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Compiled and annotated by B. A. HINSDALE, Ph. D., LL. D., Professor of the Science

and the Art of Teaching in the University of Michigan.

CONTENTS.--Introductory remarks-1. Massachusetts legislation-11. Plymouth legisla

tion--III. Connecticut legislation--IV. The common-school fund of ConnecticutV. Pennsylrania legislation--VI. Congressional land grants for common schools and universitiesVII. Congressional grants of land and money for colleges of agriculture and the mechanic arts, 1862-1890VIII. The Bureau of Education-IX. Early vicus and plans relating to a national unirersity-.X. Provisions of the State constitutions relating to education.


Documents are the basis of history. Dr. E. A. Freeman has very justly remarked that the most ingenious and eloquent of modern historical discourses can after all be nothing more than a comment on a text.” Even teachers who do not primarily deal with original materials find it necessary constantly to resort to such materials for the illustration and enforcement of historic truth, and often for its discovery.

No sooner had the compiler of this chapter begun to teach, or even to study, American educational history, than he was embarrassed by the lack of suitable documents with which to carry on his work properly. For reasons that are only too obvious, the memorials of education are less accessible than the memorials of war and politics. The limited number of documents here brought together were found scat tered through many volumes, even counting the older collections that have been consulted. This collection originated, therefore, in the

, , practical needs of the compiler's own study and lecture room. As measured by a compilation that might be made, it is meager indeed; but it is believed that students and teachers of the subject, also journalists, statesmen, and many others will find it a useful repository of materials.

While the sources from which the documents were immediately drawn are given in the pages following, it is proper to express obligations to Dr. Barnard, Dr. Wickersham, Dr. Goode, and Mr. Poore. Dr. F. B. Hough's compilation, Constitutional Provisions Relating to Education, Literature, and Science in the Several States of the American Union, etc., published by the Bureau as a Circular of Information, No. VII, 1875, has been very helpful. It has not been thought desirable, however, to include all of the material contained in that circular in this chapter. Still all the constitutional provisions relating to the subject ever adopted down to date will here be found. Such of Dr. Hough's notes as have been retained are marked “ 11.” It is proper also to remark that tlie compiler has made free use of a previous compilation of his own—Topics in the Educational History of the United States--printed for private circulation.

I. MASSACHUSETTS LEGISLATION, 1636-1789. 1. HARVARD COLLEGE: Grant of 1636, grant of 1637, grant of 1638-39, grant of 1640;

remarks by President Quincy; act establishing the orerseers of Harrard College, 1642; character of the president and fellows of Harvard College, 1650; appendix to charter, 1657; final resolve of the provincial legislature declaring the charter of 1050 not repealet?, 1707; provisions of the charter of Massachusetts Bay relating to schools

and colleges, 1691. 2. COMMON SCHOOLS: Ordinance of 1642; ordinance of 1647; quotation from Lord

Macaulay; declaration of the general court, 1652; order of the general court, 1654; order by the general court 1671; order of the general court 1683; act of 1789; quotations from Dr. George B. Emerson, John Adams, and President Dwight. All the legislation in relation to lIarvard College down to 1780 is here brought together in chronological order. All other school legislation enacted by the general court down to 1683, or at least all that I have found, is also given. By that time the common-school system was legislatively well developed, and it was not thereafter practically changed until the act of 1789, which was based on the constitution of 1780. The educational provisions of the colonial charter of 1691 are also given, for a reason that will appear in the accompanying annotation.



(At a court, lolilen September 8, 1636, and continuell by adjournment to the 28th of the 8th mouth

(October, 1636). ] The court agreed to give £ 100 toward a school or college, whereof £200 to be paid next year and £200 when the work is finished, and the next court to appoint where and what building.'

[At a general court, holden at Newtown, on the ed of the 9th month (November 2), 1637.)

The college ordered to be at Newtown.

For the college, the governor, Mr. Winthrop, the deputy, Mr. Dudley, the treasurer, Mr. Bellingham, Mr. Humphrey, Mr. IIerlakenden, Mr. Stoughten, Mr. Cotton, Mr. Wilson, Mr. Davenport, Mr. Welde, Mr. Shepard, and Mr. Peters; these, or the greater part of them, whereof Mr. Winthrop, Mr. Dudley, or Mr. Bellingham to be always one, to take order for a college at Newtown.'

I Mass. Coll. Records, Vol. 1, p. 183.

? Ibid., p. 208.

[At a court, holden the 13th of the 1st month (March), 1638-39.]

