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free from "paying any public, coupty, 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 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, 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 In 1819 the law was repealed which allowed the college one-sixth of the public surveyor's fees.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."

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."6

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 fnrnished 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. Ibid., VII, 285.

3 Ibid., XI, 310.
- Code of Virginia, 1873, 710.

6 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 Will. iam 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

*The College of William and Mary, 57. * Laws of Virginia, 1796.


operation of the bill. “The justices,” says Jefferson, “being generally of the more wealthy class, were not willing to incur the burden, and I believe it was not suffered to commence in a single county.” Mr. Jefferson continued untiring in his efforts to advance public education; in a letter of November 28, 1820, to Hon. Joseph Cabell, he says: 1 “Surely Governor Clinton's display of the gigantic efforts of New York toward the education of her citizens will stimulate the pride as well as the patriotism of our Legislature to look to the reputation and safety of our own country, to rescue it from the degradation of becoming the Barbary of the Union and of falling into the ranks of our negroes. To that condition it is fast sinking. We shall be in the hands of other States what our indigenous predecessors were when invaded by the science and art of Europe. The mass of education in Virginia before the Revolution placed her with the foremost of her sister colonies. What is her education now * Where is it? The little we have we import, like beggars, from other States; or import their beggars to bestow upon us their miserable crumbs.” Such was the opinion of the great Virginian, who felt deeply the needs of his people, and advocated the education by the State of all classes of society according to their needs. While the people of Virginia believed that intelligence was the only sure foundation of republican institutions, they did not fully realize the duties and responsibilities of the State concerning education. During the session of the Assembly of 1816–17, a bill was presented for a complete system of education, and passed the House of Delegates, but failed in the Senate. The proposed system provided for primary schools, with three visitors, in each county; nine collegiate districts, with a college in each district, partly supported by the Literary Fund and a complete university at the head of the system.”


In the year 1809, it was ordered during the session of the House of Delegates that a bill be reported authorizing the “appropriation of certain escheats, penalties, and forfeitures to the encouragement of learning.” The bill was accordingly reported and passed on January 19, 1810, and became the foundation of the Literary Fund of Virginia. In 1816 this fund was materially increased by the appropriation to it of all the public debt due from the United States Government, with the exception of a reserve of six hundred thousand dollars.


Albemarle Academy was the germ of the University of Virginia. Efforts were put forth, chiefly through the influence of Mr. Jefferson, as early as 1783, to establish a grammar school in Albemarle County; but it was not until the year 1803 that a charter was granted the school under the title of Albemarle Academy, which was to receive support by means of subscriptions and lotteries authorized by the State. It seems, however, that no efficient action was taken in the matter until 1814, when Mr. Jefferson was elected one of the trustees. Plans were then made for raising funds and for locating the institution. It was decided to raise money by subscriptions and by a lottery. The report of a committee favoring the town of Charlottesville as the most advisable place for the academy was adopted. Subscriptions for the new enterprise flowed in so rapidly that it was determined to enlarge the academy and form a college. Accordingly, in 1815, the trustees petitioned the Assembly (1) for a dividend from the Literary Fund; (2) for a grant of the proceeds of the sale of two glebes in the parishes of St. Ann and Fredericksville; and (3) for a change of name to Central College, with enlarged powers and provisions." The General Assembly granted the petition in part,” and by proper enactment established Central College, with the Governor of the Commonwealth as patron with power to appoint the visitors of the college. The proper officers were authorized to demand and receive the glebe lands referred to in the petition, and all the property and powers granted to the academy were merged into the Central College. But the institution which had grown from Albemarle Academy into Central College was destined to take still another forward step before its doors were opened to students; it must develop into the University of Virginia.

1 Jefferson and Cabell, University of Virginia, 184. *Ibid., 413.


In 1816 the Legislature of Virginia authorized the president and directors of the Literary Fund to report a plan for a university at the next session of the Assembly. The committee made a full report as requested, but nothing was accomplished beyond bringing the subject of education prominently before the people.

At the legislative session of 1817–18 that part of the bill relating to a university and the education of the poor was passed. “After a long and patient discussion and investigation, it was decided not to interfere with education, except in the points where it could not be safely left to individual enterprise, viz, in the case of persons too poor to pay for it themselves, and in that where the expense and magnitude of the subject defied individual enterprise, as in case of a university.” By the act creating the university a body of commissioners was called from all the senatorial districts of the State to recommend a plan and a site for the university.

In the bill authorizing the establishment of the university, it was pro

* University of Virginia, Jefferson and Cabell, 390.
*The glebe lands were granted and the name changed.
*Jefferson and Cabell Correspondence, 33.



vided that the sum of forty-five thousand dollars per annum should be given for the education of the poor, and fifteen thousand dollars to the university. The commissioners having reported in favor of Central College as the most convenient place in Albemarle County, the Legislature decided, after much discussion, to locate the university at Charlottesville, and to assume the property and site of Central College. The commissioners embodied in their report an exhaustive plan for a university, chiefly from the pen of Thomas Jefferson.

The University of Virginia was a Státe institution whose visitors were required to report to the president and directors of the Literary Fund, and they directly to the Legislature. As the president and directors were directly amenable to the Legislature, this was simply an indirect way of reporting to that body. A law was subsequently passed compelling the rectors and visitors to be at all times subject to the General Assembly and to report to the same. 1

In 1823 the Legislature passed an act appropriating the sum of fifty thousand dollars to procure a library and apparatus for this institution, to be paid out of the first funds that might be realized from the General Government in further discharge of the debt still due the Common. wealth. In order to furnish the university buildings, the Legislature voted the sum of thirty-two thousand dollars, to be paid out of moneys recently received from the United States Government on account of interest on advances made to the Government, during the war, by the State of Virginia.

To advance still further the higher educational interests in the State, provision was subsequently made that when the annual income of the literary fund should exceed sixty thousand dollars, all over and above that sum should be given for the endowment of such colleges, academies, and intermediate schools as should be determined by the Assembly, provided the amount appropriated did not exceed twenty thousand dollars. For many years—indeed, down to the Civil War-the Legislature of Virginia continued its annual appropriation of fifteen thou. sand dollars to the university.


The Legislature of Virginia passed an act February 23, 1866, granting the sum of fifteen thousand dollars annually to the University of Virginia, and directed that the same should be credited on account of interest due by the Commonwealth on its bonds held by the Literary Fund.?

An act approved February 26, 1876, increased the annuity paid out of the public treasury to the university to the amount of thirty thousand dollars, and prescribed as a condition of the grant that free tuition in the academic branches should be given to all white stu.

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