We have now traced the history of the college from its beginnings in the action of the Bowdoinham association in September, 1810, to its culmination in the act of January, 1821. We have seen that the founders attempted twice to secure a college charter from the General Court of Massachusetts and failed. We have seen them accept a charter for a Literary and Theological Institution, under which they proceeded to set in operation what was essentially a college. We have read their statement to the public that students in the literary department of the new institution are "required to pursue, in general, the same course of studies as those are who enter the several colleges of this commonwealth." We have seen them vote to erect a "college edifice" on the "college land" in Waterville. We have seen them petition the first legislature of Maine for the right to grant "such degrees as are usually conferred by other colleges." on the ground that it was the "original design" of the Trustees to establish an institution of collegiate rank. And, finally, we have seen them ask for a name suited to the rank of the institution. So long as original documents have any historical value there can be but one conclusion regarding the purpose of the men who founded the Maine Literary and Theological Institution: They intended to set up a college, and in spite of great opposition they persevered until their purpose was accomplished.
In view of these facts the twenty-seventh day of February, 1813, has for us a new significance. It is the birthday of the college in a sense more real than any succeeding date can be, for on that day the corporation now known as Colby College came into existence, and from that day date the actual beginnings of the college. It is a day of which the centennial, on the twenty-seventh of next February, should be solemnly and worthily observed by all true friends of the college which then enters upon its second century of usefulness.