Philander Chase



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Chase describes an incident in which Mr. Hunter, who was staying with Chase's family and was potentially to become a teacher at the school, suddenly claimed he had been insulted by the family and had to leave. Chase claims he has no idea what could have upset Mr. Hunter and was very distraught by the event. Chase also updates Sparrow on the subscription process in England.




George Chase, Mr. Hunter, Cincinnati, St. Clairsville, Steubenville, Canfield, Boardman, Delaware, Col. Helbourne, Mr. Ripley, Judge Butler, Mr. Pinny, Chillicothe, Rev. Mr. Johnston, Mr. Hammond, Lord Kenyon


My very dear Mr. Sparrow

My heart is so full and of such variety of emotions at this moment that I can hardly [form] to think, much less to put on paper a train of words and facts worthy of what I wish to be the subject of this letter, in answer to yours of the 24. William, if I were to tell you the exact circumstances under which your letter came and was read yesterday it would account for this perplexity in a manner that perhaps nothing else could equal. But I have not room to do this, a short sketch must serve.

I was overwhelmed with trouble and yet had greatest reasons for joy and thankfulness, what caused the former was the conduct of Mr. Hunter (whom you saw and examined at Chillicothe) and that of my son George who as I told you has come on with us from the east to get rid of the habits of evil company and [Inebriety]. The latter was produced by the reception of a large parcel of letters from England and at the same time that of your excellent letters joined with frequent application of students to enter our contemplated seminary, and the brilliant prospect before us on that score [?].

Now to be a little particular on each of these sources both of trouble and pleasure.

Mr. Hunter had lived with us in great peace. Before the books came from Eng. or the library had arrived from Cincinnati he was engaged in reading the Bible and in giving an account of the several books thereof. Since the rich presents from our friends across the water have come to hand he has (with my son George) assisted in opening, arranging, and cataloging—besides his hours dedicated to reading—I was much pleased to see him thus engaged and I hoped contented, the daily expectation of some students (from St. Clairsville 2, from [Cross] Creek 1, from Steubenville 2, from Canfield & Boardman one or two, and from Rome 1) made me very desirous that he should practice and be their teacher till you could arrive and we could make him either a permanent teacher of the incipient classes or let him go on to his studies for [Orders], thus things were as we (Mrs. Chase, myself & sister in law, all) thought going on in peace. Then as I was tying on my leggings to go to Delaware to hold divine service Mr. Hunter came into my study and observed that he must leave the family and the house for he had some time ago and repeatedly been insulted in it!!! Nothing can exceed the astonishment that this occasioned it came upon us like a clap of thunder yet it was more astounding for of that we can align a cause. But of this could give no account, for if [ever] a friend had been treated with kindness unalloyed with the least tincture of unpleasant thought it was Mr. Hunter. We solemnly assured him that nothing had ever crossed our mind of evil toward him, much less had we ever intended a word to injure his feelings. He seemed satisfied and I went on my way to fulfill my appointment at Delaware to attend on the evening of Friday and on Sat. for the Ordinances of Confirmation and the Lord’s Supper on Sunday.

On Monday I returned and found that Mr. Hunter had suffered his jealous and unfounded suspicions to [?] out fresh; had accused my family and especially Mrs. Chase of intentions to wound his feelings and after severed declarations that he was satisfied and again relapsing into fits of insanity he had betook himself to Col. Helbourne’s [?]. On Tuesday morning that subsequent to my return I sent for Mr. Ripley and Judge Butler and Mr. C. Pinny also happened in. To them I related what had occurred and while we were conversing in came your letter and those from Eng’d. Judge then the mixture of pain and pleasure which I must have had. On the one hand a young man who had been treated with the utmost kindness had taken it into his head to suspect me of ill treatment at my own table and of aiming to injure his feelings in such a manner as to force him to leave my family. The consequences of such a report to the detriment of our infant school were foreseen in such a light as to occasion a pang which I cannot describe. Under this I think I should nearly have sunk but for your kind letter and the healing balm from the grace of God on the good news from Eng’d. Our Subscription now amounts to 5000£ [sterling], exclusive of books, printing press types, communion plate, and philosophical [appointees], the [best] is sent out to us on your account from Lady Rosse to furnish our college for the teaching of the natural sciences. O that you were here to comfort my heart, wounded beyond expression by Hunter’s conduct. If you do not come immediately which of all things I most desire you must not leave a moment after your term expires for me to spend in painful expectation. O’ that you had come on with me from Chillicothe. Write me soon, Mrs. Chase begs to be kindly remembered

Most faithfully yours,

P Chase

P.S. the Rev. Mr. Johnston of Cincinnati has been so kind as to pay for me from time to time for postage acc. 5.89 as it appears from his account sent me [?] Mr. Hammond. Will you have the goodness to pay him for one who loves you and I will refund when you come. Our English friends tell us to command well on a handsome scale and they will help us by a private subscription annually to let the fund accumulate. Lord Kenyon will be a subscriber for life. I have ten thousand things to show you of the greatest interest.


Mr. William Sparrow

Letter to William Sparrow



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