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Title: Letter from Charles Manly to David L. Swain, October 4, 1856: Electronic Edition.
Author: Manly, Charles, 1795-1871
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. 20K
Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina

No Copyright in US

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:
2005-08-02, Brian Dietz finished TEI/XML encoding.
Title of collection: David L. Swain Papers (#706), Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Title of document: Letter from Charles Manly to David L. Swain, October 4, 1856
Author: Charles Manly
Description: 8 pages, 9 page images
Note: Call number 706 (Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
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Letter from Charles Manly to David L. Swain , October 4, 1856
Manly, Charles, 1795-1871

Page 1

Raleigh Oct. 4/56

My Dear Gov,

After stating that I send you enclosed a Copy of the Proceedings of the Executive Committee, had today & a Copy of Monsr Herrisse's Bill of Indictment against the Faculty, & an expression of my opinion that when the Prisoners shall have made their defence that the "Informer & Prosecutor will be ordered to pay the costs" & be without a day in Court.
The residue of this epistle is strictly private & confidential.
The political essay of Profr Hedrick which appeared in the Standard yesterday has given great pain to the Trustees & Friends of the University. No apology nor justification has been heard in his defence. At the meeting of the Executive Com. today a resolution was offered requesting him to resign & in case of refusal to dismiss him peremptorily.

Page 2
But other counsels prevailed. The opinions & advise of other Trustees here, not members of the Committee, were heard, the resolution was withdrawn & it was finally agreed unanimously that you shall be requested to use your influence in persuading him to resign. Indeed, I was requested to go up to the Hill & to cooperate with you in bringing about this result. But my health is bad, I have little acquaintance with Mr. Hedrick & I can't see what I could do by going.
If he has any sensibility or proper self respect an intimation that it is the wish of the Trustees that he shall resign will be sufficient; but if he wishes to be dismissed; that he may fly to Yankeedom as the great Proscribed; & find refuge in the bosom of Black Republicans with the blood of martyrdom streaming from his skirts, then he will not resign but will wait to be kicked out. I hope therefore that you will put on your Diplomatic Cap & manage this thing right.

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If it were not so painful for me to sit up long & write, I would give you a full page on the utter want of tact, good taste, prudence, & common sense in Hedrick's writing & publishing such an essay on the eve of a heated political campaign.
He is without excuse & is bound to go overboard, but the thing is to do this with the least damage to him & with the least noise & damage to the Institution.
Let me hear from you soon upon this subject.

Faithfully your friend,

Charles Manly

Page 4

Raleigh October 4th 1856
Executive Committee met.
A memorial from Mons Herrisse , Instructor in French, complaining of the disorderly conduct of one of the Students to him & also of the proceedings of the Faculty in relation thereto, was laid before the Committee & thereupon
That the Secretary furnish the Faculty through President Swain , with a copy of said memorials; & that the President be requested to cause, to be laid before this Committee, as early as convenient, a full copy of the Journal or proceedings of the Faculty had in relation to the complaint of Mons Herrisse .
The Report of the Committee appointed at the last meeting in relation to the burning of the Belfry was read &
That the President of the University be requested to lay before the Solicitor of the Fourth Judicial Circuit all the information in his possession as to the burning of the Belfry with the request of this Committee that the Solicitor cause the case to be judicially investigated & the guilty persons indicted & that the Secretary return to the President the papers & statements of the several members of the Faculty& Students heretofore made upon that subject.

Page 5
The reply of the Faculty to the Resolutions of the Committee adopted at the last meeting was read & ordered to be filed.
Committee adjourned.

Page 6
To the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees of the University of North Carolina


It is a difficult matter at all times, to command the attention & respect of a large class of College Students; but when the discipline is lax & impunity an occurrence of every day life, the task of the instructor becomes altogether impossible. If to his manifold tribulations, we add, a disposition on the part of his colleagues to drive him to a resignation, or if such a belief is current among the Students, a due sense of self-respect makes it incumbent on him to apply for redress, to those, to whom the individual welfare of the members of the Faculty is intrusted.
Without referring to the difficulties, which of late have been a cause of great annoyance and mortification to me, I shall limit myself, to the case, which today, & for the last time brings me before you.
Mr William Whitaker of the Junior Class had often been guilty of disorder, and impropriety in my recitation room. I was at last compelled to resort to stringent measures, and on the 4th of October last, summoned him to appear before the Faculty. There, in the presence of all the officers of the Institution, he grossly insulted me. An explanation was demanded of him; & here are almost the very words of his communication:
"I have been told by Dr Mitchell , that if I do not retract what I said yesterday, I shall be dismissed. I therefore retract."
Strange as it may appear to those who are not familiar with the proceedings of this Faculty, such a letter was accepted.
A few weeks afterwards, Mr Whitaker's improprieties

Page 7
of conduct became again so intolerable, that I had to reiterate my summons.
Mr Whitaker was heard, & the Faculty decided that if he ever was guilty of such an offence again, he would be dismissed.
He kept on! The whole section became very difficult to manage; several members of the same class had to be admonished for disobedience to me, but finding that I could no longer command the respect of the Students if Mr Whitaker's conduct was tolerated, I ordered him to come before the Faculty.
No notice was taken of the determination of the 13th of November, although it was of record and stood unrepealed. "A motion was made to dismiss him," says the journal, "in consideration of his repeated offences of this description," and it was laid on the table with the special warning, that if he ever was guilty of the same impropriety of deportment, he would be removed from the Institution. This was also recorded.
With due respect, I ask, whether this was not carrying forbearance to the extreme, & if perchance I submitted once more to such a course, I had not the right to expect that Mr Whitaker should be made to treat me with the respect due to a gentleman and a teacher, & if he failed to do so, that the Faculty was in duty bound to remove him? Knowing, however, how much I had at stake, & how precarious were my hopes of redress, I took pains to avoid all further collisions with Mr Whitaker.
Today, when called to recited, he replies in a very impertinent manner, refuses to comply, & by mimicking my imperfect pronunciation of English, throws the whole class into a violent & protracted fit of laughter. In accordance with the regulations of the University which

Page 8
say (Chapt 1 V. 6) that "for gross & persevering violation of the rules of decorum, the Student may be forthwith dismissed when the instructor shall deem it necessary."
I quietly tell Mr Whitaker to retire; he ridicules me again, & peremptorily refuses to obey. Incensed by his language & demeanor, I reiterate my summons, adding by way of threat, that if he does not leave the room, one of us two shall have to leave the Institution. "Then it will be you" says he, and he sinks back into his seat.
Six members of the Faculty voted that Mr Whitaker be dismissed, five against it, & were joined by Gov. Swain , which caused the motion to be lost. After the vote had been taken & result ascertained, the President, little willing, as I imagine, to bear the responsibility of such an unjust measure, found that the motion was out of order. Dr Phillips was then instructed to see Mr Whitaker's parents; and this, in the very face of his repeated offences, & of the two recorded resolutions of the Faculty, is the only punishment, which is to be inflicted on him!

P. S.

Sept. 27th 1856
Mrs Whitaker having asked time to write to her husband, in reply to Dr Phillips's remarks, & an answer having been received; the letter was read, & as Mr Whitaker showed no disposition whatever to withdraw his son from College, the vote was again taken whether he should be dismissed. The motion was lost by a majority of one, & none substituted in its place. The intention of this vote is so manifest, that I shall abstain from all comments. I can only add that thereby, I am left powerless, to meet two hundred & thirty Students.
In the hope & sincere belief that justice will done me, I appeal to your well known impartiality. I am, Gentlemen, with great respect, your obedient servant,

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