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has taken place in this respect. What was then thought to be extravagant and visionary is now a very common-place matter, and an approved and established fact.
The subject of vacations will furnish another illustration. Thirty years ago, the public schools were allowed the Friday after each quarterly ex. amination. Thus the enormous amount of just four days in the year, in addition to the Fourth of July and Thanksgiving, was allowed for vacation. Private schools generally had no vacation at all. Such was the state of public opinion that in the organization of this school, it was not deemed politic to take more than four weeks vacation at first, and this was thought by some persons to be an unwarrantable liberty. The same public opinion will not now be satisfied with less than eight weeks vacation even in public schools.
The terms for tuition in private schools will furnish still another illustration. Thirty years ago the price of tuition in the highest classical school in this city, was five dollars a quarter. I had the temerity to charge twelve and a half dollars for the same time, or fifty dollars a year; and what is most marvellous, teachers were the most offended at the innovation. They did not perceive that if the experiment proved successful, it would be a benefit to them; and if unsuccessful it could do them no harm. Accordingly the teacher who felt himself most aggrieved by the extravagant price of tuition, could at the end of two years have as many scholars at ten dollars a quarter as he had previously taught at half that sum; and thus was so much injured that his income was doubled. I have never tried to avoid injuring teachers in this way. It may
be proper here to speak of the school-room and furniture. At the outset, it was deemed important to arrange and furnish the schoolroom in such a manner that the transition from well furnished homes to the place of study, should not present the wretched contrast which had been too common previous to that period. Frequently, a room set aside as unfit even for trade or for mechanical purposes, was selected and fitted up in the cheapest manner, as the place where the daughters of our richest and most respectable people were to be instructed. Therefore, in order to avoid this mistake, a building, which stood where the present one now stands, and which had been used as a school-room by the venerable Oliver Angell of this city, was procured, and entirely refitted for the purpose. The old desks and seats were removed, the walls were neatly papered, the whole floor was carpeted—a luxury until then unknown in this country so far as I have been able to learn—and the room was furnished with desks covered with broadcloth, and with chairs instead of stiff backed seats. Some very excellent people lifted up their hands in astonishment, and said that it was a pity to have so much money wasted! That this furniture would need to be renewed so often that the expense could not be sustained! The novelty of such a school-room attracted many visitors, not only from this city but from abroad. One gentleman from Kentucky, being in Hartford, came here solely to see it; and it was not till the example was followed in many places, and when even our public schools
had undergone a great change in this respect, that this room ceased to be an object of attraction.
The old room, however, was low studded and badly ventilated. Therefore, at the end of twenty years, and in accordance with the increased knowledge of physiology and school architecture, the old building gave place to the present structure; which for beauty, convenience, comfort and health, is supassed by few, if any, in the country. So great was the regard for the old building on the part of some of the earlier members of the school, that it was, out of deference to that regard, taken down and much of it burned, lest, if it should be removed, it might be occupied as a residence by some degraded specimens of humanity. As beautiful as the new room is, I have been told by some of the earlier scholars, that the effect on their minds is not so great as that which was produced by their first entrance into the old one. The present room, though a great improvement on the former one, is by no means so far in advance of the times as was the old. Indeed it would have been a needless extravagance to have made it so. And here it may be proper to say that the desks and chairs, which were thought to be an expenditure so extravagant and wasteful at the organization of the school, are still standing in the new building. After having been used thirty years, they are so good, that with proper care they may last many years longer.
