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Halifax, October 30. From The North-Carolina Journal Vol. II, No. 68 (October 30, 1793): Electronic Edition.

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Source Description:
(article) Halifax, October 30.
(serial) The North-Carolina Journal Vol. II, No. 68 (October 30, 1793) 1 p.
Halifax, N.C.
Hodge & Wills

Call number VC071 N87j (North Carolina Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)

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Page 2

HALIFAX, October 30.

        On the 12th inst. the Commissioners appointed by the Board of Trustees of the University of this state, met at Chappel-Hill for the purpose of laying the corner-stone of the present building, and disposing of the lots in the village. A large number of the brethren of the Masonic order from Hillsborough, Chatham, Granville and Warren, attended to assist at the ceremony of placing the corner-stone; and the procession for this purpose moved from Mr. Patterson's at 12 o'clock, in the following order; The Masonic Brethren in their usual order of procession, the Commissioners, the Trustees not Commissioners, the Hon. Judge Macay and other public officers, then followed the gentlemen of the vicinity. On approaching the south end of the building, the Masons opened to the right and left, and the Commissioners, &c. passed through and took their place. The Masonic procession then moved on round the foundation of the building, and halted with their usual ceremonies opposite to the south-east corner, where WILLIAM RICHARDSON DAVIE, Grand-Master of the fraternity, &c. in this state, assisted by two Masters of lodges and four other officers, laid the corner-stone, enclosing a plate to commemorate the transaction.

        The Rev. Dr. M'Corkle then addressed the Trustees and spectators in an excellent discourse suited to the occasion; of which the following is an extract--Observing on the natural and necessary connexion between learning and religion, and the importance of religion to the promotion of national happiness and national undertakings, he said, "It is our duty to acknowledge that sacred scriptural truth. 'Except the Lord do build the house, they labour in vain who build it; except the Lord watcheth the city, the watchmen walketh but in vain.' For my own part. I feel myself penetrated with a sense of these truths, and this I feel not only as a minister of religion, but also as a citizen of the state, as a member of civil as well as religious society.--These unaffected feelings of my heart give me leave to express with that plainness and honesty which becomes a preacher of the gospel, and a minister of Jesus Christ."

        Stating the advancement of learning and science as one great mean of ensuring the happiness of mankind, the Doctor observed, "Happiness is the center to which all the duties of man and people tend. It is the center to which states as well as individuals are universally and powerfully attracted. To diffuse the greatest possible degree of happiness in a given territory, is the aim of good government and religion.--Now the happiness of a nation depends upon national wealth and national glory, and cannot be gained without them. They in like manner demand liberty and good laws. Liberty and laws call for general knowledge in the people, and extensive knowledge in the ministers of the state, and these in fine demand public places of education.--That happiness is the object of all, I believe will be denied by none. Nations and men are seeking for it. How can any nation be happy without national wealth? How can that nation or man be happy that is not procuring and securing the necessary conveniences and accommodations of life? ease without indolence, and plenty without luxury or want. How can glory or wealth be procured or preserved without liberty and laws? They must check luxury, encourage industry, and protect wealth. They must secure me the glory of my actions, and save from a bow-string or a bastile--and how are these objects to be gained without general knowledge. Knowledge is wealth,--it is glory--whether among philosophers, ministers of state or religion, or among the great mass of the people. Britons glory in the name of a Newton, and have honoured him with a place among the sepulchres of their kings. Americans glory in the name of a Franklin, and every nation boasts her great men who has them. Savages cannot have, rather cannot educate them, though many a Newton has been born and buried among them. 'Knowledge is liberty and law. When the clouds of ignorance are dispelled by the radiance of knowledge, power trembles, but the authority of the laws remains inviolable.' And how this knowledge, productive of so many advantages to mankind, can be acquired without public places of education, I know not."

        In viewing the rise and progress of this important institution, he concluded with these observations--"The seat of the University was next sought for, and the public eye selected Chappel-Hill--a lovely situation--in the center of the state--at a convenient distance from the capital--in a healthy and fertile neighbourhood. May this hill be for religion as the antient hill of Zion; and for literature and the muses, may it surpass the antient Parnassus!--We this day enjoy the pleasure of seeing the corner-stone of the University, its foundations, its materials, and the architects of the building; and we hope ere long to see its stately walls and spire ascending to their summit--ere long we hoye to see it adorned with an elegant village, accommodated with all the necessaries and conveniencies of civilized society."

        This discourse was followed by a short but animated prayer, closed with the united AMEN of an immense concourse of people.

        The Commissioners then proceeded to sell the lots in the village, and we have the pleasure to assure the public, that although there were but twenty-nine lots, they sold for upwards of one thousand five hundred pounds, which shews the high idea the public entertain of this agreeable and healthful situation.

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