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CONTENTS OF NO. III.
Art. I.-1. The Last Will and Testament of James Smithson, Lon
Cooper, Richard Rush, S. Chapin, to John Forsyth, Secre-
ted States, under the will of James Smithson.
Ant. II.-1. Primitive Christian Worship: or, the evidence of Holy
Scriptures and the Church concerning the invocation of
late fellow of Oriel College. Oxford.
Scriptures of the doctrine of the Church of Rome, respecting
Art. III.-The Scriptural Doctrine of Sanctification stated and defended
against the error of Perfectionism. By W. D. Snodgrass,
Art. IV.-The General Assembly of 1842.
Quarterly List of New Books and Pamphlets.
Art. I.-1. The Last Will and Testament of James
Smithson, London. 2. The Letters of John Q. Adams, F. Wayland, Thomas
Cooper, Richard Rush, S. Chapin, to John Forsyth, Secretary of State, on the subject of the trust assumed by the United States, under the will of James Smith
3. The Congressional Proceedings and Documents on
the same subject.
The large bequest made by James Smithson to the United States, struck us at first with a surprise, which we have never wholly overcome. It was rather a novelty, that a distant nation should be selected as trustee, to carry out the intentions of a testator : and this novelty has drawn much attention to the construction of the will. We confess our misgivings that every project hitherto proposed for the right fulfilment of this trust, has failed entirely of responding to the views of the liberal donor. For reasons inexplicable to us, he has chosen to express his wishes in terms so general, as to create hazard of mistaking his meaning. It cannot be doubted, he had the good of society in view. The liberality of the bequest shows he designed to accomplish much. The key to this will is the same which must be applied to every other, the intention of the giver. We are unworthy the trust unless we carefully provide that VOL. XIV.NO. III.
the fulfilment is directed by the light which the testator has furnished as to his ulterior views. If this light be dim, or scarce discernible, we should the more watchfully keep it in view lest it be wholly lost. It appears to us there are some points from which the act of this testator may be considered, which give his bequest additional interest in the eyes of the nation, if it do not impose some change in the views of those on whom it has devolved to devise a proper execution of the trust.
The testator was a subject of the British crown: his bequest is to the United States of America; the object, “an establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge among men.”
These three facts furnish all the light we have on the proper disposition of this legacy. At first view they appear to lend little aid, and to afford a wide scope to the discretion of the trustee. But let us examine if there be not implied important restrictions as well as explicit requirements in these circumstances and expressions. Is it not clear that the testator did not intend the endowment of any of the more common institutions of learning, such as are known by the designation of schools, colleges or universities? Such was not his design, because he has not used any expression having such indication. The endowment of colleges, schools, academies, and other institutions of learning was not unknown in England, and the language proper for such a purpose would readily rise to the mind of any donor having in view such object. Can any reason be given or imagined why an intelligent man, intending to found an institution of learning, should not use plain and direct terms to exhibit that intention ? He says nothing of education, nothing of learning, nothing of youth,-but he does provide “ FOR AN ESTABLISHMENT FOR THE INCREASE AND DIFFUSION OF KNOWLEDGE AMONG MEN.” Surely these terms expressly negative the conclusion that he contemplated any institution for the training or education of youth. Is it proper to sink the obvious and direct meaning of this language by explaining them to intend a college or university, which in one sense may be said to have for their object the increase and diffusion of knowledge among men? The language of the testator has a higher meaning and a wider scope, if interpreted by the lofty conceptions and deeper sympathies which dictated it. He knew that the multitudes of youth upon whom the work of education was to be wrought, were far more numerous in his own country