As the American Revolutionary War drew to a close, thousands of Loyalists gathered in New York City to await transportation to homes in other British colonies. Among these Loyalists were Charles Inglis, a former interim President of King's College, New York (Columbia University); Benjamin Moore, later President of Columbia; and Jonathan Odell, minister, poet and pamphleteer. These men were the visionaries of their day. In the midst of war, privation and exile, they drew up a plan for the future education of their sons in the wilderness. Recognizing that the new American nation would provide instruction only in revolutionary "Principles contrary to the British Constitution" and that the cost of an overseas education would be prohibitive, they urged the representatives of the British government to consider the "founding of a College... where Youth may receive a virtuous Education" in such things as "Religion, Literature, Loyalty, & good Morals..."
UNB began with a petition presented to Governor Thomas Carleton on Dec. 13, 1785. Headed by William Paine, the seven memorialists asked Carleton to grant a charter of incorporation for an "academy or school of liberal arts and sciences," which they maintained would result in many "public advantages and conveniences."