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At the end of six years instruction, one half are to be discontinued (from among whom the grammar schools will probably be supplied with future masters ;) and the other half, who are to be chosen for the superiority of their parts and disposition, are to be sent and continued three years in the study of such sciences as they shall choose, at William and Mary college, the plan of which is proposed to be enlarged, as will be hereafter explained, and extended to all the use. ful sciences, The ultimate result of the whole scheme of education would be the teaching all the children of the state reading, writing, and common arithmetic ; turning out ten annually, of superior genius, well taught in Greek, Latin, Geography, and the higher branches of arithmetic : turning out ten others annually, of still superior parts, who to those branches of learning, shall have added such of the sciences as their genius shall have led them to: the furnishing to the wealthier part of the people convenient schools at which their children may be educated at their own expence.... The general objects of this law are to provide an education adapted to the years, to the capacity, and the condition of every one, and directed to their freedom and happiness. Specific details were not proper for the law. These must be the business of the visitors entrusted with its execution. The first stage of this education being the schools of the hundreds werein the great mass of the people will receive their instruction, the principle foundations of future order will be laid here. Instead therefore of putting the Bible and Testament into the hands of the children at an age when their judgments are not
sufficiently matured for religiousinquiries, their memories may here be stored with the most useful facts from Grecian, Roman, European and American history. The first elements of morality too may be instilled into their minds; such as, when further developed as their judgments advance in strength, may teach them how to work out their own greatest happiness, by shewing them that it does not depend on the condition of life in which chance has placed them, but is alwass the result of a good consci. ence, good health, occupation, and freedom in all just pursuits..... Those whom either the wealth of their parents or the adoption of the state shall destine to higher degrees of learning, will go on to the grammar schools, which constitute the next stage, there to be instructed in the languages. The learning Greek and Latin, I am told, is going into disuse in Europe. I know not what their manners and occupations may call for : but it would be very ill-judged in us to follow their example in this instance, There is a certain period of life, say from eight to fifteen or sixteen years of age, when the mind like the body is not yet firm enough for laborious and close operations. If applied to such, it falls an early victim to premature exertion : exhibiting, indeed at first, in these young and tender subjects, the flattering appearance of their being men while they are yet children, but ending in reducing them to be children when they should be men. The memory is then the most susceptible and tenacious of impressions ; and the learning of languages being chiefly a work of memory, it seems precisely
fitted to the powers of this period, which is long enough too for acquiring the most useful languages ancient and modern. I do not pretend that language is science. It is only an instrument for the attainment of science. But that time is not lost which is employed in providing tools for future operation : more especially as in this case the books put into the hands of the youth for this purpose may be such as will at the same time impress their minds with useful facts and good principles. If this period be suffered to pass in idleness, the mind be. comes lethargic and impotent, as would the body it inhabits if unexercised during the same time. The sympathy between body and mind during their rise, progress and decline, is too strict and obvious to endanger our being misled while we reason from one to the other..., As soon as they are of sufficient age, it is supposed they will be sent on from the grammar schools to the university, which constitutes our third and last stage, there to study those sci. ences which may be adapted to their views.... By that part of our plan which prescribes the selection of the youths of genius from among the classes of the poor, we hope to avail the state of those talents which nature has sown as liberally among the poor as the rich, but which perish without use, if not sought for and cul. tivated....But of the views of this law none is more important, none more legitimate, than that of rendering the people the safe, as they are the ultimate guardians of their own liberty. For this purpose the reading in the first stage, where they will receive their whole education,
is proposed; as has been said, to be chiefly his. torical. History by apprising them of the past will enable them to judge of the future; it will avail them of the experience of other times and other nations; it will qualify them as judges of the actions and designs of men ; it will enable them to know ambition under every disguise it may assume; and knowing it, to defeat its views. In every government on earth is some trace of human weakness, some germ of corruption and degeneracy, which cunning will disco. ver, and wickedness insensibly open, cultivate and improve. Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves therefore are its only safe depositories ; and to render even them safe, their minds must be improved to a certain degree. This indeed is not all that is necessary, though it be essentially necessary. An amendment of our constitution must here come in aid of the public education. The influence over government must be shared among all the people. If every individual which composes their mass participates of the ultimate authority, the government will be safe ; because the corrupting the whole mass will exceed any private resources of wealth : and public ones cannot be provided but by levies on the people. In this case every man would have to pay his own price. The government of Great-Bri. tain has been corrupted, because but one man in'ten has a right to vote for members of parliament. The sellers of the government therefore get nine tenths of their price clear. It has been thought that corruption is restrained by confining the right of suffrage to a few of
the wealthier of the people : but it would be more effe ctually restrained by an extention of that right to such numbers as would bid defi. ance to the means of corruption.
Lastly, it is proposed by a-bill in this revisal, to begin a public library and gallery, by laying out a certain sum annually in books, paintings, and statutes.
The colleges and public establish , mens, the roads, buildings, &c. ?
The college of William and Mary is the only public seminary of learuing in this state. It was founded in the time of king William and queen Mary, who granted to it 20,000 acres of land, and a penny a pound duty on certain tobaccoes exported from Virginia and Maryland, which had been levied by the statute of 25 Car. II. The assembly also gave it by temporary laws, a duty on liquors imported, and skins and furs exported. From these resources it receiv. eil upwards of 30001, communibus annis. The buildings are of brick, suficient for an indifferent accommodation of perhaps an hundred students. By its charter it was to be under the government of twenty visitors, who were to be its legislators, and to have a president and six professors, who were incorporated. It was allowed a representative in the general assembly. Under this charter, a professorship of the Greek and