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to do goo:1, what work or design would promise the most ample and certain advantages to the church and nation, both in views of the present age and those that were to come. The channels of public charity in England had long since been directed to the building of churches; the foundation of monasteries, religious houses, and the establishment of chauntries then succeeded; and afterwards the erection of colleges, and the making of permanent provision for students in the Universities.
The latter class of benevolent institutions, under a new and superior degree of regulation, was the best suited to the notions he had formed and the views he entertained of an improving system of education. There were about this time persons, of high rank and great wealth, who were engaged in founding colleges in the Universities; but it is evident that he had formed decided objections, and no doubt on the most solid experience, against such establishments. It is cven related by the historian of Oxford, that Henry VII, had manifested an intention to become a benefactor to that University, but was diverted froin his benevolent design by the low state of its learning. It was represented to him, and without doubt the information was correct, that the scholars despised Greek, and loaded any one who studied that language with opprobrious epithets; and being the disciples of Scotus and Aquinas, addicted themselves wholly to a contentious sophistry; while the monks disgraced their character by sensual immoralities. To enlighten and improve the rising generation, to open new paths to learning, and to invite the student to search into the forgotten stores of Greece and Rome, was the well weighed design of Dean Colet's anxious, enlarged and virtuous mind. He considered that the more polite learning of Italy, which was now spreading abroad by the invention of printing and which he called Bona Litera, or improved literature, consisting of the knowledge and practice of the Greek and Latin tongues, would produce the most beneficial effects in advancing genuine knowledge and real learning, by clearing away the mists of ignorance, superstition, and sophistry which had so long obscured them. He wisely thought that these languages would promote the understanding, and consequent imitation of the pure eloquent writers of antiquity ; would unfold the genuine sense and sublime beauties of the sacred writings ; tend to display the state of the primitive church, as well as the reason and simplicity of religion, before they were perplexed and defiled by the errors or perversions which had been blended with the church of Rome, or had become a part of it, and were, with great art and industry maintained in their schools and colleges. Hence it was that he thought there could be no better mode einployed to restore learning. and ensure its advancement, than by providing a grammar school for instruction of youth in the iwo subsidiary languages of Latin and Greek ; to obtain the true sense, seize the spirit, and enjoy the beauties of classic authors ; to acquire the art of speaking and writing with purity and elegance, and thereby lay the best foundation of acadernical studies. Thus being the founder of such a graminar-school, he proposed, in effect, to be a restorer of the two Universities, by preparing and fitting the youth of the nation for the most beneficial reception of the advanta. ges that may be derived from them.
Having settled in his own mind the character and objects of the foundation which he meditated, his next consideration was the spot whereon he should erect it. The circumstances of his birth, family, ecclesiastical dignity, and the existing state of learning settled the point, and he accordingly resolved to establish it in the metropolis of the kingdom, and in the vicinity of the inetropolitan church. London was his native place, wherein his father obtained his wealth and honors, and in whose cathedral church he bore the highest office. Besides, the state of public schools for the education of youth in the city at that time was lamentably deficient; and he had formed an opinion, no doubt from his own judgment and observation, that the sons of fellow-citizens possessed, from their situation and early communication, a inore prepared state for the reception of learning than those of the inhabitants of the country.
It may indeed be observed, that, within thirty years previous to this period, more grammar-schools had been erected and endowed in England, than had been established in the three preceding centuries; and by this noble, and, as it may be comparatively called, sudden impulse of Christian charity, the progress of the Reformation, which succeeded, is thought by several sagacious and eminent writers to have been quickened and advanced.
He seems to have employed some years in erecting the buildings necessary for the school, forming the statutes for its regulation and government, providing suitable masters, and selling its ample endowments in trustees for ever. It was begun in 1508, according to Alexander Nevyl and Polydore Virgil; by Grafton and George Lilly it is stated to be in 1509, by Cooper and Holinshed in 1510. It is probable that the building was finished in the latter year, as the following inscription was placed on the front next the church : "Schola catechisationis pueroruin in Christi opt. max. fide et bonis literis, anno Christi M.D.X." Wood, however, carries it on to the year 1512, when Dean Colet was at the charge of four thousand five hundred pounds for the foundation of his school, and endowed it with a hundred and twen. ty pounds yearly for the maintenance thereof. In the prologue to the statutes, the school is also said to be “ bylded in 1512 :' and this inust be considered as the correct date of the foundation, it having been so slated by the accountant of the Mercers' Company before a committee of the House of Commons in 1816.*
Several accounts of this school are given by contemporary writers, by Holinshed, Polydore Virgil, Sir Thomas Moore, and others; but we shall select that which has been left by Erasmus, a favorite name, and whose warm, sincere, and admiring friendship, as well as his great and renowned qual. ties, give him an irresistible claim to be preserred. It is as follows, from the translation of Dr. Knight:
“Upon the death of his father, Colet being, by right of inheritance, advanced into opulence, lest the keeping of it should corrupt his mind, and turn it too much towards the world, he laid out a great part of it in building a new school in the churchyard of St Paul's, dedicated to the child Jesus, a magnificent fabric; to which he added two dwelling houses for the two several Masters, and to them he allotted ample salaries, that they might teach a number of boys free and for the sake of charity. He divided the school into four apartments : the first is the porch and entrance for catechumens, or the children to be instructed in the principles of religion, where no children are to be admitted but such as are prepared for it by being qualified to read and write. The second part is for the lower boys, to be taught by the
* Minutes of Evidence on Education, &c. p. 295.
