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this corporation cannot be legally recovered after its dissolution, and as several such debts do exist, it would be an act of injustice in the corporation to suffer such dissolution to take place. 5th. Because the property of Liberty Hall having been committed to us in trust, we consider ourselves responsible for the use of the same, and culpable if we suffer it tamely to be taken from us. 6th. Because we are all assured that the late interference of our Legislature, with regard to Liberty Hall, is in a great degree contrary to the wishes of those good citizens, who for the promotion of virtue and literature, gave largely of their estates to this Academy."
On the 19th of April of the same year, the Board took into consideration the state of the Academy; and on the 20th "appointed Messrs. William Willson, Samuel Brown, Benjamin Grigsby, Samuel L. Campbell, and Samuel Houston, or any three of them, a committee on behalf of the Board to send letters of information to other corporations in the State, of the attempt to deprive us of our charter."—The same committee were requested to prepare a remonstrance to be laid before the Assembly. In November the remonstrance was presented to the Board and adopted, and Mr. Brown was required to commit it to the representatives of the county. What effect the remonstrance may have had is not material; the offensive law was repealed.
On the 25th of November, 1797, "Messrs. J. Willson, Benjamin Grigsby, and S. Houston, or any two of them were appointed a committee on behalf of the Board, to wait upon Capt. Johnson, and instruct him to have the title of Liberty Hall Academy changed into that of a College, if he finds it expedient or beneficial in the Assembly. Also that said committee furnish him with all documents necessary to give him information respecting the Academy." The name was changed to Washington Academy, and the charter remained unchanged. In the year 1813, the name of Academy was by act of Legislature changed to College—and that of Rector to President.
The funds of the College were after this increased by the donation of the Virginia Cincinnati Society, amounting to sixteen thousand dollars. Mr. John Robinson, a citizen of Rockbridge gave, by his last will, his whole estate to the College.
Previous to this period the institution stood upon the character and talents of one man, encouraged by his brethren in the ministry. Washington College stands upon the labours and endowment of the first theologian of his generation in Virginia, and of that man who was "first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen."
Mr. Graham embarked with ardour in a scheme for settling a colony on the western waters. After a visit to Kentucky, he preferred Western Virginia for the site of the intended settlement of a choice selection of families, who should form a religious and refined society in the western forests. With these, in possession of a full supply of fertile land, he hoped to pass his days removed from the collisions he had felt, and the jealousies he had encountered, as Rector of Liberty Hall. He had rejoiced in the success of the colonies from Ireland, as they sat down under the unfavourable circumstances of poverty and strangeness of climate and country, through Pennsylvania and the beautiful Valley of the Shenandoah; his spirit was stirred by the emigrating families that were removing to the "dark and bloody ground"—and the fertile prairies of Tennessee—and he fancied a select colony, culled from the Valley of the Shenandoah and the James, that might have all the advantages of the early colonies and partake of few of their real evils.—That on the banks of the Ohio, the chosen families might live retired, in abundance, in Christian intercourse, in the worship of God, and rear a patriotic, virtuous, healthy, classic, obedient and religious offspring.
In full confidence of his anticipated competence, and quiet and meditation, and happy society, he embarked all his property, and removed his family to an almost entire wilderness on the banks of the Ohio. In Kentucky or Tennessee he would have been thrice welcome to old acquaintances; but he feared they would compel him to be President of a College, like Liberty Hall, built by the labours of a few clergymen, and he stopped short, and rested in Virginia. His dream of usefulness and enjoyment beguiled him and vanished. The situation was not as captivating to the eyes of others as they passed along, as it had been to his in the exploration; those whom he wished most to accompany him could not be fired with the enthusiasm of his bosom, and would not emigrate—and finally the tract of land in which his whole earthly property was involved, became the subject of an inextricable lawsuit. He visited Alexandria to make payment for the purchased tract, but the unexpected and unreasonable lawsuit preventing the payment, he loaned, and ultimately lost the money. He visited Richmond on the legal business, and there yielded up his life, and left his family pennyless. On this last sad journey which he made, on horseback, from the Ohio, along the Kenawha, across the Alleghanies, through the Valley, and down the James to Richmond, he was repeatedly ^exposed to wet—sometimes rode all day in his undried clothes,—and as he approached Richmond was caught in a shower and spent the evening with the clothes, upon his side, very damp. On reaching the city, he was speedily taken ill at the house of his friend Colonel Gamble. Kindly attended, and served by medical skill, he passed rapidly and silently away, June 8th, 1799. His tomb-stone may be found near the south door of the Episcopal church on Church Hill in Richmond.
The Records of Lexington Presbytery say—"Washington Academy, October 16th, 1799:—Presbytery attended the examination of the students until four o'clock in the afternoon; after which they proceeded to the meeting-house, and heard the oration, which conformably to the request of the Board of Trustees of Washington Academy, Mr. Baxter delivered on occasion of the death of Rev. William Graham, the former worthy and beloved Rector of that Seminary."
Says a pupil—"Mr. Graham was of middling stature, of thin habit of body; but active and easy in his motions. His countenance was benignant and solemn, and indicative of profound thought, and also of strong passions. His sensibilities were very lively, but he had acquired great command over his feelings. His eyes were of a dark colour, and when he was unoccupied had a sleepy appearance, but when excited they became brilliant and piercing. As a preacher he was always instructive and evangelical; though, in common, his delivery was rather feeble and embarassed than forcible; but when his feelings were excited, his voice became penetrating, and his whole manner awakening and impressive. And his profound study of the human heart enabled him to describe the various exercises of the Christian with a clearness and truth which often greatly surprised his pious hearers; for it seemed to them as if he could read the very inmost sentiments of their minds; which he described more perfectly than they could do themselves. He visited Prince Edward after he received the call, and preached again at Briery, a sermon on Christian experience, in which he so accurately described the views and feelings of many, that they were filled with pleasing astonishment. James Allen, one of the subjects of the revival, and afterwards an Elder at Briery, is said to have gone to him, and asked him how long it took him to compose that sermon? After some moments silence, he said gravely—about twenty years.
"When it was his object to elucidate some difficult point, it was his custom to open his trenches, so to speak, at a great distance, removing out of the way every obstacle, until at last they could not easily avoid acquiescence in the conclusion to which he wished to bring them. As a clear and cogent r,easoner, he had no superior among his contemporaries.
From a report prepared for the General Assembly and spread upon the records of the Presbytery, April 29, 1793, we may learn his ideas of ministerial public labours.
"1st. That all our members banish the spirit of the world from their dress, manners, and conversation, and adopt the plainness, simplicity, self-denial, and holiness of life, so remarkably exemplified in the first and most successful preachers of the gospel.
"2d. That dry, formal and unaffecting harangues, be banished from our pulpits, and that the simple truths of the gospel be addressed to every man's conscience in the sight of God, with that fervour and solemnity which the dignity and interesting importance require.
"3d. That our private preparations for the pulpit consist chiefly in prayer, self-examination, and a practical study of the Scriptures.
"4th. That we endeavour always to enter on our public ministrations with a deep sense of the presence of God, and the awful importance of eternal judgment, in which we and our hearers must shortly share; and that we have no other object in view, but to recommend the gospel as the only means of escape for condemned perishing sinners. That an active persevering zeal, in preaching and exhorting in season and out of season, be a leading trait in the character of a Presbyterian clergyman. In fine let us endeavour to know nothing, in our official character, but Christ and him crucified.
"These appear to us some of the visible means which God has blessed for reviving religion in every period of the Church; or at least they are the inseparable concomitants of a revival; and could they be generally adopted would be either forerunner of a revival, or a certain indication that a revival was begun."
Mr. Graham left six children. The oldest and youngest were sons. The eldest, Jahab (which his father said meant devoted to God) became a Presbyterian preacher; lived a short time near Petersburg, Virginia; and was carried by ajnlious fever to an early grave. He died in Staunton at the house of his father-in-law, Mr. Heiskill, and left no child. The youngest child, William, after the death of his father, was educated by Dr. Priestly, the protege of the father; became a physician;. married a Miss Nash of North Carolina; settled in the western part of Georgia, and left a family of children. One of the daughters died young; the eldest married a Mr. Murdock and resided near Cannonsburg, Pennsylvania; the second married the Rev. Mr. Bracken, and lived near the same place; the third married a son of Rev. David Rice the pioneer in Kentucky and lived in that State; all three reared families.
His friends have ever thought the great error of his life was in withdrawing from Liberty Hall at the time he did. And to those who scan carefully the cause of things as they passed along, looking at the consequences, as well as causes, by the light of after events, it now seems plain enough that Mr. Graham made a great mistake in the removal. But it is not so clear, that one, entering into his feelings—considering the collisions of parties, the jealousies and dislikes cherished against him,—taking into consideration the state of his family with his small income—the tide of emigration setting westward,—the great labour of his station, often without any recompense,—would, having been made his confidential adviser, have positively decided against the removal. God in his wise providence permitted the removal, but did not smile upon the projected colony.
The influence of William Graham did not die with his body, nor was it overwhelmed with his temporal losses. It has been spreading like the western waters he so admired. The current grows broader and deeper as it rolls on to the great ocean. We will not say that the large number of eminent men introduced to public life through the instrumentality of education at Liberty Hall, would not have been in public life, or as eminent, had Mr. Graham not been connected with Liberty Hall; but he was the efficient instrument chosen of God for the purpose of introducing these lawyers and political men and ministers into their sphere of life. Without him Liberty Hall was but a name; by him Liberty Hall will live forever, for who can forget her sons? Washington College, with her spacious and stately edifices, has succeeded Liberty Hall with her small frame and stone buildings for fifty students ; the endowment of the Father of his Country has changed the name of the institution; but posterity will read on these buildings, a thousand fold multiplied, the bright ever beaming letters, William Graham.
REV. DRURY LACY.
Drury Lacy was born in Chesterfield county, Virginia, October 5th, 1758. His father, William Lacy, was a moderate farmer in plain circumstances, of English descent, and Norman French extract. His mother, Elizabeth Rice, was cousin to Benjamin Rice of Bedford, the father of the Rev. Doctors John H. and Benjamin H. Rice. In the memoir of Drury Lacy, drawn up by Dr. Alexander of Princeton, and published in the Watchman of the South, January 10th, 1839, which is authority for much contained in this sketch, it is stated—"their connexion, I believe, was with the Baptist Church." This is more probable than any other supposition in the absence of direct