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Archives & Manuscripts

William Smith Collection

 Collection
Identifier: HC.MC-996
This collection contains a handwritten copy of correspondance from William Smith, an Anglican priest and the first Provost of Philadelphia College (later the University of Pennsylvania), to an unnamed acquaintance in England regarding the political history of colonial Pennsylvania and the threat of a French invasion of the colony.

Dates

  • 1755

Creator

Extent

0.083 Linear Feet (1 volume)

Overview

This collection contains a handwritten copy of correspondance from William Smith, an Anglican priest and the first Provost of Philadelphia College (later the University of Pennsylvania), to an unnamed acquaintance in England regarding the political history of colonial Pennsylvania and the threat of a French invasion of the colony. Includes harsh criticism of the Germans residing in Pennsylvania and of the political inaction of the Quaker political elite.

Biographical / Historical

William Smith was born in 1727 in Aberdeen Scotland, the son of Thomas and Elizabeth (née Duncan) Smith. He was awarded a Bachelors and a Masters degree from the University of Aberdeen, and later a Doctor of Divinity from the University of Aberdeen, the University of Oxford, and Trinity College, Dublin. Smith moved to Philadelphia upon the invitation of Benjamin Franklin and Richard Peters, from whom he accepted an offer to teach at Philadelphia College (now the University of Pennsylvania). He held the post of Provost of the college from 1755 to 1759. Smith was active in both the Anglican Church and the political sphere of the city, and published at least two diatrabes against the pacifist political nature of the Quakers, then the political elite, advocating for their disenfranchisement and, in some cases, execution. He was jailed for this criticism in 1758. Smith was especially enraged by the percieved inaction of the Quakers in response to the threat of a French invasion in 1755 and the attacks in the regions surrounding Philadelphia by France's Native American allies. He advocated heavily for the appointing of an Anglican bishop in America. Smith married Rebecca Moore, the daughter of William Moore, in 1758, with whom he had seven children. He died in 1803 in his country estate outside of the city.

Arrangement

This collection is arranged in one series, Handwriten copy of pamphlet.

Processing Information

Processed by Alexandra Stern, completed September 2018.
Title
A Brief State of the Province of Pennsylvania
Author
Alexandra Stern
Date
September, 2018
Description rules
dacs

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