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[282] committee was chosen to inquire “if it be expedient for girls to attend the master's school.” The committee wisely recommended the affirmative; whereupon, at the next town-meeting, it was voted “that girls have liberty to attend the master-school during three summer months.”

“ June 20, 1794: Voted that females attend the master-school separately, from the 1st of May to the 1st of October, four hours each day; and that the boys attend four hours each day,--Thursday and Saturday afternoons being vacations.” No one was admitted under seven years of age, nor unless he could read and spell. Woman, as the first instructor of man, needs a double portion of culture; and, when we starve the mother, we curse the cradle.

The course of study was, for the most part, meagre and impoverishing. The healthy curiosity of the mind was fed on the dryest husks of grammar, arithmetic, spelling, and reading. Whatever could be turned to pecuniary gain was the great object in the selection of studies. Webster's Spelling-book, American Preceptor, Young Lady's Accidence, Pike's Arithmetic, and Morse's Geography, were the mines out of which pupils were commanded to dig the golden ores of all useful knowledge. The books were made with very slight apprehension of a child's mode of thought. They seemed to take for granted that the pupil knew the very things they proposed to teach him. They abounded with rules, without giving any instruction concerning the principles out of which the rules rose. It was somewhat like lecturing on optics to the blind, or on music to the deaf.

May 5, 1795: On this day, the town voted to build a brick schoolhouse behind the meeting-house. They agreed “to give William Woodbridge two hundred and twenty pounds, with the old schoolhouse, to build it.” This house consisted of one large room, sufficient for sixty or seventy children, and was arranged after the newest models, and furnished with green blinds. On the north side sat the girls, and on the south the boys, constantly tempting each other to laugh and play.

March 1, 1802: “Voted that the ‘Royal’ donation be appropriated to pay the schooling of poor children, as last year.”

May 6, 1805: Voted to procure a lot for a schoolhouse near Gravelly Bridge. Voted “to choose a committee to look out a piece of land at the west end of the town, procure materials (for a schoolhouse), and report their doings at March meeting.”

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