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of our illustrious English universities, without taking the inferior and preparatory schools into the design. Nevertheless, something of this kind is still intended to be added, when convenience will allow, in order to adapt it more fully to the circumstances* of the country.
In a neighbouring colony, however, there is a seminary, (namely, the College and Academy of Phi. ladelphia, which I am now going to give an account of) that approaches very nearly to the foregoing Idea, as hath been before hinted. At the time of framing and publishing this Idea, the author had only read the printed account of that seminary, so far as it had then advanced, but had never visited it; nor was it till a year afterwards that he undertook the care of it. Being then in its infancy, and but of four year's standing, it consisted only of the inferior schools, properly called the Academy. These were an excellent foundation to proceed upon; and, as such, are mentioned above, p. 181. The remainder, which composes the chief part of the foregoing Idea, was the superstructure to be added; and as the doing of this was to require time, the author exhibited his imaginary seminary at twelve years standing, that he might have an opportunity of representing it complete.
Now twelve years happens at this time to be just the age of the Philadelphia seminary; and as it hath fallen to the author's share to preside over it dur
* In the mother country, where there are so many noble foundations for grammar learning, and so many private academical institutions to raise youth for the universities, there is no occasion for such preparatory schools in them. But the case is very different in the colonies.
ing the last eight years, when the superstructure of the sciences and the collegiate part were to be engrafted on the former foundation, the reader may see from the following account, how far the real seminary as it now stands, corresponds to the ideal one.
The chief difference, it is presumed, will be found in the time allotted to the sciences and higher branches of literature; the most material parts of what is proposed to be done in five years in the ideal plan, being reduced to three years in the other. But this was matter of necessity, not choice. In the present great demand for young men of education in our colonies, and the ready settlement to be obtained for them in all the ways of genteel employment, it was not found possible to retain them at college for the full term proposed; more especially while the expense is so considerable, and to be wholly borne by themselves. But when this demand shall be somewhat abated; when the expense can be reduced, by some proper exhibitions or provision to aid those of confined circumstances as in other colleges, and by bringing the youth into a collegiate manner of living (which will be when the buildings now on foot are finished) it is hoped the term of years may then be lengthened. In the meanwhile, it is the duty of those concerned, by diligence and every other means in their power, to bring as much as possible into the time allotted; and this will appear, from the following account, to be their earnest endeavour.
ACCOUNT OE THE COLLEGE, ACADEMY, AND CHARITABLE
SCHOOL OF PHILADELPHIA, IN. PENNSYLVANIA.
In the Year 1749, a few private Gentlemen of Pennsylvania, observing the vast accession of people to that place, from different parts of the world, became seriously impressed with a view of the inconveniencies likely to arise from their being destitute of the necessary means of instruction. As sundry circumstances rendered it improbable that any thing could be speedily done among them, in a public way, for the advancement of knowledge, and at the same time but very few of so great a multitude could afford the expense of educating their children in distant places, they saw with concern that their country was not only in danger of wanting a succession of fit persons for the public stations of life, but even of degenerating into the greatest ignorance.
To prevent these dreadful evils, they published proposals for erecting the English, Latin, and Mathematical Schools of this institution, under the name
of an * Academy; which was considered as a very proper foundation, on which to raise something farther, at a future period, if they should be successful so far. And in order to carry this design into execution, twenty-four persons joined themselves together as Trustees, agreeing never to exceed that number.
The scheme being made public, with the names of the gentlemen concerned in it, all was so well approved of, that in a very short time the subscription for carrying it on, amounted to eight hundred pounds per annum, for five years; a very strong proof of the public spirit and generosity of the inhabitants of that place!
In the beginning of January 1750, the three schools above mentioned were opened, namely the Latin, the Mathematical and English School. For it had always been considered as a very leading part of the design, to have a good school in the mother tongue, and to have a person of abilities entrusted with the care of it.
Oratory, and the correct speaking and writing of English, are branches of education too much neglected, as is often visible in the public performances of some very learned men. But, in the circumstances of this province, such a neglect would have been still more inexcusable than in any other part of the British dominions. For being made up of so great a mixture of people; from almost all corners of the world, necessarily speaking a variety of languages and dialects, the true pronunciation and writing of our own language might soon be lost, without such a previous care to preserve them in the rising generation.
* Many gentlemen of the first rank in the province gave their countenance to this design, as soon as it was mentioned to them, and afterwards became Trustees for it; but those on whom the chief care of di. gesting and preparing matters rested, were-- -Thomas Hopki n, Tench Francis, Richard Peters, and Benjamin Franklin, Esqrs; by the latter of whom the original proposals were drawn up and published.
At the opening of the above schools, which were intended to be preparatory to the higher parts of learning, a suitable sermon was preached, by Mr. Peters, provincial secretary, from St. John' viii. 32. “ And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you
free." This reverend and worthy gentleman (who, amid all the labours of his public station, as well as the many private labours in which his benevolence continually engages him, has still made it his care to devote some part of his time to classical learning, and the study of divinity, to which he was originally bred) took occasion, from these words of our blessed Saviour, to shew the intimate connexion between truth and freedom, between knowledge of every kind, and the preservation of civil and religious liberty.
The institution, thus begun, continued daily to flourish; and at length the trustees applied for a charter of incorporation, which they obtained in July 1753, from the honourable proprietors; who, at different times, have contributed in lands and money, to the amount of three thousand pounds sterling, for carrying on the design-a very noble and even princely benefaction, truly worthy of persons so