every man of North Carolina cut his eye teeth?" "Oh no," said he, "but I know very well when you, sir, had the measles."
"Thus for a period of an ordinary lifetime (33 years) he devoted himself to the highest and noblest service to his State and country in training the future statesmen, jurists and divines of our country. Eternity alone can reveal the influence which he thus indirectly exerted on the intelligence and morals of society; not only of his native State, but of all that vast region known as the South and Southwest, where his pupils filled every possible place of honor, trust or profit. He preferred to tread the noiseless tenor of his way in the quiet paths of science and philanthropy than those of political ambition. The plaudits of statesmanship, the renown of the warrior, had no charms for him. He felt truly--
--The warrior's name
Tho' pealed and chimed on every tongue of fame,
Sounds less harmonious to the grateful mind,
Than he who fashions and improves mankind.
"As an author," continues Governor Vance, "with all his stores of knowledge, and his great capacities, he left but little for posterity to judge and admire. His literary reputation is confined to those who were his cotemporaries, and such traditions as affection and friendship may preserve. Many fragmentary articles from his pen and lectures exist; some of which are preserved in the University Magazine, relating chiefly to North Carolina history. He had collected a considerable amount of historic material, and it was expected that he would have left a work on that subject as a legacy to his countrymen. His age, the troubled times, and an aversion to continued systematic labor, doubtless prevented him."
A vast number of rich traditions of the early times and the men of Carolina were locked up in the vast sotres of his memory; the key to which is buried with him. Yet he was ever forward and ready to aid other laborers in the historic field. As Caruthers, Wiley, Wheeler, and Hawks could testify. He materially aided me in my poor efforts in this respect, and in gratitude to him I dedicated my "History of North Carolina."
At his suggestion and request, with a letter from Governor Vance, in 1863 I visited England, and spent all my time in the Rolls Office collecting material from the original records as to the early history of North Carolina.
But his name could not have received any additional lustre than it already enjoyed.
His fame will forever rest upon the success with which he conducted the University of the State. When he went to Chapel Hill there were not ninety students. In 1860 there were nearly five hundred. He determined to make its influence powerful, and he succeeded. It was by intuitive perception of character, gentle but firm administration of authority, and high consideration and gentlemanly treatment of his pupils. In the classic halls of the University he never assumed the commanding and repellant attitude of a "Jupiter Tonans," but like the course of the Apollo, leading by graceful manners and gentle words his admiring votaries.
But the unhappy internecine war came--the call for men and arms to defend the homes and hearths of the South was heard, and the gallant youths of the University obeyed the call. Of the class of 1860,*
* "Last Ninety Days of the
War" by Cornelia Phillips Spencer, New York, 1866, 270.
every one, (with perhaps a single exception,) entered the service, and more than a fourth of the entire number now fill a soldier's grave. Every exertion was used by Governor Swain to preserve the University. It was owing to his exertions that the conscript law, "that robbed alike the cradle and the grave," was not rigidly enforced, and when the Federal army took possession of Chapel Hill in 1865, a few students were still there. In order to avert
* "Last Ninety Days of the War" by Cornelia Phillips Spencer, New York, 1866, 270.
Index - Contents