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Probably what she and others called a calamity, was a blessing to her. She had fortitude to bear the trial, and the wisdom to improve the reflective and meditative powers of her mind, far beyond what the fashionable and gossiping woman attains. Deafness is an admirable remedy for insincerity, shallowness, and foolish talking. It sifts what we hear and compels us to say what is worth attention. Her infirmity made her timid; none bat most intimate friends could know her. Among strangers she was reserved and somewhat suspicious; but with friends she was easy, dignified, self-possessed, and revealed powers of mind and heart above the average woman.
In conversation her words were always refined, appropriate, sensible. She displayed taste in works of art, dress, furniture, and the arrangement of her home.
She was a woman of tender sensibilities. Scenes of sorrow affected her deeply. Ordinarily she could not hear the tale of woe, but when she did hear it, she was ready to help. She often heard the remark, "poverty is a sin;' but she did not believe it. Her heart was alive to want and pain, and her only question was how to relieve them best. She was patriotic, and both worked with her own hands, and gave money, to relieve the suffering soldiers and their families, in the late war.
She bad firm convictions as to the worth of the Bible in a system of education. In it, she believed, is the only perfect rule of moral daty, its truths are purifying and ennobling, healthful and inspiring, the only safe chart for life, and the only revelation of the future; while the character and life of Christ are our never failing example. She often referred with admiration to the words of Sir William Jones: The Bible contains more true sublimity, more. exquisite beauty, more pure morality, more important history, and finer strains of poetry and eloquence, than can be collected from all other books, in whatever age or language they have been written.' Women, especially, should be taught to understand and love the Bible, for it is their charter of liberty, their bill of rights. She hoped the Bible would be studied in the Hebrew and Greek in her College, so that lady missionaries and Sabbath-school teachers could draw
up the waters of life from the original fountains. During the last years of her life, the principle of benevolence developed rapidly in her. She subscribed five thousand dollars toward the Massachusetts Agricultural College, if located in Northampton; three hundred dollars for the young people's Literary Association in her town; thirty thousand dollars for the endowment of a professorship in Andover Theological Seminary; one thousand dollars toward an organ for the church in her town, besides smaller gifts of fifty and twenty dollars to numerous objects. Her contributions to the ordinary benevolent objects of the church increased much during her later years. She gave to them all, Home Missions and Foreign Missions, the Bible Society and Tract Society, the Seamen and the Freedmen, to all the objects presented.
It should be stated that Miss Smith providentially, and very unexpectedly, came into possession of the principal portion of her property. Her brother Austin died on the 8th of March, 1861, aged seventy years, leaving to her his estate, appraised at two hundred thousand dollars. He was a man of extraordinary natural gifts and powers. He would often sit in his pew on the Sabbath and weep like a child when the tender themes of the gospel were preached. His eye keen and penetrating, his mind discriminating and acute, his countenance full of energy and decision, his form erect even in age, he might have been one of nature's noblemen, a support of the church, a pillar of state, loved and revered by all. God permitted him to gather the gold, preparing, all the while, the heart of a devout and Christ-loving sister to dispense it.
