PROPOSED COLLEGE AT NEW YORK; JOHNSON INVITED TO THE PRESIDENCY; OBSTACLES TO A CHARTER, AND FINALLY GRANTED; LETTERS TO PRESIDENT CLAP; REMOVAL TO NEW YORK AND LECTURER IN TRINITY CHURCH; HIS YOUNGER SON CHOSEN TUTOR IN KING'S COLLEGE; GOES TO ENGLAND FOR ORDINATION AND DIES THERE OF THE SMALL-POX.
THE proposition to establish a College in New York was pursued with more vigor after the settlement of the Institution at Philadelphia. A few gentlemen, chiefly members of the Church of England, were leading spirits in the movement, and guided it so as to secure the erection of the College on the broad grounds of Christian liberality. It appears to have been the intention in the original endowment of Trinity Church, in the city of New York, to connect the promotion of learning with the interests of religion, and a lot of land in a favorable locality belonging to the Vestry was given for the use of the proposed College, upon condition, that the President thereof for the time being should be in communion with the Church of England, and that the morning and evening service in the College should be the Liturgy of the Church, or such a collection of prayers out of the Liturgy as should be "agreed upon by the President or Trustees or Governors of the said College." This gift was accepted by the Commissioners empowered to receive proposals for the Trustees.
The Trustees, who had been appointed by an act of the Colonial Legislature, consisted of' "the eldest Councilor of the Province, the Speaker of the Assembly, the Judges of the Supreme Court, the Mayor of the city of New York," ex officio (Churchmen), and one more Churchman, together with the Treasurer of the Colony, and a "member of the Dutch Church, and one of the Presbyterian congregation." The same act which fixed the appointment of Trustees, vested in them the sum of "three thousand four hundred and forty-three pounds, eighteen shillings, raised by way of Lottery for erecting a College within the Colony;" and by a supplementary act passed on the 4th of July, 1753, the Treasurer of the Colony for the time being was enabled and directed to pay unto the Trustees out of "the moneys arising from the duty of excise, the annual sum of five hundred pounds, for and during the term of seven years, to commence from and after the first day of January next ensuing;" this annuity to be distributed by them in salaries to the officers of instruction.
In pursuance of other powers granted by this act, the Trustees invited Dr. Johnson, who from its inception had been consulted about perfecting the scheme and carrying it into execution, to become the President, and to remove to New York and enter upon his duties without delay. The position was congenial to his tastes, for he loved learning and colleges; but there were two great obstacles in the way of his acceptance. One was he had not had the small-pox, and in New York he would be much more exposed to it than in Stratford; and the other, which was perhaps the greater, was the consideration of his advanced years. He was almost three-score, and on this account was less inclined to sunder the happy pastoral relations which had subsisted between him and his people for the best part of his life. And then the social refinement, the bustle and stir, and demands upon his time in a city did not contrast pleasantly in his mind with the studious retirement and quiet repose of a rural parsonage. But his friends in New York and the principal managers of the enterprise assured him they would abandon it, and it would come to nothing if he declined the invitation. He finally consented to make a trial, but would not absolutely accept the office till the charter should be obtained, and he could see what sort of an institution he was to preside over. With this view he left Stratford on the 15th of April, 1754, but neither removed his family nor resigned his parish. The Vestry of Trinity Church unanimously chose him an Assistant Minister and voted him the sum of one hundred and fifty pounds per annum; but he replied, "My advanced years, verging towards the decline of life, are great matters of discouragement to me, and render me extremely fearful whether I shall be able to answer your expectations."
The design of the College underwent a violent struggle before Dr. Johnson arrived in New York. It was intended to be a common blessing to all denominations, with no other preference for the Church than that one of her communicants should be at the head; "but Mr. W. Livingston, a virulent Presbyterian, joined with other leading Presbyterians and Free-thinkers, violently opposed it, and raised a hideous clamor against it, and printed a paper of Twenty Reasons to disaffect the Assembly against granting the money raised by lotteries." This paper was styled a Protest, and much was written and published in reply. Johnson himself dipped into the controversy, and even asked his elder son, who was then rising into eminence in the legal profession, to try his hand in an argument to demolish the Twenty Reasons and vindicate the proceedings of the Trustees. The opinion which he returned to his father should not be omitted from these pages:--
I must add a word to what you say of an answer to the Protest. You know I am generally averse to disputes of this kind, as tending more to irritate the passions than to convince the understandings of the people. What is wrote in this way, is most generally read only by those persons who are before prepossessed on one side or other of the question. But especially averse am I towards engaging myself in any controversial writings, as knowing myself to want both ability and leisure to perform anything as it should be. I never yet wrote anything but I was both sick and ashamed of it before it was half done. In regard to the present case, Mr. Wetmore on conference agrees with me that it is not, as we can see, worth while to write or publish any answer, most of what is here said having been already thrown out in the "Reflector," or consisting of such far fetched reasons and strained constructions of the act of Assembly and purport of the petition and charter, that they demonstrate the gentleman to be determined to oppose and find fault with everything that does not coincide exactly with his favorite scheme of absolute independency both in religion and government. And when men are resolved to wrangle and find fault, what end is there in answering them? But especially I imagine that of all persons, you nor I nor any of the family should be in the least concerned in any disputes with respect to the College. For those in the opposition to have it in their power once to suggest that you are at the head of a party, or promoting any particular scheme, must be highly prejudicial, and will give them great strength in their endeavors to bias the Assembly. A very small matter in this way may be magnified and improved to the most pernicious purposes. Let us by all means at present stand perfectly neuter. If they, whose business it is, form a college whose model you approve, you can in this case accept the Presidentship with cheerfulness. If they do not, you can retreat with honor. Should I write anything, it, would certainly be discovered by them, and must in these circumstances do vastly more hurt than in any case it would possibly do good. This I humbly suggest as my opinion in the matter. However, if an answer be finally thought necessary, Mr. Wetmore will doubtless be ready to write, and I have suggested to him, what has occurred to me in reading of it. The Protest I think goes upon a wrong supposition, namely, that the charter petitioned for is to establish a college without the approbation and almost independent of the Assembly or Legislature, to the support of which nevertheless the moneys granted by the two acts of Assembly are to be applied, contrary to the intentions and design of the Assembly in making the grant, which I take it is by no means aimed at by anybody, nor indeed I conceive can possibly be. The question I think truly is whether it be advisable for the Trustees to recommend or the Legislature to accept the generous offer of Trinity Church on the condition they give, or not. In this light nothing I think in the Protest can have any great weight. It would be plainly unreasonable for the Church to make the offer without the condition annexed. And TWENTY reasons, I think, might be given why it. would be advisable for the Legislature to accept it on those terms. What is said about the establishment of the Church of England, and several other things which are hinted at, are manifestly designed to raise a clamor and excite jealousies, as they have not even the remote resemblance of a reason pro or con. on any just or reasonable state of the question. However, let us by all means let them entirely alone. Let those whose proper business it is exert themselves. 'Tis enough for us to say,.... God speed ye. I know you will excuse my freedom, and am, honored Sir,
Your obedient son and servt,
WM. SML. JOHNSON.
