Colonial Schooling And School Administration
( Originally Published 1907 )
THE studies of the grammar schools were necessarily deter-mined by the relation of those schools to the colleges. They taught such subjects as entered into the college admission requirements. These requirements at Harvard College appear as follows in that early apology for Massachusetts Bay Colony, the New England First Fruits : " When any Scholar is able to understand Tully, or such like classicall Latine Author extempore, and make and speake true Latine in Verse and Prose, suo ut aiunt Marte; And decline perfectly the Paradigm's of Nounes, and Verbes in the Greek tongue : Let him then and not before be capable of admission into the Colledge."
The laws for Harvard College drawn up in 1734 contain the following prescription : " Whoever upon examination by the President, and two at least of the Tutors, shall be found able extempore to read, construe, and parse Tully, Virgil, or such like common classical Latin authors, and to write true Latin in prose, and to be skilled in making Latin verse, or at least in the rules of Prosodia, and to read, construe, and parse ordinary Greek, as in the New Testament, Isocrates, or such like, and decline the paradigms of Greek nouns and verbs, having withal good testimony of his past blameless behaviour, shall be looked upon as qualified for admission into Harvard College." The most noticeable change here is the addition of Vergil and of a Greek text.
Yale College was governed for some years after its founding by the Harvard laws. In 1745 the first complete body of laws drawn up for the use of the younger institution was adopted. The requirements for admission were then stated as follows : " That none may expect to be admitted into this College unless upon Examination of the President and Tutors, They shall be found able Extempore to Read, Construe and Parce Tully, Virgil and the Greek Testament ; and to write True Latin in Prose and to understand the Rules of Prosodia, and Common Arithmetic, and Shall bring Sufficient Testimony of his Blameless and inoffensive Life." Here the addition of arithmetic is significant.
The requirements prescribed by the College of New Jersey in 1748 are of the same general tenor ; but it was not till 1760 that candidates for admission at Princeton were required to " understand the principal rules of vulgar arithmetic."
At William and Mary College, the only entrance examination prescribed in the statutes adopted in 1727, was that of candidates for foundation scholarships, and it was intended only to discover " whether they have made due Progress in their Latin and Greek." It was particularly enjoined that " no Blockhead or lazy Fellow in his Studies be elected."
The regulations for the grammar school connected with the college give us a little additional information, but not much :
" Let the Latin and Greek Tongues be well taught. We assign Four Years to the Latin, and Two to the Greek. As for Rudiments and Grammars, and Classick Authors of each Tongue, let them teach the same Books, which by Law or Custom are used in the Schools of England. Nevertheless, we allow the School-master the liberty, if he has any observations on the Latin or Greek Grammars, or any of the Authors that are taught in his School, that with the Approbation of the President, he may dictate them to the Scholars. Let the Master take special Care, that if the Author is never so well approved on other Accounts, he teach no such Part of him to his Scholars, as insinuates any Thing against Religion or good Morals. And because nothing contributes so much to the Learning of Languages, as dayly Dialogues, and familiar Speaking together, in the Language they are learning; let the Master therefore take Care that out of the Colloquies of Corderius and Erasmus, and Others, who have employed their Labours this Way, the Scholars may learn aptly to express their Meaning to each other."
Not much of detailed information has come to light respecting the sequence of exercises in the actual course of school instruction. It seems probable that there was but little variation for several generations from the traditional course of the grammar schools of Old England.
From the allusions and more direct testimony of Cotton Mather and John Barnard, we learn that in the days of Ezekiel Cheever, the master's Accidence was used by beginners in the Boston Latin School, and that it was followed by Lilly's grammar. The text authorized and prescribed in England is doubtless referred to in the latter designation. lEsop's Fables, the Colloquies of Corderius, the fEneid, Cicero's De ofciis and orations (Pro Arehiapoeta being particularly mentioned), Cato, and Ovid's Metamorphoses were read. An exercise in turning one of the fables into verse is referred to.
We have a somewhat more particular account of the studies at the same school in the time of Master Lovell, a few years before the Revolution. The only requirement for admission at that time was the ability to read well ; but in the private school where the small boys learned to read, they were also taught to write, and were introduced to English grammar through the medium of Dilworth's speller. Even after he had been admitted to the Latin school, at the age of seven, the boy whose recollections are the basis of this account was sent to a private writing school from eleven to twelve each forenoon for three years, where he did nothing but write ; and if his memoranda are correctly interpreted, he went during the same period, from three o'clock to five each afternoon to a public English school, in which reading and writing were taught in the same room, to both boys and girls, from seven to fourteen years of age. In the school last named, the New England Primer was used, and Dilworth's spelling book, with the Bible as the only reading book. The master set sums for his pupils in a manuscript book, but went no further than the rule of three. During a part of this boy's school days, English grammar and geography were taught in only one school in Boston, and that was a private venture. He never saw a map in those years of schooling, except one that he did not understand, in an edition of Cmsar ; and Lowth's English grammar was studied by his class in college.
These notes throw light on the studies of the Latin school mainly by showing what it did not teach. But information of a more positive sort follows. In the Latin school itself, the boys studied Latin from eight o'clock to eleven in the forenoon, and from one in the afternoon till dark. They began with Cheever's Latin Accidence, which was followed by Ward's Lilly's Latin grammar. The reading consisted of IEsop, with a translation ; Eutropius, also with a translation ; Corderius, Ovid's Metamorphoses, Vergil's Georgics and 2Eneid, Ca sar, and Cicero. Of these, Caesar and the Georgics seem to have been less commonly used in grammar schools than the other works mentioned. In the sixth year of the course, the boy was half through Vergil. The master permitted the reading of such translations of Vergil as Trappe's and Dry-den's. Composition was begun, apparently, at about the same time with the reading of YEsop or of Eutropius, and Clarke's Introduction to writing Latin was the first text-book used. Near the end of the course, Horace was read, and Latin verses were composed with the help of the Gradus ad Parnassum.
One or two additional items appear in the recollections of Harrison Gray Otis, United States senator, who entered the Latin school in 1773. "The school," he says, "was divided into seven classes. A separate bench or form was allotted to each, besides a skipping form, appropriated for a few boys who were intended to be pushed forward one year in advance. The books studied the first year were Cheever's Accidence, a small Nomenclature [Nomenclator ? ], and Corderius' Colloquies. The second year, Aesop's Fables, and towards the close of it, Eutropius and Ward's Lilly's Gram-mar. The third year Eutropius and Grammar continued, and a book commenced called Clarke's Introduction. In the fourth year, the fourth form, as well as the fifth and sixth, being furnished with desks, commenced ` making Latin,' as the phrase was, and to the books used by the third form Csar's Commentaries were added. After this were read in succession by the three upper classes, Tully's Orations, the first books of the Aeneid, and the highest classes dipped into Xenophon and Homer. School opened at 7 in summer and 8 in winter, A. M., and at 1 P. M. throughout the year. It was ended at 11 A. M. and 5 P. M., at which hours the greater part went to writing-school for an hour at a time—but a portion remained and took lessons®in writing of `Master James,' son of the Preceptor, and some young girls then came in to school." 1
Latin was apparently three-quarters of the curriculum in the most of the grammar schools, or more likely nine-tenths of it, or nineteen-twentieths. Of the instruction in Greek, we get some hint in the " eminent clergyman's" recollections of the Boston Latin School, referred to above. The boy who was half through Vergil in the sixth year of his course, began at that time the study of Ward's Greek grammar. After this came the reading of the Greek Testament, in connection with which the boys were allowed to use Beza's Latin translation. This was followed with five or six books of Homer's Iliad, accompanied by Clarke's translation with notes, and that completed the course in Greek.
This boy's Latin-School course must have been altogether about seven years in length. He entered college at the age of fourteen years and three months. There he found that in Latin and Greek he was equal to the best in the senior class. Sallust and Xenophon were the only authors read in college that he had not already studied.
No mention is made in these recollections of any studies in the Latin school other than those in Latin and Greek, with the single exception that the student, in the sixth year, " for the first time attempted English composition, by translating Caesar's Commentaries." It is evident, however, that the studies of such a school were not so exclusively formal and so barren of ideas as they are sometimes represented. The authors read were selected, in part at least, with a view to the content of their works. Their moral worth was a prime consideration. But in the reading of Eutropius the boys got a fair introduction to Roman history. Yet this again depended largely upon the skill of the teacher; for many a school-boy might construe a Latin author faithfully without having in the end any idea of what that author had said.
Grammar school masters in the colonies, like their brethren in England, raised their voice against the demand that they should teach little children their A B C. Stringent provisions were sometimes adopted to protect them against this imposition. Yet all but the best of these free schools might be found slipping back, whenever there was any relaxation of scholarly ambition ; so that many of them must have been in fact, during a large part of their career, mere reading schools which gave a smattering of Latin to an occasional promising pupil.
The studies of the writing-arithmetic side of education, too, kept working over into the sacred enclosure. Some-times the grammar master gave a little instruction of this sort; and sometimes he gave more, and openly advertised the fact. Sometimes a special teacher of these subjects was regularly attached to the school. The eighteenth century gave more and more countenance to this innovation, partly because of the growing influence of the commercial class, and partly, we may believe, because of some increase of hospitality toward studies not distinguished by tradition.
The new studies so admitted were of a commercial and mathematical sort : arithmetic and merchants' accounts ; geometry, navigation, and surveying ; and some closely related subjects. The enlargement of commercial operations, the growth of American shipping, particularly that engaged in the whaling industry, and the rapid extension of the zone of regular settlements, had much to do with the demand for studies such as these. Of course such studies, previous to the middle of the eighteenth century, had no connection with preparation for college. They represented the intrusion of a different view of the function of the school. They smacked of trade. The notion that they might have some sort of educational value in and of themselves, was not then abroad. Education in its several aspects was viewed as something institutional and practical. It was not for the perfecting of human character, but for the training up of men to some sort of efficiency and public usefulness. The studies of the writing-mathematics group were not discounted because of their "practical" character, but because they were thought to minister to a lower and more private use than did the regular studies of the Latin school.
There was, however, one side of instruction which took account of the improvement of personal character for its own sake, and that was the inculcation of religious doctrine and the improvement of manners. Moral instruction was rarely prescribed as such, though Cato's Distichs supplied a compendium of moral precepts. For the rest, religion and manners covered practically the whole field. The doctrines of religion were all-important. The trouble-some question of the relation of religion to morals had to be considered, to be sure, in the pulpit if not in the school. The Calvinistic communions, with their doctrine of a pre-destination that had nothing to do with moral considerations, were continually on their guard against the dangers of antinomianism ; and how much of later American theology has been concerned with adjustments between the doctrine of salvation and the large human sense of right and wrong !
The subject matter of instruction in this domain was the catechism and reports of the sermons which the pupils were required to hear on Sundays and special occasions. Instruction in manners was immediately practical. In the early Quaker scheme of education there was much insistence on imparting a knowledge of the laws of the land. This sort of teaching, so strangely neglected in our own day, received but little notice in other colonial schemes of education. The ability to read and understand the " capital laws " of the country was, however, one object proposed in the educational legislation of Massachusetts in 1642 and in that of Connecticut in 1650.
We have the text of the rules adopted for two or three of our earlier grammar schools, and are able to get from them some idea of the ordinary working of those institutions.
When the first school committee was appointed for the oversight of the town school of Dorchester, Massachusetts, in 1645, certain rules and orders were adopted in town meeting for their guidance. School hours were fixed as follows : From March 1 to September 30, from seven in the morning to five in the afternoon ; for the remainder of the year, from eight o'clock to four. An intermission was provided for, from eleven to one every day ; except that on the second day of the week, from twelve to one, there should be a public examination of the scholars in what they had learned on the Sabbath, and an inquiry into their conduct on that day. The schoolmaster was required to instruct such as were sent to him, whether their parents were rich or poor ; and his instruction should be not only in "humane learning and good literature," but in "good manners and dutiful behavior towards all." Every day in the week there should be morning and evening prayer, and at two o'clock the scholars should be examined in the catechism.
The last and longest rule related to the correction of pupils : " 9thly. And because the rod of correction is an ordinance of God necessary sometimes to be dispensed unto children, but such as may easily be abused by overmuch severity and rigor on the one hand, or by overmuch indulgence and lenity on the other," the schoolmaster should have authority to minister correction without respect of persons, and should not be hindered in the exercise of that authority. Nevertheless, parents who should think the master too severe might expostulate with him, and if still dissatisfied might appeal to the " wardens " (school commit-tee) ; and the wardens were empowered in such a case either to dismiss the children of such parents from the school, or if the complaint seemed well founded, to propose to the in-habitants that the master be discharged. A similar proposal might be presented by the wardens if the master were found to be too lenient or guilty of "any other great neglect of duty." For the rest, the wardens were authorized to direct the affairs of the school in such mannrr as they should judge " most conducible for the glory of God and the training up of the children of the town in religion, learning, and civility."
The rules for the Hopkins Grammar School at New Haven (1684) prescribed still more terrific school hours — from six in the morning to four in the afternoon during the winter months, extended to five in the afternoon during the summer; with a daily intermission from eleven to one. The boys were to be examined Monday mornings upon the Sunday sermons ; and from one to three o'clock of Saturday afternoons was to " be improved by ye Mr in Catechizing of his Schollars yt are Capeable." All boys from the county of New Haven should be instructed by the master " upon his sallary accompt only, otherwise Gratis."
The daily routine in this school began with a short prayer, after which " the Master shall Assigne to every of his Schollars theire places of Sitting according to theire degrees of learning." Then, " having theire Parts, or Lessons appointed them," the unfortunate youngsters were required to " Keepe theire Seats, & stir not out of Dores," except as the master might give leave to one or two at a time. The strict in-junctions against fighting, quarrelling, calling bad names, and the like, is suggestive of disorders which the masters had to contend with. It is more than likely that occasional outbreaks were the saving of youthful constitutions, which might otherwise have gone to rack and ruin for sheer want of change and exercise. Monitors were appointed to keep track of delinquencies, and at appointed times there was a clearing off of scores. Truancy and tardiness are among the faults provided against. One breathes more freely at the thought of out-door air called up by the mention of these misdemeanors. The master was charged to " give them due Correccion to ye degree of ye offence. And yt all Correccions be wth Moderation."
When Daniel Munson was engaged as teacher of the Hopkins School in 1729, it was agreed that he should "keep the gramer scholl . . . about seven hours in the day in the winter season and about eight hours in the summer season in each day and not to exceed twelve play dayes in the year."
The code of regulations for the grammar school connected with William and Mary College has been referred to. The following paragraph from that document should be added :
"Special care likewise must be taken of their Morals, that none of the Scholars presume to tell a Lie, or Curse or Swear, or to take or do any Thing obscene, or Quarrel and Fight, or play at Cards or Dice, or set in to Drinking, or do any Thing else that is contrary to good Manners. And that all such Faults may be so much the more easily detected, the Master shall chuse some of the most trusty Scholars both for Publick and Clandestine Observators, to give him an Account of all such Transgressions, and according to the degrees of heinousness of the Crime, let the Discipline be used without Respect of Persons."
Boy life in those old schools must have been very different from that which we see in the secondary schools of our day. The boys were younger, to begin with. At the age represented by our high schools, a colonial boy would be in college, or have finished his schooling altogether. Such youngsters could not be expected to form clubs and edit papers and engage in interscholastic athletics. Not only their youth, but the habits and notions of the period were against it. Besides, nearly all of the good boy-hours in the whole year must be passed in the school room under the eye of the master. The main hope for anything like a good boy-time was in playing hookey or playing in school.
In the few hours that could be given to outdoor sports, they had skating and coasting in the winter, and in summer swimming, and a variety of games, including some with ball and bat — remote forerunners of base-ball Samuel Moody, the master of the Dummer School, paid great attention to the physical exercise of his boys, and was their leader and director in the regular practice of swimming.
The attempt was made here, as in England, to hold the boys to the use of Latin in their sports as well as during school hours. But the endeavor met with very little success. The William and Mary Grammar School regulations contained the direction, "If there are any sort of Plays or Diversions in Use among them, which are not to be found extant in any printed Books, let the Master compose and dictate to his Scholars Colloquies fit for such sorts of Plays, that they may learn at all Times to speak Latin in apt and proper Terms."
In the larger schools the boys were divided into " forms," those in the same class sitting together on one bench. The advance from one form to the next higher seems to have been made at yearly intervals. There was also a change of position from time to time within the class, according to the goodness or badness of the pupil's recitations. Emulation was freely employed, and the position of head of the class had strong attractions for some young scholars.
