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Varnum, James Mitchell (17 December 1748–09 January 1789), lawyer, revolutionary war general, and judge, was born in Dracut, Massachusetts, the son of Samuel Varnum and Hannah Mitchell, affluent farmers who had James prepared for Harvard College. Varnum successfully entered the class of 1769 along with forty-two other undergraduates. In April 1768, during his junior year, he helped lead a student protest against the college tutors. Several undergraduates, including Varnum, left the campus as a result of this upheaval, though most of them returned and were reinstated. Varnum, however, made his departure permanent and on 23 May 1768 entered the College of Rhode Island (now Brown University) in Providence. He earned his B.A. the following year and, at the college’s commencement exercises, presented the argument that “British America cannot under the present circumstances, consistent with good policy, afford to become an independent State.” He received his M.A. from the college in 1772....