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Sequester'd vales at thy approach shall sing,
A GENERAL IDEA
COLLEGE OF MIRANIA.
TO THE TRUSTEES BY LAW APPOINTED, FOR RECEIVING PROPO
SALS, RELATING TO THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A COLLEGE IN
To every one that has the interest and reputation of this province at heart, particularly to you, it must give a very sensible satisfaction to find, at length, the general attention drawn towards the establishing a public seminary in it, under the patronage of the government, for the institution of youth in the liberal arts and sciences.
The day appointed for the meeting of the general assembly now draws near; when, in consequence of a vote of last sessions, this important affair will be the subject of their deliberations. And, as the plan or idea of the whole institution ought, first of all, to be fixed, that every step they take may uniformly tend to the execution of the same, I thought it my duty to contribute my best endeavours to this end, as well on account of what I owe to the public, as to satisfy the expectations of some gentlemen who have, at all times, a right to command me.
While I was ruminating on the constitutions of several colleges, which I had either personally visited,
or read of, without being able to fix on any, which I could wholly recommend as a model for us at present, I chanced to fall into the company of a valuable young gentleman, named Evander, who is a person of some distinction, of the province of Mirania. After some conversation on learned topics, he was led to give me an account of a seminary established about twelve years ago in that province, which I thought admirably well suited to our circumstances, and therefore I have offered it to your consideration and improvement.
Mirania, gentlemen, is one of the provinces of the New World, first settled by our countrymen, the English, about a century ago. In what degree of latitude it lies is of no importance. I am not to write its history, but only to give a general account of its college, and the method of education practised in it; which, as nearly as I can remember, I shall do in Evander's own words, being sensible that every deviation from them would be a defect. After a modest apology, with which I shall not trouble you, he began as follows:-
EVANDER'S ACCOUNT OF THE COLLEGE OF MIRANIA.
IT had been the peculiar happiness of my countrynien, ever since their first settlement, to enjoy an uninterrupted tranquillity; at peace with their neighbours, unrivalled in their trade, and blest in the administration of a succession of mild and just governors, who had the real interest of the province at heart. These farourable circumstances had, from
time to time, besides constant supplies from the mother-country, invited over vast numbers of foreigners, who, quitting their native land, sought a calm retreat in Mirania; where, under the protection of wise and equal laws, they might enjoy the rights of conscience, and the fruits of their own labour.
Thus, about twelve years ago, the Miranians saw themselves a mighty and Aourishing people, in possession of an extensive country, capable of producing all the necessaries and many of the superfluities of life. They reflected that the only method of making these natural advantages of lasting use to themselves and posterity, the only infallible source of tranquillity, happiness and glory, was to contrive and execute a proper scheme for forming a succession of sober, virtuous, industrious citizens, and checking the course of growing luxury. They were convinced that, without a previous good education, the best laws are little better than verba minantia, and would often be infringed by powerful villainy; that the magistrate can at best but frighten vice into a corner, and that it is education alone which can mend and rectify the heart.
They saw also, that, among the foreigners, who were as numerous as the English themselves, many distinctions were forming upon their different customs, languages and extractions, which, by creating separate interests, might, in the issue, prove fatal to government. They wisely judged, therefore, that nothing could so much contribute to make such a mixture of people coalesce and unite in one common