Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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PATTON, Robert, patriot, born in Westport, Ireland, in 1755; died in New York city, 3 January, 1814. He was brought to this country when he was seven years of age, and resided in Philadelphia. In October, 1776, he enlisted as a private in the Revolutionary army, was taken prisoner by the British, and confined for some time in New York city. After his liberation he rose to the rank of major and served under Lafayette. He was early a member of the Society of the Cincinnati. In 1789 he was appointed postmaster of Philadelphia, that office then being the most important in the country. He discharged the duties for nearly twenty years, when he resigned and removed to New York city. He was intimate with President Madison, and the latter offered him the postmaster-generalship, but Patton refused the appointment on the ground that he was unwilling to remove his family from a free to a slave community. One of his chief characteristics was his strict integrity. When he was made postmaster he refused to appoint any of his sons to a clerkship, and on his resignation he strictly enjoined them not to apply to be his successor, saying that the office had been long enough in his family, and should now go to another. When war was declared in 1812, and a government loan, which every one prophesied would prove a failure, was placed on the market, he went at an early hour on the first day and subscribed $60,000, asserting that, if his country should be ruined, his property would then be valueless.--His son, Robert Bridges, educator, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 25 September, 1794; died in New York city, 6 May, 1839, was graduated at Yale in 1817, and received the degree of A.B. from Middlebury in 1818, and that of Ph.D. from the University of Gottingen, Germany, in 1821. He was professor of Greek and Latin at Middle-bury college until 1825, and then accepted the same chair at Princeton, but resigned in 1829, to become principal of the Edgehill seminary at Princeton, New Jersey In 1834-'8 he was professor of Greek in the University of the city of New York, and he took high rank as a Greek scholar. He translated Thiersch's "Greek Verbs" from the German (New York, 1830), and revised and edited Donegan's Greek lexicon.--Another son, William, clergyman, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 23 August, 1798; died in New Haven, Connecticut. 9 September, 1879, was graduated at Middlebury in 1818, and, after studying at Princeton theological seminary, was ordained. During twenty-six years of his life he was pastor of churches in New York city. From 1834 till 1837 he was secretary of the American education society. He spent the latter part of his life in New Haven, Connecticut, engaged in literary and ministerial work. He was the first to suggest the idea of the World's evangelical alliance, which he did in a letter to Reverend John Angell James, of England. in 1843. He attended the convention in London in August, 1846, that organized the alliance. He was a founder of the New York union theological seminary, and first proposed its establishment. He made fourteen visits to Europe between 1825 and 1879. He was an earnest opponent of slavery, and for forty years a member of the executive committee of the American home missionary society. His views on the subject of temperance were equally radical. In the pulpit he was characterized not so much by breadth and accuracy of scholarship, finish of style, or elegance of delivery, as by his strong grasp upon his subject, his simplicity, directness, aptness, and freshness. He received the degree of D. D. from the University of the city of New York. Besides editing President Jonathan Edwards's work on "Revivals" and Charles G. Finney's " Lectures on Revivals" (London, 1839), preparing the American editions of "The Cottage Bible." of which over 170,000 copies were sold, and " The Village Testament" (New York, 1833), and assisting in editing "The Christian Psalmist" (1836), he published "The Laws of Fermentation and the Wines of the Ancients" (1871); "The Judgment of Jerusalem , Predicted in Scripture, Fulfilled in History" (London, 1879) ; "Jesus of Nazareth" (1878) ; and" Bible Principles and Bible Characters" (Hartford, 1879). --Robert's grandson, William Weston, clergyman, born in New York city, 19 October, 1821, was graduated at the University of the city of New York in 1839 and at the Union theological seminary in 1842. After taking charge of a Congregational church in Boston, Massachusetts, for three years, he became pastor of one in Hartford, Connecticut, in 1846, and in Chicago, Illinois, in 1857. From 1867 till 1872 he was editor of "The Advance" in that city, and during 1874 he was lecturer on modern skepticism at Oberlin, Ohio, and Chicago theological seminaries, since which time he has been president of Howard university, Washington, D. C., filling the chair of natural theology and evidences of Christianity in its theological department. He took an earnest part in the anti-slavery movement, and was chairman of the committee that presented to President Lincoln, 13 September, 1862, the memorial from Chicago asking him to issue a proclamation of emancipation. He was vice-president of the Northwestern sanitary commission during the civil war, and as such repeatedly visited the eastern and western armies, publishing several pamphlet, reports. In 1886 he went, on behalf of the freedmen, to Europe, where, and in the Orient, he remained nearly a year. He received the degree of D. D. from Asbury (now De Pauw) university, Indiana, in 1864, and that of LL.D. from the University of the city of New York in 1882. He is the author of "The Young Man" (Hartford, 1847; republished as "The Young Man's Friend," Auburn, New York, 1850) ; "Conscience and Law" (New York, 1850);" Slavery and Infidelity" (Cincinnati, 1856); " Spiritual Victory" (Boston, 1874); and '" Prayer and its Remarkable Answers " (Chicago, 1875).
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