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schools were opened in hired rooms about the beginning of 1750. The rooms proved too cramped for the number of pupils, and Franklin, from his position in the Board of Trustees, as well as in the Association which built a meeting-house for the special accommodation of Mr. Whitefield, was able to secure that building for the use of his Academy,* as well as accommodation for a free school, or a charity school, which was accordingly opened in 1751, according to the following notice in his Gazette for Sept. 19, of that year. Notice is hereby given, that on Monday, the 16th inst., a free school will be opened under the care and direction of the Trustees of the Academy, at the New Building, for the instruction of poor children gratis in reading, writing, and arithmetic.' In Oct., 1752, notice is taken of the Charity School, opened by the Trustees of the Academy, as being attended by over one hundred poor chil. dren, most of whom had never been sent to any school before; nor did it seem likely many of them would ever have been sent to any school, if it had not been for this institution. The establishment of the Academy and Charity School in this building, and the possession of the gronnd which afterward proved an endowment of over $600,000, was the work of Dr. Franklin—The whole care and trouble of agrceing with the workmen, purchasing the material, and superintending the work fell upon me,' he remarks, in his Autobiography. He adds, forty years after the Academy was installed in its spacious rooms—I have been continued one of its Trustees from the beginning, and have had the very great pleasure of seeing a number of the youth, who have received their education in it, distinguished by their improved abilities, serviceable in public stations, and ornaments to their country.
At the time of the publication of Mr. Smith's Plan of the College of Mirania, the Academy was composed of three schools—one for Latin,t one for English, and one for Mathematics. Rev. Francis Allison was Rector, and master of the Latin school; David James
* The designation given by Defoe in one of the numerous projects developed by him, in the *Essay' to which Franklin acknowledged his obligations. For extracts from this Essay relative to the Female Academy, Military Academy, &c., see Am. Jour. of Ed. Interna. Series, vol. i.. p. 427.
† Although a staunch advocate of the English school, Dr. Franklin did not undervalue the acquisition of the Latin and Greek languages and literature -'When youth are told that the great men whose lives and actions they read in history spoke two of the best languages that ever were, the most expressive, copious, and beautiful; that the finest writings, the most correct compositions, the most perfect productions of human wit and wisdom are in those languages which have endured ages, and will endure while there are men ; that no translations can do them justice, or give the pleasure found in reading the originals, that those languages contain all science, that one of them is become almost universal, being the language of learned men in all countries, and that to understand them is a distinguishing ornament, they may be thereby made desirous of learning those languages, and their industry sharpened in the acquisition of them.'
Dove was master of the English school; and Theophilus Green was master of the Mathematical school. In May, 1753, Dr. Franklin writes to Mr. Smith - Mr. Peters has just now been with me, and we compared notes on your new piece. We find nothing in the scheme of Education, however excellent, but what is in our opinion very practicable. The great difficulty will be to find the Aratus [the ideal name given to the Principal of the Ideal College of Mirania] and other principal persons to carry it into execution. For my own part I know not when I have read a piece that has more affected me,—so noble and just are the sentiments, so warm and animated the language.'
The College of Mirania-Extracts. The following idea of a Seminary of Learning, adapted to the circumstances of a young colony, was drawn up and published, at the desire of some gentle. men of New York, who were appointed to receive proposals relative to the establishment of a College in that province; and it contains a pretty exact representation of what the author is now endeavoring to realize in the Seminary over which he has the honor to preside in another colony, he thought that it might be no improper introduction to the subsequent account of that Seminary.
These extracts may be considered as the highest ideal of a College in the field when the author labored in Maryland and Pennsylvania, at the date of their earlier and later publication. The College originated in a desire of the Miraņians to secure for their province the protection of wise and equal laws, and nationalize the large number of foreigners who had sought, in the enjoyment of the rights of conscience and the fruits of their own labor, a country of such natural advantages of climate and soil.
They reflected that the only method of making these natural advantages of lasting use to themselves and posterity, the only infallible source of tranquillity, happiness, and glory, was to contrive and execute a proper scheme for forming a succession of sober, virtuous, industrious citizens, and checking the course of growing luxury. They were convinced that, without a previous good education, the best laws are little better than verba minantia, and would often be in. fringed by powerful villainy; that the magistrate can at best but frighten vice into a corner, and that it is education alone which can mend and rectify the heart.
They saw also, that, among the foreigners, who were as numerous as the English themselves, many distinctions were forming upon their different customs, languages, and extractions, which, by creating separate interests, might, in the issue, prove fatal to government. They wisely judged, therefore, that nothing could so much contribute to make such a mixture of people coalesce and unite in one common interest, as the common education of all the youth at the same public schools under the eye of the civil authority. By these means, said they, indissoluble connections and friendships will be formed, prejudices worn off , and the youth will
, in time, either forget their extraction, or, from a more liberal education and manly turn of thought, learn to contemn those idle distinctions that arise among the vulgar, because their fathers first spoke a different language, or drew air in a different clime.
The object they kept always in sight, was the easiest, simplest, and most natural method of forming youth to the knowledge and exercise of private and public virtue; and therefore they did not scruple to reject some things commonly taught at colleges, to add others, and shorten or invert the order of others, as best suited their circumstances. They often had this sentence in their mouth, which, I think, in other words, I have read in Tillotson, that the knowledge of what tends neither directly nor indirectly to make better men and better citizens, is but a knowledge of trifles. It is not learning, but a specious and ingenious sort of idleness.
With regard to learning, the Miranians divide the whole body of people into two grand classes. The first consists of those designed for the learned professious; by which they understand divinity, law, physic, and the chief offices of the State. The second class consists of those designed for the mechanical, professions, and all the remaining people of the country.
Any scheme, then, that either proposes to teach both these grand classes after the same manner, or is wholly calculated for one of them, without regarding the other, must be very defective. And yet so it is, that public seminaries are almost universally calculated for the first class; while a collegiate school for the instruction of the latter is rarely to be met with. This class of people, by far the most numerous, being also the hands and strength of every government, are overlooked, and have nothing but this alternative left them, either to be satisfied with what small portion of the arts and sciences they can glean at private schools, or to go through a course of learning at colleges, for which they have neither time nor use.
Academy or Mechanic's School These considerations gave rise to what is called the Mechanic's School, or Academy, in this seminary, which is no other way connected with what is called the College, (by way of distinction) than by being under the inspection of the same trustees, and the government of the same body of masters. Most of the branches of science, taught in the college, are taught in this school; but, then they are taught without languages, and in a more compendious manner, as the circumstances and business of the common class of people require. This school is so much like the English school and academy in Philadelphia, that a particular account of it here is needless.
Nine years are sufficient to complete the mechanic's education in this school; proportionable to which are nine forms or classes. In the three lowest, English is taught grammatically, and as a language, with writing. In the six higher classes, English and writing are continued, at the same time that accounts, mathematics, oratory, chronology, history, the most plain and useful parts of natural and mechanical philosophy, are taught; to which is added, something of husbandry and chemistry, which, as improved of late, they esteem a very useful branch of instruction.
Thus, at about fifteen years of age, the mechanic's education is finished; and he comes out well qualified to make a good figure in every profession, wherein languages are not required.
The Latin School This school is divided into five great forms, or classes, corresponding to the five years the youth continue in it; which, in a general way, is found to belong enough. Such of the youth as are intended for the learned professions, are moved into this school from the third form of the academy, or the English school mentioned above, provided they be nine years of age, can write tolerably, and can read and articulate the English tongue. The first four years are wholly given to the Latin tongue, and improving the youth in English and writing at leisure hours. The fifth year, the highest class divides the day between Latin and Greek; proceeding through the Greek declensions and conjugations, St. Luke's gospel, Lucian's dialogues, &c. Thus, at fourteen years of age, well versed in the Latin tongue, with some foundation in the Greek, the youth are entered into
The College. The curriculum of the College embraces five classes of one year each :
1. The First Class is called the Greek Class, in which they read Theocritus' Idyllia, with some select pieces of Hesiod, Homer, and Xenophon. In the
afternoon they learn arithmetic, vulgar and decimal; merchant's accounts, some parts of algebra, and some of the first books of Euclid.
2. In the Second Class, the master, who is styled Professor of Mathematics, carries the youth forward in algebra, teaches the remainder of the first six books of Euclid, together with the eleventh and twelfth, and also the elements of geometry, astronomy, chronology, navigation, and other most useful branches of the mathematics. So much of logic and metaphysics, as is useful, is joined with mathematics; but a small space of time serves for these studies, logic in particular, as commonly understood, being in some disrepute among them. At proper seasons, when the weather permits, this class is exercised in practical geometry; in surveying lands and waters; and in plotting and ornamenting the maps of such surveys. There is a weekly exercise for their further improvement in Greek and Latin.
3. In the Third Class, the Professor of Philosophy divides the day between the studies of ethics and physics. Under the latter, the Miranians comprehend natural history, with mechanical and experimental philosophy; for the illustration of which they are provided with a complete apparatus. In this class, at present, they read the philosophic books of Plato and Cicero, in their originals, with Locke, Hutcheson, Puffendorf
, &c., the professor taking care to guard the youth against every thing in which any of these authors are singular.
4. In the Fourth Class, the Professor (of Rhetoric and Poetry] begins with giving the students a general notion of the precepts and different kinds of rhetoric. He then proceeds to make them read Tully's oration for Milo, leisurely, in its original; applying, as they go along, the precepts of oratory; and making them apprehend its plan, series, delicacy of address; the strength and disposition of the proofs; the justness of the tropes and figures; the beauty of the imagery and painting; the harmony and fullness of the periods; the pomp and purity of the diction; and, in fine, that grandeur of thought, that astonishing sublime, that torrent of eloquence, which, moving, warming, seizing the soul, sweeps all irresistibly down before it. After this, Demosthenes' harrangue for Ctesiphon, which Tully (I think) calls the model of perfect eloquence, is read in the original, and explained in the same manner.
