Search just our sites by using our customised search engine

Unique Cottages | Electric Scotland's Classified Directory

Click here to get a Printer Friendly PageSmiley

Sketches of North Carolina
Chapter XXXVI - The University of North Carolina and Rev. Joseph Caldwell, D.D.

THE following brief statement, which appeared in the public papers immediately after the exercises it describes, was admitted by the friends of the institution to be a correct view of the state of things at Chapel Hill, and will form our introduction to the University of the State.

At half-past tell o'clock on Thursday morning, June 3d, 1842, the usual procession of students, faculty, trustees, and visitors, was formed in front of the South College, and moved through the beautiful grove of native forest trees, carefully preserved as an ornament of the University grounds, round the monument erected to the memory of the first President, the Rev. Joseph Caldwell, D.D., who cherished the infant university and presided over its destinies for some forty years, to the chapel, where the exercises of Commencement Day were opened with prayer by the Rev. Professor Mitchell, of the Presbyterian church, and closed with prayer by Professor Green, of the Episcopal church.

During the exercises, His Excellency Governor Morehead on the right of the President of the University, Ex-Governor Swain, occupied the centre of the stage, and the orators of the day, nine in number, in their rear; and the Trustees and Professors on the right and left, occupied the wings of the stage, leaving a space in front of the two presiding officers for the speakers' stand; immediately in front of the platform were the students of the University in a company.

The performances of the young gentlemen, candidates for the Baccalaureate, adorned each with the insignia of the literary society of which he was a member, were characterized by correctness of sentiment and chasteness of style and delivery; and an entire absence of the artificial action and pompous diction sometimes so prominent in academic exercises. Before the Bachelor's Degree was conferred, one of the Trustees read the report of the Faculty, giving individually, and by name, the rank of each of the candidates for the honor, from the time of entering the University till the close of his studies; and in a general manner the standing of the under-graduates. The senior class occupied a small area in front of the stage, while the statement was read from the college records. Their rank in scholarship, their behavior in recitations, public worship, and daily prayers, and the number of absentees from any college exercise, were each stated in order. The deep interest with which the whole assembly listened to this record, evinced the power of the appeal to the sense of honor and propriety in the bosoms of the young men. A strong sensation pervaded the assembly when it was announced that on account of inattention to college duties, after repeated admonitions, two undergraduates were in clanger of being remitted to their parents; their names were not mentioned; and it would have been cruel to have scanned the anxious company for the discovery that might have been made. The report closed by announcing that twenty-nine young gentlemen were admitted to their first Degree; of these, one had not failed in an exercise or duty during the whole four years' course; six others had not failed during the senior year; and three others had not in their course voluntarily failed; their few absences being the consequence of unavoidable necessity.

The degree of A.B. was then conferred by the President, calling the young gentlemen by name, upon the stage, pronouncing the form of admission in Latin, and presenting the parchment on which was written a certificate of the fact, signed by the trustees and faculty. After the parchment had been given to each Bachelor, a beautifully bound copy of the Bible, the pocket edition of the American Bible Society, was presented, by the President, to each of the graduates, with a Latin Form expressive of the desire of the Faculty and Trustees—that it might be their guide to eternal life. It is understood that besides public worship on the Sabbath, and daily prayers in the chapel, instruction in the Bible forms a part of the regular College course.

An air of solemnity pervaded all the proceedings of this day, in the beautiful classic grove of Chapel Hill. Events had occurred, which touched all hearts, in this little community, composed of the Faculty of the University, their families, and the students, and a few families connected with the Institution. Death, perhaps, has not as many terrors in a retired village, as in a crowded city; but it is more solemn and affecting. The throng of business and Heartless dissipation in the city, neglects the sick, the dying, and the dead, and makes it horrible and loathsome to die. In a secluded village, or retired community, the death of a single individual, for a time, stops the current of business, changes the tide of feeling, awakens the tenderest sympathies, and brings Bome the truth, that the narrow resting-place of the grave will soon be the home of us all.

An amiable young lady, the daughter of the Rev. AIexander Wilson, D.D., of Caldwell Institute, Greensborough, returning in company with her father, from a visit to Raleigh, had been detained a few days at. the house of Professor Philips of the University, by a fever, which yielded to no medicine, but went on slowly and steadily in its work, till, on the last day of May, it triumphed over its victim. What parent could check the feelings of sympathy with a 'parent for a sick child? What youth could shut the heart against that indescribable interest, that surrounds an amiable female, cheered in her struggles with disease and death, by the hope of immortal life through Jesus Christ, her Lord? Simply to say, however, that the inhabitants of Chapel Hill sympathized with the afflicted parent and his dying child would be saying little of that classic community.

A sense of religion had grown up with that young lady, and the duty and privilege of prayer had been felt and enjoyed from her earliest days. Her religious principles maintained an unbroken ascendency through the various stages of her disease till about a -day before her death, when the last struggle of unbelief preceded the last struggle of mortal life. Her disturbed appearance and restlessness of body exciting attention, she said—"it was not pain of body, but that her mind was dark, and fears had come over her, lest her hopes were vain, and would desert her in the last hour." The Professor, whose hospitality was privileged in ministering to the wants of the dying one, was immediately summoned from his college exercises,—prayer was offered around her couch, till her soul was quieted in the good hope through grace. From that time she enjoyed unbroken peace, till she fell asleep in Jesus. The solemn funeral services, conducted by Professor Philips, took place the evening preceding the commencement, and her remains were laid in the burying-ground of the University. You will see her monument as you pass, a little distance from the gate.

The impression of the whole scene on commencement day was entirely favorable; creditable alike to the students, the Faculty and the University. Under the present admirable arrangements, a studious youth may acquire as complete an academic education as at any college in time Union; and parents and guardians may be assured that unceasing attention is paid to the morals, religious instruction, and studious habits of the young men committed to the fostering care of the University."—(Watchman of the South, June 16th, 1542.)

The University of North Carolina, introduced to the kindness of criticism and the public sympathy by the preceding notice, is not a Presbyterian institution, neither does it belong to, nor is it under the peculiar management of any religious denomination. It is the child and property of the State at large, in which all have an interest, and over it the Legislature the ultimate control. As part of the community that loves the education of youth, the Presbyterian congregations and families have a great and increasing interest in the University, now rising in the public estimation, in actual merit and in the influence on the public mind; they must, in common with all the denominations in the State, feel the pulsations of this literary and scientific heart of the State; as patriots, they must, and do wish well to this nursery of citizens and rulers, for its disease and pollution, or its health and moral action, must affect every section of the State, and sooner or later guide the fortunes of the whole. Who can estimate the influence of a well endowed popular literary institution, as it pours out its streams, year after year, into the bosoms of society, and like the Nile of Egypt, watering every garden on the plains!

But there is another view in which Presbyterians have been, and are, deeply involved as a community that love their creed, and fully believe that, in the fair working of their principles, the best interests of society will advance with a rapid pace, even to the full enjoyment of the rights of man in freedom of conscience, and undisturbed possession of life and property; a view in which, as we look at the University, every Presbyterian may point at it, as an exhibition or development of one part of their principles, which convinces, not by argument, but by facts, that the Presbyterian Church is neither monarchical nor aristocratical, nor grasping, but is seeking honestly the welfare of the whole. This view will be set forth in this sketch of the history of the institution, and a short notice of him, justly styled the Father of the University, JOSEPH CALDWELL.

