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the bulk of his property for the endowment of an institution of some kind for the benefit of Philadelphia.
The minor bequests were speedily arranged, though they were numerous and well considered. He left to the Pennsylvania Hospital, thirty thousand dollars; to the Deaf and Dumb Asylum, twenty thousand; to the Orphan Asylum, ten thousand; to the Lancaster public schools, the same sum; the same for providing fuel for the poor in Philadelphia; the same to the Society for the Relief of Distressed Sea Captains and their families; to the Freemasons of Pennsylvania, for the relief of poor members, twenty thousand; six thousand for the establishment of a free school in Passyunk, near Philadelphia; to his surviving brother, and to his eleven nieces, he left sums varying from five thousand dollars to twenty thousand; but to one of his nieces, who had a very large family, he left sixty thousand dollars. To each of the captains who had made two voyages in his service, and who should bring in his ship safely into port, he gave fifteen hundred dollars; and to each of his apprentices, five hundred. To his old servants, he left annuities of three hundred and five hundred dollars each. A portion of his valuable estates in Louisiana he bequeathed to the corporation of New Orleans, for the improvement of that city. Half a million he left for certain improvements in the city of Philadelphia; and to Pennsylvania, three hundred thousand dollars for her canals. The whole of the residue of his property, worth then about six millions of dollars, he devoted to a College for Orphans.
He directed that the buildings should be constructed of the most durable materials, avoiding useless ornament, attending chiefly to the strength, convenience, and neatness of the whole.' That, at least, is plain. He then proceeded to direct precisely what materials should be used, and how they should be used; prescribing the number of buildings, their size, the number and size of the apartments in each, the thickness of each wall, every detail of construction, giving as he would have given it to a builder. He then gave briefer directions as to the management of the institution. The orphans were to be plainly but wholesomely fed, clothed, and lodged; instructed in the English branches, in geometry, natural philosophy, the French and Spanish languages, and whatever else might be deemed suitable and beneficial to them. “I would have them,' says the will, “taught facts and things, rather than words or signs.' At the conclusion of the course, the pupils were to be apprenticed to suitable occupations, as those of agriculture, naviga
tion, arts, mechanical trades, and manufactures.' The most remarkable passage of the will is the following:
I enjoin and require that no ecclesiastic, missionary, or minister of any sect whatsoever, shall ever hold or exercise any station or duty whalever in the said College; nor shall any such person ever be admitted for any purpose, or as a visitor, within the premises appropriated to the purpose of the said College. In making this restriction, I do not mean to cast any reflection upon any sect or person whatsoever; but as there is such a multitude of sects, and such a diversity of opinion amongst them, I desire to keep the tender minds of the orphans, who are to derive advantage from this bequest, free from the excitement which clashing doctrines and sectarian controversy are so apt to produce; my desire is, that all the instructors and teachers in the College shall take pains to instill into the minds of the scholars the purest principles of morality, so that, on their entrance into active life, they may, from inclination and habit, evince benevolence toward their fellow-creatures, and a love of truth, sobriety, and industry, adopting at the same time such religious tenets as their matured reason may enable them to prefer.
When Mr. Duane had written this passage at Girard's dictation, a conversation occurred between them, which revealed, perhaps, one of the old gentleman's reasons for inserting it. What do you think of that?' asked Girard. Mr. Duane, being unprepared to
? comment upon such an unexpected injunction, replied, after a long pause, 'I can only say now, Mr. Girard, that I think it will make a great sensation.' Girard then said, 'I can tell you something else it will do,-it will please the Quakers.' He gave another proof of his regard for the Quakers by naming three of them as the executors of bis will; the whole number of the executors being five.
In February, 1830, the will was executed, and deposited in Mr. Girard's iron safe. None but the two men who had drawn the will, and the three men who witnessed the signing of it, were aware of its existence; and none but Girard and Mr. Duane had the least knowledge of its contents. There never was such a keeper of his own secrets as Girard, and never a more faithful keeper of other men's secrets than Mr. Duane. And here we have another illustration of the old man's character. He had just signed a will of unexampled liberality to the public; and the sum which he gave the able and devoted lawyer for his three weeks' labor in drawing it was three hundred dollars !
Girard lived nearly two years longer, always devoted to business, and still investing his gains with care. An accident in the street gave a shock to his constitution, from which he never fully recovered; and in December, 1831, when he was nearly eighty-two years of age, an attack of influenza terminated his life. True to his principles, he refused to be cupped, or to take drugs into his system, though both were prescribed by a physician whom he respected.
STEPHEN GIRARD'S WILL AND LEGAL PROCEEDINGS RESPECTING THE SAME.*
The last Will of Stephen Girard was dated on the 16th of Feb., 1830, with two Codicils and Republications of Dec. 25, 1830, and June 20, 1831, and was proved Dec. 3, 1831. The Executors of his Will, appointed by Mr. Girard, were Timothy Paxson, Thomas P. Cope, Joseph Roberts, William J. Duane, and John. A. Barclay—all personal friends.
