« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
It was at this time of greatest discouragement that the donations of Governor Hopkins were made for the endowment of classical schools in Hartford, New Haven, Hadley, and Cambridge. No benefaction for a good cause was ever more opportunely given. The “true intent" of his legacy was well expressed in the words of his will “ to give encouragement in those foreign plantations for the breeding up of hopeful youths, both at the grammar school and college, for the public service of the country in future times.” It was well that the avails of the Hopkins' donations accrued chiefly to the benefit of the grammar schools, which received his endowments. It thus became possible for a classic school, formed after the English grammar school, to be planted on American soil and to take deep root, nourished, as the English schools were, with ample endowments, and to bear fruit perennially to the latest generations. Whatever fate might befall the grammar schools of other towns planted by the Puritans, it was a consolation to Davenport and his fellow-trustees of the Hopkins' endowments, that one school, at least, in each of the leading colonies, could be maintained, in which “the three languages, Lattine, Greeke, and Hebrew, might be taught soe far as was necessary to prepare youth for colledge." Though the Hopkins' donations made it possible to establish grammar schools at a few important localities, yet classic culture did not readily thrive, and those precious funds were in danger of perversion even in New Haven, under the trusteeship of Davenport, who was the only man that could have saved them. For the people were so poor even in that colony, which was more wealthy than the others, and the public mind was so distracted by the political questions resulting in the union of New Haven Colony with Connecticut, that but little attention was given to the interests of education for the time. Hence, public sentiment at first tolerated the use of the funds for an English school. Indeed, teachers of the classics were so scarce that no fit master could be found except for an English school and hardly for that. “ The fittest that could be found was George Pardee, who was willing to do what he was able, but told the town frankly that he had lost much of what learning he formerly attained." He however “undertook to teach Englishe and to carry on the scholars in Lattine as far as he could; also to learn them to write.” It was then that Mr. Davenport performed “one of the last and most useful public services” to the town of New Haven, by protesting, as he was required to do according to the “will of the dead," against the longer misapplication of the avails of the Hopkins' fund contrary to the intent of the donor, and declared it to be his purpose to transfer the fund to some other town if the use of it was not made for a proper grammar school. This intimidation had the desired effect; and as soon as possible the school was established according to the true intent of its founder. “ The advantage of this single effort in favor of liberal education,” says Prof. Kingsley,* "can not be easily estimated.” One of its results was the great number of young men sent to Harvard College from the single town of New Haven, being one in thirty of all the graduates of that college prior to 1700, and that, too, from a town not having more than five hundred inhabitants at any time during that period.
The endowments at Hartford and Hadley were far less fortunate The people of those towns used those funds for a long period to maintain schools of no higher grade than a common English school. “ The Hopkins School at Hartford seems to have been the only public school of any sort for the first century of its existence." + In 1797 the town of Hartford sought a charter of incorporation and surrendered its control of the Hopkins' fund to a self-perpetuative board of trustees, under whose management the funds were greatly increased and a classical school of a high order was maintained on the ancient foundation according to the will of the donor. So, too, the Hadley Grammar School became an Academy after the town had controlled and perverted the use of the Hopkins' fund from 1669 to 1816. Under the new organization a contest soon arose between the town and the Academy, which at last was decided by the Supreme Court of Massachusetts in 1833, when Judge Shaw held that the devise of Gov. Hopkins was made, not for founding a town school for the exclusive benefit of the inhabitants of Hadley only, but for all the persons in that (then) newly settled part of the country who desired to avail themselves of a grammar school adapted to instruct and qualify pupils for the University."I
If one of our distinguished divines has said that “barbarism is the first danger" of modern civilization in America, it was surely a fearful peril when Hopkins and Davenport tried to withstand it. It was their glory that they laid the foundations of the State aright. They could not be expected to do much more than this, which was their destined work. The day of small things, as they called their own cherished plans and institutions, was really a day of great
* See Kingsley's Historical Discourse, page 92.
+ See Rev. L. W. Bacon's Address at the Two Hundredth Anniversary of the Hopkins Grammar School at New Haven, page 65. [Mr. Bacon is mistaken as to his surmise of there having been no other school at Hartford. 1. B.)
See L. W. Bacon's Address, page 65.
events in their relations to the distant future. They earnestly labored to prevent the decline of learning which continued till after the Revolution. But they could not build up vigorous institutions of liberal culture in the wilderness in a single generation, such as Europe possessed as the fruit of centuries of civilization. They had only one learned profession, that of Divinity, and chiefly for the sake of this, Harvard and Yale were founded.
The profession of the teacher was indeed recognized in the first generation as a distinct calling, and had been so regarded time out of mind in the fatherland. But the early graduates of Harvard and Yale, who could have been the successors of Cheever, found “ his occupation gone,” and thus they were forced to enter the ministry as their only vocation. Fortunately, the duty of teaching the classics was regarded as one of their proper functions, and as the ministers were the only class in the community who had leisure for study and books, there were found a few in every generation who guarded well this precious trust of cducation, and furnished in this way most of the candidates for admission to college and thus their own profession was preserved. And yet in this profession the standard of classical attainments was lamentably low even so late as the beginning of the present century.* Most abundant evidence of this fact appears in the history of education as published on the pages of this Journal.
Near the middle of the last century there were indications of the coming of a better day. Here and there were persons found, of broad and comprehensive culture, who were in correspondence and close sympathy with the leading minds of the fatherland, and who fully realized the transcendent value of the long-established seats of good learning there. On the other hand, such men as Doddridge and Watts and Bishop Berkley were deeply interested in the intellectual advancement of the American colonies, as is proved by their benefactions to Harvard and Yale.
In 1746, Samuel Moody graduated at Harvard College and com menced his career as a classical teacher in the York Grammar School in the province of Maine. Since the days of Cheever, who had then been dead nearly forty years, no teacher had appeared of equal celebrity. The school he taught was the only public school in town, yet he made it famous as the resort of scholars who afterwards became distinguished. One of the number was Joseph Wil
* See a letter of the late Judge Story, in the memoirs of Dr. Channing, relating to the studies of Harvard College during the times when those eminent men were undergruduules
lard, afterwards President of Harvard College and the best Greek scholar of his day.*
In 1763, the Dummer School at Byfield in Newbury, the oldest of the New England Academies, was founded, and Samuel Moody was its first master. This event marks a new era in the history of classical elucation in this country. For the first twenty years of its bistory it was called the “Dummer School,” and its teacher was called “Master," a title which, as the accomplished historian of Dummer Academy has well observed, is still thought good enough for the President of a college in Oxford and Cambridge.”+ Dummer School, under the administration of Master Moody, was the best type of an English grammar school that had existed on American soil since the days of Ezekiel Cheever. It was placed by the founder under the control of the town or parish committee, who were to manage its funds and had the power of appointing but not of removing the teacher, whose tenure of office was for life unless the overseers of Harvard College should judge the incumbent "immoral or incompetent.”
For nineteen years Master Moody managed the school according to his discretion, the trustees under the will “doing nothing and having nothing to do." During that period he prepared for college some of the most eminent men of their times, among whom were President Webber, Professors Pierson and Tappan of Ilarvard, and Prof. John Smith of Dartmouth; also Chief-Justices Parsons and Sewell, Rufus King, William Prescott, Nathaniel Gorham, and Samuel Phillips, the founder of the Academy at Andover. The fact that these and other distinguished men of the last century most gratefully honored the Byfield preceptor so long as they lived, proved the personal excellence and power of their instructor.
There is no doubt that the long and successful career of Master Moody at Byfield led to the establishment, near the close of the Revolution, of the Phillips Academies at Andover and Exeter and of Leicester. Each of these schools originated as foundation schools established by eminent civilians, but differing from the Hopkins and the Dummer Schools in granting no special advantage to the towns in which they were located. This feature was one which distinguished the Academy from the ancient grammar school, which generally seems to have been local so far as to favor specially the town or precinct where it was established, though the children of neigboring towns were admitted generally at a higher rate of tui
* See Cleveland's Centennial Address, page 20
See Cleveland's Address, page 22
tion. This was the case at Dummer and at the Hopkins Schools, though, as it appears from the decision of Chief-Justice Shaw in the case of Hadley vs. Hopkins Academy already referred to, that the benefactions of Governor Hopkins were not to be restricted to a single locality. He made “New England his heir."
The Phillips foundations were called "free," and in that respect they were like those of the first grammar schools in New England and those of the fatherland. It has been most unwarrantably assumed that a free school was one in which the tuition was gratuitous; but in this sense not even the common English rudimental schools of the first generation were free, for though supported in part by public appropriations, yet the parents of the children provided also a part of the tuition in nearly all the schools of every grade.
Not many years ago the claim was set up, that the tuition at Andover Phillips Academy should be gratuitous, on the ground that the school was declared to be "free" in the constitution of the founder. But it was proved that such could not be the meaning of the term “free,” since as early as the first year of the history of the school it appeared that tuition was paid by the pupils in accordance with a rule established by the consent of the founder himself.
But if the Academies of New England were not free in the sense of affording gratuitous privileges, as the meaning of the term now is, when applied in such phrases, as "free churches," "free seats," "free libraries," and "free schools,” they were most truly free in the sense of being open to all alike, without respect of race, rank, or sect, or residence, and were therefore as broad in their domain of influence and usefulness as the world itself. They were free to all comers from places near and distant, even from foreign lands. They were free in their allowance of equal privileges to all on the same conditions, while the schools and universities of England were Dearly all exclusive, a condition of admission being that the candidate must belong to some particular church, or society, or guild. The earliest educational systems of the Puritans were free from all such conditions and limitations.
But they did not consider that school privileges should be conferred on the young as an entire gratuity, and hence, in the earliest school laws, while it was made the duty of towns under penalties to establish common schools, it was left discretionary with the towns as to the special method of supporting the schools, a part of the expense of tuition always being defrayed by the pupil. The endowments of Colleges and Academies were designed to cheapen the tuition so as to render it possible for all to enter by the payment of