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Francis Wayland

francis wayland, francis wayland parker
Francis Wayland March 11, 1796 – September 30, 1865, American Baptist educator and economist, was born in New York City, New York He was president of Brown University and pastor of the First Baptist Church in America in Providence, Rhode Island In Washington, DC, Wayland Seminary was established in 1867, primarily to educate former slaves, and was named in his honor In 1899, Wayland Seminary merged with another school to become the current Virginia Union University, at Richmond, Virginia


  • 1 Early Life and Family
  • 2 Brown Presidency
  • 3 Role in the development of public libraries
  • 4 Published work
  • 5 Legacy
  • 6 Prominent son
  • 7 References
  • 8 External links

Early Life and Familyedit

Francis Wayland's father was an Englishman of the same name, who was also a Baptist pastor Born in New York City in 1796, Wayland graduated from Union College in 1813 and studied medicine in Troy, under Dr Ely Burritt Dr Burritt, a son of the Rev Blackleach Burritt, graduated from Williams College, class of 1800 and was licensed to practice medicine at Troy, New York, on March 29, 1802, and quickly gained recognition for his medical skills Dr Wayland said the following about his former teacher: "Dr Ely Burritt was a man of remarkable logical powers of enthusiastic love of his profession, and of great and deserved confidence in his own judgment He stood at the head of his profession in Troy, and in the neighboring region, and was a person of high moral character" Dr Wayland also studied medicine in New York City, but in 1816 entered Andover Theological Seminary, where he was greatly influenced by Moses Stuart He was too poor to conclude his course in theology, and in 1817-1821 was a tutor at Union College, to which, after five years as pastor of the First Baptist Church of Boston, he returned in 1826 as professor of natural philosophy

He was one of the founders of Newton Theological Institution in 18251

He was an early advocate of the temperance and anti-slavery causes, for many years was "inspector of the state prison and Providence county jail," president of the Prison Discipline Society, and active in prison reform and local charities He was one of the "law and order" leaders during the "Dorr Rebellion" of 1842, and was called "the first citizen of Rhode Island"

One of the individuals that he supported, trained and encouraged was Leonard Black, author of The Life and Sufferings of Leonard Black, a Fugitive from Slavery who became a Baptist minister2

Wayland worked hard to prevent the local Baptist denominations from splitting into pro-slavery and anti-slavery factions, but ultimately failed in this attempt3

Wayland was elected a member of the American Antiquarian Society in 18514

Brown Presidencyedit

In 1827 he became president of Brown University In the twenty-eight years of his administration he gradually built up the college, improving academic discipline, formed a library and gave scientific studies a more prominent place He also worked for higher educational ideals outside the college, writing text-books on ethics and economics, and promoting the free school system of Rhode Island and especially 1828 of Providence His Thoughts on the Present Collegiate System in the United States 1842 and his Report to the Corporation of Brown University of 1850 pointed the way to educational reforms, particularly the introduction of industrial courses, which were only partially adopted in his lifetime

Wayland's attempts to reform Brown's medical school were met with antagonism and resistance from the school's faculty and staff to the point where they resigned, and the medical program was eliminated3

Wayland was vividly remembered by members of the Brown community, including Charles T Congdon and James B Angell, who are quoted in the Encyclopedia Brunoniana1

Charles T Congdon wrote in his Reminiscences:

He was disobeyed with fear and trembling, and the boldest did not care to encounter his frown He was majestic in manner, and could assume, if he pleased, a Rhadamanthine severity It was a calamity to be called into that awful presence; and no student, of whatever character, ever made the least pretence of not being frightened at the summons However loosely our tongues might wag, we thoroughly respected and even reverenced the president; and upon public occasions, when he put on his academic gown and cap, we were rather proud of his imposing appearance In his later days, I have been told he exhibited marked urbanity and sweetness of disposition Certainly there were small traces of either when any undergraduate was detected in an act of meanness or a flagrant violation of the university statutes He had a heavy foot for a student’s door when it was not promptly opened after his official knock

President of the University of Michigan James B Angell Class of 1849, who wrote in Memories of Brown:

The discipline of the college was wholly in his hands In administering it he was stern, at times imperious But no graduate of his time ever failed to gain from him higher ideals of duty or lasting impulses to a noble and strenuous life He said so many wise things to us and uttered them in so pithy and sententious a style that one could never forget them I presume that my experience is like that of others, when I say that hardly a week of my life has passed in which I have not recalled some of his apt sayings and to my great advantage Is there any better proof than that of the power of a teacher over his pupils

He resigned the presidency of Brown in 1855, and served from 1857 to 1858 as pastor of the historic First Baptist Church in America, in Providence

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Role in the development of public librariesedit

Wayland was a long time vocal advocate for libraries His donation to the town of Wayland, Massachusetts, in 1851 for the establishment of a public library was the catalyst for legislation in Massachusetts allowing towns to establish libraries

Published workedit

Besides several volumes of sermons and addresses and the volumes already mentioned, he published:

  • Elements of Moral Science 1835, repeatedly revised and translated into foreign languages
  • Elements of Political Economy 1837, in which he advocated free trade
  • The Limitations of Human Responsibility 1838
  • Domestic Slavery Considered as a Scriptural Institution 1845 a debate with Rev Richard Fuller of South Carolina
  • Memoirs of Harriet Ware 1850
  • Memoirs of Adoniram Judson 1853
  • Elements of Intellectual Philosophy 1854
  • Notes on the Principles and Practices of Baptist Churches 1857
  • Letters on the Ministry of the Gospel 1863
  • a brief Memoir of Thomas Chalmers 186456


The town of Wayland, Massachusetts was named in his honor Wayland Seminary in Washington DC, a predecessor of Virginia Union University was named for him The Wayland Day lectures at Keio University in Tokyo, Japan, were named in honor of Wayland, whose writings had a lasting effect on the founder of the oldest university in Japan6

Prominent sonedit

His son Francis Wayland III 1826-1904 was lieutenant-governor of Connecticut from 1869-1870, and became a professor and Dean of the Yale Law School


  1. ^ Hovey, Alvah, Historical Address Delivered at the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Newton Theological Institution, June 8, 1875 Boston, 1875, p 9
  2. ^ The Life and Sufferings of Leonard Black, a Fugitive from Slavery Written by Himself New Bedford: Benjamin Lindsey, 1847
  3. ^ a b McLoughlin, William G 1986 Rhode Island: A History New York: WW Norton & Company p 144 ISBN 0393302717  |access-date= requires |url= help
  4. ^ American Antiquarian Society Members Directory
  5. ^ The Life and Labors of Francis Wayland 2 vols, New York, 1867 by his sons Francis and Heman Lincoln; the shorter sketch Boston, 1891 by James O Murray in the "American Religious Leaders" series; and an article by GC Verplanck in vol xiv of the American Journal of Education
  6. ^ a b "BAPTIST BROWN AND NINETEENTH CENTURY EDUCATION" Exhibits @ Brown University Library Brown University Retrieved 12 May 2012 
  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed 1911 "Wayland, Francis" Encyclopædia Britannica 28 11th ed Cambridge University Press 

External linksedit

  • United States portal
  • New York City portal
  • New York portal
  • Rhode Island portal
  • Francis Wayland at Find a Grave
  • "Francis Wayland: Preacher-Economist" by Laurence Vance Misesorg 8 February 2007
  • Francis Wayland, The Elements of Moral Science, 1835, 1856 ed
  • Francis Wayland, The elements of political economy , 1837
  • Wayland, Francis Encyclopedia Brunoniana
Academic offices
Preceded by
Asa Messer
President of Brown University
Succeeded by
Barnas Sears

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