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labour, though he was still visited by many of his friends, and to the last was the pride and joy of the domestic circle. After a long course of gradual and almost imperceptible decline, he died with the utmost tranquillity on the 21st of August, 1819, in the seventieth year of his age. A sermon was preached on the occasion of his death by the Rev. Dr. Woodhull of Freehold. His remains repose by the side of his illustrious predecessors.
Dr. Smith is known chiefly as a pulpit orator and a philosopher, though his influence was widely felt in almost every department of society. His personal appearance was dignified and imposing, and his manners, in every respect, fitted for the most polished society. He was one of the men of mark in his generation, one of the men whose names can never die.
TIMOTHY DWIGHT was born at Northampton, Mass., May 11th, 1752. He was the son of Timothy and Mary Dwight. His fau was a graduate of Yale College, a merchant in Northampton, a person of excellent understanding and exemplary piety. His mother was the third daughter of the great Jonathan Edwards, and inherited, in no small degree, his remarkable intellectual and moral qualities. She conducted the education of this son entirely during his earliest years; and under her skilful training, he quickly gave indications not only of a thirst for knowledge but of a facility at acquiring it, which shadowed forth, in no faint degree, the eminence to which he was destined. As an evidence of his great precocity he is said to have mastered the alphabet at a single lesson; and at the age of four, he could read the Bible correctly and fluently.
When he was six years old, he was sent to the grammar school and though his father objected to his studying Latin at so early an age, yet so intense was his desire to study it, that he contrived to avail himself of a grammar owned by one of his fellow pupils, and thus stealthily undertook the accomplishment of his purpose. The consent of his father having at length been obtained, through the intercession of his instructor, that he should prosecute the study of the languages, he made such rapid progress that, but for the discontinuance of the school, he would have been fitted at the age of eight years to enter college. In consequence of the interruption which now occurred in his classical studies, he was brought again under the instruction of his mother, who seems to have drilled him most thoroughly in the elementary branches, and especially in geography and history. It was a great advantage to
him, that he enjoyed, not only a daily intercourse with his parents of the most improving and elevating kind, but that his father's house was the resort of many persons of high intelligence, whose conversation, especially on the political topics of the day, was fitted as well to enkindle in his bosom the fire of patriotism, as to quicken his intellectual aspirations.
In his twelfth year, he was sent to Middletown to pursue his studies, under the direction of the Rev. Enoch Huntingdon. Here his application was most intense and successful. In September, 1765, when he had just passed his thirteenth year, he was admitted a member of the Freshman class of Yale College; having read not only the classical authors which were required for admission, but no inconsiderable part of those which were included in the college course.
The first two years of his college life hardly fulfilled the promise of either intellectual or moral development which his earlier years had seemed to give. Various circumstances contributed to this untoward result; but happily the slight delinquencies with which he was chargeable drew towards him the considerate and monitory regards of one of the officers of college, (the late Hon. Stephen Mix Mitchell of Connecticut,) through whose influence he was reclaimed and restored when his feet had only begun to slide. This timely and benevolent inrence he often afterwards acknowledged with the warmest gratitude, as having been the means, under Providence, of giving a better direction to his life.
At the commencement of his junior year, he set himself in good earnest to repair the loss of preceding years. And from this time to the close of his college course, his industry as a student was almost unparalleled. Not at all satisfied with doing in the best manner whatever was included in the prescribed course, he became a proficient in various other branches, and especially devoted himself with no inconsiderable ardour to poetry and music. It is hardly necessary to say that he attained to the highest rank in scholarship, and was equally distinguished for the variety and thoroughness of his acquisitions. He graduated in 1769, when he was a little past seventeen; and though hd his class-mate Strong (afterwards Rev. Dr. Strong of Hartford,) were regarded as equally deserving of the first honour at commencement, yet it was actually conferred upon Strong in consideration of his being the elder, with an understanding that the case should be reversed when they should receive the degree of Master of Arts.
Shortly after he left college, he took charge of a grammar school at New Haven, where he remained for two years. During this period, beside fulfilling his duties as a teacher with the utmost diligence, he devoted no less than eight hours each day to intense study.
In September, 1771, he was chosen a tutor in Yale College; and notwithstanding his extreme youth, being at that time only in his twentieth year, he showed himself fully adequate to the responsibility
of the station. Here he continued for six years, devoting himself with the utmost assiduity to the culture of his own mind on the one hand, and to the improvement of his pupils and the general interests of the college on the other. So intense and incessant was his application to study during this period, that his health became seriously impaired, and there was much reason, for a time, to believe that his constitution was effectually undermined; though he succeeded, chiefly by means of regular and vigorous exercise, in restoring his bodily system to its accustomed soundness. His eyes, however, which had been weakened first, from reading too much by candle-light, and afterwards from too early and severe application after recovering from the small-pox, never regained their wonted strength, but were a source of serious embarrassment to him, through his whole subsequent life.
In March, 1777, he was married to Miss Mary Woolsey, daughter of Benjamin Woolsey, Esq., of Long Island. They became the parents of eight sons, who have been distinguished in the various walks of public and private usefulness. Mrs. Dwight, who was an eminent example of the domestic and social virtues, survived her husband many years, and died recently at New Haven at an advanced age.
In consequence of the tumult at first occasioned by the revolutionary war, the students of college dispersed in May of this year, accompanied by their tutors to various places, where they might pursue their studies in greater safety and quietude. Mr. Dwight went with his class to Weathersfield, and remained with them till the ensuing autumn; and in the mean time he was licensed to preach by a committee of the Northern Association of the county of Hampshire, Massachusetts. So great was his popularity among the students of college, that when it was ascertained by them that the office of President was likely to be vacated by the resignation of Mr. Daggett, they made out a formal petition of the corporation that Mr. Dwight might be chosen as his successor; and but for Mr. Dwight's own interference, the petition would have been presented.
As Mr. Dwight had been a watchful and deeply interested spectator of those great public events which brought on the revolution, and as he never doubted that the cause of the colonies was a righteous cause, so he was ever ready to help it forward by any service that he was able to render. Accordingly, within a few months after he was licensed to preach, we find him accepting the appointment of chaplain in General Parson's brigade, which belonged to the division of General Putnam. He joined the army at West Point in October, 1777, and remained with it somewhat more than a year. The duties of this highly responsible station, as of every other which he had previously occupied, he discharged with the most scrupulous fidelity. While he laboured to the utmost for the promotion of the spiritual interests of those among whom he was thrown, he contributed not only by the patriotic discourses which he delivered, but by the patriotic songs which he composed, to put new vigour into the aspirations and efforts of his
countrymen for national liberty. Here he made an acquaintance with many of the leading officers of the army, and especially with Washington, who formed a high estimate of his talents and virtues, and ever afterwards honoured him with his friendship.
Mr. Dwight resigned his chaplaincy in obedience to the dictates of filial duty. His father had died at Natchez, where he had gone to provide a settlement for two of his sons, leaving a widow and thirteen children, of whom Mr. Dwight was the eldest. As the family were left without any adequate means of support, this generous and devoted son and brother immediately quitted the army and removed with his own family to Northampton, where, for a series of years, he lived with the responsibility of this double charge upon him. His labours during this time would seem almost incredible. With his own hands he worked upon the farm during the week, and on the Sabbath supplied some vacant congregation in the neighbourhood. He established a school also for both sexes which acquired great celebrity, and which marked an epoch in the history of education, at least in that part of the country. He rendered important services in a civil capacity, representing the town not only in the county conventions, but during two years in the state legislature; and his influence in these important places, was not only always for good, but was most efficient, and often decisive of important measures. So conspicuous had he become, about the close of the revolution, on the arena of political life, that some excellent men, who were by no means unmindful of the interests of the church, gave it as their decided opinion that his services ought to be retained for the welfare of the state; and there was an incipient movement to ensure his election to the continental Congress, which was abandoned only because he would not consent to be considered as a candidate. He had sacredly devoted himself to the Christian ministry, and he was inflexible in the purpose to spend his life in what he regarded the noblest of all causes.
While Mr. Dwight was a member of the legislature of Massachusetts, he occasionally preached in Boston and its vicinity; and attracted so much attention by his services in the pulpit, that he received invitations to settle in the ministry from two highly respectable congregations. Both these invitations, however, he declined; but in July of the same year, 1783, he accepted a call from the church and congregation in Greenfield, Connecticut, and on the 5th of November following, was regularly constituted their pastor.
As the stipulated salary of Mr. Dwight was found entirely inadequate to the support of his family, his expenses being not a little increased by the great amount of company which his eminent character and attainments drew to him from almost every part of the country, he found it necessary to resort to some employment not immediately connected with his profession. Accordingly, he established an academy, which very soon became extensively known, and as long as it
continued, enjoyed the patronage of distinguished men from most of the different states. To this institution he devoted six hours of each day, while at the same time he discharged the appropriate duties of the ministry with great fidelity and acceptance. Though he preached regularly twice on the Sabbath, it was generally from short notes; and it was his own opinion that his preaching then was more effective than when in subsequent life, and upon change of circumstances, he wrote out his sermons and read them as they were written.
In 1787, he was honoured with the degree of Doctor of Divinity from the college of New Jersey; and in 1810, the degree of Doctor of Laws was conferred upon him by Harvard University.
In 1794, he was invited to the pastoral charge of the Reformed Dutch Church in Albany; a circumstance that was rendered remarkable by the fact that he belonged to another denomination, and one with which the Dutch church, at that time, had but little intercourse. He declined the call, partly on the ground that there were some minor things in the constitution of the church to which he could not conscientiously give his consent.
Upon the death, in 1795, of Dr. Stiles, President of Yale College, the public eye was very generally turned towards Dr. Dwight as his successor; and in accordance with this general expectation, he was chosen shortly after to the office of President, and was inaugurated in September of that year. He had resided at Greenville for twelve years, where he had been going on in an increasingly useful and honourable course; and it is no matter of surprise that the loss of such a man should have occasioned some regret, not only to his own immediate flock, but to the whole surrounding community.
In this office Dr. Dwight continued to the close of life, associating with it, however, to all intents and purposes, the duties of three professorships, viz., belles lettres, oratory and theology, besides being the pastor of the college church, and preaching to the students regularly twice on the Sabbath. In addition to this, he took upon himself a vast amount of occasional labour, besides being constantly exposed to interruption from the numberless visiters who thronged to his house from every part of the country and the world.
Dr. Dwight was accustomed to devote the full vacation to travelling in various parts of New England and New York. In 1815, he made his last journey; and his preaching and conversation at various places left the impression that he was never capable of finer intellectual efforts than at that time. At the opening of the next term, he appeared in his full vigour, but in February following he was attacked with a most distressing malady, from which he never entirely recovered. The physicians supposed at one time that they had gained the mastery over it, and he recovered so far that he resumed his labours in the college chapel, at the commencement of the summer term. It became soon apparent, however, that there was little reason to expect any radical