In Ezekiel Cheever's time at Boston, John Barnard had a competitor who beat me by the help of a brother in the upper class, who stood behind master with the accidence open for him to read out of ; by which means he could recite his [ ] three and four times in a forenoon, and the same in the afternoon ; but I who had no such help, and was obliged to commit all to memory, could not keep pace with him ; so he would be always one lesson before me." The seven-year-old John was so distressed by this affair that he left school for a time. The incident shows, among other things, that the recitations in this school were individual, although the grading and classification of the pupils were regularly provided for.
We find some little account of the houses in which these schools were kept. A writer already referred to in the Independent Reflector (New York City) for November 8, 1753, made an earnest plea for the establishment of public grammar schools in the province of New York, in the course of which he told, by way of illustration, of such schools "in the Colonies to the Eastward." It seems probable that the county grammar schools of Connecticut were especially intended. " They are built upon the Commons, contain but one Room, are tight and warm, and not more costly nor larger than a common Log Cottage. The Master suits him-self with a Lodging in the Village, and so do his Pupils generally at a very cheap Rate."
Not infrequently elsewhere the school house and the house of the master were one and the same building. This seems to have been the case at Boston during some part of the seventeenth century. But at another time we find in the Boston records a lot mentioned as lying between the school house and the house of the master. In the opening years of the eighteenth century, Boston built a new residence for the master and very soon after a new school house. From the selectmen's minutes, a pretty definite idea of this school house can be got. It was forty feet long by twenty wide, and eleven feet high in the studding. There were eight windows below and five in the roof. The building was clapboarded and shingled. There were stairs to the second floor, and a ladder from that floor to the bell. The main room was divided by a partition—the purpose of which does not appear. There were three rows of benches for the boys on each side of the school room.
Such, at least, was the building for which the selectmen contracted ; and for erecting it the builder was to receive one hundred pounds, together with the materials of the old building, while he provided the materials for the new. It was in this building that Benjamin Franklin went to school.
This school house was pulled down in 1748 to make way for an extension of King's Chapel, and again a new house was erected for the school, across the way.. This was a brick building, nearly square, with a cupola in which the bell hung. It had a school room on the main floor, and some use was made of an attic room over this.
One who was a pupil in this building described the school-room as follows : " The Master's desk was at the south [rear] end on the right side of the back door.. . The Usher's desk was in the northeasterly corner; between it and the [front] door was a small, or short seat and desk, in which a few of the first [lowest] class sat at times, as, I think, for want of room with the others ; between this desk and the door came down a bell-rope. Then going round against the sun were the seats of the third and fourth classes, on the west side were the first and second, and on the east side were the fifth, sixth and seventh classes ; the lowest class was without desks and not elevated from the floor." Another old-time school-boy adds to this account : "The back forms were two feet higher than the front, the windows so high that the boys could not `shin up' to see the soldiers passing." Still another gives these additional items: "The boys of the younger forms sat on benches, with a box underneath in which to put their books ; but after the fourth form, when they began to make Latin, they had desks in front of them on which to write."
These descriptions suggest a very plain and diminutive copy of one of those impressive old school-rooms of the English public schools which are so admirably pictured in Ackermann's work.
It is fair to presume that these Boston school houses were among the best of their time in this country, and that the worse provision for housing the schools, in many other places, assumed all sorts and degrees of badness. A letter has been preserved which was addressed by the school-master at Roxbury to one of the feoffees of the Roxbury grammar school, about 1681. " Of inconveniences," it reads, " I shall instance in no other than that of the school-house, the confused and shattered and nastie posture that it is in, not fitting for to reside in ; the glass broken, and thereupon very raw and cold, the floor very much broken and torn up to kindle fires, the hearth spoiled, the seats, some burnt and others out of kilter, so that one had as well nigh as goods keep school in a hog stie as in it."
It is a very interesting picture which Philip Vickers Fithian gives of Nomini Hall, the home of Councillor Robert Carter, in Westmoreland County, Virginia, where he served as tutor of Mr. Carter's children .2 The "Great-House " on this estate stood at the centre of a large square, each corner of which was occupied by a smaller building — the stable, the coach house, the work house, and the school house respectively.
" The School House is forty five feet long, from East to West, & twenty-seven from North to South ; It has five well-finished, convenient Rooms, three below stairs, & two above ; It is built with Brick a Story and a half high with Dormant Windows; In each Room is a fire ; In the large Room below-Stairs we keep our School ; the other two Rooms below which are smaller are allowed to Mr. Randolph the Clerk ; The Room above the School-Room Ben and I live in ; & the other Room above Stairs belongs to Harry & Bob. Five of us live in this House with great neatness, & convenience ; each one has a Bed to himself."
Here Fithian taught his little school of three boys and five girls. His accommodations were more comfortable than those provided for the masters of public schools at the north, and it is doubtful whether any better could have been found in the whole south at that time.
The idea of a " free school " seems to have carried with it the thought of some permanent revenue apart from pupils' fees. It has been shown in the account of individual schools how various were the methods followed in providing for such revenue. A free school was commonly free to a limited number of pupils, or to such as were unable to pay. But the greater number of pupils paid a regular fee, which seems in most cases not to have gone above twenty shillings a year. Pupils were sometimes required in addition to provide each a fixed amount of wood for fuel.
In Massachusetts, the assessment and collection of school fees was found less satisfactory than the laying of a town tax for the support of schools ; and accordingly by the middle of the eighteenth century the Massachusetts grammar schools had generally become free, in the sense in which the term is now used.
We have seen, in the chapter on colonial school systems, how the general direction of public education was gradually passing over from the ecclesiastical to the civil power. Our New England colonies and Maryland added some new impetus to this movement. We must now make note of the fact that the immediate control of individual institutions has followed a somewhat different course of development from that of general systems of administration. It does not follow that, because the rules and standards of public instruction are prescribed by civil authority, the several schools are managed by public corporations.
In England, even at the present time, there is a well-articulated state system of elementary education, largely supported by public funds, and carefully inspected by public officials. But more than half of the schools by which this education is provided are under the immediate management and control of certain religious societies. At the same time the secondary schools of England are for the most part under the management of various corporations — a separate one for each institution — with hardly more than the shadow of a state system over them all.
We shall perhaps best understand the development of our American types of school administration if we look first at the systems of college administration, which had eventually much influence upon the lower schools.
The form of external organization and control adopted for our earlier colonial institutions was largely determined by the forms with which the colonists had been familiar in the mother country, yet those forms were somewhat modified almost from the beginning. The common type of organization in English colleges was that in which the master or master and fellows of the school constituted a legal corporation, having full control of the institution in respect to both its financial and its educational concerns. The most obvious disadvantage of this system was that it gave to the teaching body the management of the funds out of which they themselves were paid.
It was plainly necessary that some check be added to this system, to prevent the misapplication of funds, and such a safeguard was commonly provided by the designation of some " third person " to act as visitor of the institution. By the "visitation " of an establishment was meant a formal inspection by the official visitor with a view to the correction of abuses, and particularly of any failure to conduct the institution in accordance with the true intent of the foundation. Under the common law, the right of visitation rests with the founder, and with those who may be designated by him as his successors. And the founder is the donor of the first endowment, however insignificant it may be as compared with later gifts to the same object. It was a common practice of the founders of educational institutions to make the bishop of the diocese or some other dignitary of the church their successor in the visitatorial office.
This explanation may help to a clearing-up of the history of our own institutions. In the two main types of educational administration which have been developed on American soil, the visitors have been made identical with the corporation, the corporation at the same time being separated from the teaching body. Some of the stages in the development of these administrative systems will be considered as we proceed; for they are vitally connected with the development of American educational ideals, and of American civilization.
We find the title of visitor retained in connection with a few of our schools and colleges. The term visitation is rarely used among us except as applied to Providence. We hear occasionally of such providential visitation as an earthquake or a flood or an epidemic of cholera. This survival of the term may be a reminder of the fact that a righteous visitor was dreaded like the plague by the managers of charitable foundations who had abused their trust; and it might be added that an over-zealous and meddlesome visitation must have plagued many a righteous corporation.
The English system was not wholly satisfactory at home, and even if it had been unobjectionable, some adjustment to colonial conditions would have been found necessary. But various mixed and tentative forms of organization were adopted in different places before anything like agreement was reached.
Harvard College seems to have been managed at first by direct action of the General Court of the colony ; then by the Board of Overseers ; then by its close Corporation, subject to a sort of visitatorial supervision by the Overseers. The Corporation contained members of the teaching force at first, but was gradually transformed into an outside body, the most of the members having then no pecuniary interest in the institution. The constitution of the Board of Overseers was the subject of much debate and went through various transformations, which need not concern us here.
