given for the curious reason that the inclemency of the weather prevented study.
To finish this building was the great problem of the young University. The Trustees in despair did not hesitate to practice what was common in old time, even for building churches and denominational schools, but which the sounder morals of our day make a criminal offence; the raising of money by lotteries. I have their circular of 1802, announcing with sanctimonious gravity that "the interests of the University of North Carolina and of learning and science generally, are concerned in the immediate sale of these tickets." The highest prize was $1,500, and was drawn by Gen. Lawrence Baker, of Gates. The lucky number, 1138, was announced as an important item by the Metropolitan Journal, the Raleigh Register.
Still the building was unfinished, and still the intellectual squatters of the University sat sub divo, as the Professor of Latin would say. President Caldwell mounted with heroic energy his stick-back gig and painfully traveled over the State in 1809, and again in 1811, soliciting subscriptions.
It would be interesting to contrast his journeys with those of the present day, when one can dine in Goldsboro' and breakfast next morning in Asheville. The battle of New Orleans occurred on the 8th of January, 1815. The news did not reach Raleigh until the 17th of February. Prof. Charles W. Harris writes in 1795 to Dr. Caldwell, at Princeton, that his best way of reaching Chapel Hill is to buy a horse and sulky and thus travel in his own conveyance, selling the same at Chapel Hill. He is confident that the trip can be made in thirty days.
Last week the President of 1883 left New York at a quarter before four o'clock in the afternoon, in a luxurious coach, which ran so smoothly that reading and even writing was easy. So well lighted at night that he read with comfort and pleasure Anthony Trollope's most interesting autobiography until bed-time at Washington, then went regularly to bed, had a refreshing night's rest, and dined next day at a quarter before two in the afternoon at home--less than twenty-two hours.
It was doubtless the achings and weariness of these journeys which caused Dr. Caldwell 20 years after to astonish the State by his eloquent and practical Carlton letters, advocating the N. C. Rail Road from the Tennessee line to Beaufort. His labors were successful. He secured about $12,000, and while our people were going crazy over the naval victories of 1814 the rejoicing students moved into the completed "South Building." The cornerstone was laid the year when the great Napoleon gained the first victory of the Pyramids, the year before he usurped the power of 1st Consul; it was finished the year when he laid down the imperial title for a petty throne in Elba, the year before his final ruin at Waterloo. When that corner stone was laid the land was ringing with preparations for a war with France. The building was ready for occupancy while we were fighting England. It has lately sheltered cavalry of the conquering Union army in the great civil war.
It was one of the grandest buildings in North Carolina in those days. It afforded ample recitation rooms. It furnished for a third of a century halls and libraries for the two societies, which before its erection were forced to meet by turns in Person Hall. I have thought that it should have been called in honor of the Father of the University, Gen. Davie. The omission thus to recognize his great services has been rectified by the happy thought of a gifted lady, on whom the Muses of History and Poesy have benignly breathed, Mrs. C. P. Spencer, by calling the historical tree which sheltered the venerable men, who under its shade located the site of the University, which
Index - Contents