Sunday, January 6, 2019

William T. Sherman to Ellen Ewing Sherman, January 4, 1860

Seminary, Jan. 4, 1860.

. . . Since my last I have been pretty busy. Last week was very cold and stormy. The snow fell one night to depth of five inches and lay all next day. On New Years however it cleared off and was bright. Monday was our opening day - was bright cold and clear. All the professors were on hand and nineteen cadets made their appearance. Since then four more. Today we begin reciting in mathematics and French. Tomorrow mathematics and Latin. These studies and drilling will occupy this year till June. There are sixteen state appointments and forty-three by the Board — fifty-nine in all, so that there are about thirty-six to come yet. Not punctual, according to southern fashsion, but partly occasioned by the severe weather of last week which has interrupted travel.

If I were to tell you of the thousand and one little things that stand in the way of doing things here you would be amused. As a sample, in New Orleans I could not find the French grammars wanted by the professor. I telegraphed to New York and got answer that they would come in time; they reached New Orleans and were sent up this river by boat, but the boat did not land them, and they have gone up to Shreveport and when they will get here we cannot guess.

The Latin professor did not get here until the Saturday before the Seminary opened, and now he has to begin instruction without text books. But I am determined they shall teach, and I cause the young men to be marched to their recitation rooms, where the professors must teach by lecture till we get our books. Even New Orleans is badly supplied with books and we must order everything from New York. Some of the hot-bloods talk of non-intercourse with New York, but that is absurd, everything but cotton and sugar must come from the North.

Professor Boyd is a young man of about twenty-five years, and a very clever gentleman. Indeed on the whole the professors are above mediocrity. The young cadets too are a very clever set of young men. Our messing arrangements are also quite complete, and things work well.

You say that ——— still thinks of coming south. I still am incredulous and shall do or say nothing to commit me till I am sure. Seven thousand five hundred dollars a year secured for two years would be better than the post I now hold, as I do not believe this Seminary without legislative aid can pay us the salaries they have agreed to do. Thus the state has compelled us to receive sixteen cadets without pay. Their board, clothing, books, etc., have to be paid for by the Seminary out of the endowment of $8,100. The actual cost of board, etc., of these sixteen will be near $4,000, leaving about the same amount out of which to pay professors salaries amounting to $12,500, or in other words we shall receive only one-third the pay stipulated for. The pay cadets pay barely enough to support themselves. Everything will depend on the legislature for this year, and the whole matter will be fully submitted to them.

Now that I have fairly got the Seminary started, a great point about which there was much doubt, I shall apply myself to this, to procure legislation that will put the college on safe financial ground. The governor and many members are highly favorable and none thus far has breathed a word against me on John's account. I was in hopes that General Graham would go down to Baton Rouge, but he says he cannot, that he has an antipathy to such business - politics and politicians being obnoxious to him as they are to me. . .

SOURCES: Walter L. Fleming, General W.T. Sherman as College President, p. 100-2

No comments: