« EelmineJätka »
of religion and of learning; and of his zeal in animating the public mind against an invading enemy, they conclude thus:
“ Now, whereas these things (many of which are of public notoriety) have been represented to us by persons in whom we can well confide; and whereas the said William Smith is personally known to most of us, and is placed in a station in America that gives him an opportunity of being extensively useful to the interests of religion, learning, and good government in those valuable parts of his majesty's dominions, to which he is about to return; we think that it may contribute to the advancement of those interests to confer on him, by your diploma, the degree of doctor in divinity; and we beg leave to recommend him to your grace and favour for the same, not doubting but he will make it the care of his life to behave worthy of so honourable a mark of your distinction, and the hope we entertain concerning him.”
The degree, thus solicited, was soon afterwards conferred; as was also the same degree, about the same time, by the University of Aberdeen; and a few years afterwards by Trinity College, Dublin.
From the testimonies here recited, it must appear, at how early a period the Author had risen into consideration as a writer. The Editor might fill many pages with evidences of a more recent date : But he The following is the extract from Dr. Franklin's letter, above referred to; written antecedently to the Reviews, viz. May 3, 1753, but relating to a single tract, afterwards published in the editions which they noticed:
“ Mr. Peters has just now been with me; and we compared notes on your new piece. We find nothing in the scheme of education, however excellent, but what is, in our opinion, very practicable. The great difficulty will be to find the Aratus,* and other principal persons to carry it into execution—But such may be had if
be had if proper encouragement be given. We have both received great pleasure, in the perusal of it. For my part, I know not when I have read a piece that has more affected me—so noble and just are the sentiments--so warm and animated the language.”
In the year 1759, the Author was recommended to the University of Oxford, for the degree of doctor in divinity, by the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the Bishops of Durham, Salisbury, St. Asaph and Oxford: And the manner in which these eminent persons solicited such a favour, was highly honourable to him. After a representation of his many zealous and successful endeavours in the dissemination
* The Ideal name given to the head or principal of the Ideal College of Mirania.
patronage of the present: which however he anticipates with a considerable degree of confidence, founded on the reputation of the Author; and the many signal occasions on which his compositions have received the stamp of general approbation and applause.
rather appeals to subsequent productions themselves, as evidences of the extent in which a reputation, thus established, was in succeeding years sustained and improved. Accordingly, he adds but one more testimony; viz. that of the general ecclesiastical convention in 1789. That body, with a reference to the proposals which had been laid before them, entered on their minutes as follows:
“ Resolved unanimously, That the members of this convention, being fully persuaded that the interests of religion and practical godliness may be greatly promoted by the publication of a body of Sermons, upon the plan proposed; and being well satisfied of the Author's soundness in the faith, and emi. nent abilities for such a work; they do, therefore, testify their approbation of the same, and their desire to encourage it, by annexing their names as subscribers.” And a paper was signed to the above effect, by all the members.
It only remains to be mentioned, that the copyright of all the compositions, intended by the Author for the press, was presented by him to the Editor; who, on this account, feels himself under the obligation of gratitude, to go on with the remaining volumes; for which he is accordingly preparing, without waiting to know the extent of the public patronage of the present: which however he anticipates with a considerable degree of confidence, founded on the reputation of the Author; and the many signal occasions on which his compositions have received the stamp of general approbation and applause.