Scope and Contents
The collection includes a letter, fragments, and a printed law defense pertaining to a legal case involving Stewart.
The letter, written by Stewart to John Tyler of William & Mary's Board of Visitors, is dated July 6, 1825. In it, he states to Tyler that there are a couple of evils affecting William & Mary. One is the lack of preparation of the students, specifically in regards to their knowledge of the Classics. He suggests requiring students have a previous knowledge of certain authors before attending the school and that a Grammar School be established. He states that another evil "from which the Institution has suffered greatly" is that young men have not been "compelled to conform to a regular System of Instruction." His "remedy for this Evil" is that the faculty "point out in future the Courses to be pursued by every Student and to prevent interference on the part of parents." The third evil he lists pertains to students going home before the session ends in July and states they should not be allowed to do so.
The collection also includes a handwritten protest by Stewart regarding the decision made by the President - without consulting the Society - to strick the name of a student - Orris Browne - from the matriculation book and directing him not to attend lectures due to his failure to pay the $5 library fee required of students. Stewart states that the fee is not essential to the ceremony of matriculation, that the fee was established as a rule and that the faculty should have been consulted for their advice, and that Browne was attending lectures for five weeks at the time before the President convened the Society of the faculty and therefore the student couldn't be "expelled, dismissed, suspended, or in any other way excluded from the Institution but by a Majority of the Body of Professors."
There are two fragments specific to mathematics. One specifies the specific math classes the junior and senior classes are focusing on (circa 1830). The other explains how the math department works, i.e., ""no Student attends two Classes, so as to have to pay two fees during the same year" (July 6, 1830).
Lastly is a court case defence "Defences for Ferdinand Stewart Campbell Stewart, Professor of Mathematics in the University of William and Mary, Williamsburg, United States of America, and Robert Walker Waddington, Merchant in Liverpool, his Attorney to the Summons of Reduction, etc. at the Instance of Mrs. Maria Campbell Stewart, relict of Frederick Campbell Stewart, Esq. of Ascog.," 1834 July 2.
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Biographical / Historical
Ferdinand Stewart Campbell Stewart attended William & Mary in 1810 and was appointed to the faculty as professor of Mathematics in 1811, serving until 1833. His original surname was Campbell, but it changed to Stewart in 1830, after he inherited lands in Scotland.