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Chapter 18: education.

  • Education.
  • -- Harvard College. -- Grammar School. -- Elijah Corlett. -- Indian students. -- Corlett's letter of thanks to the County Court. -- Nicholas Fessenden, Jr. -- William Fessenden, Jr. -- Samuel Danforth. -- veterans now in service. -- agreement for erecting a School-house. -- allowance to Mr. Dunster and his heirs. -- schools of lower grade. -- schools established in Cambridgeport and East Cambridge. -- Schoolhouses in 1845, 1850, and 1876. -- School Committee. -- School districts. -- graded schools. -- Hopkins School. -- Salaries of teachers at different periods
    In 1643, there was published in London a Tract entitled ‘New England's First Fruits; in respect, first of the Conversion of some, Conviction of divers, Preparation of sundry, of the Indians. 2. Of the progresse of Learning, in the Colledge at Cambridge, in Massacusets Bay. With divers other speciall matters concerning that countrey.’ In regard to the ‘progresse of learning,’ the writer says, ‘After God had carried us safe to New England, and wee had builded our houses, provided necessaries for our livelihood, rear'd convenient places for Gods worship, and settled the Civile Government: One of the next things we longed for, and looked after, was to advance Learning and perpetuate it to posterity; dreading to leave an illiterate Ministery to the Churches, when our present Ministers shall lie in the dust. And as wee were thinking and consulting how to effect this great work; it pleased God to stir up the heart of one Mr. Harvard (a godly gentleman, and a lover of learning, there living amongst us) to give the one halfe of his estate (it being in all about 1700l.) towards the erecting of a Colledge, and all his Library; after him another gave 300l. others after them cast in more, and the publique hand of the state added the rest; the Colledge was, by common consent, appointed to be at Cambridge (a place very pleasant and accommodate), and is called (according to the name of the first founder) Harvard Colledge.’1 He adds, ‘And by the side of the Colledge a faire Grammar Schoole, for the training up of young Schollars, and fitting of them for Academicall [366] Learning, that still as they are judged ripe, they may be received into the Colledge of this Schoole;2 Master Corlet is the Mr. who has very well approved himselfe for his abilities, dexterity and painfulnesse in teaching and education of the youth under him.’3 The precise date when the grammar school was established in Cambridge does not appear; but before 1643 Mr. Corlett had taught sufficiently long to have acquired a high reputation for skill and faithfulness. He continued in office nearly half a century, until his death, Feb. 25, 1686-7, at the age of 78 years. His services were commemorated by Cotton Mather, who knew him and his works:—

    'Tis Corlet's pains, and Cheever's, we must own,
    That thou, New England, art not Scythia grown.

    Coll. Mass. Hist. Soc., XVII. 132.

    Again, he calls ‘Mr. Elijah Corlet, that memorable old schoolmaster in Cambridge, from whose education our colledge and country have received so many of its worthy men, that he is himself worthy to have his name celebrated in .... our church history.’4 In addition to his English scholars, he prepared several Indians for the College, though only one of the number graduated.5 By the records of the ‘Commissioners of the United Colonies,’ it appears that he was paid £ 6 9 4, in 1658, ‘for teaching the Indians at Cambridge and the charge of an Indian that died in his sickness and funeral;’ also £ 22, in 1659, ‘for dieting John Stanton for some time not reckoned formerly, and for his extraordinary pains in teaching the Indian scholars and Mr. Mahews son about two years.’ Similar payments were made to him in 1660 and 1661. In their letter to the corporation in England, dated Sept. 7, 1659, the Commissioners say, ‘there are five Indian youthes att Cambridge in the lattin schoole, whose dilligence and profisiency in theire studdies doth much encurrage us to hope that God is fiting them and preparing them for good instruments in this great and desirable worke; wee have good testimony from those that are prudent and pious, that they are dilligent in theire studdies and civell in theire carriage; and from the Presedent of the Colledge; wee had this testimony in a letter directed to us the 23 of August 1659 in [367] these words: the Indians in Mr. Corletts scoole were examined oppenly by my selfe att the publicke Commencement; conserning theire growth in the knowledge of the lattin toungue; and for their time they gave good satisfaction to myselfe and also to the honored and Reverent Overseers.’6

