History of Tufts College, 1854-1896Start, Alaric Bertrand
HOSEA BALLOU, 2D, D.D.
|HOSEA BALLOU, 2d, was born in Guilford, Vermont, October 13, 1796. He was the son of Asahel Ballou, and the grand-nephew of Hosea Ballou, who at that time was just coming into prominence as a preacher. A few years after the birth of Hosea, Asahel Ballou removed with his family to the adjacent town of Halifax. Here the boyhood of young Hosea was spent, as that of many another country lad has been, working upon the farm during the summer, and attending the district school whenever opportunity offered. It soon became evident that the lad had a taste for books, and hopes were entertained that he might be able to obtain a college education. His acquaintance with the classics began with his studying Latin under the tutorage of a clergyman by the name of Thomas Wood, and his rapid advance in the study of the language proved him to be an apt scholar. While he was scarcely more than a boy his mind began to be occupied with the questions of religion, and for a time his inclinations were toward the doctrines of the Baptist Church, but the influence of his father and great-uncle finally turned them toward Universalism. Thoroughly imbued with this belief, and possessing a great gift of eloquence, it was not unnatural that he should adopt the ministry as his profession. He accordingly studied theology, and in a short time was prepared for his work.|
His first pastoral settlement was at Stafford, Connecticut, where the Universalists had just erected a church, and where he was invited to minister upon the recommendation of his great-uncle Hosea. He remained at Stafford for nearly five years, and while there was married, January 26,
|1820, to Miss Clarissa Hatch, of Halifax, Vermont. He resigned to accept a call to preside over a newly built church in Roxbury, Massachusetts, where he was installed as pastor July 26, 1821. The young minister discharged his duties devoutly and faithfully, winning many hearts by the simplicity and serenity of his life, his strong sense of justice, and his admirable discretion.|
In the Spring of 1822 he became associated with the Rev. Thomas Whittemore of Cambridgeport in editing the " Universalist Magazine," and by means of this publication the two men exerted a wide influence throughout the denomination. About the year 1824 he proposed to Mr. Whittemore the plan of writing a history of Universalism. He, Mr. Ballou, was to trace the growth of the liberal faith from ancient times to the epoch of the Reformation, where Mr. Whittemore was to take up the work, continuing it to the present time. The "Ancient History of Universalism " was published in five volumes, in 1829. The five years spent by Mr. Ballou in completing this publication were years of exhaustive research and tireless activity; and the work stands to-day as a fitting monument to his zeal and scholarship. To him must largely be attributed the rise of the "Universalist Expositor," - afterward the "Universalist Quarterly," - to which he was a constant contributor during the years from 1830 to 1840. In 1833 he wrote an introduction to the American edition of Sismondi's "Crusades against the Albigenses," and in 1837 he published a "Collection of Psalms and Hymns for the Use of Universalist Families." Later he contributed many articles to the "Trumpet," "Universalist Quarterly," and some secular reviews.
After a pastorate of seventeen years, Mr. Ballou left Roxbury to settle over the parish at Medford, Massachusetts, in June, 1838. Here he continued preaching, almost under the shadow of Walnut Hill, until called to spend his best endeavors and accomplish their richest results within the
|building upon its summit to which an affectionate remembrance has since given his name.|
During his pastorate at Medford, Mr. Ballou's reputation for scholarship was steadily on the increase. Some of the work done by him was truly wonderful. Like Cicero he began to read Greek when no longer young, mastering the difficulties of the language with a marvellous perseverance. He also became familiar with the modern languages, and studied a great deal on scientific lines. His prestige in literary circles around Boston was considerable, and in August, 1845, Harvard University conferred upon him the degree of Doctor of Divinity. He was the first Universalist to receive this honor, and he deserved it well. In the same year he was elected a member of the Board of Overseers of Harvard, and during his term of service was looked upon by his associates as a judicious, upright, and conscientious worker.
Dr. Ballou was one of the prime movers in the founding of Tufts College. For years the establishment of a college under the auspices of the Universalist Church had been his favorite project, and when the opportunity offered he threw himself into the work heart and soul. He and Mr. Whittemore were co-workers with Dr. Sawyer in arranging for the "Educational Convention" of May 18, 1847; and when, on the fifteenth of the following September, he preached the occasional sermon before the General Convention, he uttered so eloquent an appeal for a movement on behalf of education that enthusiasm was aroused in all quarters, and Universalists throughout the land were ready and eager to give to the good cause when the call for contributions came.
When Dr. Sawyer declined the presidency of the new college it was offered, in 1853, to Dr. Ballou, but it was with great hesitation that he accepted the responsible position. He doubted his fitness for the place, and feared that his lack of college training would be an impediment to his usefulness;
|but he could not fail to see that after the refusal of Dr. Sawyer he was the man to whom the task naturally fell, and accepting with quiet resolution what he believed to be his duty, he took up the work. Being granted leave of absence for a year he went to England and studied methods of teaching in the universities there. His formal inauguration took place August 25, 1855, and from that time until his death he discharged the duties of his office with unswerving fidelity and with honor to himself and to the institution under his care.|
President Ballou died May 21, 1861, worn out by overwork. His funeral occurred on the 31st. It was a beautiful day, and a special train from Boston brought to the Hill hundreds of friends who had loved and honored the departed President. Private services at the family residence were conducted by Dr. Leonard, after which the casket was escorted to the chapel by the officers and students of the college, all of whom wore bands of black crape upon the left arm. After an impressive service, in which an eloquent tribute was paid to Dr. Ballou by Dr. Miner, the body was borne to Mount Auburn Cemetery, where it was laid to rest.
Mrs. Ballou survived her husband nearly fifteen years, dying April 30, 1876. They had seven children, all of whom have joined their parents in the other life.
Dr. Ballou was a splendid example of the possibilities of a self-educated man. With a little more than a common-school education, he made for himself by steady and persevering work a place among the scholars of his day. Endowed no doubt with a wonderful intellect, his greatest successes were largely due to his untiring industry. Many of his contemporaries may have excelled him in brilliancy of scholarship, - probably few in solid attainment and soundness of learning. He ranked among the foremost theologians of his time, and was a strict moralist and rigid disciplinarian; but he had a warm heart and a fund of kindly humor which render
|his memory dear to his surviving friends. Modest and unassuming in his manners, the influence of his character was felt by all who knew him. He was worthy to be called by that most honorable of titles, -a cultured Christian gentleman.|
Published by the Class of 1897. The original contains appendices with a directory of alumni, the college catalog, and the college charter. These were not included in this addition.
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