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of five hundred pounds thus derived would furnish ample support for the school.

In the spring of 1620 Mr. George Thorpe was sent over as the Company's deputy and as superintendent of the college, and three hundred acres of land were granted for his support. The sum realized from the collection by the bishops amounted to fifteen hundred pounds, and other donations increased this considerably; among the latter was a bequest of three hundred pounds from an unknown person for the conversion of Indian children.

To show the faith of individuals in the immediate realization of a working university, it may be related that an anonymous friend donated "a communion cup with a cover and a case, a trencher plate for the bread, a carpet of crimson velvet, and a damask table-cloth for the use of the college." "Thus," says Adams, "by the combined authority of church and State, was anticipated by more than two centuries the endowment of such institutions as are now represented by the Hampton School and by the University of Virginia."

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But the terrible Indian massacre of 1622 thwarted these early plans for education, and no immediate fruits were realized, "beyond the subscription of one hundred and fifty pounds, in 1621, for a preparatory or collegiate school at Charles City, and the appropriation of one thousand acres of land, with five servants and an overseer to improve the same.'

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In 1624, through the advocacy of Mr. Edward Palmer, the idea of a university was revived, and an island in the Susquehanna River was granted for the "Foundinge and maintenance of a university, and such schools in Virginia as shall there be erected, and shall be called Academia Virginiensis et Oxoniensis."3 Owing to the death of Mr. Palmer the movement failed, and for many years plans concerning a university were held in abeyance. Indeed, when we consider the condition of the country, in its undeveloped state, with a sparsely settled farming community, an unsubdued soil, and a feeble government, we must wonder that such institutions were so early proposed. And upon further consideration of the conditions necessary to the growth of a university, such as time for development of a people, government, wealth, and the cultivation of public sentiment in favor of higher education; when we consider these things, it does not seem strange that the university ideal was nearly two centuries in process of realization. Something more than money and books and teachers is required to make a successful university. Its very existence requires an advanced state of society. It is nourished by ideas which are themselves developed only in growing communities, and under social conditions which render university

1 Dr. H. B. Adams: The College of William and Mary; contributions to American Educational History, No. 1.

The College of William and Mary, 11.

Neill: Virgina Vestuta, 183 (quoted by Professor Adams, 12).

maintenance desirable. Besides all this, there was for many years an uncertainty in the life of the Virginia colony which was not so appar ent in the compact, clearly-defined New England colonies, that always knew what they wanted and labored for a definite object.


The second movement toward a system of education in Virginia was inaugurated by the Colonial Assembly in 1660, and although, in a measure, a revival of the first, it was characterized by different motives. In the former the kind patrons of the colony, with a financial interest in its welfare and with the disinterested benevolence of their church, attempted to superimpose a system of education made to order and wholly unsuited to the needs of the new colony. But in the latter case it was the movement of conscious self-development; it was advocated by practical men who had children to educate. It represented a young State looking toward the necessary shaping of its own growth.

In 1660 the Colonial Assembly of Virginia passed an act providing "that for the advance of learning, education of youth, supply of the ministry, and promotion of piety, there be land taken upon purchases for a college and free school, and that there be, with as much speed as may be convenient, housing erected thereon for entertainment of students and scholars."1

Here, as elsewhere in the colonies, private donations and public grants went hand in hand. It was likewise ordered in the same year that the commissioners of the various county courts be authorized to take subscriptions on court days, and that they send orders to the vestrymen of all the parishes to raise money from the inhabitants for the support of the college. The Governor, members of the Council of State, and of the House of Burgesses subscribed liberally in the currency of the day to aid the new enterprise. The people also petitioned the Governor, Sir William Berkeley, that the King issue letters patent authorizing collections in England for the support of colleges and schools in Virginia.2

But still the "free" or Latin schools were delayed, partly because there was lack of determination on the part of the majority of the people to have them, but more especially on account of the absence of towns and thickly settled communities. The decidedly rural life and the necessary independence of each plantation which must furnish its own tutors, naturally led to habits not easily changed.

There was little common sentiment, and institutions of learning are the result of well-directed public opinion. Here we must again admit the superior local advantage of the New Englanders in their compact communes, who could quickly determine and execute their plans.

1 Statutes of Virginia, II, Hening, 25.

"H. B. Adams, 13.


The natural outgrowth of the attempt to found free schools in Virginia was the later establishment of William and Mary College. The first substantial action toward the founding of this college was taken in 1688-89, when a few persons in England subscribed the liberal sum of twenty-five hundred pounds as an endowment for higher education in Virginia. It was not, however, until 1691 that the Colonial Assembly sent the Rev. James Blair back to England to secure a charter for the proposed college. The Government granted the request for a charter, and agreed to give two thousand pounds from the aggregate of the quitrents of Virginia for building purposes.

In the charter of 1693 the English Government contributed not only the two thousand pounds from the quitrents, but also the same amount in money, and twenty thousand acres of land, as well as a tax of one penny on every pound of tobacco exported from Virginia and Maryland, and all profits arising from the office of surveyor-general, which profits were to be under the control of the president and faculty of the college.1


The Virginia House of Burgesses, by wise laws and by acts of endowment, preserved, protected, and enlarged the royal endowment of William and Mary. Its first act for the support of the college was passed in 1693, and provided that certain "dutyes, customs and im posts for the following goods, wares and merchandise which shall be caryed out of this their Majestie's domain," shall be levied for a permanent support of the college. The articles enumerated in this act were chiefly skins and furs. This was followed by an act in 1718 which authorized the payment of one thousand pounds out of the fund then in the hands of the treasurer, Colonel Beverly, to William and Mary College for the benefit of the scholars of the colony.3

It was ordered by the General Assembly in May, 1726, "that the sum of two hundred pounds per annum out of the said duty of one penny upon every gallon of wine, rum, brandy, and other distilled spirits *** is appropriated for the relief of the college."4

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In August, 1734, it was enacted that "the duty of one penny for every pound of tobacco exported into North Carolina from Virginia" should be given to the college." At the same time the duty of one penny per gallon on all liquors imported was granted permanently to this college. Having done all that seemingly lay within their power by way of taxation for the benefit of the college, the General Assembly voted that the president, masters, scholars, and students of the institution should be

'H. B. Adams, 15.

2 Hening's Statutes, Chap. 123, 4-5.
3 Ibid., IV, 74.

Ibid., IV, Chap. 20, 148.

5 Ibid., IV, 429.

6 Hening, IV, 432.

free from "paying any public, county, or parish levies forever." It was provided in 1759 by the General Assembly of Virginia that every license granted to peddlers should pay twenty shillings to the Governor, twenty shillings to the granter of the license, and three pounds to the college of William and Mary.2 Soon after this the college was granted the right to choose one representative to the General Assembly. Three scholarships were also granted by the House of Burgesses for the pecuniary aid of students.

By the charter of 1693 all fees arising from the surveyor's office passed under the control of the college, as well as the entire management of the public lands and surveys, but after the close of the Revolution only one-sixth of said fees were granted to the college,3 which was also limited in its control of surveys. In 1819 the law was repealed which allowed the college one-sixth of the public surveyor's fees.*

The land grants to William and Mary were not very extensive. The avails of eight thousand acres of land granted in Kentucky County, being escheated lands, were set apart for a public school or seminary of learning, but this afterward came under the control of William and Mary College.5

In 1784 it was enacted that "lands commonly called 'palace lands, and all the property in Williamsburg and the county of James City, shall be given to the president and visitors of William and Mary for the benefit of the university forever. ""

William and Mary College was established by royal endowment granted through a petition of the General Assembly, desiring "that the church of Virginia may be furnished with a seminary of ministers of the Gospel, and that the youth may be piously educated in good letters and manners, and that the Christian faith may be propagated among the western Indians to the glory of Almighty God." The charter provided for a board of trustees with the power of election of their own members, and with power to appoint a rector and a chancellor for the college.

The General Assembly felt it to be the duty of the public to aid the college in every possible way. Although not a State institution, William and Mary College for more than a century was Virginia's chief educational and literary centre, and has always been treated as a public trust. By means of the State's timely aid, and by generous donations, the annual revenues of the college were increased to the amount of two thousand three hundred pounds at the outbreak of the Revolution; but at the close of that war this income had been greatly reduced.

Professor H. B. Adams, in his History of William and Mary, gives the following as the chief causes of its decline: "(1) The depreciation of paper money, which wasted its income from endowments and scholar

1 Hening, IV, Chap. 75, 433. 21bid., VII, 285.

3 Ibid., XI, 310.

4 Code of Virginia, 1873, 710.

Hening, X, 238. 6 Ibid., XI, 406.

ships; (2) the diversion of English endowment funds, notably the Boyle trust, into English channels; the abolition of the tobacco tax once levied upon Maryland and Virginia in the interest of the college; (4) the cession to the United States of Virginia's claims to Western lands." But perhaps the greatest loss was, as Professor Adams says, the transference of the capital of Virginia from Williamsburg to Richmond.

From a report of the Committee on Schools and Colleges given to the General Assembly in 1825, it appears that the moneyed capital of William and Mary amounted at that time to $132,161.69. This was exclusive of 5,025 acres of land in King William County valued at $17,587, and 1,582 acres in Sussex valued at $5,537, which made the total value of available funds, exclusive of library buildings and apparatus, $155,285.69.

In 1779 a bill was reported by the Committee on Education amending the constitution of William and Mary, but it was never passed, owing to the prevailing sentiment that the College of William and Mary was a private corporation and under the control of the Episcopal Church. Details regarding the subsequent history of old William and Mary College may be found in Dr. Adams's monograph. We are here concerned merely with its financial history.

During the year 1888 the venerable college, which had suspended after our Civil War for lack of funds, was re-instated by the State of Virginia. The Legislature appropriated ten thousand dollars for the immediate relief of the institution. The academic year 1889-90 opened with 173 students.


A new educational movement, which began in Virginia in 1776, received fresh impetus after the close of the Revolution, and reached practical results in the early part of the present century. As is well known, Thomas Jefferson was the leading spirit in this great movement. To him Virginia owes much that is superior in her educational system. To his careful, studious, far-seeing policy must be accredited the permanent foundation by the State of university education in the Old Dominion.

A committee was appointed by the General Assembly in 1776 to make a general revision of the State laws, and Mr. Jefferson, who was a mem ber of said committee, proposed a general system of education for the whole State. He included primary schools, grammar schools, and a university. The measure was not passed, but in 1796 the part relating to primary schools became a law. In acting upon the bill, the Assembly left it to each county court to decide when the act should take effect within the limits of its jurisdiction, and this provision defeated the Laws of Virginia, 1796.

The College of William and Mary, 57.

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