God, College, Bankers, Liberty, Politicians, and John Witherspoon

John Witherspoon and his family were at one time the most educated in America. John was the President of Princeton. His daughter Ann married married Reverend Samuel Stanhope Smith who became the President of Princeton after John.

The Child of Ann Witherspoon and Reverend Samuel Stanhope Smith, Mary Stanhope Clay married Hon. Joseph Cabell Breckinridge was born on 24 July 1788 at Albemarle County, Virginia, U.S.A..2 He was the son of Hon. John Breckinridge and Mary Hopkins Cabell.1,2 He married Mary Stanhope Clay Smith, daughter of Reverend Samuel Stanhope Smith and Ann Witherspoon, on 11 May 1811. He died on 1 September 1823 at age 35 at Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky, U.S.A., from an epidemic.2

John’s daughter, Frances Withersppon, married David Ramsay the foremost American Historian of his age. These folks are in the Peerage, and their family tree is the foremost in American history. I am in this tree via the Bentons. These peoplewere highly educated in a wide range of subjects. They made America great. This family were Americans Bankers.

Jon Presco

 John Witherspoon Breckinridge was born on 22 December 1850 at Kentucky, U.S.A..3 He was the son of General John Cabell Breckinridge and Mary Cyrene Burch.2,3 He married, firstly, Florence Louise Tevis, daughter of Lloyd Tevis and Susan Gano Sanders.3 He and Florence Louise Tevis were divorced before 1881.3,4 He married, secondly, Harriett Turner, daughter of W. C. Turner, after 1881.3 He died on 9 May 1892 at age 41 at Merced County, California, U.S.A..3 He was buried at Lexington Cemetery, Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky, U.S.A..3
      John Witherspoon Breckinridge also went by the nick-name of Owen.4 He held the office of Member of the California State Assembly between 1884 and 1885.5,4 He lived between 1884 and 1885 at Merced County, California, U.S.A..4 He lived at San Francisco, California, U.S.A..1
Children of John Witherspoon Breckinridge and Florence Louise Tevis
Lloyd Tevis Breckinridge3 b. 1878, d. 1901
John Cabell Breckinridge+3 b. 1879, d. a Mar 1914
Florence Louise Breckinridge+1 b. Nov 1881, d. 4 Mar 1956

A son-in-law was Congressman David Ramsay, who married Frances Witherspoon on 18 March 1783. Another daughter, Ann, married Samuel Stanhope Smith, who succeeded Witherspoon as president of Princeton in 1795.

Philosophy

Witherspoon was a prominent evangelical Presbyterian minister in Scotland before becoming the sixth president of Princeton in 1768. Upon his arrival, he transformed a college designed predominantly to train clergymen into a school that would equip the leaders of a new Protestant national generation. Witherspoon made fundamental changes to the moral philosophy curriculum, strengthened the college’s commitment to natural philosophy an early form of science tempered with Christian principles, and positioned Princeton in the larger transatlantic world of the republic of letters. Although a proponent of Christian values, Witherspoon’s common sense approach to the Public morality of civil magistrates was more influenced by the Enlightenment ethics of Scottish philosophers Francis Hutcheson and Thomas Reid than the Christian virtue of Jonathan Edwards. In regards to civil magistrates, Witherspoon thus believed moral judgement should pursued as a science. In this regard, he held to old Roman Republic concepts of virtue in determining moral leadership in civil magistrates. It could be cultivated in his students or deduced through the development of the moral sense—an ethical compass instilled by God in all human beings and developed through religious education (Reid) or civil sociability (Hutcheson). Contrary to modern distinctions of morality, Witherspoon saw morality as having two distinct components: Spiritual and Temporal. Civil government owed more to the latter than the former in Witherspoon’s Presbyterian doctrine. Thus, public morality owed more to the natural moral laws of the Enlightenment than traditional sources of Christian ethics. However, as a Christian, Witherspoon saw the impossibility of maintaining public morality or virtue in the citizenry without an effective religion. In this sense, the temporal principles of morality required a religious component which derived its authority from the spiritual. Therefore, public religion was a vital necessity in maintaining the public morals. Thus, while “public morals” were derived from natural virtue, its ultimate source lay in the public religion of Christianity. However, in this framework, it was not incongruent for non-Christian societies to have virtue, which by his definition, could be found in natural law. Witherspoon, in accordance with the Scottish moral sense philosophy, taught that all human beings—Christian or otherwise—could be virtuous. Nonetheless, in keeping with the direction of destiny taught by the English Reformation, Scottish Reformation, and Irish Reformation colonial founders, he saw the new American national leaders, guided by their Christian religion, natural virtues, and republican sense of government, would be the most Protestant, Christian, Free, and therefore noble nation, a light to the world. Many of his students, including James Madison, Aaron Burr, Philip Freneau, William Bradford, and Hugh Henry Brackenridge, played prominent roles in the development of the new nation.[14]

