« PredošláPokračovať »
little can be expected from the influence of merely prudential considerations, derived from just and far-sighted views of life; unless these are strengthened by intimate connexion with others of a different kind. It is the duty, therefore, of the governors of such institutions, to give a moral and religious character to the whole establishment, by the influence of their example, by discountenancing and expelling vice, and by those direct and indirect appeals, which may be made effectually to the best sentiments and feelings of the young. They should keep constantly in view the object of the institution, and suffer no one to remain a member, who is not fulfilling the purposes for which he was sent to it. Enlarged conceptions of learning, of its extent and utility, and a disinterested love of literary labor and intellectual improvement, should be communicated to those under their care. Full occupation should be provided for that youthful activity and restlessness of mind, which there is so much danger will waste itself in folly and mischief. There should be in our colleges, a watchful, everactive principle of progression and improvement. The continually increasing demands of our country. should be fulfilled and anticipated; and, at the present day, it should be esteemed but ill-judged praise of such an institution, to say, that it has not
The governors of our colleges should know, that they have more to answer for than other men; that to them is committed
“a nation's trust,
The nurture of her youth, her dearest pledge." Such establishments should be consecrated ground, inspiring thoughts of study and seclusion, and bearing throughout a moral and intellectual aspect. They must be pervaded by a strong literary spirit, which shall make every member feel its influence; throwing off those who are incapable of feeling it. This is required not for its own sake merely, but as a barrier to the moral evils, which, without it, will be continually pressing in and spreading corruption. It constitutes, in great part, the best discipline of a college, its preventive discipline. Without it, it is scarcely possible that such an institution should not be a seat of disorder, extravagance, dissipation, and vice. Then it will be a fountain continually pouring bitter waters through the land. What ought to have been a source of good will become a source of evil. The corruption will fall upon those who are the hopes of society; and the next blighted generation will suffer; though perhaps they may not trace the mischief to its cause,
It was with such sentiments, and the feeling of responsibility which they produced, that Mr. Frisbie acted as an officer of the college. always solicitous, that the college should be governed by that firm, vigilant, regular, unintermitted discipline, which may, in a great measure, prevent offences, without the dread of severe punishment. But when any circumstances rendered severe punishment necessary, he did not shrink from his share in the duty of inflicting it; though I believe that the performance of this duty has seldom cost any one so much. I have known it to affect seriously his spirits and health.
In 1817, Mr. Frisbie was married to Miss Catherine Saltonstall Mellen, daughter of John Mellen, Esq. of Cambridge. This lady is still living; and I will therefore only say, that in her he found a most dear and valued friend. Mr. and Mrs. Frisbie had but one child, a daughter, who died in infancy.
In 1817, likewise, Mr. Frisbie was inaugurated as Professor of Moral Philosophy. I will not here add any thing to what may be found elsewhere, respecting his peculiar qualifications for the office. In the subsequent part of this volume, I have given some extracts from the manuscript notes of his lectures. These may afford an imperfect notion of
his modes of thinking, and style of lecturing; but it should be understood that they appear under very great disadvantages. From the inconvenience which he always suffered in using his eyes, he, in general, wrote only the heads of his lectures; and this very briefly, so as even to furnish but an imperfect synopsis. He habitually expressed himself on abstract subjects, as well as others, with so much fluency and correctness, that these short notes were sufficient for his purpose; and his lectures were heard with additional interest, on account of their possessing so much of the freshness and animation of extempore speaking. On some topics, however, he occasionally wrote his thoughts more at length on loose papers. These papers are what I have principally used; sometimes combining together what I found on separate pieces, written at different times. I should hardly have been able to execute the task at all, but from my familiarity with his opinions and reasonings; the subjects on which he was reading and meditating being often discussed by us in conversation. Whether I have judged wisely in preparing what I have done for publication, must be determined by others. I was desirous, and I found it was the wish of many, that, if possible, some few fragments should be preserved of lectures which were heard with so much interest.
Beside the two courses of lectures from which I have given some passages, Mr. Frisbie delivered two others, one on natural theology, and the other on the principles of government, and on the constitution of the United States. I particularly regret that the notes of this last course were too imperfect, for me to venture to make use of them for the present work. These lectures were distinguished by original and striking views, and a just exposition of principles which it is important should be well understood in our country. Mr. Frisbie, himself, had thought of giving them to the public.
There was a resemblance between the opinions and reasonings of Mr. Frisbie on the subjects of morals and those of Professor Brown. The lectures of the latter were read by Mr. Frisbie during his last sickness,* having but just before been received in this country. I found him one day engaged in their perusal, and asked him how he was pleased with them. His answer was; I ought to be pleased with them; for he has what I considered some of my best thoughts.' The religious sentiment, and fine moral eloquence of some portions of these lectures, could not but be delightful to such a mind as Mr. Frisbie's. But I do not
* It was a symptom of this disease, that Mr. Frisbie was able to use his eyes much more than he could while in health.