Philander Chase



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Asking King for support in petitioning Congress for land for Worthington College. The College is in the center of the state and able to serve people from many parts of Ohio. Scan courtesy of The New York Historical Society, New York City




Phil Ruggles, Congress, land, Worthington College, Ohio, college



To the Hon. Rufus King

Member of the U.S. Senate

Dear Sir,

When at Judge Ruggle’s past summer, he did me the honor to assure me of his good wishes in the matter which is so important to us - our petitioning Congress for a Donation of lands for Worthington College, Ohio. Accordingly, as instructed by the Board of Trustees of that Seminary, I have sent on to his care a Petition praying for that donation from the unsold lands lying to the north and west of us.

I need not repeat to you how much we rely on your counsel and endeavours in our favour. If we be disappointed in this application, it will be sore indeed to us. It can not be said that our expectations, now ardent, of aid from Congress were not well founded. To be sure this [?] was never in so many words [?] us from the National Government. But are there no expectations which grow out of the nature of things in their relation each to the other, which expectations it would be as unjust to disappoint as any founded on written compact? If there be any such, we think that those, which we have entertained of the liberality, not to say justice of Congress in giving & allotting some one proportion of the soil on which we tread to support of the Higher Branches of Literature are, as such, to be considered. If this is not done for us in the west a comparative [?] will cause dishonorable [?]. If it be said that there are other institutions in our state provided with a landed funds, let it be [?] that those institutions are on the extremities of our state and so [estimate] with all as to be unable to accommodate the far greater part of the population of Ohio.

But suppose those well endowed, they are so distant from those parts accommodated by the Worthington College as to preclude any impropriety in furthering the object of the contemplative donation. Ohio embraces more numbers of [?] than all New England and shall not this want [part] of land be assigned, in some proportion to its extent, for the support of Learning? And what is one or two Townships of land for the support of a College in the middle of a state compared to with the benefit which will result?

But dear sir I entreat your pardon for detaining you.

Our college, tho’ by reason of much personal sacrifice, is flourishing beyond expectation. The best families in Steubenville, Zanesville, Clairesville, Chillicothe, Dayton afford us their patronage; & bad as the times are the number of our students amounts to 40.

Being in the centre of the state and in an enormously healthy situation surrounded by a class of inhabitants remarkable for [?] and moral deportment we do hope for success in our application: and our hopes are doubly sanguine when we think of your support in our favour.

Respectfully, I am, Sir,

Your friend and very obdt. servt.

Philander Chase

Letter to Rufus King



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