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derived from the Bible, and also that the minds of the people are even trained by argumentations of various kinds. He states that in the United States a large proportion of the public read the Bible and the newspapers. Dupont gave an interesting description of family worship in the United States and of the opportunities which the people, and even the youth, enjoyed of becoming acquainted, through periodicals, with observations on politics, philosophy ;—with the details of agriculture, and with the arts and with travels ;-with navigation, and with extracts from all the good books which appear in America and in Europe and with much other information. In a peculiarly happy French manner, however, Dupont intimated that nevertheless public instruction in the United States was not so good but that it could be, and ought to be, improved. He wished to see a University established in which the studies would be higher and even more useful than those pursued in the college. He held that a University and colleges and common schools would be helpful to each other and would support each other. He spoke of the reward which Americans would reap who established a University, and of the reward which would be enjoyed by all who established colleges, and then added that all who founded good primary schools would receive the benediction of Heaven, the veneration of posterity, and would have the joy of a happy conscience. In the preface to his volume he speaks of the great service which Monsieur Cuvier had rendered France by publishing an account of the admirable primary schools which the people of Holland had established, and evidently wished to himself render his country a similar service by making known to them that America might soon be expected to have schools rivalling in excellence even the schools of Holland. He drew attention to the importance of these institutions of America, and stated that they were worthy of the profound consideration of all men animated by a wish to promote the welfare of their nation.
What were Jefferson's views respecting the practicability of illiterate nations satisfactorily governing themselves ? To state in a condensed form his conclusions, he believed as will be seen in a letter dated Jan. 16th, 1816, which will be more fully quoted in the next division of this volume, that, “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free in a state of civilization, it expects what never was, and never will be.” He believed, as has been seen in one of his letters to Lafayette, that, “ Ignorance and bigotry, like other insanities, are incapable of self-government."
Believing as Jefferson did, it was natural for him to write-as it has already been seen that he wrote from Paris, under date of Jan. 4th, 1786, to Washington, who himself proposed to found some schools, -as follows: “It is an axiom in my mind, that our liberty can never be safe but in the hands of the people themselves, and that too, X of the people with a certain degree of instruction. This it is the business of the State to effect, and on a general plan." In his book entitled “Notes on Virginia "—which Baron Humboldt characterized as a “classical work,” after describing the school system which it was proposed to establish in Virginia, Jefferson states that, “Of the views of this law none is more legitimate, than that of rendering the people the safe, as they are the only legitimate guardians of their liberty." In a letter dated Nov. 29th, 1821,-as will be seen in due time-Jefferson drew attention to the innumerable blessings which nations reap from supporting in a worthy manner institutions of learning. He then said that “ experience teaches the awful lesson, that no nation is permitted to
36 AN ADMONITION TO FRIENDS OF CIVIL LIBERTY.
live in ignorance with impunity." * It may be proper to here again notice Jefferson's reasoning as contained in his bill “For the Better Diffusion of Knowledge," of 1779. It may in part be condensed thus: For various very weighty reasons the “public happiness" demands that a people who wish to enjoy the blessings of good government should be possessed of a very considerable amount of knowledge. If they are not, then men who are at once wicked and ambitious will impose upon their credulity and step by step steal from them their rights. “But,” Jefferson adds, "the indigence of the greater number disabling them from so educating, at their own expense, those of their children, whom nature hath fully formed and disposed to become useful instruments of the public, it is better that such should be sought for and educated at the common expense of all, than that the happiness of all should be confided to the weak and wicked."
* " Early History of the University of Virginia," J. W. Randolph, Richmond, Va., 1856, p. 470.
A STATE SHOULD HAVE A UNIVERSITY.
It was a cherished conviction of Thomas Jefferson's that in a Commonwealth provision should be made for universities wisely suited to modern times, no less truly than for primary schools. As President of the United States he signed bills making large appropriations of land for the exclusive benefit of academies, seminaries and colleges. To Washington, who had in view the devoting of a quite large amount of money to the founding, or to the support of, institutions of learning, Jefferson wrote a letter on Feb. 23rd, 1795, in which he laid before him a plan for the transferring of a great European college to the national Capital. All the professors of the celebrated College of Geneva-an institution which after exerting a wide influence in Europe was temporarily suppressed during the French Revolution-wished to transplant the college to America. In this letter* Jefferson characterized the College of Geneva as one of the eyes of Europe, the University of Edinburgh being the other.
In the year 1783, Jefferson, although bowed with grief owing to the recent death of his wife, had with others endeavored to established a grammar school in Albemarle county, Virginia. A charter was obtained for this academy, in the year 1803, but it can hardly be said to have been fairly founded until the year 1814. In that year *“Washington's Works,” vol. xi., p. 473.
friends of education held a meeting and Jefferson, who was present, was elected one of the trustees of “Albemarle academy.” At another meeting Jefferson was appointed a member of a committee'to draught a petition to the Assembly of Virginia requesting that Virginia appropriate certain public lands in Albemarle county for the support of the institution. This he accordingly did, and also prayed the Legislature of Virginia to make a yearly appropriation of money for the support of this proposed seat of learning. He also requested that the institution should be allowed to call itself “Central College.” The Assembly of Virginia granted only a part of the petition; but, Central College came into life with a Board of Managers which included James Monroe, who was at the time President of the United States, ExPresidents Jefferson and Madison, and Joseph C. Cabell who when Governor of Virginia-as Monroe when Governor before him had done-had encouraged the people to establish a good school system for the State. Jefferson and Madison and Monroe, although they could very ill afford to do so, gave each a thousand dollars to the infant institution. Six other gentlemen gave each a thousand dollars to the college and other friends gave smaller amounts. Towards the college thirty-five thousand dollars was subscribed and money was raised by other means than by subscription.
In a communication to the Legislature of Virginia, dated Jan. 6th, 1818,-written by Jefferson and signed by Madison and Monroe and Cabell and by Jefferson and two other officers of Central College, the college was offered as a gift to the State of Virginia, providing the State would convert the college into a university. In this communication Jefferson pointed out that to found a university would require “ funds far beyond what can be