Slike strani

the Presbytery, expressed in the resolutions that gave birth to the institution, must have subsided, and given place to entire confidence in the Trustees that the College should never be perverted from its original design. In the third article of the charter it is enacted,—“And that in order to preserve, in the minds of the students, that sacred love and attachment which they should ever bear to the principles of the ever glorious Revolution, the greatest care and caution shall be used in electing such professors and masters, to the end that no person shall be so elected unless the uniform tenor of his conduct manifest to the world his sincere affection for the liberty and independence of the United States of America.” The oath of office is,—“I do swear (or affirm) that I will to the best of my skill and judgment, faithfully and truly discharge the duties required of me by an Act for incorporating the Trustees of Hampden Sidney.

The literary degrees conferred, under the charter, were first bestowed September 22d, 1786; when the degree of A. B. was awarded to Kemp Plummer, David Meade, James Watt, Ebenezer McRoberts, Thomas McRoberts, Nash Legrand, and John W. Eppes. The last two distinguished themselves in after life, the one as an evangelist, and the other as a member of Congress. In April of the next year, the same degree was conferred on William Baker and Clement Read of the class of 1786. The first diploma of A. M., or the second degree, was conferred on a gentleman that was never a member of that or any other college. “The Rev. Henry Pattillo of North Carolina being proposed to this Board as a gentleman upon whom it would be proper to confer the degree of Master of Artshonoris gratia—it is unanimously resolved to compliment him with that testimony of respect. This diploma, written most beautifully on parchment, in large and small German text and Saxon letters, by the hand as is supposed of that unrivalled calliographist, Drury Lacy, bearing date April 25th, 1787, is still in existence, preserved by the descendants of Mr. Pattillo. It is signed by the President, John Blair Smith-and John Nash, Arichibald McRoberts, James Allen, Francis Watkins, Thomas Scott, Richard Foster, Richard Sankey, Charles Allen,-Trustees.

The College was now in a flourishing condition." After the siege of York”-says Dr. Hill—"and the capture of Cornwallis and his army, the male inhabitants, who had been generally kept in the army, returned home, and more quiet times ensued. The congregations which had been almost deserted, collected together again, and public worship was maintained afterwards without further interruption. Students also returned to College, and Dr. Smith entered de novo upon his various and

[ocr errors]

responsible duties. The number of students continued to increase, until the rooms in College were as full as they well could contain.” During the years 1787 and onwards there was a great revival of religion in the College and congregations and surrounding country, in which a large number of youth made profession of religion. Many of the students were embraced in this revival, that, afterwards, became eminent in the church as ministers and elders. The revival extended into the Valley of Virginia, and many of the students of Liberty Hall became hopeful converts. The influence of the ministers of the gospel that came into the sacred office under the influence of Presidents Smith and Graham, during this revival or in consequence of it, had a controlling influence in the Virginia Synod for half a century, made a part of the active ministry of Kentucky, and threw their influence over the whole Presbyterian Church. The particulars of this revival will more properly be given in the sketches of the two Presidents Smith and Graham.

The labours of President Smith being highly prized, he was called almost incessantly, during the revival, to the duties appropriate to his sacred office. The sphere of his active exertions was bounded only by his physical strength; and as the excitement continued for years, the demands upon him in his two offices, as pastor and president, became too onerous for his feeble constitution. In July 1788, he informed the Board that he designed leaving the College grounds and removing to the neighbourhood. The Board requested him to continue President, although removed from the College; and appointed Rev. Drury Lacy, who had been educated principally by President Smith, to be Vice President, to reside in the College and thus relieve Mr. Smith of part of his labours. In September following, the Board conferred on Mr. Lacy the degree of A. B., Causa Meriti.

On the 16th of November, 1789, a Trustee was appointed to fill the vacancy occasioned by the death of Rev. Richard Sankey. The appointment was made by the Board without any official reference to the Presbytery, but was, in this case, as in the following years, in accordance to their well known wishes. At the same meeting the Board went into an investigation of the rumour that the faculty—“use unfair methods to proselyte the students to a particular sect,” —and examined several students to ascertain the degree of credit to be attached to it. After investigation, the Board reported the rumour to be without foundation, and directed their report to be published.

In the September of 1789, Mr. Smith resigned the Presidency of the College and gave himself entirely to the work of the ministry. Mr. Graham, of Liberty Hall

, having visited Prince Edward some time previous to the resignation, and preached with great acceptance; his character as a successful preacher and teacher standing pre-eminent, and it being understood that causes were in operation to render a removal desirable, efforts were made by the Trustees, during the years 1790, 1791 and 1792, to have him transferred from Lexington to Prince Edward. The matter was finally brought before the Synod in 1792, by two commissioners from the Board, with the consent of Mr. Graham, for their advice and counsel. These commissioners, in October, reported that Mr. Graham declined the invitation. By a committee of the Board appointed for the purpose, the neighbouring congregations had been requested to unite in efforts to obtain the services of Mr. Graham, and had sent him a call. As these efforts failed, the attention of the Board was turned by the Vice-President, to Rev. Archibald Alexander, a member of Lexington Presbytery, recently licensed to preach the gospel, a pupil of Mr. Graham. He was invited to unite with Mr. Lacy in the government and instruction of the College, with equal authority and emolument; and the Committee of the Board invited the neighbouring congregations to unite in employing these two ministers as their regular supplies. An arrangement was made by the congregations, by which Messrs. Lacy and Alexander were to preach in succession alternately at Cumberland, College, Briery, Buffaloe, Charlotte Court House, and Cub Creek: Mr. Alexander declined being connected with the College. These brethren entered on their laborious and extensive circuit towards the close of the year 1794: but finding the arrangement very inconvenient, the charge was divided, and Mr. Lacy confined himself to Cumberland and the College, and Mr. Alexander to Briery and Cub Creek.

