ONE REASON why the ruling class in Virginia acted with such unanimity in the Convention of 1776 and other crises of the Revolution was that a large proportion of them had received the same kind of education. This usually came first from clergymen of the established church, who added to the scanty subsistence of their livings by teaching. Happily, these were the better class of parsons, the others not having the industry or stability necessary for the task. From this schooling the regular course was to go to "Their Majesties' Royal College of William and Mary," which was one of the four chief colleges of the colonies, the other three being Harvard, Yale and Princeton. To call the names of notable Virginians in the Revolution is almost to call a roll of graduates of William and Mary. Peyton Randolph, Richard Bland, Benjamin Harrison, Archibald Cary, Paul Carrington, William Cabell, George Wythe, Thomes Jefferson, Edmund Randolph, James Monroe, James McClurg, were all William and Mary men. Seven of the eleven members of the Committee of Correspondence appointed March 12, 1773; six out of eleven of the Committee of Safety appointed by the Virginia Convention of 1775; eleven out of thirty-two of the committee that drew up the Declaration of Rights, and four of the seven Virginia members who signed the Declaration of Independence were from that college. The small proportion of well-to-do Virginia boys who went elsewhere were educated in England or by private tutors, and still fewer went to the Pennsylvania colleges or to the College of New Jersey.*

"William and Mary Quarterly," VII, 1et seq.


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The Life of James Madison
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