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The Friends Public School was chartered in response to a petition addressed to the governor and council dated December 10, 1697.
The following quotation shows the spirit of the document: The humble petition of Samuel Carpenter, Edward Shippen, Anthony Morris, James Fox, David Lloyd, William Southby, and John Jones, in the behalf of themselves and the rest of the people called Quakers who are members of the Monthly Meeting, held and kept at the new Meeting-house, lately built upon a piece of ground fronting the High street, in Philadelphia aforesaid, obtained of the present Governor by the said people, sheweth: That it hath been and is much desired by Many, that a school be set up and upheld in this town of Philadelphia, where poor children may be freely maintained, taught and educated in good literature, until they be fit to be put out apprentices or capable to be masters or ushers in the said school. And forasmuch as by the laws and constitutions of this government, it is provided and enacted, that the Governor and Council shall erect and order all public schools, and encourage and reward the authors of useful sciences and laudable inventions, in the said Province and Territories; therefore, may it please the Governor and Council to ordain and establish that at the said town of Philadelphia, a public school may be founded, where all children and servants, male and female, whose parents, guardians, and masters be willing to subject them to the rules and orders of the said school, shall from time to time, with the approbation of the overscers thereof for the time being, be received or admitted, taught and instructed; the rich at reasonable rates, and the poor to be maintained and schooled for nothing. And to that end a meet and convenient house or houses, buildings and rooms, may ve erected for the keeping of the said school, and for the entertainment and abode of such and so many masters, ushers, mistresses and poor children, as by the order and direction of the said Monthly Meeting shall be limited and appointed from time to time.
II. THE WYOMING VALLEY.
As bounded by the charter of 1662, Connecticut extended westward on the parallel of 41° north latitude to the South Sea. Two years later Charles II, author of this charter, gave to his brother James, Duke of York, the Dutch province of New Netherlands, thus jumping the Connecticut grant. Moreover, the charter which the same King gave to William Penn in 1681 bounded Pennsylvania on the north by the beginning of the three and fortieth degree of northern latitude, which was finally adjudged to mean the forty-second parallel, thus jumping Connecticut a whole degree from the Delaware River five degrees westward. Connecticut yielded to the inevitable in the IIudson Valley and in New Jersey; but in due course of time she prepared to contest with Pennsylvania the possession of the overlapped degree beyond the Delaware. Settlers from Windham County, Conn., began to migrate to the Wyoming Valley while the French and Indian war was in progress, but permanent settlements were not effected until about 1769. These operations were conducted principally under the auspices of the Susquehanna Company, which was at first a private affair, but was afterwards incorporated and protected by the State. There now ensued a
a most interesting passage in the history of Western colonization, with which we are not concerned. In time 17 townships, known in Pennsylvania history as the “certified townships," were surveyed and occupied.
ED 93— 80
In 1782 a Federal court adjudged the territory in dispute to Pennsylvania. Up to that time the settlers had been subject to the jurisdiction of Connecticut. This first population, subsequently strongly reenforced from home, gave to the region in the midst of which it is placed, and in fact to the whole State, an educational impress that it has never lost.
Dr. Wickersham speaks of the system of free public schools that the Connecticut settlers established in the valley of the Wyoming as baving an important bearing upon subsequent educational history. Penn. sylvania, as a province, he says, of course had nothing to do with establishing these schools; in principle they were an advance upon the schools then existing in Connecticut, and in most essential respects were similar in design and management to the public schools of the present day. This influence, as well as the Connecticut man's alertness to education at the time, is well illustrated by the first action in relation to schools that was taken, as follows:
At a meeting of the Susquehanna Company, held at Hartford, Conn., 28th December, 1768, it was voted to lay out 5 townships of land within the purchase of said company on the Susquehanna of 5 miles square each; that the first 40 settlers of the first town gettled and 50 settlers of each of the other towns settled shall divide the towns among themselves, reserving and appropriating 3 whole shares or rights in each township for the public use of a gospel ministry and the schools in each of said towns, and also reserving for the use of said company all beds and mines of iron ore and coal that may be within said townships.
