The Civil War in North Carolina

Reminiscences and Memoirs of North Carolina and Eminent North Carolinians

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the State; to Lewis Williams, who was a member of the House of Representatives so long that he acquired the name of father of the House; to William D. Moseley, for many years Speaker of the Senate in this State, and afterwards Governor of Florida; to James H. Otey, the able and learned Bishop of Tennessee; to the Rev. Joseph H. Saunders, whose early death cut short a bright career of usefulness in his church; to Edward D. Simms, whose growing reputation as a professor in the University of Alabama was closed by death before he had attained the meridian of his years; and to Abraham F. Morehead, the youngest member of a distinguished family, who would doubtless have greatly increased the fame of that family, had he not died in the earliest dawn of manhood. I name with peculiar sadness George P. Bryan, George B. Johnston, Iowa Royster and E. Graham Morrow, who have so recently been consigned to soldiers' graves.

        From this hasty and imperfect sketch of the origin and history of the University, it appears clearly and strongly that the founders of our republic and their successors, have always had a deep sense of the importance of a collegiate education. The enquiry is naturally presented, how far their hopes have been realized from this institution; in other words, with what measure of success has it been attended in promoting and advancing the weal of the State? A practical solution of this enquiry may perhaps be obtained by ascertaining, if we can, what influence the men who received their education here have had in the management and direction of the affairs of the General and State governments. It is unnecessary on this occasion, to go into minute details on this subject, but we can say in general, and say with certainty, that there is scarcely an office or place of profit or trust, or any position in the business of life, professional or non-professional, ecclesiastical or lay, military or civil, which has not been filled, time and again, by some one who has received his education, in whole or in part, at this University. To the general government it has furnished one President, at least five members of the cabinet and four ministers to foreign courts, while of the number which it has sent to the Senate and House of Representatives it is difficult to make a reckoning In the State government there is hardly any office which has not been filled by those who have gone forth from these halls. It has its representatives in the highest places of the church, among the leaders at the bar, and in the chambers where suffering humanity most needs the aid of educated science and skill. It has supplied banks and railroads with presidents, clerks and superintendents. It sends its Alumni to explore mines and to construct railroads; and above all and best of all, it furnishes to agriculture and commerce some of their most enlightened, energetic and skillful votaries.

        The exciting times through which we have just passed and are now passing, have prevented me from bringing more particularly to your attention the men whom our University has sent forth to act their parts in the world. It is only by the offices which they have filled, or the places which they have occupied, that I have recalled them to your recollection. Many of them have paid the great debt of nature, and gone to render to their Maker an account of their stewardship. Others are still living to perform, it may be, higher duties to their country, and to obtain greater rewards for themselves. Of all these, dead or living, I have nothing further to say. But with your indulgence, I will occupy a few more moments of your time in recalling from the dim recollections of the past the names of a few men, each of whom was regarded as the college genius of the day, and who with well directed energies and a longer life, might have left a name which the world would not willingly have let die.

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