Education for Citizenship, December 21, 1803
To the Honourable, the General Assembly of Virginia
The Petition of the Subscribers Female and male Inhabitants of the town of Fredericksburg and of the surrounding County, humbly sheweth that urged by Compassion for the deplorable situation in which they saw many young and Indigent Females who were exposed to ignorance, Vice, and Infamy without a Friendly hand being stretched forth to save them from the worst and deepest State of Ruin. Your Petitioners instituted a subscription for the purpose of establishing a boarding School where those who stood in most need might receive some instruction and being secluded from the Haunts of Vice might be taught to pursue the Paths of Virtue. . . . Your Petitioners humbly pray that you will authorise them by Law to raise by Lottery the Sum of Five thousand Dollars. . . . When your Petitioners observe the Sedulous and Commendable Care which you Exhibit in the Education of the Young of your own Sex, when they every day hear you declare that Ignorance is the bane and Knowledge and Virtue the life of Free Government and of Human Happiness they cannot help saying to themselves that surely the Mothers of free men from whom the Infant mind receives its first and most lasting impressions should not be left to pine in Ignorance but should be made capable of discharging the duties attached to the important Station which they hold in Society. Under these impressions they present their Petition with a Confidence that it will not be rejected.