Imágenes de páginas
[ocr errors]


the use of the person who shall sue for tho sanie, and the other half thereof to the use of this Commonwealth.

And be il 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 tlie same; and all grand jurors shall diligently enquire and presentment make of all breaches and neglects of this law.

dud be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That this act shall be in force and operate 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 manhood, are often gisted at least as highly as

Most of the boys were fitted for college by ministers of the gospel, among whom I have 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 nino hundred and fifty of these schools. Those under the supervision of resolute, judicions 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 the greater number were 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 benighto:l of tho 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 tho present day, render instruction of the highest kind accessible to the children of niore than two-thirds of the towns of the Commonwealth.2

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 tho 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 twentyseventh day of May, anno Domini 1789, pp. 18-21.

Massachusetts and its Early History. Lowell Institute Lectures, pp. 486–487. 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, future 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. Hero, 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 deformity 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 schoolliouses 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


[ocr errors]

The Plymouth colony records contain the following entries in rela. tion to schools: 4

1658. It is proposed by tho Court vnto tho seuerall Townshipes of this Jurisdiction as a thinge they ought to take into theiro 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. 112.)

1663. This entry is precisely like the preceding one, except that the word “that” is interpolated between “thing” and “they.” (P.211.)

1672. Wce being Informed that it is vpon the harts of our Naighbours of the Massachusetts Collonie to support and Incurrage that Nursary of Learning att barveard Colledgo in Cambridge in New England from whence hane through the blessing

I Works of John Adams, Vol. V, Appendix, p. 495.
2 Travels in New England and New York, Vol. IV, p. 281.

3 See the public statutes of Massachusetts relating to public education, with annotations and expla. Dations, including the laws in force December 31, 1888, pp. 5, 6, 7.

Seo Vol. XI (Lawa).

of God Issuel many worthy and vseful persons for Publiquo seruico in Church and Commonwealth; being alsoo Informed that diners Godly and well affected in England are redy to Assist therein by way of contributing considerable sumes prouided tho Countrey heer aro forward to promote the same; and that the seuerall Townes in the Massachusetts hane bino very free in theire offerings thervnto; wee alsoe being by letters from them Iuvited and Insighted to Joyne with them in soe good a worke; and that wee may hano an Interest with others In tho blessing that the Lord may pleaso 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 shallthiuks meet; would particularly and carnestly mouo and stirr vp all such in theiro senerall townes as are able to contribute vnto this worthy worke be it in mony or other good pay; and that they make a returne of what they shall effect heerin vnto the Court that shall sit in october next whoe will then appoint meet psons to receiue 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 proffitts ariseing by the flishing att the Cape vntil such Time as that the minds of the ffreemen be knowne conserning it which wille returned to the next Court of election, (p. 233.)

1674. This Court haueing receiued by the deputies of the seuerall townes the sig. nification of the minds of the Major pte of the freemen of this Collonie that all the proffitts of tho ffishing att Capo Codo 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 theu eight or ten Doe therfore licerby confeirmo the Graunt of tho aforsaid proffitts of the flisling att tho Capo to the Maintainance of the Scoole; and that there be noo further demaunds, besides the said proffitts of the Cape demaunded of the Country for the Maintainance of the said Scoole. (p. 237.)

1677. fforasmuch as tho Maintainanco 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 shalbe obtained to teach a Gramer scoole such townshipp shall allow att least twelue pounds in currant marchantable pay to be raised by rat on all the Inhabitants of such Towne and those that haue the moro emediate benifitt therof by theire childrens going to scoole with what others may voulentarily gine to promote soe good a work and generall good, shall mako vp the reseduo Nessesario to maintaine the same and that the proffitts ariseing of the Cape ffishing; heertofore ordered to maintaine a Gramer scoolo in this Collonie, bo distributed to such Townes as baue such Gramer scholes for the maintainanco therof; not exceeding fiue pounds y annum to any such Towne vnlesso the Court Treasurer or other appointed to manage that affairo seo good cause to adde therynto to any respectiue Towno not exceeding fiue pounds moro p annum; and further this Court orders that euery such Towne as consists of seauenty families or vpwards and hath not a Gramer scoolo therin shall allow and pay vnto the next Towne which hath such Gramer scoole kept vp amongst them, the sumo of fiue pounds p anunm in currant Marchantablo pay, to be leuiod on the Inhabitants of such defectiue Townes by rate and gathered and deliuered by tho Constables of snch Townes as by warrant from any Majestrate of this Jurisdiction shalbe required. (pp. 246, 247.)


I. CONNECTICUT: Orders of the Hartford town meeting, 1643, 1648; W’eathersfield vote,

1658; titles, "childrenand schoolsin the codified laws of 1050. II. NEW HAVEN: Orders of the general court, 1641, 1643, 1044, and 1652 ; educational

provisions of Governor Eaton's code, 1655. III. COXNECTICUT (following the union of the two colonies): Oriler relating to gram

mar schools, 1072; order of the general court, 1677; grant to the county court of Fairfield, 1078; order of the general court, 1090; compulsory orders, 1077, 1678, 1090; prorision of 1700, act of general court, 1700; Dr. Barnard's summary of the system of instruction existing in 1701; act of 1715, act of 1742; Dr. Barnard's summary of the part of the rerised statutes relating to schools; notes and comments on the derelopment of the district system and the decline of education; code of rules for the schools of Farmington, 1796 ; Dr. Barnard's final summary for the period closing with the eighteenth centurij.


No State has a more honorable educational record, taken altogether, than Connecticut. No other of the old States can show such a connected series of public and private transactions relating to schools and education, extending from the foundation of the Commonwealth down to the opening of the present educational area, some fifty or sixty years ago. Accordingly, the State affords the best possible opportunity to study continuously the history of popular education from the feeblest beginnings. The following compilation of documents is made from The History of Common Schools in Connecticut, which Dr. Henry Barnard prepared and first published when he was superintendent of common schools of that State, and afterwards republished in The American Journal of Education. (Vol. IV, 657, et seq.)

The history of Connecticut begins with the founding of Hartford in 1635. The earliest records of the town are lost, but in 1612 an appro priation of £30 was made for the support of a school, not as a new thing, but as one of the establishments of the town. In April, 1643 it was ordered at a general town meeting

That Mr. Andrew should teach the children in tho school one year next ensuing from the 25th of March, 1643, and that he shall have for his pains £16; and thereforo the townsmen shall go and inquire who will engage themsclves to send their children; and all that do so shall pay for one quarter at the least, and for more if they do send them, after the proportion of twenty shillings the year, and if they go any weeks more than an oven quarter, they shall pay sixpence a week; and if any would send their children who are not able to pay for their teaching, they shall givo notico of it to the townsmen, and they shall pay it at the town's charge; and Mr. Audrew shall keep the account between the children's schooling and himself, and send notice of the times of payments and demand it; and if his wages do not como in, the townsmen must collect and pay it; or if the engagements come not to six teen pounds, then they shall pay what is wanting at the town's charge.

In February, 1648, the following action was had: The necessities of the town and the desires of many, calling for some provision to be made for the keeping of a school with better conveniency than hitherto hath been attaineil, the want whereof hath been both uncomfortablo to those who liave been employed in that service and prejudicial to the work under hand, which is looked

upon as conducing much to the good of the present age, and that of the future: It was agreed and consented to by the town that forty pounds shall be paid in the way of a rate to the townsmen for the time being for carrying on the said work, which being considered to fall much short of attaining the end in building such lionse as may be suit ble for the said employment.

It was agreed unto by the town that in case any other shall make such an addition to the said sum that the work may be carried on and finished, either with timber or brick, as may be judged most convenient, that the building so to bo erected shall not be liverted to any other uso or employment but in a way of schooling without the consent of the parties that shall contribute.

In a subsequent meeting the following vote was passed: The town chose Mr. Talcott, Mr. Fitch, and Goodman Stebbins, Jolin Barnard, as their committee, to act for them, either in buying or building a house for a schoolhouse; and if they do agree to build, they are not to exceed the sum of money that was due to the town from Mr. Goodwin; and if they buy, they are not to exceed the sum of money due from Mr. Goodwin; and the town doth ongage to stand what their committee shall do iu this business.

The other towns composing the colony followed the same mode of supporting schools. Education was partly a public and partly a private charge. For example, Weathersfield voted in March, 1658,

That Mr. Thomas Lord should be schoolmaster for the year ensuing, and to have twenty-tive pounds for the year, and also the use of the house lot, and tho use of the meadow as formerly; and the twenty-five pounds is to be raised-of tho children eight shillings per bead of such as come to school, and the remainder by rate of all the inhabitants made by the lists of estates.

In 1650 a codification of laws for the government of the Commonwealth was made. The titles “ Children" and "Schools,” according to Dr. Barnard, with trifling modifications, and such only as were calculated to give them greater efficiency, remained on the statute book for one hundred and fifty years. It will be seen that the author of the compilation borrowed a familiar statute from Massachusetts:


Forasmuch as the good Education of Children is of singular behoofo and benefitt to any Commonwealth; and whereas many parents and masters are too indulgent and negligent of theire duty in that kind;

It is therefore ordered by this Courte and Authority thereof, that the Select men of euery Towne in the several precincts and quarters where they dwell, shall have a vigilant eye over their brethern and neighbors, to see, first, that none of them shall suffer so much barbarism in any of their families, as not to endeavor to teach by themselves or others, their children and apprentices so much learning as may enable them perfectly to read the English tongue, and knowledge of the capital laws, upon penalty of twenty shillings for each neglect therein; also, that all masters of families, do, once a week, at least catechise their children and servants, in the grounds and principles of religion; and if any be unable to do so much, that then, at the least, they procure such children or apprentices to learn some short orthodox catechism, without book, that they may be able to answer to the questions that shall be propounded to them out of such catechisms by their parents or masters, or any selectmen, when they shall call them to a trial of what they have learned in this kind; and further, that all parents and inasters do breed and bring up their children and apprentices in some bonest lawful (calling;) labor, or employment, either in

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »