Schools - Special Movements
( Originally Published 1907 )
THE two leading types of American secondary school are now before us. Their rivalry and interplay have lent much of interest to our education of this grade during the past two generations. But the period that we now have under consideration was marked by the appearance, in a smaller way, of other schools, some of them variants from the academy, and some of them representatives of older European types.
In some portions of the present territory of the United States, the beginnings of Catholic education date far back in the period preceding the Revolution. The earlier annals of Louisiana, for example, show some stray gleams of strong educational interest. Father Cecil, a Capuchin monk, is said to have opened a school for boys in the early part of the eighteenth century. The seminary of the Ursuline nuns near New Orleans was opened in 1727, and seems to have exercised a very beneficent influence on the early life of the colony.
After the Revolution, the immigration of Roman Catholics of various nationalities, chiefly Irish at first, assumed considerable proportions. By the middle of the nineteenth century, the influx of Catholic candidates for American citizenship, Irish, German, and others, became so large as to cause great political disturbances. As soon as possible after the setting up of their diocesan government in this country (1790), the Catholics went about the opening of parochial schools, together with institutions of secondary education and seminaries for the training up of young men for the priesthood.
Their schools of secondary education were generally established under the direction of various teaching orders.
The Jesuits had made long continued efforts to keep alive Catholic educational institutions in Maryland. One of the most notable of their achievements in colonial times was the conduct of a school at Bohemia Manor, about the middle of the eighteenth century. Here Charles Carroll of Carrollton, signer of the Declaration of Independence, was educated, together with his cousin, John Carroll, the first Catholic Bishop of Baltimore. John Carroll received his later training in Europe, at the Jesuit college of St. Omer, and himself entered the order. He returned to America shortly before the outbreak of the war for independence. At this time the Society of Jesus was not only in disfavor with some of the chief civil powers of Europe, but was under the ban of the church as well. Such Jesuits as remained in Maryland appeared only in the capacity of secular priests.
Father Carroll earnestly desired a seminary for theological training, and he at one time held the opinion that the classical preparation needed by prospective priests might very well be secured in such secondary schools as were already at hand. As a result of travels through the new states and conversation with others of the same faith, his attitude in this matter changed. He became convinced that the existing academies were so intensely Protestant that young Catholics could not attend them without danger to their Catholic principles. He accordingly took steps looking to the establishment not only of "a seminary for the recruitment of the priesthood, but also of a classical school. The out-come was Georgetown Academy.
The chapter convened by Dr. Carroll at Whitemarsh, in 1786, framed the following resolves, by way of a beginning :
" 1. In order to raise the money necessary for erecting the afore-said school, a general subscription shall be opened immediately.
"2. Proper persons shall be appointed in different parts of the continent, West India Islands, and Europe, to solicit subscriptions and collect the same.
" 3. Five Directors of the school, and the business relative thereto, shall be appointed by the General Chapter.
" 4. The moneys collected by subscription shall be lodged in the hands of the aforesaid Directors.
" 5. Masters and tutors to be procured and paid by the Directors quarterly, and subject to their direction.
"TERMS OF THE SCHOOL.
" 1. The students shall be boarded at the Parents' expense.
" 2. The pension for tuition shall be £10 currency per annum, and is to be paid quarterly, and always in advance.
" 3. With the pension the students shall be provided with masters, books, paper, pens, ink and firewood in the school.
"4. The Directors shall have power to make further regulations, as circumstances may point out necessary."
Before the academy could be fully established, the District of Columbia had been set apart as the seat of the national government, and the site selected for the school was found to occupy a very advantageous position of proximity to the capital city. A suitable building was erected, and the institution was opened in September, 1791. It was virtually a school of the Jesuits from the start; and after the rehabilitation of the order it was placed under their management, in 1805. In 1815 it was authorized by Congress to grant academic degrees.
The first student enrolled in the Georgetown Academy was William Gaston, afterwards distinguished in public life. During the first years of its existence, the school seems to have been intended especially if not exclusively for Catholic students. About 1796 it was thrown open freely to those of other faiths, and began to receive a considerable number of Protestants. The two sons of Bushrod Washington were sent to it. A notable day in the early history of the school was the occasion of a visit from George Washington. The Father of his Country was greeted with enthusiasm. A formal address of welcome was delivered, and a commemorative poem was read by Robert Walsh.
In the meantime, Bishop Carroll's desire for a seminary had been satisfied, a small company of Sulpitians having established such an institution at Baltimore in 1791. The Sulpitians also established St. Mary's College at Baltimore, which was chartered by the Maryland legislature in 1805.1
The Academy of the Visitation was opened at George-town in 1798, and entered upon a career of large influence in the education of girls. There is much of human interest in the early history of this school which has been well brought out in the published accounts of its career. The three " pious ladies " by whom it was established encountered endless difficulties, and it was not till eighteen years after the beginning that their conventual life was fully settled.
A little later there began another widely influential Catholic movement for the education of girls, the story of which is also full of interest. Mrs. Seton, the wife of an American merchant, was travelling with her husband in Italy, when his death left her a widow among strangers and far from her native land. She was treated with much kindness, and after a time became a convert to Catholicism. After her return to her American home, she sought for ways in which she might be of service to the church and useful to those about her. The accounts which have been handed down represent her as a woman of unusually high character and intelligence, and of great efficiency in the management of affairs. She gathered a few girls about her for instruction. Then a gift of land near Emmitsburg, for educational purposes, opened a way for the enlargement of her plans. She organized the American society of Sisters of Charity (1811). The house of this order, at Emmitsburg, soon came into high favor as a place for the education of girls ; and colonies of sisters were sent out from it to organize similar establishments in different portions of the country. They took charge of Nazareth Academy near Bardstown, Kentucky, as early as 1812. St. Mary's Academy, in New York City, was opened by them in 1835.
Bardstown, Kentucky, became, early in the nineteenth century, a great centre of Roman Catholic influence in the west. The diocese of Bardstown was erected in 1808. In addition to Nazareth Academy, already referred to, Loretto Academy, for girls ; Calvary Academy, also for girls ; and St. Joseph's College and Seminary, were established in or near Bardstown within the ten or twelve years next following.
A summary of Catholic education in this country in 1830 shows that it was then represented by seven ecclesiastical seminaries, ten colleges and collegiate institutions, several academies for boys, twenty nunneries to which female academies were attached, besides numerous primary and charity schools. The Catholic population of the country was then estimated at about half a million. Considerable aid had been received from Europe for the promotion of Catholic education.
The Jesuits steadily increased the range of their activity, as time went on, in the domain of both secondary and collegiate education. They were prominent in the early Catholic movement in Kentucky. In 1846 the Kentucky Jesuits were invited by Bishop Hughes (afterwards the first Archbishop of New York), to take charge of the new St. John's College at Fordham, which has been an important centre of Jesuit educational activity since that time. This institution, formally opened by Bishop Hughes in 1841, was at first under the presidency of Father McCloskey, who later became the first American cardinal. It was empowered to grant academic degrees in 1846.
A Catholic seminary, erected at Mt. St. James, near Worcester, Massachusetts, in 1840, by Father James Fitton, a missionary priest, became in 1843 the College of the Holy Cross. It was placed under the direction of the Jesuit Fathers, and was incorporated by the state in 1865. It is the oldest Catholic college in New England.
An institution which has exercised a great influence over Catholic secondary and higher education in the western states, the University of Notre Dame, at Notre Dame, Indiana, was founded in 1842 by the Superior General of the Congregation of the Holy Cross. It was incorporated by the legislature of Indiana in 1844.
