HotFreeBooks.com
The History of Dartmouth College
by Baxter Perry Smith
Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12     Next Part
Home - Random Browse

"The Trustees here will hold and have the disposal of lands given in America for this use; and I apprehend it will be proper for his Majesty's Governor of the Province for the time being to be a Trustee, but at present I have not light enough to determine a propriety in making his Majesty himself one on this side the water.

"I have several reasons, which appear to me weighty, for having the body of the Trustees first incorporated in this vicinity.

"1. They will be at hand to conduct the affairs of the school, missionaries, schoolmasters, etc., till I can get settled in the wilderness, which will be impracticable, if they are at the distance of Portsmouth.

"2. Several of the Trustees talk of removing with me to settle in that vicinity; and if so, they may for a time act as a committee, till a sufficient number suitable for that Trust shall be settled (as you will observe will be expedient) near to the school.

"3. Till this be done, my connections will likely be such as will oblige me to make frequent visits to these parts, where we may have a full meeting of the Board without any expense.

"4. Gentlemen here have been so much concerned in Indian affairs, that I suppose it not to be immodest to say ceteris paribus, they are at present better qualified to act therein than those who will have to encounter a thousand dangers and difficulties before unthought of.

"5. By having the body corporate here, I can claim a valuable subscription of L400 or L500 for the use and support of the school, payable as soon as it becomes a body corporate, besides a tenement in this place, given for the same purpose.

"If the school should once be settled in those parts, it is likely population will proceed with much greater rapidity than ever, and the whole will be soon effected.

"I design to consult some gentlemen of the law relative to an incorporation, and get a rough draught made, with a view to save time if the School should be fixed in your Province. Please to discourse his Excellency of thoughts I have here suggested, and transmit such remarks as he shall please to make thereon. Please to commend my respects suitably to him, and accept the same yourself from, reverend and dear sir,

Your Friend and Brother, etc., "Eleazar Wheelock."

"Colonel Wyllis and Esquire Ledyard," of Hartford, were among Dr. Wheelock's legal advisers in 1768, and probably at this period.

June 7, 1769, we find Dr. Wheelock addressing Governor Wentworth as follows:

"I have been making some attempt to form a Charter, in which some proper respect may be shown to those generous benefactors in England who have condescended to patronize this school, and I want to be informed whether you think it consistent to make the Trust in England a distinct corporation, with power to hold real estate, etc., for the uses and purposes of this school."

But the impress of Governor Wentworth does not appear till a somewhat later period. August 22, 1769, Dr. Wheelock informs him that he is about to present him a "rough draught" of a Charter, for an "Academy," adding this somewhat significant postscript: "Sir, if you think proper to use the word College instead of Academy in the Charter, I shall be well pleased with it."

Dr. Wheelock's son-in-law, Mr. Alexander Phelps, and Rev. Dr. Whitaker seem to have been the principal agents to confer with Governor Wentworth in regard to the Charter.

October 18, 1769, he gives his views at length, in a letter to Dr. Wheelock, advising some amendments. Proposing some additions to the Board of Trust, he says: "The nomination of the Provincial officers I strongly recommend, though I do not insist upon. It was indeed resolved on my side that the Governor should be one" of the Board. "That I did not mention any other than the Governor can by no means be preclusive. Neither did I so intend it. The three Provincial officers will be a natural defense, honor and security to the institution."

The following letter indicates that Governor Wentworth had eminent legal counsel:

"Rev. Sir: I have had an opportunity of conferring with Colonel Phelps on the affair of the College proposed to be erected here. You'll find some alterations in the scheme and draft of the Charter; they are supposed to be amendments, and I think they, to say the least, will not be impediments. I cannot stay to enumerate them; the Charter will show them and the Colonel will be able to explain the grounds and reasons of them. I have spent some considerable time with the Governor to form the plan in such a manner as will make it most beneficial, and to prevail on him to make such concessions as would suit the gentlemen with you. I am apt to think the plan will be more serviceable as it now stands than as it was before.

I shall be glad to serve the cause, and have persuaded Colonel Phelps to communicate it before the finishing stroke, though it will cost him another journey. I have only to add that I am, with great esteem,

"Your most obedient humble servant, "William Parker. "Portsmouth, October 28, 1769."

Six Connecticut clergymen, selected by Dr. Wheelock, with one member of the Connecticut Colonial government, Governor Wentworth, with three of his Council, and the Speaker of the New Hampshire House of Representatives, were constituted the first Board of Trust. This arrangement, the result of friendly negotiation, appears to have been satisfactory to both parties.

October 25, 1769, Dr. Wheelock writes to Governor Wentworth, expressing much satisfaction with his "catholic views," and warm friendship, as indicated by his letter of the 18th, and says: "If your Excellency shall see fit in your wisdom and goodness to complete the Charter desired, and it will be the least satisfaction to you to christen the House to be built after your own name, it will be exceedingly grateful to me, and I believe to all concerned." He deems it important that the public should understand, "that the benevolent charities are not designed to be applied merely and exclusively to the advancement of sectaries, with a fixed view to discourage the Established Church of England." It should here be remarked that three of the original Trustees of the College were nominally Episcopalians, and the remaining nine were, most or all, nominally Congregationalists, although some had Presbyterian tendencies.

In writing to Lord Dartmouth, March 12, 1770, after referring to the "enclosed copy of incorporation," which was dated December 13, 1769, President Wheelock says: "Governor Wentworth thought best to reject that clause in my draught of the Charter which gave the Honorable Trust in England equal power with the Trustees here to nominate and appoint the president, from time to time, apprehending it would make the body too unwieldy, but he cheerfully consented that I should express my gratitude and duty to your Lordship, by christening after your name; and as there seemed to be danger of many embarrassments, in many ways, in the present ruffled and distempered state of the kingdom, I thought prudent to embrace the first opportunity to accomplish it." The letter indicates that Dr. Wheelock determined what should be the name of the institution without conferring with his distinguished benefactor on that point.

That the English Trustees were somewhat dissatisfied, temporarily, with the measure of responsibility assumed by Dr. Wheelock, there is no doubt. But nearly perfect harmony was restored, by the prudence of that excellent diplomatist. In writing to these gentlemen, June 20, 1771; he says: "I am confident that, had you been upon the spot, you would have approved every step I have taken, unless it was my attempt to effect so great an affair as settling in this wilderness in so short a time, which the event has fully justified, although my trials have been very great." He also expresses the opinion, that, if they will compare his plan proposed in his former letters with his procedure since, they will find that he has "invariably kept the same object in view." Later records indicate that President Wheelock still numbered Lord Dartmouth and others of the English Board among his faithful friends. Although not officially connected with the college, they evidently cherished an abiding interest in its welfare.

The Charter, so remarkable in its history, is a valuable and an enduring monument to the genius, skill, and learning of its distinguished framers.[24] Like the Charters of Harvard and Yale, it indicates that the clergy were regarded, generally, as the best depositaries of educational trusts. In the former case, the "teaching elders" of the "six next adjoining towns" were ex-officio, "Overseers;" in the latter, the original Trustees were all clergymen. It may safely be asserted that, of the large number of eminent gentlemen, who, as Trustees, have administered the affairs of Dartmouth College, none have been more eminent for their wisdom or fidelity than the reverend clergy.

[24] See Appendix.



CHAPTER VII.

PRESIDENT WHEELOCK'S PERSONAL EXPLORATIONS IN NEW HAMPSHIRE.—LOCATION AT HANOVER.

In his "Narrative" for 1771, President Wheelock tells the story of Dartmouth's location in the Granite State so plainly and satisfactorily, that we can do no better than to give his own recapitulation and condensation of the leading facts.

"The smiles of heaven upon this school were such that it appeared quite necessary to build to accommodate it; and the plan which I laid for this purpose was to secure a sufficient tract of good land for the only use and benefit of the school, and that the English charity scholars should be led to turn their exercises for the relaxation of their minds from their studies, and for the preservation of health, from such exercises as have been frequently used by students for these purposes, to such manual labor as might be subservient to the support of the school, thereby effectually removing the deep prejudices, so universal in the minds of the Indians, against going into the business of husbandry."

"The necessity of building, and also that I proposed to fix it at any distance where the design might be best served by it, became publicly known, whereupon great numbers in Connecticut and in neighboring Provinces made generous offers to invite the settlement of it in their respective places. In which affair I employed proper agents to view the several situations proposed, and hear the several arguments and reasons that might be offered by the solicitors for it, and make a faithful report of the same.

"The magistracy of the city of Albany offered an interest estimated at L2,300 sterling, besides private donations, which it was supposed would be large, to fix it in that city. Several other generous offers were made to fix it in that vicinity. His Excellency, Sir Francis Bernard, Governor of the Province of the Massachusetts Bay, in company with two others, offered 2,000 acres of good land in a central town[25] in the county of Berkshire in said Province. To which were added several other donations, amounting in the whole to 2,800 acres of land, and a subscription said to be about L800 sterling. Also generous offers were made to it in Stockbridge and other towns in that Province. Several generous offers were made by particular towns and parishes in the Colony of Connecticut, and particularly to continue it where it had its rise. But the country being so filled up with inhabitants, it was not practicable to get so large a tract of lands as was thought to be most convenient and useful for it in those old settlements. The Honorable Trust in England gave the preference to the western part of the Province of New Hampshire, on Connecticut river, as the site of the school."

[25] Pittsfield.

Before this period he "began to be convinced by many weighty reasons that a greater proportion of English youth must be prepared for missionaries to take entirely the lead of the affairs in the wilderness." He also was deeply impressed with the want of ministers in a large number of towns, nearly two hundred in all, just then newly settling in the Connecticut valley. In view of all the circumstances, and especially the fact that there was a disposition on the part of many young men who had the ministry in view to seek preparation for it elsewhere, than at Yale or Harvard, he felt it his duty to adhere to his plan of extension.

"As neither the Honorable Trust in England nor the Charter had fixed upon the particular town or spot on which the buildings should be erected, wherefore to complete the matter, as soon as the ways and streams would allow, I took the Rev. Mr. Pomeroy, and Esq. [Samuel] Gilbert (a gentleman of known ability for such a purpose) with me to examine thoroughly, and compare the several places proposed, within the limits prescribed for fifty or sixty miles on or near said River; and to hear all the reasons and arguments that could be offered in favor of each of them, in which service we faithfully spent eight weeks. And in consequence of our report and representation of facts, the Trustees unanimously agreed that the southwesterly corner of Hanover adjoining upon Lebanon was the place above any to fix it in; and that for many reasons, namely, it is most central on the River, and most convenient for transportation up and down the River; as near as any to the Indians; convenient for communication with Crown Point on Lake Champlain, and with Canada. The situation is on a beautiful plain, the soil fertile and easy of cultivation. The tract on which the college is fixed, lying mostly in one body, and convenient for improvement, in the towns of Hanover and Lebanon, contains upwards of 3,000 acres."

We quote from official records:

"Portsmouth, New Hampshire, July 5, 1770.

"We, the subscribers nominated Trustees of Dartmouth College, in the Charter of said college, and being duly qualified as directed by said Charter, have taken into consideration the places whereon said college might be situated; and do hereby certify that it is our advice, opinion and vote that said Dartmouth College be situated and erected upon lands in the township of Hanover upon Connecticut river in the Province aforesaid, provided the lands, moneys, and other aids subscribed for the use of said Dartmouth College, if placed in Hanover aforesaid, be firmly and securely conveyed to the Trustees of and for the use of said College. And also that the said town of Hanover, and Lebanon, previously consent and petition to the Legislature that a contiguous parish of at least three miles square, in and adjoining to these aforesaid towns of Hanover and Lebanon, be set off and incorporated into a separate and distinct parish under the immediate jurisdiction of the aforesaid Dartmouth College.

"In witness whereof we have hereunto signed this instrument for placing buildings and establishing the said college in Hanover aforesaid, upon the aforesaid conditions.

"J. Wentworth. "Theodore Atkinson. "Eleazar Wheelock. "George Jaffrey. "D. Pierce. "P. Gilman. "Benj. Pomeroy."

"Hartford, 17th July, 1770.

"We, the subscribers, being nominated Trustees of Dartmouth College, and being duly qualified according to the Charter of such college, do hereby agree to the situation of said college as determined by the Trustees as above signed; provided (in addition to the conditions they have specified), that Dr. Wheelock may be accommodated with a suitable farm, at or near the college; apprehending that his past labors and expenses, and his present connection with said institution, justly merit such consideration.

"Wm. Pitkin, "James Lockwood, "Timothy Pitkin, "John Smalley."

The "Coos" region now demands our more careful attention.

While southern New England was largely occupied by emigrants from the Mother Country, and their descendants, in the seventeenth century, much of its northern portions, and especially the rich valley of the upper Connecticut, was still covered with the virgin forests. As early as 1752, Theodore Atkinson (whose name will become more familiar to us) and others in Eastern New Hampshire, had formed a plan for acquiring and colonizing the best portion of this unoccupied, but fertile and inviting, basin. But the proud and lordly Indian disputed their right to invade this ancient and charming hunting-ground, whose meadows almost spontaneously produced the choicest corn, and they desisted from their purpose.

The immediate occasion of the settlement of this part of the Connecticut valley was the French war. In the progress of that war, the New England troops had cut a road from the older settlements in the south part of the Province through Charlestown, then called No. 4, to Crown Point. The soldiers in passing through this valley became acquainted with its fertility and value.

The soil of Eastern Connecticut being exhausted in some measure, her hardy and enterprising yeomanry now gladly turned toward a region where honest industry would find a surer and better reward. Many of them knew the value of religion by a vital experience, and all knew the value of sound learning by experience or close observation.

The leading founders of Hanover were of the highly respectable Freeman family, of Mansfield, Conn. The early history of this family in America connects it with the Bradford and Prince families. The pioneer settler at Hanover was Edmund Freeman. Of this worthy and enterprising man, sincere Christian, earnest patriot, and valuable coadjutor of President Wheelock, it is said: "Of distinguished uprightness and integrity, he commanded universal respect and esteem." Hon. Jonathan Freeman was his brother.

Another family to whom Hanover is largely indebted for its solid foundations bears the no less distinguished name of Storrs, also of Mansfield, the old ancestral home of all, or nearly all, of that name, who in various ways have been conspicuous in giving "strength and beauty" to American institutions. Of Joseph Storrs, an early donor to Dartmouth, it is said: "He was the younger son of Samuel Storrs the second, and grandson of Samuel Storrs the elder, from whom all of the name in America are descended, excepting one family near Richmond, Va. He was a member of the first board of selectmen of the town of Hanover."

The town contained about twenty families at the period of which we are writing. The relations of some other early settlers with President Wheelock deserve equally careful notice. John Wright, from Lebanon, Conn., was a man of marked ability and decided religious character. He was deeply interested in the new college, and as pioneer explorer and artisan rendered its founder invaluable aid. His name also heads the list of the Hanover donors of lands.

David Woodward, formerly a parishioner of President Wheelock, and afterward widely known for his strong mind, his public spirit, and patriotism, also co-operated earnestly with him while he was laying foundations. His house appears to have furnished the venerable president his first headquarters, while planning future operations.

Nathaniel Wright, from Coventry, Conn., was a relation of John Wright. His descendants have honored the college, as some of them still honor the memory of an ancestor, whose name is inseparably and prominently connected with the civil and religious history of the town. His heart and hand were with President Wheelock, and his log cabin was a welcome resting-place.

James Murch, one of the more enterprising among the early settlers, was also from Connecticut, where he had formed some acquaintance with President Wheelock and his plans. Upon him it seems to have devolved, in some measure at least, to set forth in homely but vigorous language the leading attractions of this locality.

Reverting to the "Narrative," we give President Wheelock's own graphic account of labor and privation, which, in view of all the circumstances, has few parallels in history:

"After I had finished this tour [of exploration] and made a short stay at home, to settle some affairs, I returned again into the wilderness, to make provision for the removal and settlement of my family and school there before winter. I arrived in August [1770], and found matters in such a situation as at once convinced me of the necessity of being myself upon the spot. And as there was no house conveniently near, I made a hutt of logs about eighteen feet square, without stone, brick, glass, or nail, and with thirty, forty, and sometimes fifty laborers appointed to their respective departments, I betook myself to a campaign. I set some to build a house for myself and family, of forty by thirty-two feet, and one story high, and others to build a house for my students of eighty by thirty-two, and two stories high."

His family and about twenty or thirty students arriving before the completion of his house, difficulty in locating having arisen, he says: "I housed my stuff with my wife and the females of my family in my hutt. My sons and students made booths and beds of hemlock boughs, and in this situation we continued about a month, till the 29th day of October, when I removed with my family to my house."

A few last words to one who for a long period had regarded his work with more than fraternal interest, and himself with more than fraternal affection, fitly portray the state of President Wheelock's mind and heart in those days of toil and trial and hope:

"From my Hutt in Hanover Woods in the Province of New Hampshire, August 27, 1770.

"My dear Sir:—I long to see you and spend one day with you on the affairs of the Redeemer's kingdom. It would be vain to attempt to tell you of the many and great affairs I am at present involved in, in all which I have had much of the loving-kindness, faithfulness, and goodness of God. I am this day sending for my family and expect the house will be made comfortable for their reception by the time they arrive. My prospects are, by the goodness of God, vastly encouraging. A series of merciful occurrences has persuaded me that God designs great good to his church among English as well as Indians by this institution. I was informed at Boston, in my late journey, that the Commissioners have plenty of their constituents' money which lies useless for want of missionaries, and for many weighty reasons I have thought that the Redeemer's cause might be much served by Mr. Kirtland's[26] going to their pay. This was an important point I wished to consult you in. Likely your own thoughts may suggest some reasons and such as you shall think sufficient without my disclosing many that are not public. If you think favorably of it, please to propose it to them, as you will likely have an opportunity for before you leave the continent. I have a number fitted and fitting for missions more than the fund already collected will support, and if that may be saved, and at the same time uniformity and good agreement between the Boards is promoted, it will be well. I wrote you from Dedham on my late journey from Boston. I rejoice to hear that your bow yet abides in strength; that God has once more made you useful in America. I am chained here; there is no probability that the buildings will be seasonably and well accomplished if I should leave them. I don't expect to see you till we meet in the general convention on the other shore. Please to favor me with a line, and your thoughts on the question proposed. You may send from Boston by the Northfield post, directed to me at Hanover in this Province. Oh, how glad should I be to see you in this wilderness!

[26] The modern orthography is Kirkland.

"My dear sir, farewell.

"I am yours in the dear Jesus. "Eleazar Wheelock. "Rev. George Whitefield."

There appears to have been no subsequent meeting, on earth, of these eminent coadjutors in all good works. The one was called to his reward above, just as the other was beginning to enjoy the fruition of his labors on earth. Few names deserve more honor, in connection with the founding of Dartmouth College, than that of

George Whitefield.[27]

[27] Many things, which cannot be specified, illustrating the history of this period and others, are necessarily placed in the Appendix.



CHAPTER VIII.

COMMENCEMENT OF OPERATIONS.—COURSE OF STUDY.—POLICY OF ADMINISTRATION.

Instruction at Dartmouth appears to have commenced in December following the removal, with four classes in attendance.

In writing to Dr. Erskine, December 7, 1770, President Wheelock says: "I am now removed into the wilderness with my family, and about thirty students, English and Indians, who are all designed for the Indian service." After referring to the erection of a house for his family, and "another" for his students, he says: "I have also built a school-house, which is convenient. My nearest neighbor in the town is two and one half miles from me. I can see nothing but the lofty pines about me. My family and students are in good health, and well pleased with a solitude so favorable to their studies."

In President Wheelock's account-book, David Huntington, Thomas Kendall, Ebenezer Gurley, Augustine Hibbard, James Dean, and Joseph Grover, are charged with tuition from various dates, ranging from December 7th to December 14th. The rate is 1s. 4d. per week, "deducting abscences." In Connecticut, the tuition, for classical instruction in the school, had been 1s. 6d. per week.

The following, from President Wheelock to a distant correspondent, indicates sufficient patronage of the new institution:

"Hanover, December 3, 1770.

"Dear Sir,—Your son, with companion, are safely arrived. I've sent back part of my students to Connecticut. I've just got studies fitted, and made provision for the support of the rest of them. The great difficulty in taking your son is the want of provisions in this starved country. I send to Northfield and Montague for my bread, and expect supply chiefly from thence."

The facilities for acquiring classical and scientific education appear to have been substantially the same at Dartmouth, at the outset, as in other American colleges of that period.

The discoveries of Newton and Franklin had a marked, if not controlling, influence upon the thought of the eighteenth century.

No American college, perhaps, felt this influence more than President Wheelock's Alma Mater, in which Franklin took a deep interest.

At the period of the founding of Dartmouth, we find that, in Yale College, the Faculty consisted of Dr. Daggett, who was President, and Professor of Divinity; Rev. Nehemiah Strong, Professor of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy, and two or three tutors.

President Wheelock doubtless had his Alma Mater especially in mind, in planning the curriculum of Dartmouth. He was himself Professor of Divinity, as well as President. His first associate in instruction, who acted in the capacity of tutor, was Mr. Bezaleel Woodward, who had graduated at Yale College in 1764, during the presidency of Rev. Thomas Clap, of whom his associate in the Faculty, the future President Stiles, says: "In Mathematics and Natural Philosophy I have reason to think he was not equaled by more than one man in America." The fact that Mr. Woodward was subsequently, for many years, a highly esteemed professor of Mathematics in the college, indicates that he was a worthy pupil of his distinguished teacher.

There can be no doubt that the college was highly favored, in its beginnings, in having a president who had been, while at college, distinguished as a classical scholar, and in later life as an able and a learned divine, aided by a younger teacher, whose scientific attainments well qualified him for the duties of his position.

The first preceptor of the Charity School, at Hanover, was David McClure, who had recently graduated at Yale College. He was an able and a successful teacher. The various relations of the school and college were so intimate at this period, that it is nearly impossible to dissociate them. The word "school," as used by President Wheelock, frequently includes the college.

Three of Dartmouth's first class were prepared for college at the "Indian Charity School" in Lebanon, and passed their first three years at Yale.

The following letter from an eminent teacher, referred to in a previous chapter, addressed to President Wheelock, introduces their only new classmate:

"Lebanon, August 10, 1770.

"Rev. Sir: The bearer, Samuel Gray, entered my school about two years ago, and in that time has been about four months absent. He was well fitted for college when he was first under my care, and having applied himself with proper diligence to his studies, and being favored with a genius somewhat better than common, has made a progress in his learning answerable to his industry. He will be found upon examination to be pretty well acquainted with Virgil, Tully, and Horace. He is likewise able to construe any part of the Greek Testament. He parses and makes Latin rather better than common. He has been through the twelve first books of Homer, but, as 't is more than a year since he recited that author, am afraid he has lost the greater part of what he then understood pretty well. In Arithmetic, vulgar and decimal, he is well versed. I have likewise taught him Trigonometry, Altimetry, Longimetry, Navigation, Surveying, Dialing, and Gauging. He has been through Martin's 'Philosophical Grammar' twice,—the greater part of which he understands very well. He has likewise studied Whiston's 'Astronomy,' all except the calculations, which he doth not understand. He is likewise pretty well acquainted with Geography and the use of the globes. He went through Watts' 'Logic' last winter, but having no taste for that study, or rather an aversion to it, he is not so well skilled in that as in some other parts of learning. About a year ago he went through so much of rhetoric as is contained in the 'Preceptor,' but suppose he has forgot the most of it. Upon the whole, though he may not, perhaps, be so well versed in some parts of learning as the class which he proposes to enter, yet if he applies himself to his studies with proper diligence, he will be rather an honor than a disgrace to any college where he shall be graduated. I ought in justice to him to add, that he is an orderly, well-behaved youth, and has conducted so well in my school ever since he has been with me that I have never had the least difference with him on any account whatever.

"I am, reverend sir, with much esteem, "Your most humble servant, "Nathan Tisdale.

"P. S. I have another pupil whom I shall offer for admission into your college at the end of the vacancy [vacation], if I can fit him by that time."

* * * * *

A portion of a letter from a somewhat distinguished clergyman and teacher, Rev. Simeon Williams, of Windham, N. H., introducing several prominent members of the class of 1774, is worthy of notice here, although written in 1772. In connection with the reply, it throws additional light upon the first prescribed course of study at Dartmouth. After expressions indicating confidence that President Wheelock will attend, faithfully, to the welfare of the young men, the language is as follows:

"When they first came to my school they had read enough of Virgil and the lower Latin classics, together with a sufficient knowledge of the Greek Testament, to enable them to pass into any of the colleges as Freshmen. But when their fathers informed me that they intended their residence only for two years, and that they expected, if they were under my care, I would qualify them in all the parts of the Freshman and Sophomore years, so as they might with honor and ability enter the Junior class, with mature deliberation, I undertook the arduous task. The first year I confined their studies to Virgil, Cicero's 'Orations,' together with their improvement in Geography, Rhetoric, and occasional declamations, etc. This second year they have been reading Homer and Horace, Cicero de Oratore, and a part of Xenophon. I have also carefully instructed them in all the four parts of Logic from Doctor Finlay's 'Latin Compend,' expounding the same by familiar lectures, for the most part extracted from Mr. Locke and Doctor Watts. There is one kind of study which this last year they have been much employed in,—I mean double translation,—their improvement therein will appear to you by casting your eye on their various manuscripts. I would observe to you that I have not introduced them to the knowledge of mathematical learning, knowing it is most usual in colleges to put them to those studies in the Junior year."

In reply President Wheelock says: "We have examined the youth you sent, and find them deficient in several parts of learning which the [Junior] class have made some proficiency in, viz., Mathematics, Geography, and parsing Greek. They have studied Tullie de Oratore, and Xenophon, and some in Homer, more than that class have done. On the whole I have concluded to take them into that class, only with this condition, that they recite those things in which they are deficient with the Sophomore class while their own class recite other parts in which they exceed them." The studies of the Senior year do not appear to have differed materially from those of other colleges, of that period. Jonathan Edwards was a favorite author in metaphysics and theology.

President Wheelock in his "Narrative," for 1771, gives the following lucid statement of the policy and aims of the school and college: "It is earnestly recommended to the students both in college and school,

"1. That all the English students in the college and school treat the Indian children with care, tenderness and kindness, as younger brethren, and as may be most conducive to the great ends proposed.

"2. That they turn the course of their diversions and exercises for their health to the practice of some manual arts, or cultivation of gardens, and other lands, at the proper hours of leisure and intermission from study and vacancies in the college and school.

"3. That no English scholar, whether supported by charity or otherwise, shall, at any time, speak diminutively of the practice of labor, or by any means cast contempt upon it, or by word or action endeavor to discredit or discourage the same, on penalty of his being obliged, at the discretion of the president or tutor, to perform the same or the equivalent to that which he attempted to discredit; or else (if he be not a charity scholar) to hire the same done by others, or, in case of refusal and obstinacy in this offense, that he be dismissed from college, and denied all the privileges and honors of it.

"4. That no scholar shall be employed in labor in the hours of study, or so as to interrupt him in his studies, unless upon special emergencies, and with liberty from the president or a tutor.

"5. That accounts be faithfully kept of all the labor so done by them, either for the procuring provisions for the support of the college and school, or that which shall be for real and lasting advantage to this institution; and such accounts shall be properly audited, and a record kept of the same for the benefit of such scholars, if they should be called by the providence of God to withdraw from their purpose of serving as missionaries in the wilderness, or to leave the service before they have reasonably compensated the expense of their education.

"6. That such as are not charity scholars, but pay for their education, may have liberty to labor for the benefit of the institution at such times as are assigned to charity scholars, and the just value of their labor be accounted towards the expense of their support.

"7. That no Freshman shall be taken off, or prevented labor, by any errand for an under-graduate, without liberty obtained from the president or a tutor.

"N. B. Occasional errands and services for the college and school are not designed to be accounted, nor their procuring fuel for their fires, and things equivalent for their own and their chamber's use in particular, nor anything which shall not be of real or lasting benefit for the whole, unless in cases where they are incapacitated for labor, and yet are able to perform such errands for or in the room of those who can and do labor in their stead.

"Lastly. That this Indian Charity School, connected with Dartmouth College, be constantly hereafter and forever called and known by the name of 'Moor's School.'

"Moreover poor youth, who shall seek an education here, at their own expense, may not only have the advantage of paying any part of that by turning their necessary diversions to manual labor, but also, as all that will be paid by such as support themselves will be disposed of for the support of the Indian, or other charity scholars, therefore, whatever clothing or provisions shall be necessary for the school will be good pay at a reasonable price.

"His Excellency Governor Wentworth, among many other expressions of his care and zeal to preserve the purity and secure the well-being of this seminary against such evils as have been the ruin of, or at least have a very threatening aspect upon others which have come within his knowledge, has insisted upon it as a condition of location, to which all the trustees have cheerfully subscribed, that wherever it should be fixed, there should be a society of at least three miles square, which should be under the jurisdiction of the college, that thereby unwholesome inhabitants may be prevented settling, and all hurtful or dangerous connections with them, or practices among them may be seasonably discovered and prevented in a legal way.[28]

[28] The town of Hanover, at three different times within the next twenty-five years, by their vote sanctioned this incorporation of the "College District." But the plan was never favorably regarded, apparently, by the New Hampshire Legislature.

"As this institution is primarily designed to christianize the heathen, that is, to form the minds and manners of their children to the rules of religion and virtue; and to educate pious youth of the English to bear the Redeemer's name among them in the wilderness; and secondarily to educate meet persons for the sacred work of the ministry, in the churches of Christ among the English; so it is of the last and very special importance, that all who shall be admitted here in any capacity, and especially for an education, be of sober, blameless and religious behavior, that neither Indian children nor others may be in danger of infection by examples which are not suitable for their imitation. And accordingly I think it proper to let the world know there is no encouragement given that such as are vain, idle, trifling, flesh-pleasing, or such as are on any account vicious or immoral, will be admitted here; or, if such should by disguising themselves obtain admittance, that they will not be allowed to continue members after they are known to be such; nor will it be well taken, if, on any pretense whatever, any shall attempt to introduce or impose any youth upon this seminary, whose character shall be incongruous to, and militates against, the highest, chiefest, and dearest interests of the first objects of it.

"And it is my purpose, by the grace of God, to leave nothing undone, within my power, which is suitable to be done, that this school of the prophets may be and long continue to be a pure fountain.

"And I do with all my heart will this my purpose to all my successors in the presidency of this seminary, to the latest posterity; and it is my last will never to be revoked, and to God I commit it, and my only hope and confidence for the execution of it is in Him alone, who has already done great things for it and does still own it as his cause; and blessed be his name that every present member of it, as well as great numbers abroad, I trust, do join their hearty Amen with me."



CHAPTER IX.

PROGRESS TO THE DEATH OF PRESIDENT WHEELOCK.—PROMINENT FEATURES OF HIS CHARACTER.

The foundations being completed, the superstructure now claims our attention. We give somewhat full details of affairs during the opening years. The following is an extract from a letter from Mr. M'Clare to his early friend, General Knox, dated at Hanover, March 20, 1771:

"The winter has been very moderate and the heavens clear and serene. The situation is much more agreeable than I imagined it would be last fall, before I set out from Connecticut. The number of the students in the college and school is about thirty. I have at present the care of the Grammar School, and I find no small pleasure in 'teaching the young idea how to shoot.' Heaven has remarkably smiled upon the generous and pious design of the Reverend Doctor, and supported it amidst numberless difficulties and embarrassments, and it affords a prospect of being in time a great and extensive blessing to this part of the world and to the tawny inhabitants of our continent."

The first Commencement, in August, 1771, attracted a large audience, including many from a distance, among them Governor Wentworth. Dr. Langdon had previously manifested his deep interest in the college by a personal visit.

In his "Narrative," for the period from May, 1771, to September, 1772, President Wheelock says:

"I have now finished (so far as to render comfortable and decent) the building to accommodate my students, of eighty by thirty-two feet, and have done it in the plainest and cheapest manner, which furnishes sixteen comfortable rooms, besides a kitchen, hall, and store-room. I have also built a saw-mill and grist-mill, which appear to be well done, and are the property of the school, and will likely afford a pretty annual income to it. I have also built two barns, one of twenty-eight by thirty-two feet, the other of fifty-five by forty, and fifteen feet post. I have also raised, and expect to finish, within a few days, a malt-house of thirty feet square, and several other lesser buildings which were found necessary. I have cleared, and in a good measure fitted for improvement, about seventy or eighty acres of land, and seeded with English grain about twenty acres, from which I have taken at the late harvest, what was esteemed a good crop, considering the land was so lately laid open to the sun. I have cut what is judged to be equal to fourteen or fifteen tons of good hay, which I stacked, by which the expense of supporting a team and cows the ensuing winter may be considerably lessened. I have also about eighteen acres of Indian corn now on the ground, which promises a good crop. My laborers are preparing more lands for improvement; some to sow with English grain this fall, and others for pasturing, which sad experience has taught me the necessity of, as I have suffered much by being disappointed of this benefit, through the negligence of a number, who subscribed labor to encourage the settlement of the school in this place, and, in excuse for their not being as punctual in performing as they appeared liberal in subscribing, plead their poverty and the necessities of their families in their new beginnings in this wilderness.

"I hope through the blessing of God, even the ensuing year, we shall find that near sufficient has been raised on these lands to supply the school with bread, which will be a great relief not only as to the expense, but as to care and fatigue in procuring it; as the greatest and cheapest part of the support of my family has been transported above an hundred, and much of it near two hundred miles through new and bad roads; which has made the expense of some articles equal to the first cost, and many of them much more. The cheapest fodder I had the last winter to support my team and a few cows was brought forty miles on sleds by oxen.

"It is not easy for one who is not acquainted with the affair of building and settling in such a wilderness to conceive of the many difficulties, fatigues, and extraordinary expenses attending it; nor does it make the burden at all less, if there are numbers settling within a few miles, who are poor and needy, and so far from having ability to contribute their assistance to others, as to stand in constant need of help themselves.

"The number of my students belonging to the college and school has been from forty to fifty, of which from five to nine have been Indians. The English youth on charity are all fitting for missionaries, if God in his providence shall open a door for their serving him in that capacity, and they have been about twenty.

"My students have been universally well engaged in their studies, and a number of independent as well as charity scholars, have only by turning a necessary diversion to agreeable manual labor, done much to lessen the expense of their education the last year."

In an appendix to this "Narrative," dated September 26, 1772, after referring to a prospect of obtaining sons of some of the Caghnawaga chiefs, President Wheelock says: "One was a descendant from the Rev. Mr. Williams, who was captivated from Deerfield in 1704. Another was a descendant from Mr. Tarbell, who was captivated from Groton [in 1707], who is now a hearty and active man, and the eldest chief, and chief speaker of the tribe. The other was son to Mr. Stacey, who was captivated from Ipswich, and is a good interpreter for that tribe."

In view of all the facts within our knowledge, it seems more than possible that the influence of these and other captives, now venerable with age, upon their red brethren, on the one hand, and dim but precious memories of their own childhood, on the other, had aided materially in determining the location of the college. The patronage of the Canadian tribes was President Wheelock's main reliance for Indian students after his removal to Hanover.

In regard to the missionaries sent out by President Wheelock at this period, his biographer says: "Some went into the Mohawk and Oneida country, others to the Indians upon the Muskingum, and several to the tribes within the bounds of Canada. They found the Indians, the Oneidas excepted, universally opposed to them."[29]

[29] Memoirs of Wheelock, p. 63.

Perhaps it will be safe to make a slight abatement from the somewhat sweeping statement which closes this quotation.

In his "Narrative" for the period between September, 1772, and September, 1773, President Wheelock says: "My crops were considerably shortened the last year, by an uncommon rain at the beginning of harvest, and by an untimely frost, yet the benefit of that which is saved is very sensible. I have this year cut about double the quantity of hay which I cut last year, namely, about thirty tons. I have reaped about twenty acres of English grain, which crop appeared to be very heavy before harvest, and proved too much so, as a considerable part of it fell down of its own weight before maturity; however, though it be much less than the prospect was, it is a very considerable relief. I have about twenty acres of Indian corn on the ground, which, considering the newness and imperfect tillage of the land, promises a considerable crop.

"I have cleared sufficient for pasturing, i. e. have cut and girdled all the growth upon five hundred acres, and a part of it have sowed with hay-seed; the rest I expect will be ready to receive the seed as soon as it shall be dry enough to burn the trash upon it in the spring. The soil is generally good, and I hope the school will experience the benefit of it in due time. I have inclosed with a fence about two thousand acres of this wilderness, that I might be able to restrain oxen, cows, horses, etc., from rambling beyond my reach.

"I have seven yoke of oxen and about twenty cows, all the property and employed in the service of the school. The number of my laborers for six months past has generally been from thirty to forty, besides those employed at the mills, in the kitchen, wash-house, etc. The number of my students, dependent and independent, the last year was about eighty. A little more than three years ago there was nothing to be seen here but a horrid wilderness; now there are eleven comfortable dwelling-houses (beside the large one I built for my students), built by tradesmen and such as have settled in some connection with, and have been admitted for the benefit of, this school, and all within sixty rods of the college. By this means the necessities of this school have been relieved in part as to room for my students. Yet the present necessity of another and larger building appears to be such that the growth of this seminary must necessarily be stinted without it.

"When I think of the great weight of present expense for the support of sixteen or seventeen Indian boys, which has been my number all the last year, and as many English youth on charity, eight in the wilderness who depend upon their support wholly from this quarter, which has been the case a considerable part of this year, such a number of laborers, and under necessity to build a house for myself (as the house I have lived in was planned for a store-house, and must be used for that purpose) and expense for three and sometimes four tutors, which has been the least number that would suffice for well instructing my students, I have sometimes found faintness of heart. But I have always made it my practice not to exceed what my own private interest [property] will pay, in case I should be brought to that necessity to do my creditors justice."

In his "Narrative" for the period between September, 1773, and February, 1775, President Wheelock says: "The number of Indians in this school since my last 'Narrative,' has been from sixteen to twenty-one, and the whole number of charity or dependent scholars about thirty." The whole number of students was now about one hundred.

"The progress of husbandry on this farm, the last year, has not been equal in every respect to my hope, the season proving so wet as not to favor some branches of it. However, the progress of it and the benefit by it, have been very considerable. I have raised and reaped upon the school land, the last year, about three hundred bushels of choice wheat, but the crop of Indian corn fell much short of my expectations, being but about two hundred and fifty bushels. I have cut sixty tons of hay the last season, and have a prospect of a very considerable addition to that quantity the next, if Providence shall favor it.

"I have begun to prepare and have a prospect that I shall be able to fit about sixty acres of new land to sow with wheat the next season. I have improved about twelve or fourteen oxen, and about twenty cows, the property of the school, and have a prospect of plenty for their support for summer and winter, and I find already the great benefit of having wherewith to do it this winter without the fatigue and expense of going forty miles for it, as I have been forced to do till this year."

He also refers to important agricultural operations, and the erection of buildings at Landaff—Governor Wentworth's first choice as a location for the college—and preparations for a new college edifice.

To Messrs. Savage and Keen, he writes, October 24, 1775: "The progress of the great design under my hand has been as rapid since resources from your side the water have been suspended as ever. Every day turns out some new wonder of Divine favor towards it. I have this day been out to see my laborers who have near finished sowing one hundred and ten acres of wheat and rye, but mostly of wheat, one hundred acres of it on new land. No providences, however calamitous to others, not even our present public distresses, but seem as though they were calculated to favor this design. God gives me all I ask for, and He is a prayer-hearing God."

