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Letter from JOSEPH TORREY to GEORGE PERKINS MARSH, dated November 26, 1848.

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Title: Letter from JOSEPH TORREY to GEORGE PERKINS MARSH, dated November 26, 1848.


  • Torrey, Joseph


  • Marsh, George Perkins, 1801-1882

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Extent: 1 letter

Genre(s): letter


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Letter from JOSEPH TORREY to GEORGE PERKINS MARSH, dated November 26, 1848., Original located at the University of Vermont's Special Collections in the George Perkins Marsh Collection, filed by date., (accessed January 21, 2018)

Letter from JOSEPH TORREY to GEORGE PERKINS MARSH, dated November 26, 1848.

Transcribed by : Ellen Thomson and Ralph H. Orth

TEI mark-up by : James P. Tranowski andEllen Thomson

Published by: University of Vermont. All rights reserved.

Publication Information

Burlington Novr 26th 1848

To the Hon' George P. Marsh,

Dear Sir,

We have experienced all along, and begin to experience more and more every day, the evils of trying to manage a College without a head. To be sure, we are not much worse off than when we had a President who was most of the time absent, or necessarily occupied with there cares than those of the College--not much worse off I mean so far as it concerns the administration of the internal affairs of the institution. But we were bad enough off then--now we are without a head even in name, which gives us a bad reputation abroad, and is working disastrously to the interests of the University in every point of view.

On this matter, however, I need not dwell in writing to you. The faculty, feeling these evils deeply, and seeing no sign of a movement to provide any remedy for them on the part of the Corporation, have felt it incumbent on them to take such initiatory steps as they could consistently do in a matter of this sort, which does not seem properly to belong to their province--at least to proceed so far as to inquire whether there was any person within the circle of their acquaintance possessed of the qualifications which seem requisite for the arduous and responsible post now vacated, and who could probably be induced to accept it by any considerations which we have to offer. -------------------------------- Page -------------------------------- After long and careful inquiry, which has occupied a great part of the time we could find for discussing such matters in our weekly meetings, the faculty have at last come to an opinion in which they are unanimous, and in which they have the concurrence also of Prof. G. W. Benedict, with whom as an old and tried officer of the institution we have thought proper, after our own minds were made up, to consult. And they have requested me now at this stage of the business to ask your own opinion and advice, since on your judgment in a case of this sort, we should all place the greatest reliance. The person whom we propose as the most suitable, taking all things into account, to fill the vacant office of President of the University, is the Revd Mr Worcester of this town. He is a graduate of Dartmouth, was some time tutor there, has had other experience as an instructor, is a good scholar, possesses a large & liberal mind, uncommon resolution of will & firmness united with suavity & gentleness, knowledge of men, tact and prudence. All these qualities he has shown; also a love of labor, a readiness to encounter difficulties when they must be met, and an ability to conquer them or get round them. But you know the man, though perhaps you may never have thought of him in this relation. Having so good a man near at hand, with many of the essential qualifications we seek, is it worth while to look -------------------------------- Page -------------------------------- abroad in quest of a man of greater name and pretensions perhaps, but of whom we and the community around us may know in truth but little. There is no man, I feel confident, of all those whom I have as yet heard mentioned, who would be likely to enjoy to a greater degree the confidence of our religious public generally. Mr Worcester is a native of the state, of a good and well-known stock, and has never that I know of been suspected of heresy, Coleridgean or any other. My firm conviction of his prudence emboldened me to suggest the thing to him, assuring him, however, that I did it without the least authority. He received it as I expected he would. I have seen him once since, when on my suggesting that I should write to you, he expressed great satisfaction and remarked that your opinion, if unfavorable, would enable him to decide the matter at once. I pray it may not be so. I build strong hopes on our being enabled to go on prosperously with this gentleman at our head. So do we all. This appointment would relieve us of a world of anxiety. We see difficulties in the way of it; the attachment of his people to him, possible opposition from members of the corporation, getting his name before them c c But with your good help, provided always that you think as we do about it, all these difficulties can be overcome. I need not say how anxious we are that the movement, at this immature stage, should be kept private; and that if any thing further is -------------------------------- Page -------------------------------- done about it, it may be removed entirely out of the hands of the faculty. All the liberty we can possibly claim in a case of this sort is simply to suggest the person in whom we ourselves would have confidence, and whom we think capable of managing the affairs of the institution, and who could be obtained. Having, then, taken this liberty, which we feel that under the existing circumstances, you at least will excuse us in, we ask you to give us your advice with your accustomed frankness, and as early as you can conveniently do so--and in case you think favorably of the man, propose to us some methods of getting the nomination made to the Corporation in a proper and suitable manner.

I was very sorry to learn, after you left this place, that you was called away by the illness of you wife. I hope to hear in your answer to this, that she is better.

Very sincerely your friend

and humble servant

J. Torrey.

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