( Originally Published 1907 )
PLATO taught his disciples in the grove of Academus, and his school was called in consequence The Academy. But how did the name come to be applied to humble institutions for secondary education on this Western Continent ? The history of the word is of interest chiefly because of the light which it may throw on the history of the institution. The commonly received account is that offered some years ago by Dr. Henry Barnard; and, though open to criticism at several points, it may well serve as our point of departure in this inquiry :
" The earliest English or American use of academy, as applied to an institution of instruction for youth, we find in Milton's letter to Samuel Hartlib, in 1643, where the Academy, by which he designated his institute for a complete and generous culture, covers the whole field of the grammar school, the college within the university, and the university. The Non-conformists applied the term to their boarding schools, which in grade of instruction, resemble nearly the English Public School, or the endowed grammar school. In this sense Defoe uses the term in his Essay upon Projects first published in 1699, and at the same time employs it, in the general English usage, to designate an association of philologists to improve and perfect the English tongue like the French academy. In the essay cited, Defoe gives the plan of an Academy for Music, with hints for cheap Sunday concerts ; an Academy for Military Science and Practice ; and an Academy for Women — the earliest project of a school of this grade for women in England or America by near a century. From Defoe we can easily trace the earliest use of the term in this country to Franklin, who acknowledges, in his autobiography, his indebtedness to Defoe's Essay upon Projects as having influenced some of the principal events of his life, and designates his plan for public education of youth in Pennsylvania, a project of an academy. After Franklin's pamphlet, which had a very wide circulation, and which will be found bound up with other pamphlets of the Revolutionary period in most of the old libraries of the country, the term, and the institution itself became quite common. In many states before 1800 Academies were established with Boards of Trustees, and certain corporate powers after the plan of Franklin, and not a few of them bore his name."
The use of the word academy, to designate some sort of school was not uncommon among the great humanists of the Continent. And Milton's letter to Samuel Hartlib may fairly be called the last of a long and notable line of essays on education called out by the renaissance. Among its predecessors are to be mentioned the treatises of.ZEneas Sylvius, Guarino, Erasmus, Vives, and Ascham.
But Milton was mere than a man of the renaissance. To say nothing of his puritanism, he was a true contemporary of Bacon and Descartes; of Comenius, too, though he dismisses the Janua with a shrug ; of Pascal and Locke and Newton. Standing midway between Erasmus and Rousseau, he belongs to both the renaissance and the return to nature. In two luminous sentences he places the two schools of thought side by side, and allies himself with both. " Seeing every nation affords not experience and tradition enough for all kinds of learning, therefore we are chiefly taught the languages of those people who have at any time been most industrious after wisdom." It would be difficult to find a better putting of the classical spirit in education, as it is at its best. " Because our understanding cannot in this body found itself but on sensible things, nor arrive so clearly to the knowledge of God and things invisible, as by orderly conning over the visible and inferior creature, the same method is necessarily to be followed in all discreet teaching." That is the spirit of our natural science, as seen from afar by one who knew how to be both a Puritan and a poet in the seventeenth century. And his way of bringing the two views together, in some stereoscopic unity, appears from the added clause, " that language is but the instrument conveying to us things useful to be known." Such hospitality toward many kinds of knowledge has more than once been found in the masters who know indeed; but those who have shown it seem to belong of right to our modern world.
There is that in the brief Tractate on Education which stirs one like the sounding of a trumpet. It is the free setting forth of an education " for all the offices, both private and public, of peace and war," by one who has known" many studious and contemplative years, altogether spent in the search of religious and civil knowledge." It has been slighted as being unpractical, but its excellence is seen in this, that it does not accommodate itself to any petty conception of what is practical or practicable.
It is a scheme for the education of " our noble and our gentle youth" between the ages of twelve and twenty-one. The schooling of this period is to be the concern of a single institution, an " academy," which shall be both school and university. This academy does not offer instruction in the most elementary arts ; nor does it provide for the professional training of future practitioners in law or medicine ; but it carries to completion " those general studies which take up all our time from Lilly to commencing, as they term it, master of art."
Such general studies, in Milton's thought, shape them-selves into a wonderful curriculum. First comes the Latin grammar; then as soon as the pupil can read a little in Latin, he will study some classical work on education,) which can hardly be anything else than the first two or three books of Quintilian. Some beginning is now made in arithmetic and geometry ; and the time between supper and going to bed is taken with easy studies in religion and the Scripture history. The next Latin authors to be read are such as treat of agriculture—Cato, Varro, and Columella. These are to be followed by some modern work on "the use of the globes," that is, astronomy and geography ; or " any compendious method of natural philosophy." At the same time, Greek is begun with the study of the grammar, which the pupil will easily master. Then Greek writers on " historical physiology," Aristotle and Theophrastus, are to be read, along with Vitruvius, Seneca's natural questions, Mela, Celsus, Pliny, or Solinus. Studies in mathematics are to be carried forward into trigonometry, with practical application to fortification, architecture, engineering, or navigation. Natural philosophy will be continued in the study of " the history of meteors, minerals, plants, and living creatures, as far as anatomy." Then follows, in natural sequence, an introduction to the study of medicine.
In all of these studies of nature and of the occupations which deal with the physical world, the experience of practitioners in the several fields is to be utilized, so that the pupils may get "a real tincture of natural knowledge." Then the poets who deal with nature, both Latin and Greek, will be found agreeable reading.
By this time the pupils will have attained to sufficient maturity of judgment to profit by the reading of the Greek and Latin moralists. The mention of these leads to a word on the deep question of the relation of morals to religion. This was touched on early in the essay, where, the end of learning having been set forth as the regaining of a knowledge of God, it was added that such knowledge should lead men to love Him and be like Him, " as we may the nearest by possessing our souls of true virtue, which being united to the heavenly grace of faith, makes up the highest perfection." So pagan virtue and Christian faith were brought together. Now the working out of this union in practice is proposed; for the heathen moralists, studied during the day, "are still to be reduced in their nightward studies wherewith they close the day's work, under the determinate sentence of David or Solomon, or the evangelists and apostolic Scriptures."
After ethics, economics; and, Italian having been "easily learned, at any odd hour," the boys may now read, under caution, in choice comedies, Greek, Latin, or Italian, and tragedies that deal with household matters. Then politics, with law and legal justice, Hebrew, Grecian, Roman, and Saxon ; the common law and statutes. The evening studies are to be supplemented with theology and church history on Sundays. Hebrew will have been mastered before this, " whereto it would be no impossibility to add the Chaldee and the Syrian dialect." The great masterpieces of Greek and Roman literature are to be read, histories, epics, tragedies, orations. And along with them, " those organic arts," logic, rhetoric, and poetics.
Milton protests against requiring small boys to compose in Latin, out of the extreme poverty of youthful wits ; but after the mind has been enriched and the judgment strengthened by this long course of reading and study, he would have the composition of various forms of discourse appear as one of the most advanced exercises of the school. English as well as Latin composition is evidently intended.
Much stress is laid upon physical exercise, and particularly such as would form good soldiers. A wholesome diet, too, is urgently recommended. Music is to recreate and compose the spirit in the time of rest from exercise, and also to assist nature in the process of digestion after meat. In the spring, time the young men are not to study overmuch, but rather to ride out over the land, looking upon the riches of nature, and observing the strategic, industrial, and commercial advantages of different sections ; or to gain some knowledge of seamanship. Such means would give exercise to a variety of gifts, "and if there were any secret excellence among them would fetch it out." After the course in the academy is completed, the young men may travel abroad, but foreign travel at an earlier period is not recommended.
Such is the high and magnificent scheme of education which Milton proposes. He insists that it is possible, and at the same time admits " that this is not a bow for every man to shoot in, that counts himself a teacher ; but will require sinews almost equal to those which Homer gave Ulysses."
Milton himself taught for a time, and in his school made use of a formidable list of Latin and Greek authors in the domain of natural science, and works relating to those occupations which depend upon a knowledge of nature. Dr. Johnson, who had also been a schoolmaster, treated Milton's service as a teacher rather contemptuously ; and pronounced with patronizing finality against magnifying the study of natural science in the schools. But Johnson lived a century later than Milton, and was doubtless inveighing against a tendency of his own time, which, reinforced by French influence, was already going further than anything with which the seventeenth century had been familiar. Johnson set the knowledge of moral philosophy over against the sciences of external nature, to the disadvantage of the latter.i Milton, however, seems to have had in mind the study of nature as a propdeutic to the study of conduct and religion, as well as a preparation for efficiency and usefulness in the varied activities of life.
It may readily be supposed that the schools set up by dissenting clergymen, under the most unfavorable circumstances, were little like the academy proposed by Milton. Yet we may see now and then in the history of those schools some line which recalls the grand scheme of the Tractate. There is reason to believe that the poet's ideal academy is related to those very humble and proscribed academies, however much the family likeness may have been obscured in the realization. It is not improbable, too, that Milton's use of the word academy may have been partly responsible for the general employment of the term by English dissenters to designate the schools which they erected.
The history of these schools goes back to the Protectorate. Oliver Cromwell undertook the establishment of a college or university, to be supported by the sequestrated funds of the episcopal see of Durham. Richard Frankland was called to preside over this institution. Like so many other brave beginnings made by the Protector, this was brought speedily to an end by the Restoration. Frankland then retired to a small estate which he possessed at the village of Rathmill, near Giggleswick, and there, in 1665, opened a private school, which may be regarded as the first of the academies of the dissenters.
Under the Act of Uniformity, as renewed in 1662, nearly two thousand English clergymen were driven from their parishes as nonconformists. This was not far from one-fifth of the whole number of rectors and vicars in the English Church. These dispossessed clergymen had, many of them, been educated at the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge. Being deprived of their livings, it is not strange that a goodly number turned to teaching as a means of gaining a livelihood.
But other considerations influenced them to the same end. Nonconformists were excluded from the English public schools and universities. In the midst of educational advantages among the best in the world, the dissenting bodies were threatened with the very danger that beset the colonists in far-off New England, the danger that learning would be buried in the graves of their forefathers. Their ministers of succeeding generations would not be men bred at universities; and their young men destined for other professions would have no fair preparation for competing with practitioners who were communicants of the established church. A high sense of duty to their fellow-sectarians, then, moved these ministers to offer the best substitute they could provide for the instruction of the higher schools.
The Act of Uniformity, and the Five Mile Act which followed, put all possible hindrance in the way of their undertaking. Any schoolmaster who should venture to give instruction before he should have received a license from the ecclesiastical authorities, was threatened with imprisonment; and that license might be obtained only after the most solemn and explicit declaration of conformity to the English Church. These stringent provisions were only partially relaxed by the Toleration Act of 1689, and it was an uncertain, half-outlawed existence which was led by the schools of the ejected ministers. Yet these private and obscure academies multiplied, and the work which they accomplished was undoubtedly a public service of no small importance.
In spite of obstacles such as these, Frankland continued his career as tutor for the term of thirty-three years. It is said that three hundred students came under his instruction. John Bowes, afterwards Lord Chancellor of Ireland, and Nicholas Sanderson, the blind mathematician, who was made professor at Cambridge, were among the number. The successor of Frankland, the Rev. Timothy Jollie, had also been a student in the academy. He is spoken of in terms of praise for his eloquence and the attractiveness of his personal character, but some little apology is offered for his lack of extensive learning.
We have information respecting upwards of thirty other institutions of this class that were opened before the American Revolution. They are associated with the names of eminent men, some of them the very saints of English non-conformity, and others among the foremost churchmen of the time.
