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osity of the mother country, of the unanimity and harmony of Pennsylvania, and especially of the Catholic College of Philadelpbia, with vows for its continual prosperity and success. Baptist, as a friend of learning, as a hearty approver of a plan so free and open, I would add my wish, quod felix faustumque sit.'
Before he left England, Dr. Smith took measures to insure the perpetuation of that free and catholic plan' in the management of the College, which he had urged upon those to whom he applied for money as one of the very strongest reasons for its support. Just before he embarked, he went to his friend, Dr. Chandler, who thus writes : 'As there have been some suspicions entertained on both sides that the present constitution of the College may be altered, and the Professors and Masters, now of different denominations, in time may all be of one prevailing denomination, to the exclusion of those of the other, by the act and power of the prevailing party, and as Dr. Smith justly apprehended, this would be contrary to the intention of those who have contributed to the support of the College, who have been of all parties among us, and inconsistent with its prosperity, by his desire, I waited upon the good Archbishop of Canterbury. His Grace highly approved of the present plan upon which the College is established, and gave his opinion that the plan should be preserved without alteration.'
The receipt of the large fund collected in England, stimulated the desire of Dr. Smith and the Trustees to increase still farther the resources of the College. In the winter of 1771-2, Dr. Smith paid a visit to Charleston, South Carolina, and in the course of a few months, collected nearly a thousand guineas for the College, from the inhabitants of that city. On his return, he set on foot a subscription for the same object, in Philadelphia, and in a short time raised nearly £1,200, besides receiving subscriptions to a much larger amount, payable at a future time. At his suggestion, Dr. Morgan, one of the Professors in the Medical Faculty, applied to the people of the Island of Jamaica for contributions, and from them he received about £3,000. In looking back at this period of the history of the College, it is hard to say which most to admire, the liberality of its benefactors, or the intelligent zeal and enterprise of those who were then intrusted with the management of its affairs. There can be little doubt that had it not been for the calamities which befell all material interests growing out of the Revolution, the College of Philadelphia, and its successor, the University, would have been among the best endowed institutions in the country.
Part taken in the Struggle for Independence. Dr. Smith, from the personal kindness and hospitality extended to him in his repeated visits to the mother country, and the correspondence maintained with men of science, and dignitaries of the English Church, entered slowly and reluctantly into measures which were calculated to exasperate and prevent reconciliation.
In the measures which culminated in the Declaration of Independence, and the maintenance of that declaration by military force, Dr. Smith's course was patriotic, but not aggressive. On the great principle of resistance to all taxation by stamps or otherwise, save through the Colonial legislatures, he planted himself early and firmly. In reference to the appeal of the town of Boston for sympathy and coöperation, in 1774, on the passage of the Boston Port Bill, the answer of Philadelphia, drawn up by Dr. Smith, was not as positive and warm as the Bostonians expected, but was, doubtless, the expression of the public sentiment, which, in Philadelphia, was decidedly in favor of moderate measures and did not anticipate separation. As a member of the Provincial Convention of 1744, he openly advocated armed resistance, should the measures of the ministry be persisted in, and on the 23d of June, 1775, he preached a sermon before a revolution corps, under the command of Colonel Cadwallader, which was printed, and produced a great sensation in England for the strong ground on which he placed the duty of resistance to any further encroachment on the constitutional rights of the Colonies. In pursuance of a resolution of the Continental Congress, in January, 1776, he delivered an oration in commemora. tion of the gallant services of General Montgomery, his officers and men, who fell in the unsuccessful storming of Quebec, but he still counseled moderation, and prayed for the restoration of the former harmony between Great Britain and these Colonies. Such counsel and such prayers were not in unison with the views of John Adams and the more advanced spirits of the period, and with them he lost position and influence. In a letter addressed to the Bishop of London, in June, 1775, and signed by all the Episcopal clergymen of Pennsylvania, he says, “We are not backward to say that our consciences will not permit us to injure the rights of this country.' Its inhabitants are entitled, as well as their brethren in England, to the privilege of granting their own money, and any attempt to deprive them of it will be found abortive in the end, or be attended with evils which will infinitely outweigh all the benefits to be obtained by it.' In a note addressed to Lady Juliana Penn, in March,
1776, he says: "God grant that the terms [the Commissioners then expected from England] may have to offer may be proper, and that reconciliation may take place. This was in harmony with the views of the Assembly, as expressed in June, 1776—We are for reconciliation with Great Britain, if consistent with the happiness of these Colonies. But our choice must be determined by the overruling law of self-preservation.'
In the first Constitution of Pennsylvania, he drew the provisions by which all property devoted to 'pious and charitable uses,' that is, for the support of Churches, Colleges, and Hospitals, are protected from legislative interference. They were presented by Dr. Franklin, and read as follows:
All useful learning shall be duly encouraged and promoted in one or more Universities.'
* All religious societies or bodies of men heretofore united or incorporated for the advancement of religion and learning, and other pious and charitable purposes, shall be encouraged and protected in the enjoyment of the privileges, immunities, and estates which they were accustomed to enjoy, or could of right have enjoyed under the laws and former Constitution of this State.'
These provisions, although not sufficient to protect the institution in its chartered privileges from temporary invasion, were efficacious in preserving the funds from misappropriation and waste, and in the end of confirming all its ancient powers under a new name and on a wider and firmer base, as will be seen from the sequel of this narrative copied from Dr. Stille's Memoir.
The College during the Revolutioni The large fund collected by Dr. Smith in England had been increased, as has been stated, by contributions in Jamaica, in Carolina, and in Philadelphia. The reputation of the institution had never been higher; the number of pupils in all the departments being, in the year 1773, nearly three bundred. Its financial concerns were at last upon a sound footing, and their condition was constantly improving, one proof of which is found in the ability of the Corporation to erect, in the year 1774, the large house still standing at the south-west corner of Fourth and Arch streets for the residence of the Provost. The high standing of the College was maintained by the instructions of Professors of wellestablished reputation throughout the Colonies, and of long experience in this particular institution. Dr. Smith gave lectures in the Mathematics, Natural Philosophy, Astronomy, and Rhetoric; Dr. Alison, in Logic, Metaphysics, and Moral Philosophy, besides having charge of the instruction in the higher Classics; Mr. Davidson was the Professor of Ancient Languages; Mr. Kinnersley, who for twenty years had been Professor of English and Oratory, had just resigned, and Mr. Paul Fooks was Professor of French and Spanish. Besides, there was a Medical School, even then giving promise of its future reputation, under Drs. Morgan, Shippen, Kuhn, Rush, and Bond. *
* In order to show the relative position occupied by the College of Philadelphia before the Revolution, it may be worth while to state the nature and extent of the instruction given at Harrard College at the same period.
*The first Professor in that College, the Hollis Professor of Divinity, was appointed in 1721. Down to the commencement of the nineteenth century only two additional Professors were appointed in the Undergraduate Department, viz., the Hollis Professor of Mathematics and
The College had acquired such a national reputation that the Annual Commencement, held May 17, 1775, was attended by the Continental Congress in a body, and by General Washington, who had just been appointed Commanderin-Chief, and was on his way to take command of the army before Boston.
The College exercises were continued until the close of June, 1777, although, of course, with a decreasing number of students. From that time until September, 1778, the College was closed, and the Professors dispersed, Dr. Smith retiring to his farm near Norristown, where he remained during the occupation of the city by the British Army.
On the re-opening of the Schools pupils soon flocked to them, so that in the beginning of the year 1779 there were in all more than two hundred, the greater portion of them, however, in the lower departments.
On the 23d of February, 1779, the Assembly of the State passed the following resolution:
Ordered, that Mr. Clymer, Mr. Mark Bird, Mr. Hoge, Mr. Gardiner, and Mr. Knox be a Committee to inquire into the present state of the College and Academy of Philadelphia, its rise, funds, &c., and report thereon to the House, and that they be empowered to send for
This Committee was met by a Committee of the Board of Trustees, who on the 16th of March, 1779, delivered to them an elaborate statement prepared by Dr. Smith, containing a complete history of the College. It was designed to meet, and it did meet fully, every objection which had been made against the Institution by ill-disposed persons.
The Committee of the Assembly made no report. In deference to the expressed opinion of the President of the State [Gen. Reed] no Commencement was held in July (1779), and in September, General Reed again called the attention of the Assembly to the College. The Committee, to whom the message was referred, reported in favor of 'a reorganization of the College, by which every denomination of Christians will be represented, the interests of American liberty and independence will be advanced, and obedience to the Constitution of the State pursued.'
A Bill was accordingly brought in, and on the 27th of November, 1779, was enacted into a law, declaring the Charter of 1755 void, dissolving the Board of Trustees and the Faculty, and vesting the College estates in a new Board of Trustees composed of certain State officials, of the senior Clergymen of each of the principal religious denominations in the city, and of sundry other persons who were conspicuous members of the political party which at that time controlled the State. The Act provided also that the Council should reserve for the use of the new Institution, which was called "The University of the State of Pennsylvania,' £1,500 a year from the proceeds of the confiscated estates.
[After a careful examination of the reasons set forth for this Act, Dr. Stillé adds :-)
We are, therefore, compelled to conclude that the conduct of the Assembly rested upon no legal authority, nor upon the broader ground of an overruling necessity; but that it is the most striking instance of the baneful effects of an unscrupulous party spirit recorded in our State history. Its object was to strike down and disfranchise the purest and best men in the community, associated in
Natural Philosophy in 1728, and the Hancock Professor of Hebrew in 1765. Accordingly, almost all the regular instruction by recitation was still given by Tutors, the practice having been introduced of appointing a Tutor to ench class, and as these officers often held the place but one year, and seldom more than three years, and instructed not in one branch only, but in four or five, it is obvious how inadequate the instruction must bave been.'- Report of Overseers of Harvard College, 1869.
an undertaking which had brought nothing but honor and advantage to the State. To conciliate the unthinking masses, and as some apology for the spoilation; a pretense was made of establishing a new Institution upon a broader basis than the old, and the cheap device was resorted to of endowing it with the proceeds of the confiscated estates. One of the complaints against the old College had been, that it had never applied to the State authorities for money, and it was thought that the prosperity of the new, was certainly assured by the Legislative grant of £1,500 a year. But it never prospered. The original taint of its birth seems to have poisoned all its sources of growth, so that on the 22d of August, 1791, just before its dissolution, when the College estates had been restored to their rightful owners, its debts are stated in a minute of that date to be £5,187, nearly all due to the Professors for arrears of salary, while its resources from its income were: 'Debts recoverable by next March, say £2,000; due from the State, £375.'
He must indeed have been a bold and sanguine man who thought it possible to establish, with any chance of success, a new College in this state in the year 1779. In the very crisis of the Revolution, with the fortune of every man who had been engaged in trade ruined by the worthlessness of the currency, with the cost of living increased in the proportion of sixty to one, with every nerve strained to keep up the sinking fortunes of the war, with dissensions among the best men in the State more bitter than their hatred of the common enemy; with the belief among nearly all who had been real supporters of learning that the Charter had been taken away from party malice, and that the new institution would be managed in such a way as to subserve party ends; above all, with the ever present consciousness, that the money they were using did not belong to them in law or morals, it is not to be wondered at that the projectors of the new establishment soon found that they had been building upon the sand. There was certainly but one man living in this State, at that time, who could have carried even an old College successfully through the dangers which threatened the interests of learning during the Revolution, and for ten years afterward, and that was the very man whom a blind party zeal had driven from his post. When we consider what Dr. Smith did for those interests during the twenty-five years in which they had been in his special charge, we may form some estimate of the loss sustained, both by the College and the State, by the forced employment of the remaining twenty-five years of bis life in other pursuits.
As the removal of Dr. Smith was, no doubt, the great object aimed at in the abrogation of the Charter, so he was the chief victim of that measure. He had to mourn not merely, in common with all his friends, that the work he had been so long painfully building up was in ruin, and that the pledges which he had given as to the management of the funds which he had collected were shame. fully violated, but he was ejected from his office, and without the means of supporting his family.
But that party ceased to reign in 1783, and Dr. Smith lost no time in seeking justice at the hand of those who took its place. At the September session, 1784, the Trustees and Dr. Smith presented their petition to the Assembly, asking that so much of the Act of 1779, which took away their estates and fran. chises, should be repealed. The Committee to whom the matter was referred made a report favoring the application, and brought in a Bill granting it. But when the Bill was about to pass, the minority left the House in modern phrase, 'bolted'), and thus dissolved the Assembly. The matter lingered for several years, and until March 6, 1789, when the Assembly passed the Bill, the preamble to it stating as the reason for its action that the Act of 1779 was 'repugnant to justice, a violation of the Constitution of this Commonwealth, and dangerous in its precedent to all incorporated bodies, and to the rights and franchise thereof.''
The College was soon after opened with Dr. Smith as Provost; but the friends of both institutions were satisfied that a consolidation would advance the interests of good learning, and on the petition of the Trustees of the Academy and College of Philadelphia,