[edit] Revolutionary War

As a native Scotsman, long wary of the power British Crown, Witherspoon saw the growing centralization of government, progressive ideology of colonial authorities, and establishment of Episcopacy authority as a threat to the Liberties of the colonies. Of particular interest to Witherspoon was the crown’s growing interference in the local and colonial affairs which previously had been the perogatives and rights of the American authorities. When the crown began to give additional authority to its appointed Episcopacy over Church affairs, British authorities hit a nerve in the Presbyterian Scot, who saw such events in the same lense as his Scottish Covenanters. Soon, Witherspoon came to support the Revolution, joining the Committee of Correspondence and Safety in early 1774. His 1776 sermon “The Dominion of Providence over the Passions of Men” was published in many editions and he was elected to the Continental Congress as part of the New Jersey delegation,[15] appointed Congressional Chaplain by President Hancock, and in July 1776, voted to adopt the Virginia Resolution for Independence. In answer to an objection that the country was not yet ready for independence, according to tradition he replied that it “was not only ripe for the measure, but in danger of rotting for the want of it.”

In John Trumbull’s famous painting, Witherspoon is the second seated figure from the (viewer’s) right among those shown in the background facing the large table.[16]Witherspoon served in Congress from June 1776 until November 1782 and became one of its most influential members and a workhorse of prodigious energy. He served on over 100 committees, most notably the powerful standing committees, the board of war and the committee on secret correspondence or foreign affairs. He spoke often in debate; helped draft the Articles of Confederation; helped organize the executive departments; played a major role in shaping foreign policy; and drew up the instructions for the peace commissioners. He fought against the flood of paper money, and opposed the issuance of bonds without provision for their amortization. “No business can be done, some say, because money is scarce,” he wrote. He also served twice in the New Jersey Legislature, and strongly supported the adoption of the United States Constitution during the New Jersey ratification debates.

In November 1778, as British forces neared, Witherspoon closed and evacuated the College of New Jersey. The main building, Nassau Hall, was badly damaged and his papers and personal notes were lost. Witherspoon was responsible for its rebuilding after the war, which caused him great personal and financial difficulty.

In 1780 he was elected to a one-year term in the New Jersey Legislative Council representing Somerset County.

[edit] Death and burial
John Witherspoon Statue, Princeton
John Witherspoon Statue, Paisley, ScotlandWitherspoon had suffered eye injuries and was blind by 1792. He died in 1794 on his farm Tusculum, just outside of Princeton, and is buried in the Princeton Cemetery.

[edit] Legacy and memoryWitherspoon has been viewed as being “not a profound scholar” but “an able college president”.[17]

From among his students came 37 judges, three of whom made it to the U.S. Supreme Court; 10 Cabinet officers; 12 members of the Continental Congress, 28 U.S. senators, and 49 United States congressmen. His most prominent students were Aaron Burr and James Madison. When the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America met in 1789, 52 of the 188 delegates had studied under Witherspoon.

The President’s House in Princeton, New Jersey, his home from 1768 to 1779 is a U.S. National Historic Landmark. A bronze statue at Princeton University by Scottish sculptor Alexander Stoddart is the twin of one outside The University of the West of Scotland, Paisley, Scotland.[18] In Princeton today, a University dormitory built in 1877, the street running north from the University’s main gate, and the local public middle school all bear his name. Another statue stands near Dupont Circle in Washington, D.C., at the intersections of Connecticut Avenue, N and 18th Streets.

Paisley, Scotland honored Witherspoon’s memory by naming a newly constructed street in the town center after him, in honor of his having lived in Paisley for a portion of his adult life.

A son-in-law was Congressman David Ramsay, who married Frances Witherspoon on 18 March 1783. Another daughter, Ann, married Samuel Stanhope Smith, who succeeded Witherspoon as president of Princeton in 1795.

The Witherspoon Society is a body of laypeople within the Presbyterian Church (USA) in existence since 1979 that is activist in liberal and progressive causes that takes its name from John Witherspoon.[19]

A merchant ship, the SS John Witherspoon, saw service during the second world war. It was part of convoy PQ-17, and was sunk by a German U-boat in the North Atlantic on July 6, 1942

The Witherspoon Institute is an independent research center that works to enhance public understanding of the moral foundations of free and democratic societies. Located in Princeton, it promotes the application of fundamental principles of republican government and ordered liberty to contemporary problems through a variety of centers, research programs, seminars, consultations, and publications.[20]

Witherspoon was portrayed in the musical 1776 by Edmund Lyndeck in the 1969 stage play and by James Noble in the 1972 film.

David Ramsay (April 2, 1749 – May 8, 1815) was an American physician and historian from Charleston, South Carolina. He served as a South Carolina delegate to the Continental Congress in 1782–1783 and again in 1785–1786. He was one of the first major historians of the American Revolution.
The son of an Irish emigrant, he was born in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. He graduated at Princeton University in 1765, received his medical degree at the University of Pennsylvania in 1773, and settled as a physician at Charleston, where he had a large practice.
During the American Revolutionary War he was, from 1776 to 1783, a member of the South Carolina legislature. When Charleston was threatened by the British in 1780, he served with the South Carolina militia as a field surgeon. After the city was captured in 1780, Ramsay was imprisoned for nearly a year at St. Augustine, Florida, until he was exchanged. From 1782 to 1786 he served in the Continental Congress, and from 1801 to 1815 in the state Senate, of which he was long president.
In his own day, Ramsay was better known as a historian and author than as a politician. He was one of the American Revolution’s first major historians. Ramsay writes with the knowledge and insights acquired by being personally involved in the events of the American Revolution. In 1785 he published in two volumes History of the Revolution of South Carolina, in 1789 in two volumes History of the American Revolution, in 1807 a Life of Washington, and in 1809 in two volumes a History of South Carolina.

Ramsay’s History of the United States in three volumes was published posthumously in 1816–1817, and forms the first three volumes of his Universal History Americanized, published in twelve volumes in 1819.
His brother was Congressman Nathaniel Ramsey, a brother-in-law of Charles Willson Peale.
Ramsay married three times. He was the son-in-law of John Witherspoon and Henry Laurens, and thus was also related (by marriage) to South Carolina Governor Charles Pinckney, Ralph Izard, John Rutledge, Arthur Middleton, Daniel Huger and Lewis Morris.

At the urging of Benjamin Rush and Richard Stockton, whom he met in Paisley,[12] Witherspoon finally accepted another invitation (he had earlier turned one down in 1766) to become President and head professor of the small Presbyterian College of New Jersey in Princeton. To fulfill this, he and his family emigrated to New Jersey in 1768 at the age of 45. He became the sixth President of the college, later known as Princeton University.

About Royal Rosamond Press

I am an artist, a writer, and a theologian.
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1 Response to God, College, Bankers, Liberty, Politicians, and John Witherspoon

  1. Reblogged this on Rosamond Press and commented:

    I connected our Vice President with John Witherspoon who can be the focal point of a New United States with the return of the Republican Party to SANITY, or, to arrive at SANITY for the first time. It furthers the Democrats to put some plan on the board. Freedom On Liberty Street | Rosamond Press
    Carrie, Cody, Cambell, Lucus, And Sober Me | Rosamond Press
    The Flame of Liberty | Rosamond Press

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