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read, whose wages shall be paid eithr by ye parents or mastr, or by ye inhabitants in generall. .... It is ordered yt where any towi's shall increase to ye number of 100 familis or householders, they shall set up a gramer schoole, ye mr thereof being able to instruct youth so far as they may be fitted for ye university.” A penalty of £5 was fixed for violation of this order.
As early as in 1636, the Court “ agreed to give £400 toward a school or college,” to which, in 1638, John Harvard left, by will, half his property and his library. In 1642, the Court gave to the college “the revenue of the ferry from Charlestown to Boston."
1644, “ It is ordered vt ye deputies shall command it to ye severall towns (and ye elders are to be desired to give their furtherance hereto)" .... that“ Evry family alow one peck of corne, or 12d. in money or other commodity to be sent in to ye Treasurer, for the colledge at Cambridge.”
1650, voted that, “ Whereas, through the good hand of God, many have been stirred to give for the advancement of all good literature, arts, and sciences in Harvard Colledge, and for all other necessary pvsions that may conduce to the education of ye English and Indian youth of this country in knowledge and godlynes, ordered—tht a corporation be formed, consisting of seauen psons."
Revenues of the college and of the president to the extent of 500 were exempt from taxation, while special exemptions from rates, and military and civil duties, were made to officers, fellows, scholars, and even the servants of the college.
This oldest college of the country was, as thus appears, the child of the State, and while it was the recipient of private benefactions, drew its sustenance, substantially, from the labors of the people.
1683, voted that, “Every towne consisting of more than five hundred families shall set up and maintayne two grammar schools, and two wrighting scholes to instruct youth as the law directs.”
So cordial was the interest felt in education among the colonists, that many towns had established free schools before it was required.
Within a year of the founding of Boston, in 1635, the citizens in town meeting assembled, voted to call a schoolmaster, and “ Philemon Purmont was engaged to teach the children.” Dorchester, Naumkeag (now Salem), Cambridge, Roxbury, and other towns soon took the same course. Salem established a grammar school as early as 1637. Thus, within twenty years from the landing of the Pilgrims at Plymouth, the foundation of the free-school system may be said to have been laid. It was frequently stipulated in the action of town meetings, that the poor should be provided for, and in Boston, at least, Indian children were freely taught. But in the provisions for “free schools," “ schools for the people," and the “ children," it is not to be understood that girls were included. The broad terms used in the acts of the colonies and the votes of town meetings might mislead, in this respect, if history did not record the periods, long subsequent, when girls were ad mitted even to the “ free schools ” under restrictions, usually with great opposition.
This long hiatus, during which girls went, practically, without free-school opportunities, picking up what they might at home, or by aid of the parish minister, was about a century and a half long, though in 1771, Hartford, Conn., opened its common schools to every child, and taught even the girls read. ing, writing, spelling, and the catechism, and, rarely, how to add. The boys, meantime, studied the first four rules of arithmetic.
The hiatus between the foundation for the college for boys and even the seminary, or the academy, for girls, extended over a long century and a half; and that between colleges for males and those for females was, in Massachusetts, two hundred and thirty-two years long. A prime motive to the encouragement of education in America was that the Scriptures might be properly interpreted. This appears in the preamble to the vote of 1647 establishing schools, which were necessary as tributary to the college, and in the motive which led to the foundation of Harvard and of Yale, “the dread of having an illiterate ministry to the churches when our ministers shall lie in dust."
It has been noted by Charles Francis Adams that “the records of Harvard University show that of all the presiding officers, during the century and a half of colonial days, but two were laymen, and not ministers of the prevailing denomination; and that of all who in the early times availed themselves of such advantages as this institution could offer, nearly half the number did so for the sake of devoting themselves to the service of the gospel. But,” he continues, “the prevailing notion of the purpose of education was attended with one remarkable consequence,-the cultivation of the female mind was regarded with utter indifference; as Mrs. Abigail Adams says
in one of her letters, “it was fashionable to ridicule female learning.'”
This discrimination between the intellectual needs of the two sexes should not, perhaps, be matter of surprise, when we consider that the English system of public schools for boys, extending from the “Winchester School” to “Rugby," had been in existence for two centuries, and that of the six hundred who first landed on the coast of Massachusetts, one in thirty was a graduate from the English University of Cambridge, while both the men and the women were heirs to the prevailing sentiment of disrespect for womanly intelligence and education, which marked the demoralization of the reign of the Stuarts in England.
The time of Queen Elizabeth has passed, in which the noble Lady Jane Grey, being asked by Sir Roger Ascham why she lingered to read Plato in Greek while the lords and ladies of the Court were pleasuring in the park, replied, “ I wist all their sport in the park is but a shadow to the pleasure I find in Plato. Alas! good folk, they never felt what true pleasure meaneth.”
