Philander Chase



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Philander Chase reflects on both the successes and losses at Jubilee College. He has just lost a court case and must pay the amount of the land purchased for Jubilee College.




Philander Chase, Jubilee College, patent, patentee, law, legal, trial, land


Extract from a letter of Bp Chase in answer to a friend at a distance commending his efforts too highly.

“Jubilee College Jan 9th 1852

“Very dear Friend:

As to myself, I feel quite unworthy of the congratulations of my friends in the subject of founding two Colleges in the West. I often think, that had any one else, of more talents & more the object of the Divine favour than myself, undertaken to be the Pioneer of the Church in building Colleges in the West & far West of our country it would have been much better.

My Autobiography, which you so kindly commend gives the evidence of the pertinency of this remark, up to the time of my founding Jubilee College in Illinois. Much more to the same effect would my history afford, if continued to this time.

The loss of our Mils by fire, some years since, also the damages by flood, and the failure of our wheat crops on the uplands, in the summer past, and the depreciation in the price of wools of more than [twosand] sheep, joined with nameless other accidents all brought us very low, making us feel deeply our own unworthiness. We, however, struggled on our journey of duty advancing our own substance without interest; and assisted by kind friends in England as well as in America, the bright prospect of final success in securing to our beloved Zion an Institution of Religion & learning free from the temptations of a corrupting world, seemed to open to our view. It is true our buildings were poor compared with those whose foundations I had laid in Ohio: but our hearts were whole and our faith strong. Our external debts began to diminish: The number of our students increased to the full extend of our accommodations, our acres under cultivation extended farther and farther every year. Our improvements in houses fences and hedges and fruit trees for the enjoyment of our sweet society of Professors, and Teachers and their families on Jubilee Hill grew with our growth & strengthened with our strength. When alas! a cloud has arisen darkening all our prospects

Although I had taken the utmost care to procure the best of titles, by having purchased both the Textile and also the deed from the Patentee accompanied by the Patent itself--yet another deed from the Patentee (of a prior record in Illinois) under which Minor heirs were said to be entitled to the half section of land 320 acres on which a great portion of our buildings and improvements are situate.

One U.S. Court held in Springfield gave a decision in my favour; and I thought all was safe. But another trial was obtained in Chicago, wherein (I know not by what means) the judgment of the court went against me: and I must, it seems, give up the land and pay the costs.

Being advanced in years & entirely unable to pay the land a 2d time it must go into other hands; and thus be liable to uses destructive of the very end and design of our benevolent institution. I should sink under this difficulty and think no more of success to our Beloved Jubilee were it not for our Motto “Jehovah Jireh! God will provide;” & again in the Psalm O Tarry thou the Lords leisure; be strong & He hall comfort thy heart. Put thou thy trust in the Lord”

Yours truly

Philander Chase Bp of Illinois

Letter to a Friend at a Distance



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