Philander Chase



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Chase writes to Dudley in discussion of his travels and a plot of land he has found in Peoria County, Illinois to hold his new seminary, presumably Jubilee College which was later founded in the same county.




Peoria County, Jubilee College, Philander Chase, Dudley Chase


Dear Brother Dudley,

I have no reason for writing this letter but to gratify a never dying love for the best of Brothers; and to express my grateful sentiments for your kind offer to support or pay the bills of extreme of my dear Son your namesake while in College at Hartford Connec’t. His letter to me lately, re’d while I was passing thru’ Peoria on the Illinois River, expressed your wish to that effect with so much tenderness to my feelings— of late to harrowed on the subject of receiving charity from there for my personal and domestic benefit, and so full of grateful love to you for for your delicate manner of proffering your kindness to him and me, this I immediately wrote an answer in the affirmative of all he delivered and sent it off with my team of gratitude to God & you. What grieves me is the impression which his former letters left on my mind that his health is beginning to be impaired by his sedentary life at College and his living in the New England climate the cradle of so many who are dying with the Consumption.

You know the feeble constitution of his maternal ancestry: and can recollect how much of sorrow I have suffered on that account— One of his letters, written I think soon after leaving College to spend his vacation with his friends in Vermont mentioned a pain in his breast and consequent affection of his nerves in restlessness & in such terms or to recall feelings with which I suffered for so many years during his dear Mother’s life. By these feelings, I was prompted to write an answer the substance of which was that I would rather he w’d relinquish his studies altogether and return to my bosom in the west than to see him fall an early victim to the disease under which I feared he would continue to suffer in the New England climate: What effect this my letter may have had upon his mind I know not. It may be that he set off immediately for Illinois: if so I shall embrace him on my return to the Robinsnest: and he will turn in with me to work for a living.

It will give you pleasure to learn that I am in good health and spirits, notwithstanding the very ill treatment I have met with from the Missionary Board of our Church. When I left home, I saw a good crop of the blessings of Heaven on our labours on the face of the earth which if gathered in in reason will support our large family thro’ the winter and coming spring, as I told you I think in a letter from Peoria. I descended in a S.B. to the landing opposite Resville Schuyler County and spent my next sunday in that beautiful village preaching and administering the holy ordinance in their interesting Church. On Monday last I went down the road to the residence of a Mr. Cliff and the [Himman] family about 10 or 12 miles.

Here I found all things in a flourishing condition and re’d many and great offers to place my contemplated Seminary in their neighborhood. This region differs from a great majority of the Illinois lands. It is entirely covered with timber of the finest quality— whitened black oak white black walnut [Lin.] & sugar-maple cherry and ash. There is abundance of fine stone for building sand & limestone & the best clay in places for bricks. The soil is exceedingly good lying high from the streams which wash a rocky bank. The springs from the sides of the hill are pure & cold and often they gush out on the Table lands which are high 100 feet from the bottom of intervale lands. But the great difficulty with me is the labour it will require to remove the timber before you can begin to make things appear pleasant. That such a country will in the long run have preference to a prairie location of my seminary I have little doubt; but how can I now 63 years old encounter the toils of beginning again literally from the stump? The splendid offer of the gift of 2560 acres of this land to the seminary— 640 of which is to be in a body on which to lay out the Town all containing timber & other materials on the spot to erect the town & College buildings immediately is not to be despised. What will be determined on finally I know not. The proposition is before me and I shall wait and compare it with the merits of many others which are and will continue to be made to me.

The disappointment which I met with in Peoria County I consider now a blessing— it prevented me from entering into contracts which, in the present state of things considering the exorbitant demands for labour and the scarceness of materials for buildinground about the Robinsnest would have been detrimental if not ruinous to motion. There also I should have been obliged to pay for my lands had the preemption right been granted me from Congress: but here they will be given me; and with the sale of the same to those who will crowd around the Seminary I can defray all the expense of erecting my public buildings.— May God grant me strength and wisdom to do all for the best while I live & when I die which must be soon; may God accept my poor endeavours to glorify his name— not for my worthiness but thro’ the infinite merits of Jesus Christ our Lord & Saviour Amen. P. Chase

Letter to Dudley Chase



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