Later Colonial Schools
( Originally Published 1907 )
THE seventeenth century was marked by several stages of colonial development, corresponding to rather sharply defined epochs in the history of the mother country. The violent changes which characterized that age left their impress on colonial society, and affected the course of colonial education. These successive stages cannot, however, be considered in detail in such a work as this. But the contrast between the earlier and the later colonial times is too great to be over-looked, since it brings to view some of the strongest under-currents in our educational history. The second great division of our colonial period will accordingly receive separate consideration in this chapter.
As a matter of convenience, we may regard this second division as covering the whole of the eighteenth century, down to the Revolution. It is hardly necessary to say that the new century did not at once set up a new order of things. But the reign of William and Mary settled many disputes that had vexed the seventeenth century : and the reign of Queen Anne carries us well over into the age of outward calm ; the Augustan age, with its common sense ; the age of Bolingbroke and of Walpole and of all those others who like them depised enthusiasm. Down under the crust of that age new enthusiasms were moving which the world must reckon with further on. The fire that had gone out of the familiar institutions was at work elsewhere, with no diminution of creative energy.
The colonies in this time were coming to be colonial. Their inhabitants ceased to be Englishmen away from home, and became thoroughly provincial. Their intercourse with the mother country was very different from that known to their grandfathers, when the spirit of adventure or zeal for religion brought men of first-rate character and ability to America, and Americans found places of honor and responsibility awaiting them when they returned to England. The lament was often heard in the eighteenth century that the high character of the early colonists had not been maintained by their descendants. Such croaking, to be sure, is one of the luxuries of the lookers-backward in every age. But there can be no doubt that in this instance it was justified. Learning, along with much else that was good, had, in spite of all pains, been buried in the graves of the fore-fathers.
We can see now that in becoming provincial the colonists were simply getting ready to become American. For the student of history, this period is full of interest, for the reason that in its provincialism he can trace some of the beginnings of the American character.
Men filled with the love of adventure were slowly pushing the frontier back from the coast. There were already considerable stretches of country given over to peaceful industry and safe from invasion by the Indians. In spite of trade restrictions, the colonists were finding out for them-selves various lines of profitable employment. Moderate fortunes were made ; and in the cities of the north and on the plantations of the south a varied and interesting social life was developing. Printing presses were at work, news-papers came to be widely read, and affairs of public interest brought out a spirited pamphlet literature in America as in England.
Of the greatest significance in its bearing upon education was the ecclesiastical character of the several colonies. At the accession of William and Mary, we find some sort of experiment in religious freedom going on in Maryland, in Pennsylvania, and notably in Rhode Island ; Congregationalism of different types is established in Massachusetts and Connecticut; while the Church of England is officially recognized in Virginia and the Carolinas. In the other colonies, and to a less degree in some of those just enumerated, affairs ecclesiastical appear in a mixed and uncertain state, confusing enough to the student of our early history.
Such were the conditions that obtained at the opening of the English era of toleration. From that time on we may observe the working of two divergent tendencies. The Church of England was roused to greater interest in the American colonies, and entered upon extensive missionary operations on this side of the Atlantic. Anglican influence in the colonies was increased. Some sort of establishment, after the English pattern, was set up, under the patronage of royal governors, in New York and Maryland. And notable Episcopalian gains were made in the very centers of New England Congregationalism. At first glance it would seem that the dominant tendency of the time ran toward established Episcopalianism.
But many influences were making toward religious diversity and its natural accompaniment, religious equality. Such colonial establishments as there were can hardly be compared to the union of church and state then existing in the mother country. Even in the Puritan colonies, at an early day, the hard and fast connection of the civil with the ecclesiastical power had begun to loosen. This movement toward separation went on slowly during the eighteenth century. Along with it may be traced the growth of that positive civic and secular spirit which was so strongly marked during the Revolutionary period.
There were certain definite manifestations of these two tendencies — toward established Episcopalianism on the one hand and toward religious diversity and religious equality on the other — which must be briefly considered because of their bearing upon educational movements. And first of these, the activities of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts.
The founding of William and Mary College, in 1693, was one of the earliest indications of the new interest which the leaders of the English Church were taking in the colonies. Closely connected with this was the appointment of the two famous Commissaries of the Bishop of London in this country, the Rev. James Blair in Virginia and the Rev. Thomas Bray in Maryland. Dr. Blair is a most militant and interesting figure in the history of the colonial church. No man did more than he to secure the establishment of the college in Virginia ; and he was at the head of that institution down to the time of his death in 1743.
Thomas Bray, if less picturesque, was no less worthy. We find him, before quitting England, using his utmost endeavors to secure libraries for the use of the clergy in the several parishes of Maryland. " It is Ignorance," he said in a sermon on colonial missions, " which is the Natural Parent of that Atheism and Infidelity so rife amongst Men; and indeed, not only of that, but of all other Vices and Wickednesses whatsoever." He reminded his hearers " that we can-not now work Miracles, and that Inspiration is no part of our Talent ; but that we are left to the Ordinary means of Converting the World ; namely, the Common Measures of God's Holy Spirit accompanying our hard Study."
It was chiefly due to the devotion and persistence of Dr. Bray that the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel was organized, by English churchmen, in 1701. This Society immediately undertook a vigorous campaign for the extension of Anglican Christianity in the several American colonies. George Keith, the first master of the Friends' Public School in Philadelphia, who had now conformed to the English Church, was the first of its missionaries. He travelled all over the colonies in the discharge of his duties, and started a considerable movement toward Episcopalianism.
The chief concern of the Society was the maintenance of ministers in colonial parishes. At the outbreak of the Revolutionary war it was helping to support seventy-seven missionaries in the region then in revolt. But next after churches, the Society was concerned in the establishment of schools. These were mostly of elementary grade. But when our second Episcopalian college was projected the Society furthered the movement, and gave it substantial support. The authorities of the English Church required of candidates for holy orders that they should have had the training of a college course. In this there was full agreement between them and the Congregationalists of New England. It was an attitude which gave countenance and encouragement to the higher education, for which the Latin grammar school furnished the indispensable preparation. The operations of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, accordingly, furthered indirectly the grammar school movement ; and in some instances grammar schools would seem to have received aid from the treasury of the Society.
It was the great hope and aim of this Society to secure the establishment of an American episcopate. Such a consummation had long been desired and sought by the dignitaries of the English Church. As far back as 1638, Archbishop Laud had exerted himself to have a bishop sent to New England. But this project met with determined opposition on both sides of the water, not only in the time of Laud, but whenever it was broached in later days. It is difficult for us to understand the intensity of the feeling which this proposal aroused. It was not that men objected to an episcopal form of church government, though many were opposed on principle to such a system. It was much more that men dreaded the power residing in an English bishop to enforce conformity; and could not forget how oppressively that power had been exercised. One had only to mention the name of Laud to arouse hostility and dread.
So it came about that the growing success of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel aroused grave apprehension in many minds. And in the fifties and sixties of the eighteenth century, this found expression in a heated controversy. In-dependence came before a trans-Atlantic episcopate could be secured ; and the discussion which the movement stirred up was, as Moses Coit Tyler has remarked, " one of the chief secondary causes of the American Revolution."
The "Venerable Society," then, while working for unity in established Episcopalianism, unintentionally sharpened existing differences and strengthened the demand for religious freedom. But other forces were working more power-fully in the same direction. There had been abundant variety in the religious character of the earlier settlements. But variation went much further in the eighteenth century. At the first, America had been a land of promise for the oppressed, because of the opportunity it offered of founding new commonwealths for people of this or that religion. Now the idea of religious equality was getting abroad, and America was looked upon as a land in which the oppressed might find shelter under governments, already established, which welcomed all comers.
Various sects, mostly German, emigrated in great numbers to Pennsylvania. European Baptists settled in the Carolinas, making a beginning of that Baptist influence which has been so powerful in the south to this day. Huguenots poured into that southern country after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, and their descendants have held a high place in our history.
Most significant of all from the point of view of education was the influx of Presbyterians from the north of Ireland. This immigration began about the year 1718 and continued for many years thereafter, being reinforced later by a similar movement from Scotland. Popular education was as an article of the faith with these people, and their reverence for an educated ministry made them lay the strongest emphasis upon the traditional college training. Their experience with the established Protestantism of Ireland had formed in them a fixed attitude of opposition toward the Anglican system. Many of them disapproved as well of the established Presbyterianism of Scotland, and they were ready material for a party of opposition to church establishments as such in this country. They spread out over all the colonies, becoming especially strong in the highlands of the middle and southern states.
To recall these familiar facts is to get the merest hint of that diversification of faiths and peoples which was going on in the colonies. The different elements were becoming more thoroughly mixed together in the eighteenth century than they had been before. One of the missionaries of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel described what he found as a " ° hotch-potch of religions." The time was favorable for a great religious movement which should sweep over this motley company, firing the hearts of men with a new sense of unity, and making new party divisions, marked with new party-spirit. Such a movement came in that tremendous religious revival known as the Great Awakening. In its progress and in its results, religious, political, and educational, this movement reminds one in some measure of that set going by the Preaching Friars, in the thirteenth century.
There was much that led up to the awakening on both sides of the Atlantic. Such revivals, on a smaller scale, had not been uncommon in Puritan congregations. The Quakers and Anabaptists of the seventeenth century had, perhaps, prepared the way by their teaching and preaching. The Pietists in Germany at the end of the seventeenth century, under the lead of Spener and Francke, had spread abroad a view of the religious life which was favorable to such movements. Count Zinzendorf at Herrnhut had brought the Moravians into close touch with this pietism. Many of Zinzendorf's people had come to Pennsylvania, and their Count-bishop came himself to visit them. England felt the influence of what was going on in Germany, and by the year 1740 had her own Methodist revival under way, led by Whitefield and the Wesleys.
Just when and how the colonial awakening began it would be hard to say. But there was a great religious revival at Northampton, Massachusetts, under the preaching of Jonathan Edwards, which was in full progress in 1734, and rose to great intensity and fervor in the following year. Similar revivals took place in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, under the lead of Domine Frelinghuysen and Jonathan Dickinson and Samuel Blair, and the Tennents, father and sons. This was in the years 1739-40. In 1738, George Whitefield, one of the greatest pulpit orators in the history of the Christian church, came from England and began that marvellous series of colonial preaching tours, which ended only with his death. Wherever he went there was excitement, disturbance, division — anything but spiritual stagnation. And a great number of irregular, itinerant preachers followed after him, who gathered their congregations in the churches or in the fields indifferently, and called men everywhere to repentance.
The most contradictory views of these things were held at the time of their occurrence. Jonathan Edwards declared that "Multitudes in all parts have had their consciences awakened, and . . . there is a great alteration amongst old and young as to drinking, tavern haunting, profane speaking, and extravagance in apparel.... In very many places the main of the conversation in all companies turns on religion, and things of a spiritual nature." " Satan, the old inhabitant, seems to exert himself, like a serpent disturbed and enraged." Benjamin Franklin remarked, in his autobiography, " It was wonderful to see the change soon made in the manners of our inhabitants. From being thoughtless and indifferent about religion, it seemed as if all the world were growing religious." On the other hand, the Presbyterian Synod of Philadelphia, which had been rent by dissensions resulting from the revival, published a " Protestation" in which the preachers of the awakening were censured for "preaching the Terrors of the Law in such manner and Dialect as has no Precedent in the Word of God, but rather appears to be borrowed from a worse Dialect; and so industriously working on the Passions and Affections of weak Minds, as to cause them to cry out in a hideous Manner, and fall down in Convulsion-like Fits . . . and then after all, boasting of these Things as the Work of God, which we are persuaded do proceed from an inferior or worse Cause."
With education so intimately bound up with religion as we know it to have been in those days, such a movement as the Great Awakening could not fail to have a mighty influence on the development of schools. The Episcopalian missionary movement affected education, but chiefly in the way of quickening activity along the familiar lines. The awakening, on the other hand, tended to the undoing of old forms and the making of new types.
This educational influence may be seen in many instances working directly, in the establishment of schools by religious bodies and for ends immediately connected with the spirit of the revival. But in a larger way, it worked through social changes which the revival furthered or brought about. For the Great Awakening, like the Methodist movement in England, had much to do with the rise of the common people. As it affected American theology by turning it in the direction of such doctrines as could be most effectively preached from the pulpit, and affected American politics by quickening the growth of democracy, so it affected education by giving the people a new interest in schools above the elementary grade, and by promoting the establishment of such schools as would answer to this interest.
"The great God has wrought like himself," wrote Jonathan Edwards, " in pouring out his spirit chiefly on the common people.... He has made use of the weak and foolish things of the world to carry on his work. The ministers that have been chiefly improved, some of them have been mere babes in age and standing, and some of them such as have not been so high in reputation among their fellows as many others." He proposed that, for the furthering of the ends sought by the men of the Great Awakening, schools should be endowed, " which might be done on such a foundation, as not only to bring up children in common learning, but also, might very much tend to their conviction and con-version, and being trained up in vital piety." Even before the awakening, a notable school of this sort had been established, which had a numerous offspring. This was the "Log College" of the Rev. William Tennent.
Whitefield wrote of this school in one of his journals: " Set out for Neshaminy, 20 miles distant from Trent-Town, where old Mr. Tennent lives, and keeps an Academy. . . . It happened very providentially that Mr. Tennent and his Brethren are appointed to be a Presbytery, by the Synod; so that they intend Breeding up gracious Youths, and sending them out, from time to time, into our LORD'S Vine-yard. — The Place wherein the young Men study now, is, in Contempt, called, The College : It is a Log-house, about 20 Foot long, and near as many broad ; and to me it seemed to resemble the School of the old Prophets. From this despised Place, seven or eight worthy ministers of JESUS have lately been sent forth ; more are almost ready to be sent ; and a Foundation is now Laying for the instruction of many others."
Mr. Tennent was a North-of-Ireland man, who had entered upon his pastorate at Neshaminy, and established his school there, about the year 1726. Numerous schools were opened in the middle and southern states, within the next few years, by Presbyterian ministers who had been trained in Mr. Tennent's " academy," and by others in imitation of such example. The term " log college," came to be used as a generic designation of any school of this sort. Mr. Tennent had sons who were ministers, and the eldest of them, Gilbert Tennent, was one of the most celebrated of the revival preachers who followed in the wake of George Whitefield. The Log College men threw themselves, heart and soul, into the revival movement ; and one of the most significant controversies growing out of that movement was that in which their presbytery became involved with the Synod of Philadelphia.
The question at issue was that of the requirement of a college training of candidates for ordination. It was not the first time nor the last that this question arose. It had come up for discussion in the preceding century. At a later time, when the area of settlement was rapidly enlarging in the west, it became increasingly difficult of answer. At the time of the awakening, when colleges were still chiefly for the training of ministers, and secondary schools chiefly preparatory to such colleges, the question was a vital one in its bearing on the development of both secondary and higher education.
The Synod of Philadelphia stood for the traditional requirement. The presbytery would have promising candidates ordained though they should offer only the incomplete preparation provided by the Log College. The two parties failed to come to an agreement, and a separation resulted, after the good old Presbyterian fashion. The affair ran a devious course, which would be long in the telling. But it eventuated in the establishment of the College of New Jersey, now Princeton University, by men of the awakening, an important part in the enterprise being borne by some who were not distinctively of the Log College party.
The College of New Jersey became a spiritual centre to which the classical schools set up by Presbyterian ministers here and there were tributary. The college stimulated the schools; and when its graduates went forth, they went as missionaries of education as well as of religion. After the middle of the eighteenth century, accordingly, the Princeton influence was a force to be counted on in the extension of secondary instruction.
With this introduction we may now enter upon a more particular survey of the state of secondary education during this period in the several colonies. While many influences were at work, industrial, commercial, political, the two new currents which most obviously directed the course of that education were those which have been described : the new colonial activity of the Church of England, and the whole set of tendencies which culminated in the Great Awakening. Generally speaking, the first of these was conservative, and the second made for change. Already there was a settled tradition of education in the Puritan colonies, and this made a second conservative element. Despite all differences, the religious and educational influence of the Puritans and that of the Anglicans often set in the same direction.
We shall see later how the two tendencies, the Puritan-Anglican and the New Light were interacting to produce what was, perhaps, the first really American type of school, the American academy. But the real academy belongs to the earlier years of independence; and for the present we need concern ourselves only to see what was actually doing in the educational affairs of the several colonies down to the time of the Revolution. This survey must necessarily be brief, supplementing general statements with a few typical or remarkable instances.
On the whole, the grammar schools of the earlier type were slowly declining. Their " decay " is spoken of as early as the beginning of the eighteenth century. In New Hampshire, the laws relating to the support of grammar schools were revised from time to time, in the direction of greater strictness. The advent of Scotch-Irish settlers, near the end of the first quarter of the century, tended to strengthen the educational spirit of the province. Under a provision embodied in an act of 1719, towns might apply, in case of need, for relief from the legal requirements relative to the support of schools. As the century advanced and the burdens of war with the French and Indians came to be severely felt, some towns availed themselves of this provision, or neglected the maintenance of schools without regard to formal dispensation.
It was a bold step that was taken by the makers of Dart-mouth College — and a step of great significance in the later educational history of the state — when they proceeded, in 1769, to set up their institution for the education of both white men and Indians, in the heart of what was then the western wilderness. The rise of this institution was intimately connected, through President Eleazar Wheelock, with the general movement of the awakening.
In Massachusetts, though the penalty for neglect was repeatedly increased, the records show that grand juries were still hard put-to to enforce observance of the law for gramniar schools. Lieutenant-Governor William Dummer, who died in 1761, bequeathed his dwelling-house and farm of nearly three hundred acres, in Byfield parish, Newbury, for the establishment of a grammar school. This was a notable act in more ways than one. It broke away from the tradition of local and public provision for education, which had been prevalent in Massachusetts from the earliest days. It was not the first departure from that tradition, to be sure ; but coming when it did, it heralded a new movement.
There was much fumbling in the external management of this school during the first years of its existence, which hints at a painful adjustment to changing notions of school administration. But under the first master, Samuel Moody, there was no uncertainty in its internal management. He made it a grammar school of the olden type, strictly devoted to the business of preparing boys for college. Among the boys whom he sent to Harvard was Samuel Phillips, who became the prime mover in the establishment of the Phillips Academy at Andover. After this later institution had inaugurated the academy movement in Massachusetts, the Dummer school was transformed into the Dummer Academy, receiving an act of incorporation in 1782.
In Connecticut, one characteristic outcome of the Great Awakening is recorded. Some enthusiastic New Lights established, at New London, an institution which was known as the "Shepherd's Tent." This was intended as a training school for future ministers, exhorters, and teachers. But the colonial legislature, under Old Light domination, was zealous for the established education as well as for the established religion ; and a strict enactment was passed for-bidding any one to conduct any sort of public school, other than those provided for by law, without legislative permission .3 This act, passed in 1742, was to continue in force for a period of four years. With the growth of New Light influence in the colony, we see signs of a growing hospitality toward educational experiments.
Steps were taken from time to time to provide for the education of the Indians within the jurisdiction of Connecticut. The most notable undertaking of this sort was the Moor's Indian Charity School, conducted by the Rev. Eleazar Wheelock. Dr. Wheelock was one of the most eloquent preachers of the Great Awakening. He became pastor of a church in Lebanon in 1735, and like many other ministers of that day received boys into his family for classical instruction. After a time a school grew up under his care, to which a number of Indian youth were admitted. Among these were Samson Occum, who became a powerful preacher, and was listened to with marked attention even in Old England ; and Joseph Brant, who achieved a less worthy notoriety during the Revolutionary War. Joshua Moor bequeathed to this school a house and lands, and from him it took its name. A few years before the Revolution it reappeared in New Hampshire, where it gave rise to a higher and broader institution, under the honorable designation of Dartmouth College.
An important school was established at Lebanon in 1743, by Governor Trumbull, over which Nathan Tisdale presided for thirty years and more. Both the sons and the daughters of the Governor attended this school, and it drew other students from far and near. Just before the Revolution, in 1774, the " Union School of New London " was incorporated. Both of these institutions were virtually early academies, though not designated as such.
The province of New York seems to have been without a grammar school at the beginning of the century. On the recommendation of Governor Cornbury, an act was passed in 1702, providing that, for the term of seven years, fifty pounds be raised annually by taxation for the support of a grammar school master, in the city of New York. This tax was to be levied in the same manner as that for the support of a minister. The master must be licensed by the Bishop of London, or by the Governor or commander-in-chief of the province. This bill was not passed without much haggling over its provisions. George Muirson seems to have been master of the school for which it provided, in 1704-05. It is not clear that it was in operation either before or after his incumbency.
Another New York school which presents many points of interest was established in 1732, by act of the provincial legislature. Certain moneys coming in from the licensing of hawkers and pedlers were set aside for the encouragement of the master, to the amount of forty pounds per annum. And a like amount, " Currant Money of this Colony," was assessed in the same manner as that devoted to the support of the ministry. The condition of these grants was that twenty youths from various parts of the province should be taught gratis. Mr. Alexander Malcolm, who had been keeping a private school, was named in the act as the first master. The school was set up " to teach Latin, Greek, and all the Parts of Mathematicks." Mr. Malcolm announced that under the last-named head he gave instruction in geometry, algebra, geography, navigation, and "Merchants Book-keeping," and that, inasmuch as the younger Scholars at this School are in hazard of losing their Writing, through the loss of Time and Diversion, occasioned by their going from one School to another," he would teach writing to such of his Latin scholars as thought fit to employ him.
This school was confirmed and continued by a second act of the legislature, which expired in 1738 by limitation. The school is said to have been continued after that time and to have formed the germ of Columbia College. But the evidence on these points is not clear.
In 1753, one number of the Independent Reflector was devoted to a discussion of the need of grammar schools in the colony. "We are not only surpassed," so the paper reads, "by several of our Neighbors, who have long since erected Colleges for publick instruction, but by all others, even in common Schools ; of which I have heard it lamented, that we have scarce ever had a good One in the Province. It is true, we had a Law which declared in its Preamble, that the Youth of this Province, were not inferior in their Geniusses to those of any other Country ; But against this it is to be observed, that the Law is long since expired, and probably our natural Ingenuity abated, and even tho' this was not the Case, I can by no Means agree, that the natural Fertility of our Geniusses, is a sufficient Reason for the total Neglect of their Cultivation."
The writer proposes that two grammar schools be set up in each county, under public control, and that fifty pounds a year be raised annually by taxation for the support of each of the masters. These schools should prepare boys for en-trance into the new college of the colony, which could not be done properly in a less period than four years. It is especially urged that no grammar school be erected within the college, such a proceeding being contrary to all the traditions of colleges and universities. This proposal, however, came to nothing ; and a grammar school was opened in connection with King's College, in 1763, which was for many years one of the foremost classical schools of the middle states.
The early secondary schools of New Jersey were largely an outgrowth of the Great Awakening. Dr. Jonathan Dickinson had a classical school at Elizabethtown previous to 1745, and about the same time the Rev. Aaron Burr con-ducted a similar school at Newark. These schools were among the forerunners of Princeton College, of which institution Dickinson and Burr were successively president. The grammar school connected with the college played an important part in the early secondary education of the colony. A Baptist school was opened at Hopewell in 1756. Ten years later an important grammar school was established by two schoolmasters in partnership at Elizabethtown. Washington Academy, at Hackensack, was established in 1769, probably as consolation to that community for the outcome of the controversy with reference to the location of Rutgers College, in which New Brunswick had won and Hackensack had lost.
In South Carolina, perhaps more than any other colony, it was the prevalent practice of the planters to send their sons to England for an education. Here, as in Virginia, the development of schools was retarded by the scattering of the people on large plantations ; and the character of such schools as were opened was largely influenced by the establishment of the English Church in the colony, and by the missionary activity of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel. There seems to have been no provision for schools previous to 1710. In that year the legislature passed " An act for the founding and erecting of a free school, for the use of the inhabitants of South Carolina." This act set up a corporation empowered to receive gifts and legacies and administer the same for a colony free school. Several bequests for this purpose had already been made. The " preceptor and teacher of grammar and other arts and sciences " in this school must be a conforming member of the Church of England, and " capable to teach the learned languages, that is to say, the Latin and Greek tongues, and also the useful parts of the mathematics." Provision was also made for the appointment of a writing master. But no public funds were granted for any of these purposes, and nothing seems to have been accomplished under the act.
Two years later an act was passed renewing this corporation, and appointing Mr. John Douglass first master of the school, which was located at Charleston ; and life was given to the new enactment by an appropriation of public funds. It was provided that, in addition to a residence, the master should receive, out of the public treasury, the sum of one hundred pounds annually. In consideration of this grant, he was required to teach twelve scholars free of charge. For others, he might charge four pounds a year. A gift of twenty pounds to the school should entitle the donor to nominate a scholar, who should be taught free for a period of five years. Provision was made for an usher; and also for a fit person " to teach writing, arithmetic, and merchants accounts, and also the art of navigation and surveying, and other useful and practical parts of mathematics. A significant addition to this act was a section providing that schoolmasters in other parishes should receive a colonial subsidy of ten pounds a year, and empowering the parish vestries to build schoolhouses, with the aid of twelve pounds, in each case, from the provincial treasury.
A congregation of settlers from the Massachusetts Dorchester migrated, in the traditional fashion associated with that name, to South Carolina, and there set up a new Dorchester. In 1734 an act of the legislature authorized them to erect a free school, " for the use of the inhabitants of the South Carolina." It would seem that no special fund was voted for the encouragement of this school. The master was not required to be a churchman ; but it was provided that he should " be capable to teach the learned languages, Latin and Greek tongues, and to catechise and instruct the youth in the principles of the Christian religion." After the middle of the century, when a further migration from this South Carolina Dorchester to Georgia had taken place, the school was reorganized, with the rector of the parish as one of the commissioners ex officio, and a colonial subsidy of twenty-five pounds, "proclamation money," semi-annually was granted to it out of the church fund in the colonial treasury.
Several other important endowments of secondary education are recorded in the colonial period. Among them were those of the free school at Childsbury (1733), the Beresford Bounty School near Charleston (1721), the school of the Winyaw Indigo Society at Georgetown (1756), and others at Goose Creek, Beaufort, and Ninety-six. One of the most interesting of these endowments is that made at Georgetown, by the Indigo Society, which now provides a portion of the support of the Georgetown High School.
