Franceway Ranna Cossitt

Franceway Ranna Cossitt

Franceway Ranna Cossitt (April 24, 1790 - February 3, 1863) was an early Cumberland Presbyterian Minister and the first stated clerk of the Cumberland Presbyterian General Assembly in 1829. Was also the founder of Cumberland College in Princeton Kentucky, in 1825, which was eventually moved to Lebanon, Tennessee, in 1843, to become Cumberland University. The name Franceway Ranna was actually a frontier corruption of Francois René.

He was born at Claremont, New Hampshire, April 24, 1790. His family were Episcopalians. His maternal grandfather and an uncle were in succession pastors of the Episcopalian congregation at Claremont. Some have received the impression from himself, that whilst his family were perhaps not bigoted, they were decided in their ecclesiastical preferences. They were of those who had sympathized with the king in his conflicts with the parliament--a series of conflicts which resulted in the overthrow and death of the king, and the establishment of Cromwell in the Protectorate. Of course his ancestors could hardly have been genuine Puritans.

At the age of fourteen Mr. Cossitt commenced his preparation for college, and after the usual embarrassments and delays in such cases, entered Middlebury College, in Vermont. In 1813 he graduated. His standing was high in a large class. After leaving college he spent two years in teaching, at Morristown, in New Jersey. It was customary, in those days, for men, after having completed their collegiate studies, to spend some time in teaching before entering upon the study of those things relating more immediately to their chosen profession. From Morristown he went to North Carolina, and took charge of Vine Hill Academy, on Roanoke River.

From North Carolina he returned to New England deeply impressed with the necessity of personal religion. What particular circumstance awakened his attention to that subject is not now known to his friends. After using the ordinary means, and passing through many discouragements, his mind at length found relief. In his own self-distrusting account of this occurrence, he says: "If I ever embraced Jesus Christ as he is offered in the gospel, it was near the bank of the Connecticut River. I had tied my horse to a sappling in a thicket, whither I had retired to pray for mercy." In such a manner a man of his temperament was more likely to settle the great question to his satisfaction. The pressure of a crowd who are encouraging and exhorting may be the best for some, but it is not the best for all.

Mr. Cossitt's original purpose was to engage in the legal profession, but with his spiritual change came a change of purpose. He resolved to devote himself to the Christian ministry. He studied theology at New Haven, in what has since become the General Episcopal Seminary of New York--the institution having been removed. Bishop Brownell, of Connecticut, gave him license as a "lay reader" in the Episcopal Church.

He then directed his course to Tennessee, and established a school at a little place on Cumberland River, called in its day New York, a few miles below Clarksville. A number of his Carolina friends had moved and settled there. They were wealthy, and desired to educate their children. With a view to this object, they urged his settlement among them. In addition, the opening and improving condition of the country presented a fine prospect to men engaged in the work of education. His school became in process of time, amongst other things, a sort of theological seminary. A number of young men preparing for the ministry resorted thither for the purpose of receiving instruction.

While he was engaged at New York I first became acquainted with Mr. Cossitt. In the fall of 1821 he came to a camp-meeting held on Wells's Creek, in Stewart county. He was accompanied to the meeting by William Clements, an educated gentleman and an elder in the Church, who had previously become acquainted with him. An introduction by such a man as Mr. Clements was a recommendation. They arrived at the meeting on Saturday. The ministers in attendance, besides myself, were Thomas Calhoun, Robert Baker, and Robert S. Donnell. Mr. Cossitt preached on Saturday evening, although still an Episcopalian. His text was, "If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead." The sermon was a respectable argument in support of the truth of the Christian Scriptures. This was his introduction to Cumberland Presbyterians. Mr. Calhoon was the manager of the meeting, and treated him with great attention and respect.

In 1822 he was set apart to the whole work of the ministry in the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, and became a member of the Anderson Presbytery. On the 19th of February, of the same year, he was married to Miss Lucinda Blair, of Montgomery County, a lady of unusual personal attractions. Her father was a prominent member of the Church. Of course Mr. Cossitt was now fairly identified with the Cumberland Presbyterians.

Shortly after his marriage he issued a prospectus with a view to the publication of a paper, which he proposed to call the Western Star. For some reason the publication was never commenced. I suppose the reason to have been an insufficiency of encouragement on the score of patronage. The movement was in advance of the times. After spending two or three years at New York, he moved to Elkton, Kentucky, and established a school there. His associations at Elkton were unusually pleasant. He always spoke of them with interest.

At the sessions of the Cumberland Synod at Princeton, in 1825, the plan of Cumberland College was projected, and commissioners were appointed to examine particular points, and make the location. Another set of commissioners was appointed to procure a charter for the proposed Institution from the Legislature of Kentucky. It was to have been called the Cumberland Presbyterian College. The gentlemen who visited the Legislature for the purpose of procuring a charter, were advised to drop the "Presbyterian" from the proposed name, as it might arouse sectarian opposition among the members and their friends, and thus cause the application to be rejected. Accordingly the application was made for a charter of Cumberland College. The change was displeasing to some leading members of the Church, and was perhaps the first step in producing a series of embarrassments which in process of time became very numerous and great--so much that in a few years the existence of the Institution was placed in jeopardy.

Princeton and Elkton were rivals in their efforts for the location. The Institution was located in the vicinity of Princeton; a farm was bought about a mile from the town. It was to be a manual labor school, and arrangements were made accordingly. Mt. Cossitt was chosen President, and opened the College for the reception of students in March, 1826.

Cumberland College was an experiment. The country was comparatively new. The Cumberland Presbyterian Church had been chiefly devoted to the more immediate work of saving sinners, and collecting congregations. The itinerant plan of preaching, and yearly camp-meetings, constituted a large part of their machinery. The establishment of denominational schools and of colleges had been overlooked. The lessons necessary to conducting such enterprises with success had to be learned from experience. A practical man would have expected blunders and a probable failure. Again, the plan of the Institution was a novelty. It was a generous conception. Almost any reasoner would have decided that it was suitable to the wants and genius of a plain, practical people. It looked to the education of young men, and especially of young men preparing for the ministry, who had not the means of supporting themselves at more expensive institutions of learning. Rugged young men, who had been first trained at the plow, and who had vigor of body, were to be converted into scholars, and statesmen, and pulpit orators. This was the theory, and it was a theory worthy of a trial. The students were to occupy dormitories provided for them, to use straw-beds, and furniture of the plainest and cheapest king, and to board at a common boarding-house. The fare was to be healthful, but plain and cheap. All luxuries were proscribed. The students were to work two hours each day except the Sabbath, and to pay sixty dollars a year into the College treasury.

Upon the opening of the College, Mr. Cossitt collected around him some of the best young men in the land. A large log-building was constructed for College purposes, and the students who were educated there during ten of the first years of the Institution "rubbed their backs against wooden walls." Notwithstanding what would now be considered the grimness and severity of the system, the number of the students was large. In the spring and summer of 1830 it reached one hundred and twenty-five.

At the meeting of the General Assembly in 1830 it was thought necessary to raise the charges in money from sixty to eighty dollars. Experience had shown that the expenditures of the establishment were greater than its friends had anticipated. The circumstance operated unfavorably, of course, upon the patronage of the Institution; still its patronage was respectable. Pecuniary difficulties, however, rather increased than diminished. Money had been borrowed to pay for the farm, and other debts had been contracted, and the interest was an eating cancer.

In 1831 the General Assembly leased the College to Rev. John Barnett and Rev. Aaron Shelby for a term of years. The pecuniary difficulties of the Institution had become very great. The Church had become in some degree alienated; confidence in the final success of the enterprise was failing. Messrs. Barnett and Shelby were to have all the proceeds of the College after paying the necessary expenditures--to support a sufficient number of instructors, to keep up the boarding-house, and pay the debts of the College. They were considered men of great energy and perseverance, of respectable financial ability, and devoted friends of the Church. Mr. Shelby continued his connection with the Institution till the summer or fall of 1833, when he sold his interest to Mr. Harvey Young. In the summer of 1834 Mr. Young died, and the entire management of the financial affairs of the College fell into the hands of Mr. Barnett. In the summer of 1834 the cholera visited the town. A number of persons fell victims to the terrible disease. The College, however, did not disband. But the cholera was followed by a malignant fever, which extended to the College community, and spread over the country. The condition of things became so bad at the College, that a temporary suspension of operations was found absolutely necessary. The manager of the farm and boarding-house died; one of the professors was finally prostrated, one of the students died, and a number in addition were sick. It was a terrible blow upon the Institution. It rallied, however, and the fall session commenced with favorable prospects. Still there were financial troubles. The Church, too, began to complain of Mr. Barnett. Some thought he managed badly; others thought he managed wholly with a view to his own selfish ends; others went so far as to impeach his integrity as a man of business and a Christian. A change became necessary.

Accordingly, at the General Assembly in 1837, which met at Princeton, Cumberland College Association was formed. Mr. Barnett's interest was transferred to the Association. It was a joint-stock company. It was pledged to carry on the operations of the Institution under the direction and control of the General Assembly. A number of the most respectable and wealthy citizens of Princeton and the neighborhood entered into the Association. Prospects seemed to brighten, and hope was restored once more. The Association entered upon their with vigor and energy. Still, after a temporary revival of interest and confidence, another cloud arose. An impression was made upon the minds of those in the neighborhood of the College that the Church had deserted it, and that neither contributions nor patronage were to be expected from that quarter. It was believed that busy persons, with selfish designs, contributed to that impression. The subject of transferring the Institution to the control of the Episcopalians of Kentucky was seriously considered. How far Episcopalians of Kentucky may have been answerable themselves for the state of feeling which existed, the writer has no means of knowing, but some of Dr. Cossitt's friends thought that they were not inactive. It was natural enough that they should have felt an interest in a measure which would have contributed greatly to their success and establishment in Lower Kentucky.

The result of this condition of things was a great effort on the part of Dr. Cossitt to arouse the Church once more to an interest in behalf of the College. He and Rev. F. C. Usher, who was connected with him in the department of instruction, published a circular letter, in which earnest appeals were made to the ministers and members of the Church. I append also a private letter, written about the same time, and on the same subject, to one of the fathers of the Church. I suppose he may have written twenty or thirty such letters.


"DEAR BROTHER IN CHRIST:--By this time probably you have received a printed circular signed by myself and Brother Usher. By that you will see that we are in trouble--I have not dared to show how much. To tell you that mine are days of sadness, and nights of waking--to say that my eyes stream with tears, and my heart bleeds with agony, would be to tell you of what your knowledge of me, and your perusal of the circular, must already have informed you. I will not attempt to describe the shame, mortification, and anguish of spirit which I feel; but will devote this sheet to the reasons why I thus feel at present. Surely I may be permitted to show the wounds of my spirit to sympathizing brethren.

"I have devoted the best years of my life to the College. I have done it for the Church. The Church must and will sustain it, in justice to herself, if not to me. For all that I have done, sacrificed, and suffered, I ask nothing for myself--not even thanks; but I ask that she may not suffer the fruits of her own labors, as well as mine, to go to swell the triumphs of another denomination, and to fix the indelible stain of ignorance, supineness, and covetousness upon our names and memories.

"When I compare what other denominations are doing in behalf of ministerial education with what we are doing, I must confess I am alarmed, not that I envy or wish to impede their success, but because I tremble for our own. I have at great pains obtained the following statistics, which may be relied on as correct: The Episcopalians have seven colleges and four theological seminaries in the United States. The Presbyterians have fifty colleges and nine theological seminaries. The Congregationalists, nine colleges and five theological seminaries. The Methodists, eight colleges. The Baptists, seven colleges and five theological seminaries. The Catholics, six colleges and five theological seminaries. There are forty-nine colleges and twelve theological seminaries West of the Alleghany Mountains, and I believe every one of them much better endowed than our own; yet but very few of them hold an equal standing. Thirty-seven colleges and ten theological seminaries have been established since ours, and nearly all the colleges and twelve theological seminaries, on the West of the Alleghanies. And now, my brother, shall the only Cumberland Presbyterian College pass to another denomination? The whole world would cry out, 'Shame! Shame!' Our very name would become a by-word and a reproach for ages to come. I am not a prophet, but, my dear brother, permit me to make a prediction. This College may die, or go into other hands, but its epitaph will be written in the everlasting disgrace of that body which founded, but did not appreciate and sustain it. It is better for us to hear this plain, but unpleasant truth, now while the remedy is in our power, than for posterity to hear it when the time has passed for effacing the stain from the escutcheon of the Church of their ancestors. Should the Church in future ages mourn over the supineness and negligence of the present generation of ministers and members of our branch? Should future generations of men regard us as too weak to appreciate the blessings and manifold mercies wherewith an indulgent Heaven has favored us, or too covetous to extend and perpetuate them as a rich legacy to our spiritual descendants, whose reputation would be most likely to suffer? The name and memory of him whose afflicted heart now communes with you in these lines, will probably be overlooked in the crowd of those more conspicuous; or if remembered at all, will at least be known as an advocate for education. Should posterity fix the broad seal of condemnation on our Church for suffering our College to pass into other hands for the want of aid, who, I ask, will bear this load of censure? Rely upon this fact: the more conspicuous any one may have been in founding and building up the Church, the more conspicuous must he be in the history of the loss of the College to that Church of which he was a minister. Do you think I fear for my own reputation, in such an event? How is it possible to entertain such a fear? I can fear nothing, while faithful records are preserved. The body proposing to take the College would, I doubt not, render it a splendid Institution in a very few years. They say so, and it is known that they are fully able. Their colleges are all splendid--some of them the most so in the world. Did I wish to get myself a great name as the founder of a splendid College, at the expense of duty, conscience, and the interests of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, together with the reputation of its ministers and members, the readiest way to accomplish this end would be to let the Episcopalians have it. But Providence has cast my lot with you; my sympathies are with you, and I wish to live and die a member of your Church, which has adopted me as a son, and honored me as a minister. I trust I feel for the honor of the Church. And while my heart is torn with agony under existing prospects, permit me, with humble deference, to say my heart assures me we all ought to raise our voices and wield our pens; we ought to sound the tocsin of alarm; stir up every minister and member; traverse the whole length and breadth of our bounds; visit every Church and every family from the palace to the cot, and invite and urge all to contribute to a fund for the education of a future ministry. I verily believe our doctrines are the truth as taught in the word of God. I also believe they are taught in the writings of the fathers of the Christian Church, up to the time of Augustine, who was the first teacher of the system now called Calvinism. The doctrines of our Church are much older than the Westminster Confession, and just as old as the Bible. This I have intended to show at some time in a little book on the subject. Now if our doctrines are the truth, ought we not to give the world the benefit of them? And how can we do this without some men at least of extensive learning? Believe me, if any Church under heaven needs an educated ministry, that Church is our own. If so many colleges and theological seminaries are employed in educating men to disseminate error, ought we not to have one employed in the cause of God's own truth? Resolve upon it, and it shall be so. I, for one, have embarked in the cause of education, as auxiliary to the diffusion of the gospel. I have had many discouragements, and have often been censured and condemned. I may be again, but hope is still my anchor. I have put my hand to the plow--I cannot turn back. It is true, at the beginning I did not count the cost in regard to my sufferings in feeling, but be them what they may, I am now prepared to endure them until every prospect has vanished, and hope's last lingering ray has given place to the gloom of utter despair.

"You are at liberty to show this to as many brethren as you judge to be faithful and true. Let me hear from you, if you please, as soon as possible. Could you not write something, and publish it in the paper, in favor of sustaining the College? And I hope you will come up to the next Assembly determined to sustain it, and prepared for prompt and efficient measures.

"In great affliction, but with hope for my consolation, I remain yours in Christ,

"F. R. Cossitt."

These efforts were continued to the meeting of the General Assembly, which occurred in May following, Its sessions were held at Elkton, Kentucky. When the Assembly met, it appeared that the Church had been fully awakened to the importance and danger of the crisis. A magnificent scheme was formed. If it had been carried into effective operation, it would have relieved the College from debt, and rendered it permanent, if not prosperous. It was proposed to raise one hundred thousand dollars for educational purposes. Fifty-five thousand dollars of that sum was to serve as a perpetual endowment of Cumberland College; thirty thousand was to be used in Pennsylvania, in the endowment of a college there; and the remaining fifteen thousand dollars was to constitute a sort of floating capital, to be used as circumstances might suggest. Several of the most popular young men in the Church were engaged as agents; the people were not illiberal in their subscriptions, and every thing seemed to promise well. Dr. Cossitt confidently believed that the College would be endowed, and that the most liberal provision would be made for the education of candidates for the ministry. This last was always a controlling thought with him, as it has been with all the earnest educators in our Church. This thought originated the impulse which led to the establishment of Cumberland College at first, and afterward to the establishment of Cumberland University. As an evidence that he was sanguine in his hopes, I offer the following extract from a letter written to myself a few weeks before the meeting of the Assembly in 1840. He had received the impressions from his correspondence which developed themselves at the Assembly. The letter indicates great hopefulness:

"PRINCETON, April 8, 1840.

"DEAR BROTHER BEARD:--It is now near midnight, I suppose. I have been in bed, but cannot sleep, and have arisen to write a few lines to you. I suppose you have received my printed circular, also the first number of the Banner of Peace. You will see our prospects, in part only, of the endowment of the College, I tell you it will be endowed. If for years 'we have sat down by the rivers of Babylon and wept when we remembered Zion,' the redeeming spirit which is abroad leads us to say, now 'is our mouth filled with laughter and our tongue with singing.' Even I, who have been so long brooding over my hard fortune, like one shorn of his strength and bereft of his energies, feel my native energies rising within me, and the promptings to action, which I could scarcely suppress, if I would. Our Church is to awake from her apathy, depend upon it. 'The Lord hath not forgotten to be gracious--he will not always chide.' An impetus is to be given to ministerial education. Were you here, you could judge of the signs of the times as well as I--especially after reading the many letters which I have received. I and my family have written during the winter about fifty letters, in some respects like the one I sent you some short time since, notwithstanding my labors are much more arduous in College than when you were here. You would be astonished at the amount of labor of all kinds I now perform. I am astonished at it myself. I am complaining of a cold, but Mrs. Cossitt says mental efforts agree with my health.

"I am writing, and expect to write, much on the subject of ministerial education. I hope to give the subject some of my best strokes before I have done with it. Brother Usher is doing well. Mr. P. is too fractious; but we have harmony in the Faculty. I have given him some plain and faithful talks, by which Brother Usher thinks he has profited. * * * Good-night.

"F. R. Cossitt."

I present an extract from another letter, received ten months after the actio of the Assembly in 1840:

"PRINCETON, March 27, 1841.

"BELOVED BROTHER:--* * * Your letter convinces me that you are somewhat behind the times with respect to the present feelings and sentiments of the Church. Perhaps you are yet incredulous. I do not know that I ought to wonder at it, considering the past. I for years was just where you are. But I tell you, the Church is getting awake on two important subjects--The means of education for candidates for the ministry; and, The means of support for laborious ministers, together with a general plan of operations. I am sure I could convince you of this in a short conversation. Do not smile, and say, 'Brother Cossitt is sanguine.' Let me smile, rather, and say, 'Brother Beard is skeptical." Trust me, for once: I cannot be mistaken. * * * With some, learning is useful, NECESSARY, for INDISPENSABLE; with other, it is popular and praiseworthy. The people are almost universally in favor of it, as you know. Who shall dare to oppose it? I tell you, the day for open opposition has passed. * * * The spirit of the age is onward; and this spirit has at last entered our Church. I could, if time and paper would allow, give you many evidences. * * * The College will be endowed. We cannot doubt it. You must give up your incredulity--you will be compelled to yield it. * * * I am overwhelmed with cares and business. My labors in the College are not at all lessened. * * * Sometimes I think I have business enough for two or three men. I have to write much, while others sleep. But they say I fatten on it. I feel that I can do much with a prospect of success, but very little without it. I do hope and pray that I may never again sink into that state of listlessness and despondency in which I was for some years of our acquaintance. Yours in the gospel,


It will be perceived that this letter was written but a few weeks before the meeting of the General Assembly of 1841. At that Assembly things seemed to be going forward smoothly. The friends of the College were still hopeful, and even buoyant. I have letters in my possession, written by Dr. Cossitt several months after the Assembly of 1841, in which the same hopeful and confident spirit is expressed. My persistent incredulity had been almost overcome. The reader will then judge of the revulsion which the public mind must have experienced when it was announced at the General Assembly of 1842, that Cumberland College was still hopelessly in debt, that its property was under execution, and liable to be placed under the sheriff's hammer any day. None but those, however, who knew Dr. Cossitt intimately can appreciate the shock which his feelings must have suffered as the true condition of things became known, and its inevitable results were developed.. The writer makes this statement with a full knowledge of many, if not of most, of the circumstances connected with the dark cloud which spread itself over the prospects of the College. And however Dr. Cossitt may have felt compelled to follow the lead of a train of circumstances which he could not control, the troubles of Cumberland College, of which we now speak, threw a shadow over his path which continued to his dying day. The happiest hours of his life were those in which he was struggling--often against fearful odds--for the prosperity, or to maintain the existence, of the Institution. It was, from its inception, a darling enterprise-it was that through which he became known to the world. It was the enterprise through which he expected his name to be handed down to posterity, if it should reach posterity at all. It was an enterprise of his own selection. His Banner of Peace was pressed upon him by the force of circumstances. He felt that his work in the College was the great work of his life. This is evident from his private and most earnest letters.

As we would have expected, when the condition of the College became known to the Assembly, the revulsion of feeling and the disappointment were so great that steps were immediately taken toward the removal of the Institution. A commission of gentlemen, all prominent members of the Church, was appointed to consider the matter, and take some action upon it. The commission met in Nashville, on the first day of the following July, 1842, and determined to establish Cumberland College at Lebanon, Tennessee. Dr. Cossitt was elected to the presidency of the new College, and accepted the appointment, and of course the Commencement of the College at Princeton, in 1842, terminated his connection with that Institution. The friends of the old Institution, however, rallied, sold its useless property, paid its debts, and continued its operations with respectable success, and, I trust I may be allowed to say, with usefulness, for a number of years.

But the question will naturally present itself to my reader, What was the cause of all the troubles in Cumberland College, and especially of those which developed themselves so disastrously in 1842? It is not my purpose to enter into an investigation of this subject. I have often thought and said, that if the history of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church should ever be written, the history of the old College would constitute its darkest chapter. I have no disposition to extend this chapter farther than I have already done. But a few words may, and perhaps should, be added in justice to the living, and to the memory of the dead. And first, Mr. Barnett was not the cause of the trouble. It was once fashionable to ascribe at least a great deal of it to him. But there were troubles and discouragements before he and Shelby became connected with it. There were troubles after it fell into the hands of the Association. These troubles culminated in 1842, five years after Mr. Barnett's connection with the Institution had ceased. Furthermore, before his connection with the College, he was a successful farmer in the country, was understood to be very practical and skillful in the management of his business, and had acquired a respectable property. When he left the Institution, he was an insolvent debtor. He was never able to extricate himself from his financial difficulties, and died under the cloud which those difficulties brought over him. He spent his last years under a deep impression that he had been injured and cruelly mistreated by the Church. Under that impression his spirits were at length broken, and he sunk in sorrow to the grave. Mr. Young, who was connected with him for some time, had prospered in his quiet home, and was making a good living for his family. After an experiment of a year at the College, he left them in a great measure penniless. Mr. Barnett and Dr. Cossitt did not always agree in judgment; they became at length estranged in feeling, but they were both honest; they meant well, and were both unyielding in their devotion to the Church. I knew those good men well; they served their generation, and their estrangements have been forgotten in the quietude of the grave.

