This tract was first printed at Philadelphia, in the year 1749. It was it illustrated by a large body of notes, being chiefly extracts from the best writers on education, such as Milton, Locke, Rollin, Turnbull, and others. The principal part of these notes was many years afterwards appended by the author to his Observations relative to the Intentions of the original Founders of the Academy in Philadelphia, (See Vol. II. p. 133.) The following "Advertisement to the Reader" is prefixed to the original edition of the PROPOSALS.
"It has long been regretted as a misfortune to the youth of this province, that we have no Academy, in which they might receive the accomplishments of a regular education. The following paper of hints towards forming a plan for that purpose, is so far approved by some public-spirited gentlemen, to whom it has been privately communicated, that they have directed a number of copies to be made by the press, and properly distributed, in order to obtain the sentiments and advice of men of learning, understanding, and experience in these matters; and have determined to use their interest and beat endeavours to have the scheme, when completed, carried gradually into execution; in which they have reason to, believe they shall have the hearty concurrence and assistance of many, who are well-wishers to their country. Those, who incline to favor the design with their advice, either as to the parts of learning to be taught, the order of study, the method of teaching, the economy of the school, or any other matter of importance to the success of the undertaking, are desired to communicate their sentiments as soon as may be, by letter, directed to B. Franklin, Printer, in Philadelphia."
Mr. Secretary Peters, speaking of the Academy in a letter to the Proprietaries, says; " Our Academy cuts a figure in print; the framers of the scheme have bought the new building and lot; they have raised an annual subscription for five years, which will amount to upwards of Pound 800 a year, and they are now altering the south half of the great building into four rooms for four masters; but what is to be done next, I cannot tell. Mr. Martin, it is said, was engaged some time ago to be the head master; but he has been in town, and, though we are good friends, and, at the importunity of Mr. Allen, I became a trustee, yet he has never opened his mouth to me about it. I asked Mr. Franklin, who is the soul of the whole, whether they would not find it difficult to collect masters. He said, with an air of firmness, that money would buy learning of all sorts, he was under no apprehensions about masters; but, for all his sanguine expectations, it is my opinion that they have undertaken what is too high for them, and will not be able to carry it on; not but that I heartily wish they may, and shall do all in my power to aid and spirit them up, but I find the matter is not understood." MS. Letter, February 17th, 1749. EDITOR