Clap, Thomas

Clap, Thomas, a Congregational minister, was born at Scituate, Mass., June 26,1703, and graduated at Harvard 1722. He was ordained pastor at Windham, Aug. 3, 1726; was elected to the rectorship of Yale College in 1739, and entered upon the duties of the office April 2, 1740. He devoted himself energetically to the work of the college; framed its code of laws (1748, Latin, "the first book ever printed in New Haven"); improved its library, and in various ways strengthened the institution. He was especially noted for his knowledge of mathematics and physics, and constructed the first orrery made in America. His opposition to Whitefield, and other causes, raised up a party against him, and in 1765 he resigned his office; the corporation, however, passing a vote "expressive of their high estimation of his character and services." He died in New Haven, January 7, 1767. President Clap published An Introduction to the Study of Philosophy, exhibiting a general View of all the Arts and Sciences (1743); The Religious Constitution of Colleges, especially of Yale College, New Haven (1754); A brief History and Vindication of the Doctrines received and established in the Churches of New England, with a Specimen of the new scheme of Religion beginning to prevail (1755); An Essay on the Nature and Foundation of moral Virtue and Obligation (1765); Annals or History of Yale College (1766); Conjectures upon the Nature and Motions of Meteors which are above the Atmosphere (post, 1781). — Sprague, Annals, 1, 343; Allen, American Biography, s.v.

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