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under the tuition of the aged, venerable, and justly famous Mr. Ezekiel Cheever. But after a few weeks, an odd accident drove me from the school. There was an older lad entered the school the same week with me; we strove who should outdo; and he beat me by the help of a brother in the upper class, who stood behind master with the accidence open for him to read out off; by which means he could recite his * * three and four times in a forenoon, and the same in the afternoon; but I who had no such help, and was obliged to commit all to memory, could not keep pace with him ; so that he would be always one lesson before me. My ambition could not bear to be outdone, and in such a fraudulent manner, and therefore I left the school. About this time arrived a dissenting minister from England, who opened a private school for reading, writing, and Latin. My good father put me under his tuition, with whom I spent a year and a half. The gentleman receiving but little encouragement, threw up his school, and returned me to my father, and again I was sent to my aged Mr. Cheever, who placed me in the lowest class; but finding I soon read through my in a few weeks he advanced me to the
, and the next year made me the head of it.
In the time of my absence from Mr. Cheever, it pleased God to take to himself my dear mother, who was not only a very virtuous, but a very intelligent woman. She was exceeding fond of my learning, and taught me to pray. My good father also instructed me, and made a little closet for me to retire to for my morning and evening devotion. But, alas ! how childish and hypocritical were all my pretensions to piety, there being little or no serious thoughts of God and religion in me.
Though my master advanced me, as above, yet I was a very naughty boy, much given to play, insomuch that he at length openly declared, "You Barnard, I know you can do well enough if you will; but you are so full of play that you hinder your classmates from getting their lessons ; and therefore, if any of them çannot perform their duty, I shall correct you for it.” One unlucky day, one of my classmates did not look into his book, and therefore could not say his lesson, though I called upon him once and again to mind his book : upon which our master beat me. I told master the reason why he could not say his lesson was, his declaring he would beat me if any of the class were wanting in their duty ; since which this boy would not look into his book, though I called upon him to mind his book, as the class could witness. The boy was pleased with my being corrected, and persisted in his neglect, for which I was still corrected, and that for several days. I thought, in justice, I ought to correct the boy, and compel him to a better temper; and therefore, after school was done, I went up to him, and told him I had been beaten several times for his neglect; and since master would not correct him I would, and I should do so as often as I was corrected for him; and then drubbed him heartily. The boy never came to school any more, and so that unhappy affair ended.
Though I was often beaten for my play, and my little roguish tricks, yet I don't remember that I was ever beaten for my book more than once or twice. One of these was upon this occasion. Master put our class upon turning Æsop's Fables into Latin verse. Some dull fellows made a shift to perform this to acceptance; but I was so much duller at this exercise, that I could make nothing of it; for which master corrected me, and this he did two or three days going. I had honestly tried my possibles to perform the task; but having no poetical fancy. nor then a capacity opened of expressing the same idea by a variation of phrases, though I was perfectly acquainted with prosody, I found I could do nothing; and therefore plainly told my master, that I had diligently labored all I could to perform what he required, and perceiving I had no genius for it, I thought it was in vain to strive against nature any longer; and he never more required it of me, Nor had I any thing of a poetical genius till after I had been at College some time, when upon reading some of Mr. Cowley's works, I was highly pleased, and a new scene opened before me.
I remember once, in making a piece of Latin, my master found fault with the syntax of one word, which was not so used by me heedlessly, but designedly, and therefore I told him there was a plain grammar rule for it. He angrily replied, there was no such rule. I took the grammar and showed the rule to him. Then he smilingly said, “Thou art a brave boy; I had forgot it." And no wonder ; for he was then above eighty years old.
We continue these extracts beyond the passages which relate to Mr. Barnard's experience in Mr. Cheever's school, because they throw light on college life at that time.
