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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 49.djvu/788

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Ashe, Hugh Williamson, and John Hay. The course planned by this committee in 1792 gave great prominence to the scientific studies, especially those which could be applied to the arts. The PSM V49 D788 Joseph Caldwell.jpgJoseph Caldwell.
From the collection of lion. Kemp
P. Battle.
report further recommended the purchase of apparatus for experimental philosophy and astronomy, in which must be included a set of globes, barometer, thermometer, microscope, telescope, quadrant, prismatic glass, electrical machine, and an air-pump. The ancient classics were made elective, the degree of Bachelor of Arts being obtainable without the study of either Latin or Greek. In 1800, however, Latin was made a required study, and an election allowed between French and Greek; and in 1804 Greek was added to the required studies. It is remarkable that this scheme, adopted in 1792, is almost identical with that adopted by Congress for the colleges to be formed under what is known as the Agricultural and Mechanical College Land Act of 1862. But its interest for us to-day lies in the fact that it led to the establishment of the first astronomical observatory in the United States, to the first geological survey by public authority in America, and to the first equipment for the teaching of electricity.

The men chosen by the trustees to begin this work were David Ker, a graduate of Trinity College, Dublin; Charles W. Harriss, a Princeton man of the class of 1789, Professor of Mathematics; and Samuel A. Holmes, also an alumnus of Princeton. Mr, Harriss was succeeded in his professorship by Joseph Caldwell, Princeton, 1791, who was a tutor at Princeton at the time of his appointment to the professorship in North Carolina.

To Dr. Caldwell we owe the realization of the hopes of the original committee, the ultimate establishment of the observatory, the geological survey, and the electrical laboratory. A letter written by Prof. Harriss from Chapel Hill, April 10, 1795, shows something of the spirit which Dr. Caldwell was to find in the young university. In it this Princeton man says: "The constitution of this college is on a more liberal plan than that of any other in America, and by the amendments which I think it will receive at the next meeting of the trustees its usefulness will