Bracken v. Visitors of William & Mary College
Virginia Supreme Court
7 Va. 573 (1790)
The College of William and Mary was founded in Virginia in 1693 under a royal charter of incorporation. The charter established one president and six masters or professors for the college in the areas of divinity, philosophy, languages, and other arts and sciences. The charter further established Visitors for the college (defendants) and gave the Visitors the authority to establish rules, laws, statutes, and orders for the good of the college. In 1727, the Visitors passed a statute creating a Grammar School for the teaching of Latin and Greek languages and declaring that a master of the Grammar School be appointed. In 1777, the Visitors appointed Bracken (plaintiff) as the grammar master and professor. In 1779, the Visitors passed a statute discontinuing the Grammar School in an effort to focus the college’s curriculum on law, science, and modern languages. Therefore, Bracken was removed as grammar master and professor. Bracken filed for a writ of mandamus in the trial court, requesting that he be reinstated as a master and professor. The case was adjourned and transferred to the Virginia Supreme Court due to its difficulty.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning ()
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