    Notwithstanding Mr. Corlett's well-earned fame, and his ability to teach both English and Indians, his school seems never to have been large, nor were the stated fees for tuition adequate for his support. The town had frequent occasion to supply the deficiency by special grant. In 1648, ‘It was agreed at a meeting of the whole town, that there should be land sold of the common, for the gratifying of Mr. Corlett for his pains in keeping a school in the town, the sum of ten pounds, if it can be attained; provided it shall not prejudice the cow-common.’ Forty acres of land on the south side of the river were sold, for this purpose, to Mr. Edward Jackson. Again, Jan. 29, 1654-5, ‘The town consented that twenty pounds should be levied upon the inhabitants, and given to Mr. Corlett, for his present encouragement to continue with us.’ March 25, 1662: ‘The townsmen taking into their consideration the equity of allowance to be made to Mr. Corlett, for his maintenance of a grammar school in this town, especially considering his present necessity by reason of the fewness of his scholars, do order and agree that ten pounds be paid to him out of the public stock of the town.’ Nov. 14, 1684: ‘Voted on the affirmative, that Mr. Elijah Corlett shall be allowed and paid out of the town rate, annually, twenty pounds, for so long as he continues to be schoolmaster in this place.’ The colony also interposed for his relief; and, having previously made similar grants, on the 7th of November, 1668, ‘In answer to the petition of Mr. Elijah Corlet, the Court having considered of the petition, and being informed the petitioner to be very poor, and the country at present having many engagements to satisfy, judge meet to grant him five hundred acres of land where he can find it, according to law.’7 The meagre number of scholars is more definitely stated in an official answer of the town to certain questions proposed by the County Court: ‘30 (1) 1680. Our Latin Schoolmaster is Mr. Elijah Corlitt; his scholars are in number nine at present.’8 Under all these discouragements, the veteran teacher seems to have persevered bravely up to the close of his life; for there is no evidence [368] that a successor was elected until after his death. Two manuscripts have been preserved,—one containing a reference to him, and the other written by him,—which seem worthy of publication: 1. In a letter from Thomas Danforth of Cambridge to Rev. John Cotton of Plymouth, dated Nov. 16, 1674, concerning the troubles which compelled Dr. Leonard Hoar to resign the Presidency of the College, the writer says,—‘As for the Dr.'s grievance, you do not I suppose wonder at it. I doubt not but he hath been told of his evill in that matter from more hands than yours, yet he does justifie his own innocency, and I perceive that Mr. Corlet, both elder and younger,9 were so taken with hopes of a fellowship, that they strenuously sought to excuse the Dr. and lay the blame elsewhere; but by this time I suppose are out of hope of what they expected, the Colledge standing in more need of students than of rulers.’10 2. “Richard Cutter, brother-in-law to Mr. Corlett, felt aggrieved at a decision of the County Court in 1659, and Mr. Corlett united with him in petition to the General Court for relief; the petition was referred to the County Court with a favorable result. At the same session, the General Court, upon his petition, granted to Mr. Corlett two hundred acres of land.” 11 In acknowledgment of both benefactions, he presented his thank-offering to the magistrates of the County Court, who were also members of the General Court: ‘Much honoured, Mr. Deputie Governour, Major Willard, Mr. Russell, and Mr. Danforth: Elijah Corlett, who was latelie your Worps humble petitioner at the Generall Court in my owne behalfe, for land; very thankfull and humblie, I acknowledg the great favour and good will of that Court unto mee (and your Worps my good friends therein) confering upon mee 200 acres of land. As alsoe touching my petition in the behalfe of Ric. Cutter, referred to the full and finall decision of this honoured Court; I most humblie and thankfullie acknowledg your Worps favour in your remarkeable gentlenes and very tender dealinge with a sad, afflicted, weake man, inconsiderate and rash sometimes, &c., your goodnes towards him will, I hope, have a good effect upon him to mollifie his heart, and the influence of your good advice you left with him, to moderate his spirite. Soft meanes many times effects what rigour cannot; and mercie rejoiceth against (exulteth over) judgement. Elijah Corlett [369] humblie blesseth God for you: who cause judgment to run down our streets like water; where mercie likewise has its current. Thus heartielie wishing and praying for your happienes and wellfare in the Lord, he ever remaines acknowledging himself your Worps most obliged humble servant, Elijah Corlett.’12

