Social Life 465
were from wealthier homes yet they came to the College with full
knowledge of the strict discipline enforced there and usually with the
purpose to conform to it. On the other hand the sons of the older and
more aristocratic families and of the wealthy were so numerous at the
State institutions that they dominated and gave tone and color to the
ideals and life of the students. They were extravagant rather than
frugal and often thought more of having a good time than of their
studies. Such was believed to be the condition of the affairs at the
University of North Carolina, where laxity of discipline increased
year by year after the death of President Joseph Caldwell in January,
1835. With reference to the character of the life of students in State
Colleges of the South, but doubtless with the University of North
Carolina in mind, a writer, in the Biblical Recorder of July 12, 1855,
over the signature of "Philomathes"15 said:
Denominational, or sectarian colleges as they are generally called, I will not say
give a cheaper and better education, though I cannot see why it may not be said. I
will say that they offer, from the circumstances attending them, a cheaper education.
These circumstances are not intended to include tuition and board, for in these they
may generally be the same; but they arise from the class of men who throng, and
will forever throng our State Colleges. Here are collected from every distinction of
sect or political party the sons of our great men, who are generally so free with their
fathers' purses (as much so as with their reputation), and the sons, worse still, of our
overgrown rich men-these having little to do in any of the ordinary drudgeries of
life, and their fathers having reputation or money enough to last some two or three
generations of spoiled and petted children, conclude to spend their time as becomes
their birth or wealth; and then follows upon these wise deductions a round of wild,
reckless extravagance, that one would scarcely believe, were he not an eye wit-
15 "Philomathes" was probably Thomas H. Pritchard, who belonged to the
Philomathesian Society and had graduated at the College in 1854 and in 1854-55
was the College agent. Over his own name in the Biblical Recorder of March 29,
1855, he had made vigorous and able reply to an attack in the University of North
Carolina Magazine for December, 1854. Later "Philomathes" had a series of five
articles in the Biblical Recorder of July 12, 19, 26, and August 2, 9, 1855, which
had the title, "The Comparative Advantages of Denominational and State Colleges
Reviewed." They reveal a writer of much ability and controversial power and also
of manifest fairness.
Previous Page Next Page