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Commencement Exercises.
From The North Carolina University Magazine 9, no. 1 (August 1859): 59-63; no. 2 (September 1859): 105-120:
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(article title) Commencement Exercises
(caption title from September issue) Commencement Exercises (Concluded from the August Number.)
(journal title) North Carolina University Magazine
William J. Headen, et al.
Vol. 9, No. 1 (August 1859) and No. 2 (September 1859)21 p.
[Raleigh, N.C.]
[Office of the "Weekly Post"]
August and September 1859

From The North Carolina University Magazine 9, no. 1 (August 1859): 59-63; and no. 2 (September 1859): 105-120

Call number C378 UQm v.9 c.4 (North Carolina Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)

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[Cover Image]
[August 1859]



Vol. 9. AUGUST, 1859. No. 1.

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        WE are sure that no apology is necessary in presenting our readers with an account of the Commencement Exercises, as every one will immediately see the propriety of keeping a college record in a more durable form than the newspapers afford.

         We must acknowledge our indebtedness to the Weekly South Carolinian, the North Carolina Standard, and the Fayetteville Observer, as well as our obligations to GOV. SWAIN and Prof. CHARLES PHILLIPS for their courtesy in assisting us in compiling this brief sketch of our annual festival.

         The exercises of the week began on Monday night, by a very eloquent and forcible sermon from Rev. D. S. DOGGETT, D. D., an eminent Divine of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. Dr. DOGGETT makes a very imposing and venerable appearance in the pulpit, and speaks directly from the heart--the only source of true eloquence.

         The audience was large, and was held in the closest attention for more than an hour and a half. This fact is sufficiently demonstrative of the excellence of the discussion and of the deep interest felt in the subject, viz: the mission of Christianity to seats of learning. The instructions were drawn from Paul's visit to Athens. The text was from Acts xvii. 15: "And they that conducted Paul brought him to Athens." After a vivid description of Athens, locally, intellectually and religiously considered, Dr. Doggett called attention to Paul's experience in its Streets, in its Synagogue, in its Agora, and on its Areopagus. Whence he inferred that the wisdom of the world cannot discover God; that it cannot purify the life; that the Gospel which Paul preached is worthy of universal dissemination, as it is the power of God unto man's salvation; and that it should engage the attention of the most gifted and the best educated of our youth. A warm-hearted and direct appeal to the graduates to learn the life hidden with Christ in God, of which Paul was so bright a manifestation, and to devote themselves to the teaching of it to their fellows, closed this excellent discourse. Dr. Doggett's manner is peculiar and very striking. He

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drops his words deliberately into our ears, and his thoughts reach our minds in distinct succession; so that both have their proper effect at the moment each is presented. He congratulated the religious part of the community that so many of the class hoped to be preachers.

         Tuesday night, as usual, was given to the Declamation of the Freshman Class. This was animated and well executed. The ladies were particularly well pleased with the "Pretty Little Fresh." The order was as follows:

         Wednesday morning every countenance was beaming with anticipation of the rich intellectual feast, which they were sure awaited them from Hon. DUNCAN K. MCRAE. Some knowledge of his subject had transpired, which put the guessing powers of every one to the test. Here it was that immense superiority of the "Toll Mites"--disciplined at many a clean black board and sharpened on many a rough Greek root--was manifest. Many were the conjectures as to how he would treat his subject; but, alas! the shrewdest genius that ever rolled a box to an effigy or sung a chemical sung to popping Champagne stoppers, was totally at fault. Mr. McRae surpassed all expectation. As he is unwilling to put the Dialectic Society to the trouble of having his address printed in pamphlet form, we have concluded to insert the following imperfect sketch, rather than let such an event fade from the recollection of college posterity:

         "He said that an assembly, like the one before him, composed of intelligent and educated persons, gathered together under the precincts and within the sanctum of their own educational establishments; before which men of learning and of letters were called, from time to time, to speak on topics of general interest, literary and others, under circumstances calculated to produce a corresponding desire to excel, afforded a lively image of an assembly of the ancient world, before whom the liveliest production of the human mind were wont to be exhibited. The speaker referred to Macaulay's description of Athen's in the days of her splendor and power. 'Of the crowds that assembled round her porticos to read inscriptions for instruction, who gathered around Herodotus as he recited his history, and of those who would gather around the wandering minstrel in the market place.'


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Before the art of printing was discovered, oral teaching was the only means of instruction, and the mind of men demanding to be taught, the assemblies were frequent. With us, they are occasional; they are seasons of festivity and relaxation from the cares of life. To the ancient world, it was an essential feature of their organization. Everything should be done that would give dignity and interest to these occasions. Their men of character and experience should be invited. All minds, imbued with a sense of public good, should be willing to contribute, that the feast might be varied and luxuriant. Here it is science is wooed from her solitary cell. The joyous countenance of an intelligent assembly is one of the most inspiring influences of a living feast. The welcome sound of applause, the eclectic communication of thought, feeling and sentiment, from heart to heart, the strong sympathies and affections enkindled by these gatherings, give to these places early success, and disseminate from them a wide-spread influence. He was happy to congratulate them on the number and character of the guests that have come up to their feast; the upright statesman, the distinguished patriot, who had devoted a long life of service to his country, with usefulness to her and honor to himself, and now fill the chief place of honor; the President, attended by an illustrious member of his Cabinet, a native Carolinian, an alumnus of this institution, were now en route to reach this place. They have been delayed by the natural, well-meant hospitalities at a neighboring place, but they will arrive in time to do honor to some portion of your feast. [Great applause.] Eminent expounders of the laws, worthy of their profession, are leading their influence; a bright array of beaming beauty--and what land can boast an array more bright, more beaming?--are here, not only by common consent, but by universal desire, and occupy a large space in our midst. It was for the young gentlemen before him a glorious holiday, and with all his heart he would bid them embrace and enjoy it. The speaker drew a beautiful picture of the emotions natural to those before him, who were, he said, in the very flush of youth. Behind in the past, there was but a day; in the future they beheld no limits to their wishes. They had not yet considered what was self-dependence and self-support. Full of bright waking dreams, they discerned no dim shadows in the distance; rocked in the cradle of their desires, and flattered with their powers, like unconscious infants they sleep and smile in a garden of rich fancies, full of flowers and fruits. High hope stands out before them, encircling the ground with immortality.

