W.C.N. Randolph, to Armistead Gordon<br />
January 24, 1896

"Think this matter over; we cannot take Thornton into our confidence about it. In the first
place, no man can ever tell when he has an axe to grind for himself and then every thing filters
through him to the Faculty and leads to lack of harmony between us."


Jan. 24-'96

My dear Mr. Gordon,

I enclose you a letter 
from McCabe to myself and send a copy of my
reply thereto. I hope that you will give it
a good deal of thought. To my mind it
is exceedingly important. I received yours
this morning. I am glad to hear the good
account that Colonel Cutshaw and Colonel
Douglas give of Mr. Whitely; and still with
the impression that Thornton and Echols
have, it might be dangerous to appoint him.
This question of an Inspector is filled with
many difficulties. General Craighill advises
that we should leave the whole matter
to the architect; Green Peyton who you & I
trust very much thinks an Inspector would
be a mistake; and yet I am perfectly certain
that we ought to have somebody in charge of
this work on behalf of the University. In fact
in any building at the University there 
should be someone, an officer of the Institution,
who would be responsible for it. Suppose

Green Peyton were Superintendent of Buildings
and Grounds, how much trouble would you
and I give ourselves about this matter? Not a
bit! So I come to the point. Our Superintendent of
Buildings and Grounds who is one of the 
finest fellows in the world, and a man of
splendid intellect, is from habit, character of
mind, and training, unfit for his position.
He takes no interest in it; never can be
found and is not doing his duty. Now I am
not writing this with any harshness at all.
I am just stating to you what I know to be 
facts. In addition, the Superintendent of 
Buildings and Grounds is the proper 
Inspector of the work that goes ont at the
University and if he was the best one in the world,
he ought not to hold the dual position of
member and servant of the Building Committee.
I think, if you two agree with me, that the
solution of this matter is an easy one. I 
am satisfied that Echols is more than
willing to give up the place as Superintendent;
that he intends to do so at the end of the
session and that he would be glad to do it

now. Then is seems to me, that the wisest thing
we can do is to select with great care an
Inspector and when the Board meets let us then
accept Mr. Echols' resignation and I think I can
arrange that it will be offered, and let us
select an appointee as Inspector Superintendent
of Buildings and Grounds. This seems to me to do
away with all the objections to the appointment of
a special Inspector. Now I myself, would be
perfectly willing to take blindly and I don't I
often say that, any man that H.D.
Whitcomb Colonel Cutshaw and Colonel Douglas,
from a professional stand-point, knowing 
these facts, would recommend to us. Think
this matter over; we cannot take Thornton
into our confidence about it. In the first
place, no man can ever tell when he has an axe
to grind for himself and then every thing filters
through him to the Faculty and leads to lack
of harmony between us. Mr. Davis came to
me about the matters today. I want to
have a talk to you and McCabe about it

when you come over. Please give this matter
of Inspector a great deal of thought. I am
perfectly satisfied that the master-wheel
of this reconstruction machinery is sound;
but there is a grating cog in a wheel
that will always be worrying us and many
bring us to a disgraceful break-down. Mary
tells me to say to you, that if you come
over on Saturday morning you must bring
Margaret with you and let her spend the
day with the baby. However, you must come
on Friday evening as we must have a long 

Yours truly,

W.C.N. Randolph