Imágenes de páginas
[ocr errors]

Vice President of this College, was Minister. In 1761, and the 22d year of his age, he was admitted into the College, highly recommended by his Instructor, the distinguished Preceptor Mr. Moody, * of whom he was a favorite pupil ; and they had always afterward much esteem and cordial friendship for each other. In passing through the course of studies at the College, he was greatly distinguished for regularity and propriety of conduct, diligence, eņergy of mind, and proficiency in knowledge.

Having been graduated in 1765, he was elected Tu. tor to instruct in the Greek language, on the ist of September, 1966 ; a rare, if not the only instance of election to an office of that kind in this College, in so short a period after graduation ; but for which he was justly considered as eminently qualified. And in 1768 he was chosen a Fellow of the College. During a period, in which uncommon difficulties occurred, he performed the duties, arising from these relations, with great fidelity, fortitude, and reputation,

Having received an invitation to settle as the Minister of a ļarge and respectable society in Beverly in 1772, he resigned the office of Tutor and the Fellowship, and was ordained in November. In the ministry he was very happy, being much esteemed and beloved By the people of his charge, and in the whole circle of his acquaintance.

When the Presidency of this University + became vacant in 1780, by the resignation of Dr. Langdon, the eyes of the Public were directed to Mr. Willard as the most suitable man to fill that important office. In 1781 he was elected President, and installed on the 19th of December in the same year. The peaceable and harmonious manner, in which the separation from his people was effected, when he was removed to a sphere of more extensive usefulness, and the mutual es teem and affection, which have continued without inter. ruption to the present time, are honorary both to him and them ; being evidence of his prudent, judicious conduct ; of their liberal sentiments and just reflection, By his installation joy and confidence were diffused through the University and the State.

* Samuel Moody, A M. afterward Preceptor of Dummer Academy, who delighted, in an extraordinary degree, to cherish and cultivate youthful genius ; and of whose success, as an Instructor, this was a happy example.

+ In the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, established in $780, this College is denominated the University at Cambridge.

At the time of this event, in the second year of my academical course, commenced my personal knowledge of this excellent man, and my filial affection for him. During the interval of time, that has since elapsed, with the exception of about one year, my residence has constantly been at the University ; and with great sat, isfaction I can affirm, that with increasing acquaintance my esteem and respect for him have increased. .

President Willard generally enjoyed fine health till about six years ago, when he was attacked by the painful disorder, * which then reduced him to the bor, der of the grave, and at the second return since proved fatal. Under the first assault, when there was but a glimmering ray of hope, Divine Providence kindly res. çued and restored him to usefulness. The greater part of each of the two succeeding years he suffered ex, tremely with bilious complaints ; and the rejoicing of the Public for the first recovery was mingled with ans, iety. But at length a degree of health again returned, that astonished, while it gratified his friends. Disorder

Ischuria, from enlargement of what Anatomists call the Prostata

however of a bilious kind has since seized him several times with great violence, but was of short duration, In this precarious and alarming state of his health, jour. neying was found to be of great advantage by exercise ing and invigorating the system. After the last Commencement, with a view to fortify his constitution for the winter season, when it would not be prudent for him to venture far from home, he made an excursion to the southern extremity of the State. After visiting Nantucket, he returned to New Bedford with the intention of proceeding directly to Cambridge, but was there unhappily arrested by sickness. Symptoms of the dise order appeared in the night of the 19th instant,* and in the evening of the 25th, in the 23d year of his Pre. sidency, and 66th of his age, President Willard expired.

Endued by the bountiful Author of Nature with great bodily and mental firmness and vigor, President Willard was capable of supporting with uncommon ease long and intense application. Having a clear un. derstanding, a strong and retentive memory, and pur. suing a various and extensive plan of study for a long course of years with zeal and assiduity, he amassed a prodigious treasure of knowledge. From this rich fund he took pleasure in communicating, when it would an. swer any valuable purpose, or could be done without the appearance of ostentatious parade. An engaging degree of modesty was combined with great dignity in his deportment. His person was majestic ; his senti, ments really noble and elevated ; his candor, generosity, and benevolence great and conspicuous. Conscious of his own rectitude of intention, he was slow to suspect obliquity in the designs of others; and was ever dis,

The Eulogy yas pronounced the 29th of September 1804.

posed to put the most favorable construction on their actions, which the evidence he possessed would admit. · Not content with partial and superficial views, he penetrated deeply into the nature of things ; the prin. ciples, the reasoning, and the theory of Science as well as the practical use, and application in the various Arts, and to the purposes of life. In his various and extensive literary walks, he took special delight in the Latin and Greek Classics, and in Mathematics. Ta specify all the branches of learning, on which he had read, and to which he had directed his attention, would be to enumerate the ancient learned languages and the modern French, and nearly the whole circle of the Arts and Sciences In the refined and noble language of ancient Greece his reading and researches were remarkably extensive. In this department of literature perhaps he had no equal in the United States. Mathematical science, especially Spherics and Astrono. my, furnished exercise for the energy of his mind, which was a source of peculiar gratification. Frequently has he communicated to me the result of an astronomical inquiry with emotions of lively pleasure, Alas, my Father, that I can never again participate with you in such refined, such elevated enjoyment !

In making astronomical observations and calcula, tions he was very accurate and skilful. His performances in this line, published in the Memoirs of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, are sufficient evidence of his skill in the sublime science of Astronomy.

In proof of the solidity and extent of President Wil, lard's literary fame may be adduced the honorable tes timonials of various literary and scientific Societies, The degree of Doctor of Divinity was conferred upon him by this University; and that of Doctor of Laws,

by Yale College. He was appointed a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences by the act of incorporation in 1780 ; and that Society in organizing itself chose him Corresponding Secretary ; and in 1784, Vice President. And by annual reelections they continued him in the former office till 1789, when he declined, and in the latter, till his decease. Certifi. cates of his election as an honorary member have been sent to him by the Royal Society of Gottingen, and the Medical Society of London. And since his exit we have been informed of the arrival of a Certificate of his election as a member of the American Philosophical Society at Philadelphia: Oh! too late to give him, but not too late to give his friends, satisfaction.*

Eminently qualified to form a just estimate of the value of learning, and to examine claims to this distinction, he felt indignant at empty, imposing pretenders ; but was the decided, warm friend of real literary merit. He was disposed to invite and cherish the efforts of gen ius, and contemplated with high gratification the diffu. sion of knowledge, and the progress of improvement. The prosperity of this Institution was always dear to his heart, and was the object of unremitted attention.

The fairness and uprightness of his mind, and his determined adherence to truth and equity deserve the highest encomium. During the whole period of my connexion with him in official duty I have admired these exalted virtues.

* Other Societies also, incorporated for highly useful and benevolent pur-. poses, have shown their esteem for President Willard by associating him in their respective bodies. He was President of the Massachusetts Charitable Congregational Society, the object of which is to make provision for the relief of the widows and children of deceased Ministers; a member of the Society for propagating the Gospel among the Indians and others in North America ; and a member of the Humane Society, formed for the purpose of recovering persons apparently dead by drowning and other accidents.

« AnteriorContinuar »