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BUREAU OF EDUCATION.
APPROPRIATIONS FOR SUPPORT.1
Ordinary appropriations for the Bureau of Education, 1867 to 1889.
| Appropriations for printing not included in this summary. 880-No.1 -6
STATE AID TO HIGHER EDUCATION IN NEW ENGLAND.
Education in early New England arose from philanthropic and charitable rather than from political motives. The idea of strengthening government was subordinate to the ideas of an enlightened church society and an educated ministry. In advancing this proposition it must be remembered that the influence of religion on government was very great. This influence is observed in the laws and customs which modified the entire civic polity. Economic and political measures were never lost sight of in the founding of the colonies, but they were always blended with religious interests. Nearly all of the early schools were
the direct product of religious impulse, but the government felt it no
less a duty on this account to foster and assist them. The people were keenly conscious of their duty to aid education in every conceivable way, not only as individuals, but through their representatives in the General Court. The self-sacrifices of individuals and the ready responses of legislative bodies to the calls of higher education will ever remain to arrest the attention of the thoughtful in succeeding generations. The attitude of the “State” in early times toward colleges was quite notable. While it did not assume any especial control of the institutions, and gave them at all times an independent existence, yet in a general sense it felt responsible for their establishment and maintenance. The founders of the New England Colleges entertained no such idea of a State institution for the specific support of the civil authority, independent of religious control, as was embodied in the plans of Thomas Jefferson for a school system in Virginia. Though the New England movement was religious, philanthropić, and charitable, rather than political, yet the general ends sought after were the same. Through an educated ministry, an intelligent body of worshipers, and by means of the cultured individual, the entire community was to receive lasting benefit. Much stress was also laid upon the education of the poor, while the untutored Indian was not omitted in the provisions for higher education. The zeal of the people for education was manifested alike through the self-denial of individuals and the action of their representatives in the General Court. It would have been nothing remarkable for a few 83
people about Harvard to have supported their own local institution for the sake of the welfare of their children and the prosperity of their own community. But when we consider that the outlying provinces of Maine, New Hampshire, and Connecticut sent to Harvard their contributions, raised by private subscription and by town taxes, then we see how great was the interest in education for its own sake. It is worthy of note, also, that the first school established by the people in New England was a college. They aimed at the higher education first, believing that it would strengthen and support secondary education. Two objects seem to be superior to all others in the founding of Harvard as well as Yale, (1) an educated ministry, and (2) the preparation of teachers for grammar schools. The full force of the modern school system was by no means grasped at that early day. The idea of the college as the first institution in a new country still survives. It has been the foremost school in the States of the West and South, and with it has been carried the fundamental truth of the
necessity of higher education for the support of primary and second
ary schools. The order of development of the modern school system has been through the college to the grammar schools, to the primary schools, and finally to the kindergarten. The institution of town schools, supported by local taxation, was a universal practice in New England. There were different phases of this system in different provinces, but all maintaining the same general characteristics. Sometimes the local taxes were administered through the general legislative body, at others through local boards. The system of grammar schools is the prototype of the modern high schools, supported in most instances by local revenues. The amounts granted for the support and encouragement of higher education were small, compared to the sums now granted in other parts of the United States for the same purpose. However, they were given when needed, usually at the request of the colleges, and the amounts given were of far greater value then than the same amounts would be to-day. In many instances they should be considered liberal donations. The States of New England are not as liberal to-day in proportion as the colonies were in respect to higher education. But there is not now so much need as then. Many changes have taken place. Theological schools have sprung up ; colleges have developed into universities. While it still remains true that colleges are necessary for the support of the ministry, it no longer follows that it is the chief aim of all the educational institutions of New England to supply an educated ministry. The State has sought its own work in other channels, and the theological seminary is no longer the object of its support. Private endowments are building magnificent institutions of learning. Education is universal and special: universal in representing all classes, and special in its application to the different pursuits in life,
HARWARD COLLEGE. | 85
The New England college supplied the most pressing need of the times; nevertheless, it was nothing more than a training school for young men, a boarding school without schools or professorships. It was exceedingly narrow in its object and work. But those were narrow times, though life was intense. I speak of this because New England has been struggling against the old regime, her mediaeval inheritance, in attempting to enlarge and diversify the means of education.
At first all the settlements centered their efforts on a single institution. Subsequently, when thickly settled communities sprang up elsewhere, other colleges were founded for the convenience of the people or for especial religious purposes.
One thing was favorable to New England education, that is, the quick and certain execution of the law. Whatever was ordered by the legislative bodies was sure of execution. In more sparsely settled portions of the land, under weaker governments, this is not always the case.
Massachusetts was the pioneer State in the establishment and maintenance of a system of public instruction by legislative enactment. Here the first action was taken by the representatives of the people for the support of general education; here the first tax was levied for the support of common schools; here the first State aid was granted for higher education; and it is to Massachusetts that the origin of the system of land grants is to be referred—a system adopted by the National Government and by so many States as to be considered wellnigh continental. The influence of this State upon the school laws, and educational systems and methods of other States has been very pronounced. The other New England States, especially, have as far as possible imitated her example, and followed closely in the wake of her progress, while the influence of the New England system on the Middle, Southern, and Western States has ever been recognized.
FOUNDING OF HARWARD COLLEGE.
Sixteen years after the landing of the Pilgrims at Plymouth, and only six years after the first settlement at Boston, the energetic citizens of the new colony began to provide for higher education. The General Court of the colony of Massachusetts, which met in Boston on the 8th of September, 1636, “agreed to give four hundred pounds towards a school or college, whereof two hundred pounds to be paid the next year and two hundred pounds when the work is finished, and the next court to appoint when and what building.”"
This seems a very small beginning for the foundation of a college,
- 1 Mass, Colonial Court Records, I, 183,