Virginia Gazette, 2 August 1787

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Excerpt from "Historical and Genealogical Notes," William & Mary College Quarterly Historical Magazine 10, no. 4 (April 1902), 274.
In July, 1787, George Wythe placed an advertisement in Williamsburg's Virginia Gazette, that he would open a "school" at his home in October of that year, to tutor students interested in Latin and Greek, English poetry and prose, and arithmetic.[1]

Wythe's wife, Elizabeth, died on August 14, 1787. Wythe had left the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia early in June to attend to her in Williamsburg. Nevertheless, he went forward with his plans for tutoring, later that fall.

Littleton Waller Tazewell was one of Wythe's students during this time. Tazewell recalled in 1823, in his "An Account and History of the Tazewell Family" that the boarding of these students, while also teaching law at William & Mary, eventually proved too much for Wythe:

The necessary domestic duties occupied so much of his time, broke in upon his pursuits, and interrupted even his business and amusements. He was irritated and vexed by a thousand little occurrences he had never foreseen, and which any other would have guarded against. He could not bear and ought never to have subjected himself to any such burdens; He therefore by very properly decided to apply the only remedy, which was to break up his boarding establishment, and to live by himself. He could not forego the pleasure he derived from instructing others however; and in refusing to take any young gentlemen to live in his house he still suppressed a wish however to continue his instruction to any such as would attend him for that purpose.[2]

Article text, August 2, 1787

I purpose in October, when the next course of lectures in law and police will commence, to open a school for reading some of the higher Latin and Greek classics and the approved English poets and prose writers, and also for exercises in Arithmatic. George Wythe.[3]

See also


  1. Virginia Gazette and Weekly Advertiser (Williamsburg, VA), August 2, 1787. Cited by Thomas Hunter, "The Teaching of George Wythe," in The History of Legal Education in the United States: Commentaries and Primary Sources, Steve Sheppard, ed. (Pasadena, CA: Salem Press, 1999), 1:156; Quoted in Clarkin, Serene Patriot, supra note 3, at 174; Brown, American Aristides, supra note 3, at 219; and Dill, Wythe, Teacher of Liberty, supra note 3, at 65.
  2. Littleton Waller Tazewell, "An Account and History of the Tazewell Family" (1823), Mss. MsV Ad1, Special Collections Research Center, Swem Library, College of William and Mary, p. 135.
  3. "Historical and Genealogical Notes," William & Mary College Quarterly Historical Magazine 10, no. 4 (April 1902), 274. This article states the quoted advertisement appeared in the Gazette also in July of 1787.