« PreviousContinue »
A part of his course of study preparatory to admission into college, he pursued at Bennington. He graduated from Dartmouth College in 1793, with a high character as a scholar. He studied Divinity with the Rev. Dr. Backus, of Somers, in Connecticut. He was appointed Professor of Languages in Dartmouth College, in 1811, and continued there till 1815, when he received and accepted the appointment of President of Williams College, in Massachusetls, where he continued till his appointment of President of Amherst Collegiate Institution, which has, since his death, been chartered as a college. This appointment was made in 1821, and be held the office at the time of his death, June 30, 1823. He died at the age of 52 years, leaving a wife, but no children.
In every station which he held, be exhibited powers of mind, and strength of character to perform the duties incumbent upon him, with the greatest honor and success. He was, indeed, no ordinary man, and we feel that any attempt to delineate his character, or do justice to his reputation, as a scholar, as a christian, and as a man, must, in a great measure, fail. We hope some abler pen will yet do justice to his memory.
He was an indefatigable student, and possessed a remarkably sound and discriminating mind. His acquirements were extensive in almost every department of science and literature that came under his examination. But his favorite study, next to that of Theology, were moral Philosophy and Metaphysics. He was possessed of an unshaken firmness of character, and though cool and deliberate in forming opinions or arriving at conclusions, when they were once formed, he adhered to them with fearless resolution till convinced of his errors. He was often able to carry through a favorite plan with success, which to others would have seemed hopeless and desperate. His progress from the plough to the chair of President of a College, though never rapid, was sure and unwavering.
In every situation in life, he was kind, social, and engaging. But it was in his own family, and at his own fireside, that he exhib- : ited most fully those qualities which we love and admire. His conversation was of an elevated and improving character, and no one could leave his society without having been delighted and instructed. lo the government and discipline of a college, he had no superior. His accurate knowledge of human nature, his decision of character, and his urbanity of manners, while they enabled him to discriminate properly in the subjects of his government, carried respect and enforced obedience, and at the same time won the
confidence and affection of the pupil. As a writer, bis productions may be considered as almost a model of fine composition. He rarely icdulged in rhetorical ornaments of style, but was always neat and perspicuous, and often eloquent. His sermons were always heard with interest and attention, and would be read with pleasure as well as profit.
The writer has known Dr. Moore in almost every situation in life, and has had cause to love and respect him, while he admired those qualities of mind which he exhibited under all circumstances, and some of them the most trying. But it would be improper to intrude any personal feelings towards him in this place; we are only to speak of his character as it should be known in history, and we regret that we can do it so little justice. But we are not sufficiently removed from the time in which he lived, to have bis character and reputation presented in their proper light. His is a fame that will brighten, and be remembered, when many whose genius was more brilliant and dazzling, will be forgotten. His name must ever be remembered as connected with Amherst Col. lege, for to his reputation and exertions, more than any other thing, may the early success and even existence of that institution be ascribed. We leave it to posterity to do him justice. His private virtues may be forgotten; for those only who knew him could appreciate them ; but his character as a theologian, an instructor, and as a President and Director of a Seminary of learning, will be remembered.
He married, soon after becoming the minister of Leicester, to a daughter of the late Thomas Drury, of Ward, in this county, who still survives him. In his person, Dr. Moore was large, and very well formed; his manners were dignified and easy; his voice, though not very loud, was clear and distinct, and its tones remarkably pleasant. His manner of delivery was entirely free from affectation and attempt at display: he made use of but little action, but be was always listened to with interest and attention.
He received the degree of Doctor of Divinity at Dartmouth College, in the year 1816. In the year 1818, he preached the annual election sermon, before the executive and legislature of Massachusetts. He was, for some years before his death, a member of the American board of commissioners for foreign missions. His election sermon, and a few occasional sermons, were the principal productions of his pen ever published. Although the town consented to the dismission of Dr. Moore
with reluctance and regret, and his removal was then considered a public misfortune to his society, they were so fortunate as to unite immediately in giving an unanimous call to Mr. John Nelson, Jr. to become their minister. He accepted the call, and was ordained March 4, 1812; but a little more than four months from the time. of Dr. Moore's dismission. His salary at first was $450 per annum, but is at present, (1826) $650. Mr. Nelson was a native of Hopkinton, in this state, from whence he removed with his father to Worcester. He graduated at Williams College, in 1807, and was subsequently a tutor in that college, and afterwards pursued bis theological studies under the tuition of the Rev. Dr. Austin, of Worcester.
From the time of the dismission of Mr. Parsons, the congregational society have, for the most part, been in a state of great peace and tranquillity, and this spirit has prevailed in regard to religious opinions throughout the town; although there have, for many years, been several religious societies who have places of worship here. The first congregational meeting house was erected before the year 1721, though not completed till many years afterwards. That having gone much to decay, and being inconvenient, a new one was erected and completed in 1784 and '5, a little in the rear of the original house.
From the settlement of Mr. Parsons, till 1768, if the society was provided with church music at all, those who sung were scattered promiscuously through the audience. In that year, “the use of the hindermost seat in the front gallery” was appropriated to "those who had learned the rules of singing," and it was not till 1780, that the singers were allowed to sit in the front seat in the gallery.
Besides the congregational society, there has, for a long time, been a society of Baptists, and one of Friends; an Episcopalian society has recently been organized in the town. There was, from 1777 till 1783, a society of Jews resident in this town. They removed here in the winter of 1777, from Newport, in Rhode Island, to escape from the war then raging so violently along our coasts, and especially threatening the devoted island upon which Newport is situated, then in possession of the enemy. There were, in the whole, including servants, about seventy who removed here; though many of the servants were not of the Jewish faith. Among the most respectable Jews, were Aaron Lopez, and four others of the name of Lopez, Jacob Revera, and Abraham Men
dez.* Most of them engaged immediately in trade, and Aaron Lopez, in particular, was very extensively engaged. He occupied, and in part built, the house afterwards occupied for the Academy. Licences to these are recorded in the town records, "10 sell Bohea and other Indian teas." They all resided bere until after the peace of 1783. Although, so far as respected their religion, they were entirely distinct from the rest of the inhabitants of the town: they were, in all other respects, on terms of great intimacy and friendship. They always observed the rites and ceremonies of their law, and their stores were closed from Friday evening until Monday morning. They were prudent, industrious, and enterprising, and many of them were elegant in their address and deportment, and possessed an extensive knowledge of the world. They were much respected and esteemed by the inhabitants of the town, and always seemed to remember with pleasure, the kindness and civilities they, on their part, received while resident here, and availed themselves, ever afterwards, of every, opportunity that presented to ex. press these feelings, as many who experienced their attentions when in Newport would attest.I
Of all those who removed to this town from Newport, no one Dow remains here. The last of their number removed, a few years since, to New York. The synagogue where they worshipped, is now desolate and forsaken; the grass waves luxuriantly in the court yard; and the little furniture remains, as when last used for holy service more than thirty years ago. The church yard, in which most of this number are buried, is still preserved in a state of uncommon neatness and beauty. But we have digressed, per
* Aaron Lopez occupied what was afterwards the old Academy. Joseph was the son of Aaron, and lived with him. Moses and Jacob were clerks for Aaron. Mendez lived, for a time, where B. Hobart now lives, about half a mile north of the meeting house, and afterwards in the old house at the foot of the mee:ing house hill, called the “Southgate house." Revera lived in the house which forms a part of the Hotel, opposite the meeting house.
+ A child of one of the families having one day tasted of some pork, in one of the neighbor's houses, its mother, immediately, upon learning the fact, administered a powerful emetic, and thus cast out the sin of which it had been unconsciously guilty.
The death of Mr. Aaron Lopez, the most wealthy and intelligent of their number, took place under circumstances peculiarly distressing. Travelling to Providence, himself in a gig, accompanied by his wife and family in a carriage, he drove into Scott's pond, in Smithfield, to water his horse, when, from the abruptness of the shore, the horse sunk immediately beyond his depth, and drawing the gig after him, threw Mr. Lopez into the water, where he perished, in presence of his family, whose efforts to save him were unavailing
haps too far, to follow to their last resting place, those, who once formed a respectable portion of the population of this town. Their history had no important connection with that of the town, and it entirely ceased at the time of their removal in 1783.
A society of Anabaptists was formed in this town, about the year 1738. The first minister of the society was Dr. Thomas Green, a physician of considerable note in his day. It was chiefly through his instrumentality that the society was gathered. This church appears to have once formed part of a society of Baptists in Sutton, of which Dr. Green was one of the pastors.
Dr. Green was a native of Malden, Mass. and was the early settlers of Leicester. His circuit of business as a Physician' was extensive, and his life was that of active and persevering industry. His success as a preacher was also very considerable, and a very respectable society was gathered. A meeting house was built through his agency, about three miles from the congregational meeting house. This house requiring great repairs, the society, in 1825, enlarged and repaired it, and it is now a very neat and convenient house of worship. Dr. Green died in 1775,"at the age of 73 years, after a life distinguished for its activity and usefulness. His descendants, though not very numerous, have been among the useful and distinguished men of the county;'and some of them have particularly excelled in the profession of medicine, for which they have shown a predilection.
Dr. Green was succeeded, as a pastor of this church, by the Rev. Benjamin Foster, D. Ü. whose talents and acquirements ranked him among the highest order of the profession. He was a nalive of Danvers, Mass. and born June 12, 1750. At the age of 18, he entered Yale College, where he was regularly graduated, and afterwards pursued the study of Theology under the tuition of Dr. Stillman, of Boston, and was ordained over the Baptist Church in Leicester, in 1772, where he continued several years, and wbile there, published some controversial tracts of considerable merit. Soon after leaving Leicester, he was settled in Newport, R. I. and, in 1788, became the pastor of the first Baptist church in the city of New York, where he continued till his death, in 1798. He received the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity at Brown University, in 1792, in consequence of a learned treatise upon « the seventy weeks of Daniel,” which he had previously published. He was a distinguished scholar, an eminent preacher, and a consis