« PreviousContinue »
North American. "After all, the plicity and uniformity of the general question is a very simple one. We plan to which the vast multitude of have only to decide whether it is more details may be reduced, was built up, likely that the complex system of and is now sustained by one all-wise things in the midst of which we live, and all-powerful Being, or by parti-the beautiful harmonies between cles of brute matter, acting of themthe organic and inorganic world, the selves, without interference or connice arrangements and curious adap- trol.” tations that obtain in each, the sim
BRIEF MEMOIR OF JOHN BREED DWIGHT.
It is now more than two years left Plainfield Academy, and entered since the melancholy decease of John Bowdoin College. After spending B. Dwight, Tutor in Yale College. one year at that institution, he enterWhile the author of the wounds, to ed the Sophomore class in Yale Colwhich his friends attribute his death, lege, and graduated in 1840, before was under indictment for “ assault he was nineteen years old, in the with intent to murder," a wish to avoid first grade of honors, pronouncing at everything which might, or might Commencement the philosophicaloraseem, to prejudice the trial by affect- tion. Just before he took his degree, ing the public mind, prevented us he united with the College church from giving such notice of his life by a public profession of his faith in and death as the manner of his death Christ. and his position and promise demand After his graduation, he taught an ed. That indictment having, after Academy in New Britain, Ct, for long delays, been disposed of, with nine months, and then took the posiout a trial, by the failure to appear tion of instructor of Latin in a High and forfeiture of bail by the accused, School at Northampton, Mass., which there is no longer any reason why the he held until the spring of 1843,
when brief memoir of Mr. Dwight, long he returned to New Haven and comsince intended, should be deferred. menced the study of law. At the be
John Breed Dwight was born in ginning of the first term in Yale ColNorwich, Ct., Dec. 8th, 1821, the lege, in the subsequent October, he son of James Dwight, and the grand- entered, with high hopes and promson of the illustrious Timothy Dwight, ise, on the office of Tutor in that inPresident of Yale College. He was stitution, to which he had been apprepared for admission to College, pointed in the previous spring. Four chiefly at the Academy in Plainfield, days after, he and another tutor, har. Ct., by Mr. John Witter, who has for ing consulted with other officers of many years filled the important and College about some violent disorder responsible office of teacher of youth, that had taken place among the stuand to whose accurate and thorough dents, went out, at evening, to disinstruction and happy faculty of in- charge the duty of preserving order spiring his pupils with noble intel- and detecting the violators of College lectual motives and aims, many em law. They came upon a company of inent scholars and distinguished men disguised persons, breaking the Colin the country gratefully ascribe the lege windows, who immediately ran. first shaping and impulse of their in. One of them, who afterwards proved tellectual course and the type of their to be Lewis Fassit, of the Sophomore intellectual character.
class, from Philadelphia, Mr. Dwight At the early age of 14, Mr. Dwight overtook, caught and held by a
part of the garment with which he ed when he was fourteen, he had was disguised. Fassit, desirous to hardly a superior, and took one of escape, according to Mr. Dwight's the three first honors in a class account stabbed him with a large which numbered 98, and was reknife, repeating the blow three markable for talent. times with profaneness, and thus In his filial relations Mr. Dwight escaped. Mr. Dwight was able to was a model; and all his life, even in go to the room of one of the tutors. those early days when boys are prone A surgeon was immediately called, to be thoughtless and forgetful of pawho found his wounds serious, but rental precepts, his filial duty, accordnot alarming. After a few days, how- ing to the testimony of his parents, was erer, a fever supervened, and he died, “perfect and entire.” October 20th, 1813, aged 21 years.
The rise and progress of religion The intellectual character of Mr. in his soul, might have been best Dwight had been manifested, chiefly, learned from his diary and other priwhile in a course of education. His vate papers. But, some time before powers of acquiring knowledge were his death, he expressed a wish to his remarkable. They were quick, readi- mother and obtained from her a promly perceiving the truth; they were ise, that, if she outlived him, his priacute and accurate, readily distin vate papers should be all destroyed guishing differences and recognizing without being read. Soon afier bis resemblances, and coinprehending death, according to his request and things as they are; thus obtaining her promise, with great reluctance, clear and exact ideas which he easily she destroyed without reading, all expressed in perspicuous and correct those papers, so precious to parental language.
affection, by which, though dead, he Nor was his power of acquisition might yet have spoken. greater than his tenacity in retaining His parents testify, that he was what he had acquired. His knowl- early impressed with religious truth, edge was so philosophically and meth- and early manifested what seemed to odically arranged in his mind, that them a filial fear of God. He himhe retained, and had at entire com self dated his conversion to God durmand, what he had once learned. ing a revival of religion which occur. His mind held under entire subjec- red in the spring of his senior year in tion and control its past conquests, College. At that time, his mind was while it went forward to new vic- specially interested in the great subtories.
ject of personal religion, and then, for His powers of acquiring and of re- the first time, as he thought, he fully taining knowledge, were kept active consecrated his powers to the high and made buoyant by his love of purpose of doing the will of God, and knowledge. They acted not as re- working out the well being of his felluctant but as willing and glad servi- low men, and committed his soul in tors; so that his intellectual life was faith to the Savior of sinners. His ever bright and joyful, and he went conversion was marked by an intense on his way of intellectual acquisition, desire and earnest labors for the with the highest 'satisfaction. He salvation of others, especially the seemed to love knowledge, not only members of his own famly. as a means of elevation and useful. It ought here to be mentioned, to ness, but for its own sake. He ran the honor and for the encouragement along the paths of learning, like a of maternal fidelity, that Mr. Dwight child from flower to flower, always ascribed his conversion to the faithful eager, always free, always delighted. efforts of his mother to impress on his
His relative intellectual merit is mind the unspeakable importance of seen in the fact, that, though he was repentance towards God and faith tovery young in College, having enter- wards the Lord Jesus Christ.
His piety, like his intellectual char was stabbed, and had been placed on acter, was remarkably sincere; and the bed of one of his fellow Tutors, was accompanied by great severity of he was overheard repeating to himjudgment respecting himself, and self the hymn, so familiar to our great self-distrust. Indeed his scru- readers, commencing “I would not tiny into his motives and his analysis live alway," &c. of his feelings were so close and so To lose a son, on whom they long continued, as, at length, to ren- had expended so much fidelity and der him, for a while, confused re- prayer, for whose education they had specting his real state, and almost exercised so much self-denial, around unable to recognize the piety that, by whom their affections were so closely God's grace, he possessed. This se- entwined, a son of such high promise verity and distrust toward himself de- and inspiring in them such high hopes layed for a considerable time his pub- to lose such a son, just as he was lic profession of religion. After tak- entering on a wide sphere of usefuling that important and decisive step, ness and honor, and to lose him in his mind was clear, and he felt more such a manner, is to his parents a free to give expression to his earnest- bitter affliction indeed-one which ness in religion.
time mitigates but can not remove. Upon leaving College, and forming Yet, by the aid of divine grace, they his plans for life, he wrote to one of bow submissively to the permissive liis friends, that he "had anew re- providence of Him who doth all things solved, by the aid of divine grace, to well, consoled by their confidence in do good, so far as should be in his the divine government, and by their power, while he lived." The sinceri- faith, that their son is translated to ty of this resolution was evinced by that “ blessed clime where life is not his subsequent conduct.
a breath," and where is delightfully Soon after he had taken charge of realized the idea which governed and the school in New Britain, a revival of rejoiced him here, that the acquisireligion commenced in that place, of tions of this life are chiefly valuable which many of his pupils were sub as they reach into, and prepare us jects. In a letter to his father, writ- for, a higher and better life. ten at this time, after stating the Respecting the assault on Mr. facts, he says, “I have hardly ev- Dwight by Fassit, and his escape, er talked so much on the subject when indicted, from trial, inclination of religion, or felt so deep an interest asks us to be silent, but duty forbids. in it as of late.” Not long after this, The public interest, the personal sewhile on a visit at the house of his curity of College officers, and indeed uncle in New Haven, he manifested of all citizens, demands free speech. the same interest for the spiritual Mr. Dwight's testimony, given unesafety and well being of others, and, quivocally, and repeatedly, and with as we are told, urged his cousin re his accustomed accuracy of statepeatedly, and with tears, and even till ment, to his friends, though unforthe hour of midnight, to become re- tunately not taken down according conciled to God through Christ. to the forms of law, was, that he
Mr. Dwight had a low estimate of and another Tutor saw a company of this life, in itself considered, and young men breaking College winvalued it chiefly as an introduction dows. As they approached, the to a better state of existence. His young men, who were all disguised, friends were often surprised and al- fed. The other Tutor overtook one most alarmed at expressions from his and held him fast; Mr. Dwight overlips, which evinced that he had no took another, who as it afterwards apdesire to live long in this world. It peared was Fassit, and held him fast was in striking accordance with this by a portion of the garment worn as a feature of his character, that, after he disguise about his neck. Fassit, en
deavoring without success to escape, dollars." It says to all, “you may stabbed Mr. Dwight three times with assault any citizen with a deadly a sharp instrument, which was pro- weapon and escape with a pecuniary ved by the wounds to be a long fine.” It says to the wealthy, “you knife, saying, at each stroke of the may assault with intent to murder, deadly weapon, and with bitter em and pay for it by an order on your phasis, “God damn you.”
pocket, which is, to you, a trifle light Before he was known to be the au
And it says to the poor thor of the crime we believe, certain- man, see what a difference wealth ly before he was arrested, Fassit fled and poverty make in the administrato Philadelphia. Having, at the in- tion of justice." stance of an officer of the law from Lest we should be misunderstood, Connecticut, been put under bonds we say explicitly, that we lied no of $5,000 by the Recorder of Phila- special fault with the officers of the delphia, and a requisition having been law, who have acted in this case; made by the Governor of Connecticut and the Grand Juror, we think, deupon the Governor of Pennsylvania serves particular commendation for for his delivery to justice, he came on the ability with which he discharged to New Haven. All the eminent his duty. The crime of assault with lawyers of the city at liberty to be so intent to murder is, by law, bailable. retained, were retained in his behalf. And the bail required in this case, is, He was examined before a Justice of we are told, as great as the custoin of the peace on a charge of “assault the courts in Connecticut allows. with intent to murder," and bound to But we do find fault, emphatically, appear for trial before the Superior with the law, or with the custom of Court. He was admitted to bail in the courts under it. We say, decithe sum of $5000, which on applica- dedly, either the law is wrong, or the tion was afterwards reduced by the custom of the courts defeats the obJustice to $3000. The Grand Jury, ject of the law. For, what is the obafter charge from the Judge of the ject of bail in cases of crime like asSuperior Court, found a true bill on sault with intent to murder? Surely, the indictment against him, for " it is, or ought to be, to secure the apsault with intent to murder.” But pearance of the accused before the he has never made his appearance. tribunal of justice-to render his trial The time has passed, and his bail is and the administration of justice cerforfeited. Fassit's father is a man oftain ; while he is allowed, in the large wealth.*
mean time, personal liberty. Then, The influence of facts like this, evidently, bail should be so adapted to which are becoming not infrequent, the case, as to secure the appearance is disastrous. What is the language of the accused for trial before the triof this event ? It says to young men bunal. And if the case is such that in the hey-day of passion, many of no amount of bail will secure the trial whom have, through wealthy parents of the accused, then no bail should and guardians, command of thou- be allowed. To permit a man worth sands and hundreds of thousands of $500,000, accused of assault with indollars, you may resist an officer of tent to murder, to go at large, on bail College, when in the discharge of his of $3,000 is the merest farce. Nothduty, and stab him repeatedly with a ing but his sense of justice would deadly weapon, for three thousand hold such a man to trial. And what
reliance can be placed, for such a pur• We have been informed that the for- makes an assault with intent to mur
pose, on his sense of justice who feited bail has not yet been paid; and that, at the last session of the Superior Court in der? The bail would not have the this city, a motion was filed on the docket influence of a straw. The court for the reduction of the amount !!! might as well let him go without bail.