         Who should disturb this vision in the slumber of youth? Why not permit them to sleep on till necessity awakened them to the reality? But would this be the part of the justice? It was the part of friendly admonition to warn them to get ready their arms, and not to think of life as if they were indissolubly bound to its pleasures, and it would never cease. They were not to confine their visions to a golden sun, a clear sky, a stretched out sea in its calm, a plain of velveted green, but they were to cast their eye occasionally to the dark mountains, the crags upon which their feet might stumble. A simple man believeth every word, but a prudent man looketh well to his going. They were not to imagine life a series of enjoyments. Obstacles would oppose them at every step. Vigor, spirit and determination would be required to surmount

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those obstacles. It was for the realities and reverses of life that they should prepare. It was within those walls, surrounded by their teachers, they should submit to discipline, and learn those lessons which would fit them to perform their duties in the world. Self-energy, self-discipline, self-control, obedience to rightful authority, these constituted the elements of success, and fit the soldier to become the commander.

         The speaker alluded to the successful effort of Mr. Gaskin to weaken the force of the Shaksperian saying, "that there is a tide in the affairs of men leading on to fortune," by establishing in its place, "that every man is the author of his own fortune, happiness or misery." Occasionally it might be that an indolent man rises to a lofty height. But those cases were very rare, and for one that attained a tolerable elevation, thousands and thousands there were, who creep in darkness and never have, never will, mark their career by any acts of public usefulness. Look abroad and find a man who has concentrated his mind upon one object, applying himself with diligence, and he would show them some measure of success. A man shall conquer the world to his will by the sweat of his brow. Calm, patient, and laborious application will do the work, and no one need be disheartened who is possessed of a reasonable mind. Labor, study, discipline will enlarge his apprehension, will exalt his intellectual faculties, and place him upon such an elevation that the eye of genius will not penetrate further than his own. The speaker then referred to the men of olden times, who had made for themselves a name by laborious application in youth. He instanced Demosthenes, Homer, Michael Angelo, Luther, Napoleon, Burke, Fox.

         The speaker contended that it was not necessary to be a genius, in order to be successful. The experience of the world had proved that invention and discovery in art and science had always arisen from those only who were laborious students. The speaker spoke eloquently of Washington as a man of labor and method, and who had made the model statesman, the excellent Governor. More and more are we becoming from day to day, alive to his worth, and the women of America would ere long entitle their sons to the last resting place of the Father of his country. The speaker called upon the young men to cherish the Union of the States, to preserve, if possible, this magnificent confederacy, of which we were members. Let other nations who were too feeble drift upon our shores; if there be any fruit hanging upon our walls, let it fall when sufficiently ripe into our lap, but let us not stretch the hand over the wall to steal. Let us keep on our course until hundreds, millions of people, gather under the folds of a common flag. But let us once be disjointed, and where are the new joints to unite them again. Where are Oregon, Washington, California, New Mexico, Dacotah, Nebraska, those golden regions and rocky mountains, where are they to go? Where the monster North-west, like a majestic maiden that stands on the bands of the river holding in her hand the cornucopia that pours wealth in upon the people, where is she to go? What will there be of intellect, of grandeur, strength, endurance, in the new confederacy, that the old does not possess? We have given but a few abstracts from the very full notes we have of this most eloquent address. It was listened to throughout with undivided attention. As the speaker became absorbed

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in his subject, the professional for a moment overcame him, and "Gentlemen of the Jury" escaping his lips, at once drew forth bursts of applause, and peals of merry laughter.

         The speaker, looking at the number of sage counselors before him, said, I see so many judges before me, and such good judges, too, that they were well calculated to inspire the idea, and (looking at the ladies) such a fair jury that I wonder I don't think so still. The applause with which this sally was greeted prevented the speaker from proceeding for some time."

         Thus ended an address of which the University may well be proud.

        As we are crowded for space, we defer publishing more of the Commencement Exercises in this number. In the September number shall appear a finished record of the rest of the exercises, including the speeches of the President and a synopsis of the other speeches. We are induced to adopt this course, because of the permanent interest which is attached to, perhaps, the most noted commencement on record.



[Cover Image]
[September 1859]

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Vol. 9. SEPTEMBER, 1859. No. 2.

Page 105




        For want of space, we were forced to defer the completion of our account of Commencement till this number. Below will be found a finished record from 1 o'clock, Wednesday, June 1st:

        Shortly after the conclusion of Mr. MCRAE'S address, President BUCHANAN, accompanied by Secretary THOMPSON, Governor ELLIS, and a host of other distinguished gentlemen, arrived under the escort of the Wilmington Light Infantry. It was the subject of almost universal regret that these gentlemen arrived too late to hear Mr. McRae's address, for they surely missed a literary treat, which has been rarely equalled in North Carolina.

        The distinguished visitors were properly received by the University Marshals, in the presence of a large concourse of citizens and students. They were then conducted from the street to the lawn in front of Governor SWAIN'S residence, where the President of the University addressed President Buchanan in the following appropriate words of welcome:

        "When your predecessor, Mr. President, twelve years ago, visited this institution, he was regarded as paying a grateful and graceful compliment to his Alma Mater. He returned to the scenes and associates of his boyhood. The Secretary of the Navy, in the Cabinet of which you were the Premier, the present estimable Minister to France, came with him as one of his collegiate companions. Your visit is the more complimentary, because your associations are less intimate than his. The selection of two children of this institution, (one of whom we rejoice to see standing by your side, while we mourn the absence of the other with unaffected sorrow,) as members of your Cabinet, is a compliment which entitles you to a grateful consideration at our hands. Your presence as that of the Chief Magistrate of the Republic is a distinction of which we may well feel proud. Still we welcome you not merely in your official character, but also as Mr. Buchanan, a citizen of Pennsylvania.

        "It is somewhat remarkable, Sir, that two States so distant from each other as North Carolina and Pennsylvania should be so intimately connected and blended in their history. The greatest of Pennsylvanians, and, with a single exception, the greatest of Americans, smote the rock of Plymouth with his electric wand, and the waters of Liberty gushed forth for the healing of nations. Benjamin Franklin was the main spring of the Revolution, at the South as well as at the North.

        "North Carolina was originally settled, to a very great extent, by emigrants from Pennsylvania. As early as 1686, Wm. Penn, in a letter to a confidential

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friend, states that fifteen thousand of the most substantial citizens of his province were about to seek a home in the wilderness of Carolina. But it is not merely the Quaker element in our population that constitutes the bond of union between North Carolina and Pennsylvania. The Scotch-Irish came at a subsequent period, and among them the Alexanders, the Caldwells, the Davidsons, the Grahams, the McDowells, the Osbornes, the Polks and the Steeles found their way to our borders through Pennsylvania. Jackson and Davie and others came to the Waxhaws through South Carolina. The third element in our population, for which we are indebted to Pennsylvania, are the Lutherans, descendants of the Protestants, who fought under William the Silent in the memorable contest with Philip the Second. The Phifers, the Barringers and their neighbors were among the earliest of these emigrants.

        "These united stocks formed a race of men rarely equalled in any age or in any country. God forbid, Mr. President, that I should disparage, in the smallest degree, the character of the Puritan. It is a matter of honest pride to myself that I am a humble scion of that stock. But I feel free to declare that I believe in my conscience that no portion of our countrymen during the Revolution loved liberty so well, and fought so stoutly to maintain it, as the Mecklenburg men. There are considerations which mark the Revolution in North Carolina as peculiar, and distinguish it from that in any other portion of our country. With the Puritan it was a war against taxation; in Mecklenburg it was eminently a contest for civil and religious freedom. The Scotch-Irish, wherever they were found, were emphatically the sons of liberty, and the population of the valleys of the Yadkin and the Catawba that gave rise to the Mecklenburg Declaration, were Scotch-Irish and Pennsylvanians, among whom you also number your own forefathers.

        "The country immediately west of you was the final resting place of these emigrants. They furnished those who are known as the Regulators, and on the 16th of May, 1771, four years before the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence, they fought the battle of Alamance, within twenty-five miles of the place where you stand. Whether you consider the principles involved, the number of the combatants, or the number that was slain, the affair at Lexington, in April, 1775, was less imposing in circumstances and in consequences. The great chief of the Regulators was Herman Husband, who is understood to have been a relative of Benjamin Franklin, and to have acted as his confidential agent. In the battle, the Regulators were unfortunate, but many of them retreated successfully from it, and found a safe retreat in the wild gorges of the Alleghanies, whence they returned and wreaked ample vengeance for their wrongs at the battle of King's Mountain, on the 7th of October, 1780.

        "The defeat of Major Ferguson was the pivot on which the war in the south, if not upon the continent, turned. If Ferguson had not fallen the battle of Guilford would not have been fought, and the Revolution would not have closed at Yorktown. Alamance was the initial, King's Mountain the decisive, and Guilford the closing battle of the Revolution. Yorktown was a siege. Very recently I have been impressed more deeply than before with this state of facts by the papers of Cornwallis, which have just issued from the press. The

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defeat of Ferguson was fatal to the invasion of 1780, and Cornwallis, in the volume to which I refer, expressly states the fact, that before attempting the second invasion, in 1781, he had, by his emissaries, involved our whole western border in the flames of a savage war. But for this, the men who foiled him at King's Mountain would have turned his finally fatal triumph at Guilford into an immediately disastrous defeat. In a brief note written after his retreat to Wilmington, to Sir Henry Clinton, he says, that much to his surprise he found the North Carolinians comparatively a united people, and was well satisfied that owing to the peculiar condition and singular character of the country, it would be the most difficult of the thirteen provinces to subdue.

        "Such, Mr. President, are the characteristics and antecedents of the people, to whose University I bid you a heartfelt welcome, a welcome to which you have the strongest personal and ancestral claims."

        To which President BUCHANAN replied:

        "I thank you for your kindness, and I am thankful for the cordiality with which I have been received by the citizens of North Carolina. I have always had a partiality for this good old North State. Her eminently prudent, wise, and conservative sons have always stood by the Constitution and the Laws, and are destined in the history of this country to do much to preserve our glorious Union.

        "I thank you most heartily for the kind reference which you have made to my native State. I am proud to hear her associated with North Carolina. The two sisters have generally agreed together in all important questions. And there is another link between them besides those you have mentioned. You had an early Governor--Archdale--in whose day, as in Penn's day, the Indians all loved the white man, because the Indians were treated kindly by him.

        "You refer to mournful events. You speak of President Polk. He was proud in speaking of his intense love for his Alma Mater. He was a good man, a great man, an honest man. No man ever performed the duties of his high office more conscientiously than James K. Polk. Justice has not yet been done his memory. But the impartial historian, when he comes to collect the events of that period, will place James K. Polk on the list of the most noble and distinguished men of the country. He was a laborious man, and sacrificed himself with intense labors.

        "I might refer to other distinguished men who have graduated at this College, but this would probably be invidious. Of the dead we may speak; it is best to say nothing of the living. I have come to this institution of learning, where mind is educated, because with me mind is everything. It has produced the best fruits of the country. This is a practical institution, and I may venture to say its experience proves the superiority of a collegiate over a private education. Here emulation is created. The boy who is compelled to recite to his master, while he is not associated with others, has not a due spirit of emulation aroused. But while the boys are at college, each endeavors to acquire superiority over the other, and so they become thoroughly prepared for the serious duties of life. This preparation has been seen in the hosts of men whom you have sent to other States. As far as I know, they carry with them the firm integrity and wisdom which characterize

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the people of this State in an eminent degree. They have been scattered over the wilds, and have contributed essentially to give character to the places of their choice.

        "I wish I could address all the young men in my hearing. A vast responsibility rests upon them. While generations of men rise and sink and are forgotten, principles remain and are eternal. I would advise these young men to devote themselves to the preservation of the principles of the Constitution, for without these blessings our liberties are gone. Let this Constitution be torn into atoms; let the members of this Union separate; let thirty Republics rise up against each other, and it would be the most fatal day for the liberties of the human race that ever dawned upon any land. Let this experiment fail, and every friend of liberty will deplore the sad event. I belong to a generation now rapidly passing away. My lamp of life cannot continue to burn much longer. I hope I may survive to the end of my Presidential term. But so emphatically do I believe that mankind, as well as the people of the United States, are interested in the preservation of this Union, that I hope I may be gathered to my fathers before I witness its dissolution.

        "In the flux and reflux of public opinion things are constantly passing away. Events that may be considered great to-day, the reflux of public opinion may remove to-morrow. Let us keep together, then, for better or for worse, as man and wife. For though troubles, as they say, sometimes prevail in the married state, yet the couple hold together and pursue their quiet way. I thank you for this kind and cordial reception. I have no doubt it will prove one of the most interesting periods of my life."

