Smith, Samuel Stanhope, Dd, Lld

Smith, Samuel Stanhope, D.D., LL.D., a distinguished divine and educator of the Presbyterian Church, and son of the Rev. Robert Smith, D.D., was born in Pequea, Lancaster Co., Pa., March 16, 1750. At a very early period he gave indications of possessing a mind of no common order. When he was only six or seven years old he commenced the study of the languages in his father's school. "He made the best of his opportunities, and was distinguished for his improvement in every branch to which he directed his attention." He became a communicant in the Church under his father's care while he was yet under the paternal roof; and before he was eighteen years of age graduated at the College of New Jersey under circumstances the most honorable and gratifying. After graduation he returned to his father's house and spent some time "partly in assisting him in conducting his school, and partly in vigorous efforts for the higher cultivation of his own mind." In 1770 he became tutor of the classics and of belles lettres in the College of New Jersey, where he remained for upwards of two years, discharging his duties with great fidelity and acceptance, while at the same time he was pursuing a course of theological study privately. In 1773 he resigned the position of tutor, was licensed to preach by the Presbytery of Newcastle, and immediately went as a missionary to the western counties of Virginia, where he soon became an almost universal favorite. So powerful an impression did he make that some of the most wealthy and influential persons soon set on foot a project for detaining him there as the head of a literary institution. A seminary was subsequently chartered under the name of Hampden Sidney College, and he took upon himself the double office of principal of the seminary and pastor of the Church, and the duties of both he discharged with the most exemplary fidelity. In 1779 he accepted the professorship of moral philosophy in the College of New Jersey. The college was then in ruins in consequence of the uses and abuses to which it had been subjected by both the British and American soldiers; its students were dispersed, and all its operations had ceased; but it is not too much to say that during this whole period, although Dr. Witherspoon's name could not fail to shed glory over the institution, and he was always intent upon the promotion of its interests, it was mainly by the energy, wisdom, and generous self devotion of Dr. Smith that the college was speedily reorganized and all its usual exercises resumed. In 1783 Yale College honored him with D.D., and in 1810 Harvard University with LL.D. In 1785 he was elected an honorary member of the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia; and the same year was appointed to deliver their anniversary address, and he met the occasion in a manner which, of itself, would have conferred lasting honor upon his name. The address was afterwards published in the Transactions of the society, and subsequently in an enlarged and improved form in a separate volume. With this work his reputation as a philosopher both at home and abroad is, in no small degree, identified. In 1786 he was associated with several of the most distinguished and venerable men in the Presbyterian Church in preparing the Form of Presbyterial Government. In 1794; Dr. Witherspoon having died, he became president of the College of New Jersey. He had now acquired a wide reputation as a pulpit orator. His baccalaureate discourses particularly attracted large numbers, even from remote parts of the country, to listen to them; but one of his most splendid performances was his oration, delivered at Trenton, on the death of Washington. The occasion roused his faculties to the utmost, and the result was a production of great beauty and power. In 1802 the college edifice was burned, together with the libraries, furniture, and fixtures of every description. The trustees resolved to rebuild it immediately. Dr. Smith made a begging tour through the Southern States, and returned in the following spring with about one hundred thousand dollars, which, with other liberal aid, enabled him to accomplish vastly more than he had ventured to anticipate. "This was his crowning achievement. He had won new honors and gained many new friends. The college was popular and prosperous, and numbered two hundred students. New buildings were soon erected, and several new professors were added to the faculty." During the whole period of his presidency he continued to contribute to the elevation of the college to a position of the highest usefulness, and ever proved himself to be one of the ablest and most successful disciplinarians of any age. In 1812, being too much enfeebled to discharge any longer the duties of his office, he tendered his resignation as president and retired to a place which the board of trustees provided for him, and there spent the remainder of his life. He died, in the utmost tranquillity, Aug. 21, 1819, and his remains were laid by the side of his illustrious predecessors. Dr. Smith was an indefatigable student; conversant with the literature, science, philosophy, and politics of ancient and modern times; a classical scholar in the highest acceptation of the phrase; and wrote and conversed in Latin with great facility and was a first-rate prosodist. As a preacher, the uniform testimony was that his eloquence in his best days had no parallel. His superior talents as professor and principal were everywhere spoken of and acknowledged. As a man, the saintly aspect, the tranquil resignation, the humble faith, the generous sympathy, the comprehensive charity, the modest, \unpretending gentleness of his whole manner, all proclaimed the Christian gentleman and the mature and gifted good man. The following is a list of his publications: Essay on the Causes of the Variety of Complexion and Figure of the Human Species, etc. (Phila. 1787, 8vo; Edin. 1788, 8vo; Lond. 1799, 8vo; 2d ed. New Brunswick, N.J., 1810, 8vo): — -Sermons (Newark, N.J., 1799, 8vo; Lond. 1801, 8vo): — -Lectures on the Evidences of the Christian Religion (Phila. 1809, 12mo): — Lectures on Moral and Political Philosophy

(Trenton, N.J., 1812, 2 vols. 8vo): — Comprehensive View of Principles of Natural and Revealed Religion (New Brunswick, 1815, 8vo). He also published a number of single sermons, orations, and discourses (1781- 1810). After his death appeared Sermons, with a Brief Memoir of his Life and Writings (Phila. 1821, 2 vols. 8vo). See Sprague, Annals of the Amer. Pulpit, 3, 335-345; Life and Works of Philip Lindsey (1866), 3, 652; Life of Dr. Archibald Alexander, p. 265; New York Mfed. and Phys. Journ. 1809; Mitchell [Dr. John], Essay on the Causes of the Different Colors of People in different Climates; Aalec. Mag. 15, 443; 16, 1; Ramsay [Dr. David], Hist. of the United States, 1607-1808; continued to the treaty of Ghent by S. S. Smith, D.D., LL.D., and other literary gentlemen; Allibone, Dict. of Brit. and Amer. Authors; Davidson, Hist. of the Presb. Church in Kentucky, p. 39; Thomas, Biog. Dict. s.v. (J.L.S.)

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