The Brothers of the Christian Schools, members of one of the most notable European orders established for the education of children, opened their first school on this continent at Montreal, in 1838. Soon after they are found in Baltimore and in New York. The Brothers, while engaging actively in the conduct of elementary schools in this country, early entered the field of secondary education. Their De La Salle Academy was opened in New York in the year 1848. They established the Academy of the Holy Infancy at Manhattanville in 1853. Ten years later this institution was raised to collegiate rank, receiving a charter under the title of Manhattan College.
Numerous other schools of secondary or combined secondary and higher education were organized before the Civil War, under the management of the societies already referred to, or of other religious orders within the Catholic church, or of the secular clergy of that church.
In the second quarter of the nineteenth century, convent schools for girls seem to have come to wide popularity, not only among Catholics, but in some Protestant circles as well. It would be impossible in this sketch to mention by name any considerable number of these schools. But two or three may be referred to in addition to such as have already been named.
The Sisters of Notre Dame of Namur were first established in this country at Cincinnati in 1840. A community of Ladies of the Sacred Heart was settled in New York in 1841, under the government of Madame de Galitzin. They opened the same year their Academy for Young Ladies, which was soon removed to Astoria, Long Island, and then to Manhattanville. This order had been founded by Madame Barat, in Paris, at the opening of the nineteenth century, expressly for the education of young women). A little later, several members of the School Sisters of Notre Dame came to this country from Bavaria and began their labors in the Institute de Notre Dame in Baltimore. They had prepared themselves for their duties by taking a teachers' training course, and passing the city teachers' examination in Munich. Their society was incorporated by the legislature of Maryland, in 1864, for educational purposes. A few years later, they secured a valuable tract of land in the suburbs of Baltimore, and proceeded to erect a college for women, which was to be known as Notre Dame of Maryland. This college was empowered to grant academic degrees, by act of the legislature in 1896.
The schools which have been mentioned were probably among the best of the earlier Catholic schools for young women, though no attempt is here made to estimate their relative standing. It is not clear to what extent the ordinary convent schools in the earlier days gave instruction of a secondary grade. A good deal of their teaching must have been such as would now be called elementary. And there was probably some ground for the complaint that they devoted relatively too much attention to the mere accomplishments which the social standards of the time required young ladies to have mastered, and not enough to such solid learning as was thought fit for boys.
We may readily conclude, however, from the crusade against pettiness in girls' education which was waged by Emma Willard and Mary Lyon and those who thought and wrought with them, that convent schools were not the only schools found wanting in this respect. Noah Webster, writing of Connecticut in 1806, referred to "academies for young ladies, in which are taught the additional branches of needlework, drawing, and embroidery." These pursuits were referred to as additional to the ordinary academy studies ; but it is to be feared that more attention was paid, in many cases, to the trimmings than to the foundation material of an education. Catholic schools for girls and those of other denominations and of no denomination as well, have been making their way painfully out from under the domination of petty ideals during the past two generations. An interesting part in this movement has been borne by the Sisters of Notre Dame of Namur, whose first establishment in this country was briefly noted above. Forty-three convents are now maintained by these sisters, with numerous schools and colleges. Their labors have recently culminated in the establishment of Trinity College in Washington, which has been described as " the first fully equipped college for girls under Catholic influence."
The forward movement in Catholic secondary education which has taken place within the generation just past will be noticed in a later chapter.
Among the several Protestant denominations, during the period we have been considering, the conviction was gaining ground that religious differences ought not to divide our people in the great national concern of public education. The early high schools and many of the contemporary academies were much alike in that a positive religious element was present in them, while they were still undenominational in character. The Catholics objected to such schools on the ground that their " undenominationalism " was in fact undenominational Protestantism. To most Protestants and to many other citizens having no religious affiliations, such schools appeared to give the strongest assurance of the maintenance of religious freedom, and so in the end of political freedom. There came, in time, to be among our people a really passionate devotion to the public schools, as embodying such hopes and aspirations as these, and this feeling greatly promoted the building up of our public high schools.
Yet the several Protestant denominations were never unanimous in their attitude toward schools and education, and in the most of them earnest efforts were put forth to secure the establishment and maintenance of denominational schools. These efforts met, too, with a large measure of success. The secondary schools of the Protestant Episcopal church may be taken as representative of this movement. They were making interesting beginnings in the earlier half of the nineteenth century. But since the building up of highly influential Episcopalian schools is one of the marked characteristics of the period following the Civil War, a consideration of this topic will be deferred till we come to the chapter on Recent Tendencies.
Daniel Defoe's project of a military academy found a far-away realization in the establishment of such an institution by our national government, at West Point, in 1802.
Catholic University of America, for helpful suggestions in connection with the sketch of Catholic secondary education begun in this chapter and continued in chapter XVIII.
The impressive centennial celebration of our Military Academy is a recent memory. This school was hardly more than an establishment for military apprenticeship during the first ten years of its existence. Then, under stress of war, and in accordance with repeated recommendations of a few farsighted men, the institution was made into something more like a school of engineering and military science.
Within the next few years some strong men found a place in its corps of instruction. Claude Crozet became professor of engineering. It is claimed that he first introduced the use of the blackboard into this country, besides making other important improvements in his branch of instruction at the Military Academy. Captain Alden Partridge, an early graduate of the institution, after officiating for a time as professor of mathematics, and later of engineering, became superintendent of the Academy. He was a man of ideas and of personal force ; but he was not in harmony with the policy laid down for the institution, and in 1817 he was succeeded in the superintendency by Major Sylvanus Thayer. Major Thayer was at the head of the institution for sixteen years, and did much to bring it up to that high place which it has now held for many years.'
The plan of instruction at West Point took strong hold upon many intelligent minds. A system of education which could send out so vigorous and efficient a type of manhood, was deemed worthy of wider application. So the national Military Academy came to have a numerous progeny. Its ideals influenced the instruction in the Central High School of Philadelphia and the New York Free Academy ; and other military schools were organized in several places.
Captain Partridge, after his resignation from the army, founded in 1819 the " American Literary, Scientific and Military Academy," which has had a migratory and varied existence. It was first established at Norwich, Vermont. It was removed to Middletown, Connecticut, and then re-turned to Norwich. In 1866 it was again removed, to Northfield, Vermont, where it still abides. It was chartered in 1834 as Norwich University. From 1850 to 1880 it was conducted under Episcopalian auspices. Then it became non-sectarian, and for four years bore the title of Lewis College. Its old name was restored in 1884, and it was made virtually a state military institution.
The fact that Admiral Dewey was educated in this school has brought it prominently before the public in recent years. The founder, Captain Partridge, seems to have been deeply impressed with the value of a military training, and to have possessed some remarkable qualifications for the position of leader, instructor, and commander of boys. But his plan of education was conceived on such a scale that it could not well be carried into full execution. The announcement which he issued in 1820 declared his intention to offer a course of instruction in the Latin, Greek, Hebrew, French, and English languages ; in composition, logic, history, and ethics ; and in an immense range of subjects coming within the general scope of mathematics, physics, engineering, and military science. He added that, "The military exercises and duties will be so arranged as not to occupy any of the time that would otherwise be devoted to study ; they will be attended to at those hours of the day which are generally passed by students in idleness, or devoted to useless amusements, for which they will be made a pleasing and healthful substitute."
Another of the substitutes for useless amusements " provided in this academy was an occasional long tramp across the country. Captain Partridge's expeditions of this sort, which he led in person, were in high favor with his boys. One of them even extended from Middletown all the way to the National Capital. Whether consciously or not, Captain Partridge was carrying into practice Milton's proposal that young men should travel over their own land and become acquainted with its military and industrial advantages .
The military type of education soon came into high favor in the southern states. Captain Partridge founded the Virginia Literary, Scientific, and Military Institute at Ports-mouth, in 1839. The same year the Virginia Military Institute was established at Lexington, following the general lines of the Academy at West Point. This West Point of the south has had a remarkable history, which is almost as well known as that of our national Academy. General Francis H. Smith was for many years at its head, and gave it its academic organization. His long service is held in honored memory. And with it is joined the memory of the ten-year instructorship, so diversely significant to the institution, of that indifferent teacher and consummate soldier, Stonewall Jackson.
The South Carolina Military Academy was established in 1842. It has been shown that its earlier history was closely interwoven with the political history of the state. Military stores had been gathered, in the Arsenal at Columbia and the Citadel at Charleston, to provide against possible public needs. The Nat Turner insurrection and the Nullification troubles a little later had suggested such provision. A guard was maintained at state expense at each of these posts, until some far-sighted citizens conceived the idea that the money devoted to the maintenance of such guards might profitably be devoted to the maintenance of military schools, the cadets being then charged with the duty of mounting guard as might be necessary. A similar project had been carried into effect at the Virginia Military Institute. The Academy was organized upon these lines, and consisted of the Citadel school at Charleston and the Arsenal school at Columbia.
Up to the time of the closing of this academy, in 1864, its graduates numbered two hundred and forty, including four who became brigadier generals. Hugh S. Thompson, the distinguished governor of the state and member of the national Civil Service Commission, was a graduate of the school in the class of 1856.
Military education soon came to great popularity in the south, and schools of this sort were multiplied before the breaking out of the Civil War. Our national provision for military education received a much needed rounding-out in the establishment of the Naval Academy at Annapolis, in 1845. This act renders memorable the term of George Bancroft in the office of Secretary of the Navy.
Another movement which assumed considerable proportions in the earlier half of the nineteenth century was that having for its object the union of studies with manual labor. There was much in the educational thought of the latter half of the eighteenth century which pointed the way to such a movement. The doctrines of Rousseau and the earlier experiments of Pestalozzi suggest themselves at once. But a more immediate prompting came from the labors of Philip Emanuel Fellenberg, sometime companion and fellow-laborer with Pestalozzi.
Fellenberg has been pretty generally forgotten in this country, but, two or three generations ago his influence here was very great. Sympathizing as he did with the educational aspiration of Pestalozzi, his character and methods were very different. It is small wonder that the two could not long work together. In 1806 Fellenberg opened an institution at Hofwyl, in Switzerland, for school instruction in combination with manual labor in the field. His students devoted their mornings to study and their afternoons to farming. The Hofwyl Institute continued its operations for nearly forty years, and commanded the attention of the best men, the world over, who were interested in educational reform.
The name of Fellenberg appears in some American schools which were established within this period, and there can be no doubt that the American movement received much of its impetus directly from Hofwyl. But the sentiment which inspired it did not all emanate from Fellenberg. We find some breathings of it in this, country before the close of the eighteenth century, and notably in Judge Phillips' plan for the academy at Andover. It was indeed in the air of both Europe and America at that time.
Among the many consequences of the theoretical " return to nature," was the growth of a desire to bring those higher human interests which found expression in art and literature, into touch with the common affairs of life. Men and women who had gone far in the self-conscious "culture " of the age, felt a homesickness for the work-a-day world which they had left behind. Something of this sort is observable in the Brook Farm experiment, in which the notion of a union between education and manual labor found its most interesting embodiment. It is a sentiment oft-recurring in human history, but it never quite found itself till the latter part of the eighteenth century gave it a place in the world of thought.
There was another side to this sentiment. Those who are at home with the plain people of this land, particularly with such as carry into their daily work-of-hands a steady aspiration after the things of the spirit, must have observed among them a habit of thought which has close connection with that noted above : a fine loyalty to their daily associations which prompts them to wish that the higher interests may be found somehow bound up with the actualities of their experience, and not set apart in a separate world. The poems of Robert Burns interpreted this feeling. In their different kinds and degrees, a goodly number of later writers have done such a service in our own generation ; while in the domain of art it has found very noble expression in the better work of our modern realists. It can hardly be doubted that this sentiment combined with others to give popularity to the manual labor schools of the first half of the nineteenth century.
