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MANASSEH CUTLER (1742-1823)

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Originally appearing in Volume V07, Page 671 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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MANASSEH CUTLER (1742-1823), American clergyman, was born in Killingly, Connecticut, on the 13th of May 1742. He graduated at Yale College in 1765, and after being a school teacher and a merchant, and occasionally appearing in the courts as a lawyer, he decided to enter the ministry, and from 1771 until his death was pastor of the Congregational church at what is now Hamilton, but until 1793 was a parish of Ipswich, Massachusetts. During the War of Independence he was for several months in 1776 chaplain to the regiment of Colonel Ebenezer Francis, raised for the defence of Boston; and in 1778, as chaplain to the brigade of General Jonathan Titcomb (1728-1817), he took part in General John Sullivan's expedition to Rhode Island. Soon after his return from this expedition he fitted himself for the practice of medicine, in order to supplement the scanty income of a minister, and in 1782 he established a private boarding school, which he conducted for about a quarter of a century. In 1786 he became interested in the settlement of western lands, and in the following year, as agent of the Ohio Company (q.v.), which he had taken a prominent part in organizing, he made a contract with Congress, whereby his associates, former soldiers in the War of Independence, might purchase, with the certificates of indebtedness issued to them by the government for their services, '1,5oo,000 acres of land in the region north of the Ohio at the mouth of the Muskingumriver. He also took a leading part in drafting the famous Ordinance of 1787 for the government of the Northwest Territory, the instrument as it was finally presented to Congress by Nathan Dane (1752-1835), a Massachusetts delegate, probably being largely Cutler's work. From 18o1 to 18o5 he was a Federalist representative in Congress. He died at Hamilton, Massachusetts, on the 28th of July 1823. A versatile man, Cutler was one of the early members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and besides being proficient in the theology, law and medicine of his day, conducted painstaking astronomical and meteorological investigations, and was one of the first Americans to make researches of a real scientific value in botany. In 1789 the degree of doctor of laws was conferred upon him by Yale. See William P. and Julia P. Cutler, The Life, Journals, and Correspondence of Manasseh Cutler (2 vols., Cincinnati, 1888) ; and an article, " The Ordinance of 1787 and Dr Manasseh Cutler," by W. F. Poole, in vol. 122 of the North American Review.
End of Article: MANASSEH CUTLER (1742-1823)
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