Page images
PDF
EPUB

same shall be brought into the State treasury, unto the committee of such school society, for the benefit of schools in such society.(5)

4. Be it further enacted, That the interest of the funds provided by the sale of the Connecticut Reserve, as from time to time, it shall become due, shall be paid to the treasurer of this State, and the school societies which shall conform to the provisions of this act shall be entitled to the said interest to be distributed to them severally, according to their lists; and the controller of the public accounts shall, on application of the committee of any school society, draw an order on the treasurer for such society's part of the dividend of such interest, as shall be in his hands on the first day of March, and on the first day of October annually : Provided, That in future, no order shall be drawn in favor of any society as aforesaid, nor shall the treasurer deliver the monies directed to be delivered in the preceding paragraph, until the committee of such society shall have certified in writing under their hands, in the words following, viz. : (We the committee of the

school society in the town of do certify that the schools in said society have been kept for the year last past by instructors duly appointed and approved, and in all respects according to the directions of the statute, entitled “an act for appointing, regulating and encouraging schools," and that all the monies drawn from the public treasury by said society for said year, appropriated to schooling, have been faithfully applied and expended in paying and boarding said instructors. Dated at

A. D.

Committee. To the (here insert treasurer or controller of the public

accounts as the case may require.)(6)] 5. Be it further enacted, That if the aforesaid monies or any part thereof drawn by any school society as aforesaid, or any other public monies arising from the sale of certain western townships, or from an excise heretofore collected in this State, appropriated to schooling, in such society shall at any time, by order of such society, be put to any other use than for the support of schools as aforesaid, such monies, so misapplied, shall be forfeit to this State,(7) and it shall be the duty of the controller to sue for and recover such monies for its use.(8) And if any committee shall at any time make a false certificate, by means whereof monies shall be fraudulently drawn out of the public treasury, each person signing such false certificate shall forfeit the sum of sixty dollars to the State, to be recovered by action of debt on this statute. And the controller shall bring forward a suit to recover the same accordingly.(9)

6. Be it further enacted, That the committee of each school society be and they are hereby empowered and directed to take care of, and improve all such bonds and monies as have been divided and set out to such society, in their former capacity of a town or ecclesiastical society, out of the monies raised by the sale of the said townships, or otherwise, for the benefit of the schools in such society, and to render their account, when required, to such society. And such committee are hereby authorized and empowered to take into their care and custody, all other estates, lands, and interests that have been granted, sequestered, or do belong to the schools in such society; and shall use, improve, and dispose of the interest, increase, profit or rent, arising from any such monies, lands or inter

(5) Passed in October, 1700. In October. 1754, the allowance was reduced three-fourths; in October, 1766. it was raised to one half; and in May, 1767. it was restored

(6) Passed in May, 1793, except the form of certificate, which was prescribed in May. 1799. (7) so much as relates to monies arising from the sale of "certain western townships! (which were seven townships in the county of Litchfield,) was passed in May, 1733. An act passed in May, 1766, having granter the arrears then due of an excise on liquors, tea, &c., which had been imposed several years before, also the interest of the excise money then col. lected, for the support of schools; and another act passed in October, 1774, having granted the principal of such excise money, for the same purpose ; the General Assembly, at the revision in 1784, extended the provisions of the act of May, 1733, to these funds for a misap. plication of the Western Reserve monies, a forfeiture was enacted, by the appropriation act of May, 1795. A similar provision was inserted in the act respecting schools, in May, 1798; and incorporated into this act, in October, 1798.

(3) This was formerly the duty of the Treasurer; made the duty of the Controller in May, 1793

(9) Passed in May, 1798.

ests, according to the true intent of such grant, or sequestration, to be in like manner accountable to such society (10)

7. Be it further enacted, That such committee be, and they are hereby authorized and empowered to lease all such lands, or real estates ; and loan such monies formerly given or granted for the use of schools, and to commence and prosecute any proper suit or suits for the recovery of such lands, monies, or other estates, and to take leases, bonds, or other securities, to themselves and their successors in office, for the use aforesaid, and to institute any suit or suits thereon, and the same to pursue to final judgment and execution, which bonds, leases, and securities, shall, by said committee be lodged with the treasurer of the society; who is required to keep an account thereof, and hold the same under the direction of said committee ; who shall account to the said society for their improvement of such estate and interest when required.(10)

Provided nevertheless, That this act shall not extend to any estate formerly granted by any particular person, for the benefit of any school or schools in any particular town or society, nor to grants of any interests formerly made by any person to any town or society for the support of schools, wherein the grantor bath committed the care and improvement of such estate, by him given, to particular persons with directions for a continual succession in said trust, or where the general assembly hath formerly committed the disposition of the profits of such estates to a committee, in a continual succession ; any thing herein contained to the contrary notwithstanding.(10)

8. Be it further enacted, That all public monies that are or shall be provided for the support of schools in any school society, and received by its committee, shall by them, from time to time, be paid over to the treasurer of the society, who shall stand charged therewith, and shall account therefor according to law; and the said committee shall, from time to time, receive, examine, and liquidate the accounts of the districts, and parts of districts if any be, and where such districts, or those to which such parts belong shall have kept their schools according to the provisions of this act, shall draw orders on the society treasurer for their proportion of all the public monies, according to their resp ve lists. (11)

9. Be it further enacted, That each school society shall appoint a suitable nuinber of persons, not exceeding nine, of competent skill in letters to be overseers or visitors of all the schools in such society, whose duty it shall be, in

any of their meetings, to examine the instructors, and to displace such as may be found deficient in any requisite qualification, or who will not conform to the regulations by them adopted ; to superintend and direct the instruction of the youth in letters, religion, morals, and manners; to appoint, at their discretion public exercises for the youth, to visit the schools twice at least, during each season for schooling, at which visitations two or more shall be present; and particularly to direct the daily reading of the bible by such of the youth as are capable of it, and the weekly instruction in some catechism by them approved, and to recommend that the master conclude the exercises of each day with prayer; which overseers shall continue in office during the pleasure of the society.(11)

10. Be it further enacted, That any school society shall have liberty, by a vote of two-thirds of the inhabitants present in any legal meeting, warned for that purpose, to institute a school of a higher order, for the common benefit of the society, the object of which shall be to perfect the youth admitted therein in reading and penmanship, to instruct them in the rudiments of English grammar, composition, arithmetic, and geography, or, on particular desire in the Latin and Greek languages; also in the first principles of religion and morality, and in general to form them for usefulness in society. And no pupil shall be admitted into the said school except such as have passed through the ordinary course of instruction in the common schools, and shall have attained to such maturity in years and understanding, as to be capable of improvement in said school, in the opinion of the

(10) Passed in May, 1741. The powers here specified were originally given to the selectmen of such towns wherein there was but one ecclesiastical society, and to the society coni. mittee of such soeieties where there were more than one in a town. In May, 1798, these powers were transferred, by a general provision, to the several committees of the school societies, in pursuance of which, the sections bere referred to received their present form in May, 1799.

(11) Passed in May, 1798; modified in May, 1799.

orcrseers, and shall by them, or any three of them, be admitted therein : anı if, at any time, it shall so happen, that more pupils are admitted, than can be acconimodated or instructed in said school together, they shall be instructed in such course and order, as to give all an equal opportunity.(11)

11. Be it further enacted, That for every year in which such school shall be supported, such part of the public monies belonging to any district shall be paid over to the committee of such school for the use thereof; as that the part paid over shall be to the remaining part, as the number of children of said district actually attending said school for such year, computing from four to fourteen years of age, are to those of them of the same age who do not attend said school.(11)

12. Be it further enacted, That the inhabitants of any school district, qualified to vote in school society meetings, shall have power to tax themselves, for the purpose of building and repairing, or otherwise procuring a school-house for said district, of furnishing the house with necessary appendages and accommodations, and of purchasing suitable ground on which to erect such school-house, and of supplying wood; to choose a clerk, who shall be sworn to make true entries, and give copies of the votes of the district; to appoint a collector of any tax they shall lay on the polls and ratable estate of the inhabitants, who shall bave the same power to levy and collect such tax, by warrant from an assistant or justice of the peace, which warrant they are hereby authorized to give, as other collectors of taxes by law have; and to appoint a treasurer, who shall also be sworn to a faithful discharge of his trust, who shall receive all monies belonging to the district, shall pay out the same to the order of the district, or its committee, and render his account annually.(12)

13. Be it further enacted and provided, That the committee appointed for the district by the school society, shall cause all the inhabitants aforesaid to be warned to meet at some convenient place within the district, at least three days inclusively, before such meeting; and provided two-thirds of said inhabitants, present at such meeting, are in the vote for laying such tax; and whenever a tax is laid to build a school-house in any district, the place on which the house shall be erected, shall be fixed by a committee appointed by the society for that purpose, unless the said inhabitants are unanimously agreed in the place, who shall return their doings in writing to the clerk of the society, and by him shall be recorded : and the said inhabitants in any of their lawful meetings shall have power, by the major vote of those present to make rules relative to the school-house and to damages done the same, and to the furniture and appendages, and relative to the wood to be supplied by the inhabitants, and to compel obedience, by denying the privilege of the school to the children of such as refuse a compliance with such rules.(13.)

14. Be it further enacted, That the statute, entitled “an act for appointing, encouraging, and supporting schools,” and the statute, entitled an act in addition to and alteration of an act entitled an act for appointing, encouraging, and supporting schools," be and the same are hereby repealed.(14)

This act was evidently prepared with much care, and embraces a systematic codification of all the early enactments on the subject of schools, with the new provisions introduced into the acts of 1798 and 1799. It is defective in not making it obligatory on, and in not giving encouragement to the large societies and districts to maintain schools of different grades, and to keep the schools open for at least eight months in the year. No time being specified, the schools were soon kept just long enough to use up the public money derived from the State and society funds, and then closed as public schools.

(12) An act, containing most of these provisions, was passed in May, 1794. Its duration was at first limited to two years; it was afterwards continued iu force until May, 1797 ; when it was superseded by an act in nearly the terms of the text.