        At the conclusion of President Buchanan's remarks, cheer after cheer went up simultaneously from the assembled multitude. He was then ushered, by President Swain and the Marshals, into the parlor, and the opportunity afforded the fair ladies, who had congregated there, of exchanging friendly greetings with the President of the United States. Loud and repeated cries from the crowd outside brought out Mr. Secretary Thompson. He said that the honor was unexpected, but a man never forgets his mother, nor could he ever forget his Alma Mater. A thousand things rushed to his recollection on his arrival here. But there were two events which he would ever remember with especial pleasure. The first was when he got the first distinction in the Freshman Class, and ran home and told his father. The other was the kind and cordial reception he had met with from those who were the sons of his early companions. As he entered that venerable mansion, thoughts of his early teachers flitted across his mind. Here the venerable Dr. Caldwell resided, and a parer, better man never lived in this world. There was also Dr. Mitchell. He missed them now. He would like to indulge in some of these reflections, but he would not exhaust their patience. When he left the University, its numbers were small, but the institution always had the confidence of the people of North Carolina. He found it now in the floodtide of prosperity. One thing as to President Caldwell. Knowledge in those days was limited. President Caldwell wrote several articles on the importance and feasibility of running a central railroad from the seaboad to the mountains. It was argued by him with singular force and clearness, that great and lasting good would

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be derived by the State from the establishment of such a road. But how was it considered in his day and generation? He was considered a dreamer of dreams. The people had compassion for the good old man. They thought, like Festus of old, that "too much learning had made the old man mad." And now, to-day, I have been enabled to come here along the very track which the old man traced out upon the map. [Great cheering.] Now, fellow-citizens, said the speaker, I would like to take a walk around Chapel Hill, to look at the old grave yard, to see and count our old oaks, to narrate to you events in my own memory, for though I have wandered far, I never have forgotten these things. I have kept my eye upon the men who have gone out from here, and I hope there is now in this crowd some historian who will do justice to his Alma Mater. I have witnessed the influences which this institution has exerted upon the country. The history of those who have exerted these influences, would prove interesting and valuable. I was received in a different State under a different star; I exerted myself, and that star shone upon me with benignity and kindness; but my love to Mississippi is not inconsistent with my love and devotion for my native State. Among the last conversations I had with my venerated companion, the distinguished and now lamented Postmaster General Brown, he said that he and myself should visit our Alma Mater together. He has gone, but when the history of the graduates of this institution is recorded, his page will be a bright one. Some of my class-mates have gone North, South, East and West, but in all their spheres, they have reflected credit and honor upon their Alma Mater.

        Three cheers were given for Mr. Thompson, at the conclusion of his remarks.

        The crowd now dispersed. In the interval before dinner, Governor Swain introduced to President Buchanan, the Marshals and Ball Managers, as the Officers of the University for this year. To these gentlemen the President addressed a few but very appropriate remarks.

        The tables for the Governor's dining had been arranged under the shade trees of his yard, in the form of a right-angled triangle: the hypothenuse of which, a broken line, was loaded with fruits, confectioneries, &c.

        About 2 o'clock, P. M., the company was seated at these tables, the two Presidents at the right-angle, while on their right were the Faculty, parents of students and other invited guests; on their left, were the members of the Graduating Class, all of whom had been kindly invited. While all were enjoying good eatables and amusing jokes, the Band fed their ears with excellent music. The Officers who had superintended the feast were next invited to dine with the ladies.

        At 3 o'clock the Marshals formed a procession, and escorted the Chief Magistrate to the Chapel, where an address before the Alumni Association was delivered by the gifted scholar, Rev. Wm. Hooper, D. D. LL. D.

        His subject, "Fifty Years Since," was treated in a masterly style. We deem a synopsis of this address unnecessary, as it may be procured by applying to Prof. Charles Phillips, Secretary to the Alumni, at whose request it has been printed in a neat pamphlet of 50 pages.

        Wednesday night the Sophomore competitors occupied the rostrum; most of them were graceful, distinct in pronunciation and seemed to feel what they

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said. The President was much pleased with their part of the exercises: The following is a programme of the evening:

        We are sorry that Mr. Nicholson was so hoarse that Dr. Wheat thought best to advise him not to speak, for in his loss the Philanthropic Society was deprived of one of its best representatives.

        After the first section had retired, Dr. Wheat conducted to the rostrum Mr. Elisha E. Wright, of Memphis, Tenn., and introduced him to the President. He said that he was awarded the premium for the best English composition in the Sophomore class, and requested the President to present the premium, which was the two first volumes of "Dr. Hawks' History of North Carolina."

        The President arose and said:--"I confess I am taken by surprise. I am very happy to be the honored medium through which this token is presented to the young gentleman before me. He has distinguished himself for merit in composition, and that is the greatest merit, perhaps, that any literary gentleman can enjoy; because the man who writes clearly and thinks clearly, after a little practice will speak clearly. The great merit of composition, in my humble judgment, consists in short, pointed sentences. The author who writes long sentences involves himself in many difficulties. One distinct idea presented in a distinct manner has more potency and more power than the sentences of a book in which everything under the sun is brought together, according to the style of many of our modern writers. The ancient was the best style, and that was emphatically the style of Mr. Calhoun, and in an eminent degree the style of Mr. Webster. I wish you great honor and great prosperity in whatever pursuit you intend to follow. I have been delighted with the exercises here to-day. I think I have never heard in my life more genuine humor and wit than that presented to-day by the gentleman who delivered the address, and who was formerly a professor here; and in regard to the sober portions of the address, I hope they have sunk deep in the mind of every student of this college. The great curse of our country--that curse which has involved so many of the most promising young men of the land in ruin, which has made mothers miserable, and which has made fathers feel disgraced by the spectacle of their own offspring--is the crime of drunkenness, more deadly by far than the pestilence, than the yellow fever, than the plague, and than all other calamities that have visited man. We bring upon ourselves a

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greater calamity than heaven has brought upon us, in any form or shape of misery. Everywhere you see the wrecks of this dreadful vice scattered over the land, in the destruction of the finest prospects that ever were presented by the youth of any country. I therefore wish, with all my heart, to repeat what has been best said by the gentleman (Dr. Hooper) who addressed you this evening, and ask of you all to take care of that fatal vice which degrades man to the level of the brute and disgraces him in the eyes of the whole world. I wish you, and wish all the other young men who have done themselves so much credit here to-day, health, prosperity and long life." (Loud applause.)

