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SCHOOLS OF MASSACHUSETTS,
INSTITUTION FOR THE EDUCATION OF TEACHERS.
BY JAMES G. CARTER.
DUTTON AND WENTWORTH........PRINTERS.
BEFORE the publication of “ Letters on the Free Schools of New England,” in the autumn of 1824, it formed a part of the original design of the author to pursue the subject in a series of papers of a more popular character. Accordingly, during the winter of 1824-5, the following Essays were published in numbers in the “ Boston Patriot” with the signature of “ Franklin.” Apart from the great faults in the government and instruction of the common schools, arising chiefly from the ignorance and inexperience of the teachers employed in them, many intelligent and patriotic citizens had come to regard with deep regret the course of legislation, in this state, upon the subject of popular education generally. The free schools, strange as it may seem, had received almost no legislative attention, protection, or bounty, for nearly forty years. Of course, instead of taking the lead in improvement, as they should have done, they remained as nearly stationary, as any institution can remain, in such an age and such a state of society, as those in which we live. Some men of longer foresight, and many, whose interest in the subject, was quickened by their having families to educate, saw and lamented this state of things; but as it was less trouble, on the whole, to build up schools of their own, than to reform those already in existence, they sent in their petitions to the Legislature in great profusion for acts of incorporation, and for pecuniary assistance to enable them to establish Academies under their own direction. These petitions were usually granted ; and donations, small ones to be sure, were made to further their objects. But the obvious tendency of this course of legislation was to help directly those citizens who least needed help, and to encourage precisely that class of schools, which, if they were necessary, would spring up spontaneously without the aid of legislative bounty.
Within a few years, even these higher schools, from their unwieldy organization, have ceased to afford such instruction as the public require; and private establishments begin now to take the lead of them. Thus have we departed more and more widely from the princi ple assumed by our fathers in the establishment of the Free Schools, viz. to provide as good instruction in all elementary and common