Philander [Chase.

The star in the West online

. (page 1 of 3)
Online LibraryPhilander [ChaseThe star in the West → online text (page 1 of 3)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


T^ -> /T n



OB '


The anguish of disappointed hope'/ is the cause of the following

Tlje object which Bishop Chase has in making it, is to assuage
that anguish, not b}^ complaining against the providence of God,
nor by finding fault with the treatment he has received from Con-
gress : but meekly submitting to both, to throw himself on the
sympathy of the Friends of Kenyon College, whoever and where-
ever they may be, throughout his beloved countrj'. May God
give him favour in their sight through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The last year was spent in founding Kenyon College ; 110 feet
of which is now nearly completed in two stories of massive stone;
and in erecting professor's houses ; a boarding house ; mills, and
other buildings immediately required for so great an establishment.

It was obvious that to complete a plan so extensive, and to erect
a College four hundred and fifty-eight feet long and four stories
(including the basement) in heighth, intended to accommodate 600
or 700 students, it would require much additional aid. Some great
efibrt must be made, or the wor\ would fall far short of its expected
extensive usefulness — and who more likely to give this aid than the
public? — and where could the public will be known better than
through the Legislature ^

Leaving, therefore, the scene of his labours. Bishop Chase, with

this intent, at the close of the last year, repaired to Columbus and

delivered the following


Gentlemen :

When great things'are to be accomplished, unusual means arc some"imcs justifiable.
This ya my apology for presuming, on my own feeble responsibility, to ask the attend-
ance and attention of this most Honourable Assembly.

The object is, to obtain of the Legislature of Ohio, a petition to Congress, and
instructions to our delegates therein to urge such petition, for the grant of a tract of
land, or some other property, to Kenyon College, to enable the Trustees thereof to
carry into effect their benevolent designs, in the liberal education of the youth of our
common country.

An unfeigned sense of my own deficiencies and unworthiness, compared with s»
many others in point of ability, and consequence in society, would cover me with shame^
ki the execution of my present design, were I not supported by a deep impression of
duty. This impression has been made by the hand of Divine Providence, through more
than ten years of experience, and careful observation, in this western'cOiintry, result-
ing in a'firm conviction, that unless something njore be done than has been done, for
the general di|i'usion of common learning', a cloud of moral darkness mil spread oyer
our country, <vhich nothing short of a miracle can dispel ; a porte-ntous cloud, in whieb

'^'*"«"'»^Va-% *\ ^


our fellow citizens vviil be too apt to lose sight of their free institutiotis, of their personal
liberties, and of all they hold most dear.

That I do not exaggerate language, and use terms in too figurative a sense, I feel
free to affirm, that, except in our cities and towns, the majority of our youth of both
sexes, born and reared amongst us, cannot read intelligibly to themselves or others ;
and in very few instances, are the children ever likely to equal their parents in common

To those who love their country, and with deep solicitude anticipate the effects of
known causes, according to the examples of past ages, what painful images do these
facts present to view ! What feelings do they convey to your breasts, most respected
Gentlemen, who are the appointed guardians of the general welfare of our country !
Do not the many evils, which you know to be the sure consequence of such a state of
things, prompt you to inquire with eagerness into the reasons why the efforts of the
Legislature, to diffuse learning by the means of common schools, have hitherto, in so
great a degree, proved fruitless ? If the true answer to this important inquiry has not
already occurred to your mind, allow'me to st£*.e, that the reasons of such failure are,
not that those legislative measures were in themselves unwise or unnecessary ; on the
contrary they were both wise and necessary. But they have failed, because they lack
the foundation on which their propriety and fitness were predicated. They have failed
and still fail for want of School Teachers, to carry their wise provisions into effect.
For, of persons duly qualified and willing to teach, there is not, according to the opinion
of good judges, one tenth of the number, which the law contemplates. So long then
'5is the present state of things continue, the law respecting common schools will be
little more than a dead letter ; and consequently our inquiry whence schoolmasters are
to be obtained, increases in importance, according to our desire of encouraging that
flegree of common learning, which all history shows to be necessary to perpetuate our
freedom; for no nation ever continued to be free, that was not generally enlightened ;
all despotic governments having had their origin in the common ignorance of the