        We must be allowed to congratulate Mr. Wright upon his well-merited success, and would join with President Buchanan in wishing him, "health, prosperity and long life."


        Commencement Day was devoted to the exercises of the Graduating Class. To gratify many of our patrons we publish a full report of these exercises.

        At the conclusion of the prayer, President Swain announced the Latin Salutatory, by William Bingham Lynch, of Orange county. The countenance of this young gentleman was of a modest but pleasing appearance. The graceful and highly creditable manner in which he acquitted himself, elicited much comment and many congratulations from the friends of the speaker. His salutatory to the ladies drew forth much applause from the audience, and created considerable merriment among the Faculty.

        The next speaker was Thomas West Harris, of Chatham county. Subject; The "Hamiltonian System." It was handled with skill and ability. He defended the system, he said, from an abiding conviction of its truth. It was the saying of a distinguished statesman that the true philosopher is always fifty years in advance of his age, and knowing with what tenacity we cling to the faith of our fathers, he would not be understood as speaking altogether against the study of languages, but only as offering a few suggestions. The Hamiltonian system is founded upon the fact that the knowledge of the rules of grammar is not necessary to translate. The grammar is reserved for those who would acquire a critical knowledge of the language. The old system first fills the mind with abstract principles. The one teaches the language after the philosophy, the other the philosophy after the language. The Speaker claimed that this system followed the order of nature. Infants are perfectly ignorant of any rules of language, yet at five or six they are able to speak it--a student with his dictionary and grammar, after his mind has been matured would think it well if he were able to speak the language. If a parent wish his child to learn to speak French or Latin, he would most probably send him, if possible, among those who speak such languages. It is true that Latin is not spoken by living men, except on Commencement occasions, (looking at Mr. Lynch.) We can learn French, German, Spanish or any modern languages, without the aid of a grammar. Why should English be an exception to this? He who attempted to speak by the rules of grammar would find a difficulty

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that every such one must experience in the expression of his ideas. What was the history of the beginner's first effort at translation? All know it. After having committed a portion of grammar to memory verbatim, he sits down with grammar and dictionary in hand, while his head may be void of a single idea of the language. What did this toil and perplexity profit? It might indeed teach him patience. Like some of our medicines "it cures if it does not kill." The speaker then reviewed the reason assigned for the toil, "that it disciplines the mind," but he contended that the present system makes it a matter of memory, and so the discipline was lost. By the present method ten years was requisite for the study of the languages. By Hamilton's method the same knowledge could be gained in less than five. In speaking of the beauty of the Greek language, the speaker referred to the fact that the Greeks studied no foreign languages. They condemned all others and studied their own, and yet the world in all its subsequent and boasted improvements of mind over matter, and with all its discoveries, has never yet furnished a mind superior in discipline to some of those ancient sages. Solon, Plato, Aristotle and Demosthenes are still remembered and referred to as models. The speaker further commended the Hamiltonian system as giving more time to devote to useful study in philosophy and the sciences. He was warmly applauded by the audience.

        The next speaker was Mr. Mills Lee Eure, of Gates Co. Subject--Objections to an Elective Judiciary. This speaker exposed in an admirable manner the evils and folly of electing judges subject to the whims and caprices of the populace. Although under institutions so entirely popular as our own, to raise a voice against the people's rule in any department, was to incur the charge of folly if not sacrifice. The speaker paid a high compliment to the Judges of Supreme Court of North Carolina. They honor the position they hold. Had they been obliged to seek that position by having Giles and Jerry under their arms, it was a reasonable presumption that neither of them would have been judges. Besides the perpetuity of our republic, and the prosperity of our institutions imperatively demands the independence of this department of Government. This speaker was also warmly applauded.

        Mr. Richard Williams Nixon, of New Hanover Co., was the next speaker. Subject--The Imagination to be Cultivated. The speaker, in commencing, said, that several circumstances had contributed to the formation of an opinion in the minds of men that the full development of the imagination is not necessary for, but even destructive of all practical purposes. It would be his object, if possible, to overthrow this futile notion. He begged leave to premise that the mere existence of the faculty is a consideration and presumption in favor of its cultivation. Every human power, whether physical or mental, has been perverted. The speaker then reviewed the powers of the imagination in day dreams, and its various relations to the material world. He was much applauded.

        The Persecution of the Jews, by Cicero Stephens Croom, of New York, was the next subject. It was skilfully handled. He reviewed the history of persecution, and spoke of the calamities it had brought upon mankind. Every sect had persecuted every other with zeal and deadly enmity. Even in this

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age of enlightenment the spirit of persecution had not yet died out. It was this spirit that urged on the crusaders, and drove the Puritans from England. In our own country we read of numberless religious controversies and petty carping church members. Many attempt to propagate their peculiar doctrines by persecution, and in the name of that divine and gentle teacher who teaches them to exercise love, gentleness and forbearance. But there was one race which has received and still receives, in this enlightened age, the bitter cup of persecution. The despised Jews still cling to their cause and the faith of their fathers. Christian princes, Christian knights and such men, think that their directest way to heaven is in the persecution of the Jew. Many have thought it a sin and shame to pass the unoffending Jew without a curse. They have left him only one way to security, and that was by cunning. Princely lords, and lordly princes, holy fathers and saintly bishops, have stretched his poor limbs upon the rack. This speaker was earnest, and dwelt at length upon the unblushing and repeated acts of enmity exhibited towards an unoffending people. He was also applauded.

        The Man of Letters, by James Luttrell Gaines, of Buncombe county. The speaker said there had arisen an order of men, classified as literary characters. This was significant but expressive. Book writers do exist, and have an influence. Our Universities were nothing but a collection of books. Even the Professors were walking books. Books are the church too. We are most emphatically governed by books. From the daily newspaper to the sacred Hebrew book, what have men of letters not done, and what are they not doing. Was it not strange then that these men should be so little regarded while living; that they should be left alone with their copy rights and copy wrongs to eke out a miserable existence. There is the man of letters, known but to be despised, buffeted, and buried without even the decencies of funeral rites. After that, we see in him a glorious being whom God sent to whole nations and generations, that would not give him bread while living. The speaker, in conclusion, reviewed the various circumstances and trials of literary men, and was frequently interrupted with applause.

