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“ It is hoped and expected that the trustees will make it their pleasure, and in some degree their business, to visit the academy often; to encourage and countenance the youth, to countenance and assist the inasters, and by all means in their power, advance the usefulness and reputation of the design; that they will look on the stưdents as, in some measure, their own children, treat them with familiarity and affection; and when they have behaved well, gone through their studies, and are to enter the world, they shall zealously unite, and make all the interest that can be made to promote and establish them, whether in business, offices, marriages, or any other thing for their advantage, in preference to all other persons whatsoever, even of equal merit."
The constitution being signed and made public, with the names of the gentlemen proposing themselves as trustees and founders, the design was so well approved of by the public-spirited citizens of Philadelphia, that the sum of eight hundred pounds per annum, for five years, was in the course of a few weeks subscribed for carrying it into execuLion; and in the beginning of January following (viz. 1750) three of the schools were opened, nameby the Latin and Greek schools, the mathematical school, and the English school. In pursuance of an article in the original plan, a school for edu. cating sixty boys and thirty girls (in the charter since called the Charitable School) was opened ; and, amidst all the difficulties with which the trustees have struggled in respect to their funds, has still been continued full for the space of forty years; so that allowing three years education for cach boy and girl admitted into it, which is the general rule, at least twelve hundred children have received in it the chief part of their education, who might otherwise, in a great measure, have been left without the means of instruction. And many of those who have been thus educated, are now to be found among the inost useful and reputable citizens of this state.
This institution, thus successfully begun, conunued daily to flourish, to the great satisfaction of
Dr. Franklin; who, notwithstanding the multipli. city of his other engagements and pursuits, at that busy stage of his life, was a constant attendant at the monthly visitations and examinations of the schools, and made it his particular study, by means of his extensive correspondence abroad, to advance the reputation of the seminary, and to draw students and scholars to it froin the different parts of America and the West Indies. Through the inter position of his benevolent and learned friend, Peter Collinson of London, upon the application of the trustees, a charter of incorporation, dated July 13, 1753, was obtained from the honourable proprietors of Pennsylvania, Thomas Penn, and Richard Penn, Esqrs. accompanied with a liberal benefaction of five hundred pounds sterling; and Dr. Franklin now began in good earnest to please himself with the hopes of a speedy accomplishment of his original design, viz. the establishment of a perfect inSuitution, upon the plan of the European colleges and universities; for which his academy was in. tended as a nursery or foundation. To elucidate this fact, is a matter of considerable importance in respect to the memory aud character of Dr. Frank. lin as a philosopher, and as the friend and patron of learning and science; for, notwithstanding what is expressly declared by him in the preamble to the constitutions, viz. that the academy was begun for “ teaching the Latin and Greek languages, with all useful branches of the arts and sciences, suitable to the state of an infant country, and laying a foundation for posterity to erect a seminary of learning more extensive, and suitable to their fu ture circumstances;" yet it has been suggested o late, as upon Dr. Franklin's authority, that the Latin and Greek, or the dead languages, are an incumbrance upon a scheme of liberal education, and that the ingrafting or founding a college, or more extensive seminary, upon his academy, was without his approbation or agency, and gave him discontent. If the reverse of this does not already appear from what has been quoted above, the following letters will put the matter beyond dispute. « SIR,
They were written by him to a gentleman, who had at that time published the idea of a college, suited to the circumstances of a young country (meaning New-York) a copy of which having been sent to Dr. Franklin for his opinion, gave rise to that core respondence which terminated about a year afterwards, in erecting the college upon the foundation of the academy, and establishing that gentleman at the head of both, where he still continues, after a period of thirty-six years, to preside with distin. guished reputation.
From these letters also, the state of the academy, at that time will be seen.
“ Philad. April 19, 1753. " I received your favour of the 11th instant, with your new piece* on Education, which I shall carefully peruse, and give you my sentiments of it, as you dosire, by next post.
“I believe the young gentlemen, your pupils, may be entertained and instructed here, in mathematics and philosophy, to satisfaction. Mr. Alisont (who was educated at Glasgow) has been long accustomed to teach the latter, and Mr. Grews the former, and I think their pupils make great progress. Mr. Alison has the care of the Latin and Greek school, but as he has now three good assistants,ll he can very well afford some hours every day for the instruction of those who are engaged in higher studies. The mathema. tical school is pretty well furnished with instruments. The Engiish library is a good one; and we have belonging to it a middling apparatus for experimental philosophy, and propose speedily to complete it. The Loganian library, one of the best collections in Ame: tica, will shortly be opened; so that neither books nor instruments will be wanting ; and as we are determined always to give good salaries, we have reason to believe we may have always an opportunity of choosing good masters; upon which, indeed, the success of the whole depends. We are obliged to you for your kind offers in this respect, and when you are settled in England, we may occasionally make use of your friendship and judgment
* A general idea of the college of Mirania.
† The Rev. and learned Mr. Francis Alison afterwards D. D: and vice-provost of the college.
* Mr. Theophilus Grew, afterwards professor of mathematica in the college.
U Those assistants were at that time, Mr. Charles Thomson, lata recretary of congress, Mr. Paul Jackgoland Mr. Jacob Ducbe.
“ If it suits your convenience to visit Philadelphia before you return to Europe, I shall be extremely glad to see and converse with you here, as well as to correspond with you after your settlement in England; for an acquaintance and communication with men of leaming, virtue, and public spirit, is one of my greatest enjoyments.
"I do not know whether you ever happened to see the first proposals I made for erecting this acadeiny. I send them inclosed. They had (however imperfect) the desired success, being followed by a subscription of four thousand pounds, towards carrying them into execution. And as we are fond of receiving advice, and are daily improving by experience, I am in hopes we shall, in a few years, see a perfect institution.
“I am, very respectfully, &c.
«B. FRANKLIN. Mr. W. Smith, Long Island.”
“ Philad. May, 3. 1753. “Sir, “Mr. Peters has just now been with me, and we have compared noies on your new piece. We find nothing in the scheine of education, however excellent, but what is, in our opinion very practicable. The great difficulty will be to find the Aratus,* and other suitable persons, to carry it into execution : but such may be had if proper encouragement be given. We have both received great pleasure in the perusal of it. For my part, I know not when I have read a piece that has more affected me--so noble and just are the sentimenrs, so warm and animated the language; yet as censure from your friends may be of more use, as well as more agreeable to you than praise, I ought to mention, that I wish you had omitted not only the quotation from the Review,* which you are now justly dissatisfied with, but those expressions of resentment against your adversaries, in pages 65 and 79. In such cases, the noblest vic. tory is obtained by neglect, and by shining on.
* The name given to the principal or head of the ideal college, the system of education in which hath nevertheless been nearly realized, or followed as a model, in the college and academy of Philadelphia, xud some other American seminaries for several years past
“Mr. Allen has been out of town these ten days; but before he went he directed me to procure him six copies of your piece. Mr. Peters has taken ten. He proposed to have written to you; but omits it, as he expects so soon to have the pleasure of seeing you here. He desires me to present his affectionate com. pliments to you, and to assure you, that you will be very welcoine to him. I shall only say, that you may depend on my doing all in my power to make your visit to Philadelphia agreeable to you.'
"I am, &c. " Mr. Smith.
“ Philad. Nov, 27, 1753. " DEAR SIR, “ Having written you fully, via Bristol, I have now little to add. Matters relating to the academy re. main in statu quo. The trustees would be glad to see a rector established there, but they dread entering into new engagements till they are got out of debt; and I have not yet got them wholly over to my opinion, that a good professor, or teacher of the higher branches of learning, would draw so many scholars as to pay great part, if not the whole of bis salary.
* The quotation alloded to ( from the London Moathly Review for 1749 ) was judged to reflect too severely on the discipline and government of the English universities of Ozford and Cambridge, and was expunged from the following editions of this work.