Whence then can teachers of our common schools be obtained? Shall we import
them from the Eastern States ? ' Alas ! the demand far exceeds the supply. As well
might we look to a single garden to supply seed for a whole country. The Wet-tern
States, especially Ohio, have been peopled with a rapidity never before witnessed. But
a few years ago this state was a desert without inhabitants, except the wild beasts and
the lone savage that roamed in her woods : now she alone can count a million. The
stream of settlers, mingling with the natural increase, has been like an overflowing
flodd, with which the means of learning have borne no proportion : and in nothing has
the deficiency been so great, as in School Teachers; and can New-England, famous as
she has hitherto been, in pouring forth her children of this description — can she alone
supply this vast demand ? Should all her sons combine to this effect, the higher re-
wards for their teaching, held out to them by the Southern States, would divert their
steps, as heretofore, ere they had reached the confines of Ohio. Whence, then, can
School Teachers be obtained to supply the vast demand, created by the peculiar exigen-
cies of our \Vestern country? To this there can be but one adequate answer. Let
us educate these Teachers ourselves. Let us draw from our own soil the moral seed,
by which the Western country is to be supplied with the fruits of learning. To ac-
complish this, let it be remembered our Colleges must be endowed with adequate means,
and placed on a proper basis ; so that the expense of education will come within the
reach of all, especially of such as from their wealth are 7iot raised above the necessity
of teaching for the means of living. The best, yea, only estimable School Teachers,
are those who come to their employment with minds uninftated with the vanities which
riches seldom fail to inspire. They are taken from the middle and more industrious -
walks of life ; the sons of farmers and mechanics in our country, who have witnessed
the necessity, who have felt the want, and, to the welfare of our Republic, who know "^
the great importance of common learning. Place the means of educating your School
Teachers within the reach of such as these, and the benefit of rearing up Teachers in
abundance, to fill your schools, will soon be apparent ; a benefit bringing in its train
the surest preservatives of our constitutional liberties.

Kenyon College, now commended to your patronage to this end, is worthy of your
regard. Having had the good of our country in view in the education of youth, its
expenses are reduced beyond all former example, and its government is kept free from
every tendency to a sectarian spirit. That it is attached to one denomination of
Christians does not prove it such. All Institutions of the kind, to be of any use, must
have some rule and be governed by some known acknowledged principles of public
order: and so long as they have the good of the human family in view, by contending
solely against the common enemy, ignorance and vice, the charge of Sectarianism can-
not, with justice, be brought against them. Of this character is Kenyon College; and
as siwh, it has obtained the approbation, and enjoys the patronage, of the wise and good of

S '

aU denominations, both licre in ourswn nationi and in foreign lands. Never, never, since
^ve became a people, have party feeling and sectarian views been laid aside more tborough-
ly, than in the plans and contributions for the benefit of Kenyon College. The spirit,
by which its friends ha^e been moved, is that which characterizes the happy era of
mutual forbearance and good will in which we live ; a spirit which requires no sacrifice
but unreasonable jealousies and intentional discord. Throughout the Protestant world
it has its hundreds, and I might say its thousands, of every denomination, at this time,
offering up prayers for its success. The best friends of America, in foreign lands, and
the most pious of her citizens at home, v/ould, if they were now present, add theirs to
my humble solicitations, that the great objects of Kenyon College fail not for want of
public and national iralronage. Indeed why should they? What reason can be given
to an anxious, attentive and inquiring world, why the assistance should be withholden
which public good requires? Why an Institution, which is seeking solely the public
weal, should not be supported by public means ? Are republics, in their joint councils,
to be chargeable fjr having less regard to principles of justice and feelings of honour-
able sympathy than individuals ? On both these grounds, thousands have been induced
to extend to Kenyon College their private bounty, to a very great amount. "Justice
demands," say they, " that when you are seeking the good of the human family, that
family should repay your endeavours with success. And when we see you, in many
successive years, devoting your time, your substance and talents, to found a permanent
Institution, which will shed its holy influence and nameless benefits on generations yet
unborn, who but the marble hearted, can refrain from sympathizing with you ? As in-
dividuals we give you to the extent of our ability: but remember your cause is worthy,
not only of private, but of public patronage; for it is the cause of your country and of
Gentlemen of the Legislature of Ohio :

