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Title: Elisha Mitchell's Private Notebook, 1818-1847 [Containing Miscellaneous Comments on Mathematics, Musicology, Electricity, Natural Sciences, and History and Personal Accounts and Notes on Readings and Letters Received]: Electronic Edition.
Author: Mitchell, Elisha, 1793-1857
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 Stephanie Adamson
Text encoded by Caitlin R. Donnelly
First Edition, 2007
Size of electronic edition: ca. 24K
Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
2007
© 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:
2007-02-02, Caitlin R. Donnelly finished TEI/XML encoding.
Source(s):
Title of collection: Elisha Mitchell Papers (#518), Southerm Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Author: Elisha Mitchell
Description: 5 pages, 5 page images
Note: Call number 518 (Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
Editorial practices
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Originals are in the Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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Elisha Mitchell's Private Notebook, 1818-1847 [Containing Miscellaneous Comments on Mathematics, Musicology, Electricity, Natural Sciences, and History and Personal Accounts and Notes on Readings and Letters Received]
Mitchell, Elisha, 1793-1857



Page [20]

I disappoint you and must state the reasons. In Mr Breckenridges letter to Mr Plumer is the following passage
Baltimore Illiterate and Irreligious Magazine
Now with regard to the first member of this sentence underscored it is hard to believe that Mr Breckenridge did not know it to be untrue when it was penned as evidences of its untruth may be drawn copiously from his own magazine — from the numbers published within the last three or four months. The latter member he must know to be also untrue. In a contest with a man of this stamp who cares not to ascertain the truth of his assertions ones character although he deal fairly and honourably is never safe and least of all in times of excitement. These are reasons additional to those stated in my note to you which note is intended for publication. Of that note will you please as it stands and return me the manuscript by mail.

To Gov. Swain / Sir. Some of the Trustees will probably be here tomorrow. I am willing to make an effort by a reference to one two or more impartial umpires selected from that body to effect a removal of any unkindness of feeling there may now be between us. And with a view thereto I will state to you beforehand what in my judgment is the source and origin of whatever collision I have had the unhappiness to fall into with the President of the University. I suppose it to be found in the fact of my having been charged with an amount of duty that I have not the ability to perform to your satisfaction. I must go back some years for the purpose of shewing that I have never shrunk from a generous contribution of labour for promoting the welfare of the institution.
I was first professor of Mathematics. I have not as much talent for that science as Mr. Phillips though I do not suppose the difference to be as wide as he imagines,

Page [21]
some reasons for this opinion I might shew if it were important The classes were about as well instructed when I had charge of that department as they are now — certainly they were if there was ground for the statements made by him in your hearing two days ago — "That he should change his plan of instruction — that it was a total failure as it was — that he should talk to them hereafter — that it might not be any better but could not be any worse)
I heard regularly 12 recitations pr week, viz ten in the mathematics — one in language and composition alternately, and one on the sabbath. According to the present mode of reckoning Mr Phillips with his sixteen seems I mention him because his unrecovered is the greatest to do more but the reckoning is deceptive. There are but eight in fact to be prepared and they are extended through two hours each — and this this is a small affair — I care very little when the lesson is ready whether I hear it through one hour or two. Mine were distinct recitations 12 in number and equivalent to at least eighteen of the kind which it is now regarded as just and proper to count. My work was more than was done at present by any Professor myself excepted connected with the institution. This state of things continued for some years, and I made little if any complaint (I also preached one sermon pr Month)
Mr Olmsted in the mean time confined himself to his own department three lectures per week said that the amount of labour performed by him in experimenting or preparing for it was underrated, that he would not step into any other department though ready to do more if required in his own.
You found me here engaged with chemistry, preaching and doing other things. It was thought expedient that I should officiate at evening prayers in the Chapel, and I fell into the plan which connected as there is with it an attendance every night on speaking involves a contribution of some half an hour on an average every night (perhaps not quite that.) to the college exercises.
The bursarship was next given me — It seems to have grown

Page [22]
in favour with parents and guardians the amount of business having gone on increasing untill it now amounts to some 12000 dollars pr session. — The little accounts I have to look into and arrange are very numerous. A student locates himself at a boarding house, gets tired of the place and goes to another without giving me any warning or taking account of the time, gets tired of that also and goes to a third. All these duties I have to hunt up to ascertain the money due and pay it over, unrecovered labour is double transcription of the accounts at the end of the session.
The preaching half the time is what is considered is sufficint for half the labour and thought — espicially the kind of adience I have to deal with being considered.
There are besides these my sunday recitations and those of one half day in the week on which the Faculty are willing to impose the most laborious of all the duties we have to perform that of the compositions. You recollect that when we were apportioning the duties of the year in August last the enquiry was made who will have the compositions — I had complained of being burthened with them the year before there was no answer. You then enquired of me would I have them. I told you

To Gov. Swain , Sir. Some of the trustees are expected to morrow. It is desirable that cordiality of feeling should exist between us if we are to be associated even for another session. What say you to referring the matters on which we differ to two of them to consider and advise — I suppose any collision into which it has been my unhappiness to have fallen with the President of the University to have had its origin simply in the fact of my having been charged with an amount of duty which I should never have been asked to perform. The whole history of my connexion of my connexion with the institution would shew if it can be known that I have been ready and willing to work to the extent of my ability and without complaint.
True and I shall not fly my engagement — but under what circumstances. You and I — Here my error lay — not telling you the amount labour prescribed to me was unrecovered — and that I would not undertake to

Page [23]
My duties now are
    1. Those of Professor of Chemistry Mineralogy and Geology — all according to Mr. Olmsted that I ought to perform in order to be entitled to draw as high a salary as any one
    2. Attendance on prayers and officiating those as chaplain on every evening in the week and to declamation on five evenings after the prayers are over
    3. The Bursarship involving the receiving and disbursing 12000 dollars pr session and keeping and [unrecovered] accounts of the same.
    4. Preaching twice every other sunday — [unrecovered] — enough in itself to employ half the time and thoughts of many men.
    5. Recitation on sunday and on one half day in the week to which half day the compositions of the sophomore class are reformed reformed as a matter of necessity because no other member of the Faculty will have them.
    6. The charge of the college when the president is away and more care than devolves upon any other professor in repressing disorders in consequence of my proximity to the college buildings.
I have had experience in teaching the mathematics, Greek Latin Rhetorics and history in this University — have taught them all for months in a decent and satisfactory manner at least if not well and it is my belief that my duties are at this time twice as onerous as those of any other professor in the college
But I undertook to perform all this — my name is subscribed along with those of the rest to those articles of agreement by which this apportionment of duties was made. True and I am not going to fly from any any contract into which I have entered. But what were the circumstances you had been to Raleigh and brought back a scheme of duty and remuneration for the faculty to [unrecovered] consent to. I was disappointed by it, felt it to be oppressive at the time — and told it was as much as I

Page [24]
could stand under. I hoped and expected that in the transaction of our Faculty business — the extremely burthensome character of the duties imposed upon me would not be forgotten.
When
perform it. some of the Faculty did not relish but in my earnestness to secure what was supposed to tend advancement of the welfare of the institution and accord your views I gave in my [unrecovered] trusting to your dealing greatly with me if I should find myself unable to accomplish every thing perfectly. From, a remark that fell from you that —"I had the best [unrecovered] in the institution"— you seem not to have thought upon the matter. It would be if I had nothing to attend to but the duties of my professorship — it is not now so far from it that it was better for me to be reduced back to my former. If you think so, let a third and fourth person come in and judge between us. If it is as you suppose I shall yield immediately the whole question — and say that I ought to have been at the meeting of the Faculty before the time or to have submitted pateintly to your rebuke — I ought to have attended to all the matters you complained of as having been neglected by me last vacation — but if on the other hand you have bonded me with a quantity of work which I cannot get through with without laboring the whole vacation unrecovered the matters are materially changed — I am right and you are wrong.