Public Exercises 585
that instance of personal violence which has shaken the feelings of this nation from
the centre to the circumference. I know I am treading on dangerous ground because
I venture upon a collision with sectional and party spirit. But that noble sentiment of
Churchill which long ago won my admiration, I trust will ever animate me:
Rather stand up, assured with conscious pride
Alone, than err with millions on your side.
The assault on the Senator of the United States while sitting at his desk in the
Senate House, defenseless and unsuspecting, and the pouring down upon his naked
head a shower of violent blows with a cane, until he was felled down, in a senseless
condition, was an act so outrageous, that it ought to find no apologist, no extenuator.
It has increased to an incalculable degree the strength and fury of abolitionism. It
has injured the character of the Southern States, first, as being perpetuated by one of
their representatives, and then as tempting all the South to vindicate and even to
applaud an act which has tarnished the glory of republican government to the
utmost boundaries of civilization. I fear that we have not seen the end of this
transaction. 20
Solomon Sampson Satchwell, a student of the College from
Beaufort County in the years 1839-41, who had become a practicing
physician at Rocky Point, New Hanover (now Pender) County, was
the speaker before the Societies at the Commencement of 1858. In his
address he exhibited those talents which later were to bring him into
prominence in war and peace, in matters connected with his
profession as is told of elsewhere in this work.
His speech was long, requiring more than two hours for its delivery,
but it was listened to with rapt attention by an audience that crowded
the college chapel to the utmost, since he discussed themes in which
his hearers had a consuming interest. The editor of the Biblical
Recorder declared that "many of his aphorisms were worthy of being
written in letters of gold." The title of his address was "The Influence
of Material Agents in Developing Man." In the introductory part of
his speech he made some references to the College which have a
historic interest:
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