John Witherspoon arrived in America from Scotland in 1768 having been persuaded by the trustees and then medical student Benjamin Rush to assume the presidency of the College of New Jersey. After declining initially, Witherspoon, a graduate of the University of Edinburgh, became one of the most popular and influential presidents in Princeton University's history. Witherspoon served not only Princeton, but also the nascent United States as a member of the Continental Congress. During Witherspoon's tenure the College weathered the turmoil caused by the American Revolution: Nassau Hall sustained heavy damage, enrollment declined, and finances were precarious. In the wake of this conflict, Witherspoon's preaching tours increased enrollment, particularly from the southern United States, and he broadened the curriculum by his emphasis on English grammar and composition. He also obtained needed instruments of instruction such as books for the library and apparatus for scientific study (such as the Rittenhouse Orrery). Witherspoon advocated a well-rounded clergy, emphasizing the liberal education of students, rather than just religious instruction. It was his aspiration to produce men who would not only make exceptional clerics, but also outstanding statesmen. Witherspoon instructed many students who became notable for their contributions to state and federal government, including James Madison, Aaron Burr, Jr., William Smith Livingston, Andrew Kirkpatrick, and Ashbel Green. Part of Witherspoon's popularity and influence with both students and politicians derived from his ability to discuss the merits of contesting views, while using reason to reach an ultimate conclusion.