Images de page
PDF
ePub

the hornbook, the ABC book, and the primer. Dilworth's speller was in general use, if we may judge from its frequent appearance in the lists of books imported. Governor Wolcott of Connecticut tells us that he never went to school a day in his life, but was taught by his mother at home, and that he did not learn to read and write until he was eleven years old; and his case was probably by no means exceptional. Men in their wills often made provision for the education of their children, but in most cases they desired nothing more than reading and good penmanship; and an apprentice who had been taught to write "a legiable joyning hand playne to be read" was deemed properly treated by his master. Grammar schools where Latin and Greek were taught were rare. The Hopkins Grammar Schools in Hartford and New Haven and the Boston Latin School are noteworthy examples of higher education in New England, but even these schools did not reach a very high level. Outside of New England, Maryland was the only colony which had a rudimentary system of public education, for under the Free School Act of

1! 1694 a series of schools supported by the counties was planned, to be free for all or at least a number of the pupils attending. Such schools were started sometimes by persons of wealth who would subscribe what was needed; sometimes they were endowed by a single benefactor who would give money for this purpose during his lifetime or by will at his death. The original purpose of the free school was to provide an education for those who were unable to pay tuition. Even in New England, tuition was usually charged in most of the town schools, particularly of Massachusetts, during the seventeenth century and the first quarter of the eighteenth. After this time, however, the maintenance of schools by general taxation became more frequent.

How many such schools were established in Maryland it is difficult to say. Though an effort was made in 1696 to erect a school under the terms of the Free School Act, nothing was accomplished at the time, and as late as 1707 Governor Seymour could say that not one step had been taken for the encouragement of learning in Maryland. The fact however that the school founded at Annapolis was called King William's School confirms the belief that a building was erected in 1701, before the King's death, though it is not unlikely that little or no progress was made during the first few years of its existence. To this school, which was destined in time to grow into St. John's College, Benjamin Leonard Calvert left a legacy in 1733, and from that date, under the impetus of masters and ushers obtained from England, its career was prosperous and continuous. On the other side of the Bay, in Queen Anne County, a second school was established in 1723. From the records, which are still extant, we learn that the subjects taught were reading, writing, arithmetic, English, surveying, navigation, and geographyT~and that the school possessed a fine assortment of globes, maps, and charts. It offered an extensive course in mathematics, in which it made use of a quadrantrscaTes, and compasses, and many English textbooks. For a colonial school its collection of Latin and Greek texts, treatises, and lexicons was unusually complete. But despite its equipment and the fact that in plan and outfit it was manifestly ahead of its time, the school had a checkered career and a hard struggle for existence.

Among both the Quakers and the Germans education was intimately bound up with religion and church organization. The Friends' Public School, founded at Philadelphia in 1689 and destined to become the Penn Charter School of today, was not characteristic of the educational life of Pennsylvania. Wherever they lived, the Quakers and Germans tried to establish schools which were more or less under the supervision of their churches and hence lay outside the movement which led the founding of the public school system in America. Though there were in Pennsylvania many private schools, it cannot be said that this colony was abreast educationally of either New England or Virginia. The Dutch in New York likewise established a system of parochial schools, of which there were two in the period from 1751 to 1762 in the city itself. But by far the most elaborate effort to build up schools in the interest of a particular form of doctrine and worship was that made by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, which, after its foundation in 1701, entered upon a vast scheme of evangelization in all the colonies, including the West Indies. The establishment of libraries and schools formed a most important part of this undertaking. In New York alone, where the plan found its most complete application, between five and ten elementary schools were started. A single "charity" or free school in the city, which pay pupils also attended, was inaugurated in 1710 and,under such deserving schoolmasters as the Huddlestons and Joseph Hildreth, ran a continuous course until the Revolution. Though the subjects taught were mainly the three R's, the Psalms, Catechism, Bible, and church doctrine, it has been justly said that "the patronage of schools in America by this Society formed the foremost philanthropic movement in education during the colonial period."

In the colonies of New Jersey, Virginia, North and South Carolina, and Georgia, and to some extent in Maryland and New York also, the system of education in vogue was a combination of private tutors, small pay schools, and an occasional endowed free school or academy. The tutorial method and the sending of children toJSngland for their education were possible only among the

. —. "~ .——c wealthier families, and as free schools were not numerous in these colonies, it follows that public education there was not furnished to the children at large. Perth Amboy, for instance, seems to have had no school at all until 1773, and though the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel sent schoolmasters to Burlington, the results were meager, and New Jersey remained during colonial times without an educational system apart from the usual catechizing in the churches.

« PrécédentContinuer »