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being, together with the ministers of the Congregational churches in the towns of Cambridge, Watertown, Charlestown, Boston, Roxbury, and Dorchester, mentioned in the said act, shall be, and hereby are, vested with all the powers and authority belonging or in any way appertaining to the overseers of Harvard College: Provided, That nothing herein shall be construed to prevent the legislature of this commonwealth from making such alterations in the government of the said university as shall be conducive to its advantage, and the interest of the republic of letters, in as full a manner as might have been done by the legislature of the late province of Massachusetts Bay.


Wisdom and knowledge, as well as virtue, diffused generally among the body of the people, being necessary for the preservation of their rights and liberties, and as these depend on spreading the opportunities and advantages of education in the various parts of the country, and among the different orders of the people, it shall be the duty of the legislatures, and magistrates, in all future periods of this commonwealth, to cherish the interest of literature and the sciences and all seminaries of them, especially the university at Cambridge, public schools, and grammar schools in the towns; to encourage private societies and public institutions, by rewards and immunities for the promotion of agriculture, arts, sciences, commerce, trades, manufactures, and a natural history of the country; to countenance and inculcate the principles of humanity and general benevolence, public and private charity, industry and frugality, honesty and punctuality in all their dealings; sincerity, good humor, and all social affections and generous sentiments among the people.

The history of the influences that led to the introduction of section second of this article was given by Mr. Adams in 1809. (Works iv, p. 259.)

"In travelling from Boston to Philadelphia in 1774-5-6-7, I had several times amused myself at Norwalk, Connecticut, with the very curious collection of birds and insects of American production made by Mr. Arnold, a collection which he afterwards sold to Governor Tryon, who sold it to Sir Ashton Lever, in whose apartments in London I afterwards viewed it again. This collection was so singular a thing that it made a deep impression on me, and I could not but consider it a reproach to my country that so little was known even to herself of her natural history.

"When I was in Europe in the years 1778 and 1779, in the commission to the King of France with Dr. Franklin and Mr. Arthur Lee, I had opportunity to see the King's collection and many others, which increased my wishes that nature might be examined and studied in my own country as it was in others.

"In France, among the academicians and other men of science and letters, I was frequently entertained with inquiries concerning the Philosophical Society at Philadelphia, and with eulogiums on the wis. dom of that institution and encomiums on some publications of their transactions.

"These conversations suggested to me the idea of such an establishment in Boston, where I knew there was as much love of science, and as many gentlemen capable of pursuing it, as in any other city of its size.

"In 1779 I returned to Boston in the French frigate, La Sensible, with the Chevalier de la Luzerne and Mr. Marbois. The corporation of Harvard College gave a public dinner in honor of the French ambassador and his suite, and did me the honor of an invitation to dine with them.

"At the table, in the philosophy chamber, I chanced to sit next to Dr. Cooper. I entertained him during the whole of the time we were together with an account of Arnold's collections I had seen in Europe, the compliments I had heard in France upon the Philosophical Society at Philadelphia, and concluded with proposing that the future. legislature of Massachusetts should institute an academy of arts and sciences.

"The doctor at first hesitated, thought it would be difficult to find members who would attend to it; but his principal objection was that it would injure Harvard College by setting up a rival to it that might draw the attention and affections of the people in some degree from it. To this I answered: first, that there were certainly men of learning enough that might compose a society sufficiently numerous; and, secondly, that instead of being a rival to the university, it would be an honor and advantage to it. That the president and principal professors would undoubtedly be always members of it, and the meetings might be ordered wholly or in part at the college, and in that room. The doctor at length appeared better satisfied, and I entreated him to propagate the idea and the plan as far and as soon as his discretion would justify. The Doctor accordingly did diffuse the project so judiciously and effectually that the first legislature under the constitution adopted and established it by law.*

"Afterwards, when attending the convention for framing the constitution, I mentioned the subject to several of the members, and when I was appointed by the sub-committee to make a draught of a project of a constitution to be laid before the convention, my mind and heart were so full of the subject I inserted chapter v, section 2.

"I was somewhat apprehensive that criticism and objection would be made to the section, and particularly that the 'natural history' and the 'good humor' would be stricken out, but the whole was received very kindly, and passed the convention unanimously without amendment.”

* American Academy of Arts and Sciences, incorporated May 4, 1780.

The following article was ratified by the people of Massachusetts in 1357. as an amendment to the Constitution.

ART. XX. No person shall have the right to vote, or be eligible to office under the constitution of this Commonwealth, who shall not be able to read the constitution in the English language and write his name: provided, however, that the provisions of this amendment shall not apply to any person prevented by a physical disability from complying with its requisitions, nor to any person who now has the right to vote, nor to any persons who shall be sixty years of age or upwards at the time this amendinent shall take effect.

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In the towns of Hartford and New Haven, settled in 1636 and 1638, as well as in towns settled afterwards, the public school was one of the earliest subjects of municipal legislation in Hartford in 1638, and in New Haven in 1639, as much as the roads and bridges, the support of public worship, and protection against the Indians.

In the body of laws for the government of the commonwealth, known as the code of 1650, the provisions for the family instruction of chil dren, and the maintenance of schools by towns, are identically the same as in Massachusetts, and remained on the statute book, with slight modifications to give them more efficiency, for two hundred years.

In the chapter respecting schools, it is commended to "every family," which is able and willing, "to give yearly but the fourth part of a bushel of corn, or something equivalent thereto, for the advancement of learning by the college at Cambridge;" which practice was continued until ten of the principal ministers, in 1700, brought each a number of books to found a college in Connecticut.

As early as 1701 the system of public instruction in Connecticut so far matured as to embrace the following particulars:

1. An obligation on every parent and guardian of children "not to suffer so much barbarism, in any of their families, as to have a single child or apprentice unable to read the holy word of God, and the good laws of the colony;" and also" to bring them up to some lawful calling or employment," under a penalty for each offence.

2. A tax of forty shillings on every thousand pounds of the lists of estates was collected in every town with annual State tax, and payable

proportionably to those towns only which should establish their schools according to law.

3. A common school in every town having over seventy families, kept for at least six months in a year.

4. A grammar school in each of the four head county towns, to fit youth for college.

5. A collegiate school, toward which the General Court made an annual appropriation of £120.

6. Provision for the religious instruction of the Indians.

The system, therefore, embraced every family and town, all classes of children and youth, and all the then recognized grades of schools. There were no select or sectarian schools to classify society at the roots; but all children were regarded with equal favor, and all brought under the assimilating influence of early associations and similar school privileges.

Here was the foundation laid not only for universal education, but for a practical and social equality which has never been surpassed in the history of any other community.

In 1795 the legislature, after several years of discussion, set the example of establishing a permanent and irreducible fund, the income of which should be applied to the support of common or public schools, by appropriating for this purpose a portion of the Territory of Ohio, now known as the Connecticut Reserve, because it was reserved by the State for its own use, when it ceded its claim to the whole national domain beyond, of the same width as its own territory.

The colonial charter formed the basis of government until 1818, when a State constitution was adopted, which still exists, article eight of which protects both the college and the school fund.


SEC. 1. The charter of Yale College, as modified by agreement with the corpora. tion thereof, in pursuance of an act of the general assembly, passed in May, 1792, is hereby confirmed.

2. The fund called the school fund shall remain a perpetual fund, the interest of which shall be inviolably appropriated to the support and encouragement of the public or common schools throughout the State, and for the equal benefit of all the people thereof. The value and amount of said fund shall, as soon as practicable, be ascertained in such manner as the general assembly may prescribe, published, and recorded in the comptroller's office; and no law shall ever be made authorizing said fund to be diverted to any other use than the encouragement and support of public or common schools among the several school societies, as justice and equity shall require.

In 1855 the following amendment to the Constitution was adopted:

Every person shall be able to read any article of the Constitution, or any section of the statutes of this State, before being admitted as an elector.


First settlement made in 1623. Area, 9,280 square miles.

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First constitution was adopted in 1784, in which there is the following provision relative to the encouragement of literature :


Knowledge and learning, generally diffused through a community, being essential to the preservation of a free government; and spreading the opportunities and advantages of education through the various parts of the country, being highly conducive to promote this end, it shall be the duty of the legislators and magistrates, in all future periods of this government, to cherish the interests of literature and the sciences, and all seminaries and public schools, to encourage private and public institutions, rewards and immunities for the promotion of agriculture, arts, sciences, commerce, trades, manufactures, and natural history of the country; to countenance and inculcate the principles of humanity and general benevolence, public and private charity, industry and economy, honesty and punctuality, sincerity, sobriety, and all social affections and generous sentiments, among the people.

This article in substance appears to have been copied from the constitution of Massachusetts, the alterations being only verbal.

In the constitution of 1792, which still exists, it was inserted without change.


Settled 1724-231. Area, 9,056,square miles. Admitted as one of the United States of America in 1791.

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The first constitution was formed in 1777, and the second in 1793, which is still in force, article forty-one of which declares

Laws for the encouragement of virtue and prevention of vice and immorality ought to be constantly kept in force, and duly executed; and a competent number of schools ought to be maintained in each town, for the convenient instruction of youth, and one or more grammar schools be incorporated and properly supported in each county in this State. And all religious societies or bodies of men, that may be hereafter united or incorporated for the advancement of religion and learning, or for other charitable purposes, shall be encouraged and protected in the enjoyment of the privileges, immunities, and estates which they in justice ought to enjoy, under such regulations as the general assembly of this State shall direct.

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