In connection with the Presbyterian churches in the upper country, instruction was frequently given in the classic languages. In this way, the Log College and the College of New Jersey made their influence felt in the South. According to Mr. Edward McCrady, these were in South Carolina up to the close of the Revolution eleven public and three charitable grammar schools of which record can be found. In 1722 an act was passed which authorized the justices of county and precinct courts to set up a Latin school in each county and precinct in the province, and to impose a tax for its support, but it does not appear that anything came of this provision.'
Economic conditions in North Carolina were similarly unfavorable to the establishment of schools. Governor Johnson said, in 1736, " That the legislature has never yet taken the least care to erect one school which deserves the name, in this wide extended country, must in the judgment of all thinking men, be reckoned one of our greatest misfortunes." According to Mr. Charles Lee Smith, the first act of the North Carolina legislature for the establishment of a school was passed in 1749. It is doubtful whether the school then established in law was ever established in fact. The first real impulse toward the higher education came from the Presbyterian ministry. The Rev. James Tate established a classical school in the city of Wilmington about 1760. The Rev. David Caldwell, D.D., opened a classical school in Guilford County, in 1766 or 1767. This soon became "one of the most noted schools of the South." A classical school, established about the same time at the Sugar Creek Presbyterian Church, near Charlotte, was the beginning of Queen's College, afterwards (1777) chartered by the state legislature as Liberty Hall Academy.
As to Virginia, we have reports presented in 1724 from twenty-nine out of about forty-five parishes. In six of these there were public schools, and private schools were reported in eleven. The others had no public schools, and no report was presented with reference to private schools in them . Probably the most of these schools were of elementary grade.
Eaton's Charity School and Syms' Free School continued their good work; and for the better management of those institutions, their boards of trustees were incorporated by the legislature in the seventeen-fifties. Provision was made at Norfolk, in 1736, for a school, the master of which should be " capable to teach the Greek and Latin tongues." This master was to be nominated by the county authorities after being examined and approved by the faculty of William and Mary College. The school established by Henry Peasley in 1675, was reported in 1724 as endowed with five hundred acres of land, three slaves, and a number of cattle. The trustees of this school were directed by a legislative act of 1756 to found a free school in each of the parishes of Abingdon and Ware. Various other endowed schools appear in the records, but rather vaguely.
Many boys were educated in their homes by private tutors. George Washington attended an academy in Fredericksburg, of which the Rev. James Marye was master. In the latter part of the period under consideration, the schools established by Scotch-Irish ministers in the upland regions were influential here, as in neighboring colonies.
Mr. Basil Sollers has traced, with the greatest pains, the history of the several county schools of Maryland. Fifteen of these were established in colonial times. " The scarcity of good teachers seems," he says, " from the many advertisements promising `suitable encouragement ' to any person qualified for a schoolmaster, to have been an unsurmountable obstacle to the continuous success of the public or county schools. Another cause of failure was want of interest on the part of visitors. Their usefulness had at the time of the Revolution practically ceased in most cases."
The success of the academy and college in Philadelphia roused the Marylanders to emulation. Repeated efforts were made to establish a college in the province, and for a time with good prospect of success. But the coming on of revolutionary disturbances prevented a realization of these projects. An occasional private classical school appears in the history of the colony. The Presbyterian minister comes upon the scene, with his unfailing zeal for learning. The Rev. Samuel Finley's academy at Nottingham (1744—1761) was a famous school, in which two governors, a speaker of the House of Representatives, Dr. Benjamin Rush and his brother Jacob, and other distinguished men received their early training . The founder became president of Princeton College. Some of the Episcopalian rectors did good service by undertaking the education of a few boys in addition to their regular duties. One of these was the famous Jonathan Boucher of Annapolis.
In an address prepared by Dr. Boucher in 1773, a vivid account is given of the sorry state of Maryland education on the eve of the Revolution. " In a country containing not less than half a million souls," so runs a part of this address " (. .. a people further advanced in many of the refinements of life than many large districts even of the parent state, and in general thriving if not opulent) there is yet not a single college, and only one school with an endowment adequate to the maintenance of even a common mechanic. What is still less credible is that at least two-thirds of the little education we receive are derived from instructors who are either indentured servants or transported felons."
In Rhode Island, a new beginning of secondary education was made in 1764, by the establishment of the University Grammar School at Warren. The Rev. James Manning, an excellent man, was the first master of this school. When later in the same year, Rhode Island College (now Brown University) was founded, Dr. Manning became its first president. The school was, in fact, the direct forerunner of the college, and when the college came into existence, the school was continued as one of its chief tributaries.