It is ordered, that the college agreed upon formerly to be built at Cambridge shall be called Harvard College.?

(At a court, holden the 7th day of the 8th month (October), 1610.) The ferry between Boston and Charlestown is granted to the college.3

Concerning the change of the name of Newtown to Cambridge and the paming of the college President Quincy writes:

The name of the town was soon after changed to Cambridge, a grateful tribute to the transatlantic literary parent of many of the first emigrants and indicative of the high destiny to which they intended the institution should aspire.

In the year 1638, while they were only contemplating its commencement, John Harvard, a dissenting clergyman of England, resident at Charlestown, died, and bequeathed one-half of his whole property and his entire library to the institution. An instance of benevolence thus striking and timely, proceeding from one who had been scarcely a year in the country, was accepted by our fathers as an omen of Divine favor. With prayer and thanksgiving they immediately commenced the seminary, and conferred upon it the name of Harvard."


[At a general court, held in Boston in the year 1612.)

Whereas through tho good hand of God upon us there is a college founded in Cambridge, in the county of Middlesex, called Harvard College, for the encouragement whereof this court has given the sum of four hundred pounds, and also the revenue of the ferry betwixt Charlestown and Boston, and that the well ordering and managing of the said college is of great concernment:

It is therefore ordered by this court, and the authority thereof, That the governor and deputy governor for the timo being, and all the magistrates of this jurisdiction, together with tho teaching elders of the six next adjoining towns, viz, Cambridge, Watertown, Charlestown, Boston, Roxbury, and Dorchester, and the president of the said college for the time being, shall, from time to time, have full power and anthority to make and establish all such orders, statutes, and constitutions as they shall seo necessary for the instituting, gniding, and furthering of the said college, and the several members thereof, from time to time, in piety, morality, and learning; as also to dispose, order, and manage, to the use and behoof of the said college and the members thereof, all gifts, legacies, lequeaths, revenues, lands, and donations, as either have been, are, or shall be, conferred, bestowed, or any ways shall fall or come to the said college.

And whereas it may come to pass that many of the said magistrates and said elders may be absent, or otherwise employed about other weighty affairs, when the said collego may need their present help and counsel;

It is therefore ordered, That the greater number of said magistrates and elders which shall be present, with the president, shall have the power of the whole: Provided, That if any constitution, order, or orders by them made shall be found hurtful to the said college, or the members thereof, or to the weal public, then, upon appeal of the party or parties grioved unto the company of overseers first

"Mass. Coll. Records, Vol. I, p. 217.




3Ibid., p. 304.
* History of Harvard University, Vol. I, p. 9.

mentioned, they shall repeal the said order or orders, if they shall see cause, at their next meeting, or stand accountablo thereof to the next general court."


(Under the seal of the colony of Massachusetts Bay, and bearing date May 3, A. D. 1650.) Whereas through the good hand of God many well-devoted persons have been, and daily aro, moved and stirred up to give and bestow sundry gifts, legacies, lands, and revenues for the advancement of all good literature, arts, and sciences in Harvard College, in Cambridge, in tho county of Middlesex, and to the maintenance of the president and fellows, and for all accommodations of buildings, and all other necessary provisions that may conduce to the education of the English and Indian youth of this country in knowledge and godliness:

It is therefore ordered and enacted by this court, and the authority thereof, That for the furthering of the good work, and for the purposes aforesaid from henceforth, that the said college in Cambridge, in Middlesex, in New England, shall bo a corporation, consisting of seven persons, to wit, a president, fivo fellows, and a treasurer or bursar; and that Henry Dunster shall be the first president; Samuel Mather, Samuel Danforth, masters of art; Jonathan Mitchell, Comfort Starr, and Samuel Eaton, bachelors of art, shall be the five fellows; and Thomas Danforth to be present treasurer, all of whom being inhabitants in the bay, and shall be the first seven persons of which the said corporation shall consist; and that the said seven persons, or the greater number of them, procuring the presence of the overseers of the college, and by their counsel and consent, shall have power, and aro hereby authorized, at any time or times, to elect a new president, fellows, or treasurer, so oft, and from time to time, as any of the said persons shall die or be removed; which said presi. dent and fellows, for the time being, shall forever hereafter, in name and fact, be one body politic and corporate in law, to all intents and purposes; and shall have perpetual succession; and shall be called by the name of President and Fellows of Harvard College, and shall, from time to time, be eligible as aforesaid, and by that name they, and their successors, shall and may purchase and acquire to themselves, or take and receive upon free gist and donation, any lands, tenements, or hereditaments within this jurisdiction of the Massachusetts, not exceeding five hundred pounds per annum, and any goods and sums of money whatsoever, to the use and behoof of the said president, fellows, and scholars of the said college; and also may sue and plead, or be sued and impleaded by the name aforesaid in all courts and places of judicature within the jurisdiction aforesaid.

And that tho said president, with any three of the fellows, shall baro power, and are hereby authorized, when they shall think fit, to make and appoint a common seal for the use of the said corporation. And the president and fellows, or major part of them, from time to time, may meet and choose such officers and servants for the college, and make such allowance to them, and them also to remove, and after death or removal to choose such others, and to make, from time to time, such orders and by-laws for the better ordering and carrying on the work of tho collego as thoy shall think fit; provided, the said orders be allowed by the overseers. And also, that the president and fellows, or any major part of them, with the treasurer, shall have power to make conclusive bargains for lands and tenements to be purchased by the saill corporation for valnable consideration.

And for the better ordering of the government of the said college ani corporation

Be it enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the president and three more of the fellows shall and may, from time to time, upon due warning or notico given by the president to the rest, hold á meeting for the debating and concluding of affairs concerning the profits and revenues of any lands and disposing of their goods (provided that all the said disposings be according to the wills of the donors), and for direc

Mass. Coll. Records, Vol. II, p. 30.

tion in all emergent occasions, execution of all orders and by-laws, and for the procuring of a general meeting of all the overseers and society in great and difficult cases, and in cases of nonagreement; in all which cases aforesaid tho conclusion shall Le made by the major part (the said president having a casting voice), the overscers consenting thereto, and that all the aforesaid transactions shall tend to and for thouse and behoof of the president, fellows, scholars, and officers of the said college, and for all accommodations of buildings, books, and all other necessary provisions and furnitures as may be for the advancement and oducation of youth in all manner of good literature, arts, and sciences.

And further be it ordered by this court and the authority thereof, That all the lands, tenements, hereditaments, houses, or revenues, within this jurisdiction, to the aforesaid president or college appertaining, not exceeding the value of five hundred pounds per annum, shall from hencoforth bo freed from all civil impositions, taxes and rates; all goods to the said corporation, or to any scholars thereof appertaining shall bo exempted from all manner of toll, customs, and excise whatsoever. And that the said president, fellows, and scholars, together with the servants and other necessary officers to tho said president or college appertaining, not exceeding ten, viz, threo to the president and seven to the college belonging, shall be exempted from all personal civil offices, military exercises or services, watchings, and wardings; and such of their estates, not exceeding one hundred pounds a man, shall be free from all county taxes or rates whatsoever, and no other.

In witness thereof the court hath caused the seal of the colony to be hereunto aflixed.

Dated the ono and thirtieth day of the third month called May, anno 1650. [L. S.]


(An appendix to the college charter, granted by an act of the general court of the colony, passed

anno 1657.]

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Ata general court, held at Boston the 14th of October, 1657.

In ansier to certain proposals presented to this court by the overseers of Harvard College as an appendix to the college charter, it is ordered, The corporation shall have power, from time to time, to make such orders and by-laws for the better ordering and carrying on of the work of the college as they shall see cause, without dependence upon the consent of the overseers foregoing: Provided always, That the corporation shall be responsible unto, and those orders and by-laws shall be alterable by, the overscers according to their discretion.

And when the corporation shall hold a meeting for agreeing with college servants; for making of orders and by-laws; for debating and concluding of affairs concerning the profits and revenues of any lands or gifts and the disposing thereof (provided that all the said disposals bo according to tho wills of the donors); for managing of all emergent occasions; for the procuring of a general meeting of the overseers and society in great and difficult cases and in case of nonagreement; and to all other college affairs to them pertaining-in all these cases the conclusion shall be valid, being made by the major part of the corporation, the president baving a casting vote: Provided always, That in these things also they be responsible to the overseers as aforesaid.

And in case the corporation shall see cause to call a meeting of the overseers, or the overseers shall think good to meet of themselves, it shall be sufficient unto the validity of college acts that notice be given to the overseers in the six towns mentioned in the printed law anno 1612, when the rest of the overseers, by reason of the remoteness of their inhabitants, can not conveniently be acquainted therewith.?

I Mass. Coll. Records, Vol. III, pp. 195, 196.
* Records of the general court, Vol. IV, p. 265.

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