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Rev. JASPER A DAMS, D. D.,
PRESIDENT OF THE COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA, AND (EI OFFICIO) HORRY
PROFESSOR OF MORAL AND POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY; MEMBER OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY OF
“Nulla enim vitæ pars, neque publicis neque privatis, neque forensibus neque domesticis
CICERO, DE OFFicus, LIB. I. c. 2.
It seems appropriate to begin this volume by stating the circumstances under which it is presented to the public.
On the 8th of October, 1828, the late Elias Horry, Esq., made a donation of ten thousand dollars to the trustees of the College of Charleston, South Carolina. The instrument, by which the donation was conveyed to the Trustees, declares the design of the donor in making it to have been, “to assist the Trustees to establish a professorship in the College, of which the Principal for the time being shall be the Professor.” In a letter dated the same day, the founder wrote to me thus ; — “God, in distributing his mercies and his favors, has been eminently bountiful to my family, and lastly to me ; and it is but just, that those, to whom his favors have been bestowed, should acknowledge his goodness by rendering services to others, and more particularly to the community in which they dwell. I confess, that my feelings, on this day, have been uncommon and peculiar. My mind has always been anxious for the prosperity of my country, and particularly for Charleston, my native city; and, if my donation to the College shall hereafter prove a benefit to our youth, I shall consider my reward as rich indeed."
In accepting this donation, the Trustees say, “The memory of such an act will not pass away with our transitory existence. Ordinarily the fruits of benevolence perish with their immediate appropriation ; but, in this instance, they will be enjoyed by the living, and be preserved in their original bloom and freshness for future ages. As long as literature and science, and the improvement of the minds and morals of the rising generation, shall be cultivated among us, the name of the distinguished patron and promoter of these inestimable objects will be gratefully associated with them.”* On the 25th of October, 1829, the founder, in communicating his “intentions respecting his professorship,” to the Trustees, says, among other things, “It is further his intention, that for ever hereafter, the Lectures delivered on Moral and Political Philosophy, by every Principal of the College of Charleston as the Horry Professor, shall be printed and published, from time to time, in such manner as the Trustees and Principal of the said College shall judge expedient, and for its benefit.” In a letter to me of 2d of February, 1829, after referring to these “intentions," he says, “I thought it best to trammel the professorship but little, and to leave as much as possible to the judgment, talents, and learning of the Principal of the college, and to the changes both in morals and politics which in the course of time may happen. I am glad to hear, that you have commenced your preparations for delivering your Lectures, and I look forward with great pleasure, to the good which will result from them.”
Again, in a letter of the 3d of June, 1829, he says, “I consider Moral Philosophy to be that branch of science, which treats of man in his individual capacity, and of the moral and intellectual qualities of his mind. Political Philosophy, I consider as applicable to men in their public capacities, whereby civil societies are formed, governments are established, and laws are framed or enacted, in the first instance, for the guidance of each society, state, or nation, and afterwards to regulate the intercourse of states or nations with each other, both in peace and in war, thereby forming laws for the guidance of nations. You have properly expressed what I understand by Political Philosophy, or Political Law, by the terms constitutional and international law,' regarding, however, each State in our union or confederacy, as a sovereign State or community. The treatise on Political Law which I studied, was that of Burlamaqui, who was professor of law at Geneva. Since his time, Europe has changed, the human mind has become in a manner reorganized, and in America the greatest of all the republics known to the world has been established. A treatise on Political Law or Philosophy, on the plan of Burlamaqui's, or Vattel's, or of any other distinguished jurist, but to suit our age, our national government, and the governments of our States, would come fully up to my ideas. I will here repeat,” continues he, “what I mentioned to you in a former letter, — that I would wish to trammel the professorship tut little, and to leave as much as possible, to the judgment, talents, and learning of the professor; who will suit his Lectures to the changes both in morals and politics which time will occasion.”
* Resolution, introduced to the Board of Trustees by the Hon. William Drayton, and unanimously approved, on the 13th of October, 1828.
Again, in still another letter, of the 20th of January, 1830, he says, “ Although the composition of your Lectures has cost you great literary labor, and the time which would otherwise have been devoted to relaxation from your important duties, yet in the end you will be rewarded by the great public good you will render to the present, and every succeeding generation of youth in our city, and by the pleasure, - by the satisfaction you will ever enjoy, in having, by your learning, made a large contribution to the cause of literature.”
It will be seen by the documents, which the founder of this professorship has left behind him,* and which have been quoted above, that he contemplated a series of works to be published on Moral and Political Science, as a consequence of his munifi
* He died on the 17th of September, 1834.