Original Letter Of President Edwards. -- By: Jonathan Edwards

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 001:3 (Aug 1844)
Article: Original Letter Of President Edwards.
Author: Jonathan Edwards


Original Letter Of President Edwards.

Jonathan Edwards

[The subjoined epistle of President Edwards, is one of the latest communications which are preserved from his pen. It was written about six weeks before his conclusion to accept the presidency of “the college at Princeton,” and about four months before his death. The meaning and force of the letter may be in some measure illustrated, perhaps, by a brief notice of the character of the “gentleman to whom it was addressed. This man was Major Joseph Hawley. He was born at Northampton in 1724. He was grandson of the celebrated Solomon Stoddard, and his mother was sister of the mother of Pres. Edwards. He was graduated at Yale college in 1742. After leaving that institution he studied divinity, was for several years a preacher, but never an ordained pastor. He was for some time chaplain of the provincial army, and was present at the siege of Louisburg. He afterwards studied law with General Phineas Lyman of Suffield, then in Massachusetts, now in Connecticut. “Few Americans,” says Dr. Dwight, “have a better claim to the remembrance of posterity, than this gentleman (General Lyman), and the history of few men who have been natives of our country can be more interesting.” An affecting sketch of his life is given in Dwight’s Travels, Vol.1, p. 307-316. His law-library, though small, contained some valuable ancient works, which came afterwards into the possession of Major Hawley. It was not far from the year 1749, that Major Hawley commenced the practice of the legal profession at Northampton. He soon acquired high distinction, as a counsellor and an advocate. Himself and Col. John Worthington of Springfield were, for many years, at the head of the old Hampshire bar, which included some of the worthiest citizens of Massachusetts. These two barristers exerted a perceptible influence in elevating the character of the legal profession, enlarging the circle of its studies, and reducing its practical details to a judicious system. Among the distinguished pupils whom Major Hawley instructed in the science of law was Caleb Strong, afterwards governor of Massachusetts. In the year 1767 or 1768, Hawley had the misfortune to be publicly censured by the Judges of the Superior Court, and was suspended from practice at their bar. His offence, however,

is understood to have been a merely political one, and to have reflected no discredit upon his general character. “He was counsel for some persons in the county of Berkshire, who had been indicted for being concerned in a riot. In the course of the trial, he made some observations, which the court considered as having too much of the spirit of liberty to be permitted to pass without animadversion.”You must have a subscription and be logged in to read the entire article.
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