It was also voted to grant to Dr. Eleazer Wheelock a tract of land in the easterly part of the Susquehanna purchase 10 miles long and 6 miles wide for the use of the Indian school under his care: I'rovided, He shall set up and keep said school on the premises.
The Indian school was not established. Dr. Wheelock became the founder of Dartmouth College instead. The other features of the plan were speedily carried out. Premising the observation that this interesting chapter really belongs to the history of education in Connecticut, we may permit Dr. Wickersham to tell the story. His account is here considerably abridged.
The 3 shares in each township, amounting to 960 acres, were devoted mainly to schools, but in part to the support of the ministry. The funds arising from the sale of the lands, as in so many other similar cases, were badly managed; but in some townships they still exist and are applied to the original purpose. The New England town-meeting plan of inanaging schools and other town affairs was followed. The mode of proceeding is thus described:
A school meeting was called by public notices posted in the district. The inhabitants of the district met and elected, in their own way, three of their number to act as a school committee, which committee hired teachers and exercised a general supervision over the schools. The teacher was paid by the patrons of the school in proportion to the number of days they had been sent to school. A rate bill was made out by the teacher and handed to the committee, who collected the money.
"See Hinsdale, The Old Northwest, Chap. VII; also Wickersham, Chap. IV.
There was also a township fund raised by taxation that was drawn upon to build schoolhouses and pay teachers. A local historian has disinterred from the old records such minutes as the following:
At a town meeting held in Wilkesbarre, August 23, 1773, a vote was passed “to raise three pence on the pound on the district list to keep a free school in the several school districts in the said Wilkesbarre.” A subsequent meeting, “ especially warned, adopted measures for keeping open free schools, one in the upper district, one in the lower, and one in tho town plot." (Wickersham, p. 76.)
A town meeting in Kingston, held December 21, 1773, voted that a committee of three, the men being duly named, be appointed to divide the town into three districts for keeping of schools. The other town. ships passed similar votes, thus recognizing the fundamental principles of all true systems of public instruction-the common education of all classes, schools supported by a general fund or a tax on property, local management and responsibility.
There appears to have been also a general county educationalorganization. Thus, at a general meeting of the settlers, held December 6, 1774, it was voted that 15 men, duly named, be chosen as a school committee for the ensuing year. The Wyoming settlement influenced the educational history of the State in three ways: (1) The system of schools first established there continued in operation to the time of the adoption of the State common school system in 1834, when, with little change and no disturbance, it was merged into it; (2) as the nearest approach to our modern public schools of any class of schools then known in Pennsylvania, these Connecticut schools exercised considerable influence in shaping the school legislation which culminated in the act of 1834; (3) it was one of the Wyoming men, Timothy Pickering, so well known in our national history, who in the constitutional convention of 1790 secured the adoption of the article on education upon which was subsequently based the whole body of laws relating to common schools in Pennsylvania up to the year 1834, and by so doing saved the convention from the threatened danger of committing itself to a much narrower policy.
VI. CONGRESSIONAL LAND GRANTS FOR COMMON SCHOOLS AND
The land ordinance of May 20, 1785; the ordinance of 1787; Article III of compacts;
powers to the board of treasury, July 23, 1787; enabling act for Ohio, April 30, 1802; Ohio school lands vested in the State legislature, March 3, 1803; grant of lands made to Michigan for schools, June 23, 1836; act to establish the Territorial government of Oregon, August 14, 1848; act to appropriate lands for the support of schools in certain townships and fractional townships not before prorided for, May 20, 1826; extracts from acts appropriat'ng university lands to Michigan, 186, 18.36; provisions of the enabling acts for the States of North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, and Washington, February 22, 1899; resolutions adopted by the general assembly of Maryland. The Government of the United States is one of delegated powers. Not only is the Constitution framed on this theory, but the ninth amendment expressly declares: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” Among the powers delegated, the establishment of schools and the provision of education are not found. The words do not occur in the document. Accordingly, whatever power Congress has in the premises must be sought in the innplications of the Constitution as interpreted by history. Propositions relative to the establishment of a national university were brought forward in the Federal Convention of 1787, but only to be rejected. But while the Constitution confers upon Congress no direct power over the subject of education and schools, that body has still legislated upon the subject in several different directions. Its earliest legislation dedicated public lands to the support of common schools and seminaries of learning.