In the year 1796, Rev. Drury Lacy having presided over the College, as Vice-President, for about seven years, resigned his office and devoted himself to the work of the ministry at the College Church and Cumberland. The Rev. Archibald Alexander was then chosen President, and accepted the office on condition the faculty should be agreeable and a proper provision made for their support. The latter part of the year he entered upon the duties of the office, and had for tutors John H. Rice, who had been elected by the Trustees in October, and Conrad Speece, selected by himself. Here were associated three young men bound together by strong bonds of friendship through life, stimulated and stimulating in their turns by each other's progress, and each exercising an influence on the Virginia Synod, and felt throughout the Presbyterian Church. Graham in Lexington was surrounding himself with alumni of Liberty Hall of uncommon excellence, and looked with mingled emotions at the progress of Hampden Sidney, as she rose under the fostering care of his pupils, in usefulness and public confidence. These two institutions have exercised a not unhappy rivalship from their commencement. First, Hampden Sidney seemed to get the start in the race of popularity and excellence—and then Liberty Hall appeared to have the advantage—then Hampden Sidney took the lead for a time—and then Washington College, into which Liberty Hall was merged, appeared evidently foremost in the race—but Hampden

Sidney is now striving hard to regain all that has been lost, and be at least equal to her competitor. May they both flourish.

Upon the removal of Dr. Alexander to Philadelphia, the Rev. Moses Hoge was chosen President. He became the Professor of Theology by the appointment of the Synod of Virginia. In this double capacity he was the means of preparing for usefulness a large number of ministers, of whom it is not proper now to speak particularly, as they are many of them living monuments of the grace of God, and of the excellency of the institution. Others have within a few years gone to their rest, their memorials are among the churches, and their deeds in the recollection of all. Dr. Hoge died in Philadelphia, in the year 1820.

Mr. J. L. Cushing succeeded Dr. Hoge. During his presidency, the present beautiful college buildings were erected. He was cut down in the prime of life. His successor, Rev. D. L. Carroll, continued in office a few years, struggling with many difficulties on account of the smallness of the funds. His successor, William Maxwell, Esq., laboured under great difficulties from the same source. Vigorous efforts having been made by the Trustees, which have been attended with great success, funds have been secured, that have put the College on a favourable footing, and under the presidency of Rev. L. W. Green, Hampden Sidney is rising like a phænix from her ashes. God has blessed the College, and the congregations around, with a precious revival of religion. May the College be a fountain of life.



The Rev. Robert Smith was blessed of God to rear a family of sons, that were an honour to their father and a blessing to the church and the world. Born in the year 1723, in Ireland, in Londonderry, the very scene of the triumph of the Protestant succession to the English crown, won by the valour and sufferings of the Irish Presbyterians; he came with his parents to America in his eighth year. His first years, in the land of his emigration, were passed on the head of Brandywine; and at the early age of fifteen, under the preaching of that eminent minister, George Whitefield, during his first visit to America, he professed conversion. On his entrance into manhood he commenced a course of studies preparatory to the ministry, which he pursued under the instruction of the Rev. Samuel Blair, at his Log College, the Alma Mater of Samuel Davies and John Rodgers.

He was licensed by Newcastle Presbytery in 1750; and in 1751 ordained pastor, at Pequea, Pennsylvania, over a congregation that remembered the province of Ulster as their motherland. Here he opened a classical school; and as Log Colleges were giving way to the regular College of New Jersey, he prepared students for that institution. Three of his sons received their early education from him preparatory to the ministry; Samuel Stanhope, William and John Blair; the fourth Robert was educated and became a physician; the sixth son died in infancy. Two of his sons, Samuel Stanhope, and John Blair became eminent as ministers and teachers; and both became president of two colleges. Having preached the gospel almost half a century he went to his everlasting rest in the year 1799. As a preacher he excelled in knowledge of the human heart,-in strong and convincing appeals to the conscience,--and in the tenderness with which he led the penitent soul to its true rest, and abiding hope.

John Blair Smith, the fourth son, was born June 12, 1756, and received his name from a maternal uncle, his mother being the sister of the Rev. Messrs. Samuel and John Blair. During his boyhood he was noted as being ingenuous and warm-hearted and apt to learn. At the age of fourteen he was hopefully converted during a revival in his father's school; in his sixteenth year he joined the Junior Class in New Jersey College, then under the presidency of Dr. Witherspoon; and he received his diploma September, 1773. A great awakening among the students was felt while he was a member of College, which resulted in the hopeful conversion of many; and among others, of a class-mate, Lewis Feuileteau Wilson, afterwards the ornament of North Carolina. Of the twenty-nine graduates of the Class of 1773, twenty-three became ministers of the gospel; and three Governors of States—Henry Lee of Virginia, -Morgan Lewis of New York,—and Aaron Ogden of New Jersey. Of the ministers, four became Presidents of Colleges; William Graham of Liberty Hall, Virginia, ---Jacob Dunlap of Jefferson College, Pennsylvania, -John McKnight of Dickinson College,

« PrejšnjaNaprej »