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Full text of "Papers read before the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, on resigning his office as professor of theology in the Western Theological Seminary"

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SThe <9?eneral ^sjsemtiljf of the llresbsterCan ^fiurch, 







July— 1829. 



Unfounded reports of an injurious character, circulated in 
regard to the author's conduct, east and west of the moun- 
tains, have induced him to publish these papers for the use 
of his friends. Many heard them read before the General 
Assembly, and many others did not. He thinks, and so he 
has been told, that a perusal of them will be a gratification to 
his friends. 

It is a satisfaction to the writer to know that not a single 
y«c^ stated in his papers was disputed. Had any been denied, 
he was prepared, as he observes in the close of his communi- 
cation, to furnish additional evidence. It was unnecessary. 

In consequence of somethfng in the report of the Board of 
Directors, he was induced to read the two first papers. 

He has no wish to see these papers in the public prints. 
But the publication of them in this form he deems due to his 
own character. 



Copy of a Letter from John M. Snowden^ Esq. 

The following paper was read in the General Assembly, by Dr. Janeway, 
May 28th, 1829. E. S. Ely, Stated Clerk. 

Pittsburgh, May 7th, 1829. 
Dear Sir, — The enclosed resolutions were passed by the 
Board of Directors* at their sessions this day, and Mr. Sa- 
muel Thompson and myself were appointed a committee to 
present them to you. Having learned on inquiry at your 
late residence, that you had removed to the country, I have 
taken the liberty of presenting them to you in this form, and 
of requesting of you to signify your determination by letter 
to the Rev. Mr. Swift, Secretary of the Board. 
I am, very respectfully, 
Yours, &c. 

John M. Snowden. 

P. S. It may not be amiss to state, that a modification of 
the report of the Board will be made, should your answer 
require such modification. 

Whereas some difficulties are likely to arise in consequence 
of the ignorance on the part of this Board of the reasons (if 
special reasons are to be assigned) for the resignation of the 

* Ono was a vote of thanks for books, &c 

Professor, and this Board, while they declare it not their in- 
tention to take it upon them to decide the question to whom 
Dr. J. should render his resignation and reasons; yet being of 
the opinion that this Board does constitute the body to whom 
such documents should be offered, and through them to the 
General Assembly : 

Therefore, Resolved, That Messrs. Snowden and Thomp- 
son be a committee to wait upon Ur. Janeway, and respect- 
fully inquire whether it be consistent with his views to lay 
this matter before the Board; and if not, to inquire whether 
he intends to assign any special reasons for his resignation; 
and if so, whether they are such as will be calculated to af- 
fect the character and proceedings of the Board, or the inte- 
rests of the Seminary. 

A true copy of the Minute. 

E. P. Swift, 
May 6th, 1829. Secretary. 

Copy of a Letter to the Rev. Mr. Swift, in reply. 

The following paper was read in the General Assembly, by Dr. Janeway, 
May 28th, 1829. E. S. Ely, Stated Clerk. 

Latshato'Sf Pittstownship, May 8, 1829. 

Dear Sir, — The resolution of the Board I have received. In 
reply, I send the following remarks. 

A professor, in resigning his office, may use the Board of 
Directors as the organ of communication to the Assembly or 
not, and either assign reasons, or not, as he may choose. But 
when the case is special, and there exists a difference between 
his views and theirs, it is proper that the communication 
should be made directly to the Assembly ; and in my case it 
is the more proper, as I wish to give information which the 
Board would be unwilling to impart. The plan of the Semi- 
nary requires, that a professor, intending to resign his office, 
should give six months' previous notice to the Board of Di- 

rectors of such intention. This I have done; but the Board 
seem to have overlooked the fact that I cannot at present 

You know, that as soon as I had discovered the invalidity 
of the title to the Seminary ground, I communicated the fact 
to you and three other directors; that I freely conversed with 
you on the subject, and with other directors; and that, at a 
nrieeting of the Executive Committee, called at my request, 
for the express purpose. I gave at large my views on this 
subject. You know that I was willing to present my views 
to the Board; and you know that they had no desire to re- 
ceive them.* 

When, in consequence of Dr. Herron's sickness, I inform- 
ed your Vice President of my intention to resign, I stated 
that, in due time, I would assign my reasons ; and that, for 
the present, it would suffice to mention one — the invalidity 
of the title. A similar statement was afterwards made to your 
President. I informed Dr. Herron, at the meeting of the 
Board in April last, when he was talking with me, in private, 
about my reasons, that I was willing to communicate verbally 
with the Board. I have mentioned to you and Dr. Herron, 
and other directors, my reasons, or the chief of them, at sun- 
dry times. I have told them freely to other persons. In- 
deed, on reviewing them, I do not see one reason which I 
have not, in one form or other, spoken of to more than one 
director. And yet, after all this free communication, and al- 
though two of my reasons have been the subject of conversa- 
tion with many in Pittsburgh, the Board speak of their '^^ ig- 
norance of the reasons for the resignation of the Professor!" 

But Mr. Snowden has informed me, that a modification in 
the report of the Board will be made, if my answer should re- 
quire such modification; and has requested me to write to 
you. I am wholly ignorant of the nature of your report. 

* At a meting of the Board of Directors, in April last, Dr. Andrew Wyli« 
observed, that they had heard the superintendent give his views, and he would 
be pleased to hear my statement. I arose and said I was ready to give my views 
to the Board at any time. I was not invited to present them. 


Mr. S. could give me no information about it. As the Board 
have been unwilling to acknowledge any defect in the title, 
I may presume the Executive Committee have no power to 
insert such an acknowledgment in their report in conse- 
quence of my answer. But that the Board may no longer 
say they are ignorant of my reasons, I will now state the 
heads of them in writing. 

1. The invalidity of the title, connected with its conse- 

2. Regard to the dignity and purity of the Presbyterian 
church, and a regard to my own character. 

3. The high price of living in Allegheny town. 

4. The change in the prospects of the Seminary. 

These are the reasons why I deem it my duty to resign my 
office as Professor, and think I am not required to continue 
to make the sacrifices I have voluntarily made, and others 
which I contemplated. 

My reasons are based on facts with which the Board are, 
or ought to be, familiar. Will you pardon me, if I remind 
you, that the plan of the Seminary expressly requires, that 
you should lay before the Assembly the minutes of the Board, 
or a copy of them, for the free inspection of every member; 
and that, in my opinion, as the Executive Committee have 
been invested with all the powers of the Board for particular 
purposes, their minutes should be sent also: a full account, 
too, of your expenditures, and an accurate account of your 
funds, are required by the Assembly. 

We differ in opinion about the validity of Mr. Denny's sig- 
nature to the deed of conveyance. Kprobateqf the ^^;^7/of the 
late James O'Harra will settle the difference. Dr. Herron can 
get one with perfect ease, and free of expense, from the fa- 
mily. I hope he will not fail to take it with him to Philadel- 
phia. I had hoped that this matter would not assume a per- 
sonal complexion. I have endeavoured to prevent it. But 
I am disappointed. The Board have put me on my defence; 
and I will defend myself. Yet I will still endeavour to avoid 
personalities, and confine myself to an exhibition oi facts. 


Fairness, I think, to me, will make it the duty of the Ex- 
ecutive Committee to send up this letter, in connexion with 
your minutes, to the Assembly, as well as to present it to 
your Board at their next meeting. 

Affectionately yours, 

J. J. Janeway. 

P. S. It occurs to mention, that if any other good reason 
shall in any way be presented to my mind, between this and 
the time of my actual resignation, for confirming me in my 
determination, it will be fair to state it. 

Statement of the Jiuthor^s Reasons for resigning his 
Office as Professor of Theology. 

The following document was read by Dr. Janeway in the General Assem- 
bly, May 28th, 1829. E. S. Ely, Stated Clerk. 

In resigning an office so recently accepted, I feel that I 
owe to the General Assembly a statement of my reasons. 

It will be readily believed, that my mind could not be 
brought to its present determination without experiencing 
some painful reflections. Nor did I dare to come to a deci- 
sion on a point of so great importance, until 1 had frequently, 
seriously, solemnly and prayerfully contemplated the subject, 
connected with all the consequences that I could bring into 

When I removed my family from Philadelphia, it was my 
intention, if my life were spared, to spend some years in 
discharging my duties as a Professor in the Western Theo- 
logical Seminary. A corresponding disposition of my pro- 
perty in this city was made. But occurrences wholly unex- 
pected have altered my views, and led me to believe it to 
be my duty to resign my office. 

The Assembly will allow me to state my reasons fully 
^nA frankly. In doing so I exercise my right; and no one 
whose views may differ from mine, can justly be offended : 
for while I have a regard to my own justification, I wish to 



Jay before this body Information which they ought to pos- 

1. The prominent reason of my resignation, is the in- 
validity of the t/issembly's title to the Seminary ground. 
The consequences connected with this reason will appear 
under subsequent particulars. 

When I left this city I believed (as the General Assembly 
who fixed the location of the Seminary at Allegheny 
town did) the title to be perfectly good. All parties in- 
terested in the ground had, it was stated by individuals ac- 
quainted with facts, conveyed their rights to the General 
Assembly. In this belief I remained, after the removal of 
my family to Pittsburgh, more than three months before I 
had any suspicion to the contrary. I had heard, it is true, 
of an individual having warned the superintendent to desist 
from his work ; but as he was represented as an out-lot- 
holder , who had no right to interfere, I paid no regard to 
this circumstance.* But when the superintendent informed 
me, in a private conversation, that only one-fifth of the com- 
moners had signed the deed of conveyance; that he was 
sometimes discouraged and thought of applying to them for a 
better title; and that the deed he had prepared for procuring 
other signatures had not been used; I became alarmed, and 
instantly determined to investigate the real state of the title. 
Such information, so contrary to my belief, could not but 
surprise me greatly. I procured the necessary documents; 
and it required but a single reading of them to convince me 
that the Assembly's title was essentially defective. To 
guard against mistake I stated the case in a letter to an emi- 

* The above statement was written in consequence of a report circulated in 
Pittsburgh, that I knew the title to be defective, when I accepted my appoint- 
ment, and that I had been informed of the fact when I visited Pittsburgh in 
the autumn of 1827. Now, Providence has so ordered it, that I am not left 
to defend myself by a simple contradiction ; for my letter to the Board, after 
my return to Philadelphia, in which 1 assign my reasons for declining the ap- 
pointment of the General Assembly, contains not a word about the title; and 
there doubtless I should have assigned as one reason the defect of the title, if 
I had known the fact. Who originated this unfounded report is unknown 
to me. 


nent leo;al character in this city; who, after examining the 
several acts of the Legislature and a decision of the Supreme 
Court on an analogous case, to which I had referred him, 
kindly gave his opinion, that not only confirmed my opinion, 
but enlarged my views of the rights of the commoners. 

The history of the matter is this: The town of Allegheny 
is built upon what has been denominated " the reserved 
tract," containing 3000 acres, lying along the Allegheny and 
Ohio rivers. In conformity with acts of the Legislature, 
passed, in 1783, 17S7, this tract was laid out in lots and out- 
lots. Around the town, and adjoining the out-lots, a com- 
mon was laid out, consisting of 100 acres, for the benefit of 
purchasers. The use of this common belongs to the lot-hold- 
ers; but the right of reversion is vested in the common- 

In the year 1825, certain lot-holders signed a deed, by 
which they conveyed their right and title to a defined portion 
of the common, containing 18 acres, to trustees, for the use 
and benefit of the General Assembly ; provided the Western 
Theological Seminary should be established in Allegheny 
town, and 'he Seminary erected on the said ground. 

In 1827, the Legislature transferred to the same trustees for 

the General Assembly, the Commonwealth's right and title to 

the same, or nearly the same, defined portion of the common. 

Now, it is perfectly plain, that the lot-holders who signed 

the deed could not convey the rights of lot-holders who had 

not signed: and it is equally plain, that the Legislature, by 

conveying the reversionary right of the Commonwealth to the 

Assembly, did not, and could not, by their act, convey a right 

which the Commonwealth did not possess; that is, a right to 

build on the common. 

So defective was the title of the General Assembly. 

But what sets this matter in the clearest light, is the fact, 

that, in the year 1824, only three years before the grant to 

the General Assembly, by a decision of the Supreme Court, 

made in the city of Pittsbnrgk, the trustees of the Western 

University, in a suit in which they were plaintififs, were eject- 


ed from 40 acres of the same common, of which they had 
taken possession by the authority of the State. 

It has been said, that the trustees had no conveyance from 
any of the lot-holders, but that the Assembly had ; and that 
this fact makes a great difference in the two cases. The fact 
is admitted, but the inference denied. It is worthy of re- 
mark, that the deed of conveyance of the lot-holders forms 
the preamble to the act, by which the Le2;islature have con- 
veyed to the Assembly the right of the Commonwealth, and 
consequently, the act of the Legislature is accompanied with 
an explicit recognition of the right of the commoners to the 
common : and that, in the case of the Western University, 
without recognising the right of commoners, the Legislature, 
as if the Commonwealth possessed an absolute right to the 
common, granted to the trustees of the Western University 
40 acres of the common in fee simple, and ordained that a pa- 
tent should be granted to them free of expense. 

In such strong circumstances, the case of the University 
came into court. The trustees appeared with their patent 
from the State in hand. Yet, appreciating, as the court did, 
" the noble design of the Legislature in erecting a university 
in the western part of the state," the late venerable Chief Jus- 
tice Tilghman says : " I have not been able to entertain a 
doubt that the defendants' right of common is unextinguish- 
ed and UNEXTiNGUisHABLE, but with their own consent." 

This decision was matter of public notoriety in Pittsburgh ; 
well known, as well as the preceding facts, to some of the Di- 
rectors of your Western Seminary; for three of them were 
trustees of the University, and one a defendant in the suit. It 
is to be regretted that these facts had not been stated to the 
General Assembly; and that the Directors determined to oc- 
cupy the ground, when but a small number of lot-holders 
had signed the deed of conveyance. I hazard nothing when 
I say, that no educated lawyer could, after investigating the sub- 
ject, fail to be convinced of the invalidity of the Assembly's 
title; and that no sound and discreet one would have advised 
the occupancy of the ground in such circumstances. He would 


have told them that the title could not be perfected, unless a// 
the commoners united in the deed of conveyance; that build- 
ings erected on the ground would lie at the mercy of evtry 
lot-holder whose signature was not given; and that, if in pre- 
sent circumstances, the ground should be occupied, and the 
Assembly's title should come to trial, the Directors would be 
considered as having contravened the commoners' known 
rights, and acted in direct opposition to a decision of the Su- 
preme Court in an analogous case, so recently made in the city 
of Pittsburgh, by which the law on the subject of common 
was clearly laid down. — See Sergeant and Rawle's Reports, 
vol. xii. pp. 29, 34. — Pamphlet Laws, vol. ii. pp. 498-9, for 

The deed of conveyance to the Assembly has but thirty-one 
signatures; and from this number must be deducted ihe name 
of one gentleman, who has signed in behalf of a large estate. 
I have inspected the will ; and it is perfectly clear to my mind, 
and every lawyer will say so, that his signature is of no avail, 
and cannot bind the estate. 

The superintendent, who was educated as a lawyer, well 
knew the defect of the title; for, in the winter preceding the'* 
iiieeting of the Directors in 1828, when they determined to oc- 
cupy the ground, and to commence their work, he had prepared 
a bill, and sent it to the Legislature to be passed into a ij»w; 
the object of which was, to compel dissatisfied commoners to 
sue for damages, and not for ejectment. Any one acquainted 
with the rights of citizens to their property, and the constitu- 
tional powers of the Legislature, will, I think, pronounce that 
such a law would have been unconstitutional, and conse- 
quently, that the bill was justly rejected. 

In confirmation of the views stated above, I present the 
opinions of professional characters. An eminent lawyer of 
this city, whose opinion I requested, says, in a letter: *' It 
does not appear to me, that it is necessary that a proprietor 
should give notice of his claim, inasmuch as the right of com- 
mon, in the p)ojMiefuis of the lots, is a part of the title it- 
self; or rather, the title of the trustees is plainly subject to that 


right. It is not a case oi dormant or dubious claim, in rela- 
tion to which the trustees may be considered as being without 
notice ; but is a case of clear, certain, and well-known right, 
to which the trustees' title is confessedly subject; and in di- 
rect opposition to which they must be considered as acting, if 
they proceed to erect their buildings." 

" The right being appurtenant to each lot, the acts of one 
proprietor cannot affect other proprietors; and, therefore, if 
the individual alluded to were to release his right, it would 
not affect the rights of other proprietors." 

" I may add, that I see no sort of safety in erecting build- 
ings, until the whole right of common is extinguished; I mean 
so far as relates to the land within the boundaries of the grant 
to the Seminary, by the act of Assembly." 

Thus stood the title, when, after giving due notice of the 
facts to several members of the Executive Committee, I felt 
it to be my duty to determine on resigning my office as soon 
as the plan of the Seminary would allow. 

Subsequently to my determination being known, additional 
signatures have been procured. How far an advance toward 
perfecting the title has been made the Assembly must de- 
cide; and I may add, that, if this should ever be accomplish- 
ed, it will be owing to my determination to resign.* It 

* Certainly no obstruction was thrown in the way of perfecting the title by 
my determination. It served to rouse the directors to action. " I have placed 
you," was my language to one, " in the most favourable situation for securing 
a good title, if it can be obtained. Now is the time for gaining releases from 
lot-holders. ' Our professor,' you may say to them, 'has determined to re- 
sign on the ground of the invalidity of the title. If you wish to have the 
Seminary on the hill, you must give us a better title.' " And I added, 
" there ought to be a fair understanding with the commoners in regard to the 
use to which you intend to apply a part of the ground ; because, unless you 
can have the right of applying it so as to raise from it a fund, it will not be 
worth accepting; for in that case, the grading of the hill will make it a dear 

" You have done us good," said a director to me, a day or two after I had 
read my statement to the Assembly. " We admit all your facts. We were 
asleep, and you have roused us. We are willing to have a restriction laid on 
us, not to proceed in erecting the buildings till the title is perfected •' 


is however my duty to ask, whether sufficient pains have 
been taken to ascertain whether all who have signed had a 
right to sign; and whether, if wills were examined, it would 
not be found that some signatures were of no avail. Have 
females no right of dower in the common? Are no females 
owners of lots ? Have females signed the deed of convey- 

In regard to the estate of James O'Harra, it is proper to 
observe, tliat the trustees may so convey the property to one 
of his children, that she and her husband may release her 
right of common; but as the property of the other two must 
remain in trust, their right of common cannot be conveyed 
to the Assembly.* For minors no one can sign. Beside I 
know of two lots for which an inhabitant has for years paid 
the taxes, the owner of which is unknown. 

The riffht o( out-lot holders to common is unsettled. As 
a determination of this question was unnecessary in de- 
ciding the case of the University, the court left it undeter- 
mined. The right however of proprietors of out-lots origi- 
nally bought in connexion with town-lots, but afterwards 
separated by sale, cannot be disputed; because one and the 
same patent was given for these lots thus sold by the State in 
connexion. As this class of out-lots, or many of them, lies 
at the extreme part of the reserved tract, and has the right of 
common, does it not seem probable, that the right was origi- 
nally attached to the intervening out-lots, which are in situa- 
tion nearer to the Common? An eminent legal gentleman in 
Pittsburgh told me in conversation, that he knew that the 
out-lots had the privilege of common. The Secretary of the 
Land Office informed mc, as I passed through Harrisburgh 
in my return to this city, that a legal gentleman of Washing- 
ton, now deceased, had a few years ago examined the question, 

* To his daughter Mary, whose child survives her, Mr. O'Harra bequeathed, 
beside other property, several out-lots and toion-lots ; and to his son, two out- 
lots. Mary died before any conveyance was made to her; and the son's whole 
portion was put in trust during his natural life. Who can tell what will be 
the disposition of the heirs when they come into possession of this property ^ 


and was fully persuaded that the out-lot-holders had a right 
to the common. 

Were the Assembly to submit this question to the judg- 
ment of professional gentlemen, they would learn, that, if 
but a single lot-holder, who had not released his right, were 
to bring the question into court, judgment must be given 
against the Assembly; and. that the Legislature itself could 
not, by the exercise of any constitutional power, aflford pro- 

A legal gentleman in this city wrote to me, under date 
March 10, thus: "Before receiving your letter, which is 
now on m)'^ table, and indeed before your decision was 
known here, I had examined, for my own satisfaction, the 
question of the Assembly's title to the ground in Allegheny, 
and had arrived at the conclusion, that the Seminary would 
be at the mercy of every lot-holder in the town. I was 
aware, indeed, that releasps had been executed to a cer- 
tain extent, but I felt assured that in this case, as in every 
other that I have known of a similar character, some one, or 
some half a score would be found at last to have retained an 
interest; and that, in the end, the title would be quieted only 
by a long series of compromises. I fully agree with you, that 
it would ill become the General Assembly to occupy land 
under an imperfect, or even a doubtful, and, therefore, liti- 
gated title." 

Under date of March 18, an intelligent and respectable 
member of the Legislature says, in a letter from Harrisburgh : 
"I have already informed you, that not having turned my at- 
tention particularly to the law, it would be presumption in me 
to give an opinion on principles that are not well understood 
even among lawyers. 1 have, however, mentioned the mat- 
ter to several gentlemen of good legal acquirements, who seem 
to be unanimous in saying, that the commoners could not re- 
lease, except they would all join in the deed." 

In the close of this particular, it is my duty to add, that it 
were easy to prove, before a court of justice, or a bench of 
lawyers, that the title is not now valid, and that it cannot, by 


any exertions, be perfected for years to come ; and to re- 
mark, that no period of possession can aflFord security to the 
Assembly, while the title remains defective. For many years, 
the city of Pittsburgh had been in possession of a strip of 
land lying along the Monongahela, from Grant street to the 
point at the junction of the two rivers. They believed their 
title to be good, and had for years derived a considerable re- 
venue from this ground. But other claimants appeared, and 
submitted their claim to the judgment of the Circuit Court of 
the United States. The cause was very recently heard and 
tried in this city; and judgment has been given in favour of 
the new claimants. A serious loss to the city of Pittsburgh ; 
and a heavier one to owners of property on Water street; for, 
eventually, it may destroy the beautiful prospect now enjoy- 
ed by the houses along the Monongahela. 

2. My second reason is, regard to the dignity and pu- 
rity of our churchy as well as regard to my own character. 

Circumstanced as the title was last May, it is plain the 
ground ought not to have been occupied; and had the facts 
been known to the last Assembly, they would, it is presumed, 
have deemed the occupancy inconsistent with the dignity and 
the purity of the Presbyterian church. To me it appeared 
proper to be known, that the supreme judicature of our church 
were ignorant of any defect in the title ; and consequently, 
not liable to reflections some might wish to cast on them, 
for occupying ground to which they had no legal title. 

Nor have I been unmindful of what was due to my owa 
character. As a Professor of Theology in the institution, I 
am not, it is true, responsible for the doings of the Directors, 
or of the Executive Committee. Intelligent men, however, 
sometimes fail to make the necessary distinction; and, had I 
continued my connexion with the Seminary, without giving 
some public declaration of the defect in the title, I should 
have merited a share in any censures due to the holding of 
ground without a legal title, I am unwilling to participate in 
such censures ; and the easiest way to avoid them is to resign 



my office, though, in so doing, I may incur other censures, 
which 1 am conscious I do not deserve. 

It has been said, that had I been silent, the title would not 
have been disturbed. The assertion is altogether unfound- 
ed; for, before I had any knowledge of its defect, a lot-holder 
had, at two different times, warned the superintendent to de- 
sist, and had taken legal advice in regard to his rights. Had 
he chosen to do so, he might have ejected the Assembly. His 
opposition has been removed only by complying with his de- 
mands, and larger ones than he at first made. It', however, 
nothing of the kind had happened, and I had become fully sa- 
tisfied in my own mind of the invalidity of the title, and the 
consequent danger of erecting buildings on the ground, surely 
the duty I owe the church would not have allowed me to be 
silent. Had I acted such a ///n/fl? part, and the buildings been 
erected and afterwards lost, I should have reproached myself, 
and others would have reproached me, for concealing a fact I 
was bound to make known. 

It was my duty to speak. I did so; and even before my 
views had been confirmed by the opinion of an eminent legal 
character in this city, I expressed to three members of the 
Executive Committee and another director, my decided con- 
viction of the invalidity of the title, and that no lawyer of re- 
putation in Pittsburgh would, in writing, give a favourable 
opinion. Subsequently I urged the propriety of perfecting 
the title, if it could be done, and expressed a wish that the 
Board of Directors might be convened. But finding my 
brethren did not feel the apprehensions I felt; that they 
were disposed to prosecute the erection of buildings on the 
hill; and that a meeting of the Board was not likely to be 
called ; it appeared duty to determine on resigning my office. 
As the plan required six months' previous notice, I embraced 
the earlier opportunity of signifying my intention to the pro- 
per officer of the Board. 

The Executive Committee, however, were afterwards con- 
vinced of the illegality of the title; and felt the necessity of 
looking out for other ground. Yet, if I am not mistaken, 


nothing can be found, either on their minutes, or on those of 
the Board, the meeting; of which was not called till the 10th 
of March, that will indicate the fact. And here my brethren 
and I have differed in our views. They wished to conceal 
the defect of the title; but I thought the honour and purity 
of the church required a frank and open acknowledgment of 
the truth. 

3. The HIGH PRICE OF LIVING at Allegheny town fur- 
nishes another important reason for my resignation. 

During my visit to Pittsburgh in the autumn of 1827, I 
was led to believe that the students could be supported at a 
very low rate. This was, in my view, a strong recommen- 
dation of the place selected as the location of the Seminary. 
It would be vain to look for many students of the west, to 
resort for education to a place where a large expenditure of 
money would be needed. In the winter of 1828, a consider- 
able rise in the price of provisions took place; but as this was 
attributed to temporary causes, it was believed that the price 
would soon fall again. But after the settlement of my fami- 
ly in Pittsburgh, I felt greatly disappointed at the expense of 
living, and the continuance of the high price of provisions; 
and early expressed to a brother my apprehf nsions of the 
injurious effect it would have on the growth of the Seminary, 
and fears that it was unfortunately located. As far as I have 
been able, by inquiries and observation, to obtain informa- 
tion, it appears to me probable there will be no very mate- 
rial diminution in the expense of living. 

The discouragement, iiowever, arising from this circum- 
stance, was abated by the prospect of a large fund to be raised 
from leasing building lots connected with the Seminary 
ground; a part of which might be applied toward reducing 
the students' expense in living. But this expectation is gone. 
No prudent man would build on them; and if any should be 
willing to run the risk, they would give but little for them. 
Besides, I have sufficient evidence to convince me that the 
inhabitants of Allegheny town would oppose such a use of 


the ground, as not comporting with their intention in their 

If no fund can be derived from such a use of the ground, 
of what value will it be to the Assembly? The grading of 
the middle section of the hill has already cost ^2500, and 
would have cost much more, if the superintendent had not 
relinquished his salary of §1000. The completion will re- 
quire y^oOO, which, it is supposed, will be repaid by the sale 
of stone dugout oMt. Two-thirds remain to be graded ; and 
it is easy to calculate. wiiat the whole will cost. Tlius the 
ground, instead of being a valuable donation, is likely to 
become, in the end, a dear' purchase. 

It has not been ascertained whether water can be obtained 
by sinking a well on the top of the hill. 

4. The great change in the prospects of the Seminary y 
is atiolher important reason. 

To the Assembly of 1827, the ground was stated to be 
worth 1^18,000; and a subscription amounting to ^36,000, 
obtained by hasty efforts within the bounds of the Synod of 
Pittsburgh, was reported for the Western Seminary; pro- 
vided it should be located in Allegheny town. In the print- 
ed report to the last Assembly, it is stated, that "the amount 
originally subscribed in Pittsburgh and Allegheny town ex- 
ceeds ^12,000, and may be very considerably increased; and 
that at the foot of the hill there is " an entire range of build- 
ing lots eligibly situated:" and from these lots, it was un- 
derstood, might be derived, in a few years, an income suffi- 
cient .to support one, if not two professors. A professor of 
ecclesiastical history and church government was chosen last 
May; and a young man of promise, it was known, would be 
appointed by the directors, as teacher of oriental and biblical 
literature. The Seminary, it appeared, might go into speedy 
and full operation. Living too, it was believed, would be 
cheap and inviting to students of slender means for support. 

In circumstances so flattering, I accepted my appointment 
as Professor of Theology. I cherished the hope, that any un- 
friendly feelings excited in the breasts of some by its location, 


would speedily die away; and that it would become, what the 
Assembly intended it to be, The Western Theological Semi- 
nary of the Presbyterian Chuj^ch. 

To show how materially these prospects are changed, it is 
hardly necessary to add to what has been said about the title 
to the ground, and its consequences^ that, after repeated in- 
quiries in regard to the subscription papers oCi^36,000, 1 could 
learn nothing more, than that they were scattered among the 
congregations, and some lost; and that there is no encourage- 
ment to hope that the Western Synods will patronise the Se- 
minary in its present location.* 

I am of opinion, that the institution will not answer the As- 
sembly's design; and that although it may retain the name of 
the Western Theological Seminary, it will be merely Syno- 
dical in its operations. 

A frank and full exhibition has been given of the reasons 
that brought me to a determination to resign my office, and 
have kept my mind in that determination. I have often re- 
viewed them, and frequently prayed I might not mistake the 
path of duty. I have seen no reason to change my intention. 
I still think, that in these circumstances. Providence does not 
require me to persevere in sacrifices voluntarily made, and to 
make others that I contemplated; to deprive my family of 

* Reported as subscribed, $36,000 

Subscribed afterwards, in Philadelphia, nearly $6,000, say 6,800 
Mr. Hughes' agency was reported as being successful, and 

therefore may be set down as yielding, additional, - 8,000 

Total, $49,800 

But the Board reported only $30,000. Here I must speak from recollection. 
The report of the Directors has not come into the hands of the Stated Clerk. 

As an inducement to accept my appointment, one Director told me I would 
immediately have 15 students ; and another, that I would have 20; and urged 
this as a consideration for entering on ray office just after my appointment. 

When I arrived in Pittsburgh I found /owr students, who had been studying 
there during the year past. When I began to instruct them,/oMr more were 
added ; but one of the former retired. So that we had four in one class, and 
tliTtc in the other ; all from Presbyteries belonging to the Synod of Pittsburgh: 
the fruit of one year and nine months. 


comforts and conveniences to which they have been accustom- 
ed; and to subject my children to disadvantages and tempta- 
tions that may be avoided.* 

Respectfully, therefore, I tender to this General Assembly 
my resignation of the office of Professor of Theology in the 
Western Seminary. , 

For this long communication I must beg pardon ; and yet 
solicii^ indulgence, while, in the close, I remark, that, being 
conscious of having endeavoured to ascertain and do the di- 
vine will, I /eel no regret at having accepted my appoint- 
ment. It is not for us to determine duty with a prophetic 
eye. Ours is a humbler task; to learn present duty from pre- 
sent circumstances. Israel, by following the guidance of the 
heavenly cloud, made their journeys, and not unfrequently 
retrograde ones. They returned and pitched their tents in 
places they had formerly left. We need not complain ; for 
He who knows Xhe future as perfectly as the past, has said : 
"In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy 

For all the facts stated in this communication I hold myself 
responsible, and stand ready to produce further evidence, if 
needed. The opinions expressed will go for what the Assem- 
bly may think them worth. I will, however, observe, that 
they have been carefully and prayerfully formed ; and add, 

* The reader is now prepared to decide on the sufficiency of ray reasons, 
and to appreciate the truth of a report circulated in Pittsburgh and on this side 
of the mountains, that the true, reasons of my resignation were of a domestic 
nature. In leaving a large and important congregation, to whom I was attach- 
ed, and of whose cordial and united attachment I had no reason to doubt ; in 
exchanging a liberal support for a very precarious one ; in removing my family 
from the circle of their friends and relatives to that of strangers, and from 
Philadelphia to Pittsburgh ; no one will doubt there was a sacrifice made to 
duty. Had it not been felt, it would have been no sacrifice. It was felt; and 
if the pressure of it on my family had been so severe as to require my resigna- 
tion, I should have frankly acknowledged it, and felt myself justified in assign- 
\na this reason. But this was not the cause of my determination. In the 
statement presented to the Assembly, I have fairly and honestly exhibited, in 
their proper connexion, the reasons that induced that determination, and kept 
mv mind from swerving from it 


that I could not withhold what is contained in this communi- 
cation consistently with what I deem duty. 

Very respectfully, 

.J. J. Janewat. 
Philadelphia, May 26, 1829. 

The Rev. Moderator of the General Assembly. 

Minutes of the Assembly on the Case. 

The Directors of the Western Theological Seminary, made 
their annual report, which was accepted, and committed to 
Dr. Martin, Mr John Johnston, and Mr. Denny. 

Rev. Andrew Wylie, D.D. resigned his office as a Director 
in the Western Theolog;ical Seminary. 

Nominations were made, to fill the vacancies in the Board 
of Directors of the Western Theological Seminar}'^. 

The Rev. Jacob J. Janeway, D.D. resigned his office of 
Professor of Theology in the Western Theological Seminary, 
and gave at length, in writing, his reasons for so doing. 

The resignation of Dr. Janeway was accepted ; and his 
v»rritten reasons, with accompanying papers, were committed 
to the same committee to which was referred the report of 
the Directors. 

Mr. Boyd, Mr. Beman, Mr. Cushman, and Mr. Strong, 
were added to this committee. 

The committee to whom was referred the report of the 
Directors of the Western Theological Seminary, together 
with the reasons assigned by Dr. Janeway for his resignation 
of the office of Professor of Theology in that Institution, 
made the following report, which was adopted, viz: — 

The Directors of the Western Seminary having reported to 
the General Assembly, that they have had under their care, 
during the past year, eight students in the said Seminary; 
that there remained, at the close of the last session, seven 
students; that preparation has been made for the commence- 


ment of the erection of suitable buildings for the said Semi- 
nary, on a site selected for that purpose in the town of Alle- 
gheny, but that the title to the laml is not yet perfected ; 
your committee, recommend the adoption of the following 
resolutions, viz: — 

1. Resolved, That the sum of ^3000 be appropriated and 
paid to the Directors of the Western Seminary, for the sup- 
port of teachers for the present year. 

2. Resolved, That the sum of ^8000 be appropriated for 
the erection of the necessary buildings for the accommoda- 
tion of the Western Seminary; and that the same be paid, so 
soon as the Directors of the said Seminary have satisfactory 
evidence that all objections to the title of the land, on which 
the said buildings are to be erected, shall have been re-