We are indebted to the present librarian of the college[30] for the following interesting facts relating to this period:

[30] Professor C. W. Scott.

"The library of Dartmouth College may be considered as older than the college itself, as it had its origin in the 'Indian Charity School,' and existed as a handful of books before the granting of the college Charter. These books are found principally among the theological works, in folio volumes, with Latin texts or notes, and uninviting type. Received as they were more than a hundred years ago, they were then publications of the preceding century; and they would hardly find their way into the library to-day, if admitted upon the demand of readers, yet in their bindings and worn leaves they show that by some one they were thoroughly used. A copy of 'Lightfoot's Harmony of the New Testament,' under date of June, 1764, has written across a leaf: 'Received from the Rev. Dr. Gifford, of London, sundry second-hand books given by poor persons to the Indian Charity School in Lebanon, of which this is one.' Marks on other volumes show that Dr. Gifford was a contributor as well as a collector. Edinburgh, too [through Dr. Erskine], sent its offering of books, and as the struggling school came to be better known in England, through the commissioners sent to solicit aid, and through other sources, such gifts probably became not infrequent. The early history and intentions of the college were such as to particularly interest clergymen, and in proportion to their means they were doubtless the most generous givers of books. Their names written across fly-leaves show that many volumes, in different parts of New England, did service in their studies before finding a place in the college library. One of the most noteworthy of such benefactors was Rev. Diodate Johnson, of Millington, Conn., who, besides other gifts, in 1773 bestowed his entire library."

Nearly at the same period with Mr. Johnson's donation, Hon. John Phillips, of Exeter, made a handsome donation, for a philosophical apparatus. The subsequent appropriation of the money, for another purpose, compelled the college to dispense with this useful furniture for a considerable period.

The commencement of the Revolutionary struggle soon proved a serious embarrassment to President Wheelock: "The din of war drowned the feeble voice of science; men turned away from this 'school of the prophets' to hear tidings from the camp." But the heroic founder stood manfully at his post, faithfully performing his duty, with only brief interruptions, until, in the midst of that great conflict which made us a nation, he was called to his reward. He died, after a lingering illness, at Hanover, on the 24th of April, 1779. His first wife, Mrs. Sarah (Davenport) Maltby Wheelock, of the distinguished John Davenport family, died in Connecticut. His second wife, Mrs. Mary (Brinsmead) Wheelock, was spared to minister to the last earthly wants of her revered companion.

President Wheelock lived to see his earnest efforts to promote sound learning crowned with a good measure of success.

The graduates of this period attained such eminence, in nearly all the paths of professional usefulness, as to indicate most plainly that they had laid good foundations in college. They were honored as teachers, as divines, and as legislators. The condition of the college and the country gave them abundant opportunities for appreciating the inscription on the armor of the Dartmouth family: "Gaudet tentamine virtus."

Instead of burning the "midnight oil" of the modern student, they kept the midnight watch against savage foes, at least at certain periods. To us, this all looks like romance. To them, it was stern reality.

In a fitting tribute to President Wheelock,[31] Rev. Dr. Allen says:

[31] Sprague's Annals of the American Pulpit.

"If it should be asked what success attended the efforts of Dr. Wheelock to communicate the gospel to the Indian nations, it may be replied that he accomplished something for their benefit, and that great and insuperable obstacles in the providence of God prevented him from accomplishing more. It was soon after he sent out missionaries into the wilderness, that the controversy with Great Britain blighted his fair and encouraging prospects. During the last four years of his life there was actual war, in which many of the Indian tribes acted with the enemy. Yet the Oneidas, to whom Mr. Kirkland was sent as a missionary, kept the hatchet buried during the whole Revolutionary struggle, and by means of this mission, probably, were a multitude of frontier settlements saved from the tomahawk and the scalping-knife. But even if nothing had been accomplished for the benefit of the Indians, yet the zeal which chiefly sought their good, reared up a venerable institution of science, in which many strong minds have been disciplined and made to grow stronger, and nerved for professional toils and public labors, and in which hundreds of ministers have been nurtured for the church of Christ.

"For enlarged views and indomitable energy, and persevering and most arduous toils, and for the great results of his labors in the cause of religion and learning, Dr. Wheelock must ever be held in high honor. He early placed one great object before him, and that object held his undivided attention for nearly half a century. It is not easy to describe the variety of his cares and the extent of his toils. When he removed to Hanover his labors were doubled. The two institutions—the school and the college—were ever kept distinct; in both he was a teacher; of both he was the chief governor. He was also the preacher of the college and village. In the government of his school and college, Dr. Wheelock combined great patience and kindness with the energy of proper and indispensable discipline. He was of a cheerful and pleasant temper and manifested much urbanity in his deportment."

This clear and forcible language has additional weight when we consider, that, during nearly the whole period of his administration, he had only the aid of tutors, with no other professor.

President Wheelock's usefulness in the great field of education was not confined to the sons of the forest, during his residence in Connecticut. He sought out John Smalley, the son of one of his parishioners, in his humble home, prepared him for college, and thereby gave him the primary impulse and aid, without which one of New England's ablest theologians, and the teacher of others of widely extended influence, might have remained in life-long retirement. He took Samuel Kirkland, the son of a worthy but indigent brother in the ministry, and, to use his own language, "carried him" in his arms, till he had completed a thorough preparation for the ministry, and finally furnished him a wife from his own kindred and his own household. His distinguished beneficiary, beside all his other labors, laid the foundation of Hamilton College, and gave to Harvard the president of its "Augustan age," his son, John Thornton Kirkland. He left the impress of his intellectual and religious character upon his pupil, Benjamin Trumbull, the records of whose life give him a conspicuous place among the earnest preachers and careful historians of his day. The valuable influence of others of his early pupils will be felt in ever extending circles, down to "the last syllable of recorded time."

There was no need that Eleazar Wheelock should found a college at that advanced period of life when men naturally seek a measure of repose, in order to secure for his name an honorable position in the long and brilliant catalogue of American educators. The crowning act of his life, in the mellowed maturity of age, was scarcely more or less than the logical, inevitable result of what preceded it.

The scope of our work does not permit any extended eulogy of President Wheelock, nor any thorough analysis of his character. With a brief reference to some leading points, we must close the record.

He was eminent as a scholar. The constantly recurring and ever pressing duties of earnest and varied professional life, left him little leisure for indulging in the luxuries of mere aesthetic culture; but his active mind ranged widely through the realms of ancient and modern thought, and freely appropriated of the richest of their treasures.

He was eminent as an orator. His eloquence was not graced with the well-rounded periods of a Burke, or a Webster; but in many a village and hamlet, the burning words which fell from his lips stirred the hearts of men to their profoundest depths.

He was eminent as a teacher. Through life he gladly embraced every opportunity of opening the treasuries of knowledge to his fellow-men; and many who sat under his instruction were thereby laid under large obligations, although, in the rude halls of the infant college, he was always more or less embarrassed by the cares of business and the infirmities of advancing years.

He was eminent in affairs. He raised funds; procured corporate franchises and safeguards; leveled forests, and reared edifices in the face of apathy, opposition, and rivalry, with a fertility of resources in planning, and an energy in executing, which won the admiration of contemporaries in both hemispheres.

He was eminent as a patriot. When his faithful friend, the last Royal Governor of New Hampshire, upon whom through years of toil and trial he had leaned as upon a strong staff, abandoned his office, and resolutely adhered to his Sovereign, and many others to whom he was strongly attached, arrayed themselves on the same side, he as resolutely espoused the cause of American Independence, and labored to the extent of his ability for its accomplishment.

But neither the scholar, nor the orator, nor the teacher, nor the man of affairs, nor the patriot, nor all combined, would have secured to any man that conspicuous position upon the page of history which the leading founder of Dartmouth College will occupy, so long as solid worth and successful achievement shall command the attention of the discriminating, thoughtful reader.

Religion was the mainspring of his entire life, the real source of all his success. Without it, he might have been honored of men; with it, he was honored of God. Encircling all the separate parts of his character, like a golden chain, it bound them in one grand, beautiful, harmonious whole.

