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Title: Letter from William Hooper to the Committee of Appointment, January 27, 1834: Electronic Edition.
Author: Hooper, William, 1792-1876
Funding from the University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill supported the electronic publication of this title.
Text transcribed by Bari Helms
Images scanned by Bari Helms
Text encoded by Brian Dietz
First Edition, 2005
Size of electronic edition: ca. 15K
Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
2005
© This work is the property of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It may be used freely by individuals for research, teaching and personal use as long as this statement of availability is included in the text
The electronic edition is a part of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill digital library, Documenting the American South.
Languages used in the text: English
Revision history:
2005-06-29, Brian Dietz finished TEI/XML encoding.
Source(s):
Title of collection: University of North Carolina Papers (#40005), University Archives, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Title of document: Letter from William Hooper to the Committee of Appointment, January 27, 1834
Author: W. Hooper Prof. A. L.
Description: 4 pages, 4 page images
Note: Call number 40005 (University Archives, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
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Letter from William Hooper to the Committee of Appointment, January 27, 1834
Hooper, William, 1792-1876



Page 1
Chapel Hill Jan. 27th 1834
Whereas in all deliberative bodies, a dissenting minority claims the right of a protest against the decision of the majority, and sometimes deem it their duty publickly to express it; and whereas the Faculty of this University, by a late vote, have agreed to recommend to the Committee of appointment the immediate choice of a Professor of Rhetoric and a third Tutor, the Professor of Languages differing from them in opinion feels it due to himself & to the Department over which he presides, to lay before the Committee a full view of the state of classical instruction in this Institution that they may act with a full understanding of the case.
1. The study of the classics, by the decree of the Trustees, is made to occupy two thirds of the time of the Students during the Freshman & Sophomore years; that is, during half the College course.
2. These two classes embrace, almost always, a considerable minority of the whole body of students; the classes uniformly growing thinner during the last two years.
3. Hence appears the importance of having efficient instruction for the two lower classes, since most of those who resort to the University are in those classes.
4. But it is a notorious fact, that the instruction of the Freshman & Sophomore classes has been consigned entirely to Tutors, who are almost always, fresh graduates, without experience, and of scholarship scarcely superior to their pupils. This is not mentioned, to upbraid the Tutors, who are often meritorious young men, but it is not to be expected that the small salary given them will gain the services of any others than graduates at their first setting out, nor that these will retain the station long enough to acquire scholarship or skill in teaching. It is found, in fact, that they very seldom stay more than a year, often only one session; & thus are those devoted classes doomed to a continual transfer from apprentices to still younger apprentices; a species of mental

Page 2
persecution scarcely less deplorable than the bodily calamity which a patient would sustain, if, laboring under some serious disease, he were to be tampered with, every week, by a fresh quack, just discharged from Philadelphia with his new Diploma.
5. The evils of this system are more numerous than can be conceived of by any who have not witnessed them.
In the first place, it is an imposition on the public, who of course expect, that at the University of the State, better instruction will be provided for their sons than what they have at home; whereas it is, in fact, much inferior.
Again the two lower classes, contract, by being in the hands of young tutors, for whom they have very little fear or respect, a looseness of scholarship & manners which has a disastrous effect on their whole college course, & materially interrupts the tranquility of the Institution. Rude conduct about the recitation room & sometimes in the presence of the Tutor is a bad preparation for regular habits in the more advanced part of the course. As to the effects on scholarship, let any experienced teacher say whether it is possible, for a professor to make good scholars out of youths they neglected or mistaught during their noviciate. No: he cannot, & it ought not to be expected or required of him. The Professor of Languages has long seen & deplored the evils of this system; every examination exhibits melancholy proofs of them & he sees no hope of an amendment as long as the present plan is pursued. He fearlessly appeals to every student who has undergone it, whether it is not very little that he has ever learned from the tuition of tutors.
6. If it be asked, why then are tutors so generally employed in our Colleges, it may be replied that it is submitting to a necessary evil. As long as students are collected together in buildings by themselves, there must be some officers to control them, & by these economy requires some of the instruction to be done. But the less instruction that is done by them, & the more that is done by permanent officers, is undoubtedly the best policy.

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Nor is the success of those colleges which employ numerous tutors any recommendation of the system. It is a fact confessed by hundreds of students from the New England Colleges, as we have it on the authority of Prof. Stuart of Andover, that they were more classical scholars when they left college than when they entered it, & this notwithstanding that, the Tutors there employed, are older & more experienced than any we can get.
7. These things being so, it is respectfully submitted to the Trustees, whether something ought not to be done to remedy this crying grievance. Why is all expenditure & all efficient tuition lavished on the two upper classes? Why are classics admitted to such a conspicuous rank in the scheme of education, if any accidental teacher, who may be employed for a year or six months is adequate to instruct in them? According to present arrangements, the two upper classes will have the monopoly of six professors, with the exception that if a Prof. of Rhetoric is appointed, he will give some lessons to the Sophomore Class. The late professorship endowed is an adjunct to the Mathematical Department. Why should not the Classical Department have an adjunct? Altho' it will not be denied that the Professorship of Rhetoric is wanted to complete the establishment, yet the writer of this Protest was once induced to relinquish that station, & accept his present one because the former was not thought indispensable. It is his decided opinion that among the Professors now in existence, the duties of the Professorship of Rhetoric about to be appointed, ought to be assigned to the Department of Languages, either as adjunct in the Latin & Greek or as Prof. of one of those Languages, solely. This is not singular. The writer knows it to be the case in several of the first colleges in the Union.
If the Committee refuse this, they will not at least assign to the new Professor a portion of the classical tuition? If they think that their powers do not reach to a provision against the evil herein complained of, will they bear

Page 4
in mind this statement, to be presented to the Board as soon as an occasion may occur for acting upon it?
The Professor of Languages has now done his duty in letting the Trustees know the wants of his Department. If they will not interpose to remedy the evil, he will feel himself absolved from the responsibility of attempting to make classical scholars at this college, & resign himself to the tranquility of despair. He is now in the decline of life, & of feeble constitution. He hopes it is no presumption to think that his long experience entitles his opinions to some respect & his long services to some assistance in sharing the labor & responsibility of his department.