After two months of hard study and careful deliberation her first Will was made, appropriating seventy-five thousand dollars to an Academy in Hatfield, one hundred thousand dollars to a Deaf-Mutę institution in Hatfield, and fifty thousand dollars to a Scientific School in connection with Amherst College. Then this Commonwealth had no deaf-mute institution. At that time (1861) Miss Smith considered a plan for a Woman's College, and did not adopt it, mainly because her funds were not sufficient to warrant it. Thus the idea of a Woman's College was early a favorite one with her. Ever after this she conversed on the education of
eagerly read articles on the subject. She had a deep and abiding faith in woman, believed there was a wider field of usefulness and a richer and ampler education for her, than she had yet enjoyed. She would not make her unwomanly, not in any sense render her masculine, but allow her the right and privilege of being a complete woman. Educate her, not as a man nor to be a man, but as a woman and to be a woman. She often said, “There is no justice in denying wor equal educational advantages with men;' •We should educate the whole woman, physical, intellectual, moral, spiritual;' Educated Christian women will sweep the filth out of our literature ;' Women are the natural educators and physicians of the race, and they ought to be fitted for their work;' Home is woman's throne; on it she should wield the scepter of love, knowledge, and virtue.' When told that women could not study, she would reply, “Study is as healthy as any work, if prosecuted wisely, i. e. according to the laws of our constitution. When told that educated women do not make good wives and mothers, she would say, "Then they are wrongly educated, --some law is violated in the process.' She did not believe in co-education; it lacks adaptation. She claimed that there is a woman's sphere in life and a man's sphere, and each should be fitted for his own. She never asked whether woman is equal to man, or superior,—no more than whether a tree is equal or superior to a rose,-make each perfect after its kind, and you realize the thought of God. She did not believe in woman's suffrage; that would infringe upon God's plan of the family as the unit in society.
It is not strange, therefore, that Miss Smith was ready to adopt the plan of a Woman's College, when in 1867, Mr. John Clarke of Northampton, by a liberal donation, supplied the need of a DeafMute institution for this Commonwealth. As she studied and understood more perfectly the idea of the College, her mind fixed upon it with increasing delight; not merely to perpetuate her name, but because she believed that this was the wisest and most beneficent way of appropriating her property. It required arguments and some pleading to make her willing to have the College bear the name of Smith. She was afraid people would call her selfish. She rose above self, and prayerfully and conscientiously aimed to do the most good to the greatest number. · The College became to her a delightful subject of thought, of private conversation, and study. She often considered whether she should not put all her funds into it. The last question she ever asked me, only a month before her death-she had asked it fifty times before-was: “Don't you think I had better put the seventyfive thousand dollars of Academy money into the College ?' Without any doubt, the firmness of Dea. Geo. W. Hubbard and one other person, and their loyalty to the interests of Hatfield, secured to that town the munificent bequest by which, during all time they will be blessed with a superior and self-supporting school for their youth, which school will be the ornament and pride of their village.
Miss Smith died June 12, 1870, aged seventy-four years. Her remains lie in the cemetery in Hatfield, under a simple inounment of her own erecting. This College at Northampton, and its graduates, will carry her name into the future of the whole country.
OLIVER SMITH AND THE SMITH CHARITIES.* This large and comprehensive system of charities was founded by Oliver Smith, Esq., of Hatfield, who died Dec. 22, 1845. His estate was valued, at the time of his death, at $370,000. In his will, he directed that a board of trustees should be constituted in the following manner: The towns of Northampton, Hadley, Hatfield, Amherst, and Williamsburg, in Hampshire County, and Deerfield, Greenfield, and Whately, in Franklin County, shall choose at each annual meeting a person who shall be called an elector. The electors were to choose three persons who should constitute a board of trustees, who were to have the control and management of all the funds. He then set apart the sum of $200,000, which was to be managed by the Trustees as an accumulating fund, till it should amount to the sum of $400,000. This accumulated fund was then to be divided into three district funds: One, of $30,000, to found the Smith Agricultural School,' at Northampton; the second, of $10,000, the income to be paid to the American Colonization Society, under certain restrictions; the third, of $360,000, for indigent boys, indigent female children, indigent young women, and indigent widows. The remaining portion of his property was constituted a contingent fund, to defray expenses and keep the principal funds entire.
The fund of $30,000, to establish the Agricultural School, was to be kept as an accumulating fund for the period of sixty years from his death, when the school should be established within the town of Northampton. This fund will become available in the year 1905.
The income of the fuud of $10,000 for the Colonization Society was to be used in transporting persons of color from the United States to the colony of Liberia, or such other place as the society might select. There was a provision, however, that if the society should neglect to make due application for the fund for six months after having been notified that it was ready for distribution, they should forfeit their claim and the money should be incorporated with the agricultural school fund. The required notification was given by the trustees, but the society neglected to apply within the specified time, and the legacy was added to the school fund. The society brought suit to recover it, but the case was decided by the Supreme Judicial Court in favor of the trustees.
