Page images
[blocks in formation]

place "ye monies” received therefrom in the hands of the town treasurer, for a fund to be used in the education of poor children.

The school-house at Newport was destroyed by fire in 1774, and this was the end of the support of schools from land endowment in that town for the next fifty years.

There were other schools, however, outside of Newport. There were two school-masters in what was later known as Middletown, each of whom was paid a salary of ten pounds per annum.

In Providence the first public action was taken in favor of education in 1663, when the Assembly voted one hundred acres of upland and six acres of meadow for a school in the town of Providence. The lands thus appropriated were to be known as the school lands of Providence.92

The majority of these colonial schools were not equal to the grammar schools of Massachusetts and Connecticut of that day. From all we can learn of the early period, and from the subsequent struggle to establish a public school system it must be inferred that the government was not active and persistent in aiding education of any sort, while in the country districts of Massachusetts, and near the Rhode Island border, we find the schools in a prosperous condition. There was one at Barrington, then a part of Swansea, Mass., which was maintained “for the teaching of grammar, rhetoric, arithmetic, and the tongues of Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, also to teach English, and to write.13

"As respects schools," says Staples, "previous to the year 1770, they were but little thought of; there were in my neighborhood three small schools, perhaps about a dozen scholars each. Their books were the Bible, spelling-book, and primer."

There were no free schools in Rhode Island prior to the Revolution. It was not until 1799 that, through the influence of John Howland and the Providence Association of Mechanics and Manufactures, an act of the Assembly established free schools. Unfortunately this was repealed in a few years, and the struggle for the establishment of free schools was renewed in 1820, but without success, and again in 1841, when a public school system was established. At the same time (1841) a public high school was opened in Providence.


The State Legislature has never aided Brown University by grants or appropriations.

The proceeds of the iand grant of 1862 were given over to the insti. tution by the State apon the condition that a scientific department should be formed in Brown University. The fund is held in trust by the

1Stockwell, 7. 3 Stone: History of Rhode Island Institutions, 9; cf. Stockwell, 9. Ibid.

4 Annals of Providence, 515; Stockwell, 11. 880-No.1-8


University, and the income goes toward paying the tuition of a certain number of State students, who are nominated by the Legislature.

Another item should be mentioned. The charter of the institution originally exempted the property of its professors; but now, by amendment of the charter, it exempts professorial property to the extent of ten thousand dollars for each professor.


While Harvard was the only literary institution in the country, the towns of New Hampshire contributed liberally for its support and were desirous of promoting its interests. As early as the year 1669, at the time of soliciting funds for a new building, the inhabitants of Portsmouth subscribed sixty pounds annually for a term of seven years, and at the same time and for the same purpose Dover gave thirty-two pounds and Exeter ten pounds.?

Not all of the support of the colony was given to the central institution, for we find that towns very early began grammar schools of their own.


In fact, the town system of educational support was particularly noteworthy in New Hampshire, and so remains until this day. “The policy of the State has been to leave in the bands of the family and the neighborhood the main share of the work in educating the child. This doctrine was in harmony with the active and liberty-loving principles of our ancestors. Next to the parent and citizen in the work of education, the State recognizes the town as the proper agency for maintaining schools." 3

Thus, from the Dover town records it is learned that, “at a publique Town Meeting held the 5:2 mo 58 (1658), It is agreed that Twenty pounds per annum, shall be yearly rayzed for the mayntenance of a School.master in the Town of Dover," 4

The General Court of the province of New Hampshire very early provided that each town should have a school-master and a minister of the Gospel, and pay them by a rate. The weight of responsibility was thrown upon the towns. Again, "An act for the settlement and support of grammar schools,"6 passed the 5th of George I (1719), made it obligatory on each town of fifty householders to provide a school, and each town of one hundred freeholders a Latin schooi; the " select men” were to raise the money for the support of the schools by taxation, and any town failing to comply was fined twenty pounds.

| President E. G. Robinson, Brown University.
2 Nathaniel Adams: Annals of Portsmouth, 50.
3 State Report, 1875–76, 295.

4 Smith: Dartmouth College, 15.
5 Laws of the Province, I, 58.
6 Ibid., 120.


· 115

[ocr errors]

These laws were almost identical with those of the General Court of Massachusetts. It is said that " when New Hampshire became a prov. ince in 1647, the laws of Massachusetts were copied, but only existed on the statute books, never being enforced.” In 1789 the Legislature repealed all previous acts, and authorized English grammar schools for teaching reading, and writing, and arithmetic, "provided that in shire and half-shire, grammar schools for teaching Latin and Greek shall be provided.”

Prior to this act the form of government” adepted in 1784 had made a firm declaration in favor of the encouragement of learning. It asserts that “Knowledge and learning, generally diffused through a community, being essential to the preservation of a free government; it shall be the duty of the legislators and magistrates in all fature periods of this Government to cherish the interest of literature and the sciences, and all seminaries and public schools, etc."

These provisions of the law cited above still threw the responsibility on the towns, and the only instance where education of an advanced grade received the support of the State is that of the assistance given to Dartmouth College.

* *



" The germ of Dartmouth College was a deep-seated and long-cherished desire of the foremost of its founders to elevate the Indian Race in America." In this respect it differs but little from the first foundations of Harvard and the first college in Virginia, except that the first school, of which Dartmouth is the successor, was composed of Indian youth. The school was founded as a private school and a private charity, but was forced to appeal to the State for assistance in order to preserve its existence.

The initiative step toward the founding of a college in New Hampshire was taken, as in the case of the founding of Yale, by an association of ministers. As early as 1758 a convention of Congregational ministers, assembled in Somersworth, framed a petition to Governor Wentworth for a college in the province of New Hampshire, " to serve the government and religion by laying a foundation for’the best instruction of youth.” 3

It was urged that the distance from any seats of learning rendered the education of youth exceedingly difficult, and it was hoped that by means of interest among the people and “some favor from the Government,” sufficient funds could be raised “for erecting and carrying on an academy or college within this province, without prejudice to any other seminary in neighboring colonies.” The Governor failed to grant the petition, and subsequently the matter of education was referred to a committee for consideration until the convention of ministers in 1762 endorsed the work of Mr. Wheelock, and transferred their zeal to the support of the Indian school, out of which sprung the beginning of the college.

i State Report, 1876, 298.

2 Smith, I.

3 Ibid., 16.


The Rev. Eleazer Wheelock, residing in Lebanon, Conn., was led to meditate upon the subject of his means of support, as his people through lack of means failed to provide bountifully. It occurred to him that if they furnished him with but half a living they were entitled to no more than half of his labors, and he consequently resolved to devote a portion of his time to the education of Indian youth. He at once began his work, which was aided by subscriptions from friends in America and England. The number of pupils, beginning with two, soon rose to thirty, and the Indian charity school was formed. In 1761 the General Court of Massachusetts recognized his efforts, and voted thaŭ he should be allowed to take under his charge six pupils from the six nations for education, boarding, and clothing, for which he was to receive twelve pounds per annum for each child, to be paid from the public treasury. In the following year the Legislature of New Hampshire granted fifty pounds sterling per annum for five years as aid to the school. However, this was not paid after the first, or possibly after the second year.

But a growing school and an empty treasury caused Mr. Wheelock to send two agents to England to solicit funds. Accordingly. Rev. Mr. Whitaker and Mr. Samson Occum, an Indian preacher, were sent for that purpose in 1765.

A live Indian preacher of a good degree of intelligence, speaking in England, stirred the hearts of the people, and a large sum of money was consequently raised by the agents for the Indian schools, the King being among the chief contributors. 2

The favorable results of this mission abroad caused Mr. Wheelock to entertain designs for a college. 'He succeeded in obtaining a charter, granted in 1769. The problem of determining a site for the new school next occupied his attention. Liberal inducements were held out by Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and New Hampshire. It was finally decided after due deliberation to locate the college at Hanover in New Hampshire, and consequently the Indian school was removed there in 1769. The plan for the education of the Indians was embodied in the charter, and the Indian charity school was the basis of the institution chartered. The “ laudable design of spreading Christian knowledge among the savages of the American wilderness," and that the best means of education be established in our province of New Hampshire,” 3

Smith, 22.

2 Dwight: Travels in New England, II, 100. See also Sparks' Life of John Ledyard, ch. I.

3 From a copy of the charter; Smith, 459.



[ocr errors]

were given as the reasons for granting the charter of Dartmouth College.

The original design of educating Indians and missionaries to the Indians was frustrated. For three years after the founding only a small number of missionaries and persons destined as candidates for this employment were sent among the Indians; afterwards all efforts ceased in this behalf.

The inhabitants of Hanover presented the college with twelve hundred acres of valuable land; the State of New Hampshire endowed it with about seventy-eight thousand acres more, in several successive grants, the most important of which was made in January, 1789, when the Legislature gave a tract of four thousand two hundred acres located above Stewartstown. By the terms of this grant the Governor and Council of the State for the time being were incorporated with the trustees for the purpose of acting with them in the management of all funds granted to the college by the State. Other grants of a moderate amount were


by the State. The annual revenue of Dartmouth was, in 1793, from tuition about two thousand dollars ; from rent of lands about five hundred dollars. It was expected by contracts made in the same year that the income from rents would be one thousand five hundred dollars in 1797, and two thousand one hundred and sixty-six dollars in 1803.5

One of the most remarkable grants on record is that made by the Legislature of Vermont in 1785–86. Mr.Wheelock appeared before that body at this time and presented the case of the college; as a result of his pleading the Legislature granted to the college the entire township of Wheelock-one-half for the school and one-half for the college. It was this grant which led Daniel Webster to remark that “The State of Vermont is a principal donor to Dartmouth College."6

In 1807, Dr. Wheelock appeared before the General Court and appealed for aid, representing to the Legislature the conditions and needs of the college. As a result of his visit the trustees of the college were granted a township of land six miles square lying on the border of the district of Maine.?


The proceeds arising from the sale of the land scrip (one hundred and fifty thousand acres) assigned to New Hampshire were appropriated to the founding of the New Hampshire College of Agriculture and the Mechanic Arts, in connection with Dartmouth College at Hanover.

The act making this appropriation was approved July 7, 1866, and before the close of the following year the scrip was sold at an average

Dwight, II, 103. 4 Dwight, II, 103. 6 Webster's Works, 'V, 482. ? Ibid., 101. Ibid., 102.

7 Smith, 83. 3 Smith, 80.

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »