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The sincerity of our gratitude must be tested by our efforts to perpetuate and improve what they established. The gratitude of lips only is an unholy offering.”]

The three following propositions described the broad and everenduring foundation on which the common-school system of Massachusetts reposes:

The successive generations of men, taken collectively, constitute one great Commonwealth.

The property of this Commonwealth is pledged for the education of all its youth up to such a point as will save them from poverty and vice, and prepare them for the adequate performance of their social and civil duties.

The successive holders of this property are trustees, bound to the faithful execution of their trust by the most sacred obligations; because embezzlement and pillage from children and descendants are as criminal as the same offenses when perpetrated against contemporaries.

Recognizing these eternal principles of national ethics, the constitution of Massachusetts—the fundamental law of the State-after declaring (among other things), in the preamble to the first section of the fifth chapter, that “the encouragement of arts and sciences and all good literature tends to the honor of God, the advantage of the Christian religion, and the great benefit of this and the other United States of America," proceeds in the second section of the same chapter to set forth the duties of all future legislatures and magistrates, in the following noble and impressive language:

“Wisdom and knowledge, as well as virtue, diffusell generally among the body of the people, being necessary for the preservation of their rights and liberties, and as these depend on spreading the opportunities and advantages of education in the various parts of the country, and among the different orders of the people, it shall be the duty of legislators and magistrates, in all future periods of this Commonwealth, to cherish the interests of literature and the sciences, and all seminaries of them, especially the University of Cambridge, public schools, and grammar schools in the towns; to encourage private societies and public institutions, rewards and immunities, for the promotion of agriculture, arts, sciences, commerce, trades, manufactures, and a natural history of the country; t) countenance and inculcate the principles of humanity and general benevolence, public and private charity, industry and frugality, honesty and punctuality in their dealings; sincerity, good humor, and all social affections and generous sentiments among the people.”'.?

EDUCATION IN PLYMOUTH COLONY. As the first settlers in New England, the people of Plymouth deserve special mention, though their struggles in reclaiming the wilderness, their sufferings from the Indians, their losses by disease and other causes prevented them for many years from making any public provision for the education of their children. In the records of Plymouth colony the first notice with reference to schools occurs under “court proceedings" of the year 1663, as follows: “It is proposed by the court unto the several townships in this jurisdiction, as a thing that they ought to take into their serious consideration, that some course may be taken, that in every town there may be a schoolmaster set up to train up children to reading and writing.” It would be fair, then, to assume that previous to this date there were no public schools in the colony, though as many as twelve towns had already been incorporated. A generation and more had, therefore, grown up without the advantages of public schools, though instruction was evidently given at home, in private schools, and by the parish minister. In 1007 it was enacted that in every


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1 Tenth report of the secretary of the Massachusetts board of education.
2 Horace Mann.
3 History of Free Schools in Plymouth Colony, in Mass. Hist. Soc. Coll., Vol XIV, p. 79.

4 Public opinion throughout New England "generally assigned to the ministry of religion” the duty of preparing young men for college.


town of fifty families £12 be raised by tax for the support of grammar schools. But this act, as well as that of 1663, seems to have been disregarded, for no definite action was taken to establish schools until public support was promised to them.

Accordingly, in 1670, the “ general court of his majesty, holden at New Plymouth, did freely give and grant" such profits as might annually accrue to the colony from fishing at Cape Cod, etc., “to be improved for and toward a free school in some town of this jurisdiction for the training up of youth in literature for the good and benefit of posterity." In addition to this grant by the general court, the town of Plymouth, in 1672, voted to give the profits that might arise from the improvement of a certain tract of land toward the maintenance of a school. About this time a schoolhouse was built by subscription, several of the citizens of Plymouth, “out of their good affection,” giving “of their own estate” for this purpose. In 1671, the building having been finished, the first public teacher of Plymouth, “ Mr. John Morton," opened the school. His duties were stated to be: To teach the children and youth to read the Bible, to write, and to cast accounts. But it would seem that the school was not permanently maintained, for Mr. Josiah Cotton, who was born there in 1679 and began to teach the Plymouth school in 1698, says, “I do not recollect that I ever went to any town school."

The giving of public lands in perpetuity, the income of which should be devoted to the schools, was inaugurated at the very beginning of the free schools of Plymouth, and resulted most favorably for the cause of education. In 1705 sundry inhabitants bound themselves to pay £20 annually for seven years, with the understanding that all children that did not belong to the subscribers of the fund should pay a certain rate per week, and that the rate of those living more than a mile away should be only half that required of those living nearer. Thus it will be seen that in Plymouth colony, as in the Massachusetts, care was taken that the benefits of education should be enjoyed by all.Barry, in his History of Massachusetts, says that “instances of neglect were exceedingly rare. Poverty prevented many from giving their children the highest advantages, but comparatively few could be found whose instruction had been wholly overlooked. A preparation for the duties of practical life was sought by the most; the ambition of some soared higher." 3

EDUCATION IN CONNECTICUT. The colonies of Connecticut and New Haven zealously emulated those of Vassachusetts and Plymouth in their liberal policy in the establishment of free schools. So deep was the interest taken that, even before there was any legislative action, the ministers and magistrates were found pleading for an allowance out of the common treasury for the support of public schools, and entreating parents of all classes to send their children to them. Foremost among these early promoters of learning were the Rev. Mr. Davenport and Governor Eaton, both of the New Haven colony, whose plan contemplated: First, common town schools where all their sons might “learn to read and write and cast up accounts and make some entrance into the Latin tongue;" second, a common or colony school with a schoolmaster qualified to teach Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, “ so far as shall be necessary to prepare the youth for college; third, a town or county library; fourth, a college for the colony “for the education of the youth in good literature to fit them for public service in church and commonwealth."5 The effect of such an enlightened policy was most fortunate, laying, as it did thus early, the founda

1 History of Free Schools in Plymouth Colony, Mass. Hist. Soc. Coll., Vol. XIV, p. 80-1.

See Mass. Rec., II, p. 203, and Plymouth Col. Laws of 1671, p. 39.
3 Barry's History of Mass., p. 313.
4 See American Journal of Education for 1857, Vol. IV, pp. 657-709
Barnard in American Journal of Education for 1955, p. 298.


tion for the great prosperity which has since followed. Besides adopting largely the school laws of Massachusetts, it was thought best “that grammar schoolmasters should be approved by the selectmen of the town and the minister of the same or a neighboring town."

The first school in the New Haven colony of which we have any record was opened in New Haven in 1639, and here Ezekiel Cheever, at the age of 25, began his long career as a teacher. It was not at first a free school, for the general court held at New Haven in the early part of 1641 “ordered that a free school be set up in this town.” For its maintenance the pastor and magistrates were to consider “what yearly allowance is meet to be given to it out of the common stock of the town,” and also what rules should be observed in and about the same." The early records of New Haven are full of entries referring to moneys appropriated to teachers and to reports of committees on the subject of schools. These committees always included among their number the governor, minister, and magistratessor deputies. In 1612, seven years after the first house was built, a school was established in Hartford, in the Connecticut colony, and an appropriation of £30 was settled upon it. The master was to receive a salary of £16 a year, and those parents or guardians who were willing to send their children to school and could bear the expense should pay" 20 shillings the year;" others should have their children instructed “at the town's charge."

In general in both colonies the mode of supporting the schools was made partly a charge on the general funds or property of the town and partly a rate bill or tuition, paid by the parents or guardians of the children attending school, “paying alike to the head.” But this did not apply to the poor, who were sent free of charge. The tax for this purpose was levied in every town with the annual State tax and payable proportionately only to those towns which should establish schools according to law. Trumbull says that for the permanent support of the schools “large tracts of land were given and appropriated by the legislature."9

The public school was one of the earliest subjects of municipal legislation, as much, for example, as the roads and bridges, the support of public worship, and protection against the Indians, these four being the principal objects of care and attention. The code of 1650, the first that was drawn up by the Connecticut colony, provided for the "family instruction of children and the maintenance of schools by towns," and was the same as that of Massachusetts. It remained on the statute books, with only slight modifications, for more than a century and a half. The school system embraced every family and town, all classes of children and youth, and all the then recognized grades of schools. In this way the State laid the basis “not only for universal education, but for a practical and social equality which has never been surpassed in the history of any other community."

Governor Eaton in 16.55 drew up a code of laws for the government of the New Haven colony, then numbering six plantations, in which he laid special stress upon the duty of parents and masters to educate their children and apprentices, and imposed fines in case of neglect. He also ordered, as in the Connecticut code of 1650, that as a last resort children and apprentices should be placed with others “who shall better educate and govern them,” both for their own and the public good.

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1 Trumbull's History of Connecticut, Vol. I, p. 303.

2 At a later date (in 1795, but not incorporated into the State constitution until 1818) the legislature of Connecticut established a permanent irreducible fund, the income of which shall be applied to the support of common or public schools. This fund was obtained by the sale of lands in New Connecticut, or the so-called Western Reserve in the northeastern part of Ohio, and the income from it, as stated in the North American Review for April, 183, amounted in 1892 to more than $60,000. This was apportioned among the school districts according to the number of pupils in each. See Letters on the Free Schools of New England, pp. 20, 21, by J. G. Carter.

3 National Department of Education, September and October, 1867, in Education in the United States.

Very early in the history of the Connecticut colonies an appeal came from Harvard College to all the people to contribute toward the maintenance of poor scholars at the college. In response to this the general court of the New Haven colony “ordered that two men shall be appointed in every town within this jurisdiction who shall demand what every family will give, and the same to be gathered and brought into some room in March; and this to continue yearly,' as it shall be considered by the commissioners." It was determined that about a “peck of wheat," or the value of it, 12 pence, should be contributed by every family that was willing, and in 1644 one of the commissioners “reported that he had sent 40 bushels of wheat, the gift of New Haven to the college” at Cambridge. Soon after, that is, as early as 1647, they were seriously considering the expediency of having a college of their own, to “be set up as soon as their ability will reach thereunto.” But at a general court, held at Guilford June 28, 1652, it was voted that “the matter about a college at New Haven was thought to be too great a charge for us of this jurisdiction to undergo alone."?

The earliest legislation in Connecticut respecting the education of the Indians is found in the code of 1650, wherein the court orders that the teaching elders shall go among the Indians and endeavor to give them religious instruction. Schools were also established among them, the most successful one being at Farmington. This was taught from 1648 to 1697 by the minister of the parish, and as late as 1736 notices of this school are found in the colonial records, which show that it was still in existence. Some very promising boys were educated at this school, and among them one Samson Occum, who afterwards became quite famous.

In 1665 the colony of New Haven formed the union with the Connecticut under tbe charter of Charles II. In 1671 county grammar schools were established and the foriner town grammar schools discontinued. These new schools were accordingly located at Hartford, New Haven, New London, and Fairfield, there being at the time but four counties in Connecticut. To aid in endowing these schools the general court appropriated 600 acres of land to each of the four county towns forever, the same to be improved in the best manner and the income applied for the benefit of the grammar schools. Of these schools two, namely, those of Hartford and New Haven, the court decreed should be of a higher grade and also free. They were to teach “reading (but pupils before entering must be able to read distinctly the psalter), writing, arithmetic, the Latin and English languages,” and were to have “the more extensive and special enjoyment" of the income derived from the legacy left by Governor Hopkins. From that time theymostly as free and always as public schools-have provided facilities for preparing young men for college. The one at New Haven, called the Hopkins Grammar School, has, however, kept the more nearly up to the high ideal of its early patrons. The Hartford school, having in time lost its character of a public grammar or Latin school, became the main reliance of the town for the education of all its children,” and so continued until 1798, when the general assembly restored it to a grammar school, in accordance with "the original intent of the donor.” The

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1 This gift to the college at Cambridge continued to be annually made until 1671. 2 Quoted in President Dwight's Travels in New England, p. 200.

3 The will of Mr. Hopkins was made in 1657, shortly before his death. In 1664 the two surviving trustees signed an instrument allotting £400 to Hartford for the support of a grammar school and appointing that the rest of the estate " be all of it equally divided between the towns of New Haven and Hadley, to be managed and improved for the erecting and maintaining a school in each of the said towns.” President Dwight, in Travels in New England, p. 206, says, in regard to the distribution of this legacy, that about £2,000 intended by Hopkins for Yale College "fell through a series of accidents partly into the hands of her sister seminary [H. C.] and partly into the hands of trustees of three grammar schools-one at New Haven, one at Hartford, and one at Hadley, in Massachusetts."

grammar school established at Hadley by the allotment from the Hopkins fund was assisted by donations from individuals or the town, and has ever since been continued either under the name of grammar school or academy. Soon after the union of the colonies other public schools were “ set up" and efficiently supported, as also a few private schools to fit young men for college or carry them forward in the higher branches of an English education.

From the testimony of men who were educated in the common schools prior to 1800, it appears that the course of instruction was limited to spelling, reading, writing, and the elements of arithmetic. These studies, however, were attended to by all the children, so that it was rare to find a native of Connecticut “who could not read the holy word of God and the good laws of the State.”] The supervision of the schools was shared alike by the selectmen, who considered it a part of their town office, and by the clergy, who had come to look upon it“ regular part of their parochial duty."

By such men and measures were common schools established in all the New England colonies, thus gradually forming a system of public education such as at that time had no "parallel in any part of the world.”


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Lord Macaulay says? of the Puritans that they believed “the State should take upon itself the charge of the education of the people;” and another · declares, “It has always been a characteristic of New England that she adopted and maintained the principle that it is the right and duty of government to provide for the support of free schools; that every man should be taxed therefor, whether he have children or not.” The first legislative act with reference to schools was passed by the general court of the Massachusetts colony in 1642, and enjoined the universal education of children, but it neither made the schools free nor attached any penalty for neglecting to establish them. November 11, 1617, another act was passed making the support of the schools compulsory. In this act, then, we have the origin of the free schools of New England. It reads as follows: It is therefore ordered that every township in this jurisdiction, after the Lord hath increased them to 50 householders, shall then forthwith appoint one within their town to teach all such children as shall resort to him to write and read, whose wages shall be paid either by the parents or masters of such children, or by the inhabitants in general by way of supply, as the major part of those that order the prudentials of the town shall appoint, provided those that send their children be not oppressed by paying much more than they can have them taught for in other towns."! It was further ordered that, when any town increased to the number of a hundred families or householders, a grammar school should be established, and a master employed who could " instruct the youth so far as they may be fitted for the university;"9 “ if any town neglect the performance hereof above one year, that every such town shall pay £5 to the next school till they shall perform this order.”+ In 1683 the court ordered that whenever a town has 500 families it shall support two grammar schools and two writing schools.” By the law of 1612 parents and masters were to look to the profitable employment of their children, and it was made a barbarism” not to teach or have others teach their children or apprentices not only reading, but also a knowledge of the laws, and a penalty of 20 shillings was attached for the neglect to do so.5

1 Mír. Barnard says (American Journal of Education, 1855, p. 302) that “Connecticut solved the problem of universal education, so that in 1800 neither a family nor an individual could be met with who was not sufficiently instructed to read the English tongue."

2 Macaulay's Speeches, vol. ii., pp. 334, 335, ed. 1853.
"C. K. Dillaway in the Memorial History of Boston, vol. iv., p. 236.
4 Massachusetts Records, vol. ii., p. 23.
“See Colony Laws, chap. 22, sec. 1.

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