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In the spring of 1791, Mr. Smith was sent from Hanover Presbytery as delegate to the General Assembly, which met in Philadelphia. During his stay in that city he preached in the Presbyterian church in Pine street, which was then vacant, with great acceptance; an unanimous call was immediately made out for him to become their pastor, and met with encouragement from Mr. Smith. The news filled his congregation with consternation; the people could neither believe the fact, nor imagine the cause of his wishing a removal. The Presbytery of which he was a leading member listened to the call with great unwillingness. At a meeting at Concord, Campbell county, July 29th, 1791, the records say—"A call directed to Mr. Smith was delivered to Presbytery, from the Third Presbyterian Church in the city of Philadelphia, generally known by the name of Pine Street. And Mr. Smith being acquainted with the import of that call, and the papers accompanying it, applied for advice to the Presbytery. They having therefore spent a considerable time in deliberating upon the matter, deferred the further consideration of it till to-morrow." On the next day Mr. Smith was not present, having on account of the situation of his family returned home. The remaining members, Messrs. McRoberts, James Mitchell, William Mahon and Drury Lacy,— "having seriously weighed the consequences of the call put into their hands by the Third Presbyterian Church in the city of Philadelphia, in order to be presented to Mr. Smith, agreed to present the said call and papers accompanying it, to him for his consideration; but at the same time inform Mr. Smith, that they do not as yet see their way clear to give their approbation or allowance for him to accept the said call, even in case he should see fit to accept of it any future time; but that they are induced to put it into his hands for consideration solely on account of that deference and respect which is due to his own request, and the application of the congregation which has presented their call to him." This decision, or rather minute, was satisfactory to none of the parties concerned; all preferred something more decisive; and the pastor was evidently inclined to the removal. At a meeting of the Presbytery, called for the purpose, held at Hampden Sidney, —" A motion was made for reviewing the minute of last Presbytery respecting the call put into Mr. Smith's hands, from Pine Street Church, as he complained that the limitation in the body of that minute prevented him from determining in what manner to proceed. The Presbytery therefore, upon a review of the subject, agreed to dissolve the limitation, and to commit the call to his consideration without any restriction. The Presbytery then appointed Mr. McRoberts to attend at Briery on the second Sabbath in October to cite Mr. Smith and that congregation to appear before the Presbytery, at their next meeting, to show the reasons for or against his accepting the call from Pine Street congregation. And Mr. Lacy was appointed to attend at Cumberland on the same day, to cite that congregation and Mr. Smith for the purposes cited above." At a meeting of the Presbytery, held at Cub Creek, October 29th, 1791, the matter came to an issue as by the following record.—"Mr. Smith and his congregations after every step had been regularly taken, appeared before Presbytery, and the call from Pine Street congregation, which had been put in Mr. Smith's hands for consideration, being read, he declared his acceptance of the same; whereupon the Presbytery having heard the parties agreed that he be translated."
The next record is—"An application was made to Presbytery from Cumberland, Briery and Cub Creek congregations by their representatives for leave to prosecute a call for the Rev. William Graham of Lexington Presbytery, in the county of Rockbridge, which was granted." This was done in compliance with a request from the Board of Trustees, who, upon the resignation of the President, were looking around for a successor. Messrs. McRoberts and Legrand were appointed a committee—"to write to the Rev. William Graham to point out to him the importance of his accepting the call." As soon as the tie that bound Mr. Smith to them was dissolved, the congregations and trustees selected the ablest man in the Synod for his successor.
On the same day the pastoral relation was dissolved, Mr. Smith applied—"for a dismission from this Presbytery in order to join the Presbytery of Philadelphia, which was granted." He immediately removed to Philadelphia, where his reception was equal to his worth. His departure from Virginia was an unceasing cause of lamentation, while any of his flock, who knew his worth, continued to meet in the places associated with his presence. But there was a cause for this sudden and apparently strange removal from a place of extraordinary usefulness and undoubted attachment; and this was debt. Mr. Smith's salary from his Presidency and pastoral office, was small; his family was increasing in numbers and consequently in expense;—his labours during the revival called off his attention from worldly matters;—and as a consequence his debts began to accumulate. On his removal from College grounds he purchased a farm, hoping to get some aid for his family; and became involved for the purchase money. His elders did not look into his matters; and he felt unwilling to call attention to his private affairs; and the inattention of the one and the delicacy of the other, led to difficulties that caused the separation. There was, in the neighbourhood, a man who had money at command, professing great friendship for Mr. Smith. He offered him loans in all his straits, and took security which at last opened the eyes of the borrower. He could not pay his debts and keep his farm; and without his farm he could ,not be sustained in Prince Edward. The offer from Philadelphia met his necessities, and he embraced it as a providential refuge. When the congregation came to know the true state of their pastor's embarrassment, their high estimation of his services, added to a feeling that perhaps they had not sufficiently looked into the temporal concerns of him who was sacrificing all for them, the elders came forward and offered cheerfully and promptly to liquidate the claims against him, and put the pecuniary relations existing between them, on a firmer basis. Having discovered, that—" like many other pious and devoted ministers, his judgment was good in laying up a good foundation for the time to come, but was too inattentive in managing the affairs of this life"—with sorrow for his situation, and distress at their own anticipated bereavement, their heart spoke out in the offers they made to detain amongst them the man whom they called their guide, their spiritual father, a leader in Israel. But Mr. Smith thought he had committed himself too far in Philadelphia, and that a proposed separation between pastor and people was tantamount to an actual one, in which it is almost sure to end; and therefore persevered in his determination to accept the call from Philadelphia, to which place he removed in the fall of 1791.
