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Title: Letter from William Bagley to D. W. Bagley, April 27, 1844: Electronic Edition.
Author: Bagley, William, fl. 1842-1850
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. 18K
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:
2005-10-19, Brian Dietz finished TEI/XML encoding.
Source(s):
Title of collection: William Bagley Letter Books (#863-z), Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Title of document: Letter from William Bagley to D. W. Bagley, April 27, 1844
Author: [William Bagley]
Description: 6 pages, 6 page images
Note: Call number 863-z (Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
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Letter from William Bagley to D. W. Bagley, April 27, 1844
Bagley, William, fl. 1842-1850



Page 134
Chapel Hill Apr 27, 1844

My Dear Pa

Your kind favor of 20th instant has been recd

Page 135
and I hasten to reply to it. I was much delighted to hear from you & to learn that the family were all well & that every thing went on smoothly, but I was truly sorry to hear that our little Republic was broken up & that anarchy & discord had usurped the place of reason & good government & that not even the president herself makes her appearance in the breakfast room until 8. o clock. I am inclined to think her subjects will have to rise earlier than that if they go to Greensborough, why, I have to go to recitation at seven o clock every morning except Saturday, Sunday & Monday & have to get up about five & attend prayers. Col Biggs, you say, wishes to attend our Commencement & urges you to accompany him, I would be very happy to see you indeed & you might put off bringing the girls up until that time, though the session at Greensborough commences the 23rd of next month & our Commencement is on the 6th of June, they would therefore lose only two or three weeks which I suppose would not make much difference. If you do come it would be well to be here about the 3rd as we have speaking &c nearly the whole week. On Tuesday night the competitors of the Freshman class speak & on Wednesday night the Sophomores. The oration also which is to be delivered before the two societies will be done on Wednesday afternoon. Mr. Jas. B. Shepard , by the appointment of our society, is chosen as the orator on that occasion and on Thursday, the seniors graduate & distinctions are conferred &c so I think it would be just as well to lose those three weeks as not for the sake of attending our Commencement. I hope you don't indulge the least idea of not bringing the little ones to Greensborough for I am fully confident they will have advantages there which they possibly can not have at Williamston. The society into which they would be thrown would be worth all that it would cost you I expect for

Page 136
if I am not mistaken the very best of society is to be found there, I mean among the instructors and young ladies. I have understood that the society of the place is not very good though Governor Morehead's and several other families of respectability reside there.
You do not seem to be determined as to my graduating & ask me what I would rather do — really that is rather a hard question to answer. I desire to be a graduate very much but I dont like the idea of staying here so long for many reasons which I will endeavor to show you, not that I desire to return to Williamston for the more I stay away from the place the less inclined I am to go back to it for I am persuaded that if the family were away from there I should not return soon if ever, & if it were in my power to persuade you to leave I should certainly do it & you know my reasons for we talked it over in the vacation — but to return to my subject. This place is filled up mostly by those of the lower classes — infact there are very few decent families in the place, & I understand the faculty dont encourage decent persons to come here to reside at all, thus the poor student is destined to grope his way along through the drudgeries of a session without the encouragement of the smiles of the ladies, the dear idols of his heart & you know from experience that they tend to soothe the cares and troubles of those who are in distress & to urge them on to greater accomplishments, and I think the faculty are disposed to be tyrannical — they wish to impose duties on the student that he cant, without considerable exertion, accomplish, and give him scarcely no respite whatever. On account of these things there is an almost continual warfare kept up between the faculty & students now for instance, the other night, Deems went to some fellow's room

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& they locked them both up in there & threw stones in at the windows, broke the lights, & kept him there until one of the Tutors, aroused by the disturbance, went & turned him out. He (Deems ) is in the habit of going around to the rooms while the classes are at recitation & by this means has rendered himself very unpopular & he is accused of searching their drawers &c that he may find translations or anything else that they may have here contrary to the rules of College which I think is decidedly wrong. The rowdyism and low dissipation of the students is still another objection whose highest ambition seems to be, to be expert in shuffling cards, turning off a dose of liquor, or engaging in any low revelry — most of them also are small, — mere boys who ought not to have come here until they were two or three years older. My religion also would stand a severe test as there is very little opportunity for cultivating pious emotions & numberless avenues to sin & degradation through which I could be let on from one degree to another until I should be finally plunged into the whirlpool of shame & disgrace. Taking all these things into consideration I would rather not graduate here, but if you desire it, I will forego any pleasure or make any sacrifice to gratify your wishes. I am aware that the better astronomer, Mathematician, surveyor, or navigator I am the better qualified I will be to enter upon the duties that may devolve upon me but here the theories of those subjects are merely taught which, with the exception of surveying, cant be applied to practice & there is very little surveying or navigation taught. I had a conversation the other day with the Tutor of Mathematics who said that the navigation taught here was not of that kind used by seamen — that the principles only could

Page 138
be understood, & I grant that the better the linguist I am the more able I will be to negotiate, sell, buy or entertain in a foreign land but with the exception of French, there is not a single Modern language taught here, consequently I should be as badly prepared to deal with foreign nations as I was before I came though My Dear Pa, I leave it all for you to decide. I am willing to abide by your judgment, for I am well aware that you know what is best for me. You say had I better not travel rather than return home, it is the very thing I should like to do, if it did not cost so much, but my expenses last summer were about thirty or forty dollars & we were only gone three weeks & I tried to be as frugal as I well could, but we had to pay about a dollar every day besides hiring the vehicle &c, though I do not wish to evince any unwillingness to be governed by your suggestions, still I thought it would be best to give you some information on this subject.
I had the exquisite pleasure of seeing & hearing Mr Clay speak & was much gratified to see the warm enthusiasm with which he was received. I think there were some ten or fifteen thousand persons present. I will forbear telling you of his reception as the papers have been full of it & as I have protracted my letter to a considerable length & am not yet quite through & here let me request you to bear with me for really it seems that when I sit down to write home that I don't know when to quit. Tell Miss Betty that I inquired for the notes of the "Old North State" but they could not be obtained in Raleigh. How do you like the Magazine? Do you think it is a good production for men about twenty? Rob has had an attack of the bilious fever but it was very slight — lasted only about a week having the advantage of an excellent physician.

Page 139
I received a letter from Mr Ellison the other day relative to the account against Mr Collier. I went down to see Mr Collier today & he says that according to his account, his (Mr Ellisons) boys work amounted to 57.20, sixteen of which have been paid to Mr Demile, the person from whom the boy was hired, by his employer, Mr Cosby, as Mr Cosby has charged him, but he says he may be mistaken for he was taken sick about that time & Mr Ellison's boy may have worked for him after that & he says he shall see Mr Cosby (in all probability) in a few days from whom he will learn the particulars & if he does not satisfy him that his account is correct that he will pay Mr Ellison's account which is $64 but says he must indulge him at least for a part unless Mr Cosby settles with him. If you have no other opportunity to send up my clothes, you might do it by mail. Rob & Henry have recd. two or three boxes since they have been here by mail, though I would rather a waggoner would bring them up as they would probably be safer. A fur hat is the kind that I want. I must now close, not however without wishing you & yours all the prosperity that Heaven can bestow. My most affectionate love to all the family & relations & Mr Matthews & Mrs Henderson & family. Ed sends his best respects to the family. What has been done with Long? Remember to write. Smack little Helen for Bud.

Yours affectionately

D.W. Bagley

Williamston N. C.