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same time, make them acquainted with Grecian, Roman, English, and American History.'
Over every ten of these schools the Aldermen were to annually appoint an Overseer, eminent for his learning, integrity, and fidelity to the Commonwealth,' who was to appoint and remove teachers, visit the school as often as once each half year, examine the schol ars, and see if the plan of instruction recommended by the visitors of William and Mary College was properly carried out. Every teacher was to receive a fixed annual salary from the county, and his diet, washing, and lodging,' be at the expense of the ‘hundred.'
Higher grade of Common Schools, or Grammar Schools. The bill also provides for a higher grade of Common Schools by dividing the State into twenty districts—the Overseers in each district being charged to procure one hundred acres of land centrally situated, and to erect thereon suitable buildings of brick or stone for a school, each having a proper school-room, a dining hall, four rooms for a master and asher, and ten or twelve lodging rooms for pupils, and necessary offices. The site was to be paid for by the State. In these grammar schools' were to be taught the Latin and Greek languages, English grammar, geography, and the higher parts of numeral arithmetic.'
A Visitor was to be annually appointed from each county oy the Overseers, and these Visitors, in a district, were to have about the same powers and duties in regard to the Grammar Schools, that the Overseers bad over those of the hundreds.
Each Overseer," after the most diligent and impartial examination and inquiry,' and after being sworn to act without favor or affection,' was to annually select from the schools under his charge, a pupil of at least two years' standing, 'of the best and most promising genius and disposition,' to be sent to the Grammar School of the district—to be there boarded and educated at the
of the State for at least one year. At the end of that time the Visitors were to discontinue the attendance of one-third of the least promising. All were to be discontinued at the end of the second ycar, save one from each district of the greatest merit, who was then at liberty to remain four years longer on the public foundation, and was thenceforth deemed a "Senior.' From these Seniors, the Visitors of the district were annually to choose one, and send him to William and Mary College, to be educated, boarded, and clothed for three years at the expense of the State.
This bill was not acted upon until 1796, and then its execution was virtually defeated by the provisions of the Act itself.
Law of Nations.
2. Reorganization of William and Mary College. By the second of Mr. Jefferson's bills, the College of William and Mary was to be reorganized, and converted into a University. In place of a College whose Visitors were required to be members of the Church of England, whose Professors must subscribe the Thirtynine Articles, and whose students must learn its Catechism, Mr. Jefferson proposed to do away with all religious tests for Visitors, Professors, or Students, with the following Professorships : Moral Philosophy,
Natural Philosophy. Hydrostatics,
Natural History. Vegetables-Botany,
Northern. 3 Anglo Saxon,
Arithmetic, Missionary for Indian History, etc.
Medicine. While Governor, Mr. Jefferson was one of the Visitors to the College of William and Mary; and during his official residence in Williamstown, he effected a change in the organization of the insti. tution by abolishing the Grammar School, and the two Professorships of Divinity and Oriental languages, and substituting a Professorship of Law and Politics; one of Anatomy, Medicine, and Chemistry, and one of Modern languages; adding the Law of Nature and Nations and the Fine Arts to the duties of the Professor of Moral Philosophy, and Natural History to those of the Professor of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy.
Public Library. The third educational bill provided for the annual disbursement of two thousand pounds from the State Treasury, by three persons of learning and attention to literary matters, appointed by the Legislature, to purchase books and maps for a State Library at Richmond. Of the action of the Assembly we have seen no mention. No effectual legislation for realizing such a library was had till 1822–23, when the annual income from the sale of reports and statutes, &c., was appropriated to the purchase of a State library.
For the next thirty years, Mr. Jefferson was in the constant service of the National Government, which taxed all his faculties, and yet his correspondence shows that he never in a single year, while abroad as Ambassador, or at home as Secretary of State, Vice-President, or President, and the acknowledged head of a great political party, struggling for the supremacy in the National and State Administration, did he lose his interest, or cease his efforts to promote the establishment of schools and other agencies for the advancement of education in its higher as well as in its more popular forms. Indeed, in this education we find the inspiration of all his hopes, and all his efforts for the good of his state and country.