        The Common Sense Man, Wilbur Fisk Foster, of Alabama. The common sense man, said the speaker, is never ambitious. The position he occupies in society is an humble one. His actions are unknown. The course of his life is uninterrupted by those cares and circumstances, which attract and detain the attention of the public. While absorbed in the contemplation of those characters which stand pre-eminent, we fail either to recognize his identity or acknowledge his power. He lives in obscurity, he dies and is forgotten. Yet, in this great world, his influence is most salutary and indispensible. With a soul harmoniously attuned to the principles of his being and a mind of strong resources, his decisions are ever just. The elements are so mixed in him that all nature might stand up and say to all the world, "this is a man;" a man adapted to the circumstances in which he is placed, and in the prerogatives which he exercises.

        Distinguished, indeed, by no superior endowments or remarkable attainments, he is not celebrated for lofty reaches of thought, for daring deeds, or mighty undertakings, yet he exercises a control not ordinary, and it is he who

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binds and provides against the dangers which beset us; secures that with which we are favored, and it is he who conducts us on to a successful prosecution of our plans and gratification of our desires. His experience extends to every condition of society. It is felt and acknowledged by all. The statesman, with his far-reaching foresight and deep penetration, as he guides the course and administers the affairs of the nation; as difficult legislation perplexes, and he turns to the humble tribunal of the common sense man. The moralist, as he studies the constitution of man, seeks his influence, admits it and acknowledges his guidance. He points him to the marks of design exhibited in his own form; teaches him to be content with the revelations he has received, and to obey implicitly the omniscience of his conscience. Unable, perhaps, by acuteness to follow up an investigation, he, nevertheless, sees its boundaries and prescribes its limits, and when the human mind is bewildered by wild fancies, when society presents a scene of moral desolation and death, it is the common sense man that calms the discordant elements, drives back the waves and conducts it on to the successful accomplishment of the great ends of our being. Thus he constitutes a universal adviser to man and the grand conservative element of universal society. Away with the aristocratic, bigoted philosopher, or narrow-minded theorist that would scorn the lowly position and humble attainments of the common sense man. Mr. Foster was listened to with marked attention by the audience.

        The Independent Thinker, Franklin Childs Robbins, of Randolph county. The speaker defined an independent thinker to be one who has always unshaken faith in himself. Conscious that his own gifts alone make him an accountable being, he directs all his energies to their development. His character is based on imperishable principles which neither varying circumstances nor still more variable men can ever change. To the shrines of honorary titles and great men, he brings no offering. You hear him earnestly make the great and important inquiry, "Is it true?" For precedent, as such he has no reverence. He tries everything at the bar of his own reason. In forming an opinion, he never stops to seek whether this or that friend's feelings will be wounded. Impelled only by the love of what is true, right and just, from these,

                         "He varies not though friends forsake,
                         Or foes revile."

        Discarding the insane doctrine that the voice of the people is the voice of God, he dares to oppose the multitude. When they go right, he goes with them. Gifted with these qualities of head and heart, the independent thinker looks to them on every occasion and in every emergency. From every quarter he brings new, original and valuable truths to the store house of thought. He dares to tell the truth to the world, whether pleased with it or not. He exposes the empty deformity of pretenders. The man of custom may call him fanatical, the purposeless sycophantical man by glossing lies, may attempt to obscure his light, but he cannot be daunted in his pure and noble purposes. This speaker was also highly applauded.

        The American Student, Berryman Green, of Virginia. The superior skill in the application of inventions to the useful arts has been long the boast and

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pride of the American. That the energy of the country was first directed to the material was an inevitable consequence of the Revolution. Most of the appliances of art used in the mother country was lost in the new world at that time. But in literature no such losses exist.

        The verse of Milton and Shakspeare, had already been impressed upon the minds of our people. The necessities of our early years are past. They have found their natural end in triumph and prosperity. It is not now who shall imitate the glory of their fathers, but who shall raise their monument. The class to whom this duty is given to record the character of our fathers is just beginning to take position as American students. The speaker dwelt at length on the peculiarities of the American student and his relation to the public. He was warmly applauded.

        To be Great is to be Misunderstood, Benjamin Lewellen Gill, of Randolph county. This speaker's subject abounded in beautiful and well adapted metaphors, comparing the rise of great men to mountains, which it is said never shake hands. They touch at their base, and often for some distance up their sides. These are the united parts. So with great men. In youth they are not to be distinguished from others. They act like others, and go hand in hand with them into all their joys and sorrows, actuated by the same sentiments, and alike affected by petty incidents. The speaker then described the rise and growth of men until the mind becomes bewildered with their sudden elevation and the grandeur of their intellect. It was a beautiful theme and well delivered, and received its merited applause.

        Comparative merits of curriculum Colleges, Frederick Augustus Fetter, Chapel Hill. The speaker said that while schools and colleges adorn the land, various interesting and important questions had arisen. The free school system promises to carry education to the poor man's door, but yet it has had many warm abusers, and there were many conflicting opinions as to the comparative merits of curriculum colleges. Some are in favor of adopting the latter altogether, while others are as warmly opposed to to it. How was the question to be settled? The main purpose of all is to teach the young how to use information. The University plan by pursuing a division of labor may attain greater perfection in some, while the curriculum system by treating all with care and attention, tarrying long enough to allow the mind to dwell upon each branch and embrace the principles, may extend the field of knowledge in all directions. So far, the speaker claimed, the merits of the system appeared more thorough. The speaker stated the average period at which the thought of man begins to stop, was fifty years. He then dwelt upon the length of time, in general, requisite to attain a thorough knowledge of any one branch of studies. He was also applauded for the skilful manner in which he treated his subject.

        Thus closed the interesting exercises of the forenoon. At their close, President Swain announced that he had the pleasure to state that in front of the large oak, in the neighborhood of Dr. Caldwell's monument, the President of the United States would then be pleased to receive the calls of his friends, males and females, and especially the latter.

        President Buchanan was then, in company with the Marshals and Faculty, conducted to the place of reception, and was instantly surrounded by a large

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assemblage of ladies and gentlemen. The President must have had quite a pleasant time from the many fair ladies who were introduced to him, and with whom he had a friendly shaking of hands. But one fair one was kissed, however, and that one, a very pretty young lady, deputized to kiss all the rest for him.


        The Chapel was again filled at an early hour in the afternoon, and at 3½ o'clock President Buchanan again entered and took his seat upon the stage. A similar greeting to that of the morning again welcomed him. Shortly after, the remaining orators of the Graduating Class were announced. President Swain announced the first speaker in order.

        Francis Doughty Stockton, Statesville. Subject--Die Deutsche Sprache. This was an address on the beauty, philosophy, and utility of the German language. It was handsomely delivered, and reflects much credit on Prof. Smith. The musicians, who were all Germans, appeared delighted. Their stand was directly over the stage. A curtain was drawn before them, but they could not resist their curiosity, and while some drew aside the curtain, others again rose on tip-toe to gaze on the speaker. To them it was an uncommon treat. At the close of the address the liveliest tune we had yet heard was played, and encored by the audience. President Buchanan also complimented the young gentleman on his manner of delivery and the beauty of his subject. In conversation with this young gentleman, he awarded the merit of his knowledge of German to the noble, untiring exertions of Prof. Smith, his instructor.

        The next subject was Benedict Arnold. By Elijah Benton Withers, Caswell. The speaker said that when Robert Emmet, vindicating his character before the tribunal which condemned him as a traitor, requested of the world the charity of its silence, he asked for what has never been granted, either deserving or undeserving. As a member of that great family, he claimed the right to comment upon the character of Arnold. Born of parents having a great dissimilarity in their characters, he reproduced and presented all the traits of an outcast and drunken father. Every restraint being removed, he became a slave to the gratification of his base passions. But Arnold was too mean to be a drunkard. The revolution found him a bankrupt in character as well as fortune. No scheme was too desperate for his undertaking--no prospect of success too infamous to be attempted. Thus he attempted a career which obtained for him an infamous reputation, In a military career, it must be confessed that he exhibited great traits. The speaker then referred to Arnold's attack on Quebec, the honors he received at Philadelphia, when great and small, rich and poor, public and private, all vied with each other in honoring the hero of Saratoga. Congress paid its acknowledgments to him, and even Washington congratulated him upon his success. But they knew not what deep plots he was meditating. It is characteristic of Americans to applaud before they think, but when the truth is once known, the current returns with redoubled violence on the deceiver. At this very time, he was forming the plot which gained for himself the name which has made him the despised and

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outcast of every country. Arnold was the recipient of trust only to betray. Strange as it may seem, Arnold has found his apologists. Arnold was one that never had a sympathetic throb for any. He lingered many years in utter contempt, and universally disgraced. He dragged out a miserable life in unenvied opulence and rank, and died an object of scorn and contempt--a man of abilities, without integrity or character.

        Political Influence of Educated Men. Charles Washington McClammy, Jr., of New Hanover. In the various spheres of public life, said the speaker, there is no more efficient power than cultivated intellect. It discards false theories and guards against extremes of human action. Pre-eminent among its fruits is the recognition of man's social nature. This recognition had refuted the lone learning so valuable when philosophers taught the people. With us, isolation has no charms. Talents, to succeed, must be continually on the rack to exertion. Virtue must be stamped on it. Cultivated intellect and conservatism, not radicalism, is the golden mean. As in the material world, so in the political, the war of antagonisms must be.


        President Swain then read the Report of the Scholarship and Deportment of the students, as follows:

        The SENIOR CLASS consists of 86 members. [A catalogue of this Class may be found in the programme of Senior Speaking, published in our August No.]

        The First Distinction is awarded to Messrs. T. W. Harris, G. B. Johnston, W. B. Lynch, and F. D. Stockton.

        The Second to Messrs. Croom, Eure, Ferguson, Fetter, Foster, Gaines, Gill, B. Green, J. C. Green, McClammy, Nixon, F. C. Robbins, J. L. Robbins, and Withers.

        The Third to Messrs. Badger, J. W. Cole, Cook, Isler, Jones, C. N. Morrow, Pillow, Rogers, Sillers, Webb and Woodburn.

        The delivery of the Valedictory was devolved by lot upon Mr. G. B. Johnston; the Latin Salutatory upon Mr. W. B. Lynch; and the speech in German upon Mr. F. D. Stockton.


        Two members of this Class, Messrs. Fetter and McClammy have not been recorded as absent from any duty during the full collegiate term of four years, involving about 4,700 attendances upon the scholastic and religious exercises of the Institution. Mr. Cook once absent from recitation and but four times from prayers in four years.

        Mr. Isler entered Sophomore, and was not absent during three years.

        Messrs. F. C. Robbins and J. L. Robbins entered Sophomore, were never absent during that year, and never since but from unavoidable necessity.

        Messrs. Gill and Roberts entered Junior; the former was not absent during the Junior year, and not during the Senior year after his return on the third day of the first term; the latter never absent when in his power to attend.

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        The next most punctual are Messrs. Badgett, Ballard, Bustin, Coffin, Croom, Daniel, Dixon, Eure, Ferguson, Fleming, Gatling, Gaines, Nixon, Riddick, Rogers, J. Somerville, Walton, and Withers. Mr. Withers was not absent during the Freshman and Sophomore years, rarely during the remaining two years, and then for valid reasons.

        The JUNIOR CLASS consists of 87 members, extending from Mr. R. B. Adams to Mr. W. A. Wooster, inclusive. Upon examination they were all approved, with the exception of seven in Chemistry, and one in the Bible.

        The First Distinction is assigned to Messrs. Pool, Royster, Strong, Wilson, and Wooster.

        The Second to Messrs. Battle, Bond, Brooks, Bryan, Cooper, Daniel, Fain, Franklin, Hale, Headen, Kelly, King, Rial, Scales and Weir.

        The Third to Messrs. Anderson, Borden, Fogle, Graham, Harden, E. S. Martin, and Thorpe.

        Messrs. Oglesby and Plummer were absent from the examination; the former on account of sickness, the latter by permission.


        Seven members of this Class, viz: Messrs. Barbee, Battle, R. E. Cooper, Kelly, Mimms, Strong, and Thorpe have been absent from no duty during the year, and three of them, viz: Messrs, Battle, Kelly and Thorpe, have been entirely punctual during three years. Mr. W. T. Nicholson, has been four times absent from morning prayers and twice from recitation during three years.

        The next most punctual upon the roll are Messrs. Baird, Barrett, Bond, Borden, Brooks, Cherry, Daniel, Fain, Fogle, Pool, Rial, Royster and Wilson.

