Will of Benjamin Thompson
In the name of God, amen.
I, Benjamin Thompson, of Durham, in the county of Strafford, and state of New Hampshire, farmer, being in good health, and of a sound and perfect mind and memory, but, aware of the uncertainty of this life, do make, publish, and declare this my last will and testament, and herein dispose of all my worldly estate in manner following, to wit:
I order and direct my executors, herein named, to pay all my just debts and funeral charges as soon as may be after my decease.
I give, devise, and bequeath all my estate, real, personal, and mixed, of which I may die seized and possessed, wherever situate, to my native state of New Hampshire forever, in trust, subject, however, to the provisos, conditions, and limitations hereinafter mentioned and expressed concerning the same.
The object of this devise being to promote the cause of agriculture by establishing, at the expiration of twenty years from the time of my decease, an agricultural school to be located on my Warner farm, so called, and situated in said Durham, wherein shall be thoroughly taught both in the schoolroom and in the field the theory and practice of that most useful and honorable calling. The said state is to have and to hold the estate above devised upon the express condition that said state shall guarantee a net annual compound interest of five per cent. upon the amount of the appraised value thereof, for the term of twenty years; after which time the whole amount of principal and interest, thus compounded, is to constitute a fund, the principal of which said state shall guarantee forever to preserve, and the net annual income thereof only is to be expended for maintaining and continuing said school and improving said farm and other lands herein devised situate in said Durham.
Believing that said fund will be insufficient to erect the necessary buildings and furnish the same, to stock said farm, procure the needful apparatus, to commence a library, and to, sustain said school usefully and honorably; and believing that such an institution, rightfully conducted and sustained, would confer honor on the whole state, and greatly advance and improve its agriculture, the leading interest of the state; and knowing no better way of arousing the attention of the citizens of said state to the necessity of acquiring such knowledge in this country and in Europe as may be useful for rightly managing said school, I propose and make it a condition of this bequest, that said state of New Hampshire shall raise and appropriate, by law, annually, for the term of twenty years the sum of $8,000, which would be less than one cent a year for each inhabitant of the state; and also upon the further condition that said state shall guarantee a net annual compound interest of five per cent. on the twenty sums of $3,000 each, thus required to be raised; and at the expiration of twenty years from the time of my decease, the principal and interest thus compounded is to constitute a fund, out of which the amount necessary to erect suitable buildings and to furnish the same, to stock said farm, procure apparatus, and commence a library, shall be expended; and the interest of the state fund thus reduced and net annual income of the fund constituted according to the express terms and conditions, of the bequest which I have herein before made, shall be expended under the direction and supervision of said state, for the purpose of maintaining and continuing said school, and improving said farm and all other lands herein devised, situate in said Durham; and as the fund last named is partly composed of my real estate, my meaning is, that the net annual income of all my real estate, herein bequeathed, is also to be expended at the same time, in the same manner, and for the same purpose above set forth.
And it is made a further condition of this bequest that no part of said Warner farm and other lands herein devised, situate in said Durham, shall ever be sold, conveyed, leased, or alienated by said state of New Hampshire, or diverted from the purpose, above set forth, of establishing, endowing, and continuing said state agricultural school.
If the state of New Hampshire does not accept said trust, upon the terms and conditions herein set forth, within two years from the time of my decease, or, accepting the same, shall fail to comply with the terms and conditions thereof; then, and in such case, this devise to said state shall become and be null and void.
If the state of New Hampshire does not accept said trust upon the conditions herein set forth, within two years from the time of my decease, or if the foregoing devise to said state shall become null and void by reason of the failure of said state to comply with the terms and conditions thereof; then, and in such case, I give, devise, and bequeath all of my said estate to the state of Massachusetts, upon the same terms and conditions as herein required of the state of New Hampshire; excepting that, forbidding the sale of my land in Durham and requiring said school to be located in said Durham and limiting the time of accepting said trust to two years from the time of my decease, -the said state of Massachusetts being at liberty to sell all my lands and to locate the school wherever its legislature shall deem it most for the advantage of said state of Massachusetts; and said state of Massachusetts may have four years from the time of my decease, within which to accept said trust upon the terms and conditions herein set forth, thus modified.
If the state which accepts the trust, upon the conditions herein set forth, should desire to establish said school at any time before the expiration of twenty years from the time of my decease, then, and in such case, my will is that said state may thus do: provided said state shall, before using any of either of the funds herein set forth, raise and set apart such sums of money as will make said funds equal in amount to what said funds would become, if accumulated during twenty years according to the terms and conditions herein set forth.