On the 11th of December, 1789, the Legislature of North Carolina, in accordance with the provisions of her constitution, adopted December 6th, 1776, requiring all useful learning to be promoted in one or more universities, incorporated an university with the following preamble to the charter: "Whereas, in all well regulated governments it is the indispensable duty of every legislature to consult the happiness of a rising generation, and endeavor to fit them for an honorable discharge of the social duties of life, by paying the strictest attention to their education; and whereas an university supported by permanent funds, arid well endowed, would have the most direct tendency to answer the above purpose, Be it therefore enacted," &c., &c. The following forty names were inserted as "the trustees of the University of North Carolina," viz.; Samuel Johnson, James Iredell, Charles Johnson, Hugh Williamson, Stephen Cabarrus, Richard Dobbs Speight, Win. Blount, Benjamin Williams, John Sibpeanes, Frederick Harget, Robert W. Snead, Archibald Maclane, Hon. Samuel Ashe, Robert Dixon, Benjamin Smith, Hon. Samuel Spencer, John Hay, James Hogg, Henry Wm. Harrington, Wm. Barney Grove, Rev. Samuel E. McCorkle, Adlai Osborn, John Stokes, John Hamilton, Joseph Graham, Hon. John Williams, Thomas Person, Alfred Moore, Alexander Mebane, Joel Lane, Willie Jones, Benjamin Hawkins, John Haywood, sen., .John Macon, Wm. Richardson Davie, Joseph Dixon, Wm. Lenoir, Joseph McDonald, James Holland, and Wm. Porter. Some moderate endowment was made by the State, which cost her nothing, by way of old debts due from receiving officers previous to 1st Jan., 1755, and all the property which had escheated to the State or should thereafter be escheated. The latter part of the endowment was repealed in a few years.

The first meeting of the trustees was held in Fayetteville, the 15th of 'November, 1790, and the work of gathering funds to erect buildings and maintain teachers was commenced. In December, 1791, the State made a loan of $10,000, which was afterwards converted into a donation, and the trustees determined to select a site and erect buildings. According to the charter "a healthy and convenient situation, which shall not be situated within five miles of the scat of government, or any of the places of holding the courts of law or equity," was to be chosen by the trustees according to their discretion. On the 1st of November, 1792, a committee of six met at Pittsborough, to determine the precise location of the university, the trustees having decided in August in favor of the neighborhood of Cypress Bridge, on the road from Pittsburough to Raleigh. Liberal offers were made by various proprietors to secure time location on their tract, or in their neighborhoods. On the 9th time committee unanimously chose Chapel Hill, and the same day the citizens of the neighborhood conveyed eleven hundred and eighty acres of land to the university, and made a subscription of about $1600 to assist in carrying the designs of the trustees into speedy execution. The North Carolina Journal, Halifax, for September 25th, 1793, says "The seat of the university is on a high ridge. There is a gentle declivity of 300 yards to the village, which is situated in a handsome plain considerably lower than the site of the public buildings, but so greatly elevated above the neighboring country as to furnish an extensive landscape. The ridge appears to commence about half a mile directly east of the college buildings, where it rises abruptly several hundred feet; this peak is called Point Prospect. The Peak country spreads off below, like the ocean, giving an immense hemisphere, in which the eye seems to be lost in the extent of space.

"The University is situated about twenty-eight miles from the city of Raleigh, and twelve from the town of Hillsborough. The great road from Chatham, and the country in the neighborhood of that county, to Petersburg, passes at present directly through the village, and it is a fortunate and important circumstance, both to the Institution and the town, that the road from all the Western country to the seat of Government will also pass through this place, being the nearest and best direction."

On the 12th of October, 1793, the first lots in the village were sold, and the corner-stone of the first building was laid, with masonic procession and ceremonies, by William Richardson Davie. The Rev. Dr. McCorkle, of the Presbyterian church, the only clergyman then in the corporation, addressed the assembly at length. From his speech the following are extracts:—"It is our duty to acknowledge that sacred scriptural truth, Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it; except the Lord keepeth the city, the watchman waketh but in vain. For my own part, I feel myself penetrated with a sense of these truths; and this I feel not only as a minister of religion, but also as a citizen of the State, as a member of civil as well as religious society. These unaffected feelings of my heart give me leave to express, with that plainness and honesty which becomes a preacher of the Gospel and a minister of Jesus Christ."

"To diffuse the greatest possible degree of happiness in a given territory is the aim of good government and religion. Now the happiness of a nation depends upon national wealth and national glory, and cannot be gained without them. They in like manner depend upon liberty and laws. Liberty and laws call for general knowledge in the people, and extensive knowledge in matters of State; and these, in fine, demand public places of education. * * * * How can any nation be happy without national wealth? How can that nation, or roan, be happy that is not procuring the necessary conveniences and accommodations of life ? How can glory or wealth be procured or preserved without liberty and laws, as they must check luxury, encourage industry and protect wealth. They must secure me the glory of my actions, and save from a bowstring or a bastile; and how are these objects to be gained without general knowledge? Knowledge is wealth,—it is glory—whether among philosophers, ministers of state or of religion, or among the great mass of the people. Britons 'glory in the name of a Newton, and honor him with a place among the sepulchres of her kings. Americans glory in the name of a Franklin; and every nation which has them boasts her great men. Savages cannot have, rather cannot educate them, though many a Newton has been born and buried among them. Knowledge is liberty and law. When the clouds of ignorance are dispelled by the radiance of knowledge, power trembles, but the authority of the laws remains inviolable; and how this knowledge, productive of so many advantages to mankind, can be acquired without public places of instruction, I know not. * * * * "May this hill be for religion as the ancient bill of Zion; and for literature and the Muses, may it surpass the ancient Parnassus! We this day enjoy the pleasure of seeing the corner-stone of the University, its foundations, its materials, and the architects of the buildings, and we hope ere long to see its stately walls and spire ascending to their summit." The discourse was followed by a short but animated prayer, closed with the united Amen of an immense concourse of people.

The buildings being in a state of sufficient forwardness to accommodate students, notice was given for the opening of the institution. Rev. David Kerr, a graduate of Trinity College, Dublin, a member of the Presbyterian church, who had emigrated to America in the year 1791, and had resided in Fayetteville as the preacher, and also as teacher of a classical school for about three years, having a reputation for talents and scholarship, was the first Professor selected by the trustees; and with hint was associated Mr. Samuel A. Holmes, as tutor in the preparatory department. The first student on the ground was Mr. Hinton James, from Wilmington, who arrived on the 12th of February, 1790, and on the 13th the public institution commenced. Mr. Kerr remained but a short time in the employ of the trustees; went to Lumberon in Robeson county, commenced mercantile business and the study of law; and when prepared for legal business, removed to the Mississippi territory, was made United States ?Marshal, and soon after appointed Judge; and closed his career in the year 1810, having acquired both property and reputation.

In the course of the year 1795, Mr. Charles W. Harris, of Cabarrus county, a graduate of Nassau Hail, New Jersey, who was pursuing the study of the law, was appointed professor of mathematics, and Mr. Holmes professor of languages. Mr. Harris accepted the office only for one year, and declined renewing his term of engagement, wishing to follow his profession, in which he became eminent, being considered one of the best lawyers in the State, when death suddenly closed his career. He directed the attention of the trustees to Mr. Joseph Caldwell, a tutor in Nassau Hall, with whose deportment and scholarship he had been acquainted while a member of college, though there had never been any intimacy with him. This recommendation led to a correspondence, of which Mr. Harris was the organ; and finally the removal of Mr. Caldwell to Chapel Hill, in the fall of 1796, as the Professor of mathematics in the University. The course of instruction in the University had been carried on about eighteen months, and the regular course of studies not yet settled, or the regular classes formed. Everything was new, and in an unformed state; the funds small, and the students few; the library and apparatus yet to he procured, and the faculty not more in number than is required for a high school. But the work was commenced, and an effort must be made for an University. The history of the institution as a place of education, properly commences with the labors of Joseph Caldwell. He was the presiding Professor, and then the President; and for some forty years directed the studies of the classes, performing the duty of a laborious professor and of the president, of a faithful teacher and the responsible governor, till the institution, which began so small, grew up to a standard of excellence, at his death, unsurpassed by any institution of a similar kind in the southern country, and second to few in the United States. As for forty years the history of the man is the history of the University, and the history of the University is the history of the man, a few notices of his early life, which may introduce us to the Rev. Joseph Caldwell as he appeared at the Hill in 1796, will facilitate our acquaintance with the rise and progress of the University itself. His matured years gave a finishing touch to the work of his youth.