These two celebrated orations, thus explained and apprehended, are judged sufficient to give youth a right idea of oratory, and fix its precepts in their mind, which is not to be done so much by reading many orations as by study. ing a few thoroughly; and, therefore, only three more orations, one in Greek, one in Latin, and one in English, are read in the school through the whole year. These are successively handled thus: In the evening the professor prescribes a certain portion of the oration, and appoints the students to write out their observations upon its conformity to the laws of rhetoric; the plan, thoughts, &c., by way of criticism. This they bring with them next day, when the part prescribed is read over, and this criticism of theirs examined and corrected. A new portion, as before, is prescribed again next meeting, till, in this manner, they have finished the whole three orations.
The remainder of the year, which is about six months, is spent in composing and delivering orations; and it is no wonder that this exercise is attended with great success, when deferred to this its proper season. Philosophy, rhetoric, and poetry, being sufficiently tasted and admired; the youth can not but be animated, in their compositions, to imitate those bright models that gave them so much pleasure in the reading. The study of poetry, in particular, elevates their thoughts, warms their imagination, leads them to give lively descriptions, inspires them with strength, variety, copiousness, and harmony of style, and diffuses a delicacy over every thing they compose.
5. The Fifth Class is instructed by the President, who is called Aratus, in Agriculture and History. The knowledge of ysics, acquired in the third class, contributes greatly to make the study of agriculture easy at this time. In some previous lectures, Aratus resumes this subject; and, particularly, gives the youth a good knowledge of the animal structure and anatomy, which is not only of great use to teach them the proper care of their own health and bodies, but highly necessary by way of analogy to explain the economy and mechanism of plants, the structure of their vessels their generation, manner of life and accretion, perspiration, circulation of sap, &c. After this, he examines, with the youth, the mineral strata of the earth; inquires into the nature of those saline and aqueous juices that constitute the nutritious matter or food of vegetables; and of those other fossils, which, being either beterogeneous to the vegetable substance, or too gross to enter the roots of plants, serve, however, to soften and separate the concreted parts of the earth, and prepare it for vegetation. The whole is illustrated by a course of chemical and statistical experiments. After this foundation is laid, they proceed to read Varro, Columella, Tull, Bradley, &c., assigning, as they go along, the rationale, for the natural phenomena and rules of tillage, recorded in these authors, upon the principles and philosophy of modern naturalists.
As the study of agriculture was made easy, by a previous knowledge in natural philosophy, so is the previous knowledge of the fundamental principles of ethics a fine introduction to the philosophical study of history. This subject Aratus resumes before entering upon history. He considers man, in the solitary state of nature, surrounded with wants and dangers, and nothing secure to any of the species, but what can either be acquired or maintained by force. From thence he takes occasion to show the necessity mankind lay under of entering into society, and voluutarily resigning some share of their natural freedom and property, to secure the rest. Then he explains the different forms of govern. ment, with the advantages and inconveniences in the administration of each. [The history of Greece occupies about one month—the President prescribes the portion to be read each day, of which a summary or abstract is made by each member. These summaries are revised in the class by the principal, who is careful to make them apprehend the blamable and praiseworthy, in the constitution of the several states; and, in the familiar way of dialogue, to make them give their opinion upon the facts mentioned, the manners and customs of the people, &c., drawing proper and moral inferences from the whole. In this man. ner a portion is abridged and descanted upon, every day, till they have gone over the history of the flourishing ages of Greece; which they perform in about the space of a month. The history of Rome (Mr. Hooke's judicious collection of it) is studied, in the next place, down to the days of Augustus. This requires about two months more. After that, they descend to study the bistory of England, from the beginning of the said century, in the same manner that they had before studied the history of Greece and Rome; the Principal taking care, as they go along, to note the rise, interests, dependencies, and constitutions of the several nations and states, whose histories are interwoven with that of England. They conclude the whole, with a view of our colonies in this hemisphere; their state, produce, interests, government, &c.; taking some notice, as they go along, of the French and Spanish settlements that we are chiefly concerned with in trade. Every Sunday night about an hour is spent in the study of the Bible history.
Though this is but a small part of the history of mankind, yet it is as much as can conveniently be brought, and much more than generally is brought, into a scheme of public education. The youth are thus sent into the world well acquainted with the history of those nations they are likely to be most concerned with in life; and also with the history of Greece and Rome, which may be justly called the history of heroism, virtue, and patriotism. This is enough to prepare them for society, and put them in a method of studying the history of any other nations they think proper, in a philosophical manner, whenever their inclination and leisure shall prompt them to it.
The studies of agriculture, history, and politics seldom enter much into the scheme of education, but are left for every man's private reading after his education at the university is finished, it is plain that they should be last, if they are at all brought into such a scheme. They are indeed the studies of men, and require a ripe judgment. But besides this, all the former studies, as I have observed already, are necessary and subservient to them. Even the knowledge of rhetoric itself is of great use in reading a well written history, as many of the chief beauties thereof would otherwise be lost and untasted. And if this was not the case, yet still, methinks, history and agriculture should be placed last, in order to send youth abroad into the world warm (if I may so express it)