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[352] Harrogate. A society of gentry tends by habit to become a caste. No teachers of the higher grades found welcome in Virginia, and the science of pedagogy was abandoned to the Thwackums and Squeers. A private school, the lowest type of boarding-school, was the only school thought good enough for the girls and boys of White citizens in Richmond. But for the higher culture found in the domestic circle, where the men were mostly gentlemen, the women mostly ladies, the state of learning in Virginia would have fallen to the level of Italy and Spain.

Four years ago the Massachusetts plan was introduced. Two able officers, Virginia-born, Colonel Binford and the Hon. W. W. Ruffner, are placed in charge of this new system. Many schools have been erected, and many teachers found. A free system, seeking to impart a sound, uniform, and general education to all classes, the Massachusetts plan has become so popular and acceptable that the private schools are everywhere dying out. The teachers in the public schools are good, not only better, as a class, than any we can get in London, but better than I find in Vermont and New Hampshire.

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