William and Mary College, too, had a composite organization, with reminders of the English type. The president and professors of the college were made a corporation, em-powered to hold and manage the property of the institution. But the general laws for the government of the college were prescribed by another body, the "Visitors and governors," who also appointed the members of the teaching corps. This board of visitors was a self-perpetuating body.
When the establishment of a college in Connecticut was under discussion, the projectors took all manner of pains to seek out the best available form of organization. They seem to have been sensible of danger to such an institution from both the civil and the ecclesiastical power. If we may trust the account of President Clap, ten ministers, who had been designated for the purpose by some sort of common consent, constituted themselves the founders by formally donating each a number of books for the founding of a college in Connecticut. The institution was set up and continued for many years under a preliminary act of the legislature ; but it attained to its full collegiate existence with the granting of a regular charter, in 1745. The char-ter conferred corporate powers on a body to be known as " The President and Fellows of Yale College in New Haven." This was a simple, close corporation, without limitation as to the persons who might be appointed to fill vacancies in its membership. The word " fellows" was used in the title, after the English fashion ; but it was not understood to mean members of the teaching force. The president and fellows were given absolute control over the financial and educational administration of the institution.
A few sporadic examples of this simple and flexible type of control are found among the lower schools before the charter of Yale was granted ; yet Yale became so influential in this matter, by becoming a prolific mother of schools and colleges, that we shall not be far amiss if we call this the Yale type of administration.
The other colleges that were founded in the colonial period for the most part followed the lead of Yale in this matter, with only slight variations. All but Brown and Pennsylvania had charter provisions making certain civil officers members ex officio of their boards of trustees. Columbia had, in addition, certain ecclesiastical members ex officio. But in every such case the members ex officio were less than a majority of the board. Brown was the only one which made members of the teaching body (besides the president) members also of the corporation. In no case was there provision for visitation by. any other body than the corporation itself . And in all of them, vacancies in trusteeships not held by the incumbents ex officio were to be filled by vote of the remaining trustees.
After the middle of the eighteenth century, the example of the colleges plainly influenced the organization of the secondary schools ; and there appears a clear tendency toward the establishment. of such schools under close corporations. But through the greater part of the colonial period, the close corporation type of organization is only one among several found in schools of this grade. Especially where local government was in vigorous life, and where the schools were local institutions in that each was intended chiefly for the benefit of the home community, the public might be expected to have a considerable part in their inception and management, and such was actually the case.
In the early days in Massachusetts, a vote of the town meeting appointing a schoolmaster was a common way of making a beginning in the setting up of a school. And the town seems to have proceeded in this very direct fashion in the transaction of school business after the beginning had been made. The action of Dorchester, in appointing a permanent board of " wardens or overseers," in 1645, was an important step. These wardens were chosen for life, but vacancies in their number were to be filled by vote of the town.
The first donors to the support of a free school at Roxbury appointed seven feoffees as a board of control. It was provided that vacancies in the number of feoffees should be filled by appointment of the donors or their heirs. But in default of such appointment within one month, the remaining feoffees were empowered to elect a successor. There was much complaint among the townsmen in later years on account of the private character of this system of control. Similar complaint seems to have been common enough at Hadley. The town had no effective check upon the management of its school, and attempts to bind the close-constituted school committee by votes in town meeting made no end of friction and trouble. When a free school was first set up in New Haven, the pastor and magistrates were charged with making rules and orders for its management, and also with determining what contribution should be made out of the funds of the town for its support. When the Hopkins fund became available, the Hopkins trustees designated " the town court of New Haven, consisting of the magistrates and deputies, together with the officers of the church there," as their assigns for the management of the foundation.
In the New England towns it seems to have been taken as a matter of course that the schools should be inspected by the ministers. In Boston, soon after the death of Cheever, the town undertook to " nominate and appoint a certain number of Gentlemen of Liberal Education, Together with some of the Revd Ministers of the Town, . . . to Visit ye School from time to time, when and as oft, as they Shall think fit, To Enform themselves of the Methods Used in Teaching of the Schollars and to inquire of their Proficiency, .. . the Master being before notified of their coming .. . And at their said Visitation, One of the Ministers by turns to pray with the Schollars, and Entertain 'em with Some Instructions of Piety Specially Adapted to their Age and Education." Increase Mather was highly indignant when he learned that the town had ventured to associate laymen with the ministers in the discharge of this function.
In some of the southern colonies, the judges of county courts were now and then charged with the management of schools. It is fair to assume that they were generally the best educated of civil office holders, and their professional training and instincts would distinguish them as safe custodians of trust funds. But whatever the reason for such selection may have been, we find incumbents of judicial offices repeatedly charged with the external management of schools.
In Virginia, the happy suggestion that law and gospel should combine for educational purposes evidently met with favor. Benjamin Syms designated the justices of the peace of the county of Elizabeth City, together with the minister and church wardens of Elizabeth City parish, and their successors, as trustees of his endowment for a free school in the county named. The legislature, by an act passed in 1753, confirmed this appointment and incorporated the board of managers thus constituted, as " the Trustees and Governors of Syms' free school in the County of Elizabeth City." Church and court were combined again in an act of 1759, which incorporated the "Trustees and Governors of Eaton's Charity School," a board identical in its membership with that erected for the management of the Syms school.
In South Carolina, the corporation erected by the acts of 1710 and 1712 for the control of the free school at Charleston was a self-perpetuating body. The act of 1722 proposed, as was stated, to establish grammar schools in the several counties and precincts through the agency of county and precinct justices. But this combination of judicial and educational functions was not a success : or rather, it was for the most part a very dismal failure.
The corporation set up by the Maryland act of 1696, under which King William's School was established, was a self-perpetuating body. So, also, were the several county boards erected by the act of 1723. Whatever emphasis may have been laid on the idea of general public control of education, by the action of the legislature in this matter, was offset by the adoption of a plan which shut out the public from any direct participation in the affairs of the several schools.
There seems to have been a good deal of groping about in the effort to find a good, working organization for the William Penn Charter School at Philadelphia. The charter of 1701 committed the management to the monthly meeting of the Quakers. That of 1708 entrusted it to a board of fifteen overseers, all of them Quakers. Finally, the charter of 1711 continued the board of fifteen overseers, with power to fill vacancies in their own number, subject only to the limitation that " discreet, religious persons " should be so chosen.
A combination board of trustees was erected for the control of the free school established in New York in 1732. It was composed of the justices of the supreme court, the rector of Trinity Church, and certain public officials of the City of New York. It seems to have been a favorite idea in that colony that various elements and interests should be represented in a board of educational control. This idea is found yoked up with the close corporation in the early organization of King's College. The state did not settle down to simpler forms of organization until the earlier tendency had reached a ridiculous climax in the first University act of 1784.
The religious activity of the second quarter of the eighteenth century had given a great impetus to the establishment of colleges in the middle and northern colonies. It was a time when many private academies of the log college type were opened. But on the whole, it was not a time when education flourished. The colleges were not largely attended. The willingness of the people to listen to moving pulpit orators who had not been regularly trained in the schools, combined with other influences to weaken the demand for an educated ministry. The interests of the Latin grammar schools were bound up with those of the colleges to which they were tributary. They suffered because the colleges suffered. But it was not only the little academies, and the change in religious conditions with which they were associated, that worked disadvantage to the regular colleges and grammar schools. There was observable a great increase of civic and secular spirit which had little regard for the strict ecclesiasticism of the established institutions.
In Massachusetts and Connecticut, the more zealous orthodoxy of the time was doubtful concerning the established education, believing it to be tainted with heresy. In Virginia, Presbyterians, Baptists, and secularists alike were against William and Mary College and the church establishment of which it formed a part. The time was not come when a school system, at once civic and non-sectarian, could be seriously considered. So the signs all pointed to a splitting up of educational interests, and the setting up of institutions, compactly organized, each standing by itself, from entangling alliance with the shifting, crumbling, or hopelessly unchanging institutions of church and state about it. The close corporation met this need, and provided at the same time for effective business management. We have seen that the later colonial colleges tended strongly toward this type of administration ; and it became the prevalent type in the rising academies.
It appears that a new spirit was coming into American education, which, however gradually, was transforming old institutions and making new ones, and becoming really it-self through this process. One of the most notable of these institutions was the academy. The American institution bearing that name did not come into being, however, apart from all European precedent. The study of its origin will take us into one of the most important by-ways in the history of English education, with which the next chapter will have to do.