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NATHANIEL APPLETON HAVEN was born in Portsmouth, New-Hampshire, on the fourteenth of January, seventeen hundred and ninety. His father, who was graduated at Harvard College in 1779, was, for several years, a physi cian, and afterwards a merchant; but, amidst many cares and labors, always found time to serve his friends and country, and, at an anxious period, represented New-Hampshire in the Congress of the United States, maintaining there, under trying and difficult circumstances, an upright and disinterested character. The paternal grandfather of Mr. Haven was the Rev. Dr. Samuel Haven, who died in 1806, having been fifty-four years a faithful pastor of the South Church in Portsmouth, and having, with very small means, educated, in the best way the country would afford, a singularly large family, which has, in consequence of it, exerted an important influence on society ever since.
The first wife of Mr. Haven's grandfather was Miss Appleton, daughter of the Rev. Dr. Nathaniel Appleton of Cambridge, who died in 1784, having been above sixty-six years pastor of the church with which Harvard College was then connected, and having maintained, during that long period, a consideration never granted to talents alone. Mr. Haven's father was educated by Dr. Appleton, and bore
his name, which he again gave to his only son, the subject of this memoir, transmitting to him, at the same time, not a little of what was most wise and valuable in the patriarchal spirit of his ancestors, one of whom was thus permitted to exert, far into the nineteenth century, the influences of a character formed amidst the stern and self-denying discipline of the seventeenth.
These were the paternal ancestors of Mr. Haven. His mother, whose original name was Mary Tufton Moffat, was descended from John Tufton Mason, the well known grantee of a large portion of the state of New-Hampshire. She was adopted and educated by her uncle General William Whipple, one of the persons, who signed the declaration of Independence of the United States; and, from his family, she was, in 1786, married to the father of Mr. Haven. Mr. Haven, therefore, descended alike from the Puritan clergy and the adventurous settlers of the country, was born under those circumstances, which, in a community like ours, are most favorable to the developement of wise and useful talent.
The early youth of Mr. Haven is not remembered to have been marked by any indications of a strong character. On the contrary, until he was three years old, his general appearance was so unobtrusive, and he took so little interest in the plays and occupations of childhood, that some of his family, and particularly his venerable grandfather, feared he might prove deficient in understanding. But soon after this, a marked change appeared. He learned to read more easily than is common to children; showed great docility and sometimes eagerness in the pursuit of knowledge suited to his years; and very soon gave proofs and instances of self-government, which afterwards became a habit with him, and proved, at last, one of the most remarkable features in his character.
The first ten years of his life were spent at home, under the personal instructions of his father. He grew up, an af fectionate and promising child, with a strong tendency to intellectual pursuits, but with feeble health and a delicate constitution. In 1800, when he was ten years old, having already begun his Latin studies, he was sent to Phillips Academy in Exeter. His health, while he was there, continued uncertain, and he was occasionally attacked with an inflammation of his eyes, which sometimes rendered it doubtful, whether he would be able to prosecute his studies with success. But his care and perseverance, at last, prevailed. At the age of a little more than twelve, he was already prepared for admission at college. His father, however, well considered, that the studies which ought to be pursued at such a place for instruction could not be adapted to a mind so young, and held back his son yet one year longer, until the summer of 1803, when he left the academy at Exeter with the testimony of its excellent Principal, that he was one of a few scholars, who had been under his care, in the course of many years, whose education had been to him a pleasure and not a task.
From 1803 to 1807 he was a member of Harvard College. The period passed at college, when the restraints of childhood are with many for the first time thrown off, is sometimes an important, and sometimes even a deciding portion of life. But, with Mr. Haven, it was simply what Sir William Blackstone calls it, "an awkward interval; " for these four years were always regarded by him as the most unprofitable part of his life. During some of them, he was doubtful whether he had not better entirely leave college, where he found himself by no means favorably situated for the intellectual progress he desired. During others, there were disturbances and troubles; much idleness