The Faculty would beg leave to suggest to the Board of Trustees the propriety of making some slight modifications in the subjects, and of defining more precisely than has yet been done, the limits of the Departments of instruction in the College, designated as that of “History and English Literature.” As connected with the subjects we would invite the attention of the Board to a practical difficulty in carrying out the scheme of studies as at present arranged.

            The branches assigned to the Chair of Moral Philosophy are Mental Science, Logic, Rhetoric, Belles Lettres, Ethics or Moral Philosophy proper, the Evidences of Christianity, Political Economy, with attention to Declamation and Composition. The number of these subjects, as well as their nature, renders it impracticable for one Professor to teach them all, in any adequate manner, without such an extension of the time allotted for the course as would interfere with the order prescribed for the several departments of the College, and such indeed, as it is not advisable to attempt to make some relief to this chair is, in our view, a matter of necessity.

            With a view to obviate the difficulty, and also to impact to the chair about to be filled a position and value equal to those of the other chairs, it is recommended that it include the following branches, namely: 1. History; 2. The Art of Rhetoric, that is, Rhetoric as actually applied in Criticism, Elocution and Composition; leaving the Science of Rhetoric, as heretofore, in the department of Moral Philosophy, with the affiliated subjects of Mental Science and Logic; 3. English Literature, Historical and Critical, with Readings, original Essays and orations; 4. Political Economy, which although a Science and to be taught as such, falls as naturally within the scope of this department as within any other.

            It is believed that whilst the above scheme will afford full employment to one Professor, it will yet be within the compass of his ability and will not exceed, in the amount of labour involved, the other chairs of the College. It will be seen, also, that the subjects may be conveniently divided into two courses to be completed each in one session, thus:

            Junior Course; History & Rhetoric,

            Senior Course; English Literature and Political Economy.

            The foregoing distribution of topics assumed that “English Philosophy”, including the Grammar of that language, will remain, as under the existing arrangement, in charge of the Professor of Modern Languages. And this we earnestly recommend not merely as a temporary expedient but as a permanent order. We are satisfied that the English will be most successfully taught by a formal recognition of the fact that it is a Modern Language in which instruction is to be imparted with all the system and precision acquired in the thorough teaching of any other Modern Language. Convinced of the importance of bestowing far more attention on this branch than has been usual in our Colleges, and believing that with us it is receiving, and, as now conducted, will continue to receive, such attention, one should regret its transfer to a department where it might not occupy the prominence and receive the time and labor which are now given to it.

Respectfully submitted,

R E Lee

Pres: W. C.

16 Nov 1866

Washington College



Honble John W. Brockenbrough, Rector





Source: Facsimile of original, vertical files, Jessie Ball duPont Library, Stratford Hall


Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2016 February 5