Gifts of lands for the creation and maintenance of schools and other institutions of learning were a well-established practice in Europe and in England long before the settlements of Jamestown and Plymouth were made, and the American colonies very naturally adopted it. Thus, in 1677, the general court of Connecticut voted 600 acres of land forever to each of the four counties of the Commonwealth for the support of grammar schools in the county towns. At a later day the new States and the General Government pursued a similar policy.
At the opening of the Revolutionary war the States of Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia claimed the whole West north of parallel 31°, extending to the Mississippi River and the Great Lakes. These claims the other States disputed, on the ground that the Western lands must be won from a common enemy by common efforts, and that they should therefore inure to the common benefit. Time told more and more in favor of the nationalization of these lands, and ultimately the claimant States ceded the major part of them and the jurisdiction of the whole to the nation. The Northwestern cessions were made in the period 1781-1786; the Southwestern cessions somewhat later. These cessions threw upon
Congress the disposition of the Western territory, with the exception of Kentucky and Tennessee, its settlement and government. As the War of Independence drew to its end, both statesmen and soldiers in the Federal Army began to turn their attention to the region northwest of the Ohio River as a theater for colonization. In April, 1783, Col. Timothy Pickering drew up certain propositions for settling a new State by.such officers and soldiers of the Federal Army as should associate for that purpose, said State to comprise all that part of the Northwest Territory lying east of the meridian line drawn 30 miles west of the mouth of the Scioto River and the Miami of the Lakes [the Maumee. Pickering proposed that Congress should purchase this tract of the Indians, and then make grants according to a prescribed schedule to the officers and men entering into the association. One of these propositions contains the first suggestion extant of the future national educational land-grant policy, viz:
7. These rights being secured, all the surplus lands shall be the common property of the State, and be disposed of for the common good; as for laying out roads, building bridges, creating public buildings, establishing schools and academies, defraying the expenses of government, and other public uses.
This suggestion ripened into legislation two years later: AN ORDINANCE for ascertaining the mode of disposing of lands in the Western territory.
Adopted by Congress May 20, 1785. Be it ordained by the United States in Congress assembled, That the territory ceded by individual States to the United States, which bas been purchased of the Indian inhabitants, sball bo disposed of in the following manner:
The surveyors, as they are respectively qualified, shall proceed to divide the said territory into townships of 6 miles square, by lines running due north and south, and others crossing these at right angles, as near as may be.
The plats of the townships, respectively, shall be marked by subdivisions into lots of one mile square, or 640 acres, in the same direction as the external lines, and numbered from 1 to 36, always beginning the succeeding range of the lots with the number next to that with which the preceding one concluded. [That is, beginning in the northeast corner and numbering back and forth, west and east.]
There shall be reserved the lot No. 16 of every township, for the maintenance of public schools, within the said township.
In 1787 the agents of the Ohio Company of Associates, a New Eng. land organization that had already projected a colony on the Ohio, resorted to Congress for a grant of lands and a constitution of government. This application led at once to two important enactments: AN ORDINANCE for the government of the territory of the United States northwest of the River
Ohio. Adopted by Congress July 13, 1787. Articlo III of Compacts. Religion, morality, and knowledge being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged. Powers to the board of treasury to contract for the sale of the Westeru territory. Adopted by Con
gress July 23, 1787. The lot No. 16 in each towuship, or fractional part of a township, to be given perpetually for the purposes contained in the said ordinance [1785). The lot No. 29, in each township, or fractional part of a township, to be given perpetually for the purposes of religion,
Not more than two complete townships to be given