being able to instruct youth so far as they may be
fitted for the university.’1
The press began its work in 1639. ‘When New England
was poor, and they were but few in number, there was a spirit to encourage learning.’
Six years after the arrival of Winthrop
the general court voted a sum, equal to a year's rate of the whole colony, towards the erection of a college In 1638, John Harvard
, who arrived in the Bay
only to fall a victim to the most wasting disease of the climate, desiring to connect himself imperishably with the happiness of his adopted country, bequeathed to the college one half of his estate and all his library.
The infant institution was a favorite; Connecticut
, and Plymouth
, and the towns in the East
often contributed little offerings to promote its success; the gift of the rent of a ferry was a proof of the care of the state;
and once, at least, every family in each of the colonies gave to the college at Cambridge
twelve pence, or a peck of corn, or its value in unadulterated wampumpeag;3
while the magistrates and wealthier men were profuse in their liberality.
The college, in return, exerted a powerful influence in forming the early character of the country.
In this, at least, it can never have a rival.
In these measures, especially in the laws establishing common schools, lies the secret of the success and character of New England
Every child, as it was born into the world, was lifted from the earth by the genius of the country, and, in the statutes of the land, received, as its birthright, a pledge of the public care for its morals and its mind.