The Civil War in North Carolina

Reminiscences and Memoirs of North Carolina and Eminent North Carolinians

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age, he was a Whig; and to his last days a Union man.

        As a Christian he was the admirer of piety and virtue in any sect. He would say "my father was a Presbyterian elder and my mother a Methodist; Bishop Asbury blessed me when a child, the Presbyterians taught me, and Humphrey Posey, a Baptist, prayed for me. I was brought up to love all good Christians."

        He was for years a communicant of the Presbyterian church, and gave largely to its support. He was careful of money; economical in his expenses, punctual and precise, and faithful to his promises; simple in his habits and dress. He was little blessed by nature in personal appearance. "Certainly," says Governor Vance, "no man owed less to adventitious aids. His voice was peculiar and harsh; in person he was exceedingly ill formed and uncouth; his knees smote together in a most unmilitary manner."

        But his countenance redeemed his person, and one may say as did Hamlet of his father--

                         --See what grace was seated on this brow!
                         A combination and a form indeed,
                         Where every God did seem to set his seal
                         To give the world assurance of a Man.

        A recent writer (Dalton) on a "Few Hours at Poplar Mount," has recorded of Governor Swain some appropriate remarks from his life long friend, Hon. Weldon N. Edwards, that should be more permanently preserved:

        "With Gov. Swain a vast store of historical and other information was buried, perhaps beyond the possibility of resurrection.

        "There is no one left to us who can fill his place.

        "He was wrapped up in the University, and it was a serious blow to the State when the practised and learned faculty was broken up by political interference and partisan malice. It was a grievous fault and a blunder not to be tolerated in any party.

        "I have heard many of the friends of Gov. Swain state that he became melancholy and began to droop away on the termination of his duties as President of the University, and they believed a broken heart was as much the real cause of his death as the fall from his carriage. He felt 'the last link was broken' that united his heart and hopes to all earthly objects. The whole manner of the man was changed.

        "His step was tottering and slow; his massive frame was bowed down in grief. His countenance, so wonted to be lifted up in smiles and playful wit, had already settled into the stern reality of the impending gloom and of perpetual silence.

        "It was thus I met for the last time this distinguished man. He said: 'My friend, since I last saw you my connection with the University has been brought to a close; it was a trial I dreaded.'

        "What he suffered can only be known to the Great Searcher of all human hearts. There has never been a parallel case of injustice, prejudice and folly. It was a blow aimed at education, science, and civilization, and society; to Governor Swain it was malignant parricide, and its baleful effects were felt throughout the Commonwealth. Col. Venable, the distinguished and learned head of the University of Virginia, when this subject was, soon after its occurrence, discussed, declared that there was no Governor of Virginia, not excepting Pierpoint, who would exhibit a control similar to that of our Governor over the University of North Carolina."

        But another era has dawned on this venerable institution, and we trust that it will soon regain its pristine prosperity.

        Connected with Gov. Swain and Professor Mitchell of the University was Rev. James Phillips, D. D. He was a native of England, born at Nevenden, Essex County, in 1792. His father was a Minister of the Church of England.

        He came to America in 1818 with an elder brother, Samuel A. Phillips, and engaged in the profession of teaching at Harlem, where he had a flourishing school. In 1826 he was appointed Professor of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy in the University of North Carolina, then in his 34th year. For forty years he labored to impress broad and deep the elements of science and knowledge; how faithfully that duty was performed many now alive can testify. As his life was useful so
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