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Council of Portland and the Bar of Cumberland, promptly expressed their sense of their own and the public loss, and their sympathy on the occasion, and a general and honorable sentiment went up from the press of Maine, and from our citizens throughout the State in honor of this faithful public man.
In 1810, Gov. Parris married Sarah, eldest daughter of the Rev. Levi Whitman, of Wellfleet, Massachusetts, who with three daughters and one son survive him.
In speaking of our three departed Presidents, I am not unmindful of the classical injunction “nihil mortuis nisi bonum;" but in describing the distinguished men, upon whom perhaps, I have dwelt longer than may have been agreeable to you, I could not, if I had a desire, be disobedient to it.
I cannot better take leave of this part of my subject, than by applying the language of Chief Justice Crewe, in the De Vere case, in the time of Charles I, of England : "Time has his revolutions; there must be a period and an end to all temporal things -- finis rerum- an endof names and dignities, and whatsoever is terrene; and why not of Dé Vere? For where is Bohun? where is Mowbray? where is Mortimer? Nay, which is more and most of all -- where is Plantaganet? They are entombed in the urns and sepulchres of mortality. And yet, let the name and dignity of De Vere stand, so long as it pleaseth God."
Having thus paid a melancholy visit to the tombs of my honored predecessors, I must now turn to the revered and honored living, and offer to them the tribute due to their services and virtues.
Our second President, the successor of Gov. Parris was the Rev. William Allen; he held the office from 1823 to 1827 inclusive.
President Allen was the son of the Rev. Thomas Allen, the first minister of Pittsfield in Massachusetts; his mother was Elizabeth, daughter of the Rev. Jonathan Lee, first minister of Salisbury, Connecticut, and was a descendant of Governor Bradford in the fifth degree. His father graduated at Harvard College in 1762, was ordained in 1764, and died at the age of 67 in 1810. The subject of our notice was born in Pittsfield, January 2, 1784 and graduated at Harvard College in the celebrated class of 1802, which was larger and more distinguished than any which had previously issued from that venerable University.
On leaving College Mr. Allen commenced the study of theology with Dr. Pierce of Brookline, and at the same time taught school in that town. He finished his preparatory studies with his father and was licensed to preach by the Berkshire Association of 1804.
Soon after obtaining his license he made a journey to Niagara, preaching at various places, and among others at Buffalo. The whole of that country, now filled with cities and a cultivated population, was a wilderness; and Buffalo now numbering over sixty thousand inhabitants, had then but nineteen rude houses.
In December, 1804, Mr. Allen was appointed and entered on the office of Regent in Harvard College, as successor to Dr. Channing, and continued to occupy the situation until August, 1810. This office was not connected with the instruction of the College and was given to young men of good standing, to assist them to funds, and to furnish them with a residence in the College buildings, and opportunities for study; its duties being inconsiderable, merely to preserve order and watch over the deportment of students. He diligently improved the advantages which this situation afforded, occasionally preaching in neighboring towns. It was during this propitious period that he prepared his first edition of the “ American Biographical and Historical Dictinary," which was published in 1809. By this very useful work he gave important aid to students of American history, and quickened public feeling upon topics then much neglected, but in which now the people take a most lively interest. It was the first and largest work of the kind which had been published in the country: Belknap and Eliot only preceded it. A second edition was published in 1832, enlarged and much improved, containing more than eighteen hundred Biographical articles, exceeding by eleven hundred those contained in the first edition. I am happy to be able to say that the third edition of this valuable work is now in the press, containing more than seven thousand biographical notices. *
He closed his connection with the University by fulfiling the honorable appointment as orator to the Phi Beta Kappa Society, which occasion was doubly graced by a poem from Washington Alston. On the 10th of October, the same year, 1810, he was ordained pastor of the church in Pittsfield, as his father's successor, having previously declined an invitation to settle in Braintree.
In 1812, he married Maria Malleville Wheelock, daughter of John Wheelock, President of Dartmouth College, with whom he lived on most affectionate terms, until her death in 1828. To this amiable and accomplished lady, he devot ed the opening and closing stanzas of his poem “ Hoosatunnuk," commenced in 1826, but not published until 1856. The following stanza at the close of the poem, refers to his
* This edition is now issued from the press in two large octavo volumes.
wife, and will afford a specimen of the style of the work and of his affectionate regard for her.
“ How lovely was thy face when in the bloom
Of youth it beamed upon my rapturous eye?
In 1816 the Legislature of New Hampshire, influenced as was supposed, by political considerations, passed an "Act to amend the Charter of Dartmouth College," by which its name was changed to Dartmouth University, and its powers materially altered. Under this act the old government of the institution was subverted and a new one appointed, at the head of which, Mr. Allen was placed as President of the University in 1817. The Trustees of the old College, established by charter in 1769, steadily resisted this proceeding, and commenced an action to test the constitutionality of the act of the Legislature. The case was carried by writ of error to the Supreme Court in Washington, and was there most ably and elaborately argued by Daniel Webster and Hopkinson for the plaintiffs, and John Holmes, and Mr. Wirt, the Attorney General, for the defendants, in 1819; and it was decided that the “ Acts of the Legislature altering the Charter of Dartmouth College, were repugnant to the Constitution of the United States," all the Justices but Duval concurred, and Marshall, Chief Justice, Washington and Story, delivered long and learned opinions. This became a leading and very important case on the subject of corporate rights.
By this judgment the new University, and consequently the office of President Allen, ceased to exist. Francis Brown, a former minister of North Yarmouth, who had been
elected President of the College in 1815, as successor of the second President Wheelock, was reinstated in office.
At this juncture, the office of President of Bowdoin Col. lege became vacant by the lamented death of the admirable President Appleton, in 1819; Mr. Allen was in 1820, chosen his successor. This was coincident with the establishment of our State government.
President Allen continued assiduously to discharge the duties of this responsible station for nineteen years, until his resignation in 1839. In the early portion of the time, before the appointment of Prof. Newman to the chair of Rhetoric, he gave instructions in that department.
While so engaged, and ever since, he has made it a point to note every new word, which occurred in his reading of authors of deserved reputation. In this manner he made a collection of over ten thousand new words, that is, of words not before embraced in standard dictionaries. He furnished Dr. Worcester for his large Dictionary published in 1846, nearly fifteen hundred of such words, and for Dr. Webster's Dictionary, published in 1854, over four thousand, and has recently placed in the hands of the publishers of Webster's Dictionary for the next edition, a catalogue of over six thousand new words. This is a striking fact, and while it entitles President Allen to great credit for this large contribution to useful knowledge, shows an astonishing change in the language. It may be accounted for in part by the rapid progress of science and the arts, during the last fifty years; which has introduced a multitudinous array of new terms; partly by the increased study of German. and other foreign languages, which has fastened upon the Saxon a strange and uncouth vocabulary. A similar change is noticed by Selden, in his " Table Talk.” He says, “If