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rature and science; and opened the path from obscurity to renown, for some of the greatest statesmen of their


He did much that, in concurrence with other causes to be mentioned, brought about the Revolution in Virginia. He wished well to the colony, and laboured like a patriot, in all probability unconscious of the effects to be produced by his labours. He sought for mental improvement as a means to advance morals and religion. He accomplished what he designed, and unthinkingly perhaps, put in motion a mighty engine to shake the throne and set conscience free. He was the father of successful literary enterprise in Virginia, and all the South. Commonly called Commissary Blair, his glory is in being the founder of William and Mary College. Mr. Blair was born in Scotland, in the year 1665. Having a liberal Scotch education, he obtained a benefice in the Established Church of England, as set up in Scotland by the Stuarts. That form of government was never acceptable to the great body of the Scotch; and much less so were the ceremonies of worship. Mr. Blair, unwilling to perform the ministrations of his office amidst discontent and constant uneasiness, left Scotland, hoping to find in England an opportunity to labour in usefulness and peace. This was some time in the reign of Charles the Second. Compton, Bishop of London, made choice of him as a missionary to the Colonies, and prevailed on him to sail for Virginia in 1685. Mr. Blair's ministerial labours and general deportment in Virginia being highly acceptable to the planters and government officers, a favourable report of him reached the Bishop of London. When Sir Francis Nicholson was, in 1689, made Lieutenant-Governor of Virginia, the Bishop made Mr. Blair his Commissary. The Governor publicly entered upon his office June 30, 1690. The next day, says Burke, the commission of Mr. Blair as Commissary was laid before the Council. The Commissary was the Bishop's deputy with limited powers. He might hold conventions of the clergy for the discipline of the Church, and might visit churches for that purpose; but could not ordain Priests or Deacons, or depose delinquent church officers, or confirm communicants. The office was more burdensome than profitable, and required peculiar talents for government. It gave Mr. Blair some advantage in his efforts to build a college, as he appeared as the representative of the Bishop of London. The salary was £100 from the quit rents.

The wants of the country deeply affected his mind before he became Commissary; and he had also contemplated the true remedy which was, in part, with the powers in England, and in part, with him in Virginia. To his part he addressed himself with all his strength. With the installation of the Governor and the proclamation of his own commission as Commissary,

he brought forward his proposition for a College for Protestant Virginia. A subscription paper headed by the Governor and his Council soon amounted to 25001. In the first assembly held by Nicholson, in 1691, the project of the College was highly approved and recommended to the patronage of their majesties ; and Commissary Blair was appointed to present the address. Their majesties William and Mary highly approved the plan of the College; and sent over an ample charter by Governor Andress, bearing date February 14th, 1792. The Bishop of London was Chancellor, Mr. Blair President, with six professors, for Latin, Greek, Mathematics, Moral Philosophy, Divinity, and for the instruction of Indians. The name was William and Mary. The preamble of the charter says“ their trusty and well beloved subjects, constituting the General Assembly of the colony of Virginia, have had it in their minds, and have proposed to themselves, to found and establish a certain place of universal study, or perpetual college of Divinity, philosophy, languages, and other good arts and sciences-to the end that the church of Virginia may be furnished 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 corporation might hold property to the amount of 20001. a year. Trustees were appointed, with full powers, to act till the College was completed; the whole then to pass into the hands of the President and Professors who were then to become a corporation. Their Majesties endowed the College with about 20001. quit rents due them from the colony ; with 20,000 acres of land; with the place of the Surveyor General of the colony, then vacant, worth about 501. per annum; with the duty of a penny a pound on all tobacco exported to the sister colonies, worth about 2001. per annum; and the privilege of a Burgess in the Assembly. The Assembly of Virginia added the duty on skins and furs, worth about 100l. per annum; and from time to time made other liberal donations. The legislature determined that the College should not be located as first designed, at Townsends lands, but at Middle Plantations, near the church. This place was afterwards chosen as the capital, and named Williamsburg. The foundation of the College was immediately laid, in the form of a square; and two sides completed and occupied for purposes of instruction.

In erecting this College, Mr. Blair exhibited a patience and perseverance worthy of all praise. Colleges in colonies were not then popular either in England or the colonies themselves. In England many said,—“Let the colonists attend to the productions of the earth, and look to England for learning and learned men.” When pressed on the subject of religion in the colony, one of the lords of trade imprecated a curse upon their souls" let them make tobacco.” In the colony those who thought they would lose by the application of the imports, as directed by their majesties, opposed the College. They said in the colony, that the planters, by means of the College and schools, would be drawn from their business, and the colony would become poor; and to the powers in England that the colonists would become too knowing to be obedient and submissive subjects. Mr. Blair urged that the English born in the colony were capable of everything, if provided with the means of a good education ; that as Virginia lay between the colonies north and south, her College might be a common nursery; and that the native colonists would be put in a way of further improvement. He also insisted on the advantages arising to religion from such an institution, both in the colony, and also among the Indians on its borders. The christianising the Indians was a favourite project with the pious in England. Robert Boyle made a handsome donation to the College, to secure the education of young Indians, and their conversion to Christianity. He called the professorship, “ Brafferton” from an estate in England purchased with the money, the income of which was to support the professor.

After sixteen years of labour, the College was in successful operation, with this drawback, that the scholars were mostly young beginners. Boys commencing their education, were sent to the professor of languages, and the College wore the aspect of an academy or high-school. More advanced scholars would not attend with these young beginners in a young institution. This difficulty arose from the want of proper schools, primary and classical, and could be remedied only by their multiplication. A greater drawback was from a fire, in 1705, during the short administration of Governor Nott. “Very little saved that was in it," says Beverly, “the fire breaking out about 10 o'clock at night, in a public time. The Governor, and all the gentlemen in town came up to the lamentable spectacle, many getting out of their beds. But the fire had got such power, before it was discovered, and was. so fierce, that there were no hopes of putting a stop to it, and therefore no attempts made to that end.”

The College, which was commenced in Henrico, in the early days of the colony, after receiving many endowments, was abandoned after the massacre by the Indians in 1622; and with it the high-school in Charles city, called the East India School, to be connected with the College, was given up. The act for a college, passed in 1662, existed on paper; and now the College of William and Mary, after the labours of sixteen years, was consumed. Mr. Blair was not discouraged. Under Governor Spottswood's ad

ministration, and by the favour of that gentleman, a new edifice was erected, and the College exercises resumed. Beverly says that Spottswood was a friend of the Indians. 66 There had been a donation of large sums of money, by the Hon. Robert Boyle, Esq., to this college, for the education of Indian children therein. In order to make use of this, they had formerly brought half a dozen of captive Indian children, slaves, and put them into the College. This method did not satisfy this Governor, as not answering the intent of the donor, so to work he goes among the tributary and other neighbouring Indians, and in a short time brought them to send their children to be educated; and brought new nations, some of which lived four hundred miles off, taking their children for hostages and education equally, at the same time setting up a school in the frontiers convenient to the Indians, that they might often see their children under the first managements, where they learnt to read, paying fifty pounds per annum out of his own pocket to the schoolmaster there; after which they were brought to the College, where they were taught till they grew big enough for their hunting and other exercises, at which time they returned home and smaller ones were taken in their stead.” To the honour of the founders of the “University at Henrico" and of William and Mary College, the education of the Indian youth formed an important integral part of their plan, and was pursued with commendable spirit. But, as in the case of the school of Dr. Wheelock, and of Dartmouth College, comparatively little was effected by the benevolent effort. There was one difficulty never surmounted. The educated Indian must either abandon his nation, or live among barbarians. If he abandoned his country, the object of his education, influence over his nation for civilization, was lost. If he went to the barbarians, he must live single or take a savage for his wife, or do what was not thought of for a moment, marry a white woman. Modern efforts for the civilization of Indians are carried on in a different way marked out by experience, and embrace the education of females.

Besides performing the duties of Commissary and President of the College, Mr. Blair found time to write for the press. In 1722 there was published“Our Saviour's Divine Sermon on the Mount, contained in the 5th, 6th and 7th chapters of St. Matthew's Gospel, Explained: And the practice of it recommended in divers Sermons and Discourses. In four volumes. By James Blair, Commissary of Virginia, President of William and Mary College, and Rector of Williamsburgh in that colony." A second edition corrected by the author, and published under the care of Dr. Waterland, was made in the year 1739. The Doctor prefixed a recommendatory notice. He says that noblest of subjects, the Saviour's Sermon on the Mount, “is here explained with good judgment, so it appears likewise to be pressed with due force; in a clear, easy, yet masculine style, equally fitted to the capacities of common Christians, and the improved understanding of the knowing and judicious.” He observes also~"how happy a talent the author had in deciding points of great moment in a very few plain words, but the result of deep consideration, and discovering great compass of thought. Dr. Doddridge, the Dissenter, author of the Family Expositor, in his Exposition, refers to Mr. Blair as a writer of authority="Mr. Blair in his excellent discourses on this chapter has shown, what a beautiful correspondence there is between the characters described in these beatitudes, and the blessings connected with them.”. And again commenting on the doxology in. the Lord's prayer, he says-"yet it is certainly very ancient; and as Bishop Hopkins, Mr. Blair, and other excellent writers have well observed, so admirably suits, and enforces every preceding petition, that I could not persuade myself to omit it.

Mr. Whitefield passed through Virginia in 1740, about three years before the death of Mr. Blair. In his journal for December 15th he says-“Paid my respects to Mr. Blair, Commissary of Virginia. His discourse was savory, such as tended to the use of edifying. He received me with joy, asked me to preach, and wished my stay were longer.”

' Mr. Blair's labours in Virginia was not to prevent his people leaning to dissent from the established church, for, except the few colonies of Presbyterians that were on the frontiers, and the German settlement on the Rappahannoc, and the Huguenots on the Jạmes, none of which caused any alarm, he knew nothing of dissent, in practice. His great labour was to supply Virginia with educated men, and the church with a proper ministry. As far as he succeeded he did the work of a true churchman and patriot.

Mr. Blair died, August 1st, 1743, aged eighty eight years. He had been a missionary fifty-eight years, and a minister of the gospel about sixty-two years; had acted as Commissary fifty-four years, and Presdent of the College fifty years. William and Mary is his enduring monument. The influence of that institution on the colony was gentle in its first operations; its advance regular, and yet quite imperceptible, at any one time. We cannot say we see its action till the time of the Revolution. There is no evidence that disloyalty was ever uttered from a Professor's chair. But there is evidence, that literature, and science, and religion, acting upon youthful minds, in this colony, remote from the fascinations of royalty, made republicans. The College was in its organization Epis

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