1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Princeton (New Jersey)

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PRINCETON, a borough of Mercer county, New Jersey, on Stony Brook, and the Delaware & Raritan canal, 49 m. S.W. of New York City. Pop. (1905) 6029; (1910) 5136. Princeton is served by the Pennsylvania railroad, and by two electric lines to Trenton (10 m.), passing through Lawrenceville (in Lawrence township; until 1816 called Maidenhead; pop., 2522 in 1910), the seat of the Lawrenceville school (1882), for boys, which was endowed by the residuary legatees of John Cleve Green (1800-1875), and is probably the first endowed secondary school for boys in the Middle States.

Princeton is situated 210 ft. above sea-level, and the county to the east, north and west is rocky and hilly. The borough is the seat of Princeton University (q.v.), and of “The Theological Seminary of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America,” commonly known as Princeton Theological Seminary, which was opened in 1812, and was chartered in 1824. The seminary was for one year under the sole care of Archibald Alexander (q.v.), and among its teachers and representative theologians have been Samuel Miller (1769-1850), who was professor of ecclesiastical history and church government here (1813-1849), Charles Hodge, Joseph Addison Alexander and James Waddel Alexander, William Henry Green, Archibald Alexander Hodge, Francis L.Patton,who became president in 1902 and Benjamin B. Warfield (b. 1851), professor of didactic and polemic theology from 1887. Under such leaders Princeton theology has been distinctly conservative, supporting the old standards of the Westminster Confession and Catechisms. The seminary is well endowed, so that there is no charge for tuition or room rent; among its principal benefactors were James Lenox (1800-1880), Robert Leighton Stuart (1806-1882), his widow and his brother Alexander (1810-1879), John Cleve Green, mentioned above, and Mrs Mary J. Winthrop (d. 1902). It has a fine campus south-west of the business centre of the borough; in the Lenox Library and the Lenox Reference Library, built in 1843 and 1879 respectively, and gifts of James Lenox, there were 82,200 bound volumes and 31,500 pamphlets in 1909; Stuart Hall (1876) contains lecture-rooms; Miller Chapel is the place of worship; and the three dormitories are Alexander Hall (the “Old Seminary”), first used for this purpose in 1817, Brown Hall, built in 1864-1865, and Hodge Hall (1893). In 1908-1909 the faculty numbered 16 and the students 153, of whom 8 were fellows and 17 graduate students.

Princeton became in 1897 the home of Grover Cleveland, who died there; and from 1898 until his death it was the residence of Laurence Hutton (1843-1904), a well-known writer on the history of the stage. Besides its fine residences and buildings of the seminary and of the university, the only notable buildings are the handsome Princeton Inn, about midway between the campus of the university and that of the seminary, and “Morven,” the homestead of the Stocktons, built in the first decade of the 18th century. In the Princeton Cemetery are buried presidents and professors of the university.

The first settlers were the companions of Richard Stockton, the grandfather of Richard Stockton, signer of the Declaration of Independence. The removal hither in 1756 from Newark of the College of New Jersey, later Princeton University, gave the place its first educational prominence. At the time of the War of Independence town and gown were both strongly patriotic. The first state legislature of New Jersey met here on the 27th of August 1776; and in Nassau Hall, the first of the college buildings, erected in 1754-1756, which was then the largest edifice in the colonies, the Continental Congress sat from the 30th of June to the 4th of November 1873, and on the 31st of October Congress received the news of the signature of the definitive treaty of peace with Great Britain. After the battle of Trenton Cornwallis's troops were hurried to that place, three regiments and three companies of light-horse being left at Princeton when the main body, on the 2nd of January 1777, passed through. Washington, unable to retreat or to meet the British attack, turned Cornwallis's left flank and advanced on the weak British garrison in Princeton. A detachment under General Hugh Mercer (c. 1720-1777), ordered to destroy the Stony Brook bridge, and so cut off escape to Trenton, met two of the three regiments, led by Lieut.-Colonel Charles Mawhood, near the bridge, and, though doing great execution with its rifles at a distance, was unable, being unequipped with bayonets, to hold its ground in hand-to-hand fighting, and fled through an orchard, leaving Mercer there mortally wounded; he died on the 12th in a farmhouse (still standing) on the battlefield. Washington's main army now came to the assistance of the retreating Americans, and forced the retreat of the other British regiments (the 55th and 40th) to Princeton, where they either surrendered or fled towards New Brunswick. The British losses were heavy and the Americans lost many officers. The bridge was destroyed by the American troops just before the approach of General Alexander Leslie (c. 1740-1794) with reinforcements from Cornwallis. Washington's flank movement at Trenton and his engagement with the British at Princeton made necessary the withdrawal of the British from West Jersey. In the autumn of 1783 Washington, summoned to Princeton by Congress, then in session there, made his headquarters at Rocky Hill, about 4 m. north of Princeton in Montgomery township, Somerset county, whence on the 2nd of November he issued his farewell address to the army; his headquarters is preserved as a museum. A battle monument in Princeton, designed by MacMonnies and paid for by the Federal Congress, the state of New Jersey and the borough of Princeton, has been projected.

See J. R. Williams, Handbook of Princeton (New York, 1905); J. F. Hageman, History of Princeton and its Institutions (2 vols., Philadelphia, 1879); W. S. Stryker, The Battles of Trenton and Princeton (Boston, 1898); and V. L. Collins, The Continental Congress at Princeton (Princeton, 1908).