When the friends of literature and science, as the handmaids of religion, projected the College at Schenectady, New York, Mr. Smith was called to the chair of President; and retaining his love for science, his interest in youth, and fondness for instruction, he accepted the offer, and in the year 1795 removed to the College. The severity of the climate acting unfavourably on his feeble constitution, he listened to the earnest solicitations of his friends in Philadelphia, and in May 1799 returned to the charge of Pine Street Church.
In the month of August he wrote to Dr. Hill of Virginia, and among other things mentioned that a report was in circulation that the yellow fever had again visited the city; but he believed it to be a false alarm; that there were some cases of a malignant fever, in some families, but nothing that should be called the yellow fever. He therefore continued in the city, visiting his flock as usual; and in two days from the date of that letter, fell a victim to that terrible disease, which had returned in very deed, and was sweeping its victims in indiscriminate profusion to the grave. He expired the 22d of August, 1799, and was laid in Pine street cemetery. Over his remains his congregation erected a becoming monument. By his side sleeps a worthy successor in office, in Hampden Sidney College, the Rev. Moses Hoge, CD., an humble man of an exalted spirit. Virginia has cause to mourn that so many of her faithful servants and children, whose labours have erected an everlasting memorial in the Church of Christ, sleep not in her soil. Will she not, at some day, not far distant, when the crowded city shall not reluctantly witness the removal of the honoured dead from the busy streets, to the rural home more fitting those who have done with time, demand her Smith, her Hoge and her Lacy, to rest with Rice and Baxter amid the scenes of their usefulness in solemn lovely quietude.
BEV. WILLIAM GRAHAM—LIBERTY HALL AND WASHINGTON COLLEGE.
"william Graham, whose name is inseparably interwoven with the history of literature and religion, in the Valley of Virginia, was born December 19th, 1746, in Paxton township, Pennsylvania, and reared by a pious mother, Michael Graham, the father, was an emigrant to Pennsylvania from the north of Ireand; and had for his second wife, Mary Miller, also an emigrant at the early age of seven years. At the time of the birth of William, the second child, and oldest son, the family resided about five miles from the present seat of government, Harrisburg, in a frontier neighbourhood. From his earliest days, young Graham was accustomed to the toils and exposures of a frontier life, working the farm with his father till his twenty-second year, and being exposed, particularly during Braddock's war, to the depredations of the Indians. On one occasion his life was exposed. One night, while the neighbourhood was unconscious of the approach of any savages, the dogs at Mr. Graham's house appeared unusually excited, and barked much, without exciting the suspicions of the family. After the family had retired, one of the daughters, by a former marriage, left her bed, and listening at the front window, thought she heard whispering in the garden or beyond. The father on being awaked listened, and became satisfied that Indians were lying in wait; and instantly determined to leave the house. The family were all immediately awaked, the little ones making not the least noise on being roused from sleep, were arrayed in dark clothing, and prepared for flight to the fort erected for the safety of the neighbourhood, about a mile distant. William stepped out first with a loaded musket, the door being directly in view of the place where the Indians were concealed; the family followed, and the father, locking the door, brought up the rear, armed ready for, an assault. In silence and safety they passed on to the fort, and gave the alarm; before morning the families of the neighbourhood were all assembled. At day-light an armed party proceeded to Mr. Graham's house, expecting an attack to be made at that hour. All was quiet; the Indians having discovered that the family had deserted the house, departed without depredation. Upon searching by day-light, traces of a large number of the enemy were discovered in the direction from which the whispering came.
While labouring on the farm, young Graham acquired that amount of education which could be imparted by a country schoolmaster on the frontiers. Though blessed with religious instruction and example, it is not known that he experienced any abiding religious impressions till about his twenty-first year. Active in business, and ardent in his pursuits, and social in his feelings, he knew the importance of that religion he did not seek. When about sixteen years of age he became, through the influence of a family in the neighbourhood, extremely fond of dancing and its accompanying merry-making. He carefully concealed from his parents his propensity and indulgence; and even went so far as to endeavour to deceive them by stealing off for this enjoyment, after the family had retired to rest. The effects of this indulgence upon his mind, made him, in after life, oppose it with uncompromising severity, in young people. He thought it one of the most effectual means ever contrived for the destruction of souls. "It was not"—he said—" the mere act of dancing, or the time consumed by it, to which he objected most strongly; but the mind was almost entirely employed in thinking over the dances past, and in looking forward to the next that was to come: and thus all serious reflection was excluded."
About the time he became of age, he was the subject of deep convictions, which ended in his becoming experimentally acquainted with the way of life through Jesus Christ, by the blood of his cross. Such were his views of divine things, that he earnestly desired to be qualified to preach the gospel. His father's narrow circumstances were a great obstacle; his mother's ardent desires that he should spend his life in the ministry were a great encouragement. The father at length agreed to afford all the assistance in his power, and William joyfully commenced the Latin grammar with his pastor Mr. Roan. After a time he removed to the school of Mr. Finley, at