Philander Chase



Download Full Text (9.1 MB)


Address on behalf of raising funds for Kenyon College in Boston.




Albany, Eleazer Wheelock, John Wheelock, New Hampshire, Dartmouth, Yale, Lady Dresden, Kenyon College


Bishop Chase’s Address

In all plans designed for the good of man, the intelligent and benevolent mind delights to know the first beginnings, the secret springs and moving causes. As in nature, so in moral things, when we see a [?[ whose pure refreshing waters we are called upon to swell by our bounty, it confers a peculiar pleasure, to know where it had its [silent], [?] and perhaps before, unnoticed fountain. Guided by the scriple truth of this remark, I feel it my duty and find it my privilege and pleasure to say something of the origin of the place about to be presented to the attention and patronage of this most respected assembly.

So long ago as 1798, and 99, the person who now addresses you was an humble missionary in the western parts of the State of New York. At that period there were but Five Clergymen of the Epis. Church west of Albany and but few of any other denomination. The whole region of the western parts of that state exhibited then but a moral as it had just before done that of a natural [?]

The great necessity of keeping the means of grace and knowledge in some degree equal to the rapid settlements was everywhere apparent. If our Religion and our liberties were to be preserved, it was clear the means to that end must be attended. It was this sentiment which led to great exertions in that state and at that period and it was this sentiment which since within a few years have led to still greater exertions in favour of the vast country west of the Allegany [sic] Mountains. Wherever the human family go, thither must go with them, the means of Religion and learning, or man degenerates from a Christian, Civilized, state to that of plunderers and assassins. Human nature is the same everywhere; The soil if not cultivated will produce thorns, briars and every noxious plant. What has been once acted over in Turkey where a Chrisitan has been exchanged for a savage state will be the unhappy lot of even this our blessed country. This sentiment, was that which took possession of my whole frame; It weighed down my mind by day and visited my dreams by night, till after many years of too long delay, it hurried me in spite of all my better prospects of ease and comfort and sweet society here in these New England states; it influenced me to go myself to the wild wood to mingle in the train of that vast multitude who were peopling the western world. But alas! had I known the difficulties in the way how could I have summoned courage to proceed! Blessed be God for the verification of a wise author’s words, “The veil which covers from our view the events of futurity is a veil woven by the hand of mercy” Happy for us that we do not know the ills of life before we are called to meet them. Giving way to the strong claims of a missionary spirit thus contracted in early life. I left the very excellent cultivated society of Hartford

[Page missing here?]

Alone equals a million of souls and what are the few means of religion and learning hitherto enjoyed among so many?

Wait a few years more and that number again will be doubled. And when millions one heaped on millions in this and adjoining states by what rules can they be governed by what ties can they be bound but those of Religion and moral License. Refuse to give then these are what are they? Our uninformed multitude or only so far informed in the [?] as to be capable of mischief and when put in motion like the raging of the sea, nought but the voice of God can restrain them.

Not only in numbers but in extent of territory is the evil we complain of astounding. Look at the map which exhibits the relative extent of the countries west & east of that natural boundary which separates the valley of the Mississippi from the Atlantic States. What is the border bed in comparison to the whole of a spacious farden, a little narrow space, not so much however when compared are the Atlantic states with the great country westward.

What will the latter be when filled with a dense population equal to its fertility? And if that population be bred up in ignorance and vice and know not the value of our civil privileges nor feel the bonds of moral obligation what will be the security of the few against the many? These Atlantic States may be enlightened civilized religious and happy. They may be wealthy also: but what security have they that they and their posterity will enjoy these privileges? Was Rome safe when the northern nations had become sensible of their own physical strength? And yet were uninfluenced by moral obligation? What is wealth when not secured by the salutary laws of God and Man? And what is the obligation of the laws of God or man in the eyes of those who are bred up in ignorance? If something more be not done for our Western Country than has been done this ignorance will with few exceptions pervade the whole mass of the unhappy settlers. The first generation coming from more enlightened regions may communicate some of their knowledge to their children: but so much is to be done to procure the means of living that the duty of a schoolmaster is seldom well performed by a [parent]. The child seldom knows what his Father knows and this backward cause, if not checked will soon exhaust the fountain of civil and religious learning and a worse than [Cossack] state will inevitably ensue. And then when that vast country is filled to overflowing – when millions can be spared for War while millions stay at home what security will there be to wealth and civil comfort? I [trouble] at the future prospects of our dear country when so little is done to secure the blessings bequeathed to us by our ancestors. When so much was done to endorse institutions of learning while these Atlantic States were in their infancy by our ForeFathers in our parent country why can not [?] they be done for these who are now as we were once settling a new country? Had no helping hand been extended to the Institutions of learning in the Atlantic States while they were young where would have been our civil privileges, the wisdom of our Laws and the enlightened obedience which is paid to them by a virtuous community. Having once been helped yourselves why will you not help others.

The Institution wherein was educated the person who now addressed you was founded by foreign bounty. The Rev’d Eleazer Wheelock and his son Doct’r John Wheelock made known the wants of the State of New Hampshire to British subjects and Lady Dresden of Dartmouth and many others heard their prayers and granted their request. Yale College also was essentially fostered if not founded by foreign bounty. And many more Institutions might be named. And shall the Atlantic States now they have become rich and powerful feel no obligation to assist others in their turn? I cannot, will not, for the honor of this my native country say nay to this? Confident I am that an object like the present having in view solely the good of the rising generation of our vast regions at the West striving to keep our fellow men and fellow Christians from ignorance, and in whose sole object is to diffuse knowledge through our innumerable mass of people, who if they are not enlightened and that some may be the means of overturning the liberties of our happy country, an object like this must and will receive most liberal support.

It is well known that the plan of founding a College in Ohio was in its incipient stages presented to the attention of the Benevolent in England. This measure being grounded on the fact that a great proportion of the western country particularly such of them as attended the Episcopal Communion were British born subjects was deemed honourable in itself and worthy of the most serious and tender attention. Not only did they contribute to the amount of nearly £6,000 sterling but were grateful to the person who presented the claims of their needy countrymen to their attention, and loaded him with their favours.

Now the fact of these our fellow Christians of another country having given so freely and so liberally towards laying the foundation of our Institution creates a powerful encouragement, that our own countrymen will help in rearing on that foundation a glorious super structure. When the cause of our Ohio College was considered as such inherently [?] us to awaken the best and most benevolent feelings of the great & good in a foreign land, surely we who stand related to that cause by the strong obligations of Honour duty patriotism and the deepest self interest may reasonably be supposed not to hesitate but give it our prompt and most liberal support.

Grateful to God for the favour found in the sight of this most respected assembly, I have but one sentence more to add and shall have done.

The Institution to which contributions are now solicited is of no sectarian spirit: That it is attached to one denomination does not prove it such. All institutions to be of any use must have rule and by governed by some known acknowledged principle of public order; and so long as they seek the good of the human family by contending against the common enemy ignorance & vice the charge of sectarianism can not justly lie against them. Of this character is that of Kenyon College and the present subscription is for the incouragement [sic] of general learning – as such it has obtained the approbation and patronage of the wise and good of all denominations. May the Good God now cherish its interests in the benevolent affections of the respected citizens of Boston and vicinity.

Address by Philander Chase



Rights Statement

No Copyright - United States