Philander Chase



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Written when Bishop Chase was 19 years old and an undergraduate at Dartmouth, in danger of suspension for supposedly cutting off a freshman's hair during prayer. Chase claims he was framed by his enemy, Nathan Noyes, who accused Chase of the crime.




Dartmouth, expulsion, Noyes


Dartmouth University April 22nd 94

Dear brother

I sit down to inform you of that which I never dremt would be my lot to do so, long as I lived, - I have been suspended from College, publicly admonish’d & fin’d 12 dolr. All this was for what I was never guilty since I was born into the world - This my dear brother is true! -

The crime that they have allege’d against me was the cutting off a freshman’s hair in the time of prayers. This freshman had come from his own seat up by one class and enter’d our pew or one belonging to our class. I sat in the pew adjacent but there were noless than 8 that sat nearer him than myself. The evidence they had against me was but one only. This was my enemy from the time of his entering the College and had previously known to say he wish’d he could have an opportunity to get me expell’d from College. This fellow swore he saw me cut off the sad freshman’s hair - This was wonder’d at by many that he should sweare he saw me cut the hair so plainly & without hesitation, when he sat in another range of pews, and it being so dark that a person could not distinguish ones countenance so far off. However this made no odds with him. - When the result was read I was sent for to go to prayers. After they had goten through, I arose from my seat publicly declared my innocence & called to witness every person who was not a dupe to falsehood prejudice, & meanness. - After all was over I went to the President to know what I was to do, he told me to stay & study as before - I ask’d him what the suspension for six month meant - He did not nor could not give me a satisfactory answer.

I wish for leave to go home - it was given as usual. Just before I started to go the following credential was handed to me to show to my friends - Which I have copied verbatim…

“Whereas a concurrence of unfortunate circumstances has so opperated, that, the character of Junior Chase has in one instance been publicly reprehended at this University, and as the tongue of slander may not only exaggerate to his respected relations and friends the rage of this reprehension, but may therefore draw conclusions injurious to his former character. Therefore, we, whose names are under writen members of the Junior Class at Dartmouth University think ourselves in duty bound to manifest the respected relations & friends of Mr. Chase our esteem & good opinion of him during our collegiate acquaintance. And with the greatest sincerity, we can say that for almost three years aquaintance, we have found his character to be consistant with that of the gentleman & the shollar what this attention to the orders and regulations of this institution has been such as must meet with the approbation of the virtuous - that we have ever experienced in him a true friend & an agreeable classmate & companion 0 And that with respect to the late accusation for which public admonition suspension etc. we[re] inflicted. Mr. Chase might have extricated himself had he dispensed with a point of Collegiate honor, But had he even been the perpetrator of the alleged crime, it must have been considered trifling & almost unnoticeable had not other circumstance with which Mr. Chase in was connected been considered as tending to its exaggeration.”

With regard to the point of collegiate honor they offered me that if I would inform of any of the mischief done in College they would acquit me & say no more about it - I told them that I was innocent of any offence myself and that I thot that sufficient to clear me - As for informing of other’s faults, I was not the confidant of any who did mischief and I was not going to find out.

They therefore inflicted this disgrace upon me - The above paper was signed by 26 of my class the other nine were my inveterat enemies of pusilanimous creepers. Our father was very much affronted - sent letters to the President etc Forigve my poor writing for I am in great haste

I am eve[r] yours

Philander Chase.

Letter to Dudley Chase



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