Although it does not become me, (ordained, unwortliy as I am, to far other pur"
poses) to mingle in the number of politicians, who rise up in defence of our common
rights; nor to give advice to those who are wiser tlian myself; yet there are some
times and occasions, when even the most silent must speak, or subject themselves to the
reproaches of an injured country, and the pains of an upbraiding conscience. Judge
then of the reasonableness and duty of my making the following observations :

More than once have I taken the oath to support the Constitution of the United
States. On this Constitution, as on a pillar, there is an inscription, made by the finger
of our forefathers, importing that there shall be no privileged orders of men amongst us.
By this it is provided, that the benefits resulting from our civil compact, shall be open
to all orders and degrees of men. If 1 mistake not, our Colleges are among the fore-
most of these public benefits. They are created by public acts, protected by public law,
and endowed by public munificence. The gifts of the generous poor, and taxes gathered
from the comparatively indigent, often contribute to augment these several fountains of
doing good. One would therefore suppose, that if in any thing, the constitutional pri-
vilege mentioned, would and should be fulfilled, it is in the enjoyment of our Colleges ;
that the terms of expense in these Colleges should be s.uch, as that all classes of persons
in society, performing their duties of industry and economy, should be able, in the per-
son of some one or more of their families, to be sharers of these ]-'iblic and necessary
blessings. But experience does not justify this reasonable expectation. Such is the
foundation of our Colleger, especi.illy those in the Atlantic States, that no PffOR man,
nor even one in moderate circumstances, can give his son a collegiate education. The
terms of expense are beyond his reach. The wealthy only can comply with them,
and taste the proffered boon- What is this but making of rich men a " priveleged
order" of society ? A monied aristocracy is hereby created, as effectually in opposi-
tion to the American Constitution, as any made by written statute. An aristocracy of a
most extensive monopoly, grasping, not only at the sole enjoyment of the funds in our
Colleges, but of the multiplied and extensive benefits, to which that enjoyment leads.
Learning is an indispensable requisite to fill the ofl^ices of trust and emolument in eur
government: and if none can obtain learning but the rich, it is evident, that the rich
only can be preferred to offices. The rich therefore, to all intents and moral certainty,
arc the privileged order destined — they and their offspring for ever, so long as they
can preserve their wealth, to the enjoyment, not only of the riches of their government,
but its honours, and its influence, and its power. This is in direct hostility to the na-
ture of a republic ; and violates continually a main article of our Constitution. If,
therefore, we feel sensible of our duty, to maintain this privilege in, pur government,
viz. the distribution of equal rights and equal priveleges among our fellow citizens, the
subject of Kenyon College, which has these objects in view, will not be passed over
with indifference. Its expenses are within the reach of every industrious family, and
the great mass of our population can enjoy what, hitherto, has been confined to a few
only. This assertion is not from theory ; but is justified by practice. From a small
scale in doraestic arrangement, it has grown, like^an oak from an acorn, into a large


and spreading system, destined, we trust, for the liealing of our nation. It is now
situated on its own domain, and has the sole enjoyment of the privileges which itself
creates : from these advantages, superior to all others, it is enabled to reduce the ex-
penses of each student to 70 dollars per annum.

For such an Institution, extending its immunities to such a vast multitude of the com-
munitj, never before visited with the light of liberal science, we ask the public patron-
age, to the extent only of what is usually given. Grant us what has been granted to
other Colleges, and we pledge ourselves to fill our professorships with good and learned
men, and to extend the wings of our Institution so as to shelter thousands, and annually
to send forth hundreds of well educated youth, to instruct and ornament the rising
generations of our country. A plan to this effect, having been well digested, approved,
patronised and endowed beyond all doubts of final success, is now, even on this large
and extensive scale, so worthy of the greatness of our Republic, established amongst us.
Yes, gentlemen, such has been our faith in God's goodness and expected blessing, such
mir trust in tbe justice, honour and magnanimity of our country, that this great work,
having all this in view, so honoui-able to this state and so beneficial to the Western
country at large, is begun. Go to oar busy scene in Knox county — see there in the
centre of the stale, and in the most healthy region, our College Domain, to the amount
of 8,000 acres of the most fertile lands, purchased and paid for, with money raised from
the individual bounty of the Christian world." See there, on our clear and perennial
streams, our dams built, our races open, our mills erected and now in operation, to af-
ford an abundant supply of plank and scantling for building, and of flour for food to our
University, however extensive to the latest generation. Behold, on the centre of our
tract, and on an eminence commanding a view of our cultivated grounds to a great ex-
tent, oUr buildings rising, some already completed, others just begun, and our great
Gollege of four stories high, 44 feet wide and 4S8 long, and embracing 180 apartments,
commenced; (if I could sny finished, I should not be here, nor troubling this Honourable
Assembly thus with my prayers ) When beholding such a plan, and the progress of
such a work, and for such a purpose ; no sentiment bat that of patriotic sympa-
thy, can glow within your bosoms. You know and feel its great importance.
Embracing the welfare, and affording the means to continue our free and happy
goverilJi.'ent : insuring the blessings of civilization to this western world ; and bring-
ing honour and dignity to the state, of which you are the guardians, the wants of
such an Institution should be your wants ; and to aid it in its struggles for final suc-
cess should be, like the exertions which you yourselves make to preserve your own
welfare, safety and honour. I have no apology to make for this sentiment ; to think
otherwise, would be to do injustice to your reputations as men, and as Legislators.
Most Respected Gentlemen :

Though I fear I have already too far trespassed on your time, yet, ere I conclude,
allow me to make one further remark. The subject of Kenyon College, the peculiar
nature of its organization and management, so as to be of the most extensive utility in
preventing evil, and promoting the rising interests of this Western country, have formed
a theme of patriotic investigation, much more generally and anxiously dwelt on, without
than within this state. We have been too near the picture, to view it in all its im-
portant bearings. This discussion has made our wants and the means to supply them
well known to our brethren in the Eastern States, and to the numerous friends of Ameri-
ca in Europe.

Hence it is evident, we have a character to support, when deliberating on this subject,
which, to every feeling mind, is of no small iraportanee. The eyes of the world are
fixed on us for good ; and the deliberations of the Ohio Legislature, on the subject
matter of this Address, will be read with intense interest, far beyond the bounds of the
ordinary circulation of their journals. Should th-at deliberation eventuate in a favoura-
ble expression of the public sentiment towards Kenyon College, and in the framing of a
memorial to Congress, urging the claims of this Institution to a liberal donation of lands,
on the ground of what is justly due from the General Government to this state, in order
to make us equal to our sister states, in national benefactions for the support of Colleges
—should you, gentlemen, of this Legislature, grant me the honour of being the bearer
of this memorial, accompanied with instructions to the Ohio Delegation to urge it on the
floor of Congress, the best friends of America, however scattered throughout the civilized
world, will i-ejoice ; those who pray for the welfare of this Western country, will pay
you the tribute of their unfeigned gratitude , and the deed will be recorded on the page
of history, much to the honour of yourselves, and of the age in which we live.

God save our country from ignorance and sin ; and grant you. Gentlemen of the Ohio
Legislature, happiness, temporal and eternal, through Jesus Christ our Lord 1

PHILANDER CHASE, President of Kenyan College.

Columbus, December 27, 1827,

This address was followed by a Resolution which j^assed tliat
honourable body widi hardly a dissenting "oice. It is bat justice
to say, that it was drawn up and presented in the first instance to
the Senate by the excellent Governor Morrow, once a member of
Congress and Chairman for many years of the Standing Committee
on public lands, now a Senator in the general Assembly of Ohio..


Resolved, by the Senate and House of Representatives of the State
of Ohio, That whereas the Reverend Philander Chase, President of
Kenyon College, has on behalf of the Trustees of said College, made
known to this Genei'al Assembly his intention to make application to
the Congress of the United States, now in session, for a grant or do-
nation of public lands, for the support and endowment of the said
College: And viewing, as this General Assembly do, with approba-
tion, the continued „ and unremitting exertions of the said Reverend
Philander Chase, to bring to some degree of maturity and usefulness
this College, of which he is the founder, and for which a charter of
incorporation has been granted by this General Assembly : And being
fully persuaded, also, that with proper support and encouragement,
(the means for which at present cannot be afforded by this State,)
this institution promises to be extensively useful to the citizens of
this and the adjoining States, in promoting the interest of literature
and science : Therefore, Resolved, That this General Assembly ap-
prove of the object of the application of the Reverend Philander
Chase to the Congress of the United States, for a donation of a tract or
tracts of public lands for the support of Kenyon College : And that
the Senators and Representatives of this State in the Congress of the
United States, be requested to use their exertions in aid and support of
the said application. EDWARD KING,

Speaker of the House of Representatives.


January Wth., 182§. Speaker of the Senate.

Secretary of State's Office,

Columbus, Ohio, Jan. 10, 1828.

I certify the foregoing to be a correct copy of the original, on file in
this office. _ JER. M'LENE,

Secretary of State.

Thus encouraged, the undersigned proceeded forthwith to Wash-
iiig«t<m and presented the follovting


To the. Honourable, the Congress of the United States,
The President of Kenyon College, in behalf of the Trustees thereof,


That this institution has been duly incorporated by the Legislature
of the State of Ohio. Its main design has been, by reducing the ex-
penses of the students to an unexampled degree of cheapness, (less
than «ne-third of their usual rates,) to extend the means of education
to thousands, who, hitherto, have been, and otherwise always must be,
debarred from such a privilege ; and thus to prevent the rising genera*
tions at the West from falling into ignorance, as dishonom-able as it is
fatal to our free and happy government.

To this end, the said Goilege, in several successive years, has ob-
tained subscriptions from individuals to a very large and encouraging-
amount ; and with tliis munificence, and to carry their plans of econo-
my into full effect, the Trustees have purchased a large tract of land,
most desirable for health, fertility, and seclusion from all things detri-
mental to the morals and studies of youth. On this, as on a perma-
nent domain, never to be alienated, is our institution located. The
College building, in order to be in some degree commensurate to the
extent of its future utility, is four stories high, forty-four feet wide,
four hundred and fifty-eight feet long, g,nd will accommodate more than
five hundred students.

To sustain the Trustees in these designs of extensive utility, it is ob-
yious that private munificence is not, nor ever can be, alone suflScient.
An appeal to the public patronage of our country, was therefore deem-
ed as reasonable as it is necessary.

But whence could this be derived 1 From the State of Ohio ? She
is already doing more for the improvement of the common country, than
could have, been believed of any so infant a State. Furthermore, what
has she to give, Avhen all the public lands offered for sale within her bor-
ders belong to Congress alone %

But although the State Legislature could not afford the aid which at
this crisis of affairs is so much needed, she could hear our cause, and
commend us to those who were able to assist us. Accordingly, your
petitioner, with this view, did apply to the General Assembly of the
State of Ohio; and most happy is he in stating, that the request was
with uncommon unanimity granted. That honourable body did approve
of this present application, and did request their Senators and Repre-
sentatives in this honourable Congress, to use their exertions in aid and
gupport of your petitioner, in obtainiizg the grant of such a tract or tracts
of lands, for the support of Kenyon College, as the exigencies of the
case may require.

For fiirther particulars and reasons touching the merits of this pe-

1 3

Online LibraryPhilander [ChaseThe star in the West → online text (page 1 of 3)