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I do not know that the enclosed, or sentiments similar to them, are proper to be engrafted in the communications, which are to be made to the legislature of Virginia or to the gentlemen, who are named as trustees of the seminary, which is proposed to be established in the Federal City ; but, as it is an extract of what is contained in my Will on this subject, I send it merely for consideration. *
The shares in the different navigations are to be located and applied in the manner, which has been the subject of conversation. Yours, &c.
This paragraph is explained in the following extract from his Will. After stating the manner in which he became possessed of one hundred shares in the Company established for the purpose of extending the navigation of James River, and of fifty shares in the Potomac Company, (see Vol. IX. pp. 83, 142,) the former valued originally at ten thousand dollars, and the latter at five thousand pounds sterling, he adds ;
“I proceed, after this recital, for the more correct understanding of the case, to declare, that, as it has always been a source of serious regret with me to see the youth of these United States sent to foreign countries for the purposes of education, often before their minds were formed, or they had imbibed any adequate ideas of the happiness of their own; contracting, too frequently, not only habits of dissipation and extravagance, but principles unfriendly to republican government, and to the true and genuine liberties of mankind, which thereafter are rarely overcome ; for these reasons it has been my ardent wish to see a plan devised, on a liberal scale, which would have a tendency to spread systematic ideas through all parts of this rising empire, thereby to do away local attachments and State prejudices, as far as the nature of things would, or indeed ought to admit, from our national councils. Looking anxiously forward to the accomplishment of so desirable an object as this is (in my estimation), my mind has not been able to contemplate any plan more likely to effect the measure, than the establishment of a university in a central part of the United States, to which the youths of fortune and talents from all parts thereof might be sent for the completion of their education in all the branches of polite literature, in the arts and sciences, in acquiring knowledge in the principles of politics and good government; and, as a matter of infinite importance in my judgment, by associating with each other, and forming friendships in juvenile years, be enabled to free themselves in a proper degree from those local prejudices and habitual jealousies, which have just been mentioned, and which, when carried to excess, are never-failing sources
TO JOHN JAY.
Philadelphia, 18 December, 1794. DEAR SIR, Since writing to you by Mr. Bayard about the 1st of November, I have been favored with your letters of the 13th of September,* and 2d of October. As the sentiments contained in the last of those, respecting the communications of Mr. M— to the National Convention of France, were also transmitted in a private letter from you to the Secretary of State, and replied to, I shall dwell no longer on that subject, than just to observe, first, that, considering the place in which they were delivered, and the neutral policy this country had resolved to pursue, it was a measure that does not appear to have been well digested. Secondly, aware of this himself, and that his conduct would be criticized, he has assigned reasons for its adoption, the sum of which are, that the navy officers and privateersmen of France, who had resorted to our ports, and had been laid under such restrictions as neutral policy required, had represented this country, and not without effect, as unfriendly to the French Revolution. To do away which, he found himself necessitated to counteract them, by strong assurances of the good disposition we bore to the nation. And, thirdly, although I think with you, that he stepped over the line to accomplish it, yet, under the then existing circumstances, the measure was susceptible of two views, one of which, even in the pending state of the negotiation, might not have an unfavorable operation in bringing matters to a happy and speedy result, than which nothing is more desired, or can be more ardently wished for, by the friends of peace and good order in this country.
of disquietude to the public mind, and pregnant with mischievous consequences to this country. Under these impressions, so fully dilated,
“ I give and bequeath in perpetuity the fifty shares, which I hold in the Potomac Company (under the aforesaid acts of the legislature of Virginia) towards the endowment of a university to be established within the limits of the District of Columbia, under the auspices of the general government, if that government should incline to extend a fostering hand towards it; and until such seminary is established, and the funds arising on these shares shall be required for its support, my further will and desire is, that the profit accruing therefrom shall, whenever the dividends are made, be laid out in purchasing stock in the bank of Columbia, or some other bank, at the discretion of my executors, or by the treasurer of the United States for the time being, under the direction of Congress, provided that honorable body should patronize the measure ; and the dividends proceeding from the purchase of such stock are to be vested in more stock, and so on until a sum adequate to the accomplishment of the object is obtained, of which I have not the smallest doubt before many years pass away, even if no aid or encouragement is given by legislative authority, or from any other source.
“ The hundred shares, which I hold in the James River Company, I have given, and now confirm, in perpetuity, to and for the use and benefit of Liberty Hall Academy, in the county of Rockbridge, in the commonwealth of Virginia.”
This academy was incorporated in the year 1782. After Washington's intention had been officially communicated, the name was altered to that of Washington Academy, as appears by a letter from the trustees to him, dated April 12th, 1798. It retained the same name and rank till 1812, when it was chartered as a college, and called WashING'ION COLLEGE. For some time the James River stock was unproductive, but in the year 1821 it had so far increased in value, that the annual income from Washington's donation amounted to two thousand four hundred dollars.
* See this letter in the Life of John Jay, Vol. I. p. 338.
As the Secretary of State has written to you several times since the receipt of your statement of the negotiation on the 13th of September, I shall add nothing to the observations, which are contained in his letters on the subject thereof.
The business of the session hitherto has been tranquil; and I perceive nothing at this time to make it otherwise, unless the result of the negotiation, which is anxiously expected by all, should produce divisions. As yet, no details have been handed to Congress. In short, no communication has been made to that
A paragraph, of which the enclosed is a copy, is running through all our gazettes, accompanied with a report, that the United States are contemplated as mediator between France and England. To ascertain by what authority the first was inserted, Mr. Bache, in whose
paper it first appeared, has been two or three times called upon by the Secretary of State ; but no satisfaction has been obtained as yet. With respect to the other, it seems to have originated on the other side of the water, and is of a delicate nature; the very idea of which, under the present successes of the French arms, if the matter was ever contemplated by the other power, would, it is conceived, convey unpleasant sensations, and be considered in an evil light by that nation.
The Virginia escheats of British property do not, as I am informed, stand upon the ground that was related to you; but, as I am not accurately enough read in the law to be precise in my recital of it, I will request the Secretary of State to give you the principles of it. With very great esteem, I am, dear Sir, &c.
TO TOBIAS LEAR.
Philadelphia, 21 December, 1794. MY DEAR SIR, Your letter of the 17th instant was received yesterday, and I am glad to find, that an act of the Virginia Assembly has been obtained for prolonging the term for the completion of the inland navigation of the Potomac. The like I hope has been or will be obtained this session in the Assembly of Maryland.
* Now in Georgetown, having recently returned from Europe.
A good opportunity presenting itself on Thursday last, I embraced it to inquire of Mr. Morris if the directors of that company might entertain any hope of deriving aid from Mr. Weston's opinion, respecting the lock-seats at the Great Falls of that river.
His answer was; “Mr. Weston, from some peculiar circumstances attending their own concerns, had been prevented from visiting that spot, as was intended ; but that he was now expected to be in this city in a few days (as I understood), when he would propose and urge his going thither.”
The plan of Mr. Clairborne's engineer, as far as I understand it, is to avoid locks altogether. The vessels are received into a basket, or cradle, and let down by means of a lever and pulleys, and raised again by weight at the hinder extremity of the lever, which works on an axis at the top of a substantial post fixed about the centre of the lever. On this principle, but differently constructed, Mr. Greenleaf a few months ago showed me a model, of the efficacy of which he seemed to entertain the most exalted opinion. My doubts of the utility of both arise, first, from the insufficiency of any machinery of this sort to bear the weight of the cradle, when charged with water and a loaded boat therein, and its aptness to get out of order by means thereof ; secondly, I do not find that they are in general use ; and thirdly, because, if I recollect rightly, Mr. Weston has told me, but of this I am not certain, that no method of raising and lowering boats had been found equal to that of locks. Still, as I observed in my last, I should be for hearing the opinions and explanations of any and every scientific