Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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ROGERS, William, clergyman and educator, born in Newport, Rhode Island, 22 July, 1751 ; died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 7 April, . 1824. He was graduated in 1769 at Rhode Island college (now Brown), where he was the first and for several days the only student. He afterward became principal of an academy at Newport, and in 1772-'5 was pastor of the 1st Baptist church in Philadelphia. In April, 1776, he was chosen chaplain to Colonel Samuel Miles's Pennsylvania rifle regiment, and served until June, 1778, when he was made brigade chaplain in the Continental army, retiring from the service in June, 1781. After quitting the army he received calls from three churches, of different denominations, to settle in the ministry. In 1789 he was chosen professor of oratory and English literature in the College of Philadelphia, and in 1792 to the same post in its successor, the University of Pennsylvania, which place he resigned in 1811. He was chosen in 1790 vice-president of the Pennsylvania society for the gradual abolition of slavery, in 1797 vice-president of the Philadelphia society for alleviating the miseries of public prisons, in 1802 one of the correspondents and editors of the London "Evangelical Magazine," in 1805 chaplain to the Philadelphia militia legion, in 1816-'17 to the legislature of Pennsylvania, and in 1819 vice-president of the Religious historical society of Philadelphia. He received the degree of A. M. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1773, Yale in 1780, and Princeton in 1786, and in 1790, from the first named, the degree of D. D. He published "A Circular Letter on Justification" (1785; reprinted in London, 1786); "An Introductory Prayer," at the request of the Pennsylvania society of the Cincinnati (1789) ; "A Sermon on the Death of Reverend Oliver Hart" (1796) ; "An Introductory Prayer, occasioned by the Death of General Washington" (1800) ; "A Circular Letter on Christian Missions"; and various moral, religious, and political articles in newspapers and magazines.
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