Vault Early Papers of the University Box 1 Document 15




The most pleasing phenomenon upon the rising spirit of Southern literary sentiment just now, is that which points directly to the necessity of a Southern University.

Already, the literary sentiment of the South has taken a higher step into writing ; in the first trial of its genius ; and is daily struggling between the higher suggestions of original lierary tasts (indigenous to its fruitful mind), and the sluggish servility of Northern sentiment that is rained upon it in merciless showers, with each evolution of the rotating shafts of the steam-power press.

The prevailing light spirit, of Northern literature is chargeable alone, to the educational system of that division of the Republic, which with its hundreds of schools, colleges and institution[s?] of learning, has failed to establish a single University. But this might be forgiven did [no?]t a more deplorable fact exist in their institutions, and that is, the want of Scholastic Doctors to direct and control them. In all the literary commerce of the Northern States, with every part of the civilized world, the scarces of all their sentimantal commodities in the aggregate, is that of scholarship ; hence it is, that the prevailing passion of the American people becomes manifest for light reading, which is, emphatically,a national misfortune, but not the fault of the masses. This fact reveals, to the thinking mind, the curious result of original and creative genious ; directed into such false and ridiculous channels, arising from an imperfect system of education.

It is not, that this nation is incapable of inventing and establishing an original school of literature, such as the world had never before saw. Under the influences of a free government and independent religious opinion there is no necessity for imitation, and a strict conformity to those nations, which have set up such models as the mind of Doctors invariably lean upon in the absence of scholastic acquirements.

It is for us to speak just now of Divisional, and not of the so-called National sentiment, and of the evidences of a higher reign of literary taste in this division, than that which has been set for its imitation.

In no feature of its whole character is this more striking, than in the knowledge of their first great need of an University--the superstructure, upon which their rising literature is to be built.

To give a cinsistency to the spontaneous growth of genous, like that of Provence in the tenth century--the Savans of the South have wisely determined to establish a Southern University in a central location, which is the very first step taken, in the right direction in this Republic, since its organization of confederative States.

The project is the beginning of a new era in American life and character ; and marks its own epoch in the chronicles of the nineteenth century. Nor is this phenomenon anomalous in comparative history, which has through all time marked the direct on of the current of learning flowing Northward from the South.

It was the University of Alexandria that caused the princes, and philosophers of Persia, Greece, and Asia-Minor, to seek the sunny plains of Egypt, in search of these treasures of knowledge, which were garnered in her scholastic store-house. From this fountain flowed that pure stream of civilization, which fer[tile?] barbaro[u?]s mind of other nations of [?] world, into marvelous refinedment. [?]

[?]terior [gen?]erations[;?] and the young nations of the Pacific coast and the Southern Eldorado will reach forth their golden cups for a draught. The tawny children Anahua[c? e?] will carry its influences into the ancient realm o[f?] the Montezuma[s?], and the sons of the Antilles come hither in quest of knowledge. From this fountain is destined to flow a mighty river of united sentiment which shall find a thousand tributaries ; stretch in from the two great oceans that clasp our territory in their embrace ; and the same philosophical and political axiom[s?] extend, from the banks of the Mississippi to the golden River of the Amazons.

The State Colleges of the South, have proven themselves but feeble auxiliaries to the growth of intellectual pursuit. They have in many instances fallen a prey to the petty quarrels of their Doctors, and have become the theatres of the most disgraceful contention, between Northern fanatical prejudice, and Southern principle. The prevailing feature of Northern Institutions, is fearfully manifest in those of our own-the want of scholastic excellence. The most obvious defects of these system[s?] are the intenerency of professors; and want of perpetuity of the Institutions.

The guardi[a?]ns of the " University of the South," are for the most part perpetuated by that great system which controls the Episcopal Church; and is not likely to va[r?]y, until a revolution shall have changed the polity of that ancient and sublime system of church legislation. The dignity of its Bishopric control is in strict conformity to those of the ancients. The renowned Universities of Seville, Cordova and Palermo [,?] which were the propelling agents of civilization throughout Christendom, were controlled by the learned Hildephonsus and his associate Bishops --and the same system has been adopted by Britain with the most wonderful success.

In all the extended territory of the South[,?] there could not have been a more fit locality than the one seleced for th[is?] Monument of a nation's literary pride--in the wild and pictur -esque district of Tennessee, lying between the inclined walls of sloping hills, which lends an enchantmənt to the object. There Pastoral verse, may weave its rustic witchery, amid the sombre shadows of the mountain sides or reflect the vernal beauties of the mead below. Upon this sublime height will sit the august Oracle which shall tell of the furure of a whole nation--the Parnassus where the inspiratio[n?] comes down in a silvery rain and the gari[sh?] light of pure philosophy shine through its dewy mist,

It will be indentified by all nations as the rallying point of Southern sentiment -- The Bassorius of the New World,whose fire of knowledge, blazing upon a Southern shore, will illumine the young empires of a whole continent. The plastic sentiments of our budding legislators, will be directed into such channels as will venerate and sustain the institutions and polity, which our fathers invented.

With this impregnable fortress of national sentiment, the South will have fashioned for herself a bulwork of mighty power ; behind which, she may laugh at the missiles thrust at her institutions by the engines of her f[oes?] Scholastic dignity will give to citizenship higher claim, and, from the remotest boundari[es?] of her territories, a griendly and united feelin[g?] like the precious ointement on Arron's be[a?] will run down to the skirts of the garments [u? ?ades?] of her pupils.

Last edit almost 2 years ago by amoeba
1 record