Boston, January 13, 1858. A.n.s., approx 7 x 5 inches on an unlined bifolium,  page. With the original stamped cover. Billhead approx. 5.25 x 8. Some light toning; a few small stains to the cover; in very good condition. Item #17116
An evocative and interesting clue to the spread of learning (and to the effects of sectional politics on scholarship) in antebellum America. Benjamin Sherwood Hedrick (1827-1886) graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1851 and had since 1854 been a professor there in chemistry. Though by all accounts a fairly brilliant mathematician and scientist, Hedrick's anti-slavery views were even better known than his scholarly work, and by late 1856 (after he stood by his stated intention to vote for Fremont and published a defense of his anti-slavery views), "the university faculty passed resolutions denouncing Hedrick's political views, and on 11 October the executive committee of the board of trustees formally approved the faculty's action, which in reality was a dismissal. . . . On 21 October, while he was attending an educational convention in Salisbury, an unsuccessful attempt was made to tar and feather him. He soon left for the North" (Dictionary of North Carolina Biography). Hedrick's academic career over, he went into a sort of exile in New York, finding work as a chemist and then as a clerk in the mayor's office. Hedrick's continued study (of the mathematics of conic sections an the orbits of celestial bodies) suggests his effort and continuing self-tuition.