Introductory 13
special ballroom, and that balls greatly promote gentility and
enhance the splendors of our
The type of self-
sufficient society dandy that could formulate such a petition would
hardly have been a fit companion for a Baptist ministerial
In addition to this the stories noised abroad of the pranks and
excesses of the early University students were not such as would
have won respect for the institution as a place to develop the sturdier
virtues. The students were frequently insubordinate. In 1824 two
students, "loading themselves with whiskey in the village grog-
shop" armed one with a club and the other with a pistol, "sallied
forth for the purpose of attacking the persons of different members
of the faculty and committed `violent outrages' on two of the persons
At some periods old and young alike swore like sailors
with every breath. Drinking was common and once the entire senior
class got drunk. The prevalence of keeping game-cocks required a
regulation of the Trustees to prohibit it. With the reputation that
such things must have brought, it is no wonder that the University
was regarded with mistrust among the more serious and religious.
How even a man with the firm religious purpose and courage of
President Caldwell ever brought the University through the
Battle, History of the University of North Carolina, I, 349.
15 Dr. Battle, Ibid., 268, quotes a paragraph from the autobiography of General
Edward J. Mallett of New York, which gives an amusing picture of the dandies of
the University of his day: "The style of costume," said General Mallett, "and even
the manners of the present generation are not, in my opinion, an improvement on a
half century ago. The managers would not then admit a gentleman into the ball
room with boots, or even a frock coat; and to dance without gloves was simply
vulgar. At the Commencement Ball (when I graduated, 1818), my coat was
broadcloth, of sea green color, high velvet collar to match, swallow-tail, pockets
outside with lapels, and large silver-plated buttons; white satin damask vest,
showing the edge of a blue undervest, a wide opening for bosom ruffles, and no
shirt collar. The neck was dressed with a layer of four of five three-cornered
cravats, artistically laid and surmounted with a cambric stock, pleated and buckled
behind. My pantaloons were white canton crepe, lined with pink muslin, and
showed a peach-blossom tint. They were rather short in order to display flesh-
colored silk stockings, and this exposure was increased by very low-cut pumps
with shiny buckles. My hair was very black, very long and queued."
16 Ibid., 298.
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