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lish language by spelling the same, or the selectmen of the town where such grammar school is shall direct the grammar schoolmaster to receive and instruct such youth.
Be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That it shall be, and it is hereby, made the duty of the president, professors, and tutors of the university at Cambridge, preceptors and teachers of academies, and all other instructors of youth, to take diligent care and to exert their best endeavors to impress on the minds of children and youth committed to their care and instruction the principles of piety, justice, and a sacred regard to truth, love to their country, humanity, and universal benevolence, sobriety, industry, and frugality, chastity, moderation, and temperance, and those other virtues which are the ornament of human society, and the basis upon which the republican constitution is structured; and it shall be the duty of snch instructors to endeavor to lead those under their care (as their
ages ities will admit) into a particular understanding of the tendency of the beforementioned virtues, to preserve and perfect a repnblican constitution, and to secure the blessings of liberty, as well as to promote their future happiness; and the tendency of the opposite vices to slavery and ruin.
And to the end that im per persons may not be employed in the important offices before mentioned| Be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That no person shall be employed as a schoolmaster as aforesaid unless he shall have received an education at some college or university, and before entering on the said business shall produce satisfactory evidence thereof; or unless the person to be employed as aforesaid shall produce a certificate from a learned minister, well skilled in the Greek and Latin languages, settled in the town or place where the school is proposod to be kept, or two other such ministers in the vicinity thereof, that they have reason to believe that he is well qualified to discharge the duties devolved upon such schoolmaster by this act; and in addition thereto, if for a grammar school, “that he is of competent skill in the Greek and Latin languages for the said purpose.” And the candidate of either of the descriptions aforesaid shall, moreover, produce a certificate from a settled minister of the town, district, parish, or place to which such candidate belongs, or from the selectmen of such town or district, or committeo of such parish or place, “that to the best of his or their knowledge he sustains a good moral character.".
Provided, nerertheless, This last certificate respoeting morals shall not be deemed necessary where the candidate for such school belongs to the place where the same is proposed to be actually kept; it shall, however, be the duty of such selectmen or committee who may be authorized to hire such schoolmaster specially to attend to his morals; and no settled minister shall be deemed, held, or accepted to be a schoolmaster within the intent of this act.
And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That if any town or district, having the number of fifty families or householders and less than one hundred, shall negleet the procuring and supporting a schoolmaster or schoolmasters to teach the English language as aforesaid by the space of six months in one year, such deficient town or district shall incur the penalty of ten pounds, and a penalty proportionable for a less time than six months in a year, upon conviction thereof; and upon having the number of one hundred families or householders and upwards, shall neglect the procuring and supporting such schoolmaster or schoolmasters as is herein required to be kept by such town for the space of one year, every such deficient town or district shall incur the penalty of twenty pounds, and a proportionable sum for a less time than a year, upon conviction of such neglect; and every town or district having one hundred and fifty families or householders which shall neglect the procuring and supporting such schoolmasters, and for such term of time as the schools aforesaid are herein required to be kept by such town or district in any one year, shall incur the penalty of thirty pounds, and a proportionablo snim for a less time, upon conviction of such neglect; and every town or district having two hundred families
or householders and upwards that shall neglect the procuring and supporting such grammar schoolmaster as aforesaid for the space of one year shall incur the penalty of thirty pounds, and a proportionable sum for a less time than a year, upon conviction of such neglect.
And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the penalties which may be incurred by virtue of this act shall be leviod by warrant from the supreme judiciary court or court of general sessions of the peace for the county to which such deficient town or district belongs upon tho inhabitants of such deficient town or district in the same manner as other sums for the use of the county, and shall be paid into the county treasury, and the same shall be appropriated for the support of such school or schools as are prescribed by this law in such town or towns, district or districts, in tho samo county as shall have complied with this law and whoso circumstances most require such assistance, or in such plantation or plantations in the same county as the said court of sessions shall order and direct; and it shall be the duty of the minister or ministers of the gospel and the selectmen (or such other persons as shall bo specially chosen by each town or district for that purpose) of the several towns or districts to use their influence and best endeavors that tho youth of their respective towns and districts do regularly attend the schools appointed and supported as aforesaid for their instruction, and once in every six months at least, and as much oftener as they shall determine it necessary, to visit and inspect the several scbools in their respective towns and districts, and shall enquiro into tho regulation and discipline thercof and the proficiency of the scholars therein, giving reasonable notice of the time of their visitation.
Be it enacted by the authority aforesaid, That all plantations which shall be taxed to the support of government, and all parishes and precincts, aro hereby authorized and empowered, at their annual meeting in March or April, to vote and raiso such bums of money upon the polls and rateable estates of their respectivo inhabitants for the support and maintenance of a schooimaster to teach their children and youth to read, write, and cipher as they shall judge expedient, to be assessed by their assessors in due proportion, and to bo collected in like manner with the public taxes.
And whereas schools for the education of children in the most early stages of life may be kept in towns, districts, or plantations, which schools are not before particularly described in this act, and that the greatest attention may be given to the early establishing just principles in the tender minds of such children and carefully instructing them in the first principles of reading
Be it enacted, That no person shall be allowed to be a master or mistress of such school, or to keep the same, unless he or she shall obtain a certificate from the selectmen of such town or district where the same may bo kept, or the committee appointed by such town, district or plantation to visit their schools, as well as from a learned minister settled therein, if such there be, that he or she is a person of sober life and conversation, and well qualified to keep such school. And it shall be tho duty of such master or mistress carefully to instruct the children attending his or her school in reading (and writing, if contracted for), and to instill into their minds a sense of piety and virtue and to teach them decent behavior. And if any person shall preBume to keep such school without a certificate as aforesaid, lo or sho shall forfeit and pay the sum of twenty shillings; one moiety thereof to the informer, and the other moiety to the use of the poor of the town, district, or plantation where such school may bo kept.
Be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That no person shall be permitted to keep within this Commonwealth any school described in this act unless in consequence of an act of naturalization, or otherwise, he shall be a citizen of this or some other of the United States; and if any person who is not a citizen of this or some one of the United States shall presume to keep any such school within this State for the space of one month, he shall be subjected to pay a fine of twenty pounds, and a proportionable sum for a longer or shorter time; the one-half of which fine shall be to
the use of the person who shall sue for the same, and the other balf thereof to the use of this Commonwealth.
And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That all fines and forfeitures for a breach of this act shall be recovered by bill, plaint, or information before any court proper to try the same; and all grand jurors shall diligently enquire and presentment make of all breaches and neglects of this law.
And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That this act shall be in force and perate from and after the first day of October next.'
About the close of the colonial period schools and education suffered a declension in Massachusetts. Said Dr. George B. Emerson in 1869 :
The common schools and the town grammar schools continued to decline. In the busy world of Massachusetts men of ability found more profitable employment; and the great truth was not yet discovered that women, as teachers and managers and governors of boys, even up to maulood, are often gifted at least as highly as men. Most of the boys were fitted for college by ministers of the gospel, among whom I bave the best possible means of knowing that a practice of teaching the elements of the Latin language as a spoken language very generally prevailed as late as one hundred years ago.
Academies and private schools grew more and more numerous; sometimes endowed by public-spirited individuals, sometimes by grants of land from the State, often by both, and usually supported in part by fees from the students. In 1834 there were more than nine lundred and fifty of these schools. Thoso under the supervision of resolute, judicious men, who knew the value of good teaching and how to secure it, and sometimes others, by a fortunate accident or a gracious Providence, had good teachers and flourished. But tho greater number wero very poor schools; so also were most of the town schools, and the belief and intimate conviction that most of the common schools were wretchedly poor became, except amongst the most ignorant of the teachers themselves and the most benighted of the people, almost universal.
The act of 1789, up to which time the laws of which I have been speaking continued in operation, was a wide departure from the principle of the original law. It substitutes six months for the constant instruction provided for towns of 50 families, and requires a grammar teacher of determinato qualifications for towns of 200 families, instead of the similar requisition from all towns of half that number of inhabitants. Still, however, far as it falls short of that noble democratic idea of the Puritans of providing the best possible instruction for all, it would, if in force at the present day, render instruction of the highest kiud accessible to the children of niore than two-thirds of the towns of the Commonwealth.?
John Adams, writing in 1782 to the Abbé De Mably, finds the key to the history of New England in four institutions—the towns or districts, the congregations or religious societies, the schools, and the militia. This is the paragraph in which he describes the schools:
There are schools in every town, established by an express law of the colony. Every town containing 60 families is obliged, under a penalty, to maintain constantly a school and a schoolmaster, who shall teach his scholars reading, writing, arithmetic, and the rudiments of the Latin and Greek languages. All the children of the inhabitants, the rich as well as the poor, have a right to go to these public
This act passed June 25, 1789. Copied from volume entitled, Acts and Laws Passed by General Court of Massachusetts, begun and held at Boston, in the county of Suffolk, on Wednesday, the twentysereuth day of May, anno Domini 1789, pp. 18-21.
* Massachusetts and its Early History. Lowell Institute Lectures, pp. 486-187. Published by the Society, 1869. Boston, Mass.
schools. There are formed the candidates for admission as students into colleges at Cambridge, New Haven, Princeton, and Dartmouth. In these colleges are educated future masters for these schools, futuro ministers for these congregations, doctors of law and medicine, and magistrates and officers for the government of the country.'
President Dwight, of Yale College, gives this picture: A stranger traveling through New England marks with not a little surprise the multitude of schoolhouses appearing everywhere at little distances. Familiarized as I am to the sight, they have excited no small interest in my mind, particularly as I was traveling through the settlements recently begun. Here, while the inhabitants were still living in log huts, they had not only erected schoolhouses for their children, but had built them in a neat style, so as to throw an additional appearance of deforinity over their own clumsy babitations. This attachment to education in New England is universal, and the situation of that hamlet must be bad indeed which, if it contains a sufficient number of children for a school, does not provide the necessary accommodations. In 1803 I found neat schoolhouses in Colebrook and Stewart, bordering on the Canadian line.?
The public statutes of Massachusetts relating to public instruction, 1888, furnish interesting items of historical information pertinent to the subject. In 1817 school districts were made corporations, and were empowered to hold property for the use of schools. In 1826 a town containing 500 families was required to maintain a town or high school, and if it contained 4,000 inhabitants it was required to maintain such a school in which the classical languages were taught. The law of that year also required the towns to elect a town school committee. The State school fund was established in 1834; the State legislature took its first action in relation to normal schools in 1837, and two years later two such schools were opened. A normal art school was established in Boston in 1873. Teachers' institutes were first established in the State in 1845. Massachusetts is the only State in the Union that makes the provision of public high schools obligatory upon the towns.3
II. PLYMOUTH LEGISLATION, 1658-1677.
The Plymouth colony records contain the following entries in relation to schools: 4
1658. It is proposed by the Court ynto the senerall Townshipes of this Jurisdiction as a thinge they ought to take into theire serious consideration That some course may be taken that in euery Towne there may be a schoolmaster sett vp to traine vp children to reading and writing. (P. 142.)
1663. This entry is precisely like the preceding one, except that the word "that” is interpolated between thing” and “they." (P.211.)
1672. Wee being Informed that it is vpon the harts of our Naighbours of the Massachusetts Collonie to support and Incurrage that Nursary of Learning att harveard Colledge in Cambridge in New England from whence hane through the blessing
I Works of John Adams, Vol. V, Appendix, p. 495.
3 See the public statutes of Massachusetts relating to public education, with annotations and expla. nations, including the laws in force December 31, 1888, pp. 5, 6, 7.
*Sco Vol. XI (Laws).
of God Issued many worthy and vseful persons for Publique seruice in Church and Commonwealth; being alsoo Informed that diuers Godly and well affected in England are redy to Assist therein by way of contributing considerable sumes prouided the Countrey heer are forward to promote the same; and that the seuerall Townes in the Massachusetts have bino very free in theire offerings therynto; wee alsoe being by letters from them Invited and Insighted to Joyne with them in soo good a worke; and that wee may have an Interest with others In the blessing that the Lord may please fron thenco to convey vnto the Countrey; this Court doth therefore earnestly comend it to the Minnesters and Elders in each Towne, that they takeing such with them as they shall thinks meet; would particularly and earnestly mouo and stirr vp all such in theire senerall townes as are able to contribute unto this worthy worke be it in mony or other good pay; and that they mako a returno of what they shall effect heerin vnto the Court that shall sit in october next whoe will then appoint meet psons to receiuo the contributions and faithfully to dispose of the same for the ends proposed. (Pp. 232, 233.)
1673. It is ordered by the Court that the charge of the free Scoole, which is three and thirty pounds a yeare shalbe defrayed by the Treasurer out of the proftitts ariseing by the ffishing att the Cape vntil such Time as that the minds of the ffreemen be knowne conserning it which wilbe returned to the next Court of election. (p. 233.)
1674. This Court baneing receiued by the deputies of the seuerall townes the signification of the minds of the Major pte of the freemen of this Collonie that all the proffitts of the ffishing att Cape Code graunted by the Court for the erecting and Maintaining of a Scoole be still continewed for that end if a competent Number of Scollars shall appeer to be devoated thervnto, which this Court Judges not to be lesse then eight or ten Doe therfore heerby confeirme the Graunt of the aforsaid proffitts of the ffishing att the Cape to the Maintainance of the Scoole; and that there bo noo further demands, besides the said proffitts of the Cape demaunded of the Country for the Maintainance of the said Scoole. (p. 237.)
1677. fforasmuch as the Maintainance of good litteraturo doth much tend to the advancement of the wealo and flourishing estate of societies and Republiques.
This Court doth therfore order; That in whatsoeuer Townshipp in this Gourment consisting of fifty familier or vpwards; any meet man slalbe obtained to teach a Gramer scoole such township p shall allow att least tweluo pounds in currant marchantablo pay to be raised by rat on all the Inhabitants of such Towne and those that haue the more emodiate benifitt therof by theire childrens going to scoole with what others may voulentarily giue to promote soe good a work and generall good, shall make vp the reseduo Nessesarie to maintaino the same and that tho profitts ariseing of the Cape flishing; heertofore ordered to maintaine a Gramer scoolo in this Collonie, be distributed to such Townes as haue such Gramer scholcs for the maintainance therof; not exceeding fiue pounds p annum to any such Towno volesse the Court Treasurer or other appointed to manage that affaire soe good causo to addo thervnto to any respectiue Towne not exceeding fiue pounds more p annum; and further this Court orders that euery such Towne as consists of seauenty families or vpwards and liath not a Gramer sccolo therin shall allow and pay unto the next Towne which hath such Gramer scoole kept yp amongst them, the sumo of fiue pounds p annum in currant Marchantablo pay, to be leuied on the Inhabitants of such defectiue Townes by rato and gathered and deliuered by the Constables of such Townes as by warrant from any Majestrate of this Jurisdiction shalbe required. (pp. 246, 247.)