“ From the grammar school I was admitted into the college, in Cambridge, in "New England, in July, 1696, under the Presidentship of the very reverend and excellent Dr. Increase Mather, (who gave me for a thesis, Habenti dabitur,) and the tutorage of those two great men, Mr. John Leverett, (afterwards President,) and Mr. William Brattle, (afterwards the worthy minister of Cambridge.) Mr. Leverett became my special tutor for about a year and a half, to whom succeeded Mr. Jabez Fitch, (afterwards the minister of Ipswich with Mr. John Rogers, who, at the invitation of the church in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, removed to them.) Upon my entering into college, I became chamber-mate, the first year, to a senior and a junior sophister ; which might have been greatly to my advantage, had they been of a studious disposition, and made any considerable progress in literature. But, alas ! they were an idle pack, who knew but little, and took no pains to increase their knowledge. When therefore, according to my disposition, which was ambitious to excel, I applied myself close to books, and began to look forward into the next year's exercises, this unhappy pair greatly discouraged me, and beat me off from my studies, so that by their persuasions I foolishly threw by my books, and soon became as idle as they were. Oh! how baneful is it to be linked with bad company! and what a vile heart had I to hearken to their wretched persuasions! I never, after this, recovered a good studious disposition, while I was at college. Having a ready, quick memory, which rendered the common exercises of the college easy to me, and being an active youth, I was hurried alınost continually into one diversion or another, and gave myself to no particular studies, and therefore made no great proficiency in any part of solid learning.
In July, 1700, I took my first degree, Dr. Inorease Mather being President; after which I returned to my honored father's house, where I betook myself to close studying, and humbling myself before God with fasting and prayer, imploring the pardon of all my sins, through the mediation of Christ; begging the divine Spirit to sanctify me throughout, in spirit, soul, and body, and fit me for, and use me in the service of the sanctuary, and direct and bless all my studies to that end. I joined to the North Church in Boston, under the pastoral care of the two Mathers. Some time in November, 1702, I was visited with a fever and sore throat, but through the mercy of God to a poor sinful creature, in a few days I recovered a good state of health ; and from that time to this, November, 1766, I have never had any sickness that has confined me to my bed.
While I continued at my good father's I prosecuted my studies ; and looked something into the mathematics, though I gained but little ; our advantages therefor being noways equal to what they have, who now have the great Sir Isaao Newton, and Dr. Halley, and some other mathematicians, for their guides. About this time I made a visit to the college, as I generally did once or twice a year, where I remember the conversation turning upon the mathematics, one of the company, who was a considerable proficient in them, observing my ignorance, said to me he would give me a question, which if I answered in a month's close application, he should account me an apt scholar. He gave me the question. I, who was ashamed of the reproach cast upon me, set myself hard to work, and in a fortnight's time returned him a solution of the question, both by trigonometry and geometry, with a canon by which to resolve all questions of the like nature. When I showed it to him, he was surprised, said it was right, and owned he knew no way of resolving it but by algebra, which I was an utterly stranger to. I also gave myself to the study of the Biblical Hebrew, turned the Lord's prayer, the creed, and part of the Assembly's Catechism into Hebrew, (for which I had Dr. Cotton Mather for my corrector,) and entered on the task of finding the radix of every Hebrew word in the Bible, with designs to form a Hebrew Concordance; but when I had proceeded through a few chapters in Genesis, I found the work was done to my hand by one of the Buxtorfs. So I laid it by.
About two months before I took my second degree, the reverend and deservedly famous Mr. Samuel Willard, then Vice-President, called upon me, (though I lived in Boston,) to give a common-place in the college hall ; which I did, the latter end of June, from 2. Peter, i. 20, 21, endeavoring to prove the divine inspiration and authority of the holy Scriptures. When I had concluded, the President was so good as to say openly in the hall, ‘Bene fecisti, Barnarde, et gratias ago tibi.' Under him I took my second degree in July, 1703.”
In Turrell's Life and Character of Rev. Benjamin Colman, D.D., late pastor of a church in Boston, New England, who deceased August 29, 1747," and published in 1749, there is the following sketch of the school life of this eminent divine.
"He was of a tender constitution from his birth, and very backward in his speech and reading till he arrived to the age of five years; when, at once, he grew forward in both, and entered (in 1678) young and small into the Grammar School under the tuition of the venerable and learned Mr. Ezekiel Cheever. His sprightly genius and advances in learning were soon (with pleasure) observed by his preceptor, insomuch, that, in his first and second years, he was several times called upon by him to reprove and shame some dull boys of upper forms, when they grosly failed in their catechism and some low exercises. He was fired with a laudable ambition of excelling at his book, and a fear of being outdone. By his industry at home, he always kept foremost, or equal to the best of the form at school; and, a great advantage he had (which, at that time, gave him no little (pain in the promptness, diligence, and brightness of his intimate companion, Prout, who used to spend his hours out of school, generally, in studies with him, the two or three last years of his life; and, their preceptor used, openly, to compare their exercises, and, sometimes, declare he knew not which were best, and, bid Colman take heed, for, the first time he was outdone, Prout should have his place. But, alas! a violent fever seized the lovely, shining, ambitious boy, and suddenly carried him to an higher form, to the great grief as well as hurt of Colman, who was now left without a rival, and, so without a spur to daily care and labour. However, he followed his studies so well that he was qualified for an admission into Harvard College in the year 1688.
His early piety was equal to his learning. His pious Mother (as he records it, to her eternal honour), like Lemuel's, travailed in pain through his infancy and childhood for the new birth; and, to her instructions and corrections added her commands and admonitions respecting every thing that was religious and holy ; and, in a particular manner, about the duty of praying to God in secret, and, also, caused him and her other children to retire and pray together, and for one an other on the Lord's Days at noon.
While a school-boy for a course of years, he and some of his companions, by their own proposal to each other, under the encouragement of their parents, and, with the consent of their preceptor, used to spend a part of Saturdays in the afternoon in prayer together at the house of Mr. Colman, which continued until their leaving the school and going to college: Mather, Baker, Prout, Pool, Townsend were of this number; and, for the most part, behaved decently and seriously in these early exercises of piety and devotion.
After his admission into college, he grew in piety and learning, and in favor with God and man. He performed all his exercises to good acceptance; many of them had the applauses of his learned tutor, Mr. John Leverett. He was much animated to the study of the liberal sciences, and to make the utmost improvement in them from the shining example of the excellent Pemberton, who was a year before him in standing. To be next to him seems to bound his ambition until he passed his degrees of Batchelor and Master of Arts, which he did in the years 1692 and 95, under the Presidentship of the memorable Dr. Increase Mather. When he pronounced the public Oration, on taking his Master's Degree, his thin and slender appearance, his soft and delicate voice, and the red spots in his cheeks, caused the audience in general to conclude him bordering on a consumption, and to be designed but for a few weeks of life.
From the bright but brief career of young Prout, and from the “ red spots” on the cheeks of the gifted Colman, we fear that Mr. Cheever did not always temper the undue ardor of his pupils.
Of Mr. Cheever's discipline, we may form some notion from the testimony of his pupils. The following lines from Coote's “ English Schoolmaster,” a famous manuale of that day in England, may have been the substance of his “school code.”
THE SCHOOLMASTER TO HIB SCHOLARS. “My child and scholar take good heed
If broken-hos'd or shoe'd you go, unto the words that here are set,
or slovenly in your array, And see thou do accordingly,
Without a girdle, or untrust, or else be sure thou shall be beat.
then you and I must have a fray First, I command thee God to serve, If that thou cry, or talk aloud, then, to thy parents, duty yield;
or books do rend, or strike with knife. Unto all men be courteous,
Or laugh, or play unlawfully, and mannerly, in town and field.
then you and I must be at strife. Your cloaths unbuttoned do not use,
If that you curse, miscall, or swear, let not your hose ungartered be;
if that you pick, filch, steal, or lye; Have handkerchief in readiness,
If you forget a scholar's part,
then must you sure your points untye. Lose not your books, ink-horns, or pens, If that to school you do not go, nor girdle, garters, hat or band,
when time doth call you to the same; Let shooes be tyed, pin shirt-band close, Or, if you loiter in the streets, keep well your hands at any hand.
when we do meet, then look for blame. Wherefore, my child, behave thyself,
80 decently, in all assays,
and eke oblain thy master's praise." Although he was doubtless a strict disciplinarian, it is evident, from the affectionate manner in which his pupils, Mather, Barnard, and Colman speak of him, and the traditionary reputation which has descended with his name, that his venerable presence was accompanied by " an agreeable mixture of majesty and sweetness, both in his voice and countenance," and that he secured at once obedience, reverence, and love.