Second Master or Usher; the third for the upper form, under the Head Master : which two parts ot the school are divided by a curtain, to be drawn at pleasure. Over the Master's chair is an image of the child Jesus, of admirable work, in the attitude of teaching, Ducentis gestu,' whoin all the boys when they enter and leave the school, salute with a hymn. Quem totus grex, adiens scholam ac relinquens hymno salutat.' There is also a representation of God the Father, saying, Hear ye him,' Ipsum audite, which words were introduced at my suggestion. The fourth, or last apartment, is a srnall chapel for divine service. The school has no corners or hiding-places, and contains not any kind of cell or closet. The boys have their distinct forms or benches one above another. Every form holds sixteen ; and he that is head or captain of such forni, has a little desk by way of pre-eminence. Boys are not promiscuously admitted, but are selected according to their parts and capacities. The wise and s:Igaci vus Founder conceived, that the greatest hopes of public virtue and happiness bad the most rational foundation in the training up of children in pure learning and true religion ; for which purpose he laid out a very large sum of money, and yet would admit no one to bear a share in this expense. Sone person having left a legacy of one hundred pounds sterling towards the fabric of the school, Dean Colet had his reasons for declining to employ it for that purpose; and, therefore, obtained leave of The bishop to have that money expended in sacred vestments for the church of St. Paul. At length, after he had completed his work, the fruit of his religion, his learning, and public as well as private virtue, he left the perpetual care of its concerns, not to the clergy, nor to the bishops, nor to the chapter of his church, nor to any courtier or statesman, but among certain married citizens, • Cives aliquot conjugatos,' men of integrity and established character, of whom the Mercers' Company were known to consist. And when he was asked the reason of giving this form to the important trust, he answered, “That there was no certainty in human affairs; but that in his opinion, there was less probability of corruption in such a body of citizens, than in any other order or degree of mankind.'”
This PROLOGUE introduces the statutes of the school. “ JOHN Colet, the sonne of Henye Colet, Dean of St. “ Paul's, desiring nothyng more thanne education and bring“ing uppe children in good maners and litterature, in the “ yere of our Lord A.M. fyve hundred and twelve bylded a “schole in the estende of Paulis churche of clin to be taught “ fre in the same: aud ordeyned there a Maister and a Sur“ maister, and a Chappelyn, with sufficient and perpetuale “ stipendes ever to endure, and sett patrones and defenders, “ governours and rulers of that same schole, the most hon" est and faithful fellowshipe of the Mercers of London. “ And for because nothyng can continue longe and endure “in good ordre without lawes and statutes, I the said John “ have expressed and shewed my minde what I wolde “shoulde be truly and diligentlye observed and kepte of the “ sayde Maister and Surmaister and Chappelyn, and of the « Mercers, governours of the schole, that in this boke may "appere to what intent I founde this schole."
The space allotted to this work will allow of little more than the following abstract of the statutes.
“ The Hyghe Maister, in doctrine, learning, and teach“inge, shall direct all the schole: a man hoole in body, “ honest and vertuous, and learned in good and cleane Lat“en litterature, and also in Greke; a man single or married, “ a priest with no benefit or cure, or any service that may " let the due besinesse in schole.”—He is to be chosen by the Company of Mercers, who are to charge him to teach the children not only good literature but good manners; and that he is to preserve his situation only while he fulfils his duty, which is to be examined on a Candlemas-day at the school. He is not to be absent hinself without licence of the surveyors for the time being. His lodgings were to consist of the whole story over the hall and chambers, and a little middle chamber in the house-roof, and the gallery on the south side, and the cellars beneath the hall, the kitchen, and the buttery, with all the implements of his house. “All these lodgings he shall have free, without any payment, and in this lodging he shall dwell and keep household to his power.”-His wages shall be a mark a week, and a livery-gown of four nobles delivered in cloth. His absence shall be once in a year, and not above thirty days, which he shall take conjunctim or divisim: and if he be afflicted with an incurable disease, or very much advanced in years, he was to be suffered to depart with a pension of ten