Dr. Joseph Caldwell, a respectable physician in New Jersey, the descendant of an emigrant from the province of Ulster, Ireland, a country fertile in enterprising men, as Carolina can witness, came to an untimely end, from the rupture of a blood-vessel, on the 19th of April, 1773, at Lamington, a village on the little stream called Black River, that empties into the Raritan. In the 20th his body was committed to the dust; and on the 21st his widow gave birth to a son, which, in her desolation of widowhood, she called Joseph, in memory of the husband and the father. As the child grew he received religious instructions from his pious mother, Rachel Harker, the daughter of a Presbyterian clergyman, and granddaughter of a Huguenot. Mr. Lovel, the maternal grandfather of Joseph Caldwell, fled from France after that memorable epoch, 1684, when, by the revocation of the Edict of Nantz, the French Protestants became the prey of persecution without mercy. He took his residence first in England; and after a few years emigrated to America, and settled on the west end of Long Island, near Oyster Bay, and not far from Hempstead Plains. Here he lived an exemplary Christian life, and trained up his family- in habits of religion, infusing much of his own decision, promptness, and determination, in matters of religion, and in the ordinary business of life. Of his maternal grandmother, Rachel Lovel, Mr. Caldwell used to speak in the highest terms, having lived with her when young, and gathered from her the traditions of the family but of his mother, his admiration knew no bounds, as a kind parent and Christian woman. Of the discretion of his mother, he used to give a pleasing instance, exemplifying unintentionally his own natural tenderness of feeling, and his sense of propriety. While quite it young lad, during a short residence at Bristol, he ventured to transgress the rules of his mother, by going on a Sabbath to indulge in bathing : narrowly escaping being drowned, he was taken home sick and exhausted, requiring careful attention to recover his lost strength. His mother kindly attended upon her son, and, to his surprise, said nothing to him about1his disobedience, or exposure to loss of life. Whatever was her motive, the effect was great her silence distressed lain more than any reproof she could have given: his conscience chastised him for his sin in grieving a mother he so much loved. The boy's heart was tender, and the mother knew her child. The religious impression soon passed away, but the moral remained. Through life he retained the impression of this dealing of his mother, and, as far as practicable, governed his students in the same principle, throwing them upon their sense of honor, with unabated kindness, always forbearing exposure, and public and even private reproof, as far as reclaiming the offender, and the interest of the institution, would permit. A lad was far gone in moral insensibility that could know Dr. Caldwell and rebel against him for any length of time.

Mr. Lovel, the grandfather of Dr. Caldwell, was a firm believer in those doctrines of religion, and that consistent Christian practice, which, in England, was called Puritanism, and in France obtained for its followers the name of Huguenots. Pond of music, he brought with him from France a parlor organ, on which he played himself, accompanying with his voice, and taught his children to play upon it as they grew up, using it as an assistant to their music in the daily family worship. This instrument is probably in existence still, as it was carefully preserved, and in use by the descendants of Mr. Lovel in the days of Mr. Caldwell's. youth.

Mr. Lovel was peculiar for his conscientious abstinence from meat diet. Living on a most productive farm, which he managed ,yell, he reared his family in total abstinence of all diet that required the slaughter of animals, believing that such a course was more consistent with the constitution of men and the state of innocency, than the indulgence of appetite at the expense of animal life. In his domestic economy, he accustomed his children to exercise their ingenuity and skill in overcoming difficulties; and mingling strict discipline with parental kindness, had possessed their veneration and love, and his family was esteemed the abode of cheerfulness and domestic happiness.

Mr. Harker, a Presbyterian clergyman, married Mr. Lovel's daughter Rachel, and settled in a place in Morris county, New Jersey, called Black River. Remarkable for his size, strength and vigor of body, and also for his intellectual powers, his preparations for the ministry commenced after he had passed the days of his youth in manual labor. The habits of activity he had formed, were continued through life. A practical man and faithful pastor, he was a leading man in the community. A daughter of his, named Rachel after her mother, was Mrs. Caldwell. Another daughter married a man by the name of Symmes, and became the mother of a son noted for his theory of the earth's concavity at the poles.

The war of the Revolution coming on when Dr. Caldwell was a child, and New Jersey being the track of the hostile armies, he was removed from place to place, as the ravages of war pressed upon his retreat. During all his early life, his mother's residence was unsettled, and his education conducted irregularly, as opportunities were presented. His mother having a temporary residence in Bristol, he commenced the study of the mathematics, in which he delighted through life. Her residence being for a time in Princeton, he was presented with a Latin grammar by a student from Charleston, South Carolina, and commenced his classical studies in the preparatory school under the direction of Dr. Witherspoon, President of the college. This school was famous for the thorough instruction and the consequent close application and correct method of the pupils. Young Caldwell was a close student, and laid the foundation for his future scholarship and excellence while in this school, and received impressions and imbibed principles which characterized him in his labors at Chapel hill, and in his efforts to establish and sustain grammar schools of a high order. When his mother removed to Newark, his progress in his education was delayed by the change of system, and the different course of studies, and his being put in a class less advanced than himself. It is not improbable that his own experience of the inefficiency of some popular modes of instruction, and more general courses of study, fixed his judgment so firmly in favor of thorough drilling in the rudiments of science, and of a liberal course in the languages.

From Newark ark his mother removed to Elizabethtown, and ,while there, on account of her narrow circumstances, abandoned the project of giving him a liberal education, and fixed upon the printing business as his future occupation. With some difficulty she obtained a place she thought eligible for her son, but when the time carne for his being apprenticed, she expressed a strong disinclination to act, first delaying, then opposing, then abandoning an engagement she had sought, and for which her son had at length contracted a strong predilection. Some time after this, Dr. Witherspoon, as he passed through Elizabethtown in the stage, called to see her, and after consultation respecting her son, removed all her difficulties, and promised, on his being sent to college, to be his patron, if he stood in need at any time of more assistance than was convenient for her to give. With unbounded satisfaction young Caldwell became a member of the Freshman class at Nassau Hall, August, 1787, in his fifteenth year, with a passionate desire for improvement, without any definite ultimate result in view.

His progress in study and his standing as a scholar while in college, is understood by his honorable appointment to the Latin Salutatory for the exercises of commencement day, August, 1791, when he received his Bachelor's degree, being then in his nineteenth year. His deportment and success during his college course attracted the attention of Mr. Harris, and led to his appointment as professor in the University of North Carolina.

Being a young man of tender feelings, and that amiable disposition that desires to please others at a sacrifice of personal comfort, he was sometimes induced while in college to engage in sports which involved some breach of strict propriety in college discipline, yielding to the solicitations and persuasions of his fellow students, who had less of that tenderness of conscience, self-respect, and sense of propriety, that never failed to inflict on him, as with a whip of scorpions, a full measure of distress for his impropriety. Speaking of his course as a student, he says "If there was any pleasure in the moments of clandestine acts of mischief, it was so mixed, in my bosom, with the agitation of apprehended discovery and dread of consequences, that I should be far from recommending it on the score of enjoyment. In all such cases, and I thank God they were not numerous, as soon as they were over, the gloomy cloud which they brought upon my feelings, and which kept hovering around me for days, was enough to decide most unequivocally, that much was to be set down on the page, not of profit but of loss. The miseries, more or less, which, in compliance with solicitation, I sometimes consented to inflict upon myself were only a portion of the consequent suffering." With this tenderness of feeling and of conscience, there was connected a degree of resolution when called imperiously to act, which all combined and governed by Christian principle forms a Christian hero; a man not rash, nor timidly afraid; sensible of dander, but more sensible of propriety; tender of others' feelings, but more tender of truth and right; for convenience and accommodation of others yielding all that can be yielded, but purchasing nothing by giving up or concealing principle; that would not hurt the hair of the head of ingenuous, helpless innocence, and yet would die for the truth and righteousness. This character went with Caldwell through life, and was often displayed while performing the duties of professor and president at Chapel Hill. For at times you might have found him all kindness while dealing with inexperienced youth, in whom he thought he saw an ingenuous noble spirit to confess and forsake an error, and then with those in whom he discovered a spirit of insubordination, you might see him rigorous, uncompromising, till the dignity of the law was vindicated. And in his intercourse and necessary connection with the board of trustees on circumstantial things, giving up his better judgment and greater experience with cheerfulness, in obedience to the expressed will of the majority, as if he had no fixed purpose or resolution of soul; and then on subjects on which he saw his own or the dignity of the institution depending, resolutely setting himself, with a calm firmness, against propositions and measures, as if he had never known what it was to yield his opinion to any body of men.

After receiving his degree of A.I3., he returned to the residence of his brother Samuel, who then occupied the farm given him by his grandfather Harker, at Black River, which was also the residence of his mother. Not being prepared to enter upon a course of professional studies, nor inclined to labor on the farm, he opened a small school in the neighborhood, and exercised himself in teaching little children, commencing, unintentionally, where the best teachers begin to learn the rare science of teaching well, with the unformed, or infant mind. There is a philosophy in the alphabet and in teaching it; and more skill may be required to teach a column of words of two letters to a lively or a dull boy, than to lead a class through an equation.

From this place, after some months, he was removed to Elizabethtown, to occupy the post of an usher or assistant, in a classical school, and was made more intimately conversant with the rudiments of a classic course, by recalling his boyish exercises in study, and adding to his acquirements, while leading others to Parnassus hill; finding out his own deficiencies, and gathering new rays of light on abstruse subjects, in the preparation to unfold the mystery to the curious minds of studious boys, who catch, as by intuition, from the preceptor, the knowledge of his unfitness, or his capability to teach. Here he came under the preaching of that gifted, zealous, and erratic man, David Austin. A fervent and successful preacher, of tall stature and commanding appearance, fine voice and impressive delivery, he manifested the unhinging of his mind, and tendency to mono-madness, on the return of the Jews, which he first rejoiced in, then preached, then believed was just at hand; and then becoming too absorbed in the bewiIdering subject to be able to perform the duties of pastor, he left his people. His enthusiasm and eloquence carried many of his people with him to the verge of folly, if not insanity. But before, and after this temporary alienation of mind, he was a fascinating, impressive, and useful preacher of the gospel. With this gentleman, then in his zenith of usefulness, Mr. Caldwell began a course of study for the ministry, his mind having become settled both on the truth of the gospel of Christ, as a Revelation from God; and on his personal interest in that salvation revealed in the gospel. These being settled, the work of the ministry appeared to his mind and heart, in some manner, as it had to the pious mind of his affectionate mother, as the most desirable work for his strength and days. The kindness of his pastor, of whom he always spoke with feelings of the most affectionate reverence, his fervent exhortations in the pulpit and his private communications, together with the affectionate attentions of Mrs. Austin, who won his heart as a matron in the gospel, confirmed his faith, and stimulated his desires for spiritual excellence, and for accomplishing the greatest good for his fellow men. The cause of Christ appeared the cause of all the world. His companion in study was a Mr. Sherman, a nephew of Mr. Austin.

The views and impressions of religious truth which he obtained at this time were of an abiding nature, and confirmed by his residence as tutor at Nassau Hall, where he pursued his theological studies under the direction of great and good men, particularly Dr. Witherspoon; they were the articles of his belief and principles of his preaching, till the end of his life, and the joy and crown of his last days. While Professor at Chapel Hill he received a letter from Mr. Sherman, his fellow student at Elizabethtown, for whom he felt a strong regard, who had been settled in the ministry of the orthodox faith, and had imbibed the spirit of rationalism that for a time pervaded a part of the church, and flattered by its show of wisdom and science, had been decoyed by its novelty from the orthodox faith of the Puritans, informing him of his change of views respecting the character and person of Christ, and consequently of his work for the salvation of men. To this Mr. Caldwell replied, that having examined and settled those matters, he did not expect ever to change his views, and did not feel a desire to think differently on that subject from what he then did, and had done for a long time. His practical mind and sound sense were for "going on to perfection, from the principles of the doctrine of Christ, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God."

In April, 1795, he received the appointment of tutor in his Alma Mater; and being released from his partial engagements to the trustees of the academy at Springfield, with the cordial approbation of his friends, he entered upon his new office with cheering prospects of usefulness 4nd improvement. His duties as tutor called into almost constant exercise a quality of mind and Heart of which he was capable, but to which he was not very strongly inclined; a quality indispensable to extensive and paramount usefulness,—firmness of purpose that could produce vigor of action. He was in no danger of exercising harshness or severity to the youth committed to his care; he knew as well as others that his failings leaned the other way. The innocent never dreaded his power of command; and the culprit sometimes hoped to escape by his tenderness. The confidence of the one was never disappointed; and the hopes and expectations of the other seldom realized. His sense of duty could nerve his heart to overcome all false compassion, and make him do firmly what he did tenderly.

While tutor he was associated with Mr. Hobart, afterwards Bishop of the Episcopal church in New York.

In the summer of 1795 the correspondence commenced between him and Professor Harris that led to his giving consent to be run as candidate for the Professorship of Mathematics in the University of North Carolina. On being informed of his election he immediately made preparations to repair to Chapel Hill. Being licensed to preach the gospel by the Presbytery of New Brunswick, he set out in a private conveyance for the new field of his labors in North Carolina, in September, 1796. Stopping in Philadelphia to pass the Sabbath, he preached for Dr. Green in Arch Street Church. On Monday morning he was visited by two gentlemen to procure his stay in the city, to visit and preach for a vacant congregation, in view of settlement. Happily, in this case of difficulty, —the choice between a congregation in the most pleasant circumstances in a flourishing city, and the laborious occupation of a teacher in a new institution, of doubtful issue, and small present promise, either in profit or fame,—he had an adviser in Dr. Ashbel Green, since so long and so extensively ]known in the church. The opinion of this judicious man, that, if he should be blessed of God to raise up an institution for the instruction of youth, that should be worthy of the name of The University of North Carolina, the amount of usefulness to society at large, and to the Church of Christ in particular, would far outweigh his usefulness as pastor in any charge, and amply compensate him for any labor or trial he plight be called to endure for its accomplishment; that, though his success was doubtful, and there were many trials in his path, the object was worthy of his best effort, turned the scale suddenly. Without waiting for Mr. Caldwell to reply, the Dr. said, somewhat abruptly, "he is on his way to Carolina, and io Carolina he is certainly to go. To speak of other places will be in vain." How true it is that words fitly spoken are like apples of gold in baskets of silver, even though uttered, as Mr. Caldwell thought these were, with abruptness. It was good counsel to a worthy person, well followed, and crowned with great success, by God's blessing. And was it not of God that Joseph Caldwell event to Chapel Hill"? The widow nursed the infant boy, on whom a father's face never smiled; a southern boy gives him his grammar to begin his literary course; the President of Nassau Hall, Dr. Witherspoon, takes him from an unemployed life, and puts him to the college desk.

Austin leads him into the study of Theology; Harris, the Professor, turns his attention to Chapel Hill, and secures his election and Green, wise in counsel, sends him on to his field of labor, where many trials awaited him before he should get his crown. And no one of these ever seemed to be influenced by an opinion that he possessed splendid talents, uncommon genius, or peculiar faculties for some wonderful work; but by a conviction that there was in him a certain something, made up of a well-balanced mind, probity of heart, sense of propriety, and desire of usefulness, all clothed with great modesty, that marked him out as the man to accomplish a work that called for piety, Humility, patience, prudence, and untiring industry. Evidently God sent him to Chapel Hill.

In November, 1796, he entered on his duties in the infant university. Rightly to understand his labors, it is absolutely necessary to take a survey of the advantages and disadvantages under which he labored in the performance of his duties, and in his efforts to rear the institution to vigor and usefulness. His advantages were, 1st: The State patronage; some permanent funds in hand, and much more in prospect from the increased price of lands, and the escheats and debts of the State, which had been appropriated by law. However small the patronage of the State may be, yet, if it be constant, it gives an advantage in gathering students and in keeping the public attention so as to increase the number he might have at any given time. And 2d: The influence of the forty members of the Board of Trustees, afterwards increased to sixty-five, all of them intelligent and influential men, and desirous of building a State institution, who might be expected to assist in gathering students, and also in collecting funds. Being chosen from all parts of the State, and not confined to politics or denomination, he had the privilege of looking, through them, to the whole State, for his help. And 3d: The institution being entirely in its infancy, he had the opportunity of forming its first shape and spirit; on the given spot and with the given advantages, he planted the acorn, which he watered and cherished and pruned to the vigorous oak, whose branches now overshadow the land.

His difficulties were great, arising from the nature of the case and from human nature. 1st. There were in operation in the State, particularly in the upper part of it, some academies of high merit and established reputation. The embryo university, without apparatus and without a competent number of teachers to perform the labors of the university, could, after all the patronage of the State, offer little to draw students from these established, well known schools, to come to Chapel Hill. It was by no means evident that Mr. Caldwell was superior to those well tried teachers: he might not even be equal, and at the best there was little probability that he would immediately surpass any of these academies. There was the school of David Caldwell in Guilford, in active operation, sending out its pupils to be divines, physicians and lawyers, and ultimately professors in institutions and judges of the courts: the public were not sure that Joseph Caldwell could equal, much less excel him. And then there was the academy of Dr. McCorkle, one of the Board of Trustees, a man of literature and reading, kept in the bounds of Thyatira congregation, near to Salisbury. And a little further on was the school of Rev. Mr. Wallis, at Providence, twelve miles from Charlotte, a man of logical mind, connected with a vehement spirit, afterwards a member of the Board of Trustees. And next the school in Bethany, Iredell county, under the direction of the well known servant of God, the Rev. Capt. James Hall, D.D., the soldier of the Revolution, and the leading domestic missionary of the South. Next, the school at Rocky River, from which many excellent men carne. And next, in the mountains, now a part of Tennessee, was Martin Academy, planted by Mr. Deak, and by him enlarged to a college, the nursery of many professional men. To these add the public academies of Charlotte, Mecklenburg, which occupied the place of Liberty Hall and Queen's Museum; the Academy in Duplin, which has been more or less flourishing; Science Hall, near Hillsboro'; Warrenton Academy, under Mr. George, who, with Bingham and Kerr, were graduates of Trinity College, Dublin; Granville Hall, and the academies in Edenton, Newborn and Onslow. In all these different places it had been customary for young men to complete their classic education, if, through want of funds or other circumstances, they did not seek for further instruction at Nassau Hall, or some New England or foreign college. And it could not immediately appear that Chapel hill, with the name of University, could do more for the pupils, or as much as some of these institutions.

2d. In the next place the Board of Trustees were almost entirely unacquainted with the system of management proper for an University. The only Literary and Scientific institution of any importance in the management of which any of them had been engaged was Liberty Hall, unfortunately of too short duration, on account of the invasion of Cornwallis. Many of them had never even been members of a well endowed college, having received their education at one of these Academies, or at some institution of a similar kind. Mr. Caldwell probably understood the proper management of a University better than the whole Board by whom he was to be guided, and to whose will he not unfrequently with reluctance yielded, till longer acquaintance convinced them of the propriety of listening to his counsels in things pertaining to the discipline of the students, and the course of studies. The plan of studies at first proposed partook of the spirit of the day, and is mentioned not as singular, for all public institutions felt the shock, but as a part of that peculiar influence on a new institution, moulding its form and directing its course, more decidedly than it could have done with an University or college of long standing. From a card published by a Committee of the Board in the North Carolina Journal of December 12th, 1792, is the following extract:- "The objects to which it is contemplated to turn. the attention of the students, on the first establishment, are the study of languages, particularly the English; History, ancient and modern; the Belles Lettres; Logic and Moral Philosophy; Agriculture and Botany, with the principles of Architecture." This list of studies is faulty, not in what it embraces, but in what it leaves out. There was a disposition then growing in the United States to put a lower estimate on the acquisition of what are called the "Dead Languages," than had been previously the habit of colleges consecrated by irnmemorial usage, or than is now put on them by universal consent. It was more difficult to displace them from their seat of preeminence in established colleges, than to introduce them to an institution from which they had been excluded. Had Joseph Caldwell attempted to build the University on the principle of giving the Dead or Classic languages a lower place than Logic or Belles Letters, or the English language, the University would not now be that flourishing institution, the ornament of the State. He must gain the confidence of a Board who were prepared cheerfully to employ him as the teacher of youth, but not at all ready to receive from his hands the actual direction of the whole course of study and general discipline. One glance at the subject will show the difficulty involved in the situation of the young professor. how many trials must be made; how many years pass before he could gain that hold on the confidence of the trustees and the community at large, to enable him to put the University on a firm foundation of usefulness and success. It is interesting to look at the progress of the confidential feeling that commenced immediately on his entrance upon the duties of his office. After acting one year as Professor of Mathematics and the head of the institution, he resigned the superintendance, and held the office of Professor of Mathematics; his successor failing to gain the confidence of the Board, Mr. Caldwell was induced to become head professor again in 1799. In 1804 he was elected to the office of President, being the first to fill that chair in the University. In 1812 he resigned that office, and confined himself to the Mathematical department; but his successor, as in the former instance, failing to gain the confidence necessary to give efficiency to his discipline and instruction, Mr. Caldwell was again called to the chair, in 1816, and continued to hold the office till the day of his death, Tuesday, January 27th, 1833. It was under his management that the University grew from a high school to the flourishing condition in which his successor found it so favorable for his talents and energy to make it a blessing to his native State in the education of her sons.

The third difficulty was perhaps the more perplexing, requiring prudence, forbearance, and yet great resolution, together with confidence, the child of experience and triad; this was the religious state of the university and of the public mind at the time Mr. Caldwell became Professor. It is now a matter of history in philosophy, politics, and religion, that the discussion that had been progressing in France, in which all religious things had undergone the same revolutionizing scrutiny as the errors in politics and the misrule of the government, reached America some time previous to Mr. Caldwell's connection with the University. The whole subject of religion was investigated anew. The arguments against the Bible were set forth in formidable array; Paine's Age of Reason passed from hand to hand, and the Inifidel productions of France flooded the country; the strongest holds of religion were shaken; and in many places the arguments for reason, as paramount to revelation, gained a temporary victory. Where there were faithful and learned ministers of the gospel the battle was fierce; where there were none, the infidel argument for a time possessed undisputedly the public mind. In France there were hurtful, degrading superstitions, and wrongs, and outrages, justified openly in the view of the nation by antiquity and the claims of religion, on which the excited revolutionary multitude fed and fattened to madness; and in tearing down the gross deceptions that had been built up through the land as castles, and convents, and tithes, and orders of prelates, and of nobility, without number or mercy, they set fire to the whole edifice of religion in France, and in the dreadful conflagration of ignorance, and superstition, and misrule, and notorious falsehood, they verily believed the Everlasting Word had perished. The gospel had, in the opinion of the Infidel party, gone with the royal house and the nobility; and France expected liberty "when the neck of the last king was strangled by the bowels of the last priest."

In America there were no such evils. The Revolution had swept off the political wrongs and the civil misrule, and whatever there was, in the different States, of oppression in religious things. There were no superstitious or hereditary wrongs in sacred things to search out; no time-honored observances to undo; no lost rights of conscience to recover. The question was, whether the Bible was true; and all the influence of France, fresh from her sympathies in our contest for liberty, and hot in her struggle for her own, and fervid in her pursuit of Science, of fashion, and gaiety, was thrown against the Bible. In France they were already wicked; and the sweeping away of superstition gave relief from oppression, and the commission of some sins; and France appeared to the philosopher to be regenerated by the change. In America the war against the Bible proved, in the end, a war against morality and domestic enjoyments, and wherever infidelity got the mastery, there the community suffered. In France rivers of blood washed out the stains of Atheism; in America the voice of the Bible and the claims of society were at length heard, and without bloodshed or civil commotion, religion, the religion of the Bible, regained her ascendancy. The evil was great, but the remedy has been sure. There was a time when the best men feared lest infidelity should first get the mastery as in France, and then rivers of American blood wash out the stains. It was while infidelity, of which Paine's Age of Reason was a text-book, was striding our land, the University went into operation. The first professor, Mr. Kerr, who had been a Presbyterian minister, and had preached in Fayetteville some two years after his arrival in this country, had abandoned the belief in inspiration, and while he was at Chapel Hill was an infidel. Holmes, his assistant teacher, and subsequently a professor of languages, had also given up the gospel, and its hopes, and was a believer in Paine, whose writings he so highly prized, that the only volume he gave the University library, contained the works of that arch-infidel. This unbelief was no silent exercise of his own opinion permitting the community to go on in the belief and practice of Christianity, each man acting as he might choose; in the communication drawn up by the Faculty requesting his dismission from the University, they say, "he teaches that there is no such thing as virtue; that the love of virtue is no more than superstition, degrading to the minds of men, and not sure to answer their purposes. That to shake off its obligations, and bend with ease to the character and circumstances of the times so as to advance our own interest or ambition, is the best morality. That therefore, for any person to profess to be governed by the fixed principles of justice or honor, of truth or generosity, is sufficient to stamp him as a hypocrite and a designing knave, "that is lying in wait under these characters for the happiness of others." Kerr left the University in 1795, and Holmes in 1799. While multitudes in Carolina were, as in other parts of the United States, prepared first to doubt and then to disbelieve the Bible, and consequently to set aside religion as a superstition, few were prepared to go the length of Paine and his disciple Holmes, and deny the existence of moral virtue. And when the matter was fairly presented by the amiable and clear minded Caldwell, the board of trustees felt that if rejecting the Bible was rejecting morality, the Bible with all the objections that had been urged, must be retained. Mr. Caldwell tells us that he looked to General Davie, one of the leaders of the Legislature, "the father of the house " as he was styled, that session of the Legislature he attended soon after his arrival in Carolina, and that he was a warm friend, supporter, and trustee of the University. He tells us that he had long and most interesting communications with him on the subject of the truth of time Scriptures, and that his mind was deeply impressed with the conversation. Davie had been taught in his youth to believe the Bible, had passed through the Revolution with Honor, doing good service for his country in the camp, was high in the respect of his constituents, and had fallen from his belief in the Bible taught him by his maternal uncle, the Rev. William Richardson, whose name he bore, and whose estate he inherited, more probably by sympathy with the popular distrust, than by argument. Caldwell gained his confidence and possessed his friendship to the last, reviving the belief of his youth; and who can say but that, like the hero of the Cowpens, he at last looked to Jesus and found life. Harris, who directed the attention of the trustees to Mr. Caldwell as his successor, was at that time himself shaken in his belief, and thought the Bible was to be abandoned. But his young successor stood up for the gospel of Christ; all that he saw of the fruits and workings of infidelity only turned his heart more strongly to his God and Saviour. "Religion," he says, in 1797, soon after his arrival, "is so little in vogue and in such a state of depression, that it affords no prospect sufficient to tempt people here to undertake its cause. In New Jersey it has the public respect and support; but in North Carolina, particularly in that part that lies east of us, every one believes that the first step he ought to take to rise into respectability is to disavow, as often and as publicly as he can, all regard for the leading doctrines of the Scriptures. They are bugbears very well fitted to scare the mass of the ignorant, and the weak, into order and obedience to the laws; but for men of letters and cultivated reason, the laws of morality and honor should, and will be sufficient for the regulation of their conduct."

"How unhappy is it for these men, and how instructive to the rest of mankind, that the whole tenor of their lives, and the wretched state of their society, combine to exhibit their doctrines in all their haggardness and shocking deformity." This strong disgust to infidelity from its effects was not confined to the Professor; there being no superstitions and erroneous observances to be thrown off, by a rejection of the religion of Protestant Carolina, the denial of the Bible could only weaken the sanctions of virtue and morality, and taking away the fears of future retribution, take away the fear of crime. This fact staring the community in the face, gave the amiable Professor the advantage in his argument the thinking and intelligent were made to feel they needed some-timing like the Bible, which men should believe to be true, to hold society together. Caldwell was not what is termed a genius, and probably it is well he was not; but with clearness and meekness, he could and did defend the religion of his Lord and Master, in a most difficult position, the number of trustees that were at that time firm supporters of the Bible being few, though therewere some. Whether he could have raised the University, had he yielded to the wave that went over the land and swept off so many-, we need not now inquire; but this is certain, he fought a great battle without noise, and gained a great victory without triumphing; and permitted the anxiety of the contest, and the blessedness of the victory, to pass along the current of events without exclamation, or demand from his coevals or posterity. We may say of him, as was said of a modest and noble Virginian, by the Speaker of the House—"Sit down, sir, sit down, your modesty is equalled only by your worth."

The last difficulty was, the smallness of the funds and the inadequate support yielded by the patronage of the State. The funds appropriated by the State were, in part, soon withdrawn, and the rest, together with the donations of individuals, Were, for a time, unproductive. It was not till 1811, that by an excursion through the State, and making application to individuals, a list of whose names he preserved, and the amount of their individual donations, he obtained funds to erect buildings sufficient to accommodate the students. In the excursion, he received $12,000. Notwithstanding all this, there was great difficulty in obtaining sufficient means to afford a proper support for the necessary teachers. The wonder is, in looking over the small salaries given for the great labor required, in a situation that offered little attractive in the forests of Carolina, that able men could be obtained to bring talents, and acquirements, and labor adequate to the demands of the rising institution. How could a President, whose doors must be open to a succession of visitors, sustain himself on a thousand dollars a year, and get his own Iibrary—and the professors and tutors on a proportionable salary—When a library itself costs some thousands of dollars? It is a matter of surprise that men could be found to attempt, and more so, that they should succeed in, such an enterprise.

Happy in the choice of his assistant Faculty, and blessed with invincible perseverance, he rejoiced to see all these difficulties overcome. In 1824 he was sent to Europe "in order to direct in person the construction of a Philosophical Apparatus, and to select books for the library." At his death he left the University, still limited in its means, With buildings for the accommodation of a large number of students, with funds for the support of the instructors, with a respectable library and apparatus, and an able Faculty. When he went to Chapel Hill, in 1796, it was doubtful whether anything was to be gained in literary advantages at the Hill over the private schools and public academies in the State; and certain that the morals and principles of the young men were in great danger from the infidel principles that prevailed among the teachers:—When he died, January 27th, 1835, it was the best institution in the State for a complete classical or scientific course, held a respectable stand abroad, and in point of morals as safe as any in the land, and increasing in its reputation. So it is now; and so may it be for ever.

It was affirmed that the building of the University exemplified the genius of Presbyterianism. This it does in the following particulars: 1st, It shows the unconquerable attachment of its clergy to a sound and liberal education of youth: 2d, their ability to rear a proper institution in very unpropitious circumstances: 3rd, their invincible attachment to sound principles of religion and morality and 4th, their public spirit; that, while it was well known the University never could become a Presbyterian institution, or be under the direction of that denomination, but, on the contrary, would belong to the State, and very likely always be under a board, the large majority of whom should not be Presbyterians, and an equal proportion of the Faculty, or even all, might at any time be adverse to Presbyterian creed and order, the efforts to make the institutions of the State worthy of the State, and safe for her sons, were unremitted and unequalled. Let religion, and science, and morality, and literature prevail in the Alma Mater of the future children of Carolina, and Joseph Caldwell was satisfied: if his denomination, which he loved, might not have its control, let it be controlled by whom it may, only let the streams that flow from it be pure.

The false notions of what constituted education for young men, that prevailed in the early part of his labors, might have been mentioned as a serious difficulty for our young professor to encounter. In the year 1797, one warm friend of the University, a member of the board, of high political standing, sent up to Chapel Hill, with letters of introduction to Mr. Caldwell, and high recommendation of excellence in his profession, a dancing-master, to teach the boys manners, with expressions of a hope that the students, with the youths in the neighborhood, would form a school of sufficient income to secure the services of this eminent gentleman, with his little son. This was not (lone in opposition to Mr. Caldwell; there is every evidence of frankness and candor and conviction of propriety in the gentleman. The difficulty was, that very many in the board who wished well to the institution, did not understand fully what a proper education was; how much attention should be given to the mental, and how much to the physical, training; or even what this training should be. By his kindness and firmness, Mr. Caldwell kept the confidence of the board; and led them to the establishment of a sound and liberal course of education, that may advantageously compare with other institutions; and under the influence of strict, religious, and elevated morality. Such a man is an ornament of his church and generation.

Previous to his removal to Chapel Hill, he had been licensed to preach by the Presbytery of New Brunswick; and while performing the office of professor and president, he did not forget the preaching of the Gospel. He judged it impolitic to take charge of any congregation in the neighborhood; and in that he doubtless judged rightly; but he also judged it proper to preach the gospel to his students, and occasionally, abroad, as he had opportunity. As there was no regularly organized Presbyterian church in the university, and Mr. Caldwell did not choose to be connected with a congregation in the neighborhood, and the Synod of the Carolinas being particularly opposed to ordaining without charge, no effectual steps were taken for his ordination, till the year 1810; when the Presbytery of Orange overturned Synod for leave to ordain Mr. Joseph Caldwell of the university; and the Synod, in consideration of his usefulness being, in all probability, greatly increased, authorized the ordination. The next year his name appears upon the records of Synod, reported from Orange Presbytery. This year (1811) he made his circuit through the State, to collect funds, and everywhere made a favorable impression, as a man, a Christian, a minister, and the head of the university. Having received the degree of A.M. at the university and also at his Alma Mater, the honorary title of D.D. was conferred by both institutions; that from Nassau Hall bears date in 1816, the year he was the second time chosen president. In 1812 he resigned his office as president, and aided in procuring Rev. Robert H. Chapman as his successor; but a vacancy occurring by the resignation of Dr. Chapman, he was recalled to the chair, and filled it to the clay of his death.

Dr. Caldwell might, from the specimens of preaching he gave from time to time, have excelled as a pastor, had his whole time been given to preaching and the pastor's office. Plainness, simplicity and kindness, characterized his discourses; often great strength and distinctness were mingled in an interesting manner. He wrote and published a variety of essays on the subject of the improvement of the mind, and the soil; the citizens, and their State. On the subject of common schools, he was read with interest; and his essays on improving the State by roads, had an acknowledged effect. But his great work by which he was, and is to be known, was the building the University; leaving to the State, at the conclusion of a laborious life, an institution worthy of his labors and their fostering care.

If a man's talents are to be judged by the works he accomplishes, Dr. Caldwell will be adjudged a man of talents. If the excellency and permanency of the works accomplished are a standard of the degree of talents, then the father of the university will not hold a low place. He was not esteemed a genius by his contemporaries, or looked upon as a man of splendid performances; but when his plans and operations are compared with his contemporaries, posterity will judge that he had excellences the exertion of which could not be fully tested till years had tried the permanency of his works, and which will give him a place among the worthies of the Presbyterian church, and the benefactors of his race.

But while he was acting on the most enlarged principles and views, he did not suffer himself to be led by generalities to forget particulars; laboring for the whole State, he did not forget that he was a Presbyterian, and a Presbyterian minister. He strongly advocated and encouraged the institute at Greensborough, which, in honor to him for his services to literature and religion, was named Caldwell's Institute, to be a high school, under the especial care and discipline of the Presbyterians, in which teaching the doctrines of the Presbyterian church, in connection with the Bible, should form part of the regular exercises on the Sabbath. He thought it due both to the church and to the community, that such an institution should be established; and the location of it should be in the county where some of the earliest Presbyterian congregations were formed, and where the trials of the Revolution had been known. He also schemed a plan for a theological institution to be located somewhere in the upper country of Carolina, in which his sound judgment and practical mind were eminently displayed. But as the theological department, in connection with Hampden Sydney, had been the nursery of many preachers in Carolina, and was, about that time, in progress of being enlarged to a full and complete seminary, after a full and free discussion, he laid by his plan, and united with the Synod of Carolina in giving support to Union Seminary. And no man acquainted with the usefulness of Caldwell Institute or Union Theological Seminary, in training and sending out laborious servants of the church and public, can for a moment doubt the soundness of his conclusions, or fault his anticipations from these seminaries.

The active part he took in the internal improvement of the State, publishing frequently on the subject in the regular papers, was on the principle that the produce of the mountains and upper country of Carolina should seek the ocean through a port on the sea shore of the State; and for this purpose passways should be opened from the east and west, sufficient to encourage agriculture and population; the products of the west should be the riches of the east; and the enterprise of the east should reward the labors of the west. The soundness of these principles will one (lay be discussed again in Carolina.

Of Dr. Caldwell's personal religious experience we have an account of much that is interesting, in his own handwriting, though less in quantity than could be desired. He commenced in the latter part of his life, an autobiography, which he carried on till the period of his journey to Chapel Hill, in 1796; then it closed abruptly. From that manuscript most of the facts respecting his early life have been derived. From that is derived the following information respecting the exercises of his mind and heart.

The first religious exercises, which were esteemed by him worthy of notice, as religious exercises, were felt while he resided with his mother at Bristol. The escape from a watery death has been mentioned, and also his mother's kind treatment. He says the alarm at the thoughts of immediate death was inexpressible, and led him to pious resolutions: but, "the feelings gradually faded from my thoughts, and I lived as heedlessly as ever."—"But a circumstance which most impressively marks this period, is, that here I began, for what reasons I know not, to turn my thoughts, with greater earnestness than before, on the subject of religion. A part of the time while I was in this village, my mother went abroad, leaving me to board at a neighbor's table. This was so near, that one of the rooms in the house, which she occupied, was left open for my use, both day-and night. There I slept; and whenever I chose, to this I retired. I got hold of a religious book, and finding it gave me pleasure in the reading, I would sit, or traverse the room alone, reading with an interest that grew so as utterly to preclude every disposition to stop. My feelings were excited by it, and they grew into ardor and intensity. I deserted all amusement. My reacting, my reflections, and a gratifying sense that I might be engaged in the service of God and have his approbation, abstracted me from any of the diversions that occurred to my mind."

"My experience at that time was probably one of the first fruits of the pious sentiments which my mother had instilled into me from the first dawnings of reason. She was not there; but the spirit of God was, doubtless, fostering these principles in my heart, and reducing them into action. I have since reverted to the few days which passed in these circumstances, and with these emotions alive in my bosom, as among the most grateful seasons of my life, and to be remembered with renovated satisfaction."

"While living in Newark my religious impressions were often renewed. I do not know that I resisted them, or strove to repress or shake them off, but it is very certain that at various times when they had been felt with much force, alarm of conscience, and a dissolving tenderness of affection, they soon passed away, and I becarne as thoughtless and careless as ever. Dr. McWhorter's preaching was generally animated, plain and practical. He sometimes became warm, pointed the guilty sinner to the coming wrath, showed the clanger of growing hardened to all the considerations of God's mercy, his justice, his judgments, the means of grace, the opportunities of improvement, the uncertainty of life, dread consequences of failing to prepare in this time of discipline and probation for the eternity that is to follow. I would come home like the wounded hart, with the arrow in my side; but it dropped off; the wound closed, and it ceased to be remembered."

Again the Dr. says of himself, in his review of his early life:—"I can remember many occasions in those early years, in the various places in which they were passed, when my reflections were directed on God, a future state, and the eternal world. The interest I took in them when they were impressed upon me by the scriptures, or by any other cause, was the same in its aspect and species as it has been through late years. The intervals sometimes are apparent as to their cause, and sometimes they seem to have become irrecoverably lost to my remembrance. Whether they had a connection with one another, and by what ties of circumstances, or thought, or emotion, as they were successively renewed, it would be impossible for me to determine, though to the spirit of God who produced them and witnessed all their effects, they are present now as at the moment when they agitated my bosom." Sometimes I would return from church with a heart deeply affected with the considerations presented there of my obligations to God for his goodness in the ordinary blessings of food and raiment, relations and friends, health and pleasures, connected with it. Conscience impressed upon me portentously the consequences of my thoughtless ingratitude. The prospects of heaven to the good, and the endless misery of the wicked, drove from me, for a time, every wish for the amusements on which I was commonly intent."

"The love of God in sending his Son into the world to redeem me from death, and open the way to Heaven, combined with all its force in impressing my conscience with the responsibility imposed by this consummation of mercy. My mother was often engaged in giving me religious instruction, and deepening its impression upon my heart. Sometimes an accident would happen to set before me the utter uncertainty in which I lived. The death of a neighbor, by sickness, or by some sudden accident, the grave-yard, the darkness of night, when in solitude, naturally plunging my thoughts into the spiritual world; everything of this nature exerted in me a sense of religion, a reference to God, and to the danger I was in of being lost for ever if I should die without being made the subject of his saving grace. It was all the striving of his spirit to prevent me from being wholly engrossed with the earth, and to educate me in the school of his providence for better and more glorious purposes than the interests and pleasures of a mere earthly existence. An excellent practical writer on Keeping the Heart, remarks, that Providence is like a curious piece of tapestry, made of a thousand shreds which, single, appear useless, but put together they represent a regular and connected history to the eye."

While residing with Mr. Austin in Elizabethtown, these impressions were ripened into the deep conviction, that it was his duty to devote himself to the services of God in the gospel of Christ. I-low far he fulfilled the covenant of his devotion and performed the duties of a Christian Minister to his fellow-man, his services in the University of North Carolina will abundantly testify.

In one of the elegant society rooms in the University is a bust of Dr. Caldwell, taken after his death, and a portrait drawn in his earlier years. The bushy eyebrows, and overhanging forehead, and calm countenance of the bust, impress the beholder with the power of reflection, self-possession, anti unshaken firmness, combined with an amiable disposition.

There is a monument erected for him near the College buildings, in the beautiful grove, but at present it is without an epitaph. The omission was undesigned. But could the generation with whom he Iived write his epitaph?

He wrote his biography, or rather, began to write it, in his old age. In that, as we have seen, he refers with tenderness and emotion to the fervency of his early experience. From that single circumstance, we should be satisfied that the pure flame was burning with the brightness of youth and the intensity of experienced age. The testimony of others is, that "the nearer he approached his God, he but loved him the more." It is not improbable that, in his multiplied duties, his personal piety may for a time have suffered; his friends have thought it did! They may have been mistaken. But the same friends also thought that, in his advanced years, the flame burned more brightly on the altar of devotion, and that he became more lovely as he became more heavenly minded.

As the University increased in numbers, and the students could be admitted to a much less degree of intimate acquaintance, it is very probable the President, looked at from the distance of pupils that saw him more in the executive duties of his office, and less in his domestic tenderness, appeared more stern than kind, more resolute than forbearing. That the government of the University was an unit, and the President was really that unit, after consultation, cannot, perhaps, be denied,-it was never concealed nor boasted of. "Were I to live," said one who had served under him in the University, "under one who governed with despotic sway, I would choose Dr. Caldwell before any other man I have known." Before the discipline of the University was settled upon its firm basis, which was a work of years, an outbreak among the students gave an exhibition of Dr. Caldwell. For some unusual delinquency, the Dr. had determined upon discipline unusually severe. This caused great excitement. The delinquents and their friends determined on resistance, and mistaking the Doctor's disposition, proposed to intimidate him as their remedy in the last resort. As he was returning from the chapel to his residence, they met him at the mouth of the ravine near his dwelling, now filled, and clamorously demanded some relaxation of his terms. He heard their demands, and calmly refused, and resumed his course; in their excitement, they swung their canes as if for an attack, and some of them were athletic young men, and appeared to be closing round him, that he should go no further till he relented. With an unruffled countenance he moved on, saying - "Strike, young gentlemen, but remember the consequences." Although, in physical strength, he was altogether in their power, the young men felt that he was unconquerable and irresistible, and gave up the contest. To many of the students it is probable that he appeared rather the unconquerable President than the amiable man. But others beside his family knew that kindness was his nature, and severity the conviction of his judgment.

P. S.—Materials for additional chapters are in readiness, but the size of the present volume forbids their publication. These materials, together with a selection from sermons by Hall, Caldwell, M'Gready, M'Pheeters and others, would form an instructive volume.

Return to Book Index Page   Return to Scots in America


This comment system requires you to be logged in through either a Disqus account or an account you already have with Google, Twitter, Facebook or Yahoo. In the event you don't have an account with any of these companies then you can create an account with Disqus. All comments are moderated so they won't display until the moderator has approved your comment.

comments powered by Disqus