A punctual and regular attendance at school, I have deemed a very important element of success. As one of the means of accomplishing this end, a record of every minute's lateness and absence has been kept from the beginning; and from this record it would be easy to shew every individual the exact amount of her deficiency. But as the reading of this, would really“ tell tales out of school,” it shall be omitted on this occasion. Let me rather add that a very large number have manifested a praiseworthy zeal to keep their names free from any demerits. Sometimes this may have been carried too far; but probably the number who deserve any blame for their zeal in securing a perfect attendance, is very small. A large number have attended an entire year without a single mark for deficiency. And this may be considered quite an effort, when it is said that all who were not in their seats, though they may have been within the door or half-way from the door to their seats, have been marked, at least one minute late. Several have attended two entire years--one three years and one quarter, and another four years, without a single mark of deficiency. This last individual was not late during the whole of a course of nearly six years; nor absent during this period, with two exceptions—the one of five days, in her fifth school year, on account of the death of friends—the other, of ten days, near the close of her school, on account of her own sickness, by measles.
This young lady is one of the second generation, and the case is especially commended to the consideration of those who are inclined to suppose that all virtue and true worth belong to past generations. Since the commencement of the school, I have lost, at three different times, eleven weeks, and have been late one minute. But as I was within the
door when the clock finished striking, and as it has been the custom to remit the dimerit for one minute's lateness, if that has been the only mark against a scholar, I, therefore, take this, the only occasion which will be presented to me, to ask for the removal of this one demerit. I will promise never to repeat the offense under similar circumstances. Shall it not be done?
The question has often been asked why, for many years, there have been no examinations or exhibitions in this school. This question may demand an answer. At the end of the first six months of its exist. ence, there was a brief examination and exhibition, which was limited to half a day. At the end of two years, a still more general and public one took place, in a hall which was capable of holding three hundred per
The hall was filled to its utmost capacity. Afterwards, at intervals of two or three years, three classes of five members in each, were, at the time of leaving school, subjected to a critical examination for two or three days, before committees of intelligent gentlemen, who were specially invited to be present for this purpose, and who availed themselves of the opportunity given them, to take an active part in the examination. Testimonials expressing the results of these examinations were given by these several committees. That which was presented after the examination of the first of these classes, is in the hand-writing of the distinguished gentleman who presides on this occasion, and I will ask Professor Lincoln to read it.
Providence, Dec. 8th, 1831. Mr. John KINGSBURY :Sir :—The undersigned, who have, for the last three days, attended the examination of the young ladies who have completed the course of study pursued under your instruction in the Young Ladies' High School, would do injustice to the young ladies, and to yourself, as well as to themselves, if they did not communicate to you the impression which they have received from the exercises which it was their pleasure to witness.
The class was examined in Arithmetic, Algebra, as far as affected quadratic equations, Plane Geometry, Natural Philosophy, Chemistry, the Philosophy of Natural History, General History, the History of the United States, Logic, the Philosophy of Rhetoric, Virgil's Æneid, Cicero's Orations, and English Composition. We were informed that they had pursued also the study of Blair's Rhetoric, Intellectual Philosophy, Watts on the Mind, Botany, Political Economy, Moral Philosophy, and Natural Theology. In these latter departments of science the time allotted for these exercises did not allow of our witnessing their proficiency.
The examination was conducted, on your part, with the manifest desire of presenting to the committee a full and candid exhibition, both of the acquisitions of your pupils, and also of the modes of instruction under which those acquisitions had been made. It was your wish that we should test their knowledge by any questions which we might wish to propose. Having frequently availed ourselves of this privilege, we feel a confidence in our opinions which could not otherwise have been attained.
It is with great pleasure, that, under these circumstances, we are enabled to state that the young ladies evinced a thorough, free, and familiar acquaintance with every branch of science in which they were examined. It was also evident that they had so acquired knowledge as to expand and invigorate every power of the mind, thus accomplishing the highest object of education. And we particularly remarked that the thrilling desire to excel, by which they were animated, seemed unalloyed with the least appearance of rivalry; and that the confidence in the certainty of their knowledge which their attainments justly conferred, was
everywhere blended with that refined delicacy of character which forms the highest ornament of the female sex.
În presenting you with this wholly unsolicited testimonial, we assure you that your success fully realizes our most sanguine expectations, and that we know of no situation whatever, in which our daughters could be placed under better advantages for moral and intellectual cultivation, than are enjoyed in your institution.
Allow us to add that we believe you would render a valuable service to the
F. WAYLAND, WM. T. GRINNELL,
HENRY EDES, R. Elton.
Upon no other subject has there been a greater diversity of opinion among teachers, than that of emulation. While there are some minds that will be incited to go forward by the mere love of what is right, it is not so with mankind generally. God, himself, in his gospel, has condescended to appeal to our hopes and fears, as well as to our love; and I have not hesitated to suppose that we, hereby, may learn a useful lesson in adapting our instructions to the minds of the young. Though I have ever endeavored to place before them the highest motive, regard to the will of God, I have not hesitated, from the first to the last, to award, not prizes, but testimonials for excellence in every department of the school. These have been varied. Sometimes they have been graded lists of names posted up in the school-room, giving the relative rank of each scholar. At other times, they have been gold and silver medals, or books, or a simple vignette of the interior of the school-room. These have been the most effective for the longest period of time. I know that I can appeal to my beloved pupils now present, to bear me out in saying, that the desire to excel, however strong, has seldom, if ever, had a tendency to produce the ill will of one towards another, or to mar the sense of justice. There has never been a time when the judgment of the school in reference to true excellence in any particular individual has not been correct. The aggregate judgment has always been right.
It may be thought that the topic of government is too delicate for discussion on the present occasion; and yet in its bearing on education, it is second to none. There is no other, in which, after all my endeavors, I have come so far short of my ideal. It has been my aim to have the government as strictly parental as possible, and so to govern that the school might think that they were doing it all themselves.
I have endeavored to govern as little as the case would allow; yet regarding an ungoverned school as necessarily a bad one, I have been compelled, sometimes, to pursue such a course as has seemed to some unnecessarily rigid. In this respect, however, I am willing to appeal from the school girl to the woman. It gives me great pleasure to know that many
have already changed their opinions, and learned to approve what, in their school days, they were inclined to condemn. There cannot be a clearer deduction from the teachings of the past, than that no school can exist any great length of time, without requiring some things which will be distasteful to the young, and which will clash with the current sentiments of much of what is called good society. For though the tendency of such society is towards the largest liberty, yet this same society will not long tolerate a school which is conducted on this principle.
But the time is passing, and I must not extend my remarks. Were I to sum up, in few words, the characteristics of the school, or rather what I have aimed to make these characteristics, a part of them would be the following:
1. To have the moral sentiment of the school always right.
2. To have the scholars feel that no excellence in intellectual attainments can atone for defects in moral character.
3. To form exact habits, not only in study, but in every thing.
4. To have all the arrangements of the school such as are adapted to educate woman.
5. To educate the whole number well, rather than to elevate a few to distinction.
6. To train them to happiness and usefulness by a harmonious cultivation of all the powers of the mind, rather than to render them remarkable for genius or intellect.
7. To make them intelligent and efficient without being prone to ostentation or pretension.
8. To make them feel that common sense is more valuable than literary or scientific culture.
9. To make elementary studies prominent throughout the whole course ; so that spelling-old-fashioned spelling--and the higher ancient classics have sometimes been contemporaneous studies.
There are those who regard the school as a successful one. If it has been such as to justify this impression, some of the elements of that success, in addition to those already given, are the following; all of them having reference to myself.
1. Unremitting labor from the beginning to the present time.
2. Never being so satisfied with past or present success as to indulge a tendency to inactivity.
3. Beginning every term with the same strong desire to make some additional improvement, as I at first felt for success itself.
4. Adopting every real improvement in education, whether it was demanded by public sentiment or not.
5. Rejecting every thing which did not approve itself to my judgment after examination and trial, though it might be demanded by public sentiment.
6. Never allowing the public to become better acquainted than myself with educational interésts, especially such as related to the education of young ladies.