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the penalty was afterwards increased to ten, and finally, to twenty pounds. And lest the moral characters of the young should suffer, by their being educated by improper instructers, this cautious and saving admonition is subjoined ; “ this court doth commend it to the serious consideration and special care of our overseers of the college, and the selectmen in the several towns, not to admit or suffer any such to be continued in the office or place of teaching, educating, or instructing youth or children in the college or schools, that have manifested themselves unsound in the faith, or scandalous in their lives, and have not given satisfaction according to the rules of Christ.”
As the population increased in some towns, so as to render the former provisions inadequate to their purpose, another law provided, that every town consisting of more than five hundred families or householders, shall set up and maintain two grammar schools, and two writing schools, the masters whereof shall be fit and able to instruct youth, as the law directs." These were the laws for the support of free schools, which obtained under the Colony Charter of Massachusetts Bay, and as they were executed, they secured to all, the means of some education.
The colony of Plymouth, though not approaching that of Massachuetts in population and resources, was hardly inferior in the enlightened views entertained upon the subject of free schools. In 1667, their legislature hold the following language ; " For as much as the maintenance of good literature doth
much tend to the advancement of the weal and fourishing state of societies and republicks, this court doth therefore order, that in whatever township in this government, consisting of fifty families or upwards, any meet man shall be obtained to teach a grammar school, such township shall allow at least twelve pounds, to be raised by rate on all the inhabitants.” As the colony of Connecticut was principally settled by emigration from the older colony of Massachusetts, it early adopted the spiri upon all subjects. The causes, which influenced so strongly all the early institutions of New England, operated as powerfully in Connecticut, as in any of the colonies. They loved free institutions, and were impatient of control from any source foreign to themselves. And their zeal to propagate and perpetuate a blind and bigoted faith was proverbial. But they did all for conscience's sake. Whatever were the causes, which led the puritans of New England to the adoption of their liberal and enlightened policy in regard to free shools, the effects were, certainly, most happy upon the condition of the people. And with the advantages of their experience, and of living in a more enlightened age, though we might wish to change some shades in their motives, we could hardly hope, on the whole, to make more noble exertions for the promotion of the same object. Their pious care of the morals of the young ; their deep and devoted interest in the general dissemination of knowledge; and the sacrifices they endured to afford encouragement and patronage to those nurseries of piety and knowledge, the free schools, are without parallel in the history of this, or any other country.
The province charter from William and Mary, in 1691, ordained, « that the territories and colonies commonly called or known by the names of the Colony of Massachusetts Bay, and the Colony of New Plymouth, the province of Main, the territory called Accada, or Nova Scotia ; and all that tract of land lying between the said territories of Nova Scotia, and the said province of Main, be erected, united, and incorporated, into one real province, by the name of our Province of Massachusetts Bay, in New England.” In this charter,* all grants before made to
** Provided, nevertheless, and we do for us, our heirs and successors, grant and ordain, that all and every such lands, tenements and hereditaments, and all other estates, which any person or persons, or bodies politick or corporate, towns, villages, colleges, or schools, do hold and enjoy, or ought to hold and enjoy, within the bounds aforesaid, by or under any grant or estate duly made or granted by any general court formerly held, or by virtue of
any town, college, or school of learning, were confirmed. The laws which had been passed, under the colony charter of Massachusetts, for the regulation and support of free schools, were essentially confirmed, the first year after the province charter was received, by the follawing act of the “ governer, council, and representatives, convened in general court or assembly."
" And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, that every town within this province, having the number of fifty householders or upwards, shall be constantly provided of a schoolmaster to teach children and youth to read and write ; and where any town or towns have the number of one hundred families or householders, there shall also be a grammar school set up in every such town, and some discreet person of good conversation, well instructed in the tongues, procured to keep such school, every such schoolmaster to be suitably encouraged and paid by the inhabitants. And the selectmen and inhabitants of such towns respectively, shall take effectual care and make due provision for the settlement and maintenance of such schoolmaster and masters."'*
the letters patent herein before recited, or by any other lawful right or title whatsoever, shall be by such person and persons, bodies politick and corporate, towns, villages, colleges, or schools, their respective heirs, successors, and assigns forever, hereafter held and enjoyed, according to the purport and intent of such respective grant, under and subject nevertheless, to the rents and services thereby reserved or made payable, any matter or thing whatsoever to the contrary notwithstanding.” [Province Charter.]
* Prov. Laws, Chap. 13, sec. 4,
These, together with the subsequent provisions, that grammar schoolmasters should be approved by the selectmen of the town, and the minister of the same, or of a neighbouring town, constituted all the legislative interference, which was deemed necessary to carry into effect the whole systam. Indeed, laws were hardly necessary for such a purpose, in a community so deeply impressed with the importance of the subject. The colonies of Connecticut and New Haven, zealously emulated the older colonies of Massachusetts and Plymouth, in their liberal policy for the encouragement of schools of learning and good morals. In Connecticut, every town was obliged by law to support a school for instruction in reading and writing, if the number of families amounted to fifty ; and in every county town, a grammar school was instituted. " Large tracts of land were given and appropriated, by the legislature, to afford them a permanent support."*
While the resources of these colonies did not allow them to establish a college among themselves, they contributed liberally to the support of the college at Cambridge. Frequent contributions were made for that institution, and money was paid from their publick treasury. The inhabitants, for a series of years, educated their sons at that university.† But the evil of sending their sons so far for an education, and a desire of multiplying the means of disseminating
* Trumbull's Hist. Connecticut, Vol. i. p. 303.