June 13th, 1754.
In writing to him, June 17, 1754, the father said: "I very much commend your prudence; but even caution, one of the best things in the world, may be carried too far as well as humility itself. We must have resolution to do good in spite of opposition, as well as discretion to direct it to the best purposes. As to the Protest, I hope there will be no occasion for you or me to answer it." He may have known at this time what was already contemplated, if not begun; for "A Brief Vindication of the Proceedings of the Trustees relating to the College, containing a sufficient Answer to the late famous Protest, with its Twenty unanswerable Reasons," was written "by an Impartial Hand," this hand representing Mr. Benjamin Nicoll, a son of Dr. Johnson's wife by her first husband. He was a lawyer of distinction in New York, one of the governors of the College, and "the life and soul of the whole affair." While the contest was going on, Dr. Johnson published his plan of education, and appointed a day for examining and admitting candidates. He commenced with a class of ten students, including two from other colleges, who met him for the first time on the 17th of July in the vestry-room of the school-house belonging to the Corporation of Trinity Church. He continued his instructions without intermission till September 1st, when he was summoned to the sick-bed of his elder son, whom he had little expectation of finding alive, but who, after remaining a long time in a critical state, finally recovered. During his absence, which continued till November 10, the Royal Charter passed the seals, incorporating the Governors of King's College in New York; and thus what had been the subject of such violent opposition became a fixed provision of law. The time had now come for him to make a decision whether he would remain in Stratford or go to New York. The services of his Church had been conducted in his absence by his younger son, who was preparing for Holy Orders, and with the aid of the neighboring clergy he had managed to keep the people from much uneasiness during the protracted struggle for settling the question about a charter for the College. The following letter from the Rector of Trinity Church sums up the final contest, and puts before him the responsibility of resigning his pastoral charge, and entering upon the full duties of the Presidency:--
DEAR SIR,--Mr. Nicoll being obliged to go out of town, communicated your letter to me in order that I might answer it. On Thursday last the Charter passed the Governor and Council, and was ordered to be forthwith engrossed. On Friday, the Trustees appointed by act of Assembly, according to order of the House, delivered in a report of their proceedings conformable to the act, which report was signed' by all but William Livingston, who objected to the report as not being complete, because no notice was taken of the proceedings with regard to the Charter, which the Governor and the rest of the gentlemen thought unnecessary. Whereupon Livingston delivered in a separate report in full, containing his famous Protest, etc. This occasioned a great ferment in the House, and issued for that day in a resolve that Livingston's Report should be printed at large, and the affair postponed to farther consideration on Wednesday next. They had a majority of fourteen to eight, but three of our friends were absent, and it was with much difficulty that they were prevented from censuring the conduct of the Trustees and returning thanks to Livingston. We were all afraid that this would have retarded the Sealing of the Charter, and some well-wishers to the thing would have consented to the retarding of it, had not the Governor appeared resolute and come to town on Saturday and fixed the Seal to it; and to do him justice, he has given us a good majority of Churchmen, no less than eleven of the Vestry being of the number. There are but eight of the Dutch Church, most of them good men and true, and two Dissenters. We are, however, puzzled what to advise you as to resigning your mission. I have been with Mr. Chambers this morning, and though it be the opinion of most of the gentlemen that you ought to resign and trust to Providence for the issue of things and come away immediately, yet we would rather choose if possible, that you should put off the resignation for a fortnight or three weeks, and come down immediately, because some are not so clear with regard to the £500 support, though others think we cannot be deprived of it. But since this conversation with Mr. Chambers we have had some glimmering light. I went from Mr. Chambers' to Mr. Watts' (who is unhappily confined with the rheumatism), and met two Dutch members coming out of his house, who, as he told me, came to make proposals for an accommodation, and all they desired was a Dutch Professor of Divinity, which, if granted, they would all join us, and give the money. This I doubt not will be done unless the Governor should oppose it, who is much incensed at the Dutch for petitioning the Assembly on that head, but I make no doubt but he may be pacified.
Upon the whole, it is the opinion of all that you must come down as soon as possible, and the advice of Mr. Chambers and myself, in which I believe Benny concurs, that you defer the resignation of your mission a little longer, as it will be a means of getting a good subscription for your support in case this accommodation with the Assembly should fail, which, however, I am inclined to think will not fail. In a word, it seems you have put your hand to the plow, and I know not how you can now look back. Providence, I trust, is still on our side, and everybody is solicitous for your return.
I am, dear Sir, in the greatest hurry,
Yours, etc. HEN. BARCLAY.
I have not time to give you a list of the Governors, nor indeed can I recollect them all. The whole number is forty-one: seventeen ex-officio and twenty-four private gentlemen, in which number there are at present but eight of the Dutch Church, the French, Lutheran, Presbyterian Ministers, and Will. Livingston,--so that we have a majority of twenty-nine to twelve, and in these twelve are included Mr. Richards, John Cruger, Leonard Lispenard, and the Treasurer, all our good friends.
MONDAY, 10 o'clock, Nov. 4, 1754.
Dr. Johnson returned to New York to find the controversy about the College not yet closed. The opposition set their pens running to prevent the Assembly from granting any more favors; but he did not heed them, and sent for some of his furniture and books, and wrote to his son Wm. Samuel, December 2, to say: "It is not doubted but the next session will give us the money to build. Meantime it is resolved to have a subscription to begin with, and doubtless money enough will be got twice told to build a President's house, which will begin early in the spring. And as to my security, the Trustees resolve to meet this week and confirm what they did before, nothing doubting but the £500 per annum is in their power, and unalterably at their disposal for my support." By the advice of his friends, he was to lodge during the winter with his son, Mr. Benjamin Nicoll, with whom he appears to have previously made his home; and the Vestry of Trinity Church voted to pay him the salary as usual, and "in consideration of his advanced years and the duties of the College," to require of him "only to read prayers on Sunday, and to preach one Sunday in a month at church and chapel," or as might be agreed upon by the Rector and occasion might demand.