The remaining fund of $360,000 was called the joint or miscellaneous fund, and was divided so that one-half the income should be applied for the benefit of indigent boys, who, after having been bound out and served satisfactorily til twenty-one years old, should receive a loan of $500 for five years, to become a gift at the end of that time. The income of one quarter of the fund was appropriated to the use and benefit of indigent female children. They were to be bound out till eighteen years of age, and at the time of their marriage were to receive the sum of $300 as a marriage portion. The income of one eighth part of this fund was appropriated to the benefit of indigent young women, in sums
• Oliver Smith was born in Hatfield, Mass., in January, 1766, and followed the occupation of a farmer through lifelling the office of local magistrate for forty years, twice represented his town in the Legislature; and in 1820, was a member of the Constitutional Convention. In his life-time he was a liberal giver to all religious charities, helped many poor girls to marringe portions, and built two district school-houses. His will was contested, and in the last argument before the Supreme Court of the State, Daniel Webster and Rufus Choate were employed as counsel-the former for, and the latter against its validity. The jury were unanimous in their verdict that the will was attested by three competent witnesses.
of $50 as marriage portions. The income of the remaining one eighth part was to be paid to indigent widows, in sums of not more than $50 to any one person in one year. The beneficiaries were to be confined to the eight towns above enumerated, but in case of there being at any time a surplus income, beneficiaries might be selected from any other towns in the county.
The heirs-at-law contested the will, and the case came before the Supreme Judicial Court, in this town, July 6, 1847. The objection to the will was that one of the attesting witnesses, Theophilus Parsons Phelps, was incompetent on account of insanity. Two days were occupied in the trial, Rufus Choate arguing the case for the heirs-at-law, and Daniel Webster for the will. The courthouse was crowded to overflowing, and ladders were put up to the windows, so eager were the people to see and hear the great orators. The jury brought in a verdict sustaining the will.
In May, 1848, the board of trustees was organized, and Osmyn Baker was chosen president, which position he continued to hold till May, 1871, when failing health compelled him to resign, and Geo. W. Hubbard was chosen. The sum paid over to the trustees by the executor of the will, at the time of the organization of the board, was $419,221.16; of this, $214,000 composed the joint fund, and $205,221.16 the contingent fund. The joint fund reached the required amount of $400,000, October 1st, 1859. The several charities under it were put in operation at that time, and have since continued to spread their blessings over the community.
The value of this bequest to the several towns does not consist wholly in the charity extended to their citizens, for it forms a constantly increasing source of taxation. It was the desire of the testator that the property should not be taxed, and in the will be advised the incorporation of the charities, and requested the trustees to endeavor to obtain their exemption from taxation. The act of incorporation was granted at the session of 1849, but the Legislature refused to exempt the property from taxation. On the contrary, provision was made that the fund should be taxed equally by the interested towns. The fund is therefore divided into eight equal parts, each portion being taxed in accordance with the rate of taxation in the town to which it is apportioned. The act of incorporation was accepted by the trustees in April, 1849.
In 1865, the trustees decided to erect the building in which their offices are (1875) located. It is 52 by 30 feet, built of Portland stone, is a handsome and commodious structure, and cost $30,000.
The magnitude of this system of charities may be seen in the increase of the funds, in the amounts paid for various purposes, and in the number of the different classes of our citizens who bave been the recipients of the bounties dis. bursed. In October, 1848, the funds amounted to $419,221.16. During the twenty-seven years which have elapsed since that time, they have increased nearly 250 per cent. The amount of all the property on the first of May last, was $1,033,357.26. The enormous probable development, as well as the great future usefulness of these charities, can thus readily be seen. The amounts already paid will be seen by the following figures. It should be remembered that the payments to the 'indigent,' did not commence till 1859, and consequently the most important part of the system has been in operation but sixteen years. The other expenditures commenced when the institution was organized: