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THE NEW YORK
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1851,
BY ROBERT CARTER & BROTHERS,
STEREOTYPED BY THOMAS B. XITE,
216 WILLIAN BTREET.
To prevent misapprehension and enhance the interest of this volume, it may be proper to sketch briefly the history of the University of Virginia, and to give some account of the origin of the following course of lectures on the Evidences of Christianity. This task seems naturally to devolve on the undersigned, who was Chaplain in that institution at the time of the delivery of these lectures.
It is a familiar fact that this distinguished State University was brought into being mainly by the exertions of the illustrious Thomas Jefferson-a man of versatile genius and varied literary accomplishments, if not of sound logical talent and profound erudition; one personally conversant with the most advanced forms of civilization in his day, yet thoroughly devoted to all that belonged distinctively to the structure of society and form of government in America, and ever desirous to contribute all in his power to the advancement of his country. He was fully possessed with the American idea as to the necessity of education and good morals among the people at large. And after his withdrawal from the national service, nothing seems to have engaged his thoughts and active exertions so much as the intellectual elevation of that State in which he was born, and in which was his fixed residence through his whole lifetime.
As early as the year 1814, in a private letter to a friend in Albemarle County, he proposed a scheme for a State College, and in 1816 the Legislature took the initiatory step in the execution of his scheme. In the Session of 1817-18, Mr. Jefferson drew up two bills, having for their object the establishment of a system of public instruction for the State, namely, 1st, A Bill providing for elementary schools, and 2d (introduced a little later), A Bill making provision for an extensive system of public schools. This latter bill embraced the provisions of the former, and further provided for a number of Colleges and a Central University. In accordance with the spirit of these bills, an act was passed February 21st, 1818, applying from the revenue of the Literary Fund, forty-five thousand dollars annually to primary schools, and fifteen thousand dollars annually for the endowment of an University. A Committee, of which Mr. Jefferson was Chairman, appointed