* The following is the title-page of this once famous school-book, printed from a copy of the fortieth edition, presented to the author of this sketch, by George Livermore, Esq., of Cambridge, Mass.
SCHOOL-MASTER, Teaching all his scholars, of what age so ever, the most easy, short, and perfect order of
distinct Reading, and true Writing our English-tongue, that haih
ever yet been known or published by any. And further also, teacheth a direct course, how many unskilful person may easily both under. stand any hard English words, which they shall in Scriptures, Sermons, or else where hear or read; and also be made able to use the same aptly themselves; and generally whatsoever is necessary to be known for the English speech : so that he which hath this book only need. eth to buy no other to make him fit from his Letters to the Grammar School, for an Apprentice, or any other private use, so far as concerneth English : And therefore it is made not only for Children, though the first book be meer childish for them, but also for all other; especially
for those that are ignorant in the Latin Tongue. In the next Page the School-Master hangeth forth his Table to the view of all beholders, set
ting forth some of the chief Commodities of his profession. Devised for thy sake that wantest any part of this skill; by Edward Coote, Master of the Free
school in Saint Edmund's. Bury. Perused and approved by publick Authority; and now the 40 time Imprinted: with certain
Copies to write by, at the end of this Book, added.
Of the text-books used by Mr. Cheever,—to what extent the New England Primer had superseded the Royal Primer of Great Britain, --whether James Hodder encountered as sharp a competition as any of the Arithmeticians of this day,--whether Lawrence Eachard, or G. Meriton, gave aid in the study of Geography at that early day, we shall not speak in this place, except of one of which he was author. *
During his residence at New Haven he composed The Accidence, " A short introduction to the Latin Tongue," which, prior to 1790, had passed through twenty editions, and was for more than a century the hand-book of most of the Latin scholars of New England. We have before us a copy of the 20th edition, with the following title page:
* A SHORT
For the Use of the
ACCIDENCE, Abridged and compiled in that most easy and accurate Method, wherein the famous Mr
EZEKIEL Cheever taught, and which he found the most advantageous, by Seventy Year's
To which is added,
The Twentieth Edition,
Printed and Sold by Samuel Hall, MDCCLXXXV." This little book embodies Mr. Cheever's method of teaching the rudiments of the Latin language, and was doubtless suggested or abridged from some larger manual used in the schools of London at the time, with alterations suggested by his own scholarly attainments, and his experience as a teacher. It has been much admired by good judges for its clear, logical, and comprehensive exhibition of the first principles and leading inflexions of the language. The Rev. Samuel Bentley, D.D., of Salem, (born 1758, and died 1819), a great antiquarian and collector of school-books, in some “Notes for an Address on Education,” after speaking of Mr. Cheever's labors at Ipswich as mainly instrumental in placing that town, "in literature and population, above all the towns of Essex County,” remarks:
“ His Accidence was the wonder of the age, and though, as his biographer and pupil, Dr. Cotton Mather, observed, it had not excluded the original grammar, it passed through eighteen editions before the Revolution, and had been used as generally as any elementary work ever known. The familiar epistles of this master to his son, minister of Marblehead, are all worthy of the age of Erasmus, and of the days of Ascham.
“Before Mr. Cheever's Accidence obtained, Mr. John Brinsley's method had obtained, and this was published in 1611, three years before Cheever was born It is in question and answer, and was undoubtedly known to Cheever, who bas availed himself of the expression, but has most ingeniously reduced it to the form
• Unless some one, with more abundant material in hand, will undertake the task, we shall prepare ere long a Paper on the Early School Books of this country, published prior to 1800, viibin opproximation, at least, to the number issued since that date.