It was in the third and fourth decades of that century that the manual-labor education movement was at its height. The survey of Education and literary institutions 1 already referred to tells of institutions of this sort at Readfield, Maine (the Maine Wesleyan Seminary), at Manchester, Vermont, at Rochester and Whitestown, New York, at Sergeantville, New Jersey (Mantua Manual Labor Institute), at Wake Forest, North -Carolina (projected by Baptists and soon to be opened), at Haymount, North Carolina (a similar institution, founded by the Presbyterians), at Marietta, Ohio, and in various other sections of the country. Provision for manual labor in connection with several colleges is also reported. There seems to have been especial interest in the effort to put theological students at work in field and shop, partly with a view to defraying a portion of the expense of their education, and partly with the thought that they might thus be brought into touch with actualities.
The enthusiasm for manual labor schools subsided in the eighteen-hundred forties, more because of the practical difficulties which the project involved than because of any doubt as to its inherent excellence . But the idea has not been wholly lost. It has entered into the scheme of agricultural education embodied in the Morrill Act of 1862 an act through which our national government has profoundly influenced the higher education of the country. It has entered also into the manual training movement of later years : a very different movement, to be sure, but one which accomplishes some of the ends which the earlier movement set out to accomplish. And the manual labor school itself has survived or been revived in a few institutions of our own time, as in the Miller Manual Labor School, opened in 1878, in Albemarle County, Virginia.
The Swiss reformers had a large following in this country before influences of a strictly German origin had begun to be widely felt. It was not until the thirties or forties of the nineteenth century that German ideas gained currency here, and the full force of the German example was hardly felt till after the revolutionary disturbances of 1848. Yet some connection with German culture had been established in earlier years.
George Ticknor and Edward Everett had visited Europe, and studied at the University of Gottingen. They brought back something of the German spirit, to the quickening of Harvard College. Joseph Green Cogswell had also gone to Gottingen in 1816, and George Bancroft in 1818. Other travellers gave occasional hints of the German universities and public schools. The first real opening of American eyes to the importance of German educational theory and practice came, however, in the midst of the Educational Revival. The English translation of Victor Cousin's report on Prussian schools was widely circulated in this country. The report of observations at first hand by Calvin E. Stowe (1836), Alexander Dallas Bache (1839), and Horace Mann (1843) greatly deepened this impression. The University of Michigan, under the guidance of President Tappan, availed itself freely of suggestions drawn from the practice of German universities. The German example influenced our elementary schools, not so much in those days by any infusion of German methods, as by the suggestions of German organization and of the German provision for universality of instruction. In our secondary education, too, there was very little direct imitation of German models, but the stimulus of German excellence began to prick the American spirit of emulation.
There were numerous schools opened during this period under purely private management. Educational ideas, whether European or American in their origin, were playing merrily upon the minds of men. The prompting to educational experiment came out in school undertakings, some of them sane and wholesome, some whimsical, and the most of them full of human interest. Only a few of these private schools can be mentioned here without overcrowding the chapter, and the bare mention must suffice in the case of those referred to.
George Bancroft and Joseph Green Cogswell established the Round Hill School at Northampton, Massachusetts, an institution which was intended to transplant into this country the best traditions of the great secondary schools of Germany, France, and England. Some of Fellenberg's ideas, too, had their influence on this undertaking. Bancroft with-drew from the school in 1830, but it was continued under Dr. Cogswell through the six years following. It saw varying fortunes, both educational and financial, but, so long as it lasted, it never sank to the commonplace, never failed to be interesting and significant.
The classical school of Mr. Christopher Cotes at Charles-ton, South Carolina (about 1820 to 1850), filled an important place in the education of that region. Its pupils came from families prominent because of their wealth and social station, and the school came to be regarded as an aristocratic institution. Mr. Cotes was an Englishman, and the precedents of the English public schools dominated his system of instruction. He could not share the American taste for oratory of the revolutionary type, and such declamation as his boys went through was a perfunctory affair, at least so far as the master was concerned. Thorough instruction in the studies preparatory to college ; sound training in algebra under the master himself ; the employment of good assistant teachers ; French taught by a born Frenchman ; the use of philosophical apparatus, including a large telescope ; a faithful application, on occasion, of a good birch rod: such are some of the characteristic features of this school, as recalled by Dr. G. E. Manigault.
Gideon F. Thayer established the Chauncy Hall School, in the city of Boston, in 1828. This school was projected on an unusually large scale for the time. It is said that division of labor among the several instructors was carried further than in any other private school in New England. Even before this school was opened, Mr. Thayer, in an earlier educational undertaking, had introduced the use of apparatus for physical exercise. The Chauncy Hall School was supported wholly by tuition fees, but many poor boys were educated there free of charge. Mr. Thayer's connection with the school ceased in 1855.
"The Gunnery" was established by Frederick W. Gunn, at Washington, Connecticut, in the latter part of the eighteen-hundred thirties. There was in it so much of abolitionism and other radical tendencies that it aroused great opposition, and was for a time discontinued. It was reopened in 1847, and had a picturesque and generally remarkable career. Its characteristics, as they were under Mr. Gunn's administration, were set forth by Mr. J. G. Holland in his story of Arthur Bonnicastle. Senator O. H. Platt taught for a time with Mr. Gunn ; and Henry Ward Beecher, Mrs. Stowe, and General John C. Fr6mont were among the prominent patrons of the Gunnery in its earlier days.
A chapter which began with notes on the rise of Catholic schools may fitly close with some account of the founding of Girard College. For this school, though founded by a man of Catholic antecedents, represents in many ways the antithesis of the Catholic view of education. It illustrates the profound movement in American education away from ecclesiastical ideals. And because it set forth the non-ecclesiastical view in perhaps the most extreme embodiment which it had found on American soil, it called forth an extensive controversial literature, and so had its part in shaping educational convictions.
Stephen Girard, " Mariner and Merchant," was a man of the hard-headed, thrifty, and benevolent type that seems in those days to have found its true home in the city of William Penn and Benjamin Franklin. It was early in the revolutionary struggle that Girard came from his French home to Philadelphia, a young man then in his twenties. He soon became one of the influential business men of the town. It is said, but the statement is open to doubt, that he was the first American to become a millionaire. When he died, in 1831, at the age of eighty-one, the estate which he left was valued at not far from $7,500,000. He set an example, which American millionaires have been remarkably ready to follow, of the devotion of vast sums of money to public education. It is not only the magnitude of his educational endowment, but the marked characteristics of the institution founded upon it, which call for notice in this chapter.
This French-American was familiar with the revolutionary French philosophy of the eighteenth century. Four of his ships were named the Rousseau, the Voltaire, the Helvetius, and the Montesquieu. The secular spirit of this philosophy found in him a ready response. That he was not positively hostile to religion is shown by his contributions to various religious societies. But he was an ardent believer in the American doctrine of religious freedom ; and he deplored sectarian controversy. He was in sympathy with that rising sentiment which exalted morals above dogmatic religion. The educational realism of Rousseau and Rousseau's followers fell in with his shrewd common sense ; and quite as naturally, he was interested in seeing boys trained up for occupations in which they might earn an honest livelihood.
Such was the man who in addition to legacies to the public schools of Philadelphia and various benevolent institutions already in existence, and in addition to other legacies to relatives and dependents, bequeathed over two million dollars for the founding of an institution devoted to the maintenance and education of poor, male, white, orphan children. The fund was given in trust for this purpose to the mayor, aldermen, and citizens of Philadelphia.
The paragraph of the will relating to the studies of the college is of sufficient importance to be given in full. "They shall be instructed," it reads, " in the various branches of a sound education, comprehending reading, writing, grammar, arithmetic, geography, navigation, surveying, practical mathematics, astronomy ; natural, chemical and experimental philosophy, the French and Spanish languages, (I do not forbid, but I do not recommend the Greek and Latin languages) and such other learning and science as the capacities of the several scholars may merit or warrant : I would have them taught facts and things, rather than words or signs ; and especially, I desire, that by every proper means a pure attachment to our Republican Institutions, and to the sacred rights of conscience, as guaranteed by our happy constitutions, shall be formed and fostered in the minds of the scholars."
The provision for non-ecclesiastical management of the institution is expressed in the following terms:
" I enjoin and require that no ecclesiastic, missionary, or minis-ter of any sect whatsoever, shall ever hold or exercise any station or duty whatever in the said College ; nor shall any such person ever be admitted for any purpose, or as a visitor, within the premises appropriated to the purposes of the said college : In making this restriction, L do not mean to cast any reflection upon any sect or person whatsoever; but as there is such a multitude of sects, and such a diversity of opinion amongst them, I desire to keep the tender minds of the orphans, who are to derive advantage from this bequest, free from the excitement which clashing doctrines and sectarian controversy are so apt to produce ; my desire is, that all the instructors and teachers in the College, shall take pains to instil into the minds of the scholars, the purest principles of morality, so that, on their entrance into active life, they may from inclination and habit, evince benevolence toward their fellow creatures, and a love of truth, sobriety, and industry, adopting at the same time, such religious tenets as their matured reason may enable them to prefer."
Many difficulties were encountered in getting this unique institution under way. The buildings for its habitation, begun in 1833, were not finished till 1847. The directors appointed under the trust invited Francis Lieber, another eminent immigrant, to draw up a constitution for the pro-posed college. This commission was executed with great care, after a study of the literature of various educational and eleemosynary institutions of England and the Continent. Professor Lieber recommended that the college be made a polytechnic school and a seminary for the training of teachers ; and he urged upon the directors the importance of sending a special commissioner to Europe to make an examination in person of such institutions as might throw light upon their undertaking.
In accordance with this suggestion, Alexander Dallas Bache was appointed to the presidency of the college, and was dispatched on a tour of investigation among the leading European countries. Professor Bache devoted two years to this preliminary inquiry. The report of his observations, published soon after his return, was not only of great value to the institution which he represented, but proved also one of the most important of those accounts of European education which did so much toward the great Educational Awakening in America.
The next-of-kin to Stephen Girard made an effort to break the will, so far as it related to the endowment of the college, and their claim was carried to the Supreme Court of the United States. This case was the more notable from the fact that Daniel Webster was of the counsel for the plaintiffs, and the decision of the court was rendered by Justice Joseph Story. The court unanimously sustained the validity of the trust. The next-of-kin had based their claim in part upon the contention that the foundation of a college on such principles and exclusions as Mr. Girard had laid down was derogatory to the Christian religion and therefore void, as being against both the common law and public policy. The court decided against this contention. It held that:
" The exclusion of all ecclesiastics, missionaries, and ministers of any sort from holding and exercising any station or duty in a college, or even visiting the same; or the limitation of the instruction to be given to the scholars, to pure morality, general benevolence, a love of truth, sobriety, and industry; are not so derogatory and hostile to the Christian religion as to make a devise for the foundation of such a college void according to the constitution and laws of Pennsylvania."
On New Year's day of 1848 the college was opened, under the presidency of Joel Jones. Its educational organization was under three divisions, namely, primary schools, nos. 1 and , 2. and the " principal department." In the department last named, instruction was given in some of the higher branches of an English education, and in the French and Spanish languages.