Removal of Geneva Professors to Washington or Virginia. In 1791, he communicated to President Washington a proposition from M. D'Ivernois and his colleagues in the Academy of Geneva, Switzerland, to remove in a body to the United States and inaugurate here an institution of learning of the most comprehensive character,—and suggests that the accession of such a body of professors would at once give to the National University (which Washington had recommended, in his first Message to Congress, in 1790, and which he subsequently had intimated to Mr. Jefferson his intention to aid by a testamentary devise) such solid advantages as would insure a very general concourse to it of the youth from all our States, and probably from all parts of America.' In a subsequent letter (1799), he addressed another letter from Monticello, in which he suggests: "For a country so marked for agriculture as ours, I should think no professorship so good as one of agriculture, who, before the students should leave college, should carry them through a course of lectures on the principles and practice of agriculture; and that this professor should come from no country but England,' and names Young (author of Letters on the Agriculture of France and England) as the man to be obtained. This is one of the earliest suggestions of a Professorship of Agriculture in this country. While calling President Washington's attention to the proposition of Professor D'Ivernois', and introducing & nunber of learned professors into a National University, he writes (in 1794) to Wilson Nicholas and others, to ascertain the feeling in the Assembly of Virginia, as to the possibility of securing such a corps of scientific teachers for Virginia.
In a letter to Wilson Nicholas, Esq., Nov. 22, 1794, he writes :The sum of his proposition is to translate the Academy of Geneva in a body to this country. You know well that the colleges of Edinburgh and Geneva, as seminaries of science, are considered as the two eyes of Europe; while Great Britain and America give the preference to the former; and all other countries give it to the latter. I am fully sensible that two powerful obstacles are in the way of this proposition. 1st. The expense. 2d. The communication of science in foreign languages; that is to say, in French and Latin; but I have been so long absent from my own country as to be an incompetent judge either of the force of the objections, or of the dispositions of those who are to decide on them. The respectability of Mr. D'Ivernois' character, and that, too, of the proposition, require an answer from me, and that it should be given on due in. quiry. He desires secrecy to a certain degree for the reasons which he explains. What I have to request of you, my dear sir, is, that you will be so good as to consider his proposition, to consult on its expediency and practicability with such gentlemen of the Assembly as you think best
, and take such other measures as you shall think best, to ascertain what would be the sense of that body, were the proposition to be hazarded to them.
In 1795 (Feb. 6), he writes to M. D'Ivernois :
Your proposition, however, for transplanting the College of Geneva to my own country, was too analogous to all my attachments to science, not to excite a lively interest in my mind, and the essays which were necessary to try its practicability. This depended altogether on the opinions and dispositions of our State Legislature which was then in session. I immediately communicated your papers to a member of the legislature, whose abilities and zeal pointed him out as proper for it, urging him to sound as many of the leading members as he could, and if he found their opinions favorable, to bring forward the proposition; but if he should find it desperate, not to hazard it; because I thought it best not to commit the honor of our State or of your College, by an useless act of eclat. It was not till within three days that I have had an interview with him, and an account of his proceedings. He communicated the papers to a great number of the members, and discussed them maturely, but privately, with them. They were generally well-disposed to the proposition, and some of them warmly; however, there was no difference of opinion in the conclusion, that it could not be effected. The reasons which they thought would, with certainty, prevail against it, were--1, that our youth, not familiarized but with their mother tongue, were not prepared to receive instructions in any other; 2, that the expense of the institution would excite uneasiness in their constituents and endanger its permanence; and, 3, that its extent was disproportioned to the narrow state of population with us.
In 1810, he writes from Monticello to Governor Tyler, who had expressed a wish to see him in the Legislature :
This is impossible. I have, indeed, two great measures at heart, without which no Republic can maintain itself in strength. 1. That of general education, to enable every man to judge for himself what will secure or endanger his freedom. 2. To divide every county into hundreds of such size that all the children of each will be within reach of a central school in it. But this division looks to many other fundamental provisions. Every hundred, besides a school, should have a Justice of the Peace, a Constable, and a Captain of Militia. These officers, or some others within the hundred, should be a corporation to manage all its concerns, to take care of its roads, its poor, and its police by patrols, &c., (as the selectmen of the Eastern townships). Every hundred should select one or two jurors to serve where requisite, and all other elections should be made in the hundreds separately, and the votes of all the hundreds be brought together. Our present Captaincies might be declared hundreds for the present, with a power to the courts to alter them occasionally. These little Republics would be the main strength of the great one. We owe to them the vigor given to our resolution in its commencement in the Eastern States, and by them the Eastern States were enabled to repeal the embargo in opposition to the Middle, Southern, and Western States, and their large and lubberly division into counties which can never be assembled. Several orders are given out from a center to the foreman of every hundred, as to the sergeants of an army, and the whole nation is thrown into energetic action, in the same direction in one instant and as one man, and becomes absolutely irresistible. Could I once see this, I should consider it as the dawn of the salvation of the Repub. lic, as say with old Simeon, nunc dimittas Domine.' But our children will be as wise as we are, and will establish in the fullness of time those things not yet ripe for establishment. So be it, and to yourself health, happiness, and long life.
Mr. Parton, in his · Life of Thomas Jefferson,' remarks :
In his endeavors to reconcile the people of Virginia to the cost of maintaining a common school in each 'ward' of every county, he showed all his old tact and skill. His 'ward' was to be so laid off as to comprehend the number of inhabitants necessary to furnish a captain's company of militia,'-five hundred persons of all ages and either sex. The great difficulty was to convince the average planter that he, the rich man of the ward, had an interest in contributing to the common school, the teacher of which was to receive a hundred and fifty dollars a year, and board round.' Jefferson met this objection in a letter that still possesses convincing power. And his argument comes home to the inhabitants of the great cities now rising every where, and destined to contain half of the population of this continent. What are they but a narrow rim of elegance and plenty around a vast and deep abyss of squalor, into which a certain portion of the dainty children of the smiling verge are sure to slide at last? How eloquent are these quiet words of Jefferson, when we apply them to our own city! Would that I could give them wings to carry the passage round the world.
And will the wealthy individual have no retribution ? And what will this be? 1. The peopling his neighborhood with honest, useful, and enlightened citizens, understanding their own rights, and firm in their perpetuation. 2. When his descendants become poor, which they generally do within three generations (no law of primogeniture now perpetuating wealth in the same families), their children will be educated by the then rich; and the little advance he now makes to poverty, while rich himself
, will be repaid by the rich to his descendants when they become poor, and thus give them a chance of rising again. This is a solid consideration, and should go home to the bosom of every parent. This will be seed sown in fertile ground. It is a provision for his family looking to distant times, and far in duration beyond that he has now in hand for them. Let every man count backwards in his own family, and see how many generations he can go, before he comes to the ancestor who made the fortune he pow holds. Most will be stopped at the first generation; many at the second; few will reach the third; and not one in the State can go beyond the fifth.
Like Franklin, he was not content with appealing only to the higher motives. State pride was a chord which he touched with effect. He reminded Virginians, that, before the Revolution, the mass of education in Virginia placed her with the foremost of her sister colonies; but now the little we have we import, like beggars, from other States, or import their beggars to bestow on us their miserable crumbs.' He pointed to Virginia's ancient friend and ally, Massachusetts, only one-tenth as large as Virginia, and the twenty-first state in the Union in size. But she has more influence in our confederacy than any other State in it.' Why? From her attention to education unquestionably. There can be no stronger proof that knowledge is power and that ignorance is weakness.'