Liberal Kentucky, 1780-1828

By Niels Henry Sonne | Go to book overview

II
EARLY TRANSYLVANIA

THE first serious conflict between the liberals and the Presbyterian Calvinists over the control of education in Kentucky, came with the election of Harry Toulmin to the presidency of Transylvania Seminary in 1794. Members of the Presbyterian denomination had been the active agents in bringing this institution into existence. In this they had acted not as sectarians, but upon the principle of the separation of church and state. Col. John Todd, nephew of the prominent Presbyterian clergyman, Rev. John Todd, of Louisa County, Virginia, was responsible for the passage of an act in 1780, placing 8,000 acres of escheated lands in the hands of trustees for the purposes of education.1

This act made no provision for special privileges to any religious party, but granted the land because it might "at a future day be a valuable fund for the maintenance and education of youth," and because it was to "the interest of this commonwealth always to promote and encourage every design which may tend to the improvement of the mind and the diffusion of useful knowledge, even among its remote citizens, whose situation a barbarous neighborhood and a savage intercourse might otherwise render unfriendly to science."2 However, the majority of the trustees designated in the act were Presbyterians.

____________________
1
Whitsitt, The Life and Times of Caleb Wallace, p. 99. This work contains the best history of Transylvania Seminary. See pp. 99-102, 122-30.
2
Hening, The Statutes at Large, X, 287-88.

-46-

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Liberal Kentucky, 1780-1828
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Contents xi
  • I - Intellectual Viewpoints in Pioneer Kentucky 1
  • II - Early Transylvania 46
  • III - Dr. Joseph Buchanan 78
  • IV - Presbyterianism and the State 108
  • V - A Revolution at Transylvania University 135
  • VI - Horace Holley, Liberal Theologian and Educator 160
  • VII - Liberalism on the Defensive 191
  • VIII - Liberalism Defeated 242
  • Bibliography 263
  • Index 275
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