From: DC0118s. McDonald, William, 1831-1887 (1859). Letters,  (View Finding Aid)
Feby 15th 
I embrace this opportunity of fullfilling the promise which I made you when I saw you last of writing you a letter, though I am sorry to confess that I have no news worthy of communications. Yet I will attempt to scribble something if it be nothing more than a slight sketch on Davidson College. The first session of this year closed this morning; and the next will open on Monday so you see we have a very short vacation. Only two days. We had a very fine and interesting time last night in witnessing a contest between the Philanthropic and Umenian Societies: which was attended by a very respectful audients: who were highly entertained by some very eloquent appeals and able prodjection from both sides: this contest consisted in a select speech from each society also original speech from each and lastly a debate on a subject which I will note as I think probably you would like to hear it. (The question read thus) Which adds more to the glory of a nation (The Soldier or the Philosopher). The subject was handled ably on both sides; but more able in favor of the Soldier.
You requested me to give you a description of Davidson which I will endeaver to do as far as I am competent. I was very favorably impressed with the place when I first came here and I am tolerably pleased now: but it not the place in every respect that I expected to find it though the faculty are very able men and fully competent for their stations as far as scholarship is concerned but I think they are deficient in government yet I think upon the whole that it is a pretty fair College: though I would advise any young man who has the money to go to Chapel Hill because there are many advantages there that are not here and farther the Society of this place is very common indeed. I don’t think I shall remain here longer than this year if I can make other arrangements. They have rased board to 8 & 9 Dollars per month exclusive of washing candles servant hire wood &c which being added amounts to about $12 per month very near if not fully as high as it is a Chapel Hill: and if I had the money I had rather go to Chapel Hill and pay twice the amount. You see from this that I am not very well pleased with Davidson in some respects, but think it will do when a person can do no better.
I don’t know that I shall be able to remain over here very much longer as I am almost out of money. I thought I brought enough to carry me through this year but in consequence of every thing being so much higher than I expected I shall fall short 40 or 50 Dollars of paying my way through next session and I do not know when I shall get it as Mr Evans only bound himself to let me have $100 per year or as much as I wanted if he succeeded well in his business. I wrote to him some time ago: but have secured no answer yet; and I thought as you proffered to aid me I would let you know my condition and if you can posibly send me 50 Dollars so I can square up for this year I will take as a great favor and will pay you every cent as soon as I can if I have to leave College and teach school to make it as I have some idea of quitting school this year if I don’t get proper encouragement. I hate very much to make this request of you as I know you generally have use for your money: but feeling conscious that you have some regard for my well fare by previous manifestation of kindness and the promise you volunteered induces me to make the request.
Yours very Respectfully
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McDonald, William. Letter to Col Morrison. 15 February 1856. DC0118s. William McDonald Letter. Davidson College Archives, Davidson College, NC. Available: https://davidsonarchivesandspecialcollections.org/archives/digital-collections/william-mcdonald-letter/