Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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GLASS, Francis, classical scholar, born in Londonderry, Ireland, in 1790; died in Dayton, Ohio, in 1825. He was educated in Philadelphia, and spent the earlier part, of his life in that City and its vicinity, engaged in literary pursuits. In 1817 or 1818 he left Pennsylvania for the west, and settled in the Miami country, where he taught for several years in various places. In the summer of 1823, James M. Reynolds, then a member of the Ohio University, having occasion for the services of a tutor, sought out Mr. Glass, whom he found at the head of a country school in Warren County. In a little log" school-house, furnished with desks and benches of rough plank over which the plane had never passed, this accomplished scholar was imparting the rudiments of an English education to a few children of the neighboring farmers, and giving a higher training to half a dozen youths who had joined his school for the benefit of his instruction in the Greek and Latin languages. Mr. Reynolds speaks in the highest terms of his learning and his love of the classics. "The mind," he says, "was with him measured by the amount of classical acquirements. He was not deficient in mathematics and other branches of useful science, but they were only matters of mere utility and not of affection." "He was delicately formed in mind and body, and shrunk from all coarseness as a sensitive plant from the rude touch. A cold or unfeeling word seemed to palsy every current of his soul and every power of his mind; but when addressed in gentle, confiding tones, he was easy, communicative, and full of light and life. At such hours he poured out a stream of classical knowledge as clear, sparkling, and copious as ever flowed from the fountain of inspiration in the early days of the Muses." Mr. Reynolds had been with Glass for about three months when the latter communicated to him his long-cherished plan of writing the life of Washington in Latin for the use of schools. There seemed little prospect, however, of his accomplishing it. In feeble health, in extreme poverty, and borne down by the daily drudgery of his school, he feared that he might die before he had begun the work. Arrangements were made by Mr. Reynolds for his relief, and he removed to Dayton, where, in the winter of 1824, he began his book mid finished it in a year. He did not live, however, to learn that his work had been approved by some of the ripest scholars of the country. He died shortly afterward, intrusting his manuscript to Mr. Reynolds, by whom it was published in 1835. It was highly commended by such competent judges as Professors Anthon. Maclean, and Alexander, and Presidents Wylie, Duer, and Fisk. It was used as a text-book for some time in the grammar-school of Columbia College, and might have won its way into general acceptation but for the fact that the stereotyped plates were destroyed in a fire, and the book was never reprinted. The fatality which pursued poor Glass through life seemed to follow him after death. "Washingtonii Vita" has now become a literary curiosity. On the title-page appeared a selection in Latin purporting to be from the fragments of Cicero, prophesying the future appearance and deeds of Washington. It is said that scholars investigated the fragments of Cicero without success; and their bewilderment was only relieved when Professor Anthon acknowledged that he had written the passage himself.
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