In other words, the court might as
Feb. 25, 1845," the following sentence, well say, that all rich men may com
which occurs in a paragraph in which he mit deadly assaults with impunity- Appearing in such a connexion, it is very
compares Yale and Harrard Collegros. that “offense's gilded hand” is legally significant. permitted to “shove by justice.”
“ Hitherto the annals of Harvard have But such a custom of the courts, fessor or tutor. Should, however, such
not been sullied by the murder of a pronot only promotes crime by removing
an event ever occur here, I earnestly hope fear of punishment from the rich; it that the laws of Massachusetts may be so has a tendency, by another kind of framed, adjudged, and executed, that the influence, to promote crime among oflen
offender may not escape through the pay: the poor. If the man who stabbed penalty affixed by the laws of the land to
ment of money, but shall incur the full Mr. Dwight had been a poor man, murder and manslaughter; and the lives without wealthy friends, he would of professors and tutors enjoy the same have been brought to trial. Who protection as those of oiber members of doubts it? If such a crime had been
Now if all that is meant by this sencommitted by a poor sailor, or a poor tence, is, that President Quincy is indig. negro, he could not have escaped jus nant and grieved that the man who stabtice. Who supposes it? Now what
bed Tutor Dwight escaped with the pay. kind of government is that which
ment of money;" and that he hopes,
should an officer of Harvard College sufhas one measure of justice for the
fer in the same manner, “ that the laws rich and another for the poor?- of Massachusetts may be so framed, ad. which, so far as this particular de- judged, and execuled," as that the offend. partment of justice is concerned, puts
er shall receive the full legal penalty, we the guilty rich in the place of the in- Quiney in his indignation and grief, as
say that we sympathize with President nocent, while the guilty poor have to our readers have perceived; and also in meet the awards of crime? With his "hope" respecting the enactment and what fearful fitness is such a feature
execution of laws in Massachusetts; and in the administration of law adapted and legal customs of Connecticut. But,
cherish the same hope respecting the laws to destroy, in the hearts of the poor, if there lurks in this sentence an insinua. nay, to displace by hatred and a tion, that Harvard College is, or will be, spirit of insubordination, that loy- any better protected by the laws of Mas. alty to government, that confidence sachusetts, than is Yale College by the
laws of Connecticut, we say, the insinua. in government, that love for govern- tion is unjust and ungenerous. Do the ment, which, more perhaps than the laws and the customs of the courts in Masfear of punishment, holds men to vir- sachusetts, we ask, differ, in this respect, lue, and restrains them from crime !
one whit, from those of Connecticut? Such an administration of the law, as
Should a student of Harvard College be
indicted for assault with intent to kill, the custom of the courts allowed in
upon a lutor or professor, or a citizen of the case of Fassit, proclaiming virtual Boston be indicted for the same offense impunity in such cases, for the guilty against another citizen, would not bail be
allowed in Massachusetts ?--and if the acrich, and punishment for the guilty cused escaped by the forfeiture of bail, poor, so far as it goes, gives to our would there be any help for it in Massa. gorernment* this hideous aspect and chusetts more than in Connecticut? We this disastrous influence.
“ hope that laws may be so framed, ad. judged and executed," that a man indicted
for assault with intent to kill, "may not Note. We have observed in a pam escape through the payment of money;" phlet entitled " Speech of Josiah Quincy, and we think this hope likely to be real. President of Harvard University, before ized as soon in Connecticut, as in Masse. the Bourd of Overseers of that institution, chusetts; as soon in the vicinity of Yale, on the minority report of Mr. Bancroft, as of Harvard College.