Philander Chase



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Chase writes about the plans to purchase certain lands and to clear an area for the construction of the Seminary. He also discusses the influence of local interests on the plans.




Dr. McClary, Mr. Dewolf, Boston, Convention, Mr. Reed, Dr. Warren, Zanesville


Worthington April 26


Right Rev and Dear Brother:

I wrote you by Dr. McClary; and although he assured me, on his return, that you would favour me with an answer after Mr. Dewolf’s return from Boston which was expected in a few days; yet the time being so short before our Convention I can not refrain from writing a few lines to which I may receive an answer before that all important period.

[Crossed out:] I am about alone in the project of placing our College in the wilderness; yet the fatigues thereof falling principally on the first beginners I have a right to decide for myself what I could not do in the care of another.

That my plan will be of the utmost benefit to the interests of the Christian Church and learning in generally, in this and to all future generations is allowed by all, yet the local interests of several little towns and villages amongst us so far [want] the judgement of many that I apprehend great difficulty in accomplishing it. I would wish to have our Seminary to have the Lords of their own soil for some distance around. That the lands so owned by us should be leased under a restriction prohibiting all things detrimental to the morals and studies of youth. The benefits [here] resulting [crossed out:] to say nothing of those which would accrue from the interesting circumstances that some of the [increase] of property occasioned by our location would flow into our own coffers would be very great and when added to the part of our being [gained] by the increase of property which we ourselves occasion they would seem to outweigh every other consideration but that of the difficulty and fatigues of accomplishing it. But these latter falling on the first beginners; if they did not complain it would be [thought] none others could.

Yet as I observed such in the overbearing influence of local interests that it is feared all these privileges which now can be secured to our Seminary will be overlooked and disregarded for the sole purpose of building upon the importance of [?] [?] of our little towns and villages. And those (many of them that will strenuously [contain] for this prize) not larger than a town which the Seminary will make on her own soil in 6 or 7 years.

To overcome these and many other formidable objections such as the expense of making roads erecting bridges (& some of these must be quite expensive on the land proposed) building mills and the herculian [sic] labour of clearing off the forest, I have, it is believed under the guidance of a kind Providence projected the scheme made known to you thro’ Dr. McClary. Mr. Reed gave us one thousand acres and on the hope getting the same quantity from other land holders I went forward. And altho’ my agent returned without accomplishing the errand yet from his acct. I have good hopes of Mr. Dewolf. If he knows what his own interest is he cannot hesitate a moment in securing to us a thousand acres from off the east end of his section, the nature of which is such having been some years ago “dead end” that for the purpose of [?]ing the College for pasture and grazing farms it will be immediately cleared off, and thus the remaining property of Mr. Dewolf instead of being surrounded by an impervious forest (& Dr. Warren knows this to be true as to justify the extension) could be in a flourish, neighborhood and under the influence of a College which soon may vie with the best. If Mr. Dewolf were on the [shot] I am confident he would not hesitate a moment to make the proposed donation of a 1000 acres. Any less quantity would not even tho’ combined with all the rest have influence sufficient to command [?] arguments must be weights to bear down what is [obtention] to my plans [?] to us. Our Convention sits on the first of June at Zanesville. Pray let me have an answer in time. God hath directly blessed me hitherto almost [immaculately]. I trust if this be for his glory he will not now leave me. His will be done.

Letter to Unknown Bishop



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