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Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1887-1889 and 1999. Virtualology.com warns that these 19th Century biographies contain errors and bias. We rely on volunteers to edit the historic biographies on a continual basis. If you would like to edit this biography please submit a rewritten biography in text form . If acceptable, the new biography will be published above the 19th Century Appleton's Cyclopedia Biography citing the volunteer editor





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George Ripley

RIPLEY, George, scholar, born in Greenfield, Massachusetts, 3 October, 1802; died in New York city, 4 July, 1880. He was the youngest but one of ten children, four boys and six girls, all of whom he survived. His father, Jerome Ripley, was a merchant, a justice of the peace for nearly half a century, a representative in the legislature, and one of the justices of the court of sessions. His mother was a formal, precise, stately, but kind-hearted woman, a connection of Benjamin Franklin. She was orthodox in religion, and her husband was a Unitarian, which accounts for the singular mingling of conservative feeling with radical tendencies in their child. George loved to hear the old tunes at Brook Farm, and always had on his table a copy of Dr. Watts's hymns, even when he was writing philosophical articles for the "' Tribune," and worshipping in New York with ant independent society of the most liberal type. He was graduated at Harvard in 1823, the first scholar in a class that in-eluded men of some intellectual distinction, His only rival was John P. Robinson, who might have outstripped him, but was suspended for the part he took in a " rebellion," and so lost his degree. At Cambridge young Ripley was known as an excellent scholar, especially in languages and literature. He was also proficient in mathematics, which he taught for some time at the college while he was studying theology Three years were spent at, the divinity-school, and on 8 November, 1826, he was ordained pastor of a new religious society in Boston, President Kirkland, of Harvard, preaching the sermon, Dr Charles Lowell offering the prayer of ordination, and Dr. Henry Ware, Jr., giving the charge. The corner-stone of the new meeting-house, at the junction of Purchase and Pearl streets, was laid on 7 September, 1825, and the dedication took place on 24 August, 1826. In the same year Mr. Ripley married Sophia Willard Dana, daughter of Francis Dana, of Cambridge. He was devoted to his work, and it was not his fault that his ministry was unsuccessful in a material point of view. The population moved to other parts of the town, and in less than twenty-five years the building was sold to the Roman Catholics. The fire of 1872 swept it out of existence. Business occupied the spot, and every trace of it was lost. At this time Mr. Ripley was a student of philosophical questions, a disciple of the intuitional school, a theoretical sympathizer wit, h reformers, and a warm friend of advanced opinions. The first meeting of the Transcendental club was at his house, on 19 September, 1886. His library was large and fine, especially rich in German anti French books. He wrote articles on "Degerando," "Religion in France," " Pestalozzi," " Ethical Philosophy," and "Martineau's ' Rationale of Religious Inquiry, '" thus going over the whole ground of philosophical speculation. In 1888 Ralph Waldo Emerson delivered his famous address before the alumni of the divinity-school which led to the eon-troversy between the old and the new orders of thought, Andrews Norton speaking for the former, George Ripley for the other. In 1838 appeared the first two volumes of the " Foreign Standard Literature." a series that extended to fourteen. This publication exerted a large influence on the educated mind of New England, and the opening volumes, entitled " Philosophical Miscellanies," were republished in 1857 in Edinburgh. In 1840 the " Dial" was established, in conjunction with Mt. Emerson and Margaret Fuller, who conducted it after his short editorship was closed. He wrote but two papers, one on "Orestes A. Brownson" and one a "Letter to a Theological Student." The Brook Farm experiment, begun immediately on his leaving the pulpit, in the spring of 1841, was a practical continuation of the ministry, its transferrence from the speculative to the working domain, the literal interpretation of the New Testament, as Mr. Ripley understood it, a reduction of his preaching to practice, the fulfilment of a dream that Dr. Channing had long entertained, of "an association in which the members, instead of preying on one another and seeking to put one another dozen, after the fashion of this world, should live together as brothers, seeking one another's elevation and spiritual growth." The name of the community was "The Brook Farm Institute of Agriculture and Education," and its aim was to establish an agricultural, literary, and scientific school or college, "in order to live a religious and moral life worthy the name." A stock company was formed, and a farm and utensils were purchased. The best minds were attracted, and the plan at first seemed full of promise. The freedom from care, the spontaneousness of labor, the absence of all signs of toil and anxiety, the sense of equality in condition, and the abolition of all class distinctions, made work a delight. There was exhilaration, joy, gayety. The new earth had come. Wealth was nothing, fame was nothing; natural development was all. Nr. Ripley was over, in, and through the whole. He taught intellectual and moral philosophy and mathematics, administered, wrote letters, milked cows, drove oxen, talked, lent a cheerful temper to every part of the arrangement, animate

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