        Mr. Franklin joined Junior half advanced and has not been absent during the term.

        The SOPHOMORE CLASS consists of 98 members, extending from W. L. Alford to G. M. Yancey. Upon examination they were all approved, with the exception of four in Mathematics.

        The First Distinction was assigned to Messrs. Allen, R. S. Clark, Morehead, Stedman and E. E. Wright.

        The Second to Messrs. Dowd, Hobson, W. H. Johnston, Knight, Murphy, Simmons, Stewart and Yancey.

        The Third to Messrs. Butts, Currie, W. E. Davis, Dobbin, Foy, Lee, Lightfoot, Marshall, Parks and Ross.

        Messrs. A. T. Bowie, Cody, Conrad, Davidson, T. H. Haughton, Jiggitts, J. P. Parker, E. S. Shorter, D. P. Smith, J. C. Thompson, Van Wyck and Ware were absent from the examination; Mr. Coffin from that on written Mathematics; and Messrs. S. H. Taylor and Walker from that on oral Mathematics; Messrs. Everett, Pugh, Routh and S. Taylor were absent from the examination on Latin.


        Thirteen Sophomores, viz: Messrs. Butts, R. S. Clark, Davis, W. Davis, Dobbin, Foy, Halliburton, Lee, Murphy, J. Parker, Parks, Stedman and

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Stewart have not been absent during the present year; and four of these, viz: Messrs. Lee, Murphy, J. Parker and Stedman have been perfectly punctual during two years.

        The next most punctual were Messrs. Brodie, Bullock, Currie, Edmondson, Harris, Hicks, Jenkins, Johnston, Knight, Morehead, Simmons, Taylor, J. C. Thompson, Wesson and Wright.

        Messrs. Hunt and J. Hunt have not been absent during the present session.

        The FRESHMAN CLASS consists of 88 members, extending from S. J. Andrews to L. P. Wheat, inclusive. Upon examination they were all approved, with the exception of one in Latin and Greek; one in Greek and Mathematics; two in Greek and three in Mathematics.

        The First Distinction was assigned to Messrs. Gaines, Hassell, Hinsdale, Patterson and Webb.

        The second to Messrs. Andrews, Bellamy, Cameron, Douglas, Fletcher, McIver, J. E. Moore, T. W. Taylor and Thompson.

        The Third to Messrs. Armistead, Armstrong, Baldwin, Bason, Biggs, Russell, Skinner, Staton, S. W. Smith, Varner and Walker.

        Messrs. Barnes, Cherry, Hardeman and McCotter, were absent from the examination on Algebra and Geometry; and Messrs. Bond, Hall, and Sutton from that on Geometry.


        Ten members of this Class, viz: Messrs. Andrews, Battle, Douglas, Fetter, Hassell, Parker, J. Parker, Patterson, Polk and M. Russell have been absent from no duty during the present year. Mr. Wheat did not return at the beginning of the second term until the close of the fourth day; with this exception, he has been punctual during the year. Mr. Hardly was absent four times from prayers, once from recitation, and three times from Divine worship. Mr. W. J. Smith has not been absent from any duty during the present term.



The Degree of MASTER OF ARTS in regular course is conferred upon--

William F. Alderman, Goldsboro',Daniel McDougald, Harnett,
William Bingham, Orange,Rory McNair, Carthage,
Henry R. Bryan, Raleigh,Dougald McNair,
Bryan Croom, Montgomery, Ala.A. Haywood Merritt, Chatham,
Clement Dowd, Carthage,E. Graham Morrow, Chapel Hill,
John E. Dugger, Warrenton,Thomas J. Robinson,
John W. Graham, Chapel Hill,Samuel P. Smith, Charlotte,
John W. Graves, Caswell,Robert H. Tate, New Hanover,
Robert T. Hall, Wadesboro',John T. Taylor, Granville,
Thomas C. Hall, Anson,Wm. L. Treadwell, Memphis, Tenn.,
J. B. Killebrew, Tennessee,Rev. J. Cooper Waddell, Selma, Ala.,
Adolphus A. Lawrence, Iredell,Stuart White, M. D., New York,
William J. Love, Wilmington,Forney George, Columbus, N. C.,
Robert R. Johnston, Asheville,William J. Saunders, Raleigh,
J. B. Batchelor, Warrenton. 

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        The Honorary Degree of A. M. is conferred upon Robert R. Heath, of Edenton.

        The Degree of Batchelor of Science is conferred upon H. K. Burgwyn, R. E. Lester, G. W. Goza, R. C. Martin, Jr., William Simms and R. N. Simms.

        The Honorary Degree of LL. D. is conferred upon his Excellency James Buchanan, President of the United States of North America.

        The Honorary Degree of LL. D. is conferred upon Hon. Mitchell King, of Charleston, S. C., and of D. D. upon Rt. Rev. Bishop Otey. of Tennessee.

        The exercises of the Graduating Class closed with the Valedictory by Mr. George Burgwyn Johnston, of Edenton. The Valedictorian performed his part in an earnest and touching manner. He seemed to fully comprehend the meaning of the words, "Farewell, Farewell," as he addressed them to his late instructors, his fellow-students, and at last to his beloved classmates.

        Prof. Hubbard then pronounced the Benediction, and the Graduates passed from the Chapel never again to enter it as students. May their way through life be unclouded by storm and unalloyed by bitterness.

        At night the Grand Ball of the season came off. It was completely successful, and reflects great credit upon Messrs. John R. Bowie, P. M. Butler, Wm. A. Cherry, Horace Ferrand and John W. Mebane, who had been elected Ball Managers during the past session. The Supper, the good order which characterized the occasion, and the accommodating spirit of the Managers, plainly show that the students made no mistake when they selected these gentlemen.

        We cannot close this account without thanking the Marshals, as far as we are concerned, for the dignity with which they presided, the exact manner in which they conducted the Processions, and the marked order which they preserved in the Chapel, notwithstanding its limited dimensions.

        We are sure the Graduating Class of 1859 will never regret having elected Mr. Thomas W. Davis as their Chief Marshal with Messrs. S. B. Alexander, Charles Bruce, Wm. T. Nicholson and Vernon H. Vaughan, for his assistants.

        The Richmond Armony Band, and the Fayetteville Cornet Band, and the Wilmington Light Infantry with which it came, added much to the interest of Commencement.

        Thus ended the Commencement of 1859. May the one of 1860 be such a one.

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