His endeavors met with much embarrassment, and "nothing," he wrote again to his son after the Holidays, "I assure you could have induced me to endure it, but the hopes of rendering the little remainder of my life more useful to mankind, and especially in laying a foundation for sound learning and true religion in the rising and future generations." He worked vigorously on to bring things into shape and order, drew from the Liturgy a form for the daily prayers, composed the Collect for the College, and had them printed with the Psalter. It added to his anxiety that his flock in Stratford was without a shepherd. Both his sons acted as lay-readers,--the elder taking his place after the younger had joined the father in New York to pursue his theological studies. Mr. Beach of Newtown had been thought of for his successor, and all would have welcomed him to the post, but he could not conscientiously leave his own church vacant. In a letter to his son Wm. Samuel, January 20, 1755, Johnson said: "The melancholy condition of my poor destitute people is very affecting to me. I talked with Ogilvie and Chandler to no purpose; nor do I think there is the least probability that Mr. Brown, or Mr. Seabury, Jun., would entertain the least thoughts of a removal, and since there is no hope of Stiles, I am sorry he should have had it in his power to make a merit of his refusal. [Ezra Stiles, afterwards President of Yale College.] I am very sorry Mr. Beach cannot be prevailed upon to remove; and what course you can now take, I cannot conceive. Methinks I should be for trying Mr. Leaming, with the utmost endeavor to get him for Stratford or Newtown. I confess from his talk to me, there seems little hope, yet it seems to me worth while to try. Who knows what may be done? Can there be no thoughts of Sam. Brown for Newtown? or is there no young man that would go for so valuable a parish? It is certainly much preferable to anything the Dissenters can give. There was some talk once of one Street, of Wallingford. What has come of him?"
The establishment of a separate religious society and church in Yale College, at first unacceptable to many of the Congregationalists, and the adoption about this time of regulations which infringed upon the rights of Episcopal students, gave importance to the position of Dr. Johnson as the head of King's College. It was the fault of the times to take a narrow view of Christian liberty; but after a parish had been formed, a church built, and a Missionary of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel stationed in New Haven, it was expected and claimed that Episcopal students should be allowed to prefer their own mode of worship on the Lord's day, and not subjected to a penalty for declining to attend those services in the College Chapel, designed to guard and perpetuate the Puritan faith. The two sons of the Missionary (Punderson) were not exempted from the rigor of the offensive statute. The separation and withdrawal of all students from the First Ecclesiastical Society, where with the officers of the College they had been hitherto accustomed and required to worship, and limiting them to the chapel, involved questions of internal orthodoxy; and the long and fierce contention which sprung up and affected to some extent the whole colony, was entirely outside the rights of Episcopalians, and only concerned them so far that it made them more desirous to keep their sons as much as possible under the teaching of the Church.
President Clap defended the law in its full operation, and undertook to show that it was "inconsistent with the original design of the founders," to grant special favors to Episcopal students. Johnson, who for many years had been on the most friendly terms with him, replied warmly to his statements, and insisted that the chief benefactors of the College and the proportionate share of Churchmen in its yearly support contemplated a common benefit, and forbid the supposition that the children of Episcopal parents should ever be required to "go out of their own houses to meeting, when there was a church at their doors." The following letter is an earnest vindication of his views:--
STRATFORD, February 5, 1754.
REV. AND DEAR SIR,--Tho' I am but in a poor condition for writing, I can't forbear a few lines in answer to yours of January 30th.
I thank you for your kind congratulation on my being chosen President of their intended College at New York, and I shall desire by all means, if I undertake it, to hold a good correspondence not only as Colleges but as Christians, supposing you and the Fellows of your College act on the same equitable, catholic, and Christian principles as we unanimously propose to act upon, i.e., to admit that the children of the Church may go to church whenever they have opportunity, as we think of nothing but to admit that the children of dissenting parents have leave to go to their meetings; nor can I see anything like an argument in all you have said to justify the forbidding it. And I am prodigiously mistaken if you did not tell me it was an allowed and settled rule with you heretofore.
The only point in question, as I humbly conceive, is, whether there ought of right to be any such law in your College as, either in words or by necessary consequence, forbids the liberty we contend for! What we must beg leave to insist on is, That there ought not; and that it is highly injurious to forbid it; unless you can make it appear That you ever had a right to exclude the people of the Church belonging to this Colony, from having the benefit of Public education in your College, without their submitting to the hard condition of not being allowed to do what they believe in their conscience it is their indispensable duty to do, i. e., to require their children to go to church whenever they have opportunity, and at the same time a right to accept and hold such vast benefactions from gentlemen of the Church of England, wherewith to support you in maintaining such a law in exclusion of such a liberty. Can you think those gentlemen would ever have given such benefactions to such a purpose? And ought it not to be considered at the same time, that the parents of these children contribute also their proportion every year to the support of the College?
Your argument in a former letter was, That it is inconsistent with the original design of the founders, which was only to provide ministers for your churches. But pray, Sir, why may not our Church also be provided for with ministers from one common College as well as your churches? And ought not the catholic design of the principal benefactors also in strict justice to be regarded, who, in the sense of the English law, are to be reckoned among the founders? See Viner, on the Title FOUNDERS. What Mr. Yale's views were, I had not opportunity of knowing, though, doubtless, they were the same that we suppose. But I was knowing to Bp. Berkeley's, which were, that his great Donation should be equally for a common benefit, without respect to parties. For I was myself the principal, I may say in effect the only person in procuring that Donation, and with those generous, catholic, and charitable views; though you (not willing, it seems, that Posterity should ever know this) did not think fit to do me the justice in the History of the College (though humbly suggested), as to give me the credit of any, the least influence on him in that affair; when the truth is, had it not been for my influence it would never have been done, to which I was prompted by the sincere desire that it should be for a common benefit, when I could have easily procured it appropriated to the Church. But at that time Mr. Williams also pretended a mighty catholic charitable conviction that there never was any meaning in it; it being at the very same juncture that he, with the Hampshire ministers, his father at the head of them, were, in their great charity, contriving a letter to the Bishop of London by means of which they hoped to deprive all the Church people in these parts of their ministers, and them of their support; the same charitable aim that Mr. Hobart and his friends are pursuing at this day! [Noah Hobart, a Congregational minister at Fairfield, who published two Addresses to Members of the Episcopal Separation in New England. He died 1773.] And now you, Gentlemen, are so severe as to establish a law to deprive us of the benefit of a public education for our children too, unless we will let them, nay require them, to go out of our own houses to meeting, when there is a church at our doors.
Indeed, Sir, I must say this appears to me so very injurious, that I must think it my duty, in obedience to a rule of the Society, to join with my Brethren in complaining of it to our superiors at home, if it be insisted upon,--which is what I abhor and dread to be brought to; and, therefore, by the love of our dear country (in which we desire to live, only upon a par with you, in all Christian charity), I do beseech you, Gentlemen, not to insist upon it. Tell it not in Gath! much less in the ears of our dear mother-country, that any of her daughters should deny any of her children leave to attend on her worship whenever they have opportunity for it. Surely you cannot pretend that you are conscience-bound to make such a law, or that it would be an infraction of liberty of conscience for it to be repealed from home, as you intimate. This would be carrying matters far indeed. But for God's sake do not be so severe to think in this manner, or to carry things to this pass! If so, let Dissenters never more complain of their heretofore persecutions or hardships in England, unless they have us tempted to think it their principle, that they only ought to be tolerated, in order at length to be established, that they may have the sole privilege of persecuting others. But I beg pardon and forbear; only I desire it may be considered, how ill such a principle would sound at this time of day, when the universal Church of England as much abhors the persecution of Dissenters as they can themselves. It may also deserve to be considered that the Government at home would probably be so far from going into the formality of repealing this law that they would declare it a nullity in itself; and not only so, but even the corporation that hath enacted it; inasmuch as it seems a principle in law that a corporation cannot make a corporation, nor can one be made without his Majesty's act. See Viner, under the titles, CORPORATION and BY-LAWS.
You mistake me, Sir. I did not say that Professors of Divinity do not preach. I knew they and the Heads, etc., do preach in their turns at the common church, to which all resort to sermon. But what I say is, that they do not preach as Professors, nor do they ever preach in private Colleges, there being no such thing as preaching in the College chapels, but only at St. Mary's and Christ Church, which are in effect cathedrals, where the scholars resort, but not exclusive of the town's people, tho' they generally go to their parish churches.
I wonder how you came to apprehend I had any scruples about the divinity of Christ. I am with you, glad we agree so far; and I would desire you to understand, that my zeal for that sacred Depositum, the Christian faith, founded on those principles,--a coessential, coeternal Trinity, and the Divinity, incarnation, and satisfaction of Christ,- is the very and sole reason of my zeal for the Church of England, and that she may be promoted, supported, and well treated in these countries; as I have been long persuaded that she is, and will eventually be found, the only stable bulwark against all heresy and infidelity which are coming in like a flood upon us, and this, as I apprehend, by reason of the rigid Calvinism, Antinomianism, enthusiasm, divisions, and separations, which, through the weakness and great imperfection of your constitution (if it may so be called), are so rife and rampant among us. My apprehension of this was the first occasion of my conforming to the Church (which has been to my great comfort and satisfaction), and hath been more and more confirmed by what has occurred ever since. And I am still apt to think that no well-meaning Dove that has proper means and opportunity of exact consideration, will ever find rest to the sole of his foot amid such a deluge, till he comes into the Church as the alone ark of safety,--all whose Articles, Liturgy, and Homilies taken together and explained by one another, and by the writings of our first Reformers, according to their original sense, shall ever be sacred with me; which sense, as I apprehend it, is neither Calvinistical nor Arminian, but the golden mean, and according to the genuine meaning of the Holy Scriptures in the original, critically considered and understood. I beg pardon for this length, which I did not design at first, and desire you will also excuse my haste, inaccuracy, and this writing currente calamo, and conclude with earnestly begging that neither your insisting on this law nor anything else, may occur to destroy or interrupt our harmony and friendship, with which, on my part I desire ever to remain, dear Sir,
Your real friend and humble servant,
P. S.--I wish you to communicate it to the Fellows.
Another letter from President Clap received his attention when he was on the eve of departing for New York. The issue was made in the case of the sons of the Missionary, and here the first relaxation of the law began. For Dr. Johnson's son William wrote him from Stratford a few months later: "I don't hear any talk of printing against the President; am told he has given up the point with Mr. Punderson's sons." He could not well do otherwise after the following letter, dated:--
STRATFORD, February 19, 1754.
DEAR SIR,--My unsettled condition in view of my removing to New York, must be my apology for not being more particular in answer to yours of the 10th.
If there was not good reason offered to support my warmth you might justly fault it, but I must think it was supported with abundant reasons which you have nothing like answered. I am sure the Dissenters in England had never half so much reason to excuse their many pathetic declamations. You would have us, it seems, be deprived of our birthright as Englishmen, and at the same time be perfectly calm and easy under it. Truly, Sir, I must think it sufficient to raise our passions to be denied a public education for our children, unless we will in direct violation of our consciences enjoin them to go to dissenting meeting when we have a church at our doors.
I have always been very tender of the charter privileges of this Government, and ever advised our Church people to be easy, and do all they could to promote the public peace and weal as things stand; but by your proceedings you seem resolved to provoke us to be enemies to the Government, when we are content to be only upon a par with our neighbors, and to live in entire love and peace with them in a cheerful submission to the Government. I am surprised at your Politics in this way of proceeding with us, supposing the injustice and uncharitableness of it were out of the question. However, since you are resolved (being, as you say, in possession) to go on in your own way, you must even proceed; but I am very much mistaken if you do not eventually prove your own greatest enemies.
It is strange to me that merely opening a church at New Haven should be considered by any of you, gentlemen, as a justifiable provocation to interrupt the harmony that had subsisted between us, when we do not aim at disturbing you, but only at judging and acting for ourselves. Indeed I own I have never been very zealous and active in the affair, but rather hung back, as I apprehended danger of some gentlemen's making disturbance on such an occasion; but I do not remember that I told you I was with you of the mind it would not be for the public good to have a church there, as you state it. However, when I saw what loose principles were obtaining among you and the confused state you were in, I thought it might be much conducive to the public good to have a church there, especially after such a virulent and abusive spirit as Mr. Hobart thought fit to raise against the Church, to whose pious labors I suppose it was chiefly owing that the Society fixed a mission and Mr. Punderson there.
If there had been such a general law before, as you say, yet this I very well remember, that you told me you had made certain Rules under the name of Customs, which I understood to be written and agreed to by the Fellows; one of which was that the children of the Church, their parents so desiring, should have free liberty to go to church whenever they had opportunity, or to this effect.
I may be, perhaps, mistaken in saying there is never preaching in any of the College chapels. There may be those two or three exceptions you mention; my copy of the Oxford Laws was and is at New York; so that I could not turn to those paragraphs you cited; but surely you cannot think them anything to your purpose of holding constant meeting only in your Hall, and requiring the Church children to attend them when they have a church to go to, and their parents order their attendance there! [Public worship was established in the College Hall preparatory to the erection of a chapel.]
If, indeed, you are an independent Society or Government, or the Charter had given you such unlimited and uncontrollable powers, I own there would have been something plausible in your reasoning; but then it would equally conclude against any toleration of the Dissenters in England, and consequently must now be interpreted to be contrary to law, and as far as in you lies to aim at a subversion of the present English Constitution.
I much wonder you cannot understand my stating of the case. I cannot conceive of any words that could make it more intelligible. If, indeed, with Hobbes, etc., you thought power to do anything would give a right to it, then your argument from possession is just; but I trust that is not your tenet. The question then is, 1st. Whether it be right in itself for any Society, however voluntary or independent, to require as a condition of enjoying the privileges of it (and especially so great a privilege as that of a public education), that any person that is free of that Society, or born in it, should be obliged to act contrary to his conscience, or to what he is really persuaded is his duty in matters of religion, supposing that his religious principles be not in their nature subversive of the State? And then, 2dly. Supposing this could be resolved in the affirmative, Whether your Charter has given this government such a right, or a right to erect any Corporation with such a right or power as to insist on such a condition; or indeed could do it consistent with the English Constitution? I trow not. And it is plain to me, that unless you prove the affirmative of both these questions, which you don't attempt, you really do nothing to the purpose. But I humbly conceive it is most proper to have these questions canvassed before our Assembly here, before we trouble our Superior at home.
But in truth the College is ours in proportion as really as yours, and you can no more be bound to pursue the intention of the founders in your sense, exclusive of the Church, than Oxford was to continue their Colleges appropriated to the Roman Catholics, if so much; I mean in point of equity. There may be some small inconveniences in granting such a liberty, but they are not to be compared with the inconveniences which will attend denying it.
If what was mentioned was no designed omission in the first draught of your History, yet it seems to have been designedly persisted in after what I humbly suggested to you. Indeed, Sir, your College never had a more hearty friend, without respect to any party, than I was and desire still to continue, if we can only stand upon an equal foot, but I am really and tenderly hurt by this disputed prohibition. It is hard, very hard indeed, if in an English colony the Church must be treated upon the same foot with every idle sectary. But I am insensibly got much further than I intended. However, if I can find leisure to answer your state of the case and reasoning upon it more particularly, which I think may be easily done, and with as much calmness as you can desire, you may expect to hear further from me. Meantime,
I remain, dear Sir,
Your friend and humble servant,
His time and thoughts were so much absorbed in the controversy about the College in New York, that he does not appear to have answered President Clap, as he intimated. He and his friends were determined to construct it on a liberal basis; but there was as much opposition among Presbyterians to allowing Episcopalians to dominate therein, as there was among the authorities of Yale College to giving the children of the Church the privilege of worshipping on Sundays in their own sanctuary. His son William wrote him, August 2, 1754, and in the course of his letter said: "We had yesterday a visit from President Clap; I suppose on his return from advising with his brother Hobart. He was very inquisitive about your College, and wanted much to see your 'Oxonia Illustrata,' which I handed to him. He pored upon it a considerable time, and at length said: 'Really, I think it seems to agree very well with a pretty long History (I forget the author's name) that I have lately been reading, which I sent for from Cambridge Library.' He said not a word about the controversy, though I believe he does not intend to give it over, by his studying the History of Oxford so much."
Dr. Johnson finally resigned the Mission of Stratford, which he had held thirty-two years, and settled with his family in New York, where he devoted himself to the duties of the College at the same time that he fulfilled the office of a lecturer in Trinity Church. [The Rev. Edward Winslow was appointed his successor, May, 1755.] When he came to admit a second class, he needed some assistance, and as Mr. Whittelsey, who had previously been chosen Tutor, was prevented by the failure of his health from accepting the appointment, the Trustees gave the place to the younger son of Dr. Johnson. The internal affairs of the College were now prosperous, and liberal subscriptions and benefactions were obtained to further its interests. But the war without was unended. The Presbyterian faction went on with its clamor, and expected to find in Sir Charles Hardy, the new Governor of the Province, a sympathizing friend, and prepared an inflammatory address, against his arrival, to disaffect him towards the College. But it was received with coldness, while the address of the Governors or Trustees delivered by the President, was listened to "with the utmost complaisance;" and signifying his desire to see the subscription paper, it was taken to him the next day, when the Governor "immediately took his pen and subscribed £500. All this," says Johnson in his autobiography, "was such a mortification to the faction, that from this time forward they shut their mouths, and the College met with no more opposition. And in a little time it was agreed, for peace sake, with the Assembly, to divide the money equally between the College and the public." This was the money raised by lottery.
His younger son had completed his theological studies, and resigning his tutorship, embarked for England for Holy Orders, Nov. 8, 1755, with a view to assist and succeed the venerable Mr. Standard at West Chester. It was a painful thing for the father to part with him. He wrote his other son shortly before the decision: "Your brother can never go with better advantage than now, so that it is doubtless best he should now go. But I tremble at the thoughts of the difficulties and dangers to which he must be exposed, and pray God I may live to see him safe returned again, and could then cheerfully sing my nunc dimittis."
He had already acquainted the Venerable Society with the foundation of the College and his own election to the Presidency; and Sherlock, the Bishop of London, had written him a letter of congratulation in view of the good service which this Institution might do for the Church of England in the Northern Colonies. But the Vestry of Trinity Church took occasion to write to the Rev. Dr. Bearcroft, Secretary of the Society, and appeal directly for sympathy and aid in behalf of the new enterprise. The letter thus written was intrusted to the care of Mr. George Harison, one of their number, and Mr. William Johnson, and after speaking of the opposers, it went on to say of the friends of the College:--
They have begun a subscription amongst, themselves, and are daily purchasing materials to lay the foundation of a handsome, convenient edifice, which, God willing, they purpose to begin next spring; and they are induced to hope, that as the dissenting Seminary in New Jersey has had the General Assembly of the Kirk of Scotland engaged in its behalf last year, as well as the dissenting interest in England, and, as we are informed, have collected a very considerable sum of money, so our brethren in England will be ready to contribute to preserve the Church in this part of the world from the contempt its enemies are endeavoring to bring upon it.
The Dissenters have already three seminaries in the Northern Governments. They hold their synods, presbyteries, and associations, and exercise the whole of their ecclesiastical government to the no small advantage of their cause; whilst those churches which are branches of the National Establishment are deprived not only of the benefit of a regular church government, but their children are debarred the privilege of a liberal education, unless they will submit to accept of it on such conditions as Dissenters require; which, in Yale College, is to submit to a fine as often as they attend public worship in the Church of England, communicants only excepted, and that only on Christmas and sacrament days. This we cannot but look upon as hard measure, especially as we can with good conscience declare that we are so far from that bigotry and narrowness of spirit they have of late been pleased to charge us with, that we would not, were it in our power, lay the least restraint on any man's conscience, and should heartily rejoice to continue in brotherly love and charity with all our Protestant brethren." [Berrian's History Trinity Church, p. 103]
Four months elapsed and no intelligence had been received by Dr. Johnson of the arrival of his son in England. He reached his destination, however, after an extremely perilous voyage, a week before Christmas, and landing at Deal, proceeded to Canterbury, where of all the clergy who befriended the father and his companions thirty-three years before, Mr. Gosling alone survived to welcome the son and give him hospitality. But on arriving in London, the seat of the Society's operations, he found several of his father's old friends and correspondents, and writing to him January 10th, he expressed some disappointment that his application to be ordained for West Chester was heard with so little favor. He had called on Dr. Bearcroft, Christmas Eve, who received him rather coldly; and again he had waited on him ten days later, when he was more kind, and'talked very freely of Dr. McSparran and his ambitious views; of Fowle and Norwalk, Mr. Gibbs, the state of the Church throughout New England; of the hasty recommendations of young gentlemen for orders from America, and their being sent many times very raw, without first obtaining leave to come, etc.; but always mentioned you with a great deal of kindness and respect. [Rev. Wm. Gibbs, of Simsbury, Ct., then in poor health.] He said the Society did not intend to maintain assistants abroad, and that the sending me as curate to Mr. Standard would be a bad precedent for others to ask the same favors. I urged the infirmities of the old Doctor, and the miserable condition of the Church there as well as in many parts of the County." He was assured that if the Society thought proper to grant the request, much missionary duty would be done outside of the parish. Mr. Berriman and Dr. Astry received him cordially and promised him all the assistance in their power, but both regretted that he and Mr. Samuel Fayerweather, who arrived in London a week after Mr. Johnson, "were come upon such a slender basis." [He was a native of Boston, and graduated at Harvard College, 1743. He was for several years settled as a Congregational minister in Newport, R. I., but after conforming to the Church of England, and receiving Holy Orders therein, he was appointed a missionary in South Carolina.'The climate impaired his health, and petitioning the Society to be removed North, he was transferred in 1760 to St. Paul's Church, Narragansett, vacant by the death of Dr. McSparran, in 1757. Mr. Fayerweather died in 1781.] Further on in this same letter, he says:--
Last Tuesday, with Fayerweather, waited on his Lordship of London at Fulham. He appeared very kind; he seemed desirous to converse with us, but it was very difficult to understand him: his voice is almost gone, but his understanding yet very good. He spoke at first pretty roughly to Fayerweather, and said his bond from Taunton people was good for nothing; they meant only to impose upon him. He had, he said, known instances of it from other places, and Taunton he knew never intended to pay what they promised him. At our coming away he asked whether I should write soon, and bid me give his services to you and tell you that writing was grown very difficult to him, and his infirmities such that he could scarce hold a pen in his hand to write his name, which was the reason you had no letter from him for some time. He then told us we must wait upon Dr. Nicholls next week, who does all his business for him, and thus we are referred to another tribunal. They all seem to agree (and especially the Secretary) that Taunton must not be made a mission. Poor Fayerweather is frighted out of his wits about it. However, I endeavor to encourage him to hope that all things will turn out right for us both, by and by.
The good Bishop of Oxford I have waited on twice. He truly deserves Pope's character--Secker is decent. He converses with me with all the familiarity of an intimate friend, promises to write for me to Oxford, and hopes a degree may be obtained. I heard him preach on Christmas Day at the Cathedral (the congregation was in tears), and received the Sacrament at his hands. There is to be a meeting of the Society next Friday, at which he promises to attend, and I am to be there myself and urge my 6ause. The Committee meet on Monday to prepare matters ready. Thus you see I am at present lying at the pool, and waiting for the moving of the waters, in hopes some good friend will then take me up and cast me in, so that in my next I hope I shall be able to give you a more agreeable account of a favorable turn to my affairs. Meantime I shall endeavor to possess myself in patience and wait the event.
He seized every opportunity to communicate with his father, and keep him informed of the progress of his affairs. He knew his anxieties about him, and would do what he could to quiet them, and gladden the hearts of all his friends at home. His letters, intended for the family eye, do not fail to mention any change of plan or new proposition, though he was so far away that it must be carried into effect before he could have the parental advice. He left himself in the hands of Providence and his London counselors, and wrote as follows to his father:--
LONDON, February 6, 1756.
HONORED SIR,--I am told this morning, with the greatest secrecy, of an opportunity to New York, but who it is that is going, I know not; however, 'tis satisfaction enough for me that I can inform you with what pleasure I received yours by the Grace via Bristol. There is no happiness here equal to that of hearing that you all continue well, as blessed be God, I am at present. You mention in this letter that you had wrote a few days before, I suppose by the Albany, but she is not yet arrived, and we begin to be anxious for fear the French have got her. I am sorry to hear of Mr. Colgan's death; neither do I know what to say about succeeding there. [Jamaica, L. I.] I have just mentioned it to Dr. Nicholls and Dr. Astry, and they both seemed rather to discourage me from thinking of it, as there must be a lawsuit, and perhaps a good deal of trouble to get things quietly settled; however, if I should hear nothing further from you about it, I shall endeavor to get leave of the Society to succeed there, if they should choose me upon my return, and all things considered, it be thought most advisable.
I wrote you a long letter by the General Wall Paquet for New York, which hope you will receive. Since that I have waited on his Grace of Canterbury, who received me in a very familiar manner and inquired much about the College at New York, and the affairs of religion there. I was surprised to find by him that he had never yet seen a charter, or received any proper account of his being a Governor of the College. I suppose it was left with our late Governor, De Lancey, to write and send a charter to him, but you know his indolence, and therefore 'tis not strange it never was done.
As to my own affairs, I can inform you nothing certain. I have waited upon the Committee at the Charter House, and afterwards was introduced to the Venerable Board at Abp. Tenison's Library. His Grace of York sat in the chair. On his right hand, the Bp. of Oxford, and three other Bishops. On his left, a very grand assembly! Your letters were read, and that from the Vestry, publicly before the Board; Mr. Harison was asked by the Bp. of Oxford to be present, and accordingly when we were introduced, we were questioned by his Grace and the Bp. of Oxford publicly about the College and the opposition it had met, and was like to meet with from the Dissenters, etc., to all which we answered in the best manner we could. I was then desired by Dr. Bearcroft to tell his Grace and the Bishops the story of our persecutions at Yale College, and in particular that of our going to hear Mr. Morris preach in the jail at New Haven (which I had told the Committee before); and they all heard it with much attention, and seemed disposed to patronize the College at New York. Mr. Harison, by your letters and Dr. Astry's recommendation, was mentioned at the Board for a member of the Society. I have myself taken a good deal of pains among the members, to have him made one, and Dr. Nicholls assures me it will be done at the next meeting. Mr. Fayerweather and myself are recommended by the Society to the Bp. of London for orders, and have leave afterwards to apply to them for their favor, which I suppose will be near £20 for me, an annual present, but not a settled salary as Dr. Nicholls thinks. Mr. Fayerweather I know not how they will dispose of, perhaps to Norwalk, for the Secretary tells me they must dismiss poor Fowle. I expect Dr. Nicholls will examine us next week, and we shall be ordained (if found worthy) in the Ember Week in March. 'Tis this day the general Fast, and I had engaged myself to wait on some company to Westminster Abbey to hear the sermon before the House of Lords, before I knew of the opportunity for writing.
I trust in God for his protection and blessing upon us all, and hope we shall have a happy meeting again. Meantime, I remain, Honored Sir,
Your most dutiful and obedient son,
The examination referred to in the foregoing letter was held, and he wrote his father on the 19th of March, to inform him that he and Mr. Fayerweather and several other candidates were ordained Deacons the previous Sunday by the Bishop of Bangor, Dr. Pierce, in the Chapel of the Palace at Fulham,--Dr. Sherlock, the Bishop of London, being too infirm to go through the ordination. Dr. Nicholls, Master of the Temple, presented them, and "after the service," he added, "we had a very grand and elegant dinner served up. The Bishop of London's lady, my Lord of Bangor, Dr. Nicholls, etc., sat at the table with us. The particular notice with which I was treated above the rest of my fellow-candidates had almost put me to the blush several times. My Lord of London desired to be affectionately remembered to you. He expresses a very great regard for you, and on your account treats me with the greatest kindness, and intends (as I am told by Dr. Nicholls), as soon as ever he can hear from Boston--whether or not Dr. McSparran accepts the Chaplaincy, which Mr. Brockwell held, to give me the refusal of it, as he does not much expect the Dr. will think best to have it. If it should be offered me I shall be at a loss how to act, as I shall be unwilling to refuse, and unworthy to accept it."
He wrote again on the 31st, and said: "I have now the satisfaction to acquaint you that Mr. Fayerweather, myself, and two others were ordained Priests on Lady Day, at the Bishop of London's palace again, by the Bishop of Carlisle, Dr. Osbaldistone." Three days later he had another opportunity to write his father, when he mentioned: "I forgot in my last to tell you that my good friend, Mr. Cutler, had been in London almost a week, and took much notice of me. He came from Bocking, forty miles, almost on purpose to see us, and would have me with him every day, and visit all his friends with him here in London. He is hearty and lusty, a very true picture of his father; only more merry. When he went away he made me and Mr. Fayerweather promise to preach for him at Bocking in our journey to Cambridge. He particularly desired to be affectionately remembered to you, but says he believes he shall never be tempted to see America again."
Young Johnson still tarried in London, and had not left its precincts since his arrival, to visit other parts of the kingdom. He preached with good acceptance in several churches of the metropolis, and then communicated to his brother his final plans in the following letter. His ordination had not fixed his post in America, and the hesitancy or uncertainty about this occasioned him some anxiety:--
DEAR BROTHER,--I have yet received but one letter from you and that above a month ago, to which I gave you an answer by Captain Jacobson, in the Irene, by whom also I sent you a box of books, marked W. S. J., No. 2, which I hope will come safe to you. I have still the pleasure of acquainting you of the continuation of my health (blessed be God), as I hope you all have; but am quite weary of the smoke of London, which I propose on Friday next to change for that of Windsor, and Oxford, where I was about ten days since honored with a degree of Master of Arts, and through my intercession with the good Bishop of Oxford, had Mr. Fayerweather joined with me, so that we have been now sounding in the newspapers almost a week, till I am quite weary of the compliments. Messrs. Harison and Fayerweather will accompany me to the University where we propose to spend about eight days, and then go to Cambridge and Bocking to see Mr. Cutler, etc. After which I shall return to London again, and begin to settle my affairs here that I may turn my attention to America again, and the pleasing hopes of seeing you in health and peace once more.
I don't know whether I told you that my Lord of London designs me the Chaplaincy at Boston, if Dr. McSparran refuses it, as 'tis expected he will; his own being better, and the Bishop won't let him hold both as the Dr. intended, and my Lord is now waiting his answer that he may give it to me, so that I am, at present, in a quandary whether Boston, West Chester, or Jamaica, will finally be my place of abode, though I can't but rather wish one of the latter, and that I may be the nearer to Daddy in his decline of life, as well as to you, though Boston be in itself the most eligible otherwise, as well as most honorable.
Be so good as to make my compliments, to Mr. Winslow, and tell him his acquaintances here are well, particularly Mr. Bromfield and Jackson. I have had several agreeable little rides with Mr. Jackson into the country about London, as Mr. Winslow can tell you he did before me. He dislikes the grounds and rudiments of law, etc., that you mentioned, but advises me to get you Peere Williams' Reports, a celebrated thing, just published, in 3 vols. folio, price £4 10s. But as it is so costly I am a little at a loss what to do. Mr. Jackson offers to do you any little service that shall come in his way, and is obliged to you for the little memorandum you gave me about his land, which I showed to him. His Grace of Canterbury has been very ill, so that his life has been despaired of, but is now better, though 'tis thought he will not live long, as he is imagined to be in a consumption. I am tomorrow to attend at the grand rehearsal for the Sons of the Clergy at St. Paul's, and after sermon to be at the great feast with the stewards, gentry, etc. I have nothing particular to inform you as to public affairs. 'Tis neither peace nor war here; our eyes are fixed upon America, and I hope you will do worthily. I shall add no more, but my most affectionate love to sister, and hearty service to all friends as though named, and that
I am your most affectionate brother and friend,
LONDON, May 5, 1756.
A letter to his father, twenty days later, describing the reception at Oxford, was the last which he wrote to his friends in America. The journey to see Mr. Cutler at Bocking does not appear to have been made, for the visit to Cambridge was cut short by his illness and speedy return to London. What happened to him after this is best detailed in the following pathetic letter, conveying the tidings of his death:--
LONDON, June 24, 1756.
DEAR AND EVER HONORED SIR,--The occasion of my writing to you is melancholy and distressing. But O how can I speak it - my heart is pained within me, my spirit is troubled for you. The sovereign God has made a great breach in your family. Your beloved son William is dead--is dead.
It pleased God, after a short illness of about nine days with the small-pox, to take him out of this world. The task in sending such a letter of condolence to one of the best and tenderest of parents is exceeding irksome and disagreeable to me. But the duty I owe to Doctor Johnson, as well as the particular regard I had for his amiable son, will not allow me to refrain. And while I thus drop a tear with you over my departed friend, wouldn't be forgetful of what Christianity forbids, "to mourn as those who are without hope."
And though you, Rev. Sir, may say in the midst of your distress and sorrow,--O William, my son, that I had died for thee--William, my son, my son," yet you have all the reason imaginable to be greatly comforted in his death, and even to rejoice because he is gone to his heavenly Father. Certain I am that you will be better able to make suitable reflections on such a providence, and improve it to your soul's comfort through the gracious assistance of the Divine Spirit than I can direct to. However, as it may be some satisfaction to you to know the particulars of his death, I will just put down some of the circumstances of it.
Your son and I who were as one, united in the bonds of natural love and affection, and engaged in one and the same cause, were as often together as our circumstances would allow of (which was almost every day). And as we had one interest to serve, and recommended to the same gentlemen, we in all respects fared alike, and had the same honors to be unitedly thankful for. This leads me to observe that your letters (and Doctor Cutler's which I procured in behalf of us both) to the Bishop of Oxford introduced us to his acquaintance, and our conduct recommended us still more to his esteem and notice. That worthy gentleman, who was indefatigable to serve us, went down to Oxford and procured, after making all the interest he could, a degree of Master of Arts, which was conferred on us by Diploma in the fullest convocation ever known before, and the more honorary this was, being done when we were not present ourselves. His Lordship, upon his return to London, advised us in consequence of so high an honor to pay a visit to the University, which we did, and were there received with all the demonstrations of joy and respect possible by the Vice-chancellor and the other governors of it, with whom we staid a fortnight, with the most inexpressible pleasure and delight,--the Vice-chancellor himself presenting to each of us his Diploma in the handsomest form and order.
In about a month after, we agreed to visit the University of Cambridge also, where we were admitted ad eundem, and previous to it we passed through all the forms and ceremonies of it. And there we were likewise treated with uncommon civility and kindness by the Vice-chancellor, Professors, Doctors, Proctors, etc. We spent four days at this seat of the Muses, and came back to London, but with this disagreeable circumstance of my brother traveller being sick of that fatal distemper whereof he died. Where he took the infection, or by what particular means, I cannot trace out, but very well remember his first complaints were in Trinity Hall, Cant.; though some say he was out of order by overheating his blood, and worrying himself by excessive wallking in bad weather the day before we sat out upon our journey.
As soon as he got back to his lodgings from this unfortunate tour, a surgeon of eminence--Mr. Kinnersly--bled him, which was on Saturday evening about eight o'clock, June the 12th. The next day, which was Sunday, a physician and an apothecary of the first rank and character--Doctor Hyberton and Channing--were sent for, who immediately pronounced his case dangerous, he having the worst of symptoms, and those of the confluent sort. On the Friday following, growing worse, the help of another physician was found necessary, and accordingly, by the advice and desire of good Mr. Berriman, Doctor Nichols, a gentleman of great renown and formerly of your acquaintance, was applied to, and the three consulted together, and did everything for dear Billy that they possibly could do. This I was an eye-witness to, as I took lodgings in the house where he was from his first being put to bed, and constantly staid with him (at his desire), and the rather as Mr. Harison was gone into Wales and Ireland. He had also a careful nurse and the best of friends about him to keep up his spirits. The Revd. minister above mentioned was exceeding kind in praying with him. I likewise prayed with him at several different times, for which he always expressed his most humble and hearty thanks.
In the whole course of his sickness as he had the exercise of his reason and understanding, so I observed him full of devotion. And when any prayers were offered up in his behalf, his attention was fixed to every sentence and period. On Sunday, the 20th of June, about two hours before he died, [he] begged of me to pray with him before I went out to church (for then I was just going to preach for the Rev. Doctor Bristowe), which I readily complied with, and couldn't help remarking his particular emphasis on the concluding word, Amen. This he would speak out distinctly, and audibly, with his innocent hands lifted up to the God of Heaven when he could scarcely be heard to say anything else.
As I sat by his bed-side observing him to breathe hard, I asked him " whether he thought himself dangerous,--whether he thought he should die," to which he answered, "I know not; I cannot tell." I asked, "whether he was anything uneasy about a future state." His answer was "' No, no, not in the least." To which he further added, "If it be the will of God that I may live to see my dear father again, I shall be thankful; if not, his will be done. I can, I do entirely resign myself to the blessed will of my Creator to dispose of me as He thinks best."
This, this was his language, and I may say too, the song of his soul. Towards the close of his precious life, he had one or two considerable struggles and conflicts, yet still meek, silent, patient, resigned,--
"And smiling pleased in Death."
Death was no surprise to him in the least; being disarmed of its stings and horrors, he bid it welcome, breathing out his last in the hands of Jesus. May the dear parents be prepared to hear the tidings, and supported under so sore a bereavement.
Ah me! my companion and friend! very pleasant hast thou been unto me in thy life-time, and now at death not divided. O Lord make me to know mine end and the measure of my days what it is, that I may know how frail I am.
Quis talia fando temperet a lachrymis?
And after all, the greatest comfort, Rev. and Hon. Sir, to you is, that your beloved son only sleepeth; that you shall see him again risen with a more beautified body, like unto his Saviour's, and distinguished with the glory of the Lord,--a crown--a laurel. The young prophet hath ascended; may I in particular catch his mantle, his spirit descending and resting upon me. To conclude, may both Mr. Harison, who was your worthy son's intimate friend, and I, imitate him as he imitated Christ, and follow him who through faith and patience is now inheriting the promises. Then shall we be together with him as one, where there will be no parting any more in the beatific presence, and ever rejoice in shouting forth the praises of God and the Lamb. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.
I most heartily sympathize with you, venerable and much afflicted Sir, and the whole distressed family, and wish you and them the great consolations which are contained in the covenant of grace, and promised to good men under Divine chastisement.
I am, believe me to be, with the utmost sincerity,
Your very affectionate sympathizing friend,
He was carried on Thursday the 25th of June into the Church of St. Mildred in the Poultry, and, after the usual funeral rites, was laid in a vault, under the Church, belonging to Mr. Morley, a near relationr of Mr. Harison. A handsome marble monument was afterwards erected to his precious memory at the expense of his most loving brother.