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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EWING, John, educator, born in Nottingham, Maryland, 22 June 1732; died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 8 September 1802. His ancestors emigrated from Ireland and settled in Pennsylvania. After attending the academy of Dr. Francis Alison in New London, he entered Princeton, where he was graduated in 1754, and served as tutor in 1756. He then studied theology with Dr. Alison, and was licensed by the presbytery of Newcastle. While employed in instructing the philosophical classes in the College of Philadelphia., during the absence of its provost, in 1759, he was called to the 1st Presbyterian Church of that City. He was commissioned in 1773 to solicit contributions in Great Britain for the support of the academy of Newark, in Delaware, and was successful. He had frequent interviews with the prime minister, Lord North, and Dr. Johnson. The last affirmed that the Americans were as ignorant as they were rebellious, and said, "You never read. You have no books there." '" Pardon me," was the reply, "we have read the 'Rambler.'"
In 1775 he returned from Europe, and from 1779 till his death held, in conjunction with his pastorate, the office of provost of the University of Pennsylvania. He was a thorough mathematician and scientist, and assisted Rittenhouse in surveying the boundaries of several states. The University of Edinburgh gave him the degree of D.D. in 1773. He was vice president of the American philosophical society, and made several contributions to its "Transactions," among which was an "Account of the Transit of Venus over the Sun." His collegiate lectures on natural philosophy, and a biography by Rev. R. Patterson, were published after his death (2 vols., 1809), and also a volume of his sermons, with a memoir (Philadelphia, 1812).
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