Text: Edgar Allan Poe (ed. J. A. Harrison), “Review of An Address Delivered Before the Students of William and Mary ,” The Complete Works of Edgar Allan PoeVol. IX: Literary Criticism - part 02 (1902), pp. 193-194


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[page 192:]

AN ADDRESS DELIVERED BEFORE THE STUDENTS OF WILLIAM AND MARY AT THE OPENING OF THE COLLEGE ON MONDAY, OCTOBER 10, 1836. BY THOMAS R. DEW, PRESIDENT, AND PROFESSOR OF MORAL AND POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY. PUBLISHED BY REQUEST OF THE STUDENTS. RICHMOND: T. W. WHITE.

[Southern Literary Messenger, October, 1836.]

OF the talents and great acquirements of Professor Dew it is quite unnecessary to speak. His accession to the Presidency of William and Mary is a source of hearty congratulation with all the real friends of the institution. Already we perceive the influence of his character, and unusual energy, in an increasing attention on the part of the public to the capabilities of this venerable academy — and in a re-assured hope of her ultimate prosperity. Indeed she had never more brilliant prospects than just now, and there can be little doubt that at least as many students as have ever entered, will enter this year. The number has at no time been very great it is true; and yet, in proportion to her alumni, this institution has given to the world more useful men than any other — more truly great statesmen. Perhaps the scenery and recollection of the place, the hospitable population, the political atmosphere, have all conspired to imbue the mind of the student at Williamsburg with a tinge of utilitarianism. Her graduates have always been distinguished by minds well adapted to business, and for the greatest efficiency of character. Some colleges may have equalled her in Physics and Mathematics — indeed we are aware of one institution, [page 193:] at least, which far surpasses her in these studies — but few can claim a rivalship with her in Moral and Political Science; and it should not be denied that these latter are the subjects which give the greatest finish to the mind, and exalt it to the loftiest elevation. To William and Mary is especially due the high political character of Virginia.

She is the oldest college in the Union save one, and even older than that, if we may date back to the establishment of an academy (one of some note) prior to the erection of the present buildings. Respect for her long and great services, and veneration for her ancient walls, will have weight among the people of Virginia. As efficient an education can now be procured in her lecture-room[[s]] as elsewhere in the Union. Her discipline is rigid, but relies strongly on the chivalry and honor of the Southern student. We will attempt to convey briefly some idea of the several professorial departments.

The plan embraces a course of general study which may be pursued to great advantage by all, without reference to the nature of the profession contemplated. Besides this the subject of Law is included. In the classical school is a preparatory department for elementary instruction. In the higher branch the attention of the student is confined to Horace, Cicero de Oratore, Terence, Juvenal, Livy and Tacitus; Xenophon’s Anabasis, Aeschylus, Herodotus, Euripides, Sophocles, Thucydides, and Homer. He will be required to read these works with facility, to master portions of history which may be referred to, and to acquire a thorough acquaintance with the whole Philosophy of the Latin and Greek Grammars. For a degree in the classical department it is necessary that the candidate should not [page 194:] only be a proficient in the studies just mentioned, but that he should obtain a certificate of qualification on the junior mathematical, rhetorical and historical courses. The classical graduate therefore, must be more than a mere Latin and Greek scholar. Besides this degree there are three others — those of A. B., B. L., and A. M. The courses necessary for the degree of A. B. embrace the four great departments of physics, morals, and politics. The degree of B. L. is not conferred for a mere knowledge of Laws. The candidate must have studied, besides the municipal law, the subject of government and national law, together with some exposition of our own system of government. He must, moreover, have obtained the Baccalaureate honor in this or some other institution, or else have attended a full course of lectures in some one of the scientific departments of William and Mary. The degree of A. M. (the highest honor conferred by the college) requires generally two years additional study after obtaining the bachelor’s degree, and in these two years all the studies pursued in the first portion of the collegiate career are amplified — the principles of science are now applied to facts. A school of civil engineering is most properly attached to the institution.

Would our limits permit, we would be proud to make long extracts from the excellent Address now before us. It is, as usual with every thing from the same source, comprehensive and eloquent, and full of every species of encouragement to the searcher after knowledge. We can well imagine the enthusiasm enkindled in the student by sentences such as these —

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Notes:

None.


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[S:1 - JAHCW, 1902] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Editions - The Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe (J. A. Harrison) (Review of An Address Delivered Before the Students of William and Mary )