Lady Mary Wortley Montague truly portrayed the time, when she wrote, early in the eighteenth century : “ We are permitted no books but such as tend to the weakening and effeminating our minds. We are taught to place all our art in adorning our persons, while our minds are entirely neglected."
It might have been expected that the religious zeal which brought these earnest New England pilgrims to a strange, wild country, would hold in check any tendency to undue display, especially when supplemented by the severe restrictions of their domestic life, which were relieved only by compulsory attendance on protracted services, held in unwarmed churches, to listen to metaphysical sermons on foreordination, reprobation, and infant damnation, and to prayers an hour long.
Yet it appears that while no provision was made for their instruction, they were sometimes arraigned for wearing “ wide sieeves, lace tiffany, and such things,” while “those given to scolding were condemned to sit publicly, with their tongues held in cleft sticks, or were thrice dipped from a duckingstool."
It would have been better, perhaps, that their tongues had been trained by instruction to becoming speech, or that they had been permitted to drink at the fountain of learning.
Sentiment in favor of the practical skill of women seems not to have been wanting. They cooked and washed, and the law
required them to spin and gather flax, and on one notable oc-
Brave broad stitch, fischer stitch, Irish stitch, and queen stitch,
And these are everywhere in practice now.' Aside from their belief in the primary importance of religious training, it may be conceded that the men of colonial times did not lack the sagacity which led Charlemagne in the eighth century to require that the children of those who were to participate in the government should be educated, “ in order that intelligence might rule the Empire.” The application of this principle in his limited empire opened education to the ruling class ; in America it opened it to the ruling sex.
How small were the opportunities for instruction, outside the free schools, may be known from the fact that the committee for supervising them enjoined upon the selectmen to take care that no person should open a private school except upon their recommendation.
In 1656 a Mr. Jones having opened a private school was visited by the magistrates, who exacted a promise from him to give up the school at the close of the winter term. Apparently he was reluctant in so doing, for it is recorded that the next spring Mr. Jones was sent for by the selectmen “for keeping a Schoole, and required to perform his promise to the Towne in the Winter, to remove himselfe and familye in the Springe, and forbiden to keep Schoole any longer.”
The first opportunities for girls in the colonies were in the “ Dame-School," in which some woman was hired to gather the little children about her knee to teach them their letters from the New England Primer. They were required to commit to memory the shorter catechism, and sometimes were taught to read enough to decipher it for themselves, from the last pages of their only book, the famous Primer. Training in manners was made of prime importance.
In some cases, as is reported, old women who were a town charge were set to this useful employment. Sometimes these “ dames” were housewives, in which case two frequently alternated in caring for the children. In this way, according to the town records of Woburn, in 1635, “ Joseph Wright's wife and Allen Converse's wife were able to divide between them £o. Ios. od., for a year's work. It is to be inferred that the acquirements of these mistresses were limited, as the next year, October, 1674, the town “agreed with Jonathan Tomson to tech bigger children and Allen Converse's wife to teach leser children.”
In the old graveyard in Cambridge, opposite Harvard College, it is recorded that Mrs. Murray died 1707, aged sixty-two years. The title “Mrs." was honorary, as she was unmarried. This betokens the esteem in which she was held, as does the following inscription upon her tombstone :
“ This good school dame
No longer school must keep,
For children's sake to weep.”
Later, especially in the old seaport towns, the children's schools, for girls as well as for boys, were frequently in the hands of women of much refinement. Of such, Miss Hetty Higginson, of Salem, was famous as an instructor about 1782. The record says that, “ being asked what she taught, she laughingly replied, ethics,' yet to a superficial observer it might seem that she taught nothing. Her manners were courtly, and her conversation was replete with dignity, kind feeling, and sound sense.”
Some improvement upon this state of education, or want of education rather, gradually crept in ; whether because of the need of teachers for the boys, which had come to be felt, or because in the home there was much early association of the child with the mother, and so some education on her part might prove indirectly advantageous, or whether there was some dawning consideration of her own personal needs, it is impossible to determine. Perhaps there was difficulty in withholding other books from the girl after she could read the catechism, or, later, in drawing a sharp line between the acquisition of the first and the second rule in arithmetic.
Suffice it that by the close of the eighteenth century, most towns in New England had made some slight provisions for educating girls; how slight, almost any early town history will show.
The rate of progress in a thriving Massachusetts town, Newburyport, is given in Smith's History, as follows: “.... When speaking of schools we must be understood as referring to