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قراءة كتاب The New England Magazine, Volume 1, No. 1, January 1886 Bay State Monthly, Volume 4, No. 1, January, 1886

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‏اللغة: English
The New England Magazine, Volume 1, No. 1, January 1886
Bay State Monthly, Volume 4, No. 1, January, 1886

The New England Magazine, Volume 1, No. 1, January 1886 Bay State Monthly, Volume 4, No. 1, January, 1886

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دار النشر: Project Gutenberg
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ministry, without the restrictions of denominational influence and sectarian tests. The distinguishing sentiments of the Baptists, it may be observed, were at variance with the religious opinions that prevailed throughout the American colonies a century ago. They advocated liberty of conscience, the entire separation of church and state, believer's baptism by immersion, and a converted church-membership;—principles for which they have earnestly contended from the beginning. The student of history will readily perceive how they thus came into collision with the ruling powers. They were fined in Massachusetts and Connecticut for resistance to oppressive ecclesiastical laws, they were imprisoned in Virginia, and throughout the land were subjected to contumely and reproach. This dislike to the Baptists as a sect, or rather to their principles, was very naturally shared by the higher institutions oflearning then in existence.

In the year 1756, the Rev. Isaac Eaton, under the auspices of the Philadelphia and Charleston Associations, founded at Hopewell, New Jersey, an academy "for the education of youth for the ministry." To him, therefore, belongs the distinguished honor of being the first American Baptist to establish a seminary for the literary and theological training of young men. The Hopewell Academy, which was committed to the general supervision of a board of trustees appointed by the two associations, and supported mainly by funds which they contributed, was continued eleven years. During this period many who afterwards became eminent in the ministry received from Mr. Eaton the rudiments of a good education. Among them may be mentioned the names of James Manning, Hezekiah Smith, Samuel Stillman, Samuel Jones, John Gano, Oliver Hart, Charles Thompson, William Williams, Isaac Skillman, John Davis, David Jones, and John Sutton. Not a few of the academy students distinguished themselves in the professions of medicine and of law. Of this latter class was the Hon. Judge Howell, a name familiar to the early students of Rhode Island College, as the University was at first called, and to the statesmen and politicians of that day. Benjamin Stelle, who was graduated at the College of New Jersey, and who afterwards, in the year 1766, established a Latin school in Providence, was also a pupil of Mr. Eaton at Hopewell. His daughter Mary, it may be added, was the second wife of the late Hon. Nicholas Brown, the distinguished benefactor of the University, and from whom it derives its name.


The success of the Hopewell Academy inspired the friends of learning with renewed confidence, and incited them to establish a college. "Many of the churches," says the Rev. Morgan Edwards, "being supplied with able pastors from Mr. Eaton's academy, and being thus convinced from experience of the great usefulness of human literature to more thoroughly furnish the man of God for the most important work of the gospel ministry, the hands of the Philadelphia Association were strengthened, and their hearts were encouraged, to extend their designs of promoting literature in the Society, by erecting, on some suitable part of this continent, a college or university, which should be principally under the direction and government of the Baptists."[B]

Mr. Edwards, to whom reference is made in the foregoing, was the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Philadelphia, to which he had recently been recommended by the Rev. Dr. Gill, and others, of London. He was a native of Wales, and an ardent admirer of his fellow-countryman, Roger Williams, the founder of Rhode Island. Possessing superior abilities, united with uncommon perseverance and zeal, he became a leader in various literary and benevolent undertakings, freely devoting to them his talents and his time, and thereby rendering essential service to the denomination to which he was attached. He was the prime mover in the enterprise of establishing the college, and in 1767 he went back to England and secured the first funds for its endowment. With him were associated the Rev. Samuel Jones, to whom in 1791 was offered the presidency; Oliver Hart and Francis Pelot, of South Carolina; John Hart, of Hopewell, the signer of the Declaration of Independence; John Stites, the mayor of Elizabethtown; Hezekiah Smith, Samuel Stillman, John Gano, and others connected with the two associations named, of kindred zeal and spirit. The final success of the movement, however, may justly be ascribed to the life-long labors of him who was appointed the first President, James Manning, D.D., of New Jersey. His "Life, Times, and Correspondence," making a large duodecimo volume of five hundred and twenty-three pages, was published by the late Gould & Lincoln, of Boston, in 1864.

In the summer of 1763, Mr. Manning, to whom the enterprise had been entrusted, visited Newport for the purpose of arranging for the establishment of the college in Rhode Island. He was accompanied by his friend and fellow townsman, the Rev. John Sutton. They at once called on Col. John Gardner, a man venerable in years and prominent in society, being Deputy Governor of the Colony, and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. To him, Manning unfolded his plans. He heard them with attention, and appointed a meeting of the leading Baptists in town at his own house the day following. At this meeting Hon. Josias Lyndon and Col. Job Bennet were appointed a committee to petition the General Assembly for an act of incorporation. After unexpected difficulties and delays, in consequence of the determined opposition of those who were unfriendly to the movement, a charter was finally granted, in February, 1764, for a "College or University in the English Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, in New England in America."

This charter, which has long been regarded as one of the best college charters in New England, while it secures ample privileges by its several clear and explicit provisions, recognizes throughout the grand Rhode Island principle of civil and religious freedom. By it the Corporation is made to consist of two branches, namely, that of the Trustees, and that of the Fellows, "with distinct, separate and respective powers." The Trustees are thirty-six in number, of whom twenty-two must be Baptists or Antipædobaptists, five Quakers or Friends, five Episcopalians, and four Congregationalists. Since 1874 vacancies in this Board, have been filled in accordance with nominations made by the Alumni of the University. The number of the Fellows, including the President, who, in the language of the charter, "must always be a Fellow," is twelve. Of these, eight "are forever to be elected of the denomination called Baptist or Antipædobaptists, and the rest indifferently of any or all denominations." "The President must forever be of the denomination called Baptists."