I hope that the citizens of my native town and county and of the county of Rockingham will manifest such liberality as will induce my native state to accept said trust upon the conditions herein set forth.
It might seem presumptuous in me to attempt to devise any plan for the ordering and management of such an institution as is contemplated by this will, and which will probably go into operation at a time so remote, when, doubtless, there will be great advancement in the knowledge of agriculture, so I leave this duty to the wisdom of the state through its legislature, only claiming to make the suggestions following:
Morality, order, industry, and economy should be constantly taught and practiced by all the teachers and by all the scholars.
Teachers, scholars, and laborers should be required to meet each morning in the chapel for the reading of the Scriptures and for prayer.
No scholar should be admitted to the school under sixteen years of age.
Every scholar should be required to labor on the land four hours of each working day when practicable.
Horticulture should receive its due share of attention.
The chemistry of agriculture and physiology, and other sciences so far as they are connected with agriculture, should be taught; but no professor should be selected unless he is also distinguished for his knowledge of scientific and practical agriculture.
The theories taught should, as far as practicable, be tested by experiments on the farm, and all experiments, together with the cost and results thereof, should be published, and sold to the citizens of the state and of the United States at the cost of publication.
There should be one vacation each year, from December first to April first.
I would also suggest the propriety of applying to the congress of the United States for a grant of land in aid of this object, and in other ways to seek contributions to promote the usefulness and extend the advantages of said school. And I believe, that when the vast benefit to be derived from such teaching shall be practically demonstrated, similar schools will be multiplied in every state of this great confederacy; their unbounded agricultural resources will be developed; the national wealth and power increased; the happiness of man, the honor of God, and the love of Christ promoted; and the way be in some degree prepared for the time when "He shall judge the nations, and shall rebuke many people; and they shall beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning-hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more."
Lastly, I do hereby nominate and appoint William P. Frost and Stephen Demerritt of said Durham, and John S. Woodman and Henry W. Pickering of the city of Boston and state of Massachusetts, executors of this my last will and testament, hereby revoking all former wills by me made.
In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this twelfth day of February, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and fifty-six.
Signed, sealed, published, and declared
by the said Benjamin Thompson,
as and for his last will and testament
in presence of us who, at his
request, in his presence and in the
presence of each other, have subscribed
our names as witnesses thereto.
J. A. RICHARDSON.
J. B. SMITH.
JOS. W. COE.
Whereas, I, Benjamin Thompson, of the town of Durham in the state of New Hampshire, having made and duly executed my last will and testament in writing, and bearing date the twelfth (12th) day of February, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and fifty-six,
And whereas, since the date of my said will, the congress of the United States having passed an act making a grant of lands to the various states of the Union to endow colleges for the benefit of agriculture and the mechanic arts, entitled, An Act donating lands to the several states and territories which may provide colleges for the benefit of agriculture and the mechanic arts, approved July 2d, 1862,
And whereas, the said act provides a fund for the same purpose in part as does my said last will and testament, and my desire is to add to and increase said fund for the purposes named,
Now, therefore, I do hereby declare this present writing to be as a codicil to my said will, and direct the same to be annexed thereto, and be taken as a part thereof.
My object being mainly to promote the improvement of agriculture, though willing that the college to be established should also provide for the mechanic arts, it is my will that the institution to be established by the state which shall by due acceptance of the terms upon which my bequest is made and agreement therewith shall be called and designated College of Agriculture and the Mechanic Arts, with the name of the state which shall become entitled under my said will to the property bequeathed therein prefixed, as for instance, the New Hampshire College of Agriculture and the Mechanic Arts, if that shall be the wish of the state, and that in addition to the instruction to be given therein as provided in my said will, there shall be taught only such other arts or science as may be necessary to enable said state to fully avail itself of said donation of lands by the government in good faith. Which two branches of instruction shall be the leading objects of said institution or college.
If both the said states named in my will shall fail to accept my bequest within the time limited therein, then, and in that case, I give, devise and bequeath all my said estate to the state of Michigan, upon the same trusts, terms, and conditions as I have in my will required of the state of Massachusetts, and I give to my executors authority in the meantime to enter upon, and take charge of, and have the care of my estate, and to bold and preserve the same until one or the other of the said states shall have accepted the terms of this will and become entitled to the bequests herein made.
