Early State Systems Of Secondary Education
( Originally Published 1907 )
WE have come to the time when French thought is to exercise an appreciable influence on American education. The philosophical and revolutionary literature of France in the eighteenth century was full of educational theories, and the tendency of these theories was strongly secular. Along with the doctrine that education should return to nature appeared the doctrine that the direction of education should return to the state.
We find Helvetius pushing the claims of education to the last extreme, making it all-powerful in the determination of human character. He deplored the fact that instruction was pulled this way and that by the opposing demands of church and state, and would put an end to this difficulty by simply having the state absorb the church. We find La Chalotais taking a leading part in the campaign for the expulsion of the Jesuits, and putting forth his idea of educational organization in the Essai d'education nation ale. We find Voltaire describing education as a "government undertaking." We find Turgot declaring that, " the study of the duty of citizenship ought to be the foundation of all the other studies."
"I do not presume to exclude ecclesiastics," said La Chalotais, " but I protest against the exclusion of laymen. I dare claim for the nation an education which depends only on the state, because it belongs essentially to the state ; because every state has an inalienable and indefeasible right to instruct its members ; because, finally, the children of the state ought to be educated by the members of the state."
Into the midst of this discussion came Rousseau with the enlivening abstractions and impossibilities of the Emile. Numerous other educational essays and treatises were put forth. But of especial significance for its suggestions relative to the making of systems of instruction, was the Plan of a university drawn up by Diderot, for Catherine of Russia, about the time of the American Revolution.
" A university," wrote Diderot, " is a school which is open without discrimination to all the children of a nation, where masters paid by the state initiate them into the elementary knowledge of all sciences." He compared the course of instruction to " a great avenue, at the entrance of which appears a crowd of people who cry out continually, `Instruction, instruction ! We know nothing unless we be taught.' " Some can go farther on this avenue than others. The studies should be arranged accordingly. Such as are most generally useful should come first : the essential or primitive knowledges, which all should have. Such studies as are next in usefulness—those needed by the greatest number less than the whole people — should follow ; and so on to the end.
Reading, writing, and the first principles of arithmetic should be mastered before the pupil enters this public school. Having entered, he first comes under the instruction of the faculty of arts. Here he is offered a course of study, divided into eight classes, comprising the mathematical and natural sciences, logic, the languages, and rhetoric. Parallel with this are two other courses, which all will take : one in metaphysics, morals, religion, history, geography, and economics ; the other in drawing and the principles of architecture. There is a suggestion, too remote for serious consideration in the eighteenth century, of a course of " exercises," — music, dancing, horsemanship, and swimming. A prophecy is added, that the day will come when schools of agriculture and commerce will be established, whether within or without the university, not only in the cities but in the remoter country districts of the realm.
After the faculty of arts come the other traditional faculties of medicine, jurisprudence, and theology. It is evident from his earlier Essai sur les etudes en Russie, that Diderot was influenced to some extent, in the making of this scheme, by his knowledge of the universities and gymnasiums of Germany. But in many particulars he drew far apart from his German models. His university was an institution for the education of the whole people, beyond the first elements of learning. He entered an eloquent plea for the education of all. The thatched cottages of the realm, he declared, were to the palaces in the proportion of ten thousand to one ; so the likelihood was as ten thousand to one that genius, talent, and virtue would emerge from a cottage rather than from a palace.
It was the French view of the administration of educational affairs by the state, rather than the doctrine of natural-ism, which became influential in this country at an early period. And we are not surprised that Thomas Jefferson should have been one of the first Americans to respond to this influence.
Jefferson drew suggestions from so wide a range of conference and reading, that his schemes cannot be looked upon as a mere working out of French ideas. Far from it. He learned from Switzerland and Scotland and Old and New England and from many other sources, and reacted vigorously on all that came to him. But the French influence is more conspicuous in his proposals than any other that has not already appeared in this narrative.
In 1779 Jefferson, as a member of the committee appointed to revise the laws of Virginia, presented to the legislature of the state a comprehensive bill, " For the more general diffusion of knowledge." Some of the more important provisions of this bill are summarized in his Notes on the state of Virginia :
" This bill proposes to lay off every county into small districts of five or six miles square, called hundreds, and in each of them to establish a school for teaching reading, writing, and arithmetic. The tutor to be supported by the hundred, and every person in it entitled to send their children three years gratis, and as much longer as they please, paying for it. These schools to be under a visitor, who is annually to chuse the boy, of best genius in the school, of those whose parents are too poor to give them further education, and to send him forward to one of the grammar schools, of which twenty are proposed to be erected in different parts of the country, for teaching Greek, Latin,- geography, and the higher branches of numerical arithmetic. Of the boys thus sent in any one year, trial is to be made at the grammar schools one or two years, and the best genius of the whole selected, and continued six years, and the residue dismissed. By this means twenty of the best geniuses will be raked from the rubbish annually, and be instructed, at the public expence, so far as the grammar schools go. At the end of six years instruction, one half are to be discontinued (from among whom the grammar schools will probably be supplied with future masters) ; and the other half, who are to be chosen for the superiority of their parts and disposition, are to be sent and continued three years in the study of such sciences as they shall chuse, at William and Mary college, the plan of which is proposed to be enlarged, . . . and extended to all the useful sciences. The ultimate result of the whole scheme of education would be the teaching all the children of the state reading, writing, and common arithmetic : turning out ten annually of superior genius, well taught in Greek, Latin, geography, and the higher branches of arithmetic : turning out ten others annually, of still superior parts, who, to those branches of learning, shall have added such of the sciences as,their genius shall have led them to : the furnishing to the wealthier part of the people convenient schools, at which their children may be educated, at their own expense. . . . Of all the views of this law none is more important, none more legitimate, than that of rendering the people the safe, as they are the ultimate guardians of their own liberty. For this purpose the reading in the first stage, where they will receive their whole education, is proposed, as has been said, to be chiefly historical. History by apprising them of the past will enable them to judge of the future."
Some of these ideas were embodied in the law of 1796. But that law left it to the justices of the several counties to inaugurate schools, and the whole plan fell in consequence to the ground. If Jefferson's idea had been earried out, it would have opened up to every boy in Virginia, no matter how poor, the possibility of securing a well-rounded, collegiate education.
Although Jefferson's earlier scheme was not realized, the failure did not prevent him from accomplishing in his old age the establishment of a state university in Virginia. His ideas were widely influential; yet it would be difficult to point to any systematic application of them in a state establishment of education, unless it be in the early educational system of Missouri. In 1839, Missouri provided by law for an imposing state system of schools, consisting of a central university, with colleges and academies in different parts of the commonwealth. But the scheme was too elaborate and expensive, and was never carried out .
There was however one piece of broad, creative legislation which was carried to some sort of completion in this time. The system of educational administration devised for the state of New York, shows unmistakably the working of French ideas, and has in its turn exercised a considerable influence.
The University of the State of New York was established by legislative enactment in 1784, but did not assume its present form till a new organization was adopted in 1787. This university was not established as a local institution nor as a teaching body. It was intended to combine in one comprehensive organism all educational institutions having a corporate existence in the state. At the outset, the regents of the University and the trustees of Columbia College were one body, and it was proposed to make the college the head and mistress of the whole educational system. The chief opposition to this arrangement came from the outlying counties, which were just then becoming desirous of having academies established within their borders.
One of the leading representatives of the college party was Alexander Hamilton. The foremost man in the academy party was Ezra L'Hommedieu. The legislation of 1787, commonly represented as embodying the individual plan of Alexander Hamilton, seenis rather to have been the result of a friendly compromise between the opposing factions. It separated the board of Regents from the boards of trustees of Columbia College and of any other colleges or academies which might be established within the University. It seems to have been intended that the University should embrace the elementary schools of the state as well as institutions of secondary and higher education. But the higher schools were provided first, and when a state system of elementary schools was established, at the prompting of the University, it was made a separate organization. The University then embraced and now embraces practically the whole provision for secondary and higher education in the state.
After assistance had been extended to the academies of the state for nearly thirty years, in a somewhat irregular fashion, through land grants and special legislative appropriations in money, an act was passed in 1813 establishing a permanent fund, known as the Literature Fund. The income from this fund was, and is now, applied wholly to the support of secondary schools. The principal amounted by 1832 to nearly sixty thousand dollars. It has been supplemented from time to time by the income from lotteries (in 1801), by direct appropriations of state funds, and by various other means ; and has contributed greatly to the building up of academic education.
It seems clear that the educational policy of several of our states was influenced by this great and striking piece of university making in New York, though the lines of connection are not always easy to trace. Dr. Sherwood makes a large claim when he says that, " Wherever the ` State university' is governed by a body of regents who have no teaching functions and who are appointed by the political authority and are accountable to the people in their political capacity there is found the influence of this unique invention, ` the University of the State of New York." The assertion may be true. It would be difficult either to prove or to disprove it. But there are a few instances in which it can hardly be doubted that that influence has been direct and powerful.
Georgia followed hard after New York in the founding of the University of Georgia in 1785. The bill for this establishment provided that " All public schools, instituted, or to be supported by funds or public moneys in this state, shall be considered as parts or members of the University." Each county was to have an academy, which was to be a part of the university. The crown of the whole system was to be a central college. The growth of this university has been mainly at the top. Franklin College, its vital centre, has been in existence since 1801. About this have been grouped several departments, as in ordinary university organization. The original plan of making the university a comprehensive system of state education, is still recalled by the existence, in different parts of the state, of five " branch colleges," which are of the nature of technical schools .
It may be merely a coincidence that the scheme of organization which brought all public schools, from the lowest to the highest, under a single administrative system, should have found favor in certain sections in which the French-speaking population was relatively large. The early history of Louisiana is rich in educational plans and experiments, which were projected on a liberal scale. The story of these undertakings has been well told by Dr. Fay.
Soon after Louisiana came into the possession of the United States, a legislative act was passed to institute an university in the Territory of Orleans." The regents of this university were certain civil officers of the territory, and others elected by the legislature for life, as in the New York scheme. This body was directed to set up a " College of New Orleans," and one or more academies in each county within the territory ; and they were especially enjoined to establish as many academies as they might judge fit " for the instruction of the youth of the female sex in the English and French languages, and in such branches of polite literature and such liberal arts and accomplishments as may be suitable to the age and sex of the pupils." In addition to all this it was made the duty of the regents to provide public libraries in the several counties. Two annual lotteries were authorized for the support of this great undertaking.
The provision for lotteries was soon revoked, and in its stead direct appropriations were made from the treasury of the state. Important beginnings were made by the regents in the establishment of the proposed college and secondary schools ; but in 1821 this system of administration was abandoned, the board of regents was abolished, and he several institutions were continued under separate boards of control. In 1826 the college was given up and a central school and two primary schools were established in its place. Dr. Gayarres reminiscences of the college, as reported by Dr. Fay, are full of interest.
The proposed academies seem to have come into existence in twelve counties about the year 1811. They were sup-ported in part by state appropriations and in part by parish taxes. Tuition fees were imposed, but with a provision for "beneficiary students." In Louisiana, as in other portions of the country, the period from the thirties to the sixties of the nineteenth century was the time of a slow and painful working up toward the abolition of tuition fees and the establishment of complete systems of free public schools. This movement played a large part in the making of public education during that period.
In the twenties, Louisiana began subsidizing certain colleges and academies, which are described as of a mixed type, " on the border line between the colleges proper and the academies." The College of Rapides, the College of Baton Rouge, and the Academy of Natchitoches, are examples. A little later, in 1833, the practice of granting state subsidies to ordinary Academies, secondary institutions incorporated under self-perpetuating boards of trustees, was begun, the Montpellier Academy being the first to receive such encouragement. In all of these cases, the bounty of the state seems to have been granted on condition of the free schooling of a number of "indigent students." Such was the general movement of public secondary education in this state up to the year 1847, when the first free-school act was passed, soon followed by the establishment of the "State Seminary of Learning."
The present University of Michigan is the third of a series of institutions incorporated in the attempt to establish a comprehensive system of public instruction. The first was the Catholepistemiad or University of Michigania, established by territorial enactment in 1817. This was certainly one of the most whimsical institutions of education ever devised by man. Yet it embodied an irnposing and comprehensive scheme of education of the several grades from the lowest to the highest. " The president and didactors, or professors," were given power, among other things, " to establish colleges, academies, schools, libraries, muszeums, athenaeums, botanic gardens, laboratories, and other useful literary and scientific institutions, consonant to the laws of the United States of America and of Michigan, and to appoint officers, instructors and instructri in, among and throughout the various counties, cities, towns, townships and other geographical divisions of Michigan."
In fact, several primary schools were opened under the provisions of this act ; a classical school was organized in Detroit in 1818 ; and the "First College of Michigania " was established in the same city in 1817.
This act was repealed in 1821 and in place of the Catholepistemiad there was set up a University of Michigan. This university was continued in the control of the little system of schools already established. A territorial law of 1827 provided for common schools in close imitation of the original educational policy of Massachusetts. Every town-ship of fifty families was required to provide a schoolmaster to teach the elementary branches and every township of two hundred families, to provide a grammar schoolmaster, " well instructed in the Latin, French and English languages," in addition to the master for an elementary school? But little was accomplished, however, till the admission of Michigan into the Union. The legislature of the new state passed an act in 1837 establishing the present state university.
The statute for the establishment of this University of Michigan provided for the opening of " branches" in different parts of the state. These branches were to serve as preparatory schools and as schools for the training of teachers. The regents, as soon as their board was organized, began establishing such schools; and apparently there were nine in all begun before this policy was discontinued, about 1849. These schools performed a good service in promoting secondary education, in calling forth the competition of towns where they were not established, and in sending well-prepared students to the university. Their maintenance was too great a tax on the resources of the struggling institution. Yet there were those who, when they were at last given up, would much rather have seen the university itself closed and the schools continued. Several academies had been started and incorporated, under various names, in Michigan Territory, within the decade preceding the establishment of the university by the newly admitted state. When the " branches " disappeared a new era had dawned, and the place of those preparatory schools was largely taken by the new "high schools."
We find the New York idea cropping out here and there in the legislative schemes of other states. There are traces of it in the educational history of Maryland, of Wisconsin, of California. Yet it appears for the most part in the form of mere suggestions or experiments, which came to little or nothing. The fact that for two or three generations the state of New York showed but little appreciation of the significance of its own system may account in some measure for the relatively small influence which that system exerted beyond the limits of the state. Then, too, the rising interest in elementary schools was turned aside into another administrative channel, leaving the university out of the main current of public sentiment. The partial correction of these mistakes belongs to a later period than that now under consideration.
Other state systems, more loosely constructed, and showing little or none of the French influence, were coming into existence. With the achievement of independence and the establishment of a more perfect union, there had arisen a new sense of educational responsibility. But this feeling found expression for the most part in administrative forms which did not sharply diverge from practices that had already grown familiar. The national government granted great areas from the public domain to the state governments, to be used in the maintenance of schools. Having thus subsidized education in the states, it received its applause and withdrew from the stage. It did not under-take to exercise any sort of supervision over the management, by the states, of the school lands it had granted. The states, in their turn, incorporated and subsidized private educational undertakings, and made but little claim to supervision over the institutions they had aided. Local and individual initiative, generously encouraged by governments which asked few questions and imposed few conditions — such was the prevalent type of educational administration in this country in the earlier history of our national independence.
The academy movement, under this system of loose control, became as powerful in Massachusetts, in the face of the tradition and legislation which held up the town grammar schools, as in the newer states, where it had a clear field from the start. The high standard of education under public control, which had been set by the early colonists, was gradually lowered in the school law of this state. In 1789, if the old law had been strictly complied with, two hundred and thirty of the Massachusetts towns, out of a total of two hundred and sixty-five, would have been obliged to support grammar schools. In that year a general school law was passed, in which the old requirement of a grammar school in each town of one hundred families was changed to a requirement of one in each town of two hundred families. By this change one hundred and twenty of these two hundred and thirty towns were released from the obligation to maintain such schools.
In 1824 another change was made, relieving all towns of less than five thousand inhabitants from the obligation to support a school of secondary grade. There were at that time only seven towns in the state having the required population of five thousand. The letting down of the requirements with reference to grammar schools may have been partly due in 1789, and was doubtless due in large measure in 1824, to the upgrowth of the new academies, and of the ideas which they represented.
After endowing seven individual academies with grants of public lands, Massachusetts adopted in 1797 a general policy with reference to such grants. This policy was embodied in the following declaration :
" First, that no academy, (at least not already erected) ought to be encouraged by government, unless it have a neighborhood to support it of at least thirty or forty thousand inhabitants, not accommodated in any manner by any other academies, by any college or school answering the purpose of an academy; secondly, that every such portion of the commonwealth ought to be considered as equally entitled to grants of State lands to these institutions, in aid of private donations ; and thirdly, that no State lands ought to be granted to any academy, but in aid of permanent funds, secured by towns and individual donors ; and therefore, previous to any such grant of State lands, evidence ought to be produced that such funds are legally secured, at least adequate to erect and repair the necessary buildings, to support the corporation, to procure and preserve such apparatus and books as may be necessary, and to pay a part of the salaries of the preceptors."
The eight academies then in existence which had received no state endowment, and the four or five more that were necessary to make one for every 25,000 of the population, were then to receive each one-half township of unappropriated lands in " the district of Maine." With characteristic devotion to local self-government, Massachusetts proposed no further public control of those schools which she had thus liberally endowed. By 1840 there were more than fifty incorporated academies in the state.
The history of fifteen of the county grammar schools of Maryland has been traced. These schools having degenerated as the revolutionary time approached, their funds were variously employed. " Of the fifteen foundations for secondary education in colonial times, seven went to institutions of the same grade, four to institutions for higher education, one to an institution for elementary education, and two to the support of the poor." Two of these county schools were united in Washington College in 1782 ; and St. John's College absorbed King William's School in 1785. St. John's College had been incorporated in 1784, and by the same act the legislature had established the University of Maryland, consisting of the two colleges, Washington on the Eastern Shore and St. John's on the Western Shore. These colleges received substantial state aid, which was to have been perpetual.
But here, as in New York, the colleges and academies were regarded as having opposing interests. In 1798 a part of the state moneys was withdrawn from the annual grant to Washington College, and devoted to the support of five academies. This was the beginning of a policy of state aid to secondary schools in the counties, which has been continued in Maryland down to the present time. In 1805 the donations to the colleges were wholly discontinued. By 1812 the ideal of one academy to each county was practically realized. At a later time, 1825 and thereafter, the interests of the primary schools were in turn pitted against those of the academies. The effort to break down the state support of the academies was however unsuccessful .
Pennsylvania, having extended her financial aid in an irregular way for many years, in 1838 adopted a general system of state support for colleges and academies. When this liberal policy was discontinued, in 1843, there were nine colleges, including the University of Pennsylvania, sixty-four academies, and thirty-seven female seminaries which were receiving such assistance. The total annual expenditure for this purpose rose from $7,990 in 1838 to $48,298.31 in 1843.
Some of the new states of the south and west have already been mentioned in this account. In the rest of these rising commonwealths, academic institutions came into being at an early day, under the impulse of private enter-prise variously encouraged by state and territorial governments. No complete inventory of these undertakings will be attempted here. A few notable examples will give some indication of the public spirit which followed hard after the westward movement of our frontier, and show how educational statesmanship made use of various means to conquer the hard conditions of that life.
Tennessee, while yet a part of North Carolina, saw the establishment of Davidson Academy at Nashville (incorporated in 1785), which grew at length into the University of Nashville. This academy was endowed with a grant of 240 acres of land in its immediate vicinity. In 1806 Congress granted certain lands to the state of Tennessee for the encouragement of education. This grant included one hundred thousand acres for the use of two colleges, one hundred thousand acres for the use of academies, one in each county, and six hundred and forty acres in every district six miles square for the use of schools. The legislature of Tennessee took prompt measures to secure to the state the benefits of this bounty. One of the bills passed for this purpose is astonishing in its comprehensiveness, incorporating, by a single act, twenty-seven boards of trustees for as many academies in the several counties.
Kentucky, too, began establishing academies before its admission into the Union, and in the matter of omnibus measures for the incorporation of institutions of learning it was even in advance of Tennessee. Early in the year 1798, the legislature of the state incorporated six academies and seminaries by a single act, and endowed each of these schools with a grant of six thousand acres of land. Later in the same year nineteen more academies were similarly chartered and endowed. By the year 1820, forty-seven county academies had been established in the state, and each of them had received a grant of from six thousand to twelve thou-sand acres of land. By that time the movement had run its course, the county academies were coming into disfavor, and public educational measures were turning aside into other channels.
The constitution of the state of Indiana adopted in 1816 contained the far-sighted provision that " it shall be the duty of the general assembly, as soon as circumstances will permit, to provide by law for a general system of education, ascending in regular gradation from township schools to a State University wherein tuition shall be gratis and equally open to all." In 1818 the governor of the state was em-powered by law to appoint a " seminary trustee " for each county. In 1820 a " state seminary " was chartered at Bloomington. Out of this state seminary has grown the present State University of Indiana. No county seminary was established until 1825, when one was opened at Liberty in Union County. A general law of the year 1831 provided for the establishment of a seminary in each county. In all, twenty-four of these county seminaries were incorporated, between the years 1825 and 1843. Dr. Woodburn says of them :
"These old seminaries gradually disappeared after the passage of the first school law under the new Constitution. The free public high schools have succeeded to their places. In their day they served an excellent, we may even say indispensable, purpose.
They raised the educational standard of the State; they educated teachers, they brought the advantages of education within reach of a majority of the people, and in demonstrating the great benefits therefrom they made possible the movement for universal schools. They were the main reliance for the education of the people for a quarter of a century. They are to be assigned a respectable place in the story of Indiana schools, and their influence is yet felt in the educational forces of the State, not only in the work of a few of their number which still survive, but in the impressions left by the many which have long since suspended their operation."
At the same time that these county seminaries were building, various towns and cities and religious denominations were securing charters for other seminaries " and " academies." No less than thirty-seven such institutions were incorporated in the state up to and including the year 1850.
Secondary education in Illinois seems to have begun with the admission of the territory to statehood. The first legislature, in 1819, incorporated Madison Academy at Edwardsville and Washington Academy at Carlyle. Mr. Baker, the father of General Baker of Oregon, who was killed at Ball's Bluff, opened an academy in Belleville about 1825. The legislature of 1826–27 incorporated an academy in Monroe, endowed it with school lands, and added the injunction that only useful knowledge is to be taught. The next and much more significant movement in secondary education in this state was in connection with the establishment of the early colleges. Although favorable to academies, the early Illinois legislatures were seemingly fearful of colleges. The dread of ecclesiastical influence seems to have had much to do with their reluctance to grant college charters . Rock Spring Seminary, containing the germ of Shurtleff College, was established in 1827, having grown from a school opened three years earlier. Illinois College started with a preparatory school in 1830 and organized a college class in 1831, with the Rev. Edward Beecher as president. Instruction began in the McKendreean College (founded at the suggestion of Peter Cartwright) in 1828 ; though the first college class was not graduated till 1841. At the same time an effort was making to establish a college of the Christian church at Jonesboro. After encountering much difficulty, these four colleges, by a united effort, secured incorporation from the legislature in a single act passed in 1835. From that time the colleges greatly encouraged and promoted the development of secondary schools in the state. The Jacksonville Female Academy was incorporated in 1834. Before 1840, thirty additional academies had been incorporated, under various names, including five schools for girls.
The legislature of 1840-41, in granting charters to several academies, gave to three.of them the privilege of receiving public money on the presentation of proper schedules, such as were required of the common schools. This practice does not seem, however, to have become common. Within the following decade several strong secondary schools were established in the state ; and the preparatory departments of colleges, commonly bearing the name academy, helped to fix the standards of instruction in such institutions.
In Iowa, numerous academies and seminaries were incorporated during the territorial period, but the most of then seem to have had an existence on paper only. One, however, grew into a fairly strong institution and has continued to the present time. This is the Denmark Academy, established in 1843. It rose on the ruins of a chimerical scheme for a " Philandrian College," and was for a long time the only incorporated academy in Iowa. The constitution adopted when the state was admitted into the Union, in 1846, provided for a university, " with such branches as the public convenience may hereafter demand." Two such branches were authorized in 1849, one at Fairfield and the other at Dubuque; but the constitution adopted in 1857 discontinued all such branches.
At about this time secondary education was getting under way in Florida. We are told that in 1840 there were in the territory eighteen academies and grammar schools. The congressional land grant for a " seminary of learning," was not employed, when Florida was admitted as a state, for the establishment of a state university ; but instead it was provided by legislative action in 1851 that
"Two seminaries of learning shall be established, one upon the east, the other upon the west side of the Suwanee River, the first purpose of which shall be the instruction of persons, both male and female, in the art of teaching all the various branches that pertain to a good common school education ; and next, to give instruction in the mechanic arts, in husbandry, and agricultural chemistry, in the fundamental laws, and in what regards the rights and duties of citizenship."
These two schools, the East Florida Seminary, located at Gainesville, and the West Florida Seminary, located at Tallahassee, in addition to other services, have been especially useful in promoting secondary education in the state .
The United States Bureau of Education was not in existence in the great academy age — the earlier half of the nineteenth century — and we have far to seek for any statistical account of American educational institutions during that period. The attempt was made by Mr. B. B. Edwards, the secretary of the American Education Society, to gather full information with respect to American schools and colleges. This attempt was only partially successful ; but the report of his findings which Mr. Edwards presented is interesting and valuable. A brief summary of some portions of this report will help us to a better understanding of the extent of our provision for secondary education in the early days of the " Educational Awakening." The report is given by states :
Maine. — Has thirty-two academies and similar institutions. Total value of their property and endowment, about $250,000. Number of students, about 1,200.
New Hampshire. — Thirty " academies and other public schools."
Vermont. — About thirty-five academies and high schools, but not all in actual operation.
Massachusetts. Eighty-three academies and private secondary schools of various sorts, twenty-one of which have received a land endowment from the state.
Rhode Island. — One boarding school and one "English and classical seminary " are mentioned.
Connecticut. — Fourteen schools of the academy grade.
New York. — Fifty-seven academies, having buildings and endowments amounting in value to $400,000, and receiving from the state $10,000 annually.
New Jersey. — Seven schools which might be designated as academies are mentioned, one of which has been discontinued.
Pennsylvania. — A list of ninety-two " academies and high schools" is given, with the date of incorporation of each of them. The endowments of nearly all are reported.
Some have land endowments, the value of which is not given. The endowments reported at a money valuation range in amount from $500 to $10,000.
Delaware. — One academy, " lately established." Maryland. —" There are several academies, which receive $800 a year from the state treasury."
Virginia. — About fifty-five academies.
North Carolina. — Number of academies not ascertained. South Carolina. — A list is given of thirty-two academies which were in existence in 1826.
Georgia. — Four secondary schools are mentioned.
Kentucky. — Twelve secondary schools are mentioned. The literary fund of Kentucky is reported as amounting to $140,917.44.
Ohio. — " We are not aware that there are any flourishing incorporated academies in the State."
It is clear that this is very far from a complete account of the establishments for secondary education in the early thirties. But it shows at least how our provision for secondary education appeared at that time to one who was in a better position than the most of his contemporaries to know what was going on -- at least so far as the northern country, east and west, was concerned.
The account of the colleges is more nearly complete than that of the lower schools. In an earlier number of the same volume is given a comparison of college attendance in the United States with that in various European countries. It is estimated that there were 3,475 "academical " students in American colleges, and 2,751 in the professional schools. In this whole country, there was one person pursuing the higher studies to every 2,078 of the population; in Europe, one to every 2,285 of the population. The proportion was highest in Scotland (one to every 683) : and after that in Massachusetts (one to every 792) ; Baden (one to every 816) ; and Connecticut (one to every 960). These were the only states or countries having a larger proportion than one to 1,000.
Commenting on the educational situation in this country, the article first referred to declared that, " There is much in the state of education in this country, which is encouraging to the philanthropist and scholar. Its great object seems to be more and more distinctly apprehended. The harmonious cultivation of all the powers which belong to man, is regarded as of paramount importance." Here we see the abstract psychological view of education, which was closely bound up with the Pestalozzian movement, already coming to the front in this country.
The growing recognition of the Bible as a text-book in school instruction is referred to. This is significant as showing how far the schools had swung away from the practice of colonial times, when the Bible was a text-book in elementary schools almost as a matter of course. Of sirnilar import is the remark that within five years there had been a noticeable gain in the study of the classics. One other note is significant in a different way : "We have reason to believe that greater attention is paid to individual minds at our public institutions. The indiscriminate instruction of a class has long been a fatal error. The instructors have not studied the peculiar conformation—the excellencies and defects of particular minds. The sound advice of Mr. Jardine, the excellent Glasgow professor, has produced, we think, considerable effect in this country." In this we hear what has a familiar sound to our more modern ears. But a consideration of the academies, as they were in their actual working, must be reserved for the chapters next following this.