After giving, in particular legacies, to and for various persons and purposes, an aggregate sum of between three and four hundred thousand dollars, all of them evidences either of personal regard, or of good-will to benevolent institutions in the City of Philadelphia, he devised to the Mayor, Aldermen, and Citizens of the City of Philadelphia, the entire residuo of his great estate, real and personal, upou different trusts, which may be generally described as follows:
I. The first, or leading trust, as to two millions of dollars, was the erection of a College, and other necessary out-buildings, for the residence and accomodation of at least three hundred (orphan) scholars, of the description and character set forth in his Will; with a dedication of the income of the whole of his remaining estate, after deducting two further legacies of 500,000 and 300,000 dollars, to the extension of the College, if it should be necessary in certain events.
In the body of his Will, he directed that this College and out-buildings, and such others as in the event contemplated might become necessary, should be erected on a square of ground of which he was the owner, in the City of Phil. adelphia, being the entire square which lies between Chestnut and High, or Market strect, and extends from Eleventh to Twelfth street. By the Codicil of 20th of June, 1831, he substituted for the square, an estate of forty-five acres and somo perches of land, called Peel Hall, on the Ridge Road, in Penn Township, and devoted it for the Orphan establishment, in the same manner as he had devoted the square.
The description of the principal structure, or College, is given in his Will, with great particularity, but it is unnecessary to give it here, as no question whatever in this case turned upon it. The out-buildings his Will does not describe, further than by his saying that there should be at least four of them, detached from the main edifice and from each other, and in such positions as should at once answer the purposes of the institution, and be consistent with the symmetry of the whole establishment. Each building, he says, should be as far as practicable devoted to a distinct purpose; and in that one or more of those buildings in which they might be most useful, he directed his executors to place his plate, and furniture of every sort.
The directions in regard to the maintenance of the College and its pupils, it is proper to insert at length, as in a great degree the controversy turned upon them. After terminating his directions as to the College and out-buildings, and the square, the twenty-first clause of the Will proceeds as follows:
When the College and appurtenances shall have been constructed, and supplied with plain and suitable furniture and books, philosophical and experimental instruments and apparatus, and all other matters needful to carry my general design into execution, the income, issues, and profits of so much of the said sum
* This account is abridged from a volume printed by order of the Commissioners of the Girard Estates. Philadelphia: 1854.
of two millions of dollars as shall remain unexpended, shall be applied to maintain the said College according to my directions.
1. The institution shall be organized as soon as practicable; and to accom. plish that purpose more effectually, due public notice of the intended opening of the College shall be given, so that there may be an opportunity to make se. lections of competent instructors and other agents, and those who may have the charge of the orphans may be aware of the provisions intended for them.
2. A competent number of instructors, teachers, assistants, and other necessary agents, shall be selected, and when needful, their places from time to time supplied. They shall receive adequate compensation for their services; but no person shall be employed who shall not be of tried skill in his or her proper department, of established moral character, and in all cases persons shall be chosen on account of their merit, and not through favor or intrigue.
3. As many poor white male orphans, between the ages of six and ten years, as the said income shall be adequate to maintain, shall be introduced into the College as soon as possible; and from time to time, as there may be vacancies, or as increased ability from income may warrant, others shall be introduced.
4. On the application for admission, an accurate statement should be taken in a book prepared for the purpose, of the name, birthplace, age, health, condi. tion as to relatives, and other particulars useful to be known of each orphan.
5. No orphan should be admitted until the guardians or directors of the poor, or a proper guardian, or other competent authority, shall have given, by indenture, relinquishment, or otherwise, adequate power to the Mayor, Aldermen, and Citizens of Philadelphia, or to directors, or others by them appointed to inforce, in relation to each orphan, every proper restraint, and to prevent relatives or others from interfering with, or withdrawing such orphan from the institution.
6. Those orphans, for whose admission application shall be first made, shall be first introduced, all other things concurring; and at all future times, priority of application shall entitle the applicant to preference in admission, all other things concurring; but if there shall be, at any time, more applicants than vacancies, and the applying orphans shall have been born in different places, a preference shall be given-First
, to orphans born in the City of Philadelphia ; Secondly, to those born in any other part of Pennsylvania; Thirdly, to those born in the City of New York (that being the first port on the continent of North America at which I arrived); and Lastly, to those born in the City of New Orleans, being the first port on the said continent at which I first traded, in the first instance as first officer, and subsequently as master and part owner of a vessel and cargo.
7. The orphans admitted into the College shall be there fed with plain but wholesome food, clothed with plain but decent apparel, (no distinctive dress ever to be worn) and lodged in a plain but safe manner: due regard shall be paid to their health, and to this eud their person and clothes shall be kept clean, and they shall have suitable and rational exercise and recreation. They shall be instructed in the various branches of a sound education, comprehending reading, writing, grammar, arithmetic, geography, navigation, surveying, practical mathematics, astronomy, natural, chemical, and experimental philosophy, the French and Spanish languages, (I do not forbid, but I do not recommend the Greek and Latin languages) and such other learning and science as the ca. pacities of the several scholars may merit or warrant. I would have them taught facts and things, rather than words or signs; and especially I desire, that by every proper means a pure attachment to our republican institutions and to the sacred rights of conscience, as guaranteed by our happy constitu. tions, shall be formed and fostered in the minds of the scholars.
8. Should it unfortunately happen, that any of the orphans admitted into the College shall, from mal-conduct, have become unfit companions for the rest, and mild means of reformation prove abortive, they should no longer remain therein.
9. Those scholars who shall merit it, shall remain in the College until they shall respectively arrive at between fourteen and eighteen years of age; they shall then be bound out by the Mayor, Aldermen, and Citizens of Philadelphia, or under their direction, to suitable occupations—as those of agriculture, naviga. tion, arts, mechanical trades, and manufactures, according to the capacities and
acquirements of the scholars respectively, consulting, as far as prudence shall justify it, the inclinations of the several scholars, as to the occupation, art, or trade to be learned.
In relation to the organization of the College and its appendages. I leave, necessarily, many details to the Mayor, Aldermen, and Citizens of Philadelphia, and their successors; and I do so with the more confidence, as from the nature of my bequests, and the benefit to result from them, I trust that my fellow-citizens of Philadelphia will observe and evince especial care and anxiety in selecting members for their City Councils and other agents.
There are, however, some restrictions, which I consider it my duty to prescribe, and to be amongst others, conditions on which my bequest for said College is made and to be enjoyed, namely:-Firstly, I enjoin and require, that if, at the close of any year, the income of the fund devoted to the purposes of the said College shall be more than sufficient for the maintenance of the insti. tution during that year, then the balance of the said income, after defraying such maintenance, shall be forthwith invested in good securities, thereafter to be and remain a part of the capital; but in no event shall any part of the said capital be sold, disposed of, or pledged, to meet the current expenses of the said institution, to which I devote the interest, income, and dividends thereof exclusively. Secondly, I enjoin and require that no ecclesiastic, missionary, or minister of any sect whatsoever, shall ever hold or exercise any station or duty whatever, in the said College; nor shall any such person ever be admitted for any purpose, or as a visitor, within the premises appropriated to the purposes of the said College.
In making this restriction, I do not mean to cast any reflection upon any sect or person whatsoever; but, as there is such a multitude of sects, and such a diversity of opinion amongst them, I desire to keep the tender minds of the orphans, who are to derive advantage from this bequest, free from the excitement which clashing doctrines and sectarian controversy are so apt to produce; my desire is, that all the instructors and teachers in the College shall take pains to instill into the minds of the scholars the purest principles of morality, so that, on their entrance into active life, they may, from inclination and habit, evince benevolence toward their fellow-creatures, and a love of truth, sobriety, and industry, adopting at the same time such religious tenets as their matured reason may enable them to prefer.
If the income arising from that part of the said sum of two millions of dol. lars, remaining after the construction and furnishing of the College and outbuildings, shall, owing to the increase of the number of orphans applying for admission, or other cause, be inadequate to the construction of new buildings, or the maintenance and education of as many orphans as may apply for admission, then such further sum as may be necessary for the construction of new buildings, and the maintenance and education of such further number of or. phans, as can be maintained and instructed within such buildings as the said square of ground shall be adequate to, shall be taken from the final residuary fund hereinafter expressly referred to for the purpose, comprehending the income of my real estate in the City and County of Philadelphia, and the dividends of my stock in the Schuylkill Navigation Company-my design and desire being, that the benefits of said institution shall be extended to as great a number of orphans as the limits of the said square and buildings therein, can accomodate.
This is the last paragraph of the 21st clause of the Testator's Will.
II. The second trust of the Will is in regard to the sum of 500,000 dollars given to the City—to lay out and pave a street fronting the river Delaware—to pull down all wooden buildings erected within the City, and to prohibit the erection of any such hereafter-and to regulate, widen, and pave Water street, and to distribute the Schuylkill water therein, upon a plan minutely given by the Testator.
[The III. and IV. Trusts relate to $500,000 given to the City, and $300,000 for certain improvements, and in the V. Trust is a clause converting the remainder of the residue of his personal estate into a permanent fund, the income of which is to be applied to the improvement and maintenance of the College.]