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[p. 3] established in those places. The distance was not excessive, and the boys of those days did not shrink from such a daily walk as this would require.

‘Moreover, the children of those days learned to spell work with a capital W,’ says Martin in his ‘Evolution of the Public Schools of Massachusetts.’ If they came ‘trailing clouds of glory,’ nevertheless ‘the shades of the prison house’ began early to close about them, and long before they became men they must have perceived ‘the vision splendid die away and fade into the light of common day.’

We are accustomed to think and to say that our ancestors when they landed on these shores brought with them the meeting-house and the school-house, and that these were the corner-stones on which they built. In a certain sense this is true. They brought the meeting-house to be sure, and they gave neither sleep to their eyes nor slumber to their eyelids till they had erected a house wherein to worship God; but the schoolhouse had to wait. The children's day had not then dawned, only the first faint streaks of light were visible above the eastern horizon. Neither Plato in his perfect republic nor Sir Thomas More in his ideal state had ever dreamed of such a thing as the American common school, where every child, the poorest as well as the richest, girl as well as boy, can claim, not as a charity, but as a right, the possession of the keys of all knowledge; and for the support of which a first mortgage is held on every cent of the accumulations of every childless millionaire.

The law of 1642, while recognizing to the full parental responsibility, suggested not only the viciousness of indolence and the educative office of labor, but just as plainly indicated the state ownership of the child and its responsibility for him.

Horace Mann had not yet formulated his three famous propositions on which the common school system of Massachusetts rests:

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