That Honorary Degree
In 1770 what became Brown University in Rhode Island, America, awarded Beddome an honorary Masters degree. Brown has been called "the Baptist answer to Congregationalist Yale and Harvard, Presbyterian Princeton and Episcopalian Penn and Columbia". At one time it was the only college that welcomed students of all religious persuasions (following the example of Roger Williams, who founded Rhode Island in 1636 on the same principle). Founded in 1764 as the College of Rhode Island in Warren, Rhode Island, the school registered its first students in 1765. In 1770 it moved to its present location on College Hill, overlooking the city of Providence. In 1804, in recognition of a gift from Nicholas Brown, the college took it spresent name.
From 1769 (the first year of honorary degree awards) to 1840, the recipient list of honorees included ministers of various denominations, academics, doctors, Declaration of Independence signitaries, Revolutionary War heroes, US presidents, senators and congressmen, members of the judiciary and diplomats. Britons, Continentals and Americans occupy the list. Among them, John Newton (1773), Nathanael Greene (1776), Granville Sharp (1786), Thomas Jefferson (1787), John Hancock (1788), George Washington (1790), Alexander Hamilton (1792), Joseph Priestley (1793), John Jay (1794) and John Adams (1797).
Numerous British Baptists besides Beddome received honorary degrees between 1769 and 1830: Caleb Evans, John Ryland Sr, Hugh Evans, Samuel James (Hitchin), John Reynolds, Isaac Woodman, John Ryland Jr, Benjamin Fuller (Devizes), John Ash, Abraham Booth, Benjamin Davis, Robert Day (Wellington, Somerset), Moses Gregson (Rothwell, Northants), James Jennings (Islington), John Gulton, John Poynting, John Rippon, James Newton (Bristol), John Fawcett, Benjamin Francis, Morgan Jones, Samuel Pearce, Andrew Fuller [declined?], Joseph Hughes (Battersea), William Steadman (Bradford), William Newman (Stepney), John Evans (Islington), William Jones, Joseph Kinghorn, Thomas Steffe Crisp (Bristol) and William Harris Murch (Stepney). Brown also awarded honorary degrees to the missionaries William Carey (1806), Joshua Marshman (1810) Luther Rice (1814) Adoniram Judson (1823) and William Yates (1830).