Petition of the citizens of Quebec for the establishment of a University
The following petition recently presented to his excellency the Lord Dorchester, is inserted by authority to his excellency the very Honourable Guy Lord Dorchester, Governor-General and Commander-in-chief in all the province of Quebec, etc, etc, etc.
From the undersigned, as much for themselves as for a number of citizens of the province of Quebec.
That the experience they have of the zeal and the attention of your lordship to provide for the happiness and prosperity of this province; that the conviction of the desire and inclinations of your excellency to extend sciences and to provide for an object of such a great importance as the education of the youth, of which we had an obvious proof by the order of reference of your excellency in the council of His Majesty in this province in the year 1787; and of the report of the committee of the council, which was drawn up on this object and was presented to your excellency.
That your suppliants have for a long time witnessed, with regret and complaint, the sad and humiliating state of sciences in this province;
That they have been without the means, by the lack of a university or college, to give a liberal education to the youth;
That on one side the great expense to which they were exposed by sending their youth to receive their education in Europe, and on the other side the danger which could result for them to send their children far away from the province, in the American States, to receive their education there, deprived a great number of them of these advantages which one enjoys in most parts of His Majesty's estates.
That though your suppliants, by the childhood situation of the province and their little capacity, see great difficulties and obstacles opposing the building and achievement of an such a necessary and useful institution; nevertheless when they consider the benevolence and the protection of His Majesty, the insurance of the auspices of your excellency, the generosity of the nation to which they belong and the encouragement and assistance that it has always granted to similar institutions, added to the gift and legacy of Simon Sanguinet, esquire, formerly of the town of Montreal, whom by his will, dated the fourteenth day of last March, bequeathed the seigniory of la Salle, and other properties, for the use of a university to be established in this province; they foresee, with confidence and hope, the establishment and perfection of a university.
Consequently, your suppliants humbly request your excellency that a university bet set up in this province, in which the youth could be educated in languages and sciences (excluding theology) and that the said university be established on the the most liberal principles and terms; That it be free and opened to all Christian denominations, without any regard to the different principles of religion, and that your excellency be so kind as to grant them a charter of His Majesty to set up and establish a university in this province of Quebec, under the name and title of Université de la Province de Québec (University of the Province of Quebec), and that it be established in such a place and under such rules that will appear suitable to His Majesty.
Moreover, your suppliants represent humbly to your lordship, that since the goods of the dissolved order of the Jesuits in this province, and their college, were originally granted and conceded for the education of the youth; they humbly request that the said goods, or such portion of these which will appear to be right and equitable to His Majesty, be granted for the usage of the said university, as a foundation; or as a donation.
And they also request that if it so pleases your excellency to grant and concede for this purpose such quantities and portions of His Majesty's not-conceded lands in this province which your excellency will judge necessary.
And your suppliants will not cease to request, etc. etc. etc.
Octobre 31, 1790
- This is the unofficial translation of a petition originally entitled Pétition de citoyens de la province de Québec pour l'établissement d'une université and printed in Page 1 of The Quebec Gazette/La Gazette de Québec on November 4, 1790.
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