, is the property of Tennessee. It received its existence from the Rev. Samuel Doak, the earliest classical teacher west of "the Mountains;" and, in 1788, received a charter from the State of North Carolina. In 1795, it became a College, under the labors of that indefatigable man, and by the charter granted by the Territorial Government. Its influence during the Revolution, and after, together with a full sketch of the early ministers that settled along the Holston, will be a part of the work of him that writes either the ecclesiastical or civil history of Tennessee.

This article may be very properly brought to a close, by an extract from a report of a committee of Fayetteville Presbytery, "on the condition and prospects of Davidson College." The Presbytery had been invited to join in the support of the College; a committee, of which Rev. Simeon Calton was chairman, was appointed to visit the institution and make report. This committee submitted a long and able report to the Presbytery in November, 1844, which was, by order of Presbytery, printed and widely circulated. Towards the conclusion of the report, the committee say: "Here, it is natural to inquire, can Davidson College be sustained; and can it ever become such an institution as will hold a good rank among sister institutions, and be likely to attract any considerable attention to itself, as a place of education? It should be remembered that there are but few colleges that rank so high as to command general attention through the country, and exert a general influence on the cause of education. Of the sixty, which our country contains, comparatively few are known beyond the immediate region where they are located. They are all, however, useful in their place; and exert no little influence on the community that surrounds them. Davidson College is located in a section of country where the influence of such an institution will be appreciated; and be productive of much good. It is easy of access, and placed in the midst of a rich section of territory, it will always be surrounded by a dense population, out of which many young men will be desirous of obtaining an education. These will find this institution, on many accounts, an eligible place of resort. The districts of Spartanburg, York, Lancaster, and Chesterfield, in South Carolina; and the counties of Mecklenburg, Cabarrus, Anson, Lincoln, Rutherford, Burke, Iredell, Wilkes, Davy, Rowan, and Stanley, in forth Carolina, will find this the most convenient place for them. Surry, together with the counties further to the west, with Richmond, Moore, Montgomery, Robeson, and other eastern counties, will, for various reasons, always contribute more or less to the patronage of this institution. The districts and counties which we have named contain a population of two hundred thousand souls; a population considerably exceeding that of the State of Connecticut, previous to the establishment of the two denominational colleges, in addition to Yale. Within the limits of the district of country which have been described, there are between eight and nine thousand members of the Presbyterian churches; how many of other denominations, we have no means of determining. Supposing the patronage of the institution is confined to the Presbyterian denomination, there is sufficient population of that order, within the limits named, not only to justify, but even to demand, that the institution should, by them, be sustained. But if conducted on liberal principles, the Presbyterian is not the only denomination that will patronize the institution. Other denominations, from contiguity of situation, or from motives of economy, and, as may be hoped, from intrinsic merits of the institution, will patronize it to some extent. Patronage, too, from other parts of the State may be expected, when the character of the institution shall have become established and known."


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