“At a convocation of the visitors of the college of William and Mary,” (December 18, 1779)


On December 18, 1779, in the Virginia Gazette, the College of William and Mary announced cost-saving measures to be enacted at the college as a result of depreciating funds.


At a convocation of the visitors of the college of William and Mary, on the 4th day of December 1779, a statute was passed, of which the following is an extract.

The friends of the college being no longer competent to support so extensive an institution, as that which the charter recommends; and when science at large cannot be cultivated, that scheme of education being most proper, which is more immediately subordinate to the leading objects of society:

The scanty stipend lately paid by each scholar for commons, having occasioned a considerable expense,––

It being just, that students inducted into the several scholarships should be equally affected by the depreciation of money, with the college, since the original donations on which they were founded, cannot be disposed of, but at a depreciated rate,

Experience having proved that the rarer parts of science have been obstructed in their progress by the maintenance of a grammar school within the fame; the learning of which may be acquired elsewhere, in a much shorter time,

And the necessities of the college rendering it expedient to multiply the sources of revenue by every possible means,

Let there be therefore six professorships; the first of which shall be, Law and Police; the second, Anatomy and Medicine; the third, Natural Philosophy and Mathematics; the fourth, Moral Philosophy, the laws of Nature and of Nations, and the Fine Arts; the fifth, Modern Languages; and the sixth for Brafferton.

The particular method of instruction, to be [illegible] in each school, shall be subject to the control of the President and Professors, with a committee of six of the visitors, conferring and voting together from time to time on that subject; their meetings [can]be called by the President, or by a majority of the said committee.

Each Professor, except the master of Brafferton, shall receive from each student who attends him one thousand pounds of tobacco annually.

Commons shall cease at college. The President and Professors shall allow to some sober and [discreet] male person the use of the college kitchen and garden. They shall also hire to him the negroes accustomed to labour in the same, taking bond with security[.] He shall furnish the several students with the different meals, at such price as the President and Professors shall establish from time to time, to be paid by the students themselves.

Such students as have been, or shall be, inducted into scholarships, created on private [donations] actually paid or established by the General Assembly, shall receive, while they remain at college, the interest of the original sum, at the rate of five per centum per annum, and no more; and scholarships, founded on donations not yet paid, shall be admitted on the same conditions only.

The grammar school shall be discontinued.

A sufficient number of slaves shall be reserved for cleaning the college, and if any remain after such reservation, and hiring of the slaves belonging to the garden and kitchen as aforesaid, they shall be hired out at public auction.

This statute shall commence in force on the twenty-fifth day of December, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and seventy nine.

APA Citation:
Virginia Gazette. “At a convocation of the visitors of the college of William and Mary,” (December 18, 1779). (2020, December 07). In Encyclopedia Virginia.
MLA Citation:
Virginia Gazette. "“At a convocation of the visitors of the college of William and Mary,” (December 18, 1779)" Encyclopedia Virginia. Virginia Humanities, (07 Dec. 2020). Web. 30 May. 2024
Last updated: 2020, December 07
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