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and others, through the medium of your interesting publication, a short account of the Unitarian Seminary at York. I would premise however, that notwithstanding it is denominated Unitarian, because that sentiment has been the result of the most serious investigation of its supporters, and of the excellent person who conducts the theological department, yet that nothing can be further from their wishes or his plan, than to impose upon the Students any particular system of belief. Although dissenters from the Church of England, on what they conceive the most conclusive reasoning, yet they steadily adhere to her sixth Article of faith, namely, that " Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation, so that whatever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man that it should be believed as an article of the faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation.”
In what inay be considered as in strict conformity to this article, therefore, I have been informed both by the Tutor and Students, that no system whatever is inculcated in the theologica! classes; that the only text-book is the Bible, which is read with great care during the last two years of the course, nearly according to the plan recommended by Mr. Locke, Dr. Taylor, and Dr. Jebb : that when the Students have by their own exertions, directed and assisted by their Tutor, made up their minds as far as can be expected, concerning the doctrines of Scripture, they learn the rise and progress of systenis in a full course of Ecclesiastical History. But it is not in my power amply to detail the plan pursued in the York Academy, and it is the less necessary as I am told it will crc long be laid before the public. From what I do know of it however, it appears of such a nature, as to render the labour and exertions on
part of the Tutors equally great, whether the Students may happen to be numerous or few.
But to return to the more immediate subject of the “: Accidental Discoverer’s,” inquiry.
In the year 1786, an Academy was instituted at Manchester, for the avowed purpose of providing the means of a liberal eduration for Protesiant Dissenting Ministers. It flourished with various success until the year 1903, when, on the resignation of the Rev. George Walker, it was determined by the Trustees :o invite the Rev. Charles Wellbeloved the resident dissenting Minister in this City, to undertake the superintendence of the institution, and to remove the library belongiog to it, hither. Their reasons for this determination may be seen at length in their printed report, dated March 26 1803, and bear very honourable testimony to their bigh estimation of the talents, disposition, and character of Mr. Wellbeloved.
He was well aware of the many difficulties he should have to encounter at its commencement; and the extraordinary labour to which for some years he should be subjected, yet he willingly undertook the charge, conceiving it of the first importance to theinterests of Christian truth, that the Manchester Academy should not be annibilated. It was removed to this City accordingly in the September of that year; and for the former part of the first Session, Mr. Wellbeloved was sole Tutor. During the course of the Session, however, Mr. Kerr of Glasgow, whose character in that university was deservedly very high, was recommended by Professor Young, and appointed Tutor in the classical and mathematical departments. During the first Session there were four divinity Students ; during the second, three; during the greater part of the third, eight; and at present there are seven, one of the number having been chosen Minister at Bury St. Edmund's, about two months ago. Here are also five lay Students.
The funds by which the institution is supported, arise from the buildings in Manchester, from contributions and annual subscriptions--the particulars of which are detailed in the several reports of the Committee, published in February 1804, February 1805, and February 1806. Such has already been the success of the institution since its reinoval to this City, so rapid the improvement of the Students, and sa general their good character, that no doubt would remain of its stability and continually increasing reputation, if the subscriptions were so much augmented as to admit of the appointment of a third Tutor : but this arrangement is become indispensable, it being impossible that the constitution of any man should much longer support the unceasing mental exertion which has hitherto devolved upon the theological Tutor. Ilow unremittingly Mr. Wellbeloved has laboured in the cause, and is now labouring, I shall forbear to say ; but most earnestly do I wish that those who are interested in the institution would enquire; and I will venture to predict that a great increase in the number of its patrons, so essential to its permanency, would be the result. Nav the example of the Accidental Discoverer” be followed by that of inany others!
You apprehend very justly, Mr. Editor, that this Seminary is now the only one in the kingdom, where unitarian Ministers can be educated.
I request your insertion of this paper in the next number of vour valuable Repository, the success of which, has the best wishes of
Your constant reader,
'UNITARIAN ACADEMY AT YORK.
To the Editor of the Monthly Repository. SIR, As your correspondent, “ An Accidental Discoverer,” desires information concerning the Academical Institution at York, for the education of Dissenting Ministers upon a Scriptural Plan, free from the shackles of any human creed, or sect, I take the liberty to trouble you with a brief sketch of its origin and present state.
The dissolution of the Warrington Academy in 1794, and, nearly about the same time, the discontinuance of that at Hoss ton which had been patronized by Coward's Trustees, and also of a similar institution at Exeter, awakening the serious alarni of many of the more opulent Dissenters, two new Colleges (as they were, perhaps injudiciously, called) were established in their room. Hackney College experienced an unprecedented degree of patronage, and for some time continued under the direction of some of our ablest men; but, from causes which it would now answer no good purpose to investigate, was necessarily discontinued, in consequence of a total dissipation, not only of its own funds, but also of a reserved Permanent Fund, which ought to have been kept inviolate. The New College at Manchester subsisted for a longer time, at first under the direction of the Rev. Dr. Barnes, and a succession of respectable Classical and Mathematical Tutors. On Dr. Barnes's resignation in 1798, the Rev. George Walker of Nottingham, with an ardour truly characteristic of his energetic mind, always more awake to the interests of truth, religion, and science, than to any private emolument or comfort, voluntarily relinquished one of the most respectable and satisfactory connections, to be found among the Dissenters, for the purpose of keeping alive this apparently last resource of the friends of free enquiry. The unexpected resignation of the classical and mathematical tutors almost immediately following, threw the whole burden of the institution upon this eminent scholar, who, though fully competent in point of talents and information, could perform no more than health and strength, in the decline of life, (though in the fullest vigour of spirits,) would permit; and, after four years, found himself under the necessity of relinquishing a situation, the burdens of which were too much for onc or even iwo persons.
The Trustees now finding that none of the resident Ministers in Manchester were disposed to engage in the undertaking, and that the funds were insufficient to induce any persons fit for the office to remove from other settlements, and to depend on it alone for support, being urged besides by the objections which were made against the institution being continued in a populous commercial town (objections which lay equally against Birmingham, which had been proposed as in several other respects desirable), made an application to the Rev. Charles Wellbeloved “ a gentleman in the full vigour of life, accustomed to the education of youth, and highly esteemed for his rational piety, sound judgment, and amiable manners, *" to take the direction of the Institution at York, the place of his residence; "a situation, upon the whole, as favourable as can reasonably be expected. Though a considerable city, it is, in a great measure, free from the dissipation and vice which are inseparable from the close population and growing riches of a commercial district; and though the number of Dissenters in it is small, the dissenting interest has always been rendered truly respectable by the talents and character of its ministers."
But the same difficulties which occurred at Manchester still continue to be felt at York. The funds of the institution are not sufficient to supply an adequate number of instructors. 'Though the Trustees were very fortunate in obtaining for Mr. Wellbeloved the able assistance of Mr. Kerr of Glasgow, a gentleman who had enjoyed the unprecedented honour of carrying off the first prize through all the classes which compose the course of education in that celebrated university, and whose lectures, in the classical and mathematical departments, are highly acceptable to a set of as regular and diligent youths as ever, probably, coinposed a society of this nature, yet it is obvious that there must still rest upon the principal Tutor, a weight of business, which, but to mention, will convince any reasonable person that it cannot be executed with satisfaction to himself, by any single person who is at the same time engaged to perform the various duties of a Minister.
The course of study for young men designed for the Ministry comprehends five years : in the first of which, besides continuing their classical, and commencing their mathematical studies (the course of which is three years) under the direction of Mr. Kerr, they begin the study of the Hebrew language, the elements of which when they have acquircil, they juin a class formed of all the divinity-students, in which a regular course is pursued through both the Old and New Testaments, in their original languages; so that the whole of the scriptures are critically read by each student. From the beginning, also, the students are exercised in Latin and English composition, and the divinity-students, in their turn, corduct the devotions of the fa
* Committee's Report 4th July, 1803.
mily; in the due preparation for which, they are under the careful superintendance of their tutor. In the first and second years, they also go through a course of general history, and hear lectures on oratory and criticism. In the second year, the attention of the students is besides directed to the philosophy of the human mind, comprizing logic, metaphysics and moral philosophy. In the third year, the evidences of natural and revealed Religion. In the fourth, the Old Testament is more critically and philosophically studied : the history is compared with Josephus, which is read along with it; the Mosaic Ritual and Civil Government are carefully examined, and the students are exercised in drawing out schemes of each, comparing these together, and with those of the most approved authors: the devotional and moral writings are read with a practical as well as critical view, and the nature and peculiar beauties of sacred poetry are pointed out by the assistance of Lowth, whose excellent work is read by the students : lastly, the prophetic writings are commented upon and explained. Through the whole, the best writers on the several books are referred to. In the fifth, the same critical and practical attention is paid to the New Testament, and the important particulars of the Christian dispensation : harmonies of the evangelists are drawn up, the Acts and Epistles are carefully studied, and the support they mutually give and receive is noticed, after the manner of Paley. At the same time, during both these years, particular attention is paid to the composition and delivery of Sermons and Scriptural Expositions ; and lectures are given on the history of the Christian Church, and on the Pastoral Care. The students most of them reside, and all board, with Mr. Wellbeloved ; and during the hours of meals, enjoy ihe company and familiar conversation of both their tutors.
This simple enumeration of the objects contemplated in the course of education at York, I believe is nearly correct; and that the duties of their office, agreeably to it, are most faithfully and diligently executed by both the tutors, I am persuaded those will bear witness who have attended' the annual exami. nations. That their unwearied services are highly valued, and afectionately and gratefully received by their pupils, those who are much acquainted with any of them can also testify. But that the variety of objects is greater than any two men can perform with satisfaction to themselves, without at the same time sacrificing a portion of that health and those comforts, which it is not only the right but the duty of every man to take care of, must, I think, be obvious to every one who entertains a proper sense of the limited nature of the human powers, and of ihe necessity of a due proportion of exercise and relaxation to the