There was an academy kept by John Woodhouse at Sheriffhales, in Shropshire. Mr. Woodhouse must have been one of those men of the seventeenth century who were possessed of a mighty love for knowledge of many kinds, and who loved also to impart to others what they had themselves acquired. We are told that he lectured at Sheriffhales on logic, anatomy, mathematics, natural philosophy, ethics, and rhetoric, besides directing the studies of his students in Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, and in English composition. He marked out theological reading for those who were destined for the ministry, and read once a week an appropriate lecture to those preparing for the practice of law. In addition, " all the classes were exercised at times in land surveying, dialling, making almanacks, and dissecting animals." Robert Harley, Earl of Oxford, and Henry St. John, Viscount Bolingbroke, were among his students.
One of the best known of the earlier academies was that of the Rev. Charles Morton, at Newington Green. Mr. Morton was an accomplished gentleman, " as far from pride as ignorance," according to one who knew him welL He drew up for his students a compendium of logic, a system of politics, and rules for the guidance of candidates for the ministry. He "Read all his Lectures, gave all his Systems, whether of Phylosophy or Divinity, in English ; had all his Declaimings, and Disertations in the English Tongue." It is Daniel Defoe who gives this account. His schooling was got in Mr. Morton's academy, and when he speaks in adverse criticism of such institutions, he excepts the school of his former master. " Tho' the Scholars from that Place were not Distitute in the Languages," he continues, " yet it is observ'd of them, they were by this made Masters of the English Tongue and more of them excelled in that Particular, than of any School at that Time."
Another famous pupil of Mr. Morton's was Samuel Wesley, the father of John and Charles. Samuel Wesley, after leaving the academy, became a clergyman of the Church of England, and in the year 1704 he entered upon a bitter warfare against the educational system of the dissenters. His three pamphlets upon this subject called out two in reply by Samuel Palmer. The controversy brought both the excellences and the defects of the then existing academies out into the full light of day.
There is a little more that should be told of Mr. Morton. He was greatly harassed in his educational activity by proceedings against him in the ecclesiastical courts. One favorite method of attack by those who conducted such proceedings was to accuse the defendant of having violated the oath that he had taken at the university, on the occasion of the conferring of his academic degree. There were others who shared this difficulty with Mr. Morton ; and to settle the case of conscience which was involved, he drew up a careful dissertation upon the obligation of such oaths. Since the times, back in the middle ages, when the two universities had been troubled with the secession of students, some to Northampton, some to Stamford, candidates for degrees had been required to swear most solemnly that they would not read lectures as in a university at any other place in England than at Oxford or Cambridge. The form of oath differed a little in the two institutions, and the meaning was certainly open to dispute. Mr. Morton maintained the thesis that the oath debarred no one from lecturing upon subjects taught in the university, but only from engaging in the exercises connected with the granting of degrees. By this argument he helped himself and his brethren over a troublesome point.
But he finally grew tired of incessant bickering and litigation, and in 1685 emigrated to Massachusetts. In New England he was held in high esteem. He was chosen to an important pastorate and is said to have been made vice-president of Harvard College. He died in this country in 1697.
There was another academy at Newington, under the direction of Theophilus Gale. This gentleman had a great reputation for scholarship, based on a book, The court of the Gentiles, of which he was the author. His successor in the academy was Thomas Rowe, who had the proud distinction of having Isaac Watts among his students. This fact is worthy of more than passing notice ; for there is perhaps no one name more truly representative of the eighteenth-century academies than is the name of Dr. Watts. This gentle hymn-writer was never an academy instructor, though he served for four years as a private tutor. But his introduction to astronomy was widely used in the academies of both England and America, his text-book in logic was given an important place even in the English universities, and his little work on The improvement of the mind was a favorite academy text for two or three generations.
Watts entered Mr. Rowe's academy in 1690, at sixteen years of age, and remained there for four years. He was already proficient in Latin, which he had begun to study at the age of four. In the academy he was known as a student of unusual character and attainments. His tutor seems to have been well worthy of the charge of so promising a youth ; and the pupil honored his master in after years with a poem " To the much honored Mr. Thomas Rowe, the director of my youthful studies." It was the master's freedom from the trammels of tradition which the poet remembered with especial gratitude — not exactly what one would expect from Isaac Watts, nor think of in connection with a nonconformist school. Yet, in a mild way, this was highly characteristic of both. What with his broad sympathy and liberal tastes, Watts was charged in his life-time with Arminianism and with the still more deadly heresy of Arianism. But whatever doubts may have been felt as to his orthodoxy, he was dearly loved by all manner of people, Anglicans, Calvinistic dissenters, and heretics as well. So he spread a genial and wholesome influence, which did not end with his life nor with the century to which he belonged.
His literary taste was refined and he was famed for his wit. He was not of the highest order of intellect, and in his philosophical writing he leaned on other men — on Locke and Le Clerc and Sir Isaac Newton. Yet it was no small service to make available for use in the schools those conceptions which were giving new direction to the intellectual life of England. And it was through books like those of Watts and schools like the academies, that the higher thought of the time filtered down into the middle classes of society, which were slowly coming into prominence in the life of the English nation.
Aside from theological doctrine, the real intellectual stimulus of the eighteenth-century academies seems to have come largely from John Locke and Sir Isaac Newton ; and while the thought of these master minds oftenest reached the schools through the writings of Watts and other popularizers, there are other instances in which we find the original masterpieces freely studied in the academies. The deeply religious character of both Locke and Newton, and the fact that, though churchmen, they were both earnest advocates of a large toleration, commended them to the men concerned with the building up of academies ; and the wide intellectual hospitality which they themselves displayed and their success in enlarging the range of human thought and knowledge, appealed to academy men on the side of their intellectual tastes. So the influence of these two friends is found back of the academy movement in successive stages of its progress.
In view of this fact, it might be expected that Locke's work on education would have become the pedagogical hand-book of academy masters. The book was indeed widely read, and it seems to have had some influence on pedagogic usage. But it was not an age in which educational theory passed readily over into educational practice. The academies had grooves of their own. Their tradition of teaching was not ready to yield to newly promulgated principles of teaching.
Returning to Mr. Rowe's academy, we may note that among the schoolmates of Isaac Watts were John Hughes, the poet and dramatist, and Josiah Holt, afterwards Arch-bishop of Tuam. It was said, moreover, of Mr. Rowe that " to his exertions as a tutor, the dissenters are indebted for a race of divines, who filled their churches with great reputation."
There was another academy, at Gloucester, kept by the Rev. Samuel Jones, which calls for special mention ; for it was here that two who in after years attained great eminence in the Church of England, were fellow students and close friends. One of these was Joseph Butler, who became Bishop of Durham, and wrote the famous Analogy ; the other was Thomas Seeker, who, as Archbishop of Canterbury, was one of the chief contributors to the controversy respecting the establishment of a colonial episcopate.
Samuel Jones was probably born in America, for his father was pastor of a congregation in Pennsylvania. He was educated in Holland, at the university of Leyden, and must have opened his academy at Gloucester soon after leaving the university. The institution was so successful that it was soon moved to larger quarters, in Tewkesbury. Isaac Watts was in some way concerned with procuring young Seeker's admission to this academy; and Seeker wrote Watts a letter, in 1711, which gives us some insight into the management of the institution.l Mr. Jones is described in this letter as a very courteous gentleman, of real piety, great learning, and an agreeable temper." He was found always ready to enter into conversation upon any useful topic. He encouraged the students to offer objections to his opinions, even during the progress of the regular lectures.
The course of study was about four years in length. There were sixteen students at the time referred to, some of them mature men, or such as had already studied at other academies. They were obliged to rise at five o'clock every morning, and to speak only in Latin, "except when below stairs amongst the family." The morning session was two hours in length, and that of the afternoon a little longer. The morning was devoted to logic and Hebrew; the afternoon began with a critical lecture upon the history and language of the Scriptures, which had been undertaken at Mr. Watts's suggestion. This was followed by the reading of a chapter in the Greek Testament; and after that, mathematics. This programme was varied on Wednesdays, when Dionysius' Periegesis was read in the morning, with notes, chiefly geographical, and no lecture was given in the afternoon. Saturday afternoon, too, there was a change, those who had finished logic having a thesis, and the others being free. At some time not specified, Isocrates and Terence were read, each twice a week, and a class was to be formed for the study of Jewish antiquities.
Heereboort's logic was studied ; but it was supplemented with explanations and corrections by the tutor, and the reading of " far the greater part of Mr. Locke's Essay, and the Art of Thinking." Short dictations were given, and at the beginning of each lecture hour the class recited on both the previous lecture and the reading. It was Mr. Jones's custom to refer his students to the chief authorities upon the various subjects studied, and they seem to have read somewhat widely in preparation for their recitations.
In Hebrew about twenty verses were assigned daily from some of the easier parts of the Bible, and each member of the class was required to read two of these verses and turn them into Greek, without knowing in advance which verses would fall to his lot. In mathematics the class had gone through such portions of algebra and proportion as were commonly taught, together with the first six books of Euclid. The next class was expected to do more than this.
We look in vain for some sign of out-door exercise in this programme. There was free time, it would seem, and sports may have been indulged in. But if so, they were beneath the notice of this eighteen-year-old divinity student. It is much more likely that it would have been thought unbecoming in prospective ministers to take any sort of exercise at all, beyond a formal walk of short duration.
Other famous academy instructors of the earlier days were Mr. Doolittle, an Oxford graduate, who taught in Islington, and had Matthew Henry among his pupils ; Joshua Oldfield, who had studied at Cambridge and won approval from Sir Isaac Newton, and who taught at Coventry, at Southwark in London, and at Hoxton : many of his pupils became men of mark ; Samuel Cradock, another Oxford man, who taught at Wickhambrook, in Suffolk ; and Mat-thew Warren, who had an academy at Taunton.
But perhaps the most famous of the eighteenth-century academies was that opened at Northampton, in 1729, by Philip Doddridge, and presided over by him for twenty-two years. Dr. Doddridge was one of the most notable dissenting ministers of the time and his academy naturally exercised a very wide influence. Before entering upon the undertaking, he had prepared himself for it with the utmost care, reading everything he could find upon the subject of education, and availing himself especially of such assistance as could be got from the writings of Isaac Watts, and from notes on the lectures of Samuel Jones, loaned to him in manuscript by former students of that great teacher.
His school had on an average about thirty-four students, the most of whom lived under one roof, with their tutor. It soon became necessary to employ a regular assistant, who had charge of the younger boys, or in the Doctor's absence managed the whole institution. The Northampton students did not begin the day so early as those at Tewkesbury. Six o'clock was their rising hour in summer and seven in win-ter. Those who were not on time must pay a fine in money, as also any who were away from home after ten at night. At morning worship, some of the students read a chapter of the Old Testament from Hebrew into English ; at evening worship a chapter of the New Testament was read from Greek into English. The Doctor commented on these passages. It is hinted that at the morning exercise the young men sometimes slipped in an English Bible along with the Hebrew text, and thereby greatly facilitated their translations.
Students were expected to learn Rich's shorthand, and use it in taking notes on lectures and making extracts from the books which they consulted. In the first two years of the course, much attention was paid to the reading of classics in Latin and Greek, on which the students were supposed to have made a good beginning before entering the academy. Doddridge insisted more strongly, as time went on, upon the importance of classical training for future ministers. In the earlier years, he had sometimes admitted to his school young men of twenty-three or even older, who had made but little preparation in the Latin and Greek, but gave decided promise of usefulness. Later, however, he was less inclined to such leniency, and he began before his death to make arrangements for the preliminary training of promising youth who had not had good opportunities for classical study. Not infrequently, too, he set some of his more advanced students at work helping such of the beginners as were backward, especially in their Greek. Students were given an opportunity of studying French. The influence of the school was favorable to a wide literary culture. A library of several thousand volumes was provided, and students were given advice and encouragement in the use of books, including the masterpieces of general English literature.
Other subjects studied during the first year of the course were logic, rhetoric, geography, and metaphysics. Dr. Watts's text-book in logic was used. The instruction in rhetoric is said to have been slight ; that in geography better ; that in metaphysics only an outline, preparatory to later studies. Geometry and algebra were also presented, in lectures, followed by trigonometry, conic sections, and celestial mechanics. The last-named study dealt chiefly with propositions from the works of Sir Isaac Newton. There were studies also in " natural philosophy . . . illustrated by a neat and pretty large apparatus." Natural and civil history were barely touched by the way. High praise is given to the instruction offered in anatomy. Jewish antiquities and ecclesiastical history were also studied. One day every week was set apart for public exercises, orations, homilies, and the like, and great attention was paid to these performances. But the head and front of the whole system of instruction was Dr. Doddridge's System of Divinity. The account which is given of the pains bestowed on the perfecting of this system, and of the free discussion of disputed points which was encouraged in the course of the Doctor's instruction, makes a very happy impression.
It would appear from what has been said that this was simply a school for the training of ministers. Such, how-ever, was not the case. Ministerial training was undoubtedly the uppermost thought in the conduct of the academy, but students intended for other vocations were also in attendance here, as at other academies. Dr. Doddridge expressed the belief that lay and ministerial students might better receive instruction in separate schools, but he never acted upon his own suggestion.
Dr. Ashworth was the successor of Dr. Doddridge in the management of this academy, and under him it was moved to Daventry. Here one of the most distinguished pupils was Joseph Priestley, who became famous in after years both as a physicist and as a Unitarian theologian. Priestley was himself for some years instructor in an academy at Warrington. He made the acquaintance of Benjamin Franklin, and the last ten years of his life were passed in Pennsylvania, where he died in 1804. He was at one time called to a professorship in the University of Pennsylvania, which, however, he declined.
A school of somewhat different sort should be mentioned here — that at Kingswood, the head of a long line of Methodist educational institutions. It was at Kingswood that George Whitefield began his career of out-door preaching, early in the year 1739 ; and a few weeks after this beginning, he secured the first contributions for the establishment of a school for the Kingswood colliers. The movement, however, soon passed out of Whitefield's hands, and was taken up by John Wesley. The school was opened in 1740. At the first it was of a very elementary character ; but in 1748 it was enlarged and raised to a higher rank, though an elementary school, too, was still carried on for many years. The remodelled institution was a boarding school, and was " for above half a century Methodism's only college."
There is much that is interesting in the story of the changes which came over these institutions in the latter half of the eighteenth century. The nineteenth century, too, with its long record of relaxation of ecclesiastical limitations, has made great transformations, and the time has even come when at Oxford, nonconformity has its representative college. But it is no part of our present purpose to follow the course of this history beyond our colonial period. It may not be amiss to express the hope that our English brethren, who have done much excellent work of late in the history of education, will give us a full account of an institution which stands in such close relations with our own educational development as does the old academy.
In general, it may be said of these academies, that while endeavoring to keep alive the tradition of scholarship among the dissenting bodies, they represented, in more ways than one, a revolt against tradition. They not only undertook to give instruction in the studies commonly pursued in the English universities, but they reached out after new learning in the many forms in which it was then opening up, whether in or out of the universities. This characteristic is set forth by Isaac Watts, in the verses addressed to Mr. Rowe, which have already been mentioned.
The poem is entitled Free Philosophy.
" Custom, that tyranness of fools,
No doubt Watts wrote a good deal of verse that was very much better than this, but as the expression of a new spirit in education it is a noteworthy production. He continues :
"I hate these shackles of the mind
"I love thy gentle influence, Rowe ;
Then follows a burst of exultation, the free expression of a spirit that
"Will thro' all Nature fly;
Swift I survey the globe around,
It was impossible that such feeble institutions as the academies should head a revolt like this without laying themselves open to all manner of criticism. Much of their instruction was superficial, as a matter of course. Their tutors were bitten with the zeal for many knowledges, when their facilities for carrying on any line of instruction were wofully cramped and mean. The schools were generally lacking in libraries and other appliances. They lacked the scholastic atmosphere of the older seats of learning. Their greatest imperfection, according to Defoe, was " want of conversation;" which might have guarded their students against the danger of pedantry.
The more favored institutions among them had an offset for these deficiencies in the personal excellence of their instructors, some of whom must have been rare teachers, learned, catholic in their tastes, and inspiring in their inter-course with young men. There is something that wins respect and interest in the whole hearted way that men like Woodhou e and Morton and Doddridge gave themselves free range over the fields of knowledge, regardless of scholastic traditions; and led their students to an acquaintance-ship, not only with things human and divine, but with things of the natural world as well. Perhaps it would not be too much to say that there was something of the spirit of John Milton in all of this activity.
But the students too often came to the academies without sufficient preparation, from homes in which there were no traditions of culture ; and too often they found there only the narrowest sort of instruction in the classics, and in the theology and ecclesiastical polity of the dissenters. The ordinary course of instruction is said to have been five years in length, or in more fortunate cases and especially at a later period, six years. Defoe entered Mr. Morton's academy at fourteen, and is believed to have continued there for five years. But the poverty of many students led to their being hurried through in only three years. Many young men, " fund-bred," as Defoe called them, were sup-ported through their academy course by small scholarships which benevolent persons had provided. Then they rushed off, at the earliest possible moment, to accept a call, unwisely extended, to the pastorate of some feeble congregation, or to make way for a successor in their scholarship.
It may very well be that Benjamin Franklin had been interested in the idea of an academy as suggested by Defoe, in the Essay upon Projects and others of his writings. Defoe touched the public life of England at many points, and the practical sense and far reach of many of his observations would appeal strongly to such a man as Franklin. The varied suggestiveness of the Essay upon Projects in particular is such as might well make it the seed-corn of practical undertakings.
But we are not limited to the supposition that Defoe was the only channel through which a knowledge of the English academies reached America. The men who were concerned in the conduct of those institutions were often such as were in touch with certain aspects of colonial life. Charles Morton, as we have seen, spent his later years in New England. The word academy in its English sense must have been familiar in that region by the beginning of the eighteenth century. Both of the blathers used the word, applying it to the New England colleges. Judge Sewall and Secretary Addington applied it to the proposed college at New Haven. The connection was particularly close between the men of the eighteenth-century academies in England and the men of the Great Awakening in America. Jonathan Edwards wrote his Faithful Narrative at the request of Isaac Watts and Dr. Guyse of London, who added to it a preface of their own. In his Thoughts on the Revival, a little later, Edwards called attention to Dr. Doddridge's account of the religious influences at work in his academy at the English Northampton, and recommended that people of means in this country should proceed to establish schools. Whitefield, too, as he went up and down the country, carried with him a knowledge of and interest in the academies of both England and America. He spoke with evident pride of the fact that Franklin's academy was housed in the building originally erected to accommodate the congregations which flocked to hear his own preaching.
The earlier academy movement in this country, prior to the Revolution, belongs to the middle colonies. This was a time of experiment, in which the real character of the American institution was as yet undetermined. It was not until the colonies had set up for themselves that this type became clearly marked. The movement from that time on centred in New England, the leaders and models being the two Phillips academies, at Andover and Exeter. No clear evidence has been brought forth which would settle for us the question whence these two institutions got their name or their inspiration. In the absence of such evidence, it seems as likely that the Phillips family were influenced by knowledge of the academies of Old England as that they followed the lead of the Pennsylvania institutions, and not at all improbable that both groups were known and considered by them. But the New England academies were very different from their prototypes over seas; and the experiments in the middle states may be regarded as pointing forward to this later American type.