And it shall be the duty of my executors herein named, whenever this will shall become operative, to communicate the same to the governors of New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Michigan, in the order in which each shall become entitled to accept the said terms and bequests, and as soon as each shall be so entitled by the terms hereof. And I authorize and direct my said executors, and give them full power to make, and enter into such stipulations, and require such guarantees of the state, which shall accept, as will secure the objects which are intended to be secured by my said will and this codicil, before my said estate shall be turned over to and become the property of said state.
I hereby modify the bequest made in my said will so far as the following legacies are concerned, which will be and are hereby reserved from the said general bequest of my estate, viz., I give twelve (12) shares in the Boston and Maine Railroad Company to the Congregational society in Durham, in trust, and upon the condition that the said shares shall forever be kept as a fund by said society and the annual income thereof be used for the improvement of sacred music in said society. I also give ten (10) shares in the Suffolk National Bank, Boston, to Lucetta M. Davis, my housekeeper, as a testimonial of my respect and esteem for her character, and of the consideration in which I hold her services in my house, and in case the said Lucetta M. Davis continues to be my housekeeper at the time of my decease, then, and in that case, I give to the said Lucetta M. Davis in addition thereto ten (10) shares more in the same bank. I give also one hundred dollars to Asa A. Tufts, cashier of the Strafford National Bank, Dover, as a slight testimonial of my regard and esteem. I give two hundred dollars to Benjamin D. Hill, of Durham, N. H.
I annul the appointment of executors heretofore named, and all former codicils, and appoint the following named persons to be the executors of my said will, with the usual authority as such. viz., James F. Joy, of Detroit, Michigan, and Joshua B. Smith, of Durham, New Hampshire.
In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this twenty-first day of March, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and seventy-four.
Signed, sealed, published and declared
by the said Benjamin Thompson as a
codicil to his his last will and testament,
in presence of us who at his request,
in his presence and in presence of each
other, have subscribed our names as witnesses thereto.
WILLIAM P. SYLVESTER.
FRANK A. J. SYLVESTER.
Having required in my will that the state, which should become entitled to the bequest therein made, should guarantee a net annual compound interest of five (5) per cent upon the appraised value of my Warner farm, so called, and all my other lands and buildings situated in Durham, and mentioned in my said will and testament, for the term of twenty (20) years after my decease, as one of the conditions upon which it should become entitled, and being doubtful whether this condition may not constitute an obstacle in the way of the acceptance of my said bequests by my native state, and possibly the others in succession, therefore, it is my declared will that it shall be competent for my executors, named in and by my said will or any codicil thereto, to waive the said condition in case that shall be the sole obstacle in the acceptance of the said bequests, but with the hope that the waiver of said condition may not be found necessary, and with the declared will that it shall stand as a condition unless by them waived for the purpose of carrying into effect the object and purpose of my said last will and testament.
In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this fifteenth day of March, A. D. 1875.
Signed, sealed, published and declared
by the said Benj'n Thompson as a second
codicil to his, last will and testament,
in presence of us who at his request in
his presence and in presence of each other,
have subscribed our names as witnesses thereto.
JAMES F. GRIFFIN.
I, Benjamin Thompson, do make this the third codicil to become a part of my last will and testament, in view of the lower rates of interest which now prevail than at the time my said will and former codicils were made, and do provide and declare that the rate of interest, provided in my said will to be compounded for twenty years, shall be reduced to four per cent., compounded for the same length of time, in case my bequests and the terms of my said will shall be accepted and complied with by either of my legatees.
And I further waive, in favor of my native state of New Hampshire, all the interest on the valuation of my real estate situated in the town of Durham, in case it shall accept the bequests made in my said will and upon the terms made in it and the codicils.
In addition to the bequests made in my will and former codicils to my housekeeper, L. M. Davis, I give and bequeath to her all my household furniture and wearing apparel, which I value at about a thousand dollars, as a testimony both of my regard and of my appreciation of her long and faithful services.
I hereby substitute and appoint as one of the executors of my said will instead of J. B. Smith, whose appointment I revoke and annul, John W. E. Thompson, to act as such with J. F. Joy, giving them all the usual authority in such cases as if they had been named originally in my said will as the executors thereof.
In witness whereof I have hereunto set my band and seal this twenty-first day of January, A. D. 1882.
Signed, sealed, published and declared
by the said Benjamin Thompson as a codicil
to his last will and testament, in presence
of us who at his request, in his presence
and in presence of each other, have subscribed
our names as witnesses thereto.
JASPER R. McDANIEL.