by Julia Munro

Anon0012, a girl of "ten or eleven", was a servant of Miss Lucy Terrell (P43999). Miss Terrell once ran Hotel B (in 1835-1840), but at the time of this account, in May 1856, she was running a boarding house off-grounds. A lengthy account in the 1856 Faculty Minutes (May 2 and May 3, 1856) describes the servant girl being the victim of a severe beating by student N. B. Noland (P29839), the full account of which is below. Noland was known to be boarding at Miss Terrell's in 1855-6. In consequence of the beating, Noland was given "leave to withdraw from the university" (as per the Chairman's Journals, June 14, 1856). However, the Proctor's Matriculation Book for Session 33 (1856-7) had Noland registered as a student boarding at Mr. Harris's (likely Mr. Thomas W. Harris [P44413]).
"The Chairman stated that on tuesday the 29th ult Mr. N. B. Noland who boards at Miss Terrell's being provoked by impertinent language from a servant girl about 10 or 11 years of age in Miss Terrell's service, went to Miss Terrell and informed her of it, and announced at the same time his purpose to chastise the girl for it - Miss Terrell earnestly requested him not to do so, and assured him that she would have the girl corrected herself - and as an additional reason informed him that the girl's mistress was then in the house sick, and that great injury might result from the agitation which would be occasioned by any act of violence by Mr. Noland - That he withdrew persisting in declaring his intention not to be satisfied with the infliction of chastisement by Miss T. but to punish the girl himself - that soon afterwards whilst the family was at dinner, he went to the back door of Miss Terrell's residence & called the girl, who went to the door, and being seised [sic] by him was knocked down & kicked & beaten so severely as to be for a time insensible, and to require the attendance of a Physician afterwards; and that the screams of the girl and the confusion which followed greatly disturbed the peace and tranquility of Miss T's family, altho' she herself declined to make any complaint -
The girl was going to a dormitory in pursuit of a pigeon when Mr. Noland asked her who sent her there - she said "I sent myself" he then threatened to whip her, she replied "No you won't"
Whereupon On Motion - Resolved, that Mr. Noland be summoned to appear before the Faculty -
Mr. Noland appeared, and admitted the facts to be true, except that the girls first reply to him was "What?" He did not advert to the fact that Mrs. Woodson was in the house sick, had he have done so, he should not have acted as he did - regrets that he acted so hastily, & that he punished the negro as much as he did - Does not regret having punished the servant, and asserts, that whenever a servant is insolent to him, he will take upon himself the right of punishing him without the consent of his master - admits that he has not the legal right to do so, but would nevertheless take the liberty - Upon being questioned replied that if provoked by a servant he would not trouble himself to go in search of the master to punish him, but would punish him himself. He had made ample apology to the ladies for having caused the disturbance & for the discourtesy to them - and he sincerely regrets having disturbed them.
Question - Do you mean to assert the right to exercise your own will and the suggestions of your own passions in the infliction of punishment on a servant of another person - upon provocation?
Answer - I do not assert it as a right to violate the laws of the land or the University -
Question - Is the sense in which you declared you would not make a promise to not to repeat the act - only that you had reference to your passion - or that you would not repeat the act itself?
Answer - I will not make such a promise, as I might be led into the same act again by my passion
Question - Would you try to restrain your inclination to repeat?
Answer - I would restrain myself so far as not to whip a servant so severely as I did in this case - but no further. -
Question - With your present understanding of what the laws of the University in this respect, mean, would you sign the law again?
Answer - I was not aware that that was a law of the University -
Question - Knowing it now, and that the laws of the University most emphatically, in various places, declare, a violation of the laws of the land, a violation of those of the University - would you sign them now?
Answer - Probably I would -
After due consideration the following preamble & resolution were unanimously adopted -
Mr. N. B. Noland having from his own confession chastised with extreme severity a young servant girl in the employment of his boarding housekeeper Miss. Terrell, & having thus violated the laws of the land and those of the University , and having refused to give such assurances to the Faculty as would give a guaranty against a repetition of a similar offense, or to express his regret for the action above mentioned, except in respect to the extent of the punishment - In view of the danger to the peace of Society & the good order of the University, resulting from such conduct - Resolved, that Mr. Noland be required to withdraw from the University. The Faculty adjourned"
"The Faculty met May 3rd 1856. Present all the members. Dr. Cabell laid before the Faculty the following communication from Mr. N. B. Noland.
"In this I acknowledge that I have done wrong & am willing to express my most profound regret.
1. In treating the ladies of Miss Terrell's household with discourtesy. - This arose from my violence of passion at the time and has been fully apologized for to the ladies. In so far as this involved a distrubance of the peace of the University, I express my regret for it & apologize to the College Authorities.
2. I did wrong in yielding to my temper & while under its influence inflicting so severe a punishment upon the young servant girl - This I very much regret
3. In as much as it is a violation of the laws of the land to inflict punishment upon a servant belonging to another person I admit that it was wrong to undertake to do this with such apparent determination of purpose as was exhibited by me in the recent affair. I think that the correction of a servant for impertinence, when done on the spot & under the spur of the provocation, is not only tolerated by society, but with proper qualifications may be defended on the ground of the necessity of maintaining due subordination in this class of persons - The criminality of an act of this sort, ought, I think, to be judged rather by the attendant circumstances than by the abstract question - This is all that I would claim. - I am aware that it is an unsafe & dangerous precedent to allow any man to be the judge of the amount of punishment due to an offence committed against himself, but I submit that this objection has its force diminished, as respects cases of this sort, by my free admission that the punishment should never exceed that of a moderate flogging. - When the offense is such as to deserve more severe punishment, it should be referred to the magistrate, if the owner failed to take the proper measures - and even with respect to cases of lesser magnitude, I am willing to confess that as a general rule, it is the duty of the offended person to report the offender to his owner - I hope to be able to bear this in mind with reference to my own conduct, but I cannot promise that I will never chastise a servant for impertinence any more than I can promise never to resent by a blow an indignity offered to me by an equal. - It is not my wish or intention to violate the laws of the University, nor do I wish to oppose the Faculty in the proper discharge of their duty in inforcing them. - In view of the foregoing statement I respectfully solicit at the hands of the Faculty a reconsideration of my case, intending to comply with what they may deem to be a just decision in the case. - N. B. Noland
Whereupon - On Motion Resolved, that the resolution of the Faculty adopted yesterday, in the case of Mr. Noland, be reconsidered - After reconsideration, the following resolution was passed. Resolved, that in view of the contrition expressed in the communication addressed by Mr. Noland to the Faculty, the resolution of yesterday be rescinded, and that Mr. Noland be admonished by the Chairman."
1. References to the Individual in the JUEL Digitized Transcripts
(Links below are to JUEL's full-text digital transcripts of primary sources that refer to the individual. If no links display, this indicates that either the JUEL digitized texts have not yet been tagged with the individual's ID/Key, or, that no reference is made to the individual in any JUEL digitized texts, or, that the primary source has not yet been digitized).  
Faculty Minutes, May 2 and 3, 1856, Session 32
Chairman's Journals, June 9 and 14, 1856, Session 32
2. Library Call Numbers/Bibliographic Records
Minutes of the General Faculty, September 1856. University of Virginia Library. Call Number: RG-19/1/2.041
Matriculation Books 1825-1905, Proctor's. Vol. 1. Sessions 1-32, 1825-1855. Vol. 2. Sessions 33-44, 1856-1867
Journals of the Chairman of the Faculty [Manuscript], 1827-1864. University of Virginia Library. Call Number: RG-19/1/2.041
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