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An Historic Sketch of the 

Charleston, S.C. 


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of Charleston, S. C. 

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Rev. Gilbert R. Brackett, D. D.. 


in Year Book, 1898. 





of charleston, s. c. 
'rom its Beginning to the Present Time, 




esbyterians were among the first settlers in South Caro- 

They have been proportionably numerous in all 

ods of its history, and during the latter part of the i8th 

:ury, the great majority of emigrants were Presbyte- 

s. In the year* 1704, when there was but one Episcopal 

gregation in the whole province, then numbering towards 

thousand white inhabitants, the dissenters had three 

;hes in Charleston. As early, however, as the year 

, the Presbyterians in conjunction with the Indepen- 

3, formed a church in Charleston, which continued in 

nited form for forty years. During this period, two 

ir ministers, the Rev. Messrs. Stobo and Livingston, 

Presbyterians, and connected with Charleston Presby- 

After the death of the latter, twelve families seceded. 

formed a Presbyterian Church, on the model of the 

ch of Scotland. Previous to 1790 the Presbytery was 

^corporate, from reasons to be presently mentioned. 

t belonged the churches of Wiltown, Pon-Pon, St. 

mas', Stoney Creek, Salt Catchers, Black Mingo, the 

nal and first incorporated church of Williamsburg, 

r leston, Edisto, and the church of John and Wadmalaw 

.ids. In 1790, four of these, by a petition to the Legis- 

lature, were constituted a body corporate, principally in 
view of raising a fund for the relief of widows and orphans 
of deceased ministers. In I 790, the Presbytery of Charles- 
ton made application to be received as a constituent part 
of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in 
the United States of America, but this union was never 
formed. The ministry constituting this Presbytery were 
mostly from Scotland and Ireland ; " men," says Ramsay, 
"of good education, orderly in their conduct, and devoted 
to the systems of doctrine and government established in 

It may well be inquired, why, with such an early and 
continued prominence in the colony, Presbyterians did not 
multiply to a corresponding extent; recommended as they 
ever have been by an enlightened, educated and laborious 
ministry? To this, plain answer can be given by the state- 
ment of a few facts. In the year 1698, an Act was passed 
by the Government "to settle a maintenance on a minister 
of the Church of England in Charleston." The precedent, 
thus set by the Legislature, and without any suspicion ac- 
quiesced in by the people, was the germ of a future eccle- 
siastical establishment. Most of the proprietors and public 
officers of the province being attached to the Church of 
England, determined if possible to secure for it legal pre- 
eminence and connection with the State. The election of 
members of this church to the Legislature was covertly 
promoted, and a majority obtained. " The recently elected 
members," says Dr. Ramsay, "soon after they entered upon 
their legislative functions, took measures for perpetuating 
a power they had thus obtained, for they enacted a law 
'which made it necessary for all persons thereafter chosen 
members of the Commons House of Assembly to conform 
to the religious worship of the Church of England, and 
receive the sacrament of the Lord's Supper according to 
the rites and usages of the Church.' ' This Act passed the 
lower House by a majority of one vote. It virtually ex- 
cluded from a seat in the Legislature all who were dissenters, 
erected an aristocracy, and gave a monopoly of power to 

one sect, though far from being a majority of the inhabi- 
tants. Though the infant establishment of the Church of 
England, thus instituted, was frowned upon by the ruling 
powers in England, and was disagreeable to a majority of 
the inhabitants of Carolina, yet no further steps were then 
taken for restoring to dissenters their equal rights. The 
Episcopal party continued to maintain their ascendency in 
the Assembly, and made legislative provision for extending 
and maintaining their mode of worship. In two years, the 
colony was divided into ten parishes, and each parish was 
made a corporation. Some of these were afterwards sub- 
divided, and others occasionally formed as the population 

Money was provided by law for building and repairing 
churches; lands were secured by donation, purchase or 
grants from proprietors, at the public expense, for glebes 
and church yards; and salaries for the different rectors, 
clerks, and sextons of the established parishes were fixed 
and made payable out of the provincial treasury. Legisla- 
tive acts were passed for the encouragement of Episcopal 
clergymen to settle in the province, and exercise their 
clerical functions, in the several parishes designated by law. 

This state of things, with but little variation, continued 
for seventy years, and as long as the province remained 
subject to Great Britain. In the course of that period 
twenty-four parishes were laid off, most of which were in 
maratime districts, and none more than ninety miles from 
the seacoast. 

It was not until the period of the Revolution, that this 
monopoly of religious privilege was broken up, and Presby- 
terians and other denominations of Christians, were re- 
stored to equality of rights, and freed from a taxation 
which required them to support an established faith, with 
which in many things they could not agree. Nor was this 
deliverance even then granted them but from necessity. 
For they had now an unquestionable majority in the colony, 
and the physical force necessary for war and defence was 
theirs. W lthuut union among all parties, there was no pros- 

pect of success, and therefore, after seventy years of exclu- 
sive authority, the Established Church was under the neces- 
sity of yielding to a constitution which gave equal laws, 
equal rights, and full and free toleration to all sects and 
parties. The unfettered progress of Presbyterians must be 
dated, therefore, from the period of repose after the storm 
of the Revolution, when they found their funds unguarded 
by every previous security, almost entirely gone, and their 
prospects dark and foreboding. Thus freed from constraint, 
the number of Presbyterians multiplied in the city, and 
throughout the State. The church in Charleston was 
found insufficient to accommodate those who wished to 
worship with Presbyterians. The house was always 
crowded, seats could not be procured, except by long delay, 
and the necessity of another Presbyterian Church became 
apparent. Previous to i8u,the First Presbyterian Church 
was the only accommodation for Presbyterians in Charles- 
ton. It had been for many years, however, found alto- 
gether insufficient for this purpose. As early as the year 
1804, the necessity of a new erection was felt, and the 
design encouraged by Dr. Buist, then pastor of the 
church. The Rev. James Malcomson who arrived from 
Ireland, in 1794, and had been settled as pastor for many 
years in Williamsburg, of this State, was engaged to preach 
for those who wished to form another congregation, and 
the temporary use of the French Church was procured. 
His death, which occurred in September of the same year, 
blighted the sanguine hopes which were entertained, that 
ere long another Presbyterian Church and congregation 
would be formed in Charleston. 

Mr. Malcomson was born in the Parish of Castlereagh, in 
the County of Down, but received the chief part of his 
education at the University of Glasgow. With his minis- 
terial functions he combined the profession of medicine, 
which he practiced with no small degree of skill, and it is 
this profession that gave him the title of Doctor. He had 
attended medical lectures at Edinburgh, and was a licensed 
physician. In addition to his pastoral charge, he taught a 


large grammar school, at which many received their early 
education. He was a man of talent, of thorough scholar- 
ship, and of pleasing address, and prepossessing person. 
He wrote his sermons, but was interesting and often elo- 
quent in their delivery. Facetious and genial, he had many 
and warm friends, and was not without his enemies. In 
the divisions which rent the church asunder, it was difficult 
to avoid all obloquy and prejudice, even for those who 
were the most perfect. He continued to minister to this 
church till 1804, when he removed to Charleston, where he 
taught a classical school and preached to a new congrega- 
tion, increasing in numbers when he was called away, and 
which was the germ of the Second Presbyterian Church. 
He died of yellow fever during the summer of 1804, m the 
thirty-sixth year of his age. 

It was not until the year 1809, when the inability to find 
accommodation in the existing church made the matter ur- 
gent, the determination was finally and effectually made 
to enter upon the formation of the Second Presbyterian 

It was on Wednesday evening, February 8th, 1809, that the 
following gentlemen being assembled at the house of Mr. 
Fleming, entered into an agreement to unite their efforts 
to secure a suitable building for a Presbyterian Church, viz. : 
Benjamin Boyd, William Pressly, John Ellison, Archibald 
Pagan, George Robertson, Samuel Robertson, William 
Walton, James Adger, Caleb Gray, John Robinson, Alex- 
ander Henry, Samuel Pressly, William Aiken, John Porter. 
At a subsequent meeting, on March 6th, a subscription 
paper for the support of a minister was presented, when, by 
a subscription of a number present of one hundred dollars 
each for two years, more than a sufficient salary being sub- 
scribed, a committee was appointed to request the Rev. 
Andrew Flinn, then connected with the united congregation 
of Williamsburg and Indiantown, to organize and take 
charge of the congregation, with a salary of two thousand 
dollars. That committee consisted of Benjamin Boyd, John 
Cunningham, Joseph Milligan, Samuel Robertson and John 

Robinson. The invitation, the claims of his charge having 
been voluntarily surrendered, Mr. Flinn accepted, when a 
meeting for the formation of a Second Presbyterian Church 
was held at Trinity Church on Monday evening, April 24th, 

1809. Committees were appointed to attend to the secular 
business, to purchase a site for the erection of a church 
and to obtain subscriptions. The first standing committee 
to attend to all the secular affairs of the church, to purchase 
a site for the church, were Benjamin Boyd, John Cunning- 
ham, Joseph Milligan, John Robinson and Samuel Robert- 

The committee to procure subscriptions, consisted of 
Benjamin Boyd, John Cunningham, Joseph Milligan, Alex- 
ander Henry. John Stoney, John Ellison, William Porter, 
George Robertson, James Gordon, William Aiken, William 
Walton, William Pressly, John Robinson. 

As a record of the munificence of the donors, who were 
not confined to Presbyterians, it was resolved that the 
names of the subscribers should be preserved in parchment 
and deposited in the archives of the church. 

By May 16th, the plan of the church was presented by 
William Gordon, who was appointed to build it, and who 
immediately entered upon the work. In 1809, an Act of 
Incorporation was obtained, At a meeting in January 25th, 

1810, a subscription paper was presented for the signatures 
of those who wished to become members of the Second 
Presbyterian Church, to be governed by prescribed rules 
and by-laws, when the following persons signed their names, 
viz: Benjamin Boyd, Stephen Thomas, Robert Fleming, 
Richard McMillan, Caleb Gray, Richard Cunningham, James 
Adger, John Porter, William H. Gilliland, Alexander Gray, 
John Blackwood, John Cunningham, Alexander Henry, 
John McDowell, William Walton, Samuel Robertson, John 
Walton, Thomas Fleming, John Robinson, James Begg, 
George Robertson, J. C. Martindale, John Brownlee, Wil- 
liam Scott, John Johnson, Charles Robiou, William Aiken 
George Keenan, Archibald Grahame, James Carr, Lewis A. 
Pitray, James Leman, John Noble, David Bell, James 

Evans, John Ellison, B. Casey, William McElmoyle, John 
Davis, William Pressly, Thomas Johnson, George Miller, 
James Blocker, Robert Belshaw, Samuel Corrie, Samuel H. 
Pratt. James Pennal, Thomas A Vardell, John Steele, Na- 
thaniel Slavvson, John C. Beile, William Porter, Samuel 
Patterson, Samuel Browne. John M. Fraser, Thomas Milli- 
ken, John Smyth, John Mushet, John Crow, John Geddes, 
Peter Kennedy, James Wall, Charles Martin, Alexander 
Howard, William Thompson, John Dunn, William Smith, 
Sr., William L. Shaw, Edward Carew, C. B. Duhadvvay, 
Samuel Pilsbury, William Scott, R. Galbraith, Richard 
Fair, Edward McGrath, James Cooper, William Simms. 

In order that the church might be opened for the recep- 
tion of Harmony Presbytery, at its first session, it was 
dedicated to the worship of Almighty God, by a sermon 
from the Rev. Dr. Flinn, on Wednesday, April 3d, 181 1; 
and connected with the ecclesiastical judicatories of the 
Presbyterian Church. This was the first session ever held 
in Charleston by a Presbytery connected with the General 
Assembly of the " Presbyterian Church in the United 
States of America." 

The Charleston Union Presbytery also held its first ses- 
sion in this church, April 10th, 1823. 

Although great munificence was exercised by the found- 
ers of this church, its cost far exceeded both their expecta- 
tions and their means. By the account of the Treasurer 
presented up to April, 1812, it appears that the sum of 
fifty-five thousand, five hundred and forty-eight dollars had 
been expended, and that a large amount would be still 
necessary to carry out the plans and pa)' the incurred debt. 
To meet this, a heavy assessment was laid upon the pews 
of the church in March, 181 1 ; and another, to three times 
the amount, in December, 1815. Notwithstanding these 
efforts, in June, 1816. it appeared that the sum of thirty-one 
thousand, one hundred and fifty-six dollars, twenty-five 
cents, was still due, when it was resolved to sell all the pews 
on which the assessment had not been paid. There still, 
however, remained in May, 1822, a debt of twenty-two 


thousand dollars hanging upon the church, and which, in 
April, 1823, had increased to twenty-three thousand four 
hundred and eighty-five dollars. The standing committee 
feeling the great importance of removing in some way this 
oppressive burden, reported in 1823 a plan of relieving the 
church of this debt, by transferring the whole property and 
temporal jurisdiction of the church to an association, who 
should assume the debt as their own, engaging however, 
that the Confession of Faith as moulded by the General 
Assembly, should ever be the rule of government to the 
church, as well as in doctrine as in discipline. The report 
was adopted at a meeting in August, 1823, and in the same 
month the committee reported that they had obtained 
subscriptions for the extinction of the debt, amounting to 
sixteen thousand and twenty-five dollars, and in April, 
1824, the same committee stated that all the debts of the 
church had been settled. 

Thus was this beautiful temple, at a cost of more than 
one hundred thousand dollars, finally erected and delivered 
from all incumbrances, by the energy, union, and concerted 
liberality of its founders. 

The burden of its debt having been removed from the con- 
gregation, it was now prepared to take into consideration the 
possibility of lessening the evils suggested by Dr. Smyth, 
occasioned by the immensity of the auditorium. And it 
was with much pleasure and gratification that he testified 
to the readiness and liberality with which in 1833, it entered 
upon that series of alterations, which terminated so bene- 
ficial in the present greatly improved condition and aspect 
of the church. By these alterations, while no injury was 
done to the appearance of the church, the capacity of 
the audience room was diminished by lowering the ceiling, 
raising the floor, and taking sufficient space from the front 
to make a convenient vestibule, and a commodious room 
above, which could be used for a Sunday School, or lecture 
room, and a library. 

It was found in 1874, that a new roof was needed for the 
safety and preservation of the building, and the sum of six 

thousand was raised in a time of great financial strin- 
gency. In his handsome tribute to the " noble ladies," 
President C. H. Simonton said : '" The work could not have 
been finished without their generous co-operation." The 
amount raised by them was eighteen hundred dollars. In 
the great cyclone of August 27th, 1813, this church sus- 
tained considerable injury ; the lead that covered the top 
of the roof, with a large portion of the slate, were raised 
and carried away, and some of the sashes of the windows 
were blown away. 

In 1855, when other churches were seriously damaged by 
the cyclone, this received a comparatively slight injury. 

In the memorable earthquake of 1886, which threatened 
the city with destruction, this church was damaged to the 
amount of six thousand dollars, but through the kind and 
generous benefaction of friends abroad, from both South 
and North, chiefly from the latter, the congregation were 
enabled, speedily, to restore their shattered walls. 

In August 27th, 1893, this church again suffered severely 
from the most destructive cyclone «that has ever visited our 
city. The building was completely unroofed on the north 
side, the pews and organ deluged with water, and the whole 
ceiling so damaged as to necessitate its removal. The sum 
required to restore the building was three thousand three 
hundred dollars, which was partially covered by an insur- 
ance of thiiteen hundred. 

Only such repairs were made immediately after the earth- 
quake as were deemed necessary for safety. The work of 
complete restoration and improvement was deferred until 
the pastor's summer vacation. The actual damages by the 
quake were not visible to the ordinary observer, who saw 
only the shattered walls and broken ceiling. 

Beginning with the tower, it was found necessary to make 
such changes in the contiguous walls and galleries as would 
remedy the settling of the foundations nearly six inches. 
The unsightly block on the summit of the tower was re- 
placed by an elegant gilded vane, and the old lightning rod 
removed. In the south vestibule, a convenient room was 


added for the pastor. The organ was retired twelve feet 
into the old lecture room, which is no longer used for relig- 
iovs services, thus enlarging the orchestra and giving ample 
room for the choir. The whole building received a new 
coat of paint, both on the inside and outside. No change 
was made in the interior walls. The venerable pulpit, of 
rich Spanish mahogany, and of richer hallowed associations 
was retained as far as possible, and at the same time to 
accomodate it to a low platform. The pews were recush- 
ioned by the congregation. The new and beautiful carpet 
is the generous gift of one of the members. The group of 
windows back of the pulpit was improved by the substitu- 
tion of stained glass. 

Previous to the time of Dr. Henry, the weekly lectures 
were delivered, and the prayer meeting held at private resi 
dences ; but in January, 1824, at the urgency of Dr. Henry^ 
the corporation procured a temporary building in St. 
Philip Street. A lot of land was, however, soon leased in 
Black Bird's Alley, now Burns' Lane, at fifty dollars per 
annum, and a lecture room erected through the efforts of 
the ladies of the congregation, at a cost of about seven hun- 
dred dollars. But this building being too small and the 
location unfavorable, it was resolved in 1835, to procure a 
more suitable building in a more eligible situation. 

A beautiful, and more creditable edifice was erected in 
Society Street, and dedicated in March, 1837. This lecture 
room was destroyed in the great fire of 1838. It was after- 
wards rebuilt, and subsequently sold. It was in these lec- 
ture rooms that Dr. Smyth delivered to crowded audiences, 
of every class his masterly discourses on " Apostolical Si4c- 
c ess ton," and " Presbytery and Prelacy" which were after- 
wards published and used as text books in several theo- 
logical seminaries. 

In 188 1 , the need of a new and more convenient Sunday 
School building was beginning to be deeply felt, and steps 
were taken to procure funds for its erection, resulting in 
the organization of a society called the " Sunday School 
Workers," which in the course of nine years raised three 


thousand dollars. In November, i88i,alot was purchased, 
at a cost of twelve hundred and seven dollars. The elegant 
building was completed at a cost of ten thousand four 
hundred and fifty-six dollars, and dedicated May, 1887. 

The Sunday School of the Second Presbyterian Church, 
was organized in the year 18 18 by Mr. and Mrs. George E. 
Hahnbaum. It was the second Sunday School organized 
in this city. Mr. and Mrs. Hahnbaum were both members 
of the Congregational (or Circular) Church, of Charleston, 
and they had, about two years previous started in connec- 
tion with that church, the first Sunday School in the city. 
This attracted the attention of some of the members of 
the Second Presbyterian Church, and in 1818 an invitation 
was extended to Mr. and Mrs. Hahnbaum to organize a 
school there. 

The first superintendent of the school, was Mr. Geo. E. 
Hahnbaum himself, assisted by Mrs. Hahnbaum. It was 
organized as distinct from the church, and was not, at that 
time, under the direction of the session. For this, and other 
reasons, the Rev. Dr. Flinn, the pastor of the church opposed 
it, regarding the work as too secular in its nature. But he 
was soon convinced of its usefulness, and was ever after its 
zealous supporter. 

In 1822, when the school was firmly established, Mr. and 
Mrs. Hahnbaum returned to the Circular Church, and the 
Rev. Basil Gildersleeve was elected superintendent of the 
school, which office he held until 1839. During a part of 
his administration he was assisted by Mr. Charles S. 

This church always manifested a deep and affectionate 
interest in the colored people, who filled the galleries of the 
church and largely composed its membership, at one time 
numbering two hundred. During the forty years of Dr. 
Smyth's ministry, he was accustomed to prepare sermons 
with special reference to their instruction, and held a special 
service for them during the week. He was a warm sup- 
porter of the Zion Colored Church, in Anson Street, and of 
the Rev. J. L. Girardeau. D. D., in his ministry to thepeo- 


pie. At the time we now refer to, this church furnished a 
dozen teachers for the colored Sunday-school in Anson 
Street. "The erection of a beautiful and commodious edi- 
fice for the special accommodation of the colored people, 
the employment of an able minister to labor among them, 
and the self-denial with which some have persevered in im- 
parting to their cathechitical instruction," said Dr. Smyth, 
"will ever be to your praise." 

Reference is here made to the church in Calhoun Street, 
to which the growing congregation in Anson Street re 
moved, and where multitudes of colored people were gath- 
ered into the Presbyterian Church. The first pastor of this 
"Zion Church," as it was called, was the Rev. John B. 
Adger, D. D., for twelve years a zealous missionary in 
Smyrna, and who labored among this people with equal 
devotion. For several months after the resignation of Dr. 
Adger, the church was supplied by the Rev. Ferdinand 
Jacobs, D. D,, when the Rev. John L. Girardeau, D. D., 
entered upon his long and useful ministry among this peo- 
ple. This valuable building on Calhoun Street, is gratui- 
tously furnished to the colored people as a place of wor- 

The first pastor of this church was the Rev. Andrew 
Flinn, D. D. He was called in February, 1809; installed 
April 4th, 1811, and died February 24th, 1820, having been 
eleven years connected with the church. Mr. Flinn was 
born in the State of Maryland, in the year 1773, of honest 
and pious, but humble parentage. When he was about a 
year old the family emigrated to Mecklenburg County, N. 
C, where his father died in 1875. Thus he was left to the 
care of a widowed mother, with six small children, and with 
stinted means for their support. Some of his friends, how- 
ever, observing that he was a youth of extraordinary promise, 
encouraged him to commence a course of study and vol- 
unteered their aid to enable him to prosecute it. He en- 
tered the University of North Carolina, where he graduated 
with considerable distinction in 1799. He engaged in the 
study of theology, under the care of the Presbytery of 


Orange, and was licensed to preach the Gospel in 1800. 
His first efforts in the pulpit excited great attention, and 
marked him as one of the most popular candidates of the 
day. Having preached for some time in Hillsboro and in 
some other places, he accepted, in January, 1803, an invita- 
tion to supply the pulpit in Fayetteville, where he was or- 
dained to the work of the ministry, and installed pastor. 
Mr. Flinn was indefatigable as a pastor, and was obliged, 
besides, to teach school in order to make out a competent 
support. But these united labors became so oppressive, 
that in 1805 he was compelled to resign his charge. He 
now removed to Camden, S. C, where he was instrumental 
in organizing and building up a very respectable Presbyte- 
rian congregation. After laboring there for a short time, 
he went to Williamsburg County and preached for a while 
to the churches of Bethel and Indiantovvn. But it was not 
long before he visited Charleston and preached several 
times in the Scotch Presbyterian Church. So great was 
the sensation produced by his fervid eloquence, that he was 
immediately invited to take charge of the Second Presby- 
terian Church. When this new church was in process of 
erection, the congregation obtained the use of a vacant 
Methodist place of worship, in which Mr. Flinn commenced 
his ministry. 

In November, of this year, he was honored with the de- 
gree of Doctor of Divinity from the University of North 
Carolina. In 1812 he was Moderator of the General Assem- 
bly of the Presbyterian Church. 

On February 24th, 1820, in the forty-eighth year of his 
age, after a long and painful illness, Dr. Flinn was removed 
from the scene of his earthly labors. In his last moments, 
he, with an affectionate farewell of his mourning family and 
friends, and this with perfect composure, raised his hands 
and eyes to heaven and said, "Jesus, into thy hands I com- 
mend my spirit." Mr. Flinn was twice married. His first 
wife was Martha H. Walker, who died in 1808, the mother 
of one daughter, who was married to the Rev. John Dick- 


son. His second wife was Mrs. Eliza Grimball, widow of 
John Grimball, by whom he had no issue. 

After the death of Dr. Flinn, the church was supplied by 
such transient ministers as could be obtained, until April, 
1820, when the Rev. Artemus Boies, pastor of the Church 
of Wilmington, N. C, who had been recommended by Dr. 
Flinn, was called to supply the church for one year, during 
the rebuilding of the church at Wilmington, which had been 
burnt. He was elected pastor in April, 1821, and continued 
to labor until May, 1823, when he tendered his resig 

In November, 1823, it was unanimously resolved to call 
the Rev. Thomas Charlton Henry to the pastoral charge for 
one year. This call was very soon made permanent and 
accepted, and Mr. Henry was installed by the Charleston 
Union Presbytery January, 1824. He died October 5th, 
1827, having been connected with the church only four 
years. The Rev. T. C. Henry was the son of Alexander 
Henry, of Philadelphia, the venerable and devoted President 
of the American Sunday School Union, and an Elder in the 
Central Presbyterian Church. He was born September 22d, 
1790. At his birth, and during his childhood, his father 
repeatedly devoted him to the ministry; but his early years 
were passed with great buoyancy of spirit, and love of 
pleasure, though he had withal a considerable fondness for 
books. His father was disposed to indulge his literary tastes 
by giving him the best advantages for improvement. At 
the age of eighteen he was placed at mercantile business. 
This, however, proved distasteful to him, and he returned 
to literary pursuits, and was graduated from Middleburg 
College, Vermont, in August, 1814, with distinction. Hav 
ing meantime experienced the saving power of divine grace, 
he devoted himself to the sacred ministry. To fit himself 
for this work, he took a course of theological study at 
Princeton Seminary, N. J., where he was a diligent student 
for two years. He was licensed to preach by the Philadel 
phia Presbytery April 17, 1816, but in October following 
was dismissed to Newcastle Presbytery, by which he was 


subsequently ordained. For two successive years he per- 
formed gratuitously the work of a missionary. Several 
months of this period were passed at Lexington, Ky., where 
he had great popularity as a preacher. From Lexington 
he was called to the First Presbyterian Church in Columbia, 
S. C, of which he was installed pastor in 1818, by the Pres- 
bytery of Harmony. After a prosperous ministry of five 
years, he received a unanimous call to this church to be- 
come their pastor. In the first and second years of his 
ministry considerable additions were made to the church, 
but in the third, a blessed effusion of the Spirit was enjoyed. 
His indefatigable labors during this season rendered a period 
of relaxation indispensible, and he therefore embarked for 
Liverpool in April. 1826. During the four or five months 
of his stay in Europe, he travelled through the principal 
parts of Great Britain and France, He returned early in 
December, and with redoubled vigor entered upon his 
labors. On the first of October, 1827, when in the enjoy- 
ment of perfect health, he was suddenly seized with the 
yellow fever, then prevalent in this city, and of a malig- 
nant type, which in four days terminated his valuable life, 
at the early age of thirty-seven. From the beginning he 
manifested unqualified submission to the Divine will, and 
he conversed with his friends in the most comforting and 
rapturous manner, testifying to the power of his Redeem- 
er's love and grace. The following is a list of Dr. Henry's 
publications: A Plea for the West; A Sermon before the 
Missionary Society of the Synod of South Carolina and 
Georgia, 1824; The Song of Ascent ; A Sermon preached 
on the fourteenth anniversary of the Dedication of the 
Second Presbyterian Church, 1825 ; Popular Amusements, 
12 mo., 1825 ; Letters to an Anxious Enquirer, 12 mo.. 1827; 
Etchings from the Religious World, 12 mo. His "Letters 
to an Anxious Enquirer" have been twice published in 
America, the second edition under the auspices, and with a 
recommendatory preface, of the Rev. Dr. Bedell, and also 
in London, with an introduction by Dr. Pye Smith. .The 
account of his death is also published in a volume of the 


London Tract Society, as an eminent exhibition of the 
triumph of divine grace. 

After the melancholy death of Dr. Henry, the church 
remained two years without a pastor, though faithfully sup- 
plied by the Rev. Benjamin Gildersleeye. and the Rev. A. 
Leland, D. D. Various and unsuccessful efforts were made 
to obtain the services of a suitable minister. 

In June, 1828, the Rev. Alonzo Church, of Georgia, re- 
ceived a call which he declined. In September, the Rev. 
E. N. Kirk, was elected pastor, but he also refused to come. 
In February, 1829, the Rev. William Ashmead, being in 
Charleston, on account of his health, received a call. In 
March he accepted of his appointment, and was in May, 
installed pastor. On June 7th, he obtained leave of ab- 
sence for the summer, with the intention of bringing his 
family, but he died on his return in Philadelphia, December 
2d, 1829, having been connected with this church but little 
more than six months, of which he was absent more than 
four. Mr. Ashmead was born in Philadelphia, in 1797. From 
his earliest youth he was devoted to books and retirement, 
and was remarked by Dr. Rush as a youth of fine promise. 
He studied in the University of Pennsylvania, and was 
graduated in 1848. Having chosen as his future profession 
the Gospel Ministry, he studied under the Rev. James P. 
Wilson, of Philadelphia. Mr. Ashmead was compelled to 
teach by day and study by night, and thus laid the founda- 
tion for his future infirmities. In 1820, he was licensed to 
preach by the Presbytery of Philadelphia. He received a 
call from the Presbyterian Church in Lancaster, Pa., where 
he labored more than eight years previous to his call to 
this church. Mr. Ashmead, considering his age, was an 
accomplished and thorough scholar. He read with ease the 
French, Spanish and Italian languages, and had made some 
proficiency in German also, when his declining health 
obliged him to relinquish it. In the winter of 1825, he 
commenced a translation of Saurin's Historical, Critical 
and Theological Discourses, but in this labor also, after he 
had made considerable progress, he was arrested by ill 


health. In 1826, he published an essay on pauperism, ad- 
dressed to the Legislature of Pennsylvania, in which was 
displayed great ingenuity, and power of argument. Since 
his death, a volume of sermons has been issued from the 
press, to which is prefixed an interesting memoir by the 
lamented Grimk£, who was his warm friend, and held him 
in high estimation. 

After the death of Mr. Ashmead, the church sat in her 
widowhood for several years, receiving her food from occa- 
sional supplies, especially from her tried friend, the Rev. 
Benj. Gildersleeve. 

In August, 1830, the Rev. Alexander Aikman received 
an unsuccessful call. In April, 1831, a similar call was pre- 
sented to the Rev. J. B. Waterbury. 

In April, 1832, the Rev. Thomas Smyth was called to 
this church. He was born in Belfast, Ireland, on the 14th 
of June, 1808, of English and Scotch parentage. He-was 
of so frail a constitution that no one expected him to live 
beyond the period of childhood. He entered the Institute 
at Belfast, which was then connected with what is now the 
Queen's College, as a preparatory or high school. His 
academical career was bright with glowing prophecies of 
his future eminence. In 1827, at the age of nineteen, he 
became a student at Belfast College, where he won prizes 
in every branch of study. It was within these classic walls 
that, under the private instructions of the famous tragedian, 
Sheridan Knowles, he began to develop those powers of 
elocution, which afterwards gave him a place among the 
princes of pulpit oratory. 