Secondly. The people of Princeton were not the cause. The Church sometimes complained that they did not feel as much interest in the College as they ought to feel. This may have been true to some extent. There are men in every community who would sell any public enterprise for a mess of pottage, if they could appropriate the price to the satisfying of their own hunger. Still the people of Princeton would have kept up the College, if they could have done it. They have given the best possible evidence of this for twenty-five years past. They are not more selfish or sectarian than other people.

Thirdly. Dr. Cossitt was not the cause. He never controlled the financial affairs of the College. Furthermore, the number of young men of very high order that he kept around him in the College, and their high regard for him as a man and as an instructor, furnish sufficient evidence of the influence which he was capable of exerting upon the youthful and aspiring mind. He labored with great earnestness, and a portion of the time, at least, with great self-denial, in trying to support the Institution. It was opened in 1826, and it was understood at the General Assembly in 1829, three years afterward, that the financial difficulties had commenced, and that the existence of the College was already in peril. From that time to 1842 the struggle was continued and unremitting between hope and despair, and the wonder is, that a man with feeble health and sensitive feelings should have lived and labored so long under such circumstances.

Beyond these negatives I shall not go, farther than to say that there was unquestionably a combination of causes which operated in producing the results that we have been considering. The enterprise was new. As it has been already said, it was an experiment. Its partial failure can be accounted for without bringing reproach upon the Church or any of its individual members. Still Cumberland College, although it has now ceased to exist, fulfilled a useful and an honored mission. It has a noble record. Its alumni are known, and their power is felt in high places. Notwithstanding its financial troubles, and its partial failure in 1842, and its entire failure since, no member of the Church needs be ashamed of its contributions to the educational interests of the country. I must be allowed to include in these statements its whole history, from 1826 to its final failure. Trace the footsteps of its sons, and you will find the most of those who survive where men are wont to be.

In 1829 Mr. Cossitt made an excursion through some of the Middle and Southern States. He spent some time in Washington City, and while there published and circulated a pamphlet, setting forth the character and claims of the College. He preached in several of the churches of the city, and received some donations. He preached also in Baltimore and Philadelphia, receiving very respectful attention in both cities. In Baltimore especially, his preaching seems to have made considerable impression. He brought one young man from Baltimore, and two or three from Eastern Virginia, to the Institution. Two of these young men remained until they graduated. They became useful and honored men.

Early in 1830 the leading men connected with the College commenced the publication of the Religious and Literary Intelligencer, at Princeton. It was the first periodical of the Church. Mr. Cossitt was identified with it for a few months, and a principal contributor to its columns. The Assembly of 1830, however, transferred the editorial control of the paper to Rev. David Lowry. It afterward became the Revivalist, and finally the Cumberland Presbyterian, in Nashville.

In 1833 Mr. Cossitt lost his wife and the mother of his children. She endured a long illness, and died in the triumphs of faith. On the 19th of January, 1834, he was married a second time, to Miss Matilda Edwards, of Elkton, Kentucky. The respected widow still lives. In 1839 he received the Doctorate of Divinity from Middlebury College, and also from the Trustees of Cumberland College, with which he was then connected.

In March, 1840, he commenced the publication of the Banner of Peace. It was at first a monthly periodical. He continued it a year under this form. In December 1841 the publication was renewed. It was changed, however, from a monthly to a small weekly. The following letter will serve as an illustration of the feelings with which he undertook the publication of a weekly paper. It brings us back once more into the region of trouble:

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