Wednesday, July 11, 2018

William T. Sherman to George Mason Graham, November 21, 1859

Seminary Of Learning, Alexandria, Nov. 21, 1859.

Dear General: . . . The entire article you call Mr. Boyce's1 was written by me rather hastily, and has some typographical errors which I will take the liberty to correct, though I wrote it rather to give Mr. B. the substance of an article from himself, but he inserted it without change, making it rather meagre and curt. Still what we need is publicity as soon as possible. I think all the appointments should be made absolutely and finally by say December 10, that we may know the number of books and articles absolutely requisite by that date. By that time we can know exactly what may be procured here and what of necessity must come from New Orleans.

I will keep a note of my ferriages, which I prefer, as it is unsafe to trust the account of the ferryman. If the Board think I am entitled to my salary from November 1 then I would not ask renumeration, but if all salaries are by law, or propriety, fixed for January 1, then I would ask simply reimbursement of actual outlays, to which end I will keep a note of my expenses.

I have been to see Mr. Manning, Dr. Smith, Mr. Ryan, and Henarie2 several times and will renew my visits and on all proper occasions will touch on the points suggested. If we have, say one hundred at the start it might be well to open with a speech say from Mr. Manning himself, and if Governor Moore could also be present, it would have a good effect and convince these gentlemen that we want the development of as much literary talent as possible.

For my part I am willing that as much time may be given to literary pursuits as the Board of Supervisors may prefer. It will in no wise interfere with the military rule. Only what mathematical studies we do undertake let us make them thorough and not superficial. I have a couple of letters, one from Major Barnard, a very distinguished scholar and major of engineers, written in a very bad hand, which I send with this, for you to decipher if possible. I enclose also for your perusal one from Gilmore and Bragg.

I have had such absolute control of business for some years, that I find myself running off with the bit in my teeth. I ask you as a friend to check me if you see me usurping the province of the directory.

1 Boyce was editor of the Red River American.— Ed.
2 Members of the Board of Supervisors. — Ed.

SOURCES: The article is abstracted in Walter L. Fleming’s, General W.T. Sherman as College President, p. 58-9

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