William Johnson was a signer of the Constitution of the United States. In 1766, this eminent lawyer received an honorary doctorate in civil law from Oxford University. Johnson was a delegate to the Stamp Act Congress, a member of the Continental Congress, and a Commissioner to England.
Furthermore, Johnson served as a state representative, a United States Senator, and a Connecticut Supreme Court Justice. From 1787 to 1800, this son of Anglican minister Samuel Johnson was also the President of Columbia College.
Robert Johnson, his great grandfather, came to America in 1638:
“To assist in founding a 'Godly Commonwealth' at New Haven.”
After the War for Independence from England was won; Johnson, as President of Columbia University (Previously King's College) addressed the first graduating class:
“You this day, gentlemen, assume new characters, enter into new relations, and consequently incur new duties. You have, by the favor of Providence and the attention of friends, received a public education, the purpose whereof hath been to qualify you the better to serve your Creator and your country..."
“Your first great duties, you are sensible, are those you owe to Heaven, to your Creator and Redeemer. Let these be ever present to your minds, and exemplified in your lives and conduct.”
“Imprint deep upon your minds the principles of piety towards God, and a reverence and fear of His holy name. The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom and its consummation is everlasting felicity. Possess yourselves of just and elevated notions of the Divine character, immortal nature as it stands related to Him.”
“Reflect deeply and often upon those relations. Remember that it is in God you live and move and have your being, - that in the language of David He is about your bed and about your path and spieth out all your ways, - that there is not a thought in your hearts, nor a word upon your tongues, but lo! He knoweth them altogether, and that he will one day call you to a strict account for all your conduct in this mortal life.”
“Remember, too, that you are the redeemed of the Lord, that you are bought with a price, even the inestimable price of the precious blood of the Son of God. Adore Jehovah, therefore, as your God and Sanctifier. Acquaint yourselves with Him in His word and holy ordinances.”
“Make Him your friend and protector and your felicity is secured both here and hereafter. And with respect to particular duties to Him. It is your happiness that you are well assured that he best serves his Maker, who does most good to his country and to mankind.”