Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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RICE, Luther, philanthropist, born in North-borough, Massachusetts, 25 March, 1783; died in Edgefield district, South Carolina, 25 September, 1836. He spent three years at Leicester academy, paying his expenses by his own exertions. While he was at Williams college, which he entered in 1807, he became deep-lv interested in the subject of foreign missions. Through his instrumentality a society of inquiry on this subject was formed, a branch of which was organized about the same time at Andover seminary. At this seminary, where he became a student, he engaged with Judson, Mills, Newell, and others in preparing a memorial to the General association of evangelical ministers in Massachusetts, urging the claims of the heathen upon their attention. The result of their efforts was the formation of the American board of commissioners for foreign missions. Rice was not appointed with the first company of missionaries by the board, but, being intent upon going, was allowed to do so on condition that he should raise the money for his outfit and passage. This he did in a few days. He was ordained as a Congregational minister in Salem, Massachusetts, 6 February, 1812, and sailed for India on the 18th in the packet " Harmony." Shortly after his arrival in India he united with the Baptists. His associates, Adoniram Judson and his wife, had done the same thing a few weeks earlier. On account of opposition on the part of the English authorities, Mr. Rice sailed for the Isle of France, and thence for the United States, to adjust his relations with the American board. Reaching New York, 7 September, 1813, he went at once to Boston. His relations with the board were quickly dissolved, and he turned to the Baptist denomination, with which he now identified himself. Being commissioned as an agent by a company of Baptists in Boston, he traversed the country, stirring the Baptist churches to take up the cause of foreign missions. Partly as a result of his efforts, delegates met in Philadelphia in May, 1814, and organized the general convention of the Baptist denomination in the United States for foreign missions. With his missionary zeal Mr. Rice united an eager interest in the cause of ministerial education. Mainly through his influence and efforts an institution of learning was established in Washington, D. C., which is now known as Columbian university. He was for several years its agent and treasurer, while serving at the same time as missionary agent. He sacrificed his life in seeking to promote the welfare of the college that he had founded. In 1815 he was elected to the presidency of Transylvania university, Lexington, Kentucky, but he declined this call, as well as a similar one to Georgetown college, Kentucky Mr. Rice was a preacher of great power. He left no published works, but few men have exerted upon the Baptist denomination a wider and more lasting influence.
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