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DOCTOR WHEELOCK'S PERSON–HIS SUCCESSOR-HIS MISSION
TO EUROPE LANDS GRANTED BY VERMONT-NEW COLLEGE EDIFICE-PROFESSOR RIPLEY-LANDS GRANTED BY NEW HAMPSHIRE, &c.
DOCTOR WHEELOCK's person was of a middle stature and size, well proportioned, erect, and dignified. His features were prominent, his eyes a light blue, and animated. His complexion was fair, and the general expression of his countenance pleasing and handsome. His voice was temarkably full, harmonious, and commanding: · As the charter of the college, with which the school is connected, gave to Dr. Wheelock, the founder, the right to nominate and appoint bis successor, he, in his will
, nominated three gentlemen. The first was his second son, Col. John Wheelock, then in the army of the United States. He accepted the appointment, which was confirmed by the Trustees, and is now the President of Dartmouth College, and Moor's School. The pious confidence of Dr. Wheelock, which he expressed just before his death, that his son, who had assisted him in his toils, would be succeeded and blest in carrying on the good work, which he had begun, has been conspicuously realized. The united institutions have been remarkably prospered and blest under bis able and faithful" instructions. As the college had suffered great disappointments and losses during the war, the Trustees supposed this a proper time to make application to the friends of literature in Europe for assistance. Mr. Wheelock, lately appointed President, had on the cessation of hostilities, determined to visit Europe for the purpose of improvement, and to negotiate with
the Hon. Society in Scotland, respecting the monies of Moor's School in their hands. The Trustees, therefore, authorized him to solicit benefactions for the university. He embarked in 1782, furnished with testimonials and recommendations in favor of the institution by his Excellency President Washington, and several governors, and principal gentlemen of the United States. He met with considerable success; several gentlemen in Great Britain became liberal benefactors. They gave the principal articles of a philosophical apparatus, and a variety of curiosities for the museum. He also visited France and Holland. The Prince of Orange patronized the object, and made a handsome donation. On his return, the President embarked in a ship, commanded by Captain Callahan, bound to Boston, which was unfortunately wrecked in the night, on the wild and stormy coast of Cape Cod. Providentially the lives of the passengers and crew were saved. After the vessel struck, they committed themselves to the surge, and were borne to the beach.
Very cordially was he welcomed by the College and his friends. Most happy to Dartmouth College was his acceptance of the Presidency. Not to mention those natural and acquired talents, which have rendered him so conspicuous in the walks of literature ; nor those amiable virtues, which have endeared him to all the sons of Dartmouth, he was probably the only man in the world, who could or would have made the sacrifices necessary to the existence of the college at that time. So feeble were the dependencies of this infant seminary ; so obstructed by the war were all its sources of income, that when other necessary demands were answered, not a cent re
mained for the presidency. For three years President Wheelock devoted himself entirely to the laborious duties of his office, supporting himself and family, without any salary or reward.
Though the college was near our northern frontier; though it suffered serious embarrassments by the revolutionary war; yet a respectable number of resident students received their education there in that period ; twelve of whom, on an avarage were supported by the funds of the school.
Every other college in the country beside this was disturbed by the war, and compelled for some time to suspend their exercises. Dartmouth continued her course through the storm. While Harvard, and Yale, and other colleges were barracks for soldiers, or were trembling at the roar of artillery, Dartmouth, surrounded by her for- '. ests, quietly pursued her studies. After the establishment of peace the affairs of the college assumed a brighter aspect. It had been greatly useful to Vermont, separated from it only by Connecticut river, in educating her sons. The Legislature of that State, therefore, in the
year 1785, gratefully made a grant to the college and school of a township, containing twenty three thousand acres. (1) "By this, and other resources mentioned, the trustees in 1786, were encouraged to lay the foundation of a new college edifice, which was finished the next year. It is of wood, handsome and commodious, one hundred and fifty feet long, fifty broad, with a projection in front, three stories high, containing thirty, six rooms for students. Very near the college is a handsome chapel, fifty feet by thirty sis. They stand on a gently rising eminence. In front of them extends a verdant square, which
is surrounded with handsome buildings, a meeting house, with a handsome spire, a house for Moor's School, adorned with a cupola, a large building in which are privileged chambers for the students, and a number of elegant dwelling houses.
All parts of the world bear the traces of former convulsions and changes in its surface. The plain before the college has furnished facts for philosophic investigation. In sinking a well on the westerly side of the plain, at the house of Mr. Professor Smith, a quantity of pitch pine knots were found, twenty feet below the surface; two feet below the knots wood coals were found. At the time the loftiest pines were growing on the surface, the following were the strata, through which they dug ; “ Loose earth, with a mixture of marle, two feet ; sand and gravel, five feet; clay, eight feet; heavy moist sand, mixed with clay, five feet; blue gravel, four feet. This plain is now about two hundred feet above the water of Connecticut river. A considerable part of the descent is precipitous. In another part, trees mouldered to dust have been discovered at a greater depth. Shall we suppose that an earthquake has thrown a hill into a valley here once inhabited, or shall we rather trace back the change to the era of the general deluge ? In the progress of our acquaintance with the natural history of the surface and bowels of the earth, and the summits of the highest mountains, we find a thousand witnesses, which testify to the universality of the flood, and confirm the history of Moses, which declares, that “ All the high hills that were under the whole heaven were covered.”
In the winter of 1786, the college experienced the loss of an eminent Instructor, the Rev. Silvanus Ripley. He was suddenly called from his labors, in the vigor of life, and the midst of extensive usefulness. He was in the class, which first received the honors of Dartmouth College. After taking his degree, he continued with Dr. Wheelock as tutor in the college. In 1775, he · was appointed Master of Moor's School, and in 1779, at the decease of Dr. Wheelock, he succeeded him in the pastoral care of the church in the college, and soon after was elected professor of divinity. Professor Ripley was a learned man, an orthodox divine, an evangelical and popular preacher. His eloquence had nothing artificial or studied. His sermons were seldom written; his manner was pleasant and winning ; his words flowed as promptly and easily in the pulpit, as in the social circle. His address was agreeable, and his benevolence rendered him amiable to others. During his ministry in 1781 and 1782, there were remarkable revivals of religion among the students and others in the vicinity of the college. After his decease, the Rev. Dr. Smith was appointed to the pastoral care of the church.
The former government of New Hampshire being dissolved, a further investigation respecting the title of lands, granted by the royal governors, took place, from which the Trustees of the college found that their title to Landaff was precarious. It was granted to them by Governor Wentworth, but many years before this, it had been chartered to others by a former Governor.
The first grantees not fulfilling the conditions of the charter, it was, agreeably to the usage