He was twenty-one years of age when he made a public 
profession of his faith in Christ. His father was an elder 
for many years in the Presbyterian Church, of which Dr. 
Samuel Hanna (father of Dr. Wm. Hanna) was pastor. 
"The Presbyterian Church, at this time," he writes, "was 
sadly degenerated, both in doctrine and discipline, and the 
erection of an Independent Church on principles of evan- 
gelical purity, was received with favor. In this church I 
was brought up." He prosecuted his theological studies at 


Highbury College, in London. In addition to his theologi- 
cal studies he attended a course of scientific lectures in 
London. But his feeble constitution began to relax under 
the constant and unremitting strain of exhausting study. 
He believed he was sinking into rapid decline, and all his 
bright hopes of entering the ministry began to wither. At 
this painful crisis his parents were preparing to remove to 
America, where the most of their children were already 
settled. He embarked with his parents for New York in 
August, 1830. He connected himself with the Presbyterian 
Church of which Dr. Fisher was pastor, and by whom he 
was introduced to Newark Presbytery. He entered the 
senior class of Princeton Seminary, but before graduating 
received a call to this church November. 1831, and was in- 
stalled by Charleston Union Presbytery December 29th, 


In 1832 he married the eldest daughter of Mr. James 

Adger, of Charleston, S. C. His long and useful ministry 
began and ended with this favored people, extending over 
a period of forty years. " For her," he said, " I have given 
myself, and all that I have — my time, talents, acquisitions, 
substance, and strength." He declined complimentary and 
enticing calls in every direction, from the college, the sem- 
inary, and the editorial chair, saying: " I am determined 
to live and die with my people." He was an indefatigable 
student and a voluminous author, and published in all about 
thirty volumes, embracing almost every subject of public 
interest. Dr. Smyth collected probably the largest private 
library which has ever been gathered in this country, num- 
bering at one time nearly twenty thousand volumes. For 
general improvement, and to gratify a long cherished taste 
for the sciences, he attended the medical lectures in the 
College of Charleston for two seasons and pursued the 
study privately. He also read Blackstone and other treatises 
on law, together with a course of classical literature and 
general science. He was an enthusiastic member of the 
Gentlemen's Literary Club, and also of the Charleston 
Bible Society. 


In the prime of his manhood, Dr. Smyth was stricken 
with paralysis, and in 1853, when he was on his return from 
the General Assembly, he was again stricken so severely 
that, for a time, all hopes of his life were given up. His 
indomitable energy of will, with the divine blessing, how- 
ever, sustained him, and though ever after a cripple, he 
persevered to the end in the work to which he had devoted 
his life, and on the 20th of August, 1873, he quietly entered 
into his rest. His last thoughts were for the people of his 
love, for whom he was struggling to deliver his dying mes- 

It deserves to be mentioned here that Dr. Smyth was 
assisted at different periods of his ministry, when disquali- 
fied by infirmity for discharging its functions, by the follow, 
ing ministers, whose faithful labors are held in grateful re- 
membrance: Rev. Henry M. Smith, D. D., Rev. D. L. But- 
tolph, D. D., Rev. Ferdinand Jacobs, D. D., Rev. James 
McDowell, and Rev. Hampden C. DuBose. D. D. 

In May, 1871, the Rev. Gilbert R. Brackett was invited 
to supply the vacant pulpit for a year, Dr. Smyth being 
pastor emeritus, and on the 16th of June, 1872, was in- 
stalled pastor, which office he still holds. 

TION IN 1809 : 


Rev. Andrew Flinn, D. D., i8oq; Rev. Artemas Boies, 
1820; Rev. Thomas Charlton Henry, D. D., 1823; Rev. Wil- 
liam Ashmead, 1829; Rev. Thomas Smyth, D. D., 1832; Rev. 
Gilbert R. Brackett, D. D., June, 1872. 


Benj. Boyd, 1810 ; Stephen Thomas, 1810; John Cunning- 
ham, 1810; Wm. Pressly, 1812 ; David Bell, 1812 ; Henry 
Bennett, 1812 ; John Todd, 1821 ; Thomas Fleming, 1821 ; 
James Black, 182 1 ; Israel C. Anthony; Charles O'Neal, 
1825; Robert Wright, 1825; Charles S. Simonton, 1837; 
Thomas R. Vardell, 1837; John DeWees, 1837; George 


Moffett, 1840; William Dearing, 1845; William Yeadon, 
1845 ; William C. Dukes, 1845 ; William Harrall, 1845 ; Wil- 
liam Adger, 1845 ; D. W. Harrison, 1845 ! James M. Cald- 
well, 1846; John Caldwell, 1846; Robert S. Wright, 1852; 
Hugh Wilson, 1852; Hugh R.Banks, 1852; S. S.Clark, 

1852 ; James Dillingham, 1853 I Archibald Campbell, 1853 ; 
Robert Adger, 1855 ; F. D. Fanning, 1855; A. F. Brown- 
ing, 1855: James S. Chambers, 1855; Robert C. Gilchrist, 
1867 ; Wm. J. Smith, 1867 ; Dr. D. J. Cain, 1867 ; George S. 
Cook, 1867; Alfred R. Stillman, 1869; J. Adger Smyth, 
1869; John S. Bird, 1876; John S. Roberts, 1 88 1 ; James 
Allan, 1881 ; C. N. Averill, 1888 ; James E. Edgerton, 1888 ; 
William B. Hills, 1888; Augustine T. Smythe, 1893; James 
N. Robson, 1893; John B. Adger, Jr., 1893 ; Frank F. Whil- 
den, 1893 ; James Allan, Jr., 1899. 


JohnS. Bird, 185 1 ; James S. Chambers, 185 1 ; Dr. John 
Anderson, 185 1; A. F. Browning, 185 1 ; Robert C. Gilchrist, 

1853 ; John V. Lyon, 1853 > George S. Cook, 1853 5 Wm. J. 
Smith, 1855; James S. Roberts, 1855; George H. Moffett, 
1855; Thomas S. Jones, 1855; Edward Fogartie, 1856; 
Wm. John Johnson, 1856; William DeWees, 1856; John 
Knox, 1856; F. D. Whitney, 1867; J. N. RqJdsoii, 1867 ; J. 
Adger Smyth, 1867 ; James Allan, 1867 ; C. N. Averill, 1867 ; 
Augustine T. Smythe, 1869; Edwin F. Miscally, 1876; 
George L. G. Cook, 1876 ; Oscar E. Johnson, 1881 ; Robert 
E. Seabrook, 1888; John B. Adger, Jr., 1888; Frank F. 
Whilden, 1888; W. W. Houston, 1888; Hall T. McGee, 
1893 ; Geo. H. Moffett, 1893 ; William S. Allan, 1893 ; John 
W. Robson, 1893; James Robinson Williams, 1893; Robert 
C. Lebby, 1893; R. M. Masters, 1899; Robert A. Smyth, 

Presidents of the Corporation. 

Benj. Boyd, 1809; Samuel Robertson, 18 10; Stephen 
Thomas, 1 8 1 3 ; Wm. Smith, 1 8 1 5 ; Samuel Patterson, 1818; 
Thomas Fleming, 1819; John Robinson, 1821 ; James Black, 
1823; James Adger, 1823; Wm. Smith, 1825; Alexander 


Black, 1827; John Robinson, 1828; Win. Smith, Sen., 1834; 
Alexander Black, 1838; Alexander Brown, 1840; John 
Robinson, 1841 ; William C. Dukes, 1845 > Alexander Black, 
1847; H - R - Banks, 1849; Robert Adger, 1850; N. F. 
Browning, 1854; Fleetwood Lanneau, 1856; William C. 
Dukes, 1858; Wm. J. Smith, 1859; George S Cook, 1866; 
Charles H. Simonton, 1867; A. McD. Brown, 1876; Ellison 
A. Smyth, 1878, Hall T. McGee, 1881 ; J. Adger Smyth, 

The following members of this church have entered the 
Gospel Ministry: Rev. John B. Adger, D. D. ; Rev. D. 
McNeill Turner, D. D. ; Rev. George C. Logan ; Rev. Wil- 
liam S. Hughes; Rev. Donald J. Auld ; Rev. Charles A. 
Stillman, D. D. ; Rev. Arnold W. Miller, D. D. ; Rev. Robert 
Small; Rev. Thos. J. Girardeau; Rev. James E. White; 
Rev. Arthur Small; Rev. E. H. Bolles ; Rev. Wm. J. 
McCormick, D. D. ; Rev. Wm. B. Corbett, D. D. ; Rev. D. 
L. Buttolph, D. D. ; Rev. E. G. Walker ; Rev. James T. 
Waite ; Rev. Matthew Green ; Rev. R. M. McCormick, D. D. ; 
Rev. E. O. Frierson, D. D. ; Rev. James J. Chisolm, D. D. ; 
Rev. C. E. Chichester; Rev. Wm. G. Vardell ; Rev. E. B. 

Inscriptions from Mural Tablets. 

Rev. Andrew Flinn, D. D. Sacred to the memory of the 
Rev. Andrew Flinn, D. D., who departed this life on the 
24th of February Anno Domini 1820, in the XLVII year of 
his age. He was the first Pastor of this Church. Under 
his ministry the congregation was formed, and this Temple 
dedicated to the service of Almighty God. He was an 
accomplished Scholar, an able Theologian, an eloquent, and 
impressive Preacher of the Gospel, a faithful and affection- 
ate Pastor. In his private life, he was distinguished for his 
affability, condescension, and benevoience, and for his ex- 
emplary conduct in the endearing relations of Husband, 
Parent, Friend and Master. To the Stranger he was hospi- 
table, to his country an ardent friend. To Public Institu- 


tions, he was uniformly generous. As a Citizen he was 
independent and of unsullied integrity. Through life he 
devoted himself to his Redeemer, to whom he committed 
his soul, triumphing in death, leaving an example worthy 
of the imitation of every worthy Christian. As a testimony 
of their affection, and veneration for his virtues, his be- 
reaved congregation have erected this monument. Dens 
nobis Refugtum. 

Reverend Thomas Charlton Henry, D. D. This Tablet is 
erected to the Memory of their late faithful Pastor, the 
Reverend Thomas Charlton Henry, D. D., who finished his 
course Oct. 5, 1827, aged 37 years and 13 days. Actuated by 
the noblest motives, wealth, talents, and every other distinc- 
tion he counted but loss, that he might bear the exalted char- 
acter of a Minister of the Gospel of Christ. To this adorable 
Name, his theme, his hope and his joy, which gave energy 
to his principles, and success to his labors, he consecrated 
a superior mind, extensive acquirements, and eminent en- 
dowments ; having been the instrument of gathering many 
souls into the fold of his Redeemer. In his last moments, 
when every earthly consolation vanished, his soul sweetly 
reposed upon the grace which bore him through triumphant. 

Reverend William Ashmead. To this marble tablet is 
entrusted the pious office of recording the Life, the Virtues, 
the Talents, and the Death of the Reverend William Ash- 
mead. He was a native of Philadelphia ; graduated there 
in 1 8 1 8 ; was ordained in 1820; and on the 17th of May, 
1829, was installed as pastor of this church. He died at 
Philadelphia, 2d December, 1829, aged 32, leaving behind 
him a widow and six children. Talents, erudition and 
scholarship, won for him admiration. His Christian graces, 
whilst they endeared him to such as worshipped God, like 
himself, in spirit and in truth, commanded the respect and 
esteem of all who valued, promoted and honored religion, 
as a living fountain of public felicity and duty, usefulness 
and glory ; and in all the relations of private character, of 


purity, harmony and peace, of order, beauty and love. 
His widow and children, his relatives and friends attest, in 
tears of earthly grief, yet of heavenly faith and hope, the 
loveliness and worth of his social and domestic life. As a 
man, sensible and discreet, amiable, benevolent and 
polished. As a Husband, a Father, and a Friend, considerate 
and judicious, faithful and affectionate, cordial, respectful, 
and constant. As a scholar, enthusiastic in study, and various 
in knowledge, accomplished in taste, and disciplined in mind. 
As a pastor and a preacher, he was apostolic ; in life, 
doctrine, discipline, worship, faithful and courteous, kind, 
candid and thoughtful, eloquent and fearless, zealous, yet 
liberal. As a Christian, in purity of heart, in singleness of 
purpose, in humanity of spirit, in the depth and breadth, 
and height of faith, hope and charity. He was indeed, an 
Israelite without guile. In life, the servant of God and 
man ; in death, the purified, happy spirit of a just man 
made perfect. Here in the sanctuary that he loved, 
honored and adorned, the corporation of the Second Pres- 
byterian Church have dedicated this silent, yet faithful 
marble, as an enduring witness of their love, and an affec- 
tionate memorial of his merits. 

Reverend Thomas Smyth, D. D. This tablet is erected by 
his bereaved and loving people to the memory of the 
Reverend Thomas Smyth, D. D., who died August 20th, 
1 873. aged 65. Called to be pastor of this church in April, 
1832, he here labored for more than forty years, devoting 
to this his first and only charge, the whole of his min- 
isterial life, his eminent talents, his boundless stores of 
learning, and the undivided affections of a warm and gene- 
rous heart. A preacher of thrilling and fervid eloquence, 
a devoted and sympathizing pastor, a learned and volumi- 
nous author, an influential leader in the church, a master 
spirit of the age, he faithfully labored with an unabated 
energy, and an indomitable will, through years of protracted 
sufferings, cheerfully borne, until the Christian warrior was 
called to receive his crown. 


Tablets in the Vestibule. 
Original Founders of this Church, February 8, 1809: 

Benj. Boyd, Alexander Henry, Wm. Walton, James Adger, 
Wm. Aiken, John Parker, Caleb Gray, Samuel Robertson, 
Wm. Pressly, Samuel Pressly, John Ellison, Archibald 
Pagan, George Robertson, John Robertson. 

Pastor, Rev. Andrew Flinn, D. D. 

President, Benj. Boyd. 

Building Committee, John Cunningham, chairman; Alex- 
ander Henry, John McDowell, Wm. Aiken, Samuel Robert, 
son, Stephen Thomas, Wm. Parker, John Brownlee, John 

Architects, James and John Gordon. 

Two new tablets were inserted in the walls of the vesti- 
bule, after the earthquake, bearing the following inscrip- 

This church was seriously injured by the earthquake, 
August3i, 1886; was partly repaired and occupied October 
31,1886. By the liberal assistance of Presbyterians from 
all parts of our country, the repairs were completed October 
9, 1887. 

Pastor, Rev. G. R. Brackett, D. D. 

President, J. Adger Smyth. 

Building Committee, Hall T. McGee, chairman ; S. R. 
Marshall, James Allan, J. Adger Smyth, H. C. Robertson. 

On the wall of the vestibule of the Sunday-School build- 
ing is the following tablet : 

This building was dedicated May 226, 1887. Pastor, Rev. 
G. R. Brackett, D. D.; superintendent. A. T. Smythe ; vice 
superintendent, Frank F. Whilden ; president, Hall T. Mc- 
Gee; building committee, J. Adger Smyth, chairman; S. 
R. Marshall, James Allan, H C. Robertson, H. T. McGee; 
Gus E. Leo, architect; C. McK. Grant, builder. 








Originally Published in November, 1853, 

Republished in the editions of The News and Courier 

July, 1885, 








i >N 




Originally Published in November, 1853, 

Republished in the editions of The News and Courier. 

July, 1885, 




This Edition in Pamphlet Form is Issued by a Committee of Citizens for 
Free Circulation Throughout the State. 










South Carolina College, 
November, 1853. 
To His Excellency Governor Manning : 

I ask the favor of presenting to your Excellency a few re- 
flections upon the subject of public instruction in South 
Carolina. As I feel that I am addressing one whose in- 
terest and zeal in the prosperity of letters will induce him to 
weigh with candor, to estimate with charity, and even to 
invest with disproportionate value, the crudest hints which 
spring from the desire to increase the educational facilities 
of the State, I shall dismiss all apprehensions of being sus- 
pected of an officious obtrusion upon your notice. You are 
the man, above all others, to whom the head of this institu- 
tion should look with confidence to give fresh impulse to 
the general cause of education, and you will excuse me for 
saying that if the suggestions which shall fall from me, or 
the maturer recommendations which shall come from your- 
self, shall terminate auspiciously to the wishes of us both, 
there will be furnished a beautiful instance of providential 
retribution, in connecting the name of the first conspicuous 
benefactor of the South Carolina College with the establish- 
ment of an adequate system of common schools. A proud 
distinction in itself to be the friend and patron of learning, 
the honor is increased in your case in that it has been pre- 
eminently your care, in its higher and lower culture, to dis- 
pense its blessings to the poor. Apart from fellowship with 

God, there cannot be a sweeter satisfaction than that which 
arises from the consciousness of being a father to the father- 
less; and if the ends which I know are dear to your heart 
can only be achieved, every indigent child in the State, 
looking upon you as its real father, may address you in the 
modest and glowing terms which the genius of Milton has 
canonized as fit expressions of gratitude for the noblest of 
all eifts : 


At tibi, chare pater, postquam non aequa merenti 
Posse referre datur, nee dona rependere factis, 
Sit memorasse satis, repetitaque munera grato 
Percensere animo, fideique reponere menti. 


I am not insensible to the dangers and difficulties which 
attend the discussion of this subject. It is so seductive to 
the fancy that the temptation is almost irresistible to indulge 
in schemes and visionary projects. In the effort to realize 
the conception of a perfect education we are apt to forget 
that there is no such thing as absolute perfection in the 
matter, that all excellence is relative, and that the highest 
recommendation of any plan is, that it is at once practicable 
and adjusted to the wants and condition of those for whom 
it is provided. A system of public instruction, like the 
form of government, must spring from the manners, maxims, 
habits and associations of the people. It must penetrate 
their character, constitute an element of their national ex- 
istence, be a portion of themselves, if it would not be sus- 
pected as an alien, or distrusted as a spy. The success of 
the Prussian scheme is ascribed by Cousin to the circum- 
stance that it existed in the manners and customs of the 
country before it was enacted into law. It was not a 
foreign graft, but the natural offshoot of popular opinion 
and practice. It is an easy thing to construct a theory, 
when nothing is to be done but to trace the coherencies and 
dependencies of thought ; but it is not so easy to make 
thought correspond to reality, or to devise a plan which 


shall overlook none of the difficulties and obstructions in 
the way of successful application. In the suggestions which 
I have to offer, I shall endeavor to keep steadily in view the 
real wants of the citizens of this Commonwealth, and avoid- 
ing all crotchets and metaphysical abstractions, shall aim 
exclusively at what experience or the nature of the case 
demonstrates to be practicable. I have no new principle to 
ventilate, but I shall think myself happy if I can succeed in 
setting in a clearer light, or vindicating from prejudice and 
misconstruction, the principles which have already been 
embodied in our laws. It is, perhaps, not generally known 
that the Legislature of South Carolina contemplates a 
scheme of public instruction as perfect in its conception of 
the end as it is defective in its provision of the means. The 
order, too, in which the attention of the Legislature has 
been turned to the various branches of the subject, though 
not the most popular or the most obvious, is precisely the 
order of their relative importance. It began where it ought 
to have begun, but, unfortunately, stopped where it ought 
not to have stopped. To defend what it has already done, 
and stimulate it to repentance for what it has not done, is 
the principal motive of this communication. 


Permit me, in pursuance of this design, to direct the at- 
tention of your Excellency to the nature, operation and 
defect of the system among us. This system consists of the 
South Carolina College, established in 1801 ; of the free 
schools, established in 181 1, and of the Arsenal and Citadel 
Academies. This series of institutions is evidently ad- 
justed without, perhaps, any conscious purpose of doing so, 
to a threefold division of education, in so far as it depends 
upon instruction, into liberal, elementary and professional. 
The College is to furnish the means of liberal, the free 
schools of elementary, and the Arsenal and Citadel Acade- 
mies of that department and professional education which 
looks to the arts of practical life, especially those of the 


soldier. For the liberal or learned professions, those of law, 
physic and divinity, no provision has been made. The 
College undertakes to give the same kind of instruction 
which is given by the faculty of arts and philosophy in the 
Universities of Europe. Our military academies, with a 
slight change in their organization, might be converted into 
scientific schools, and free schools are, or were, designed to 
be substantially the same as the elementary and grammar 
schools of England. The scheme as here developed, though 
far from fulfilling the logical requirements of a complete 
system of public instruction, is amply sufficient, if ade- 
quately carried out, to meet the real wants of our people. 
The kind and degree of education for which there is any 
serious or extensive demand, is what is provided for. To 
make the system logically complete there would have to be 
a succession of institutions individually perfect and yet 
harmoniously co-operating to a general result, which, taking 
the man at the very dawn of his powers, shall be able to 
carry him up to the highest point of their expansion, and 
fit him for any employment in which intelligence and 
thought are the conditions of success. It should supply the 
means to every individual in the community of becoming 
trained and prepared for his own peculiar destiny — it should 
overlook no class, it should neglect no pursuit. It may be 
doubted whether a scheme so comprehensive in its plan is 
desirable — it is quite certain that it is not practicable. The 
Legislature has done wisely in confining its arrangements 
to liberal and elementary education. It has aimed, by a 
preliminary discipline, to put the individual in a condition 
to educate himself for the business of his life, except where 
his calling involves an application of scientific knowledge 
which does not enter into the curriculum of general instruc- 
tion. In that case it has made a special provision. I see, 
then, no improvement that can be made in the general 
features of our scheme ; it is as perfect in its conception as 
the wants and condition of our people will justify. All that 
the Legislature should aim at is the adjustment of the de- 
tails, and the better adaptation of them to the end in viewr 


The first in the order of establishment, as well as the first 
in the order of importance, is the College. Devoted to the 
interests of general, in contradistinction from professional 
education, its design is to cultivate the mind without refer- 
ence to any ulterior pursuits. " The student is considered 
as an end to himself; his perfection, as a man simply, being 
the aim of his education." The culture of the mind, how- 
ever, for itself, contributes to its perfection as an instrument, 
so that general education, while it directly prepares and 
qualifies for no special destination, indirectly trains for every 
vocation in which success is dependent upon intellectual 
exertion. It has taught the mind the use of its powers, 
and imparted those habits without which its powers would 
be useless; it makes men, and consequently promotes every 
enterprise in which men are to act. General education 
being the design of the College, the fundamental principles 
of its organization are easily deduced. The selection of 
studies must be made, not with reference to the compara- 
tive importance of their matter, or the practical value of the 
knowledge, but with reference to their influence in unfold- 
ing and strengthening the powers of the mind ; as the end 
is to improve mind, the fitness for the end is the prime con- 
sideration. " As knowledge," says Sir William Hamilton 
(man being now considered as an end to himself), " is only 
valuable as it exercises, and by this exercise develops and 
invigorates the mind, so a University, in its liberal faculty, 
should especially prefer these objects of study which call 
forth the strongest and most unexclusive energy of thought, 
and so teach them too that this energy shall be most fully 
elicited in the student." For speculative knowledge, of 
whatever kind, is only profitable to the student in his liberal 
cultivation, inasmuch as it supplies him with the object and 
occasion of exerting his faculties ; since powers are only 
developed in proportion as they are exercised, that is, put 
forth into energy. The mere possession of scientific truths 
is, for its own sake, valueless; and education is only educa- 


tion, inasmuch as it at once determines and enables the 
student to educate himself. Hence, the introduction of 
studies upon the ground of their practical utility is, pro 
tanto, subversive of the College. It is not its office to make 
planters, mechanics, lawyers, physicians or divines. It has 
nothing directly to do with the uses of knowledge. Its 
business is with minds, and it employs science only as an 
instrument for the improvement and perfection of mind. 
With it the habit of sound thinking is more than a thousand 
thoughts. When, therefore, the question is asked, as it often 
is aked by ignorance and empiricism, what is the use of cer- 
tain departments of the College curriculm, the answer should 
turn, not upon the benefits which in after life may be 
reaped from these pursuits, but upon their immediate sub- 
jective influence upon the cultivation of the human facul- 
ties. They are selected in preference to others, because 
they better train the mind. 


It cannot be too earnestly inculcated that knowledge is 
not the principal end of College instruction, but habits. 
The acquisition of knowledge is the necessary result of those 
exercises which terminate in habits, and the maturity of the 
habit is n\easured by the degree and accuracy of the knowl- 
edge, but still the habits are the main thing. In the next 
place, it is equally important that the whole course of 
studies be rigidly exacted of every student. Their value as 
a discipline depends altogether upon their being studied, 
and every College is defective in its arrangements which 
fails to secure, as far as legislation can secure it, this indis- 
pensable condition of success. Whatever may be the case 
in Europe, it is found from experience in this country that 
nothing will avail without the authority of law. The curric- 
ulum must be compulsory, or the majority of the students 
will neglect it. All must be subjected to catechetical ex- 
amination in the lecture room, and all must undergo the 
regular examinations of their class as the condition of their 



residence in College. The moment they are exempted from 
the stringency of this rule all other means lose their power 
upon the mass of pupils. Much may be accomplished by 
rewards, and by stimulating the spirit of competition, and 
great reliance should be placed upon them to secure a high 
standard of attainment; but in most men the love of ease 
is stronger than ambition, and indolence a greater luxury 
than thought. For, whilst mental effort is the one condi- 
tion of all mental improvement, yet this effort is at first and 
for a time painful — positively painful in proportion as it is 
intense, and comparatively painful as it abstracts from other 
and positively pleasurable activities. It is painful, because 
its energy is imperfect, difficult, forced. But as the effort 
is gradually perfected, gradually facilitated, it becomes 
gradually pleasing ; and when finally perfected, that is, 
when the power is fully developed and the effort changed 
into a spontaneity, becomes an exertion absolutely easy. 
It remains, purely, intensely and alone insatiably pleasur- 
able. For pleasure is nothing but the concomitant or reflex 
of the unforced and unimpeded energy of a natural faculty 
or acquired habit, the degree or permanence of pleasure 
being also in proportion to the intensity and purity of the 
mental energy. The great postulate in education is, there- 
fore, to induce the pupil to enter and persevere in such a 
course of effort, good in its result and delectable, but primarily 
and, in itself, irksome. The argument of necessity helps to 
reconcile him to the weariness of study ; what he feels that he 
must do he will endeavor to do with grace, and as there is 
no alternative he will be more open to the generous and 
manly influence which the rewards and distinctions of the 
College are suited to exert. There are always causes at 
work apart from the repulsiveness of intellectual labor to 
seduce the student from his books; and, before his habits 
are yet formed and the love of study grounded into his 
nature, it is of the utmost consequence to keep these 
causes in check. No other motives will be sufficient without 
compulsion of law co-operating with this. There are many 
others which, if they do not positively sweeten his toil, may 


help to mitigate the agony of thought. I have insisted 
upon this point because it is the point in regard to which 
the most dangerous innovations are to be apprehended. 


Two changes have at different times been proposed, one 
of which would be absolutely fatal and the other seriously 
detrimental to the interest of the College as a place of lib- 
eral education. The first is to convert it into a collection 
of independent schools, each of which shall be complete in 
itself, it being left to the choice of the student what schools 
he shall enter. The other is to remit the obligation of the 
whole course in reference to a certain class of students, and 
allow them to pursue such parts of it as they may choose. 
In relation to the first, young men are incompetent to pro- 
nounce beforehand what studies are subjectively the most 
beneficial. It requires those who have experienced the dis- 
ciplinary power of different studies to determine their rela- 
tive value. Only a scholar can say what will make a 
scholar. The experience of the world has settled down 
upon a certain class and order of studies, and the verdict of 
ages and generations is not to be set aside by the caprices, 
whims or prejudices of those who are not even able to com- 
prehend the main end of education. In the next place, if 
our undergraduates were competent to form a judgment, 
their natural love of indolence and ease would, in the 
majority of cases, lead them to exclude those very studies 
which are the most improving, precisely because they are 
so; that is, because, in themselves and in the method of 
teaching them, they involve a degree and intensity of 
mental exercise which is positively painful. Self-denial is 
not natural to man, and he manifests but little acquaintance 
with human nature who presumes, as a matter of course, 
that the will will choose what the judgment commends. 
Video mcliora proboqiie deteriora sequor is more pre-eminently 
true of the young than the old. They are the creatures of 
impulse. Permit them to select their own studies and the 


majority will select those that are thought to be the easiest. 
The principle of choice will be the very opposite of that 
upon which the efficiency of a study depends. Experience 
is decisive on this point. What creates more trouble in the 
interior management of our Colleges than the constant de- 
sire of pupils to evade recitations? And is it not univer- 
sally found that the departments which are the most popu- 
lar are those which least task the energies of the student? 
I do not say that the Professors who fill these departments 
are themselves most respected. That will depend upon 
their merits; and in matters of this sort the judgments of 
the young are generally right. But easy exercises are pre- 
ferred, simply because they do not tax the mind. The 
practical problem with the mass of students is the least 
work and easiest done. Is it easy? is it short? These are 
the questions which are first asked about a lesson. I must, 
therefore, consider any attempt to relax the compulsory 
feature of the College course as an infallible expedient for 
degrading education. The College will cease to train. It 
may be a place for literary triflers, but a place for students 
it cannot be. 


There is much in a name, and the change here condemned 
is delusively sought to be insinuated under the pretext of 
converting the College into a University. This latter title 
sounds more imposingly, and carries the appearance of 
greater dignity. But the truth is, there is hardly a more 
equivocal word in the language. " In its proper and 
original meaning," as Sir Wm. Hamilton has satisfactorily 
shown, " it denotes simply the whole members of a body 
(generally incorporated body) of persons teaching and learn- 
ing one or more departments of knowledge." In its ordi- 
nary acceptation in this country it is either synonymous 
with College as an institution of higher education, and in 
this sense we are already a University ; or it denotes a Col- 
lege with professional schools attached. It is clear, how- 


ever, that the introduction of the faculties of law, medicine 
and theology necessitates no change in the faculty of 
philosophy and arts. It is not necessary to make general 
education voluntary in order to provide for professional in- 
struction. There is, consequently, nothing in the name or 
in the nature of the case which demands a fundamental 
change in the system in order that the South Carolina Col- 
lege may become the South Carolina University. For my- 
self, I am content with our present title, and if it promises 
less I am sure it will accomplish more than the new title 
with the corresponding change. As to the expediency of 
adding the faculties of law and medicine — theology is out 
of the question to the present organization— I have only to 
say that it will multiply and complicate the difficulties of 
the internal management of the institution without securing 
any increased proficiency m these departments of knowledge ; 
that is, if there is to be any real connection between the 
faculty of arts and those of law and medicine. I dread the 
experiment. I think it better that the professions should 
be left to provide for themselves than that a multitude of 
inexperienced young men should be brought together, 
many of whom are comparatively free from the restraints 
of discipline, and yet have an easy and ready access to those 
who are more under law. The very liberty of the resident 
would be a temptation to undergraduates. I have no ob- 
jection, however, to the founding of professional schools by 
the State. All that I am anxious for is that they should not 
be so connected with the College as that the members of all 
the schools should reside together. To be under a common 
government is impossible ; to be under a different govern- 
ment would breed interminable confusion and disorder. 
That sort of nominal connection which requires that all 
medical and law degrees should be conferred by the authori- 
ties of the College, and which is perfectly consistent with 
the law and medical schools, being established in a different 
place, would, of course, be harmless. But this difficulty 
might arise: the College would be unwilling to confer any 
degree without a liberal education — it could not, without 


abjuring the very principles of its existence, grant its honors 
upon mere professional attainment. With respect to the 
other change, that of allowing students, under certain cir- 
cumstances, to pursue a partial course, it is evidently con- 
tradictory to the fundamental end of the College. These 
students are not seeking knowledge for the sake of disci- 
pline, but with reference to ulterior uses. They come not 
to be trained to think, but to learn to act in definite depart- 
ments of exertion. It is professional, not liberal, education 
which they want. The want, I acknowledge, ought to be 
gratified — it is a demand which should be supplied — but 
the College is not the place to do it. That was founded 
for other purposes, and it is simply preposterous to abrogate 
its constitution out of concessions to a necessity, because 
the necessity happens to be real. What, therefore, ought 
to be done is not to change the nature of the College, but, 
leaving that untouched to do its own work, to organize 
schools with special reference to this class of wants. We 
have the elements of such an organization in the Arsenal 
and Citadel Academies. 


Let these be converted into Seminaries of special educa- 
tion, which will only be an extension of their present plan, 
and they will form that intermediate class of schools be- 
tween the elementary and the College, which the circum- 
stances of every civilized community, in proportion to the 
complication of its interests, demand. These changes in 
the College have been favored on the ground that they will 
increase its numbers. But the success of the College is not 
to be estimated by the numbers in attendance, but by the 
numbers educated. It should never include more than those 
who are seeking a liberal education, and if it includes all 
these, whether they be fifty or two hundred, it is doing the 
whole of its appropriate work. No doubt, by the changes in 
question, our catalogue might be increased two or threefold, 
but we should not educate a single individual more than 


we educate now. Numbers in themselves are nothing, unless 
they represent those who are really devoted to the business 
of the place. What real advantage would it be to have four 
or five hundred pupils matriculated here, if some remained 
only a few months, others remained longer in idleness, and 
out of the whole number only four or five applied for a de- 
gree. That four or five would be the true criterion of sue- 
cess. The real question, I insist, is how many graduate? 
This is the decisive point. As long as we receive the whole 
number of young men in the State who are to be liberally 
educated, whether that number be greater or smaller, we 
are doing all that we were appointed to do, or that we can 
be legitimately expected to do; and a decline in numbers 
is not a necessary proof of the declension of the College ; it 
may be only a proof that the demand is ceasing for higher 
instruction. The work, however, to be done loses none of 
its importance in consequence of the failure to appreciate 
its value; and the remedy is not to give it up and yield to 
empirical innovations, but to persevere in faith and patience, 
relying upon time as the great teacher of wisdom. 


Another cardinal principle in the organization of the Col- 
lege is the independence of its teachers. They should be 
raised above all temptation of catering for popularity, of 
degrading the standard of education for the sake of the 
loaves and fishes. They should be prepared to officiate as 
priests in the temple of learning, in pure vestments, and 
with hands unstained with a bribe. It has been suggested 
that if the stipends of the Professors were made dependent 
upon the number of pupils, the strong motive of personal 
interest, added to the higher incentives which they are ex- 
pected to feel, would increase their efficiency by stimulating 
their zeal and activity. They would be anxious to achieve 
a reputation for the College which would enable it to com- 
mand students. This argument proceeds upon a hypothesis 
which, I am ashamed to say, my own experience pronounces 


to be false. In the state of things in this country there is 
a constant conflict between the government of the College 
and the candidates for its privileges, the one attempting to 
raise and the other to lower the standard of admission, and 
every effort of the faculty in the right direction is met with 
a determined resistance. It is not to be presumed that 
young men, at the age of our undergraduates generally, 
should have any steady and precise notions of the nature of 
education. A College is a College, and when they are de- 
bating the question, whither shall they go, the most impor- 
tant items in the calculation are, not the efficiency, but the 
cheapness of the place, and the shortness of the time within 
which a degree may be obtained. The consequence is that 
no College can resist the current, unless its teachers are in- 
dependent. In that case they may stand their ground, and, 
though they can never hope to equal feebler institutions in 
numbers, they will still accomplish a great work and confer 
a lasting benefit on society. The South Carolina College 
has raised her standard. She has proclaimed her purpose 
to be to educate well, and I should deplore any measure 
that might remotely tend to drive her from this position. 
The true security for the ability of the professional corps is 
not to be sought in starving them, or in making them scram- 
ble for a livelihood, but in the competency, zeal and in- 
tegrity of the body that appoints them, and in the strict 
responsibility to which they are held. An impartial board 
of overseers to elect faithful and turn out incompetent men, 
a board that has the nerve to do its duty, will be a stronger 
check upon indolence and inefficiency than an empty larder. 
The motive of necessity may lead them to degrade instruc- 
tion to increase their fees ; the motive of responsibility to a 
body that can appreciate their labors will always operate in 
the right direction. " Let this ground, therefore," says 
Bacon, "be laid, that all works are overcome by amplitude 
of reward, by soundness of direction, and by the conjunction 
of labors. The first multiplieth endeavor, the second pre- 
venteth error, and the third supplieth the frailty of man. 
But the principal of these is direction." So far as the un- 


dergraduates are concerned, I think that all these condi- 
tions of success are measurably fulfilled in the present 
arrangements of the College, as much so as the general state 
of education will allow. No changes in this respect are de- 
sirable. But the interests of higher education demands 
something more than that culture " in passage," as Bacon 
expresses it, which is all that is contemplated in provisions 
for undergraduates. 


Our work stops with the degree. We have no founda- 
tions upon which scholars may be placed, " tending to quiet- 
ness and privateness of life and discharge of cares and 
troubles." We are wanting in facilities for "conjunctions" 
of learned men, and, consequently, the only persons whose 
business it is to keep pace with the higher intelligence of 
the age are the few Professors who are employed in the 
work of instruction. With only such means we must fall 
behind in the march of improvement. There must be more 
competition, more leisure, more freedom from distracting 
cares. " This I take to be," says the great writer from whom 
1 love to quote, "a great cause that hath hindered the pro- 
fession of learning, because these fundamental knowledges 
have been studied but in passage ; for if you will have a 
tree bear more fruit than it hath used to do, it is not any- 
thing you can do to the boughs, but it is the stirring of the 
earth and putting new mould about the roots that must 
work it." I do not look to the Legislature to supply this 
deficiency. Other demands, more immediate and urgent, 
must be met, and to meet them adequately will make a 
heavy draft upon its resources. But I do look to private 
liberality. Many of the foundations in Oxford and Cam- 
bridge have arisen from this source. The Northern Col- 
leges are indebted for the largest part of their funds to the 
same cause. Why should not some portion of the Southern 
wealth take the same direction? Are we wanting in the 
love of knowledge, in the spirit of charity, and in zeal for 


the honor and prosperity of the State? I cannot account 
for the remissness and apathy of our rich planters and mer- 
chants and professional men in other way than that this 
form of generosity has not been the habit of the country. 
I had hoped that your example and the example of Col. 
Hampton would have given an impetus to this matter, and 
I shall not despair until I see the result of the festival 
which is proposed to be celebrated in honor of the fiftieth 
anniversary of the College. A body of learned men devoted 
to the pursuit of fundamental knowledge is what, more 
than everything else, is now needed to complete our system. 
There is wealth enough in private coffers and liberality 
enough in the hearts of our citizens to supply the want, if 
public interest could only be elicited in the subject. There 
prevails an impression that the annual appropriations of the 
Legislature are amply sufficient for all the ends of a Col- 
lege. It is forgotten that these appropriations contemplate 
it entirely as a place of teaching, and not the residence of 
scholars. In this latter aspect we are wholly dependent 
upon private generosity. The advantages to the College, 
and to the State, and to the whole country, of such a body 
of resident scholars cannot be estimated. They might in 
various ways assist in the business of discipline and instruc- 
tion ; they would furnish a constant supply of materials for 
new Professors ; they would give tone and impulse to the as- 
pirations and efforts of the young men gathered around 
them, and diffuse an influence which, silently and imper- 
ceptibly concurring in the formation of that powerful and 
mysterious combination of separate elements called public 
opinion, would tell upon every hamlet in the land. " For 
if men judge that learning should be referred to action, 
they judge well ; but in this they fall into the error described 
in the ancient fable, in which the other parts of the body 
did suppose the stomach had been idle, because it neither 
performed the office of motion, as the limbs do, nor of sense, 
as the head doth ; but yet, notwithstanding it is the stomach 
that digesteth and distributeth to all the rest ; so if any man 
think philosophy and universality to be idle studies, he doth 


not consider that all professions are from thence served and 
supplied." This homely illustration sets the question of 
utility in its true light ; and if I could impress upon the com- 
munity, as it exists in my own mind, the deep and earnest 
sense of the importance of this feature in the organization 
of the College, the lack of means would soon cease to be an 
impediment in keeping pace with the highest culture of the 
ace. It would soon be found that wealth has no more ten- 
dency to contract the mind in South Carolina than in Mas- 
sachusetts and New York, and that there are merchant 
princes in Charleston as well as in Boston. Who will begin 
the work? Who shall set the first example of a founda- 
tion of ten or twenty thousand dollars, devoted to the sup- 
port of genius in reflecting light and glory upon the State? 
It is devoutly to be hoped that something more substantial 
than echo will answer who. 


But as there are those who admit, in general, the advan- 
tages of a high standard of liberal education, and the con- 
sequent importance of such institutions as the College, and 
yet doubt the wisdom of the policy which directly connects 
them with the State, a more distinct consideration of this 
question will not be out of place here. The grounds of 
doubt are twofold : 

First. The College, it is said, is for the benefit of the 
few, and, therefore, should not be supported by the taxes of 
the many. What comes from all should be for all ; what is 
for a class should be by a class. 

This is the substance of the clamor by which ignorance 
and vulgar ambition, and, above all, a pretended regard for 
the rights and interests of the masses, are constantly en- 
deavoring to steal away the hearts of the people from what, 
justly considered, is the bulwark of their liberties and the 
strongest safeguard of their honor and respectability. 
Hence the cry that the College is an aristocratic institution, 
a resort for the rich, exclusive of the poor. 


The other ground is that education, in its very nature, 
belongs to the church or to private enterprise; that it in- 
cludes elements which lie beyond the jurisdiction of the 
State, and that, therefore, the State has no right to inter- 
fere with it. These objections, I think, embody the 
strength of whatever opposition is expressed or felt to the 
College as a public foundation. In reference to the first, let 
it be admitted that the number of those who participate in 
the privileges of the College is, and must necessarily be, 
limited. It is, of course, impracticable, even if it were de- 
sirable, that every young man. in the State should receive a 
liberal education. Some must be excluded. The very no- 
tion of their being excluded implies that they do not share 
in the immediate advantages of the College. But then the 
question arises, what is the principle of exclusion, so far as 
the College is concerned ? If that principle is directly based 
upon difference in fortune, then there is ground of com- 
plaint ; otherwise, none. Does the College reject any be- 
cause they are poor? Does it admit any because they are 
rich ? Does it recognize any distinction between rich and 
poor? Who will venture upon such an allegation? And 
yet it is only by making wealth the ground of admission, 
and poverty the ground of exclusion, that the College can 
be justly charged with aristocratic tendencies. It is no- 
torious that the only question which the College asks as to 
the qualification for admission to its immunities is in rela- 
tion to the fitness of the candidates to enter upon its pur- 
suits. All who are prepared to comply with its requisitions 
are welcomed to its halls, whether rich or poor. Poverty 
may, indeed, be a remote and accidental cause of exclusion, 
as it incapacitates for acquiring the fitness which the Col- 
lege exacts, and which is absolutely indispensable to the 
ends it has in view. But in these cases it is not the poverty 
which the College considers, but the ignorance and want of 
preparatory training. There are also expenses incident to 
a College course which put it out of the power of those who 
arc absolutely without funds to pursue it. A man must be 
fed and clothed and warmed, and the comforts of life do not 


usually come without money; and if he cannot afford the 
necessary expenses himself, and his friends will not afford 
them for him, all that can be said is, that Providence has 
cut him off from a liberal education. He is not in a condi- 
tion to reap the advantages of personal residence within the 
College walls. 


But the principle of exclusion, so far as the College is 
concerned, is not a class principle, but one which necessarily 
results from the nature and end of its institution. It is 
founded exclusively for a certain kind and degree of educa- 
tion, and it opens its doors to all, without exception, who 
are prepared for its instructions, and can sustain the ex- 
penses necessarily incident to a residence from home. It 
shuts its doors upon none but upon those who shut them 
upon themselves, or against whom Providence has closed 
them. A free College means a College absolutely without 
expense. We must wait for the realization of such a dream 
until the manifestation of that state in which our bodies 
shall cease to be flesh and blood, and such homely articles 
as food, raiment and fuel be no longer needed. But if an 
institution is not ipso facto aristocratic, because the mem- 
bers of it have to pay for their victuals and clothes, then 
the South Carolina College is not an aristocratic or class in- 
stitution. It might not be improper to inquire whether, in 
those institutions whose glory it is to be, par eminence, in- 
stitutions for the vulgar, it is pretented that the pupils 
have absolutely nothing to pay. Can a stark beggar get 
through them without help? If not, poverty and wealth 
have the same remote and direct influence in determining 
who shall participate in their privileges as they have in the 
South Carolina College. From a somewhat careful inquiry, 
too, I am inclined to the opinion that none, however poor, 
ever fail to get through College who have been enabled, 
either by their own exertions or the assistance of others, to 
prepare for College. I am sure the number is very small. 


Hence, of all charges that the imagination can conceive, that 
of educating only the rich is the most idle and ridiculous. 
Most of our students, as a matter of fact, are from families 
in moderate circumstances, many are absolutely poor, either 
expending their whole living upon their minds, or toiling in 
vacations to acquire the means of defraying their expenses, 
or sustained by the eleemosynary foundations of the Col- 
lege, or by the assistance of the College societies, or by pri- 
vate liberality. The public sentiment of the students 
speaks volumes upon this point. If there were anything in 
the genius or organization of the institution which distin- 
guished it as the College of the rich, there would be a cor- 
responding pride of aristocracy among the young men, and 
the poor would be avoided, insulted or shunned, as a pro- 
fanum vulgns. They would be branded by public opinion 
as men who were out of their place, as upstarts who were 
aspiring to the privileges of their betters. This would be 
necessitated as the common feeling by the organic principle 
of the body. But what is the truth ? I have no hesitation 
in affirming that if there be a place more than any other 
where the poor are honored and respected, where indigence, 
if coupled with any degree of merit, is an infallible passport 
to favor, that place is the South Carolina College. It may 
be pre-eminently called the poor man's College in the sense 
that poverty is no reproach within its walls, no bar to its 
highest honors and most tempting rewards, either among 
Professors or students. On the contrary, if there is a pre- 
judice at all it is against the rich ; and from long observation 
and experience I am prepared to affirm that no spirit re- 
ceives a sterner, stronger, more indignant rebuke within 
these walls than the pride and vanity of wealth. Let any 
young man presume upon his fortune and undertake to put 
on airs, and the whole College pounces down upon him with 
as little mercy and as much avidity as the jackdaws in the 
fable upon their aspiring fellow, who was decked in the 
peacock's feathers. No doubt there are many whose cir- 
cumstances preclude them from the first steps of a liberal 
education, and who yet have the capacity to receive it, and 


who, if educated, might reflect lasting honor upon the 
State, but, unfortunately, from the imperfect and inefficient 
condition of the free schools, these poor children can never 
be distinguished. One advantage of a more adequate 
scheme of public instruction will be that of bringing in- 
digent merit to the light. For such cases there ought to be 
the most ample provision. "This," in the words of Cousin, 
" is a sacred duty we owe to talent, a duty which must be 
fulfilled, even at the risk of being sometimes mistaken." 
The State should either endow scholarships, or extemporize 
appropriations to meet the cases of those who, when public 
schools shall have been established, shall be reported as 
worthy of a liberal education by their earlier teachers. 
And beyond this, as the same writer observes, it is not de- 
sirable that it should provide for the higher instruction of 
the poor. So much for the limitation of the immediate 
benefits of the College. They are confined to comparatively 
a few, simply because it is comparatively a few that are in 
a condition to receive them. 



But then the important point is, and it is a point which 
ought never to be forgotten, though it is systematically 
overlooked by those who are accustomed to decry the Col- 
lege, that these benefits are imparted, not for the sake of 
the few, but for the interest of the many — the good of the 
State at large. Those who are educated are educated not 
for themselves, but for the advantage of the Commonwealth 
as a whole. Every scholar is regarded as a blessing — a great 
public benefit — and for the sake of the general influence that 
he is qualified to exert, the State makes provision for his 
training. It is because the " proper education of youth con- 
tributes greatly to the prosperity of society," that it "ought 
to be an object of legislative attention." The many, there- 
fore, are not taxed for the few, but the few are trained for 
exalted usefulness and extensive good to the many. If the 


Legislature had in view only the interest of those who are 
educated, and expended its funds in reference to their good, 
considered simply as individuals, there would be just ground 
of complaint ; but when it is really aiming at the prosperity 
of the whole community, and uses these individuals as 
means to that end, there is nothing limited or partial in its 

It is great weakness to suppose that nothing can contri- 
bute to the general good, the immediate ends of which are 
not realized in the case of every individual. Are lighthouses 
constructed only for the safety of the benighted mariner 
who may be actually guided by their lamps, or are they 
raised for the security of navigation, the interest of com- 
merce, and, through these, the interest of society at large? 
There is no way of evading the force of this argument but 
by flatly denying that an educated class is a public good. 
If there are any among us who are prepared to take this 
ground, and to become open advocates of barbarism, I have 
nothing to say to them ; but for the sake of those who may 
be seduced by sophistry which they cannot disentangle, I 
offer a few reflections. 


In the first place the educated men in every community 
are the real elements of steady and consistent progress. 
They arc generally in advance of their generation ; light 
descends from them to their inferiors, and by a gradual and 
imperceptible influence emanating from the solitary specu- 
lations, it may be of their secret hours, the whole texture 
of society is modified, a wider scope is given to its views 
and a loftier end to its measures. They are the men who 
sustain and carry forward the complicated movements of a 
refined civilization — the real authors of changes which con- 
stitute epochs in the social elevation of the race. Pitt 
could not understand, and Fox refused to read, the masterly 
speculations of Adam Smith upon the " Wealth of Nations." 


He was ahead of his age % The truth gradually worked its 
way, however, into the minds of statesmen and legislators, 
and now no one is held to be fit for any public employment 
who is not imbued with the principles of political economy. 
The thoughts of a retired thinker once set in motion, if 
they have truth in them, have a principle of life which can 
never be extinguished. They may for a season be re- 
pressed and confined, but they finally, like disengaged 
gases, acquire an intensity and power which defy all opposi- 
tion. They spread through society, leavening first its lead- 
ing members, and extending in the shape of results, or 
maxims, or practical conclusions, to every fireside in the 
land. The solitary scholar wields a lever which raises the 
whole mass of society. It is a high, general education which 
shapes the minds and controls the opinions of the guiding 
spirits of the age ; it is this which keeps up the general tone 
of society ; it is at once conservative and progressive. The 
conservative tendency requires to be a little more distinctly 
pointed out. 

The case is this: the universal activity which general in- 
telligence imparts to mind must be prolific in schemes and 
theories, and these are likely to be sound or hurtful, accord- 
ing to the completeness of the instruction or the narrowness 
of the views on which they are founded. A half truth, or a 
truth partially apprehended, always has the effect of a lie. 
A higher order of culture, with occasional exceptions (for 
profound thinkers are sometimes eccentric), is a security 
against the ill-digested plans and visionary projects which 
they are peculiarly tempted to originate, whose vision is 
confined to a contracted horizon, and who are deceived, 
simply because they do not perceive the bearing of a prin- 
ciple in all its applications. An educated class expands the 
field of vision, and serves as a check to the regular impulses 
and the impetuous innovations of minds equally active but 
less enlarged. It protects from rashness, from false maxims, 
from partial knowledge. It is a security for public order 
which can hardly be over-estimated — it is the regulator of 
the great clock of society. General intelligence, without 

high culture to keep it in check, will exemplify the maxim 

of Pope — 

"A little learning is a dangerous thing" — 

and will prove a greater curse to the State than absolute igno- 
rance. It is not ignorance, but half knowledge, that is full 
of whims and crotchets ; they prey on impulse and fanat- 
icism, and are the parent of restless agitation and ceaseless 
change. It is in the constant play of antagnonistic forces, 
the action and reaction of the higher and lower culture, that 
the life, health and vigor of society consists. General intel- 
ligence cheeks the stagnation of ignorance, and a thorough 
education checks the rashness of empiricism. Where this 
prevails there is all the inspiration without the contortions 
of the Sibyl. 


In the next place, it should not be omitted that general 
education is the true source of the elevation of the masses, 
and of the demand for popular instruction. Every educated 
man is a centre of light, and his example and influence 
create the consciousness of ignorance and the sense of need, 
from which elementary schools have sprung. Defective cul- 
ture is never conscious of itself until it is brought into contact 
with superior power. There may be a conviction of igno- 
rance in reference to special things, and a desire of knowl- 
edge as the means of accomplishing particular ends ; but 
the need of intellectual improvement on its own account 
never is awakened spontaneously. We never lament our 
inferiority to angels. The reason is, we are not brought 
into contact with them, and are consequently not sensible 
of the disparity that exists. If we had examples before us 
of angelic amplitude of mind, the contrast would force upon 
us a lively impression of the lowness of our intellectual 
level. If we had never been accustomed to any other light 
but that of the stars, we should never have dreamed of the 
sun, nor felt the absence of his rays as any real evil. The 


positive in the order of thought is before the privative. We 
must know the good in order to understand the evil ; we 
must be familiar with the day to comprehend night and 
darkness. Hence it is that civilization never has been, and 
never can be, of spontaneous growth among a people. It 
has always been an inheritance or an importation. If men 
had been originally created savages they would all have 
been savages to-day. 

Those ingenious theories which undertake, from principles 
of human nature, to explain the history of man's progress 
from barbarism to refinement are nothing better than 
speculative romances. They are contradicted by experience 
as well as by the laws of the human mind. Philosophy 
coincides with the Bible — man was created in the image of 
God, and the rudeness and coarseness of uncivilized com- 
munities are states of degradation into which he has apos- 
tatized and sunk, and not his primitive and original condi- 
tion. Civilization has migrated from one centre to another, 
has found its waj - among barbarians and savages, and re- 
stored them to something of their forfeited inheritance, but 
in every such instance it has been introduced from without, 
it has never developed itself from within. Where all is 
darkness whence is the light to spring? What planet is the 
source of the rays that shine on it? Hence it is knowledge 
which creates the demand for knowledge, which causes 
ignorance to be felt as an evil, and hence it is the education 
in the first instance of the few which has awakened the 
strong desire for the illumination of the many. Let knowl- 
edge, however, become stagnant, let no provision be made 
for the constant activity of the highest order of minds in 
the highest sphere of speculation, and the torpor would be 
communicated downwards until the whole community was 


The thinkers in the most abstract departments of specula- 
tion keep the whole of society in motion, and upon its mo- 
tion depends its progress. Scholars, therefore, are the real 


benefactors of the people, and he does more for popular 
education who founds a University than he who institutes a 
complete and adecpaate machinery of common schools. 
The reason is obvious — the most potent element of public 
opinion is # wanting where only alow form of culture obtains. 
The common schools, having no example of anything higher 
before them, would soon degenerate and impart only a 
mechanical culture, if they did not — which I am inclined to 
think would be the case, from their want of life — permit the 
people to relapse into barbarism. Colleges, on the other 
hand, will create the demand for lower culture, and private 
enterprise under the stimulus imparted would not be back- 
ward in providing for it. The College will diffuse the educa- 
tion of principles, of maxims, a tone of thinking and feeling 
which are of the last importance, without the schools. The 
schools could never do it without the College. If we must 
dispense with one or the other, I have no hesitation in say- 
ing that on the score of public good alone it were wiser to 
dispense with the schools. One sun is better than a thou- 
sand stars. 

There never was, therefore, a more grievous error than 
that the College is in antagonism to the interests of the 
people. Precisely the opposite is the truth ; and because 
it is pre-eminently a public good, operating directly or in- 
directly to the benefit of every citizen in the State, the 
Legislature was originally justified in founding, and in still 
sustaining, this noble institution. It has made South 
Carolina what she is ; it has made her people what they 
are; and from her mountains to her seaboard there is not a 
nook or corner of the State that has not shared in its health- 
ful influence. The very cries which are coming up from all 
quarters for the direct instruction of the people, cries which 
none should think of resisting, are only echoes from the 
College walls. We should never have heard of them if the 
state of things had continued among us which existed when 
the College was founded. The low-country would still have 
sent its sons to Europe or the North, and the up-country 
would have been content with its fertile lands and in- 
vigorating hills. 


The second ground of objection does not deny or diminish 
the importance of the College or the general advantages of 
higher education. It only affirms that the State is not the 
proper body for dispensing them. The advocates of this 
negative opinion divide themselves into two classes, one 
maintaining that Colleges should support themselves, the 
other that they should be supported by endowments under 
the control of private or ecclesiastical corporations. The 
first was the doctrine of Adam Smith, who may be reckoned 
among the ablest opponents of the policy of public educa- 
tion in the higher branches of learning. He lays down the 
thesis that the demand will infallibly create the supply, that 
in science, literature and the arts, as in the commodities 
which minister to the physical comfort and conveniences of 
man, what is wanted will be procured. The double opera- 
tion of private interest, on the one hand to obtain, on the 
other to furnish, will present inducements enough to 
originate all the schools that may be needed to teach all 
the arts that may be desired. This ingenious reasoner for- 
got that in the matter of education, as Sir Wm. Hamilton 
justly remarks : "Demand and supply are necessarily co- 
existent and co-extensive; that it is education which creates 
the want which education only can satisfy." " Those 
again," says the same writer, " who, conceding all this, con- 
tent that the creation and supply of this demand should be 
abandoned by the State to private intelligence and philan- 
thropy, are contradicted both by reasoning and fact." 

The expensiveness of the machinery which is necessary to 
put in motion a higher Seminary of learning renders it 
hopelessly impossible to make such institutions self-support- 
ing bodies, and the attempt to do so would have no other 
effect than to degrade them into professional or scientific 
schools, in which knowledge is the end and not the instru- 
ment. Hence there is not a College University worthy the 
name, either in Europe or America, that is capable of sus- 
taining, much less of having founded, its various depart- 


merits of instruction by the patronage it receives. Educa- 
tion has always lived on charity. Foundations and endow- 
ments, partly from individuals, partly from the State, have 
always been its reliance to supply the apparatus with which 
the machinery is kept in motion. As to private corpora- 
tions, it is certain that the degree of interest which is taken 
in learning for itself will never be adequate to meet the 
exigencies of higher education. There must be some 
stronger principle at work, and impulse more general and 
pervading, in order to touch the chords of private liberality 
and awaken a responsive thrill. There may be extraordinary 
efforts of single men, but these spasmodic contributions will 
be too rare, besides that they may be hampered by unwise 
restrictions and limitations to answer the ends of a College. 


The only principle which has vitality and power enough 
to keep the stream of private charity steadily turned in the 
direction of education is the principle of religion. And 
hence the true and only question is, does education belong 
to the Church or State ? Into the hands of one or the other 
it must fall, or perish. This, too, is the great practical 
question among us. To meet formidable war against the 
College will be that waged on the principle of its existence. 
I respect the feeling out of which jealously of State institu- 
tions has grown. A godless education is worse than none; 
and I rejoice that the sentiment is well-nigh universal in 
this country that a system which excludes the highest and 
most commanding, the eternal interests of man, must be 
radically defective, whether reference be had to the culture 
of the individual or to his prosperity and influence in life. 
Man is essentially a religious being, and to make no provis- 
ion for this noblest element of his nature, to ignore and 
preclude it from any distinct consideration, is to leave him 
but half educated. The Ancients were accustomed to re- 
gard theology as the first philosophy, and there is not a 
people under the sun whose religion has not been the chief 


inspiration of their literature. Take away the influence 
which this subject has exerted upon the human mind, de- 
stroy its contributions to the cause of letters, the impulse 
it has given to the speculation of philosophy, and what will 
be left after these subtractions will be comparatively small 
in quantity and feeble in life and spirit. We must have re- 
ligion if we would reach the highest forms of education. 
This is the atmosphere which must surround the mind and 
permeate all its activities, in order that its development 
may be free, healthful and vigorous. Science languishes, 
letters pine, refinement is lost, wherever and whenever the 
genius of religion is excluded. Experience has demon- 
strated that, in some form or other, it must enter into every 
College and pervade every department of instruction. No 
institution has been able to live without it. 

But what right, it is asked, has the State to introduce it? 
What right, we might ask in return, has the State to ex- 
clude it? The difficulty lies in confounding the dogmatic 
peculiarities of sects with the spirit of religion. The State, 
as such, knows nothing of sects but to protect them, but 
it does not follow that the State must be necessarily godless ; 
and so a College knows nothing of denominations, except 
as a feature in the history of the human race, but it does 
not follow that a College must be necessarily atheistic or 
unchristian. What is wanted is the pervading influence of 
religion as a life, the habitual sense of responsibility to God 
and of the true worth and destiny of the soul, which shall 
give tone to the character and regulate all the pursuits of 
the place. The example, temper and habitual deportment 
of the teachers, co-operating with the dogmatic instructions 
which have been received at the fireside and in the church, 
and coupled with the obligatory observance (except in cases 
of conscientious scruple) of the peculiar duties of the Lord's 
day, will be found to do more in maintaining the power of 
religion than the constant recitation of the catechism or the 
ceaseless inculcation of sectarian peculiarities. The difficul- 
ty of introducing religion is, indeed, rather speculative than 
practical. When we propose to teach religion as a science 


and undertake, by precise boundaries and exact statutory 
provisions, to define what shall and what shall not be taught, 
when by written schemes we endeavor to avoid all the 
peculiarities of sect and opinion without sacrificing the essen- 
tial interests of religion, the task is impossible. The resi- 
duum, after our nice distinctions, is zero. 


But why introduce religion as a science? Let it come in 
the character of the Professors, let it come in the stated 
worship of the sanctuary, and let it come in the vindication 
of those immortal records which constitute the basis of our 
faith. Leave creeds and confessions to the fireside and 
church, the home and the pulpit. Have Godly teachers and 
you will have comparatively a Godly College. But what 
security have we that a State College will pay any attention 
to the religious character of its teachers' 1 The security of 
public opinion, which, in proportion as the various religious 
denominations do their duty in their own spheres, will be- 
come absolutely irresistible. Let all the sects combine to 
support the State College, and they can soon create a senti- 
ment which, with the terrible certainty of fate, shall tolerate 
nothing unholy or unclean in its walls. They can make it 
religious without being sectarian. The true power of the 
church over these institutions is not that of direct control, 
but of moral influence, arising from her direct work upon 
the hearts and consciences of all the members of the com- 

It is alleged that experience presents us with mournful 
examples of State institutions degenerating into hotbeds of 
atheism and impiety. It may be promptly replied that the 
same experience presents us with equally mournful exam- 
ples of church institutions degenerating into hotbeds of the 
vilest heresy and infidelity. And what is more to the 
point, a sound public opinion has never failed to bring these 
State institutions back to their proper moorings, while the 
church institutions have not unfrequently carried their 


sects with them and rendered reform impossible. In the 
case of State institutions, the security for religion lies in 
the public opinion of the whole community; in the case of 
church institutions, in the public opinion of a single de- 
nomination ; and as the smaller body can more easily be- 
come corrupt than a larger, as there is a constant play of 
antagonisms which preserves the health in the one case, 
while they are wanting in the other, it seems clear that a 
State College, upon the whole and in the long run, must be 
safer than any sectarian institution. As long as the people 
preserve their respect for religion the College can be kept 
free from danger. 

The principle, too, on which the argument for church 
supervision is founded proves too much. It is assumed that 
wherever a religious influence becomes a matter of primary 
importance, there the church has legitimate jurisdiction. 
" This," it has been well said, " puts an end to society itself, 
and makes the church the only power that can exist, since 
all that is necessary is for any officer or any power to be 
capable of moral effects or influences in order to put it under 
the dominion of the church. The moral influences of 
governors, judges, presidents, nay, even sheriffs, coroners or 
constables, is as real and may be far more extensive than 
that of school-masters. The moral influence of wealth, 
manners, taste, is immense ; that of domestic habits, nay, 
even personal habits, often decisive." The truth is, this 
species of argument would reduce every interest under the 
sun to the control of the church. It is just the principle on 
which the authority of the Pope over Kings and States has 
been assumed and defended. The argument, moreover, is 
one which can be very easily refuted. If, because education 
has a religious element it must fall within the jurisdiction 
of the church, a fortiori, because it has multiplied secular 
elements it must fall within the jurisdiction of the State. 
The church is a distinct corporation, with distinct rights 
and authority. She has direct control over nothing that is 
not spiritual in its matter and connected with our relations 
to Jesus Christ. She is His kingdom, and her functions are 


limited to His work as the Mediator of the covenant and 
the Saviour of the lost; and if education, in its secular 
aspects, is not a function of grace, but of nature, if it 
belongs to man, not as a Christian, but simply as a man, 
then it no more falls within the jurisdiction of the church 
than any other secular work. The duties of the State are 
civil, not sacred; the duties of the church are sacred, not 
civil. To exclude the church from the control of general 
education, and to exempt it from the duty of providing the 
means thereof, it must be shown that education is of the 
nature of religious things, and that the duty of superintend- 
ing it is, in its nature, spiritual. Is not a man bound to 
educate himself as an individual person? Is not every 
family bound to educate each other, and the head of the 
family peculiarly bound to educate the members? If so, 
are these obligations, which arise out of our individual per- 
sonality and out of our family relations, in any degree at all, 
or do they spring solely and chiefly out of our obligations 
as members of Christ? Is a Christian more bound, or is he 
chiefly bound, or is he exclusively bound — they are three 
degrees of the same proposition — to acquire and to impart 
knowledge which has nothing to do with religion, but much 
to do with temporal success and temporal usefulness, all 
the positive sciences for example, simply or mainly as a 
Christian, or because he is a Christian? Or is he bound 
chiefly, or at all, to do so from any consideration drawn 
from his individual position, or his relations to his family or 
his country? These are considerations, and there are many 
more like them, that require to be deeply pondered before 
we arrive at the sweeping generalities which assume and 
assert that denominational education is only the safe and 
true conclusion of this "high argument." 


Apart from the principle involved, I have other objections 
to sectarian education. I say sectarian education, for the 
Church Catholic is one, in the present condition of things 


not visible and corporate. What she does can only be done 
through the agency of one or more of the various fragments 
into which she has been suffered to split. In the first place, 
it is evident, from the feebleness of the sects, that these 
Colleges cannot be very largely endowed. In the next 
place, they are likely to be numerous. From these causes 
will result a strenuous competition for patronage ; and from 
this two effects may be expected to follow : first, the depres- 
sion of the standard of general education, so as to allure 
students to their halls ; and next, the preference of what is 
ostentatious and attractive in education to what is solid and 
substantial. It is true that there can be no lofty flight, as 
Bacon has suggested, " without some feathers of ostenta- 
tion ; " but it is equally true there can be no flight at all 
where there are not bone, muscle and sinew to sustain the 
feathers. It is also a serious evil that the State should be 
habitually denounced as profane and infidel. To think and 
speak of it in that light is the sure way to make it so ; and 
yet this is the uniform representation of the advocates of 
church education. They will not permit the State to touch 
the subject, because its fingers are unclean. Can there be a 
more certain method to uproot the sentiment of patriotism, 
and to make us feel that the Government of the country is 
an enormous evil, to which we are to submit, not out of 
love, but for conscience sake? Will not something like this 
be the inevitable effect of the declamation and invective 
which bigots and zealots feel authorized to vent against the 
Commonwealth that protects them, in order that they may 
succeed in their narrow schemes? Instead of clinging 
around the State as they would cling to the bosom of a be- 
loved parent, and concentrating upon her the highest and 
holiest influences which they are capable of exerting; in- 
stead of teaching their children to love her as the ordinance 
of God for good, to bless her for her manifold benefits, and 
to obey her with even a religious veneration, they repel her 
to a cold and cheerless distance, and brand her with the 
stigma of Divine reprobation. The result must be bad. 
The fanaticism which despises the State, and the infidelity 


which contemns the church, arc both alike the product of 
ignorance and folly. God has established both the church 
and the State. It is as clearly our duty to be loyal and en- 
lightened citizens as to be faithful and earnest Christians. 


I think, too, that the tendency of sectarian Colleges to 
perpetuate the strife of sects, to fix whatever is heterogene- 
ous in the elements of national character, and to alienate 
the citizens from each other, is a consideration not to be 
overlooked. There ought surely to be some common 
ground on which the members of the same State may meet 
together and feel that they are brothers— some common 
ground on which their children may mingle without con- 
fusion or discord, and bury every narrow and selfish inter- 
est in the sublime sentiment that they belong to the same 
family. Nothing is so powerful as a common education, 
and the thousand sweet associations, which spring from if 
and cluster around it, to cherish the holy brotherhood of 
men. Those who have walk'ed together in the same paths 
of science, and taken sweet counsel in the same halls of 
learning; who went arm in arm in that hallowed season of 
life when the foundations of all excellence are laid ; who have 
wept with the same sorrows or laughed at the same joys; 
who have been fired with the same ambition ; lured with the 
same hopes, and grieved at the same disappointments— these 
arc not the men, in after years, to stir up animosities or 
foment intestine feuds. Their college life is a bond of 
union which nothing can break— a divine poetry of existence 
which nothing is allowed to profane. Who can forget his 
college days and his college companions, and even his 
college dreams? Would you make any Commonwealth a 
unit, educate its sons together? This is the secret of the 
harmony which has so remarkably characterized our State. 
It was not the influence of a single mind, great as that mind 

was it was no tame submission to authoritative dictation. 

It was the community of thought, feeling and character. 


achieved by a common education within these walls. 
Here it was that heart was knit to heart, mind to mind, and 
that a common character was formed. All these advantages 
must be lost if the sectarian scheme prevails. South Caro- 
lina will no longer be a unit, nor her citizens brothers. We 
shall have sect against sect, school against school, and Col- 
lege against College ; and he knows- but little of the past 
who has not observed that the most formidable dangers to 
any State are those which spring from divisions in its own 
bosom, and that these divisions are terrible in proportion to 
the degree in which the religious element enters into them. 
I shall say no more upon the College. I have spoken of 
its end, its organization and its defects, and have vindicated 
the policy upon which it was founded. What I have said 
I believe to be true, and I am sure that it is seasonable ; and 
nothing would delight me more, as a man, a Christian and a 
patriot, than to see all jealousies laid aside, all sectarian 
schemes abandoned, and the whole State, as one man, rally 
to its support. It would find ample employment for all the 
funds which private liberality is pouring into the coffers of 
other institutions ; and when charity had done its utmost, 
and the Government still more freely unlocked its treasury, 
we should have a splendid institution beyond doubt, but 
one which was still not perfect. Education is a vast and 
complicated interest, and it requires the legacies of ages 
and generations past, as well as the steady contributions of 
the living, to keep the stream from subsiding. Let it roll 
among us like a mighty river, whose ceaseless flow is main- 
tained by the springs of charity and the great fountain of 
public munificence. Let us have a College which is worthy 
of the name — to which we can invite the scholars of Europe 
with an honest pride, and to which our children may repair 
from all our borders, as the States of Greece to their 
Olympia, or the chosen tribes to Mount Zion. How beauti- 
ful it is for brethren to dwell together in unity ! 


II. The next part of our system, in the order of legisla- 
tion, is the free schools. And here I am sorry to say that 


the law is not only inadequate, but there is a very extraor- 
dinary discrepancy between the law and the practice, which 
increases the difficulty and has added to the inefficiency of 
the standing appropriation. It is clear from the face of it 
that the Act of 1811 was designed as the first step towards 
the establishment of a system of common schools that 
should bring the means of elementary education within the 
reach of every child in the State. It was not intended to be 
a provision for paupers. Throughout our statutes free 
schools mean public schools, or schools which are open to 
every citizen. The first Act in which I find the expression 
is that of the 8th of April, 1710, entitled "An Act for the 
founding and erecting of a free school for the use of the in- 
habitants of South Carolina." This Act created and incor- 
porated a Board of Trustees for the purpose of taking 
charge of such funds as had already been contributed, or 
might afterwards be contributed, for public instruction in 
the Province. In it the epithet free is synonymous, not with 
pauper, but public, or common. The same is the case in the 
Act of the 7th of June, 1712, entitled "An Act for the en- 
couragement of learning." Although the school was a free 
school, every pupil was required to pay for his tuition. But 
the meaning of the phrase is made still clearer by the ex- 
tended Act of the 1 2th December of the same year. There 
the school was manifestly open to all. Special inducements 
were held out to patronize and encourage it, and provisions 
made for educating a certain number free of expense. The 
Act of 181 1, which is the basis of our present system, is so 
clear and explicit as to the kind of schools to be founded, 
that I am utterly unable to account for the partial and ex- 
clusive interpretation which has been put upon its words. 
The Third Section provided "that every citizen of this 
State shall be entitled to send his or her child or children, 
ward or wards, to any free school in the district where he 
or she may reside, free from any expense whatever on ac- 
count of tuition ; and where more children shall apply for 
admission at any one school than can be conveniently edu- 
cated therein, a preference shall always be given to poor 
orphans and children of indigent and necessitous parents." 


I have no doubt that, if this Act had been executed ac- 
cording to its true intent and meaning, and public schools 
had been established in every district of the State corres- 
ponding to the number of members in the House of Repre- 
sentatives, the advantages would have been so conspicuous 
that the Legislature could not have stopped until the means 
of instruction had been afforded to every neighborhood, to 
every family, and to every child. The law was wise ; it was 
strictly tentative and provisional, but its benevolent inten- 
tion has been defeated by a singular misconception of its 
meaning. As a provisional law, it was defective in unity of 
plan. The Commissioners in each district were absolutely 
independent and irresponsible. There was no central power 
which could correct mistakes, and which could infuse a com- 
mon spirit and a common life into the whole scheme. The 
consequence is that, after all our legislation and all our ex- 
penditures, we have not even the elements in practical 
operation of a system of public schools. We have the 
whole work to begin anew. 

You will permit me to suggest a few reasons why we 
should begin it heartily and at once, and then to imitate 
the nature and extent of our incipient efforts : 

In the first place, it is the duty of the State to provide 
for the education of its citizens. Even Adam Smith, who, 
we have seen, was opposed to the direct interference of the 
Government in higher, or liberal education, is constrained 
to admit that the education of the common people forms 
an exception to his principle. He makes it the care of the 
Government, upon the same general ground with the culti- 
vation of a martial spirit. We should be as solicitous that 
our citizens should not be ignorant as that they should not 
be cowards. The whole passage is so striking that you will 
excuse me for quoting it in full : 


" But a coward, or a man incapable either of defending 
or revenging himself, evidently wants one of the most essen- 
tial parts of the character of a man. He is as much muti. 


lated and deformed in his mind as another is in his body, 
who is either deprived of some of his most essential mem- 
bers, or has lost the use of them. He is evidently the more 
wretched and miserable of the two, because happiness and 
misery, which reside altogether in the mind, must necessa- 
rily depend more upon the healthful or unhealthful, the 
mutilated or entire state of the mind, than upon that of 
the body. Even though the martial spirit of the people 
were of no use towards the defence of the society, yet to 
prevent that sort of mental mutilation, deformity and 
wretchedness, which cowardice necessarily involves in it, 
from spreading themselves through the great body of the 
people, would still deserve the most serious attention of 
Government — in the same manner as it would deserve its 
most serious attention to prevent a leprosy, or any other 
loathsome and offensive disease, from spreading itself among 
them ; though, perhaps, no other public good might result 
from such attention besides the prevention of so great a 
public evil. 

"The same thing may be said of the gross ignorance and 
stupidity which, in a civilized society, seems so frequently 
to benumb the understanding of all the inferior ranks of 
people. A man without the proper use of the intellectual 
faculties of a man is, if possible, more contemptible than 
even a coward, and seems to be mutilated and deformed in 
a still more essential part of the character of human nature. 
Though the State was to derive no advantage from the in- 
struction of the inferior ranks of the people, it would still 
deserve its attention that they should not be altogether un- 
instructed. The State, however, derives no considerable 
advantages from their instruction. The more they are in- 
structed the less liable they are to the delusions of enthusi- 
asm and superstition, which, among ignorant nations, 
frequently occasion the most dreadful disorders. An in- 
structed and intelligent people, besides, are always more 
decent and orderly than an ignorant and stupid one. They 
feel themselves, each individually, more respectable, and 
more likely to obtain the respect of their lawful superiors 


and they are, therefore, more disposed to respect those 
superiors. They are more disposed to examine, and more 
capable of seeing through, the interested complaints of fac- 
tion and sedition ; and they are, upon that account, less apt 
to be misled into any wanton or unnecessary opposition to 
the measures of Government. In free countries, where the 
safety of Government depends very much upon the favor- 
able judgment which the people may form of its conduct, it 
must surely be of the highest importance that they should 
not be disposed to judge rashly or capriciously concerning 

" If the community wish to have the benefit of more 
knowledge and intelligence in the laboring classes," says 
Say, "it must dispense it at the public charge. This object 
may be obtained by the establishment of primary schools, 
of reading, writing and arithmetic. These are the ground- 
work of all knowledge, and are quite sufficient for the civil- 
ization of the lower classes. In fact, one cannot call a native 
civilized, nor consequently possessed of the benefits of civil- 
ization, until the people at large be instructed in these three 
particulars; till then it will be but partially reclaimed from 

I might multiply authorities to an indefinite extent, show- 
ing that it is the general opinion of political philosophers 
that popular instruction is one of the most sacred duties of 
the Commonwealth. The opinion obviously rests upon two 
"rounds — the importance of education in itself and in its 
relation to the State, and the impossibility of adequately 
providing for it without the assistance of the Legislature. 
The alternative is either that the education of the people 
must be abandoned as hopeless, or the Government must 
embark in the work. Surely, if this be really the state of 
the case, South Carolina cannot hesitate a moment as to 
which branch of the proposition she will choose. 


When it is remembered that education makes the citizen 
as well as the man — that it is precisely what fits a human 


being to be a living member of a Commonwealth — we can- 
not hesitate as to whether our people shall be ciphers or 
men. And that this is the alternative is clear, both from 
the nature of the case and from fact. Whoever considers 
what it is to provide an adequate system of instruction for 
all the children of a country, the amount of funds necessary 
to erect school-houses, to found libraries, to procure the 
needful apparatus, to pay teachers, and to keep the ma- 
chinery, once set in motion, in steady and successful opera- 
tion, will perceive the folly of entrusting such a task to the 
disjointed efforts of individuals, or the conflicting efforts of 
religious denominations. In either case there will be no 
unity of plan, no competency of means ; what is d*ne must 
be done partially, and, because partially, must be done 

" All experience," says Sir Wm. Hamilton, " demonstrates 
the necessity of State interference. No countries present a 
more remarkable contrast in this respect (in regard to 
popular education) than England and Germany. In the 
former the State has done nothing for the education of the 
people, and private benevolence more than has been at- 
tempted elsewhere ; in the latter, the Government has done 
everything, and left to private benevolence almost nothing 
to effect. The English people are, however, the lowest, the 
German people the highest, in the scale of knowledge. All 
that Scotland enjoys of popular education above the other 
kingdoms of the British Empire she owes to the State, and 
among the principalities of Germany, from Russia down to 
Hesse Cassel, education is uniformly found to prosper ex- 
actly in proportion to the extent of interference and to the 
unremitting watchfulness of the Government. The ex- 
perience of the last half century in Germany has, indeed, 
completely set at rest the question. For thirty years no 
German has been found to maintain the doctrine of Smith. 
In their generous rivalry the Governments of that country 
have practically shown what a benevolent and prudent 
policy could effect for the University as well as for the 
school, and, knowing what they have done, who is there now 


to maintain that for education, as for trade, the State can 
prevent evil, but cannot originate good?" 

There are those among us who admit that no complete 
system of popular education can be instituted without the 
intervention of the State, and yet maintain that the true 
method of intervention is simply to supplement individual 
exertions ; that is, they would have those who are able to 
do so educate their children in schools sustained by them- 
selves, and solicit the aid of the Legislature only for pau- 
pers. It is obvious, in the first place, that in this there is 
no system at all ; the schools are detached and independent, 
they have no common life, and the State knows nothing of 
the influences which may be exerted within them. Educa- 
tion is too complicated an interest, and touches the pros- 
perity of the Commonwealth in too many points, to be left, 
in reference to the most important class of its subjects, ab- 
solutely without responsibility to the Government. The 
homogeneousness of the population can only be sustained 
by a general system of public schools. 

In the next place, the scheme is invidious — it makes a re- 
proachful distinction betwixt the children of the Common- 
wealth, and in the last place it must, from this very circum- 
stance, be inefficient. Parents will scorn a favor rather than 
permit their children to be stigmatized as the condition of 
receiving it. The true policy of the State is to recognize 
no distinction betwixt the rich and the poor; to put them 
all upon the same footing; to treat them all upon the same 
footing; to treat them simply as so many minds whose 
capacities are to be unfolded and whose energies are to be 
directed. The rich and the poor in the school-house, as in 
the house of God, should meet together upon the ground of 
their common relations, and the consequences of this 
promiscuous elementary training would soon be felt in har- 
monizing and smoothing all the unevenness, harshness and 
inequalities of social life. 

In the second place, the State should make some speedy 
provision for popular education in consequence of the un- 
usual demand which, in some form or other, is indicated as 
existing in every section of the country. 



There never was a greater cry for schools ; the people are 
beginning to appreciate their importance, and at no period 
within my recollection have such strenuous efforts been 
made to establish and support them. The extraordinary 
exertions of the various sects — exertions, too, which deserve 
all praise when considered as attempts to satisfy an acknowl- 
edged public want, and the success which has attended 
them — are proofs that public opinion is ripe in South Caro- 
lina for the interference of the Legislature ; and if it should 
not speedily interfere this great and mighty interest will 
pass completely out of its hands and be beyond its regula- 
tion or control. It is a critical period with us in the history 
of education. The people are calling for schools and teachers, 
and if the State will not listen to their cries they will be 
justified in adopting the best expedients they can, and in 
acceding to the provisions which religious zeal proposes to 
their acceptance. Our people are not, as a body, in favor 
of sectarian education. They prefer a general and inex- 
clusive system, and if they adopt the narrower one it will 
be because their own Government has been inattentive to 
their interests. I sincerely hope that the Legislature may 
be duly sensible of the delicate posture of this subject. To 
my mind it is clear as the noonday sun that, if anything is 
to be done, it must be done at once. Now or never is the 
real state of the problem. 

In the third place, the State should take the subject in 
hand, because this is the only way by which consistency and 
coherence can be secured in the different departments of in- 
struction. Education is a connected work, and its various 
subdivisions should be so arranged that, while each is a 
whole in itself, it should be at the same time a part of a 
still greater whole. The lower elementary education should, 
for example, be complete for those who aspire to nothing 
more ; it should likewise be naturally introductory to a 
higher culture. It should be a perfect whole for the one 
class, and a properly adjusted part for the other. So, also, 


the higher elementary education, that of the grammar 
school, should be complete for those who are not looking to 
liberal education, and yet, in relation to others, subsidiary 
to the College or the scientific schools. This unity in the 
midst of variety cannot be secured without a common cen- 
tre of impulse and of action. There must be one presiding 
spirit, one head, one heart. Education will become a dis- 
jointed and fragmentary process if it is left to individuals, 
to private corporations and religious sects. Each will have 
his tongue and his psalm, and we shall have as many 
crotchets and experiments as there are controlling bodies. 
The competition excited will be a competition not for 
efficiency in instruction, but for numbers ; each will estimate 
success by the hosts that can be paraded at its annual fes- 
tivals, or the pomp and pretension of a theatrical pageant, 
played off under the name of an examination. This is not 
the language of reproach ; it is a result which, from the 
principles of human nature, will be inevitably necessitated 
by the condition in which they shall find themselves placed. 
Let me add, in this place, that public education is recom- 
mended by considerations of economy. Absolutely it is 
the cheapest of all systems. It saves the enormous expense 
of boarding schools, or the still heavier expense of domestic 
tutors, one of which must be encountered when it is left to 
private enterprise to supply the means of education. If 
the amount which is annually expended in South Carolina 
upon the instruction of that portion of her children who are 
looking to a liberal education could be collected into one 
sum, we would be amazed at the prodigality of means in 
comparison with the poverty of the result. The same sum 
judiciously distributed would go very far towards supplying 
every neighborhood with a competent teacher. From the 
want of system there is no security that, with all this lavish 
expenditure, efficient instructors shall be procured. Those 
who employ the teachers are not always competent to judge 
of their qualifications, and the consequence is that time and 
money are both not infrequently squandered in learning 
what has afterwards to be unlearned. The danger, too, of 


sending children from home at an early age, the evil of ex- 
emption from parental influence and dicipline, arc not to be 
lightly hazarded. The State should see to it that the family 
is preserved in its integrity, and enabled to exert all its 
mighty power in shaping the character of the future citizens 
of the Commonwealth. Comparatively, public education is 
cheap, as general intelligence contributes to general virtue, 
and general virtue diminishes expenditures for crimes; it is 
cheap, as it develops the resources of the country and in- 
creases the mass of its wealth. It is not labor, but intelli- 
gence that creates new values; and public education is an 
outlay of capital that returns to the coffers of the State with 
an enormous interest. Not a dollar, therefore, that is judi- 
ciously appropriated to the instruction of the people will 
ever be lost. The five talents will gain other five, and the 
two talents other two ; while to neglect this great depart- 
ment of duty is to wrap the talent in a napkin and bury it 
in the bowels of the earth. 


But, after all, the practical question is one of real dif- 
ficulty. What shall the State do ? This is a point of great 
delicacy, and demands consummate wisdom. Nothing 
should be done abruptly and violently, no measures should 
be adopted that are not likely to recommend themselves, 
no attempt made to force an acquiescence into any provis- 
ions, however salutary they may have proved elsewhere, 
which are not founded in the habits and predilections of 
the people, or obviously indispensable to elevate and im- 
prove them. The public mind should be prepared for 
every great movement before it is begun. Popular en- 
thusiasm should, if possible, be awakened by addresses and 
disputations, which, like pioneers, prepare the way for the 
law by making rough places plain and the crooked straight. 
Above all, we should guard against attempting to make our 
system too perfect at the outset. The words of Cousin are 
as applicable to us now as they were to France at the time 


he wrote them : " God grant that we may be wise enough 
to see that any law on primary instruction passed now must 
be a provisional and not a definite law; that it must of 
necessity be reconstructed at the end of ten years, and that 
the only thing now is to supply the most urgent wants, and 
to give legal sanction to some incontestable points." 
Festina lente contains a caution which it becomes States as 
well as individuals to respect. 

What we first need is a collection of the facts from which 
the data of a proper system may be drawn. We must 
know the number of children in the State of the ages at 
which children are usually sent to school, the kind and 
decree of education demanded, the relative distances of the 
residence of parents, the points at which school-houses may 
be most conveniently erected, the number of buildings re- 
quired, the number of teachers, and the salaries which dif- 
ferent localities make necessary to a competent support. 
Facts of this sort must constitute the ground-work. In 
possession of these we may then proceed to compare dif- 
ferent systems, adopting from among them that which seems 
to be best adapted to our own circumstances, or originate a 
new one if all should prove unsatisfactory. 

All, therefore, that in my judgment the Legislature 
should undertake at present is to acquire this preliminary 
information, including the accumulation of facts, the com- 
parison of different common school systems, and the digest 
of a plan suited to the wants of our own people. This can 
be done by the appointment of a minister of public instruc- 
tion, who shall be regarded as an officer of the Government, 
compensated by a large salary, and who shall give himself 
unreservedly to this greafinterest. Let him be required to 
traverse the State, to inspect the condition of every neigh- 
borhood, and from personal observation and authentic testi- 
mony let him become acquainted with the number, the ex- 
tent and the circumstances of the children. Let him be 
prepared to say where school-houses can be most conven- 
iently erected, the distance at which they should be re- 
moved from each other, the kind of teacher needed in each 


neighborhood, and let him indicate what sections of the 
State are unprepared for schools in consequence of the dis- 
persion of their inhabitants. Let him be able to give some 
probable estimate of the expenses incident to the success- 
ful operation of an adequate scheme. In the next place, it 
should be his duty to master the existing systems, whether 
in this country or Europe, and to lay before the Legislature 
a succinct account of their fundamental provisions. Let 
him propose the scheme which he thinks ought to be 
adopted here, and let his report be referred to an able and 
learned commissioner, charged with the final preparation of 
such a scheme as we may be ready to enact into law. 

I shall not disguise from your Excellency that upon many 
points connected with details of any and every scheme my 
own opinion has long ago been definitely settled. The 
extent or degree of elementary education, the best mode of 
securing competent teachers, the principle which should 
regulate their salaries, the introduction of religion into the 
schools — these and many other similar topics I have inves- 
tigated to my own satisfaction. But, in the present condi- 
tion of the whole subject, it would be obviously premature 
to express the opinions of any individual. The minister of 
public instruction should have the whole subject before him, 
and whatever discussions may take place upon details 
should be consequent upon and not prior to this report. 
All, therefore, that I would now press upon your Excellency 
is to have public instruction erected into a department of 
the Government. That is the first and indispensable step, 
and until that is done there never can be a plan adequate, 
consistent, successful. I have only to add here that this is 
substantially the recommendation which I had the honor 
to make in concert with the Bishop of Georgia some four- 
teen or fifteen years ago, and time and observation have 
only strengthened my convictions of the wisdom and neces- 
sity of the measure. 


III. The third and last part of our system is the military 
schools. What I have to suggest in regard to them is that 


they be made to supply a want which is constantly increas- 
ing, as the country advances in trade and the arts. It is a 
great evil that there should be nothing intermediate be- 
tween the grammar school and the College, and that all who 
wish to acquire nothing more than the principles of physical 
science, on account of their application to various branches 
of industry, should be compelled to purchase this privilege 
by bearing, what to them is, the heavy burden of liberal 
education. They do not want Latin, Greek and philosophy, 
and it is hard that they cannot be permitted to get a little 
chemistry, a little engineering, or a little natural philosophy, 
without going through Homer and Virgil, Aristotle and 
Locke. " Two great evils " (I use the words of Cousin, who 
is deploring a similar state of things in France), "two great 
evils are the consequence. In general, these boys, who 
know that they are not destined to any very distinguished 
career, go through their studies in a negligent manner; they 
never get beyond mediocrity, when, at about eighteen, they 
go back to the habits and the business of their fathers. As 
there is nothing in their ordinary life to recall or to keep up 
their studies, a few years obliterate every trace of the little 
classical learning they acquired. On the other hand, these 
young men often contract tastes and acquaintances at Col- 
lege which render it difficult, nay almost impossible, for 
them to return to the humble way of life to which they are 
born ; hence a race of men restless, discontented with their 
position, with others and with themselves ; enemies of a 
state of society in which they feel themselves out of place, 
and with some acquirements, some real or imagined talent, 
and unbridled ambition, are ready to rush into any career 
of servility or revolt. Our Colleges ought, without doubt, 
to remain open to all who can pay the expenses of them, 
but we ought by no means to force the lower classes into 
them ; yet this is the inevitable effect of having no inter- 
mediate establishment between the primary schools and 

The remedy, as I have already shown, is not to change 
the construction of the College, but to employ the elements 


which we confessedly have, and which are essentially suited 
to the purpose. 

I shall trespass upon the patience of your Excellency no 
longer. In all that I have said I have had an eye to the 
prosperity and glory of my native State. Small in territory 
and feeble in numbers, the only means by which she can 
maintain her dignity and importance is by the patronage of 
letters. A mere speck compared with several other States in 
the Union, her reliance for the protection of her rights and her 
full and equal influence in Federal legislation must be upon 
the genius of her statesmen and the character of her people. 
Let her give herself to the rearing of a noble race of men, 
and she will make up in moral power what she wants in 
votes. Public education is the cheap expedient for uniting 
us among ourselves, and rendering us terrible abroad. Mind 
after all must be felt, and I am anxious to see my beloved 
Carolina distinguished for the learning, elo- 
quence and patriotism of her sons. Let us endeavor to 
make her in general intelligence what she is in dignity and 
independence of character— the brightest star in the Ameri- 
can constellation. God grant that the time may soon come 
when not an individual born within our borders shall be 
permitted to reach maturity without having mastered the 
elements of knowledge. 

I am, with considerations of the highest respect, 


3 5197 00140945 


f/Tp.HIS edition in pamphlet form has been published by 
%p> some friends of education for free circulation. T£o j 
promote which end copies have been furnished to the 
gentlemen named below for distribution and delivery within 
their several Counties: 

WM. HENRY PARKER Abbeville. 


B. F. WHITNER Anderson. 

ISAAC M. HUT80N Barnwell. 

WM. ELLIOTT Beaufort. 


WM. A. COURTEN AY Charleston. 

J. J. McLTTRE Chester. 

JAS. C. COIT Chesterfield. 

J. F. RHAME Clarendon. 

J. D. EDWARDS Colleton. 

E.KEITH DARGAN Darlington. 

D. A. G. OUZTS Edgefield. 

J. H. RION Fairfield. 

WALTER HAZARD. Georgetown. 

ISAAC M. BRYAN Greenville. 

C. J. C. HUTSON Hampton. 


W. L. LEITNER] Kershaw. 

J. D. WYLIE Lancaster. 

H. Y. SIMPSON _. Laurens. 

H. A. MEETZE Lexington. 




JOHN S. VERNER.... Oconee. 

JAS. F. IZLAR Orangeburg. 

J. E. BOGGS Pickens. 

J. M. McBRIDE Richland. 

THOS. J. MOORE Spartanburg. 

J. D. BLANDING Sumter. 

J. G. McKISSICK Union. (