"the recent attempt of our brethren to revive the Beecher [reference to Henry Ward Beecher] movement and it's overwhelming defeat.
AUSTIN PHELPS (1820-90) HANDWRITTEN LETTER SIGNED, "Very truly yours, Austin Phelps", 5 x 8, 9 pages, April 24, 1877, to Rev. Joshua Wellman, D.D., Andover, Mass.[on the Board of Trustees of Andover Theological Seminary, author, pastor of Eliot church in Newton, MA, and experienced some controversy when he defended Henry Ward Beecher at the Plymouth Church Council], by the American Congregational minister and educator, President of Andover Theological Seminary for 10 years (1869-79) whose writings became standard textbooks for Christian theological education and remain in print today. He is the author of Theory of Preaching (1881), The Still Hour, English Style in Public Discourse (1883). Andover Theological Seminary created the educational model used by almost all Protestant seminaries today and pioneered many training programs for prospective clergy, including field education. Its alumni and alumnae included important abolitionists educators, clergy, and theologians; In this letter Phelps is President of Andover and is updating Board member, Dr. Wellman, on some major educational issues at Andover. In part: "...even if the Board prefer the parallel Course as the ultimate policy of the Seminary they may not still permit Prof Park [Rev. Edwards Amassa Park, Abbott Professor of Christian Theology, Andover Theological Seminary] and myself to finish our work here on the old plan, to which our lectures are adjusted. There would be some advantage in initiating the parallel Course with a new man in the Theological Department...If the Biblical professors are so strenuous in their views of the necessity of the parallel Course...weather this would be wise for the Biblical professors is another question...they have more faith than I have in the worth of compulsory work by students...I hope the Board will not do as they have sometimes done in other cases - refer this matter back to the Faculty...That means a negative to Prof Park & me. We could not ask our younger colleagues to concede to us what we want with any hope of success...but the trouble is that the resent attempt of our brethren to survive the Beecher [reference to Henry Ward Beecher] movement and its overwhelming defeat...no new cause of difference should be thrown into the Faculty for adjustment, it would be only a firebrand...it is the prerogative of the Board to grant or refuse. We want them to settle it...I shall not invite debate. It would be exceedingly unwise...the soreness of feeling over the recent defeat..."Give us Classes of five to ten first class scholars...It would have changed the character of the Seminary from a School for the training of pastors...made a school for the drill of a few first rate scholastics. I could not accede to the proposal...Prof Park...Prof Smyth...Prof Churchill...Prof Taylor...the Board had...a strong reluctance to touch any differences in the Faculty...Prof Mead would vote with his brother & colleague...I was standing for the "old paths" against a revolutionary disaster...I yielded to the adoption of the Parallel Course, as a less evil than the other prospect of scholastic examinations...I am entirely consistent now in saying that the experiment is a failure...it is time for me to look after the welfare of my own department...there is no reason why any department should be protected or favored..." A great content letter, describing the inner working of Andover Theological Seminary, is in fine condition, with minor age toning and the usual mailing folds.