In the hallowed seclusion of that thrice-honored valley, where Jonathan Edwards was born and Thomas Hooker died,—on the western verge of that modest plain, where his long and fruitful life bore its latest, richest fruit,—his precious dust will slumber "till the heavens be no more," and not till then will the Christian scholar, who lingers among the hills of central New England, cease to pay his devotions at the grave of

Eleazar Wheelock.



CHAPTER X.

PROGRESS DURING THE ADMINISTRATION OF THE SECOND PRESIDENT, JOHN WHEELOCK.

The first President of the College, availing himself of a provision in the Charter, named three persons in his will, some one of whom he desired should be his successor in the office. These were his son, Mr. John Wheelock, Rev. Joseph Huntington, of Coventry, Conn., and Prof. Sylvanus Ripley. Mr. Wheelock, although a young man, in response to the somewhat earnest solicitation of the Trustees, after mature deliberation decided to accept the position. His son-in-law, Rev. Dr. Allen, gives the leading points in his earlier life in the following language:

"He was born [a son by the father's second marriage] at Lebanon, Conn., January 28, 1754, and graduated in Dartmouth's first class, in 1771. In 1772, he was appointed a tutor, and was devoted to the business of instruction until the beginning of the Revolution. In 1775, he was a member of the [N. H.] Assembly. In the spring of 1777, he was appointed a Major in the service of New York, and in November, a Lieutenant-colonel in the Continental army under Colonel Bedel. In 1778 he marched a detachment from Coos to Albany. By direction of Stark he conducted an expedition into the Indian country. At the request of General Gates, he entered his family, and continued with him, until he was recalled to Hanover by the death of his father, in 1779."

The following pages, extracted from the "Sketches of the History of Dartmouth College and Moor's Charity School," prepared and published under President Wheelock's sanction, are deemed worthy of insertion in this connection.

"The founder and first president spent nine years in planting and raising up a new society, in converting forests into fields,—supporting many youths on charity. Persevering through difficulties, without any stipend for his labors, the seminary grew in vital strength;—but destitute of patronage in America, its resources in Europe mostly expended, and the residue wholly obstructed, beset with calamities by the troubles and disasters of the Revolutionary War, it was reduced, in childhood, to nakedness and want, in the year 1779. Soon after the treasurer, making an estimate of the demands upon it, pronounced that all the property of the corporation, if sold at vendue, would not be sufficient to cancel its debts. Under these clouds, the successor of the founder came into office, with a humble sense of his duty, and a belief that God, who had protected and sustained the seminary in floods of trouble, would relieve and build it up. He solicited benefactions abroad for support of the charity youths of the school in 1780, 1781, and 1782.

"In the latter part of that year Dr. Wheelock, the president, set off for Europe. The Institution and his design were known, and sanctioned by very ample recommendations, unnecessary to be inserted here, issuing from the highest sources in America—from the President and a great majority of the members of Congress, in their official characters;—it ought to be recorded—from the Father of his Country, George Washington, who well knew Dr. Wheelock, while an officer in the Revolutionary War, and honored him with his particular notice and friendship; from many of the most celebrated generals of the army, and Governors of the different states, with introductory letters from the Chevalier de Luzerne, minister plenipotentiary from the court of Versailles, to Count de Vergennes, prime minister of France, from the Secretary of the United States, and other eminent characters to different parts of Europe.

"After some weeks spent in France, Dr. Wheelock, receiving introductory and friendly letters to Mr. Dumas, the American Charge d'Affaires, and others in Holland, from Dr. Franklin, and John Adams, proceeded to the Netherlands. A considerable sum was obtained in the Netherlands; but we omit a particular account of the respectful treatment and generous benefactions he received from the Prince of Orange and others high in office.

"Thence he embarked for Great Britain, partly with a view, much lessened by the public feelings from the Revolution in America, to obtain some new aids; but chiefly to reclaim and negotiate for the fund in Scotland, belonging to the school. It had been barred from before the death of his predecessor, whose bills were protested, and still lay with their charges unredeemed, besides large accounts for the support of Indian youths, without the means of payment, unless by exhausting the residue of the property of the college. He traveled from Poole to London, where he paid his first and grateful respects to the Earl of Dartmouth, Mr. John Thornton and others, who, being formerly of the Board of Trust, had been in friendly relations with the founder, and patronized and cherished the seminary, in the jeopardies of its infancy. With his eyes invariably on the object, by an introductory letter from Dr. Macclion, to Ralph Griffith, Esq., LL. D., he obtained friendly access to Mr. Straghn, member of parliament and the king's printer, and became acquainted with his son-in-law, Mr. Spotswood. This respected gentleman, largely connected, and concerned in the agencies of Scotland, took a benevolent and decisive part in consulting, and adopting measures to restore the fund, at Edinburgh, in the care of the Society, to its primitive channel. Communications were opened—the bills were paid; and the way prepared for future negotiations, till the Society were convinced of the justice of the claim. The money has since been applied to the support of the school in its original design; and arrearages of interest remitted to the president to cancel the debts overwhelming the seminary. He, also, while in England, as on the continent, procured some coins and articles appreciated by the virtuosi. By the benevolence of Paul Wentworth, Esq., Doctor Rose, and other friends to the college, some valuable philosophical instruments were obtained, and others promised, the making of which the two former kindly engaged to superintend, and forward the whole, so soon as completed, to America. A way, besides, was preparing to provide natural curiosities for a museum. Those instruments, with their additions, well constructed, forming an apparatus sufficient for all the more important experiments and observations in Natural Philosophy, afterwards arrived; and at the same time a curious and valuable collection of stones and fossils from India, and different parts of Europe, for the museums from the beneficent Mr. Forsythe, keeper of the king's gardens, at Kensington. All these with costs of transportation, were gifts received at the college, by the Trustees. Only a word more; a large and elegant gold medal was presented by Mr. Clyde of London, to Dr. Wheelock, in his official character. It is wholly irrelevant to our purpose, and needless to speak of the personal civilities and friendly notices of Lord Rawden, by whose goodness he was introduced at the House of Lords, of Sir John Wentworth, Sir J. Blois, Dr. Price, and others, besides those before mentioned.

"Within three months after the President's return (in 1784) the Board of Trustees convened and resolved, if sufficient means could be obtained, to erect an edifice of about one hundred and fifty by fifty feet, three stories in height, for the college, with convenient accommodations for the members. The president, professors, and some of the Trustees in the vicinity, were requested by the Board to solicit subscriptions for the purpose. They depended on Dr. Wheelock's exertions, he cheerfully undertook. By his arrangement and exertions, in that and the following year 1785, and by his agents, near fifteen thousand dollars were given but mostly subscribed to be paid, and chiefly by responsible men in different places. The subscriptions and payments were all put into the hands of the contractor. He commenced and carried on the building. But in 1786 he was unable to procure supplies and nothing but an immediate cessation of the business appeared. Dr. Wheelock afforded relief, by furnishing the joiners, about twenty in number, with sustenance through the season, and aiding in the collection of materials. In the succeeding years, the subscriptions and means in the hands of the contractor being exhausted, he procured by bills on Mrs. Wheelock's agent in the West Indies, and by a residue remitted from Holland and in other ways by his friends abroad, and his own donation of $333.00, all the glass, the nails, the vane and spire and other articles and some pay towards the labor. A bell he had by solicitation obtained before. By the seventh year from the beginning of its foundation, the edifice [Dartmouth Hall] was finished, and well prepared for the reception of the students. We will now return to trace another chain of operation.

"Dr. Wheelock, though not at the particular request of the Board, attended the Legislature of Vermont, June 14, 1785. He solicited; and they made a grant of a township [Wheelock], 23,040 acres, one half to the college and the other half to the school, to be free from all public taxes forever. As soon as practical he procured a survey, obtained a charter, and made calculations for its settlement. Families rapidly moved in, till near the number of one hundred. He disposed of a large part of the tract in small portions on long leases. A few years rent free, the annual product has been to the college and school, each, six hundred dollars.

"We now turn to the State of New Hampshire. Dr. Wheelock had applied, by the desire of the Board, to the General Court for a lottery, and obtained it; but from unexpected events not answering the purpose, they requested him in 1787 to present a memorial to the Legislature for another lottery under different modifications. Professor Woodward attended as agent—the design was effected, and the avails received by the Board.

"The pressure of demands on the college induced him to apply and attend the Legislature, in the month of January, 1739, for the charter of a tract of land on Connecticut river and near the northern confine of the State. A committee was appointed; occasional discussions arose for several days; the matter was finally brought before the House. The Senate and House of Representatives passed an act granting to the Trustees of Dartmouth College a valuable tract of eight miles square, about 42,000 acres adjoining north of Stewarts town. [Ebenezer Webster was the chairman of the Legislative committee recommending this grant.] The forcible and energetic eloquence of General Sullivan, that eminent commander in the Revolutionary War, in the debate on this subject cannot be forgotten. It drew him from his bed, amidst the first attacks of fatal disease—and it was the last speech which he ever made in public. This interesting grant scattered the clouds just bursting on the institution. It was now harrassed with heavy debts of an early standing in its losses at Landaff, which amounted to $30,000.

"At the time of obtaining the above grant, Dr. Wheelock also negotiated to recover the donation of $583, made by Dr. John Phillips, in 1772 [for a philosophical apparatus], to the college, and deposited in the hands of Governor Wentworth, which, after he left the country was considered, from his circumstances, as wholly lost. But Dr. Wheelock adopted measures and secured an account of the same and interest out of confiscated property $1,203, in notes and certificates, which he received of the Treasurer of the State, for the Trustees. He also received, about that period, $125, committed to his agency by the same great benefactor, in a particular conference to transact with the Board, said sum to be given in his name to them; only on the express condition, that they would agree to sequester with it his gift of about 4,000 acres of land by deed to them in 1781, as an accumulating fund for the express purpose of supporting a professor of Theology. They accepted the gift and sequestered the property on the terms of the donor.

"The president had taken into his own hands, at the desire of the Board, the management of the finances and external interest of the college, and continued to conduct, and regulate them, for five years, through its difficult and trying scenes. Having, besides what has been mentioned, among other arrangements, leased a number of lots permanently productive, secured the appropriation of several valuable tracts, in the vicinity of the college, to the use of professorships, and provided relief by obtaining the means to free the seminary from its weight of debts, he resigned to the Board, in August following, the particular charge of the finances, except retaining in trust the disposal of the college moiety of the township in Vermont till a few years after, when he had completed the proposed object of settling and leasing the same.

"The next year, 1790, there being no proper place for the public religious and literary exercises of the members of the seminary, the apartment of the old building falling into decay and ruin, he undertook, made arrangements, provided the means, and erected by contract, in five months, a chapel, near the new college edifice. It is fifty feet by thirty-six, of two stories height, arched within and completely finished, and painted without—convenient, and well adapted to the objects proposed.

"He caused a new building [for Moor's School] to be erected and finished, with a yard, in 1791—two stories high, the lower apartment convenient to accommodate near a hundred youths. The school was improved in the order and regulation of its members under the distinguished talents and fidelity of their instructor Mr. [Josiah] Dunham, the present Secretary of Vermont. At the request of the Society three years after it was visited by a committee of their Boston commissioners charged with the solution of a number of queries in regard to its state, relations, and property. Their favorable report was transmitted to Scotland.

"Of the large debts accumulated for the support of the school, in the latter years of the first president, to discharge the most pressing part, the Trustees had consented to the disposal of lands and property in their hands, hoping that the amount would be replaced. The advances, thus made, the president considered himself as holden in justice to refund; and accordingly paid them for the college, in the year 1793, $4,000, besides some items of small amount before. [Lands also appear to have been sold to aid in building Dartmouth Hall.]

"The Rev. Israel Evans [of Concord] at that time was a member of the Board. He had expressed more than once, in intimate conversation to Dr. Wheelock, their friendship having been long cemented in scenes of war and peace, his desire to do something for the good of mankind and the institution. He finally remarked, that he had made up his mind to sequester a portion of his property as the foundation for a professorship of eloquence; which he knew would also be agreeable to Mrs. Evans. Confined by sickness the succeeding year, at his earnest request, by a special message, the Doctor paid him a visit. The latter expressed in his family, his views and design; and receiving from the former an assent to his wishes to insert his name as one of the executors, proceeded in the full exercise of his mental faculties, to complete his will. Besides his bequests otherwise, he gave of money in the funds, and real estate, the amount of about $7,000, or upwards, in reversion to the Trustees of Dartmouth College, after the death of his wife, as a permanent fund for a professor of eloquence.

"About the same time, Dr. Wheelock attended the General Court, to open the way for their favorable attention to the important objects of the institution. Matters were in suspense till the next session in June 1807, when he again personally appeared before the Legislature. His memorial was considered, committed, and after report an act was made, granting to the Trustees of the college a township of the contents of six miles square, to be laid out on the border of the District of Maine, to the approbation of the Governor and Council. The land was surveyed: mostly an excellent tract, watered by a branch of the river Androscoggin running central through the whole, and near the northern turnpike road—he waited on them with the plan, and obtained their ratification in 1808."

The grant of Landaff to the college had great weight with President Wheelock, in deciding upon a location. But after he had expended several thousand dollars in improvements there, the title was found to be defective, and prior grantees secured the whole. In view of this loss, the State with commendable liberality made the above grants.

There seems to have been no material change in the policy of the college, or the course of study, in the earlier years of this administration.

The following items from the official records of the Trustees are worthy of notice, the first bearing date, August, 1794:

"Voted that those Freshmen who wish to be excused from going errands for other students be not obliged to go, and that those who do not go such errands have not afterwards the privilege of sending Freshmen.

"Adjourned Meeting, February, 1796. No person shall be admitted into the Freshman class unless he be versed in Virgil, Cicero's Select Orations, the Greek Testament, be able accurately to translate English into Latin, and also understands the fundamental rules of Arithmetic."[32]

[32] Memoirs of Wheelock.

The following statement was published in 1811:

"The immediate instruction and government of the students is with the president, who is also professor of civil and Ecclesiastical History, a professor of the Latin, Greek, Hebrew and Oriental Languages, a professor of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy, a professor of Divinity, and two tutors. The qualifications for admission into the Freshman class are, a good moral character, a good acquaintance with Virgil, Cicero's Select Orations, the Greek Testament, knowledge to translate English into Latin, and an acquaintance with the fundamental rules of Arithmetic. The members of the classes, in rotation, declaim before the officers in the chapel every Wednesday, at two o'clock, P. M.

"The Senior, Junior, and Sophomore classes, successively pronounce such orations and other compositions, written by themselves, as the president and professors shall direct, on the last Wednesday of November, the second Wednesday of March, and the third Wednesday of May. Tragedies, plays, and all irreligious expressions and sentiments are sacredly prohibited.

"The Languages, the Arts, and Sciences are studied in the following order: the Freshman Class study the Latin and Greek classics, Arithmetic, English Grammar and Rhetoric. The Sophomore Class study the Latin and Greek classics, Logic, Geography, Arithmetic, Geometry, Trigonometry, Algebra, Conic Sections, Surveying, Belles-lettres and Criticism. The Junior Class study the Latin and Greek classics, Geometry, Natural and Moral Philosophy, and Astronomy. The Senior Class read Metaphysics, Theology, and Natural and Political Law." Chemistry was introduced at about this period. "The study of the Hebrew and the other Oriental Languages, as also the French Language, is recommended to the students. Every week some part of the classes exhibits composition according to the direction of the authority. All the classes are publicly examined at stated periods; those who are found deficient lose their standing in the class. It is a fixed rule that the idle and vicious shall not receive the honors of college.

"The punishments inflicted on offenders are admonition, suspension and expulsion. The president attends morning and evening prayers with the students in the chapel, and often delivers lectures to them on ecclesiastical history, on the doctrines of the Christian religion, or other important subjects. He hears the recitations of the Senior class; his fund of general science renders this an interesting part of collegiate life."

Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12     Next Part
Home - Random Browse