(13) This section, also, had its origin in the act of May, 1794. It was extended and modi. fied in May, 1797. in May. 1798, and in May, 1799.

(14) Passed in May, 1799.

The first apportionment of the income of the School Fund was made in 1799, among the school societies, according to the lists of polls and ratable estates in each. The interest had been allowed to accumulate from September 2, 1797, when the interest was first charged, and amounted in March 1799 to $60,403 78. In March 1800, the dividends were $23,651. Up to this date the fund was managed by the committee that negotiated the sale.

In 1800, John Treadwell, Thomas T. Seymour, Shubael Abbe, and the Treasurer for the time being, were appointed Managers of the funds arising in the sales of the Western Reserve.” During the period of the thirteen years in which the fund was administered by the committee, and Board of Managers, the interest divided and paid out to the societies amounted to $4 56,757 44, being an average of $35,135 18 per annum. The thirty-six bonds given by the original purchasers, and resting on personal security, had increased, up to May 1810, to nearly five hundred, most of which had been from time to time secured by mortgages on real estate.

In 1809, at the October session, it appeared from the Report of the Managers of the School Fund, that a large amount of interest was unpaid, and the collateral securities of the original debts were not safe. In view of these facts a committee of the Legislature, of which the Hon. David Daggett was Chairman, recommended that the management of the fund should be intrusted to one person, and that efficient measures should be adopted to save the capital as well as interest from loss.

In 1810, at the May session, the Hon. James Hillhouse,* then a

* There was not another man in the State who combined in so large a measure the requisite qualifications for the post-the confidence of all parties in his ability, honesty, experience and public spirit. The following touching tribute to the services and worth of James Hillhouse, by his son, the poet, James A Hillhouse, is taken from a little poem, entitled Sachem's Wood-composed to commemorate the change of name, from Highwood to Sa. chem's Wood, of the noble estate, composed of upland slope and stately oaks," which the father bequeathed to his family.

Ah! what a race by him was run,
Whose day began before the sun;
Who, at the sultry hour of noon,
Felt action, action still a boon;
Who, at the weary shut of eve,
No respite needed, no reprieve;
But, in those hours when others rest,
Kept public care upon his breast !
Need we demand a cherished thought,
For one whose lavish labors brought
Health, comfort, value, praise, and grace,
(Even for our bones, a resting place,)
To the lov'd spot for which he stood,
When neighbor townsmen gasped in blood 2cm
But heaven leaves not to human praise
The recompense of well-spent days.

member of the United States Senate, was appointed sole “ Commissioner of the School Fund.” Mr. Hillhouse immediately resigned his post in the Senate and entered on the duties of his new

The cheerful morn, the short, sweet night,
The mind, as sunshine, ever bright,
Approving conscience, growing store,
(For tho' God took, he gave back more ;)
A breast, like Hector's, of such space,
That strength and sweetness could embrace;
Power to endure, and soul to feel
No hardship such, for others' weal;
Ardor, that logic could not shake;
Resource, the nonplus ne'er to take;
A filial love of mother earth
That made keen labor sweet as mirth;-
All, brought him to his age so green,
Stamped him so reverend, so serene,
A stranger cried, (half turning round,)
“ That face is worth a thousand pound !"
Urged by a simple antique zeal,
Which spoils-menare too wise to feel,
He traversed States like stents for boys;
Huge forests pierced o'er corduroys;
Now, grain by grain, the folios sisted,
Thro' which some Proteus title shisted ;-
Now, o'er deep fords, by night, as day,
O’er mountain ledges, pick'd his way;
Here, on his path, the savage glaring,
There, savage whites his gray head daring :-
Still-rain, or snow, or mirk, or mire-
Tracks were the tokens of the sire !
Fancy ost bids affection mark
His little, onward-loiling ark,
Like a dark speck, on some hill's breast,
Climbing, to vanish in the West ;
And asks, what thoughts sustained and cheer'd,
What were his hopes, and what he feared ?
If auglit he feared, 'twas not that Eye,
Certain the upright to descry,
That watched thro' houseless wilds his way,
Kept him in darkness safe as day,
And, doubtless, soothed his journeyings lone,
As that meek Servant's of his own.
Like a ripe ear, at last he bends
Close on the brink, that trial euds.
None saw his spirit in decay,
Or marked his vigor ebb away.
Grace bade him lay his own white head,
For the last time, on his own bed,
Then, as to spare the gloom of death,

Took, as a draft, the Sachem's breath. Sachem was the sobriquet by which James Hillhouse was known in Congress and elsewhere. He came into the Senate in 1796, in the place of Chief Justice Ellsworth, who went out the same year; served the remainder of his predecessor's term, went through two terms of his own, and had commenced the third, when his resignation took place in 1810--having been 14 years in the Senate, and five in the House of Representatives. He was three times elected to Congress under the old Confederation ; but declined taking his seat

When persuaded, with some difficulty. that the public welfare required him at this arduous post, Commissioner of the fund, in the same spirit in which Mr. Jay, yielding to the argu.

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »