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Danville 21st July 1831
To the Trustees of Centre College
Gentlemen, I received your communication last evening, inclosing a letter addressed to you from Mr. Mullins late student of the College which letter contains certain complaints etc. which need not here be repeated. Judging from the formal manner in which you have treated the subject, that you attach some importance to the contents of said letter, I have endeavored to give my own conduct towards Mr. M. & the rest of the students an impartial review, the result of which is a firm conviction in my own mind, that no just cause whatever has been given for his complaints.
Gentlemen, complaints are easily made, especially those of the very general description which we are now considering.
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As for the question whether or not I am "qualified" for the place I now occupy, I shall by no means undertake to decide it - although, from inclination, I have always sought, as the scene of my labours in the business of instruction, the utmost retirement which the duties of the employment would admit. Still, my qualifications, such as they are, are not unknown to such a portion of the community as I feel perfectly satisfied should judge & declare in this matter, & who moreover have declared, on more occassions than one, the opinion of one disaffected tyro to the contrary notwithstanding.
I trust, gentlemen, that the nature & importance of your responsibility, as the guardians of this institution, are duly appreciated by me. Had I not felt the same I should never have been placed in my present situation. A sense of the importance of the institution & a hope & belief that I should be able to do more here to aid the same cause than I could in the place where I was previously employed, encouraged me to make a sacrifice, which, could it be duly appreciated, would not fail to convince you how deeply my feelings were interested in this enterprise.
After what has happened, however, my duty appears plain. I therefore, herewith tender my resignation. This of course, I should have done sooner, had I been at all apprehensive of what I now suppose to be your wishes. It seems desirable I think, that we should have an interview on this subject,
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& if this be your opinion, I would respectfully request to be informed of the time & place of our meeting. As the enclosed pamphlet has been pretty widely circulated, you may probably have seen it already. Its author is now in the service of the Board of Trustees of the institution concerning which it is written - as an agent to the Eastern states to make collections for its endowment. I submit it to your inspection on the present occasion, gentlemen, not for the sake of the remarks contained in its appendix, but because if affords me a convenient opportunity of letting you know what was one of the chief considerations which induced me to accept of your invitation to this college.
It has always been my decided opinion, & still is, that the object of this college can never be realized to any great extent, until it comes to be supported by the success & cooperation of such preparatory schools as the Elkton Academy is intended to be, & is now likely to become. Now I was induced to believe that by coming here I might, with the blessing of God, do something to promote the same cause, with more efficiency, at present, than by remaining where I was, & among other things. I had no doubt that a union of effort might be brought about between the friends of Centre College, & those of Elkton Academy which would greatly promote the interests of both institutions. You will perceive gentlemen, that the enclosed letters (which I considered as official) contain the same argument which I have just alluded to, & this was the chief consideration which prevailed on me to decide in favor of the call.
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I have already said much more than I had at first intended, but what I have said seemed to me to be necessary to a fair understanding of the subject - much more might be said, which probably however, had better be deferred to a personal interview.
Very respectfully your obet servt [obedient servant]
John J. Pierce
Rev. Jas K. [James K.] Burch
Jno [Joseph] McDowell Esq.
D. G. [David G.] Cowan Esq.