We find no record of secondary education in Georgia previous to the Revolution. Much interest centred in the Orphan House at Bethesda, established by Whitefield, and long supported by funds which he solicited. Whitefield sought to carry this institution upward into a full collegiate organization. Franklin writes that the last time he saw him, the preacher consulted him with reference to his purpose of transforming his Orphan House into a college, When the college project failed, in 1767, because of disagreement with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Whitefield wrote to the governor of Georgia : " I now purpose to super-add a public academy to the Orphan House, as the College of Philadelphia was constituted a public academy, as well as charitable school, for some time before its present college charter was granted." But the academy project, too, failed for the time. Long after the Revolution, when the affairs of the Orphan House were wound up by act of the legislature, a portion of the proceeds went to the support of Chatham Academy.
While the Log College was engaging the attention of Presbyterians to the northward of Philadelphia, the presbyteries to the southward, in Pennsylvania and Delaware, were making plans of their own for the maintenance of a learned ministry. The most feasible scheme which presented itself to them was that of establishing a school which should con-duct its students well on into the college course. It was thought that an arrangement might then be made with Yale College to take the students at that point and carry them forward to the bachelor's degree. Three presbyteries combined their forces to establish such a school in 1743. The Synod of Philadelphia approved of the enterprise, and took it in hand the following year. The Rev. Francis Alison was chosen master, at a salary of twenty pounds a year, with authority to select an usher who should receive fifteen pounds a year. The authorities of Yale College received the overtures of the new institution with friendly sympathy and apparently agreed to receive its students to such standing as their scholarship should justify, and to admit them to a degree after one year's residence. It is not known whether any students ever availed themselves of this privilege.
The master designated by the synod was pastor of a Presbyterian church at New London, Pennsylvania, and had already opened a school on his own account. This became the school of the synod in 1744. It was fondly hoped by the promoters that it would grow into a college ; but the course of events led to the setting up of our first Presbyterian institution of higher education in New Jersey, under different auspices.
Francis Alison was one of the most learned men of his time in the colonies. President Stiles of Yale College spoke of him as " the greatest classical scholar in America, especially in Greek." He had a hasty temper — no uncommon thing in the school men of that time — but was placable, and commanded the love and respect of his pupils. Many of these attained to considerable eminence. In 1752 he withdrew from the school at New London to become the head of the academy established at Philadelphia through the efforts of Benjamin Franklin.
The school of the synod was continued; and was removed to Elkton in 1752, and to Newark, Delaware, in 1767. It was chartered by the Proprietaries two years later as Newark Academy. This was one of the earliest institutions for secondary education in Delaware. The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel had done much for education in the Three Lower Counties, but this was mainly of an elementary grade. The Newark Academy added an important element to the educational facilities of that region.
The effort of the promoters of the school at New London to maintain the requirement of some sort of college course in the case of candidates for the ministry is worthy of re-mark. It was easy for Yale College to co-operate with such a movement, for Connecticut Congregationalism was half-way Presbyterian. The Yale policy, too, at this time, was strongly opposed to the New Light party, with all of its tendency toward a social and educational levelling down.
Secondary instruction was given at many places in Pennsylvania during this period, but too often the efforts in this direction were short-lived. The stress of economic need and the pressure of war and political agitation, were unfavorable to spiritual concerns. Brave efforts were made by some of the German sects to maintain schools of high grade. The Quakers exerted themselves to the same end, often uniting their efforts with those of other denominations; and broadening their courses of instruction by the addition of mathematical and scientific subjects, to meet the demands of the time. Much good work was done in several communities by the Episcopalian churches, in cooperation with the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel. And the Log College Presbyterians carried a zeal for classical instruction with them wherever they appeared.
Yet it was an uphill road that they travelled. " In 1775," says Mr. Wickersham, "not only was the number of scholarly men in the Province small, but comparatively few grown per-sons could do more than read, write and calculate according to the elementary rules of Arithmetic, and many remained wholly illiterate. There was little demand for higher institutions of learning, and few existed. The College and the Friends' Public School in Philadelphia, the Academy at Germantown, and scarcely half a dozen private classical schools in the older settled counties, with in all an attendance of three or four hundred students, absolutely exhaust the advantages of this character enjoyed at home by our Revolutionary fathers."
The several tendencies of this period were blended to a remarkable degree in the school established at Philadelphia through the efforts of Benjamin Franklin. This school is believed to have been the first institution formally incorporated in this country under the title of academy. In many ways, its establishment marks the beginning of the first stage of that academy movement which had been fore-shadowed by many variations from the earlier type of education, and for which the social, economic, and religious changes of half a century had prepared the way. The making of this school will be reviewed in connection with the story of the American academies.