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me, in sweet remembrance. Such was his popularity that he was soon called to another district two-and-a-half miles distant, and thence again to the middle of the town, distant from my home three miles. Notwithstanding these removes, by consent of my father, I followed him through rain or snow, day by day; whereever he taught. I think this must have been in 1792—3. Considerable improvement had been made as to the qualifications of teachers, and the increased number of school-books. At different times and places where Mr. Greene taught, Alexander's English Grammar and an abridgement of Pike's Arithmetic were brought into use. The Columbian Orator was added to the readers, which made up something of a variety in reading matter.
Under Mr. Greene's administration, decimal and vulgar fractions, and many higher branches of arithmetic were thoroughly studied. Grammar and Geography were made regular studies for the more advanced scholars. A geography about the size of a speller, written by questions and answers, and without maps, was published by Nathaniel Dwight of Hartford, and another small work by Jediah Morse, having four maps, each about the size of a man's hand. Murry's English Grammar and Readers also came into general use in our schools.
Such, as far as I can recollect, were the more common school-books within the region of my acquaintance up to 1800, the time I left my native state.
The time during which schools were taught in the rural districts, (and such were most of them at the close of the revolution,) was from eight to twelve weeks, and that in the winter season. In the summer there were few if any schools, as all who could hoe a hill of corn, or do any house-work were required to labor. At this early period, the attainments of those who had no further instruction than was received in district schools, were limited to very few branches. The reasons for which are quite obvious, viz., the inability of the teacher on the one part, and the limited time of attendance allowed by the parent on the other.. Spelling, reading, writing, and arithmetic as far as the rule of three, with simple interest, were the main branches. It was, however, thought by many parents unnecessary to have their daughters taught in arithmetic, as in their view it would be of little or no use to them.
Fractions were out of the question, and the study of grammar and geography was much neglected, as most parents thought it to be a mere waste of time. Most of the men and women of adult age, who came up during the Revolution, and had now become heads of families, had enjoyed few advantages for intellectual improvement, and did not seem to appreciate the benefits their children might derive by studying those branches of which they themselves had little or no knowledge.
Thus briefly I have noted my own personal reminiscences, observations, and experience, in the immediate locality of my birth place, and from my earliest . recollections. And when I look on educational matters at the two extremes of my life, and contrast those extremes, as then and now, I am somewhat amazed that so great a change should have occurred during my own life time. Nevertheless perfection in all educational facilities has not as yet been reached. What has been accomplished in the past, is most surely prophetic of the future. Henceforth then, let the watchword be onward and upward.
S. Town. To Hon. HENRY BARNARD.
LETTER FROM JOSIAH QUINCY.
Boston, December 1st, 1860. DEAR SIR,—You ask briefly the position of Phillips Academy as to studies, text-books, methods, and discipline. That academy was founded in the year 1778. I was sent to that academy within a month after its opening, in May, 1778, being the seventh admission on its catalogue. I had just then entered upon my seventh year, and was thrust at once into my Latin at a period of life when noun, pronoun, and participle, were terms of mysterious meaning, which all the explanations of my grammars and my masters for a long time vainly attempted to make me comprehend. But the laws of the school were imperious. They had no regard for my age, and I was for years subjected to the studies and discipline of the seminary, which, though I could repeat the former, through want of comprehension of their meaning, I could not possibly understand. I was sent to the academy two years at least before I ought to have been. But Wil: liam Phillips was my grandfather; it was deemed desirable that the founders of the academy should show confidence in its advantages; I was, therefore, sent at once, upon its first opening, and I have always regarded the severe discipline to which I was subjected, in consequence of the inadequacy of my years to my studies, as a humble contribution toward the success of the academy.
The course of studies and text-books I do not believe I can from memory exactly recapitulate; I can not, however, be far out of the way in stating that "Cheever's Accidence" was our first book; the second, " Corderius;" the third, “Nepos;" theň, if I mistake not, came " Virgil.” There may have been some intermediate author which has escaped my memory, but besides Virgil I have no recollection of any higher author.
Our grammar was “Ward's," in which all the rules and explanations are in Latin, and we were drilled sedulously in writing this language far enough to get into the university. Our studies in Greek were very slight and superficial. Gloucester's Greek Grammar was our guide in that language, and a thorough ability to construe the four Gospels were all required of us to enter the college.
These are the best answers I can give to your inquiries on the subject of “studies and text-books," but I am not confident that my memory serves me with exactness. Our preparation was limited enough, but sufficient for the poverty and distracted state of the period.
Of "methods and discipline," for which you inquire, I can only say that the former was strict and exact, and the latter severe. Pearson was a convert to thorough discipline; monitors kept an account of all of a student's failures, idleness, inattention, whispering, and like deviations from order, and at the end of the week substantial rewards were bestowed for such self-indulgences, distributed upon the lead and hand with no lack of strength or fidelity. .
In that day arithmetic was begun at the university. The degree of preparation for college, and the amount of the studies within it, are not worthy of re. membrance when compared with the means of acquirement now presented to the aspiring student.
I am, very truly,
Josiau QUINCY. To Hos. HENRY BARNARD, LL. D.
LETTER FROM WILLIAM DARLINGTON, M.D., LL.D.
WEST CHESTER, PENN. Dec. 21st. 1860. MY DEAR SIR, -At your request, I propose to attempt a brief and hasty sketch of my acquaintance with, and reminiscences of the Country Schools, and their condition, some sixty-five or seventy years since, in the south-eastern corner of the state of Pennsylvania; more particularly the school at Birmingham, Chester county, where the limited instruction of my youthful days was chiefly acquired.
My carliest recollections of the school to which I was sent, go back to that trying period of loose government, rusticity, and scarcity experienced in the interval between the War of Independence and the adoption of the Federal Constitution; and if it were given me to wield the pen of Tom Brown of Rugby, I might peradventure furnish some graphic details of our rural seminaries of learning in those days of general destitution. But, under present circumstances, I can only offer the imperfect narrative of incidents and observations, as retained in an almost octogenarian memory.
School-houses and Teachers. , At the time when I was first sent to school-say in 1787-8-school-houses were rare; and there was little or no organization for their maintenance. The country round, having been recently ravaged by a hostile army, was scantily supplied with teachers, who occasionally obtained schools by going among the principal families of the vicinage, and procuring subscribers for a quarter's tuition of the children on hand. Those who were too young to be serviceable on the farm were allowed to go to school in the summer season; but the larger ones (espertus loquor) could only be spared for that purpose during winter. The extent of rural instruction was then considered to be properly limited to what a worthy London alderman designated as the three R's, viz., “Reading, Riting, Rithmetic.” To cipher beyond the Rule of Three was deemed a notable achievement and more surplusage among the average of country scholars. The business of teaching, at that day, was disdainfully regarded as among the humblest and most unprofitable of callings; and the teachers often low-bred, intemperate adventurers from the old world—were generally about on a par with the prevalent estimate of the profession. Whenever a thriftless vagabond was found to be good for nothing else, he would resort to school-keeping, and teaching young American ideas how to shoot! It was my good fortune, however, to bave a teacher who was a distinguished exception to the sorry rule referred to. Join FORSYTIIe was a native of the Emerald Isle, born in 1754, received a good English education at home, and while yet a young man, migrated to the county of Chester, in the land of Penn., where he became an excellent schoolmaster. When he arrived in our quakerly settlement, he was a gay young Presbyterian, dressed in the fashionable apparel of the world's people; and being withal musical in his taste, was an expert performer on the violin. He soon, however, adopted the views and principles of the “Friends," among whom he remained, married one of the society, and was ever recognized as an exemplary and valuable member.
As the head and spirit-master of the school, at Birmingham meeting-house, established under the auspices of the Quaker society, he taught for a number of years, and always applied himself con amore to his arduous duties. He accomplished more in exciting a taste for knowledge and developing young intellects, than any teacher who had theretofore labored in that hopeful vineyard. He effectually routed the lingering old superstitions, prejudices, and benighted notions of preceding generations, and ever took delight in introducing youthful genius to the bright fields of literature and science. The young men of his day, who have since figured in the world, were deeply indebted to John Forsythe for the aid which he afforded them in their studies, as well for the sound doctrines which he inculcated; and some few of them yet survive to make the grateful acknowledgment.
When the noble Quaker institution at West-lown was erected, near the close of the last century, the skill and experience of John Forsythe were put in requisition, until it was fairly inaugurated; after which he retired to his comfortable farm, in East Bradford, where he passed a venerable old age, until his 87th year, superintending agricultural employments, and in manifesting a lively interest in the progress of education among our people. No instructor has labored in this community more faithfully, nor with better effect. None has left a memory more worthy to be kindly cherished.
The old school-house at Birmingham was a one story stone building, erected by men who did not understand the subject; and was badly lighted and ventilated. The discipline of that day (adopted from the mother country) was pretty severe. The real birch of the botanists not being indigenous in the immediate vicinity of the school, an efficient substitute was found in young apple tree sprouts, as unruly boys were abundantly able to testify.
School-books. The school-books of my earliest recollection were a cheap English spelling book, the Bible for the reading classes, and when we got to ciphering, the “Schoolmasters' Assistant." The “ Spelling Book" and "Assistant" were by Thomas Dilworth, an English schoolmaster at Wapping. The “ Assistant” was a useful work, but has long since disappeared. The "counterfeit presentment" of the worthy author faced the title-page, and was familiarly known to every school-boy of my time. The Spelling Book contained a little elementary grammar, in which the English substantives were through all the cases (genitive, dative, etc.) of the Latin. But grammar was then an unknown study among us. Dilworth's “ Spelling Book," however, was soon superseded by a greatly improved one, compiled by John Pierce, a respectable teacher of Delaware county, Pennsylvania. This comprised a tolerable English grammar, for that period, and John Forsythe introduced the study into his school with much zeal and earnestness. Intelligent employers were made to comprehend its advantages, and were pleased with the prospect of a hopeful advance in that direction; but dull boys and illiterate parents could not appreciate the benefit. Great boobies often got permission, at home to evade the study, but they could not get around John Forsythe in that way. They would come into school with this promised indulgence, and loudly announce, “Daddy says I need'nt larn grammar ; it's no use :" when the energetic response from the desk was, "I don't care what daddy says. IIe knows nothing about it; and I say thou shalt learn it!" and so some general notion of the subject was impressed upon the minds even of the stupid; while many of the brighter youths became excellent grammarians.
In this Friendly seminary we were all required to use the plain language in conversation, being assured that it was wrong, both morally and grammatically, to say you to one person. Our teacher contrived a method of his own for mending our cacology, even at our noonday sports. He prepared a small piece of board or shingle, which he termed a paddle; and whenever a boy was heard uttering bad grammar, he had to take the paddle, step aside, and refrain from play, until he detected some other unlucky urchin tresspassing upon syntax; when he was authorized to transfer the badge of interdiction to the last offender, and resume his amusements. It was really curious to observe how critical we soon became, and how much improvement was effected by this whimsical and simple device.
Pierce's “ Spelling Book" kept its position in our school for several years, but was at length superceded, in the grammatical department, by a useful little volume, prepared by John Comły, of Bucks county, Pennsylvania. Lindley Murray and others prepared elaborate grammars, which were successively introduced, as our schools improved or created a demand; and so rapidly have the bookmaking competitors in that department multiplied that their name is now legion, and the respective value of their works is known only to experts in the art of teaching.
Excellent works in Reading and Elocution are now so abundant and well known in all our respectable seminaries, that they need not to be here enumerated. One of the best and most popular of those works, some half century or more since, was a volume entitled " The Art of Speaking," compiled, I think, by a Mr. Rice, in England.
But, as we have now reached the age of academies, normal institutes, and schools for the people, I presume you will gladly forego a further extension of this prosy narrative, so little calculated to interest a veteran in the great cause of education. I have ever been a sincere friend and advocate of the blessing; but, unfortunately, my acquaintance with it has been mainly limited to a hum. bling consciousness of my deficiencies in the ennobling attainment.
WM. DARLINGTON. To Hon. HIENR BARNARD, LL.D.
SCHOOLS IN PHILADELPHIA. The following picture of the internal economy of one of the best schools of Philadelphia, is taken from Watson's " Annals of Philadelphia and Pennsylvania."
"My facetious friend, Lang Syne, has presented a lively picture of the schoolmasters' in those days, when 'preceptors,' and 'principals,' and 'professors' were yet unnamed. What is now known as 'Friends' Academy,' in Fourth street, was at that time occupied by four different masters. The best room down. stairs by Robert Proud, Latin master; the one above him, by William Waring, teacher of astronomy and mathematics; the east room, up-stairs, by Jeremiah Paul, and the one below, 'last not least' in our remembrance, by J. Todd, and severe he was. The State House clock, being at the time visible from the school pavement, gave to the eye full notice when to break off marble and plug top, hastily collect the "stakes,' and bundle in, pell-mell, to the school-room, where, until the arrival of the master of scholars,' John Todd, they were busily