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in the Bible, with ease anu paupieczy. the instruction of the Rev. Enoch Huntington, of Middletown, VOL. IX.
Art. I.--Biographical Notice of the Rev. Timothy Dwight, S.
T. D. L. L. D. late President and Professor of Divinity of
Yale College. FEW men, in our country, have, for the last thirty-five years,
filled a larger space in the view of the literary and religious public, than the late president Dwight of Yale college, in Connecticut. To gratify the natural and very reasonable curiosity, in his countrymen, to know something of the history of a man, who was so highly distinguished for his talents and his services, the following outlines of his life have been sketched. What is here given, it is believed, is authentic; though it is hoped and expected, that some one, who has more ample means of information, and who was more intimately acquainted with the subject of this article, will prepare a more extended account; such an one as is every way suited to the character of the late President, and is demanded by his numerous friends and admirers.
Timothy Dwight, S. T. D. L.L. D., late President and Pro. fessor of Divinity of Yale College, was born at Northampton, in the state of Massachusetts, May, 1752. The family, from which he was descended, is, we understand, one of the oldest in that commonwealth. His father, Timothy Dwight, was a gentleman of liberal education, of great respectability of character, and particularly distinguished for the scrupulous integrity with which he discharged every relative duty. His mother was a daughter of the Rev. Jonathan Edwards, President of the College at Princeton, New Jersey,--so extensively known as a metaphysician and divine. Their oldest child, Timothy, the subject of this sketch, was early noticed as a boy of uncommon sprightliness, and of great quickness of apprehension. His acquisition of the elements of learning was so rapid, that, before the age of four, he could read, as an exercise, a chapter in the Bible, with ease and propriety. He was early put under the instruction of the Rev. Enoch Huntington, of Middletown, VOL. IX.
Connecticut,--a gentleman of great classical attainments; and, at the age of thirteen years, was admitted into the freshman class of Yale college. At his examination for admission, it is understood, he acquitted himself in a manner highly honourable to himself and to his instructor; and, by an uncommon exhibition of youthful ingenuousness, and intelligence in every subject upon which he was questioned, inspired the college faculty with a strong interest in his welfare; and gave them, as they thought, ample ground to presage his future eminence as a scholar.
The situation of the college was, at this time, very unfavourable for forming or preserving studious habits. President Clap, who was then at the head of the seminary, had lost a considerable portion of the vigour of his early life;-- from the concurrence of numerous unfavourable circumstances, the col. legiate government was enfeebled; and, as might have been expected, the morals of the students were, in many instances, corrupt, and diligence in study was extremely rare. : It will be seen, at once, that a youth of thirteen must, in such a place, be exposed to numerous temptations; and that his early principles of sobriety and virtue must be put to the strongest trial. Young Dwight, however, escaped the danger unhurt. In addition to the best native disposition, strengthened and fortified by the ablest parental instruction and advice, he had the good fortune to have for his particular tutor a man able to discern his worth, and willing to make every exertion to aid him in his academical progress. His tutor is still living,--the venerable Stephen Mix Mitchell
, Esqr. late Chief Justice of the state of Connecticut; a gentleman to whom, with his associates in the government, the college is deeply indebted for the most strenuous and successful efforts to correct the relaxed discipline at that difficult period. He has lived to see the fruit of his former labours in the literary eminence of his pupil, and to lament, with innumerable others, that so much worth and such capacity for benefiting mankind should be so early removed from the world. The writer of this article, has more than once heard judge Mitchell describe with great interest, the readiness, and even alacrity with which young Dwight, in forming his collegiate connexions, as well as habits of study, complied with his advice,--and the independence which he manifested, even at this tender age, in resisting the enticements of the idle and profligate, and pursuing undeviatingly the path of industry and virtue.
He took the degree of bachelor of arts in 1769, at the age of seventeen. As might be expected, from the character he had maintained as an undergraduate he left college with a high reputation, not only as a young man of brilliant talents, but of the most solid and valuable acquirements. From his commencing bachelor of arts, till he was elected a tutor of the college, he spent his time, partly with his friends at Northampton -partly as an instructor in the classical school in Newhaven,-and partly in college pursuing his studies as a resident graduate. What was the course of his studies, during this interval, and what success attended them, appears from an oration exhibited by him at the commencement of 1772, when he was admitted to a master's degree. This scholastic exercise was received with unprecedented applause; and, as the performance of a youth of twenty, was universally considered as evidence of uncommon research, great correctness of taste and maturity of judgment. By the advice of his friends, this oration was soon published, entitled a Dissertation on the History, Eloquence, and Poetry of the Bible. This was his first publication; and is on a subject, which he ever afterwards delighted to contemplate. It strongly exhibits some of the peculiar features of his mind, and shows the course of study which he very early adopted.
At the commencement of 1771, he was elected a tutor of the college,—the duties of which station he discharged, for six years, with great fidelity and success. On the death of president Clap, Dr. Daggett, who filled the divinity chair, had been appointed president pro tempore; and continued, till about the close of Mr. Dwight's tutorship, to fill both offices. Dr. Daggett, though a man of great worth, and extensive learning, in his profession, was ill qualified to direct the multifarious concerns of a college. With much knowledge of books, he had little knowledge of the world; and he peculiarly failed in managing young men,—who, from the strength of their feelings, and from their want of experience in the consequences of actions, often make large demands on the patience and wisdom of college government. He had good sense enough, however, to discern his own deficiencies, and that Mr. Dwight had talents peculiarly fitted for the very place in which he himself most failed. The consequence was, that Mr. Dwight, though most of the time he filled the office of a tutor in college, had a much larger share in the government of the students than usually falls to those in the same station;--and it is not improbable, that his early initiation into the difficulties of college discipline, had its full influence, in rendering him in after life, so eminent in this arduous but necessary part of a collegiate system. But it was not in government alone, that Mr. Dwight distinguished himself during his tutorship. The taste of the students, at this time, in elocution, and in English composition was at an