Brown University Presidency
In 1764, Manning was sent by the Philadelphia Baptist Association to found a college in Rhode Island, the cradle of American Baptists. Along with Stephen Hopkins, Samuel Ward, John Brown, Nicholas Brown, Sr., Moses Brown, the Reverend Isaac Backus, the Reverend Samuel Stillman, and the Reverend Hezekiah Smith, Manning was one of the founders of the College in the English Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations (now Brown University) during the British colonial period. The university charter was first drafted by Ezra Stiles, pastor of the Second Congregational Church in Newport, who attempted give the Congregationalists control of the college. When the Baptists saw what Stiles had done, the draft was withdrawn and rewritten to give the Baptists control. As punishment,the Congregationalist seats on the board of trustees were reduced to fewer than granted to the Anglicans. Stiles was bitter and refused to accept a seat even when it was offered to him. Manning served as Brown's first president from 1765 to 1791. He first ran the university at his parsonage and the Baptist meeting house in Warren, Rhode Island. The University moved to Providence in 1770 and during his tenure built its first buildings on college hill, with the help of the Brown family.
Reverend Manning gave the library of the College its first book, Valentin Schindler's Lexicon Pentaglotton Hebraicum, Chaldaicum, Syriacum, Talmudico-Rabbinicum & Arabicum, which was printed in Hanover, Germany in 1612.
In February 1786, prominent Virginian Robert Carter III of the Nomony Hall plantation in Virginia, wrote to President Manning regarding his two sons George and John Tasker Carter who were to be enrolled at the college and board with Manning that: “they to be Sent from Boston immediately upon their Arrival there to your College in Providence. I beg leave to appoint you their Foster Father intimating that my desire is that both my Said Sons shd. be active Characters in Life ....”
Manning presided over Brown's first commencement in 1769, at which time seven students received the degree of Bachelor of Arts and 21 honorary degrees were conferred. During his tenure, 165 men earned degrees from the college including 43 clergymen, 29 lawyers, 19 physicians, 19 teachers, 12 judges, 12 business men, 6 professors, 6 congressmen, 2 college presidents, 2 United States ministers, 1 United States consul, 1 governor, and 1 librarian.
Read more about this topic: James Manning (minister)
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