    The successors of Mr. Corlett were generally young men fresh from College.13 Very few of them appear to have selected teaching as a permanent employment; only one indeed died in the service, namely, Nicholas Fessenden, Jr., H. C. 1701, who taught about eighteen years, and died of apoplexy Oct. 5, 1719. William Fessenden, Jr.,14 H. C. 1737, taught the school eleven years, from 1745 to 1756, but left it two years before he also died of apoplexy, June 17, 1758. Samuel Danforth, H. C. 1715, seems to have chosen teaching as a profession. At a meeting of the selectmen, Oct. 26, 1719, it is recorded, that—‘Whereas, by reason of the death of Mr. Nicholas Fessenden, our late Schoolmaster, the school in our town is in an unsettled condition; and whereas, Mr. Samuel Danforth of Dorchester has been pleased to manifest his inclinations to be a Schoolmaster amongst us, and to devote himself to said service: Voted and agreed, that the said Mr. Samuel Danforth take the care and charge of said school, on the same terms that our said late Schoolmaster kept it; and that he forthwith provide some suitable person to manage said school until such time as he can remove amongst us himself: which Mr. Danforth promised to comply with.’ After eleven years, however, Mr. Danforth retired from the service, and for many years was Judge of Probate, Judge of Common Pleas, and member of the Council. All the others seem to have adopted teaching as a temporary expedient, while studying some other profession, or waiting for more desirable employment.15 [370]

    The first school-house known to have been erected in Cambridge stood on the westerly side of Holyoke Street, about midway between Harvard and Mount Auburn streets.16 The lot was owned in 1642 by Henry Dunster, President of the College; it contained a quarter of an acre of land, on which there was then a house, which was not his dwelling-house. There are reasons for believing that the ‘faire Grammar Schoole’ had been established in that house, and that it remained there five or six years. It seems probable that the ‘school-house’ mentioned in the following ‘agreement’ was afterwards erected on that lot, and designed for that school:—

    Articles of agreement between Henry Dunster and Edward Goffe on the one party and Nicholas Withe and Richard Wilson, Daniel Hudson, masons, on the other party, witness as followeth:17

    1. Impr. That we Nicolas Wite, Richard Wilson and Daniel Hudson, masons, have undertaken to get at Charlestowne Rock one hundred and fifty load of rock stone, and to lay them in convenient place whence they may be fetched with carts, and that betwene this present third month 1647 and the tenth of the ninth month next ensuing, for the which stones Henry Dunster and Edward Goffe covenant to pay to us sixe pence the load.

    2. Item. That we the foresaid three masons will wal or lay the said stones in wall for twelve pence the yard, so long as we lay any side of the said wall within the ground, and the other answering wals at the same price until they come to the hight of the wal that lieth within the grounde, albeit that these wals should ly both sides of the ground to the open ayre, and that wee will measure all this cellar or in ground wall within the house.

    3. Item. That we will lay in wal the saide stones above ground a foote and a halfe thick at the least, at the middle story, and soe proportionally gathering in until it end in the wal plats [371] or eaves, about a foote thick, for eighteene pence a yard, making n the said above ground wals, where Henry Dunster or Edward Goffe shal apointe, convenient dore ways, arched over head, and windowe spaces as we shal be ordered and directed for timber windowes to be put in as we goe up with the wall, one of which said dore ways, and as many window spaces as shal bee judged convenient, we will alsoe make in the cellar wall as we shall be directed.

    4. Item. That we will erect a chimney below, ten foote wide within the jaumes, and another in the rome above, eight foote 1/2 wide within the jaumes, in the place where we shal be directed, whereof if the jaumes be different from the wal of the house we will receive eighteene pence a yard for as much as we wal with stone, and ten shillings a thousand for what square brickes we lay, and sixteene shillings a thousand for the bricks that appear out of the roofe.

    5. Item. The said Henry Dunster and Edward Goffe are to prepare and lay on the ground in redines, within forty or at the most fifty foote of the aforesaid cellar, al the aforesaid brickes and rock stones; but the saide brickes, as many as shal need to be cut, are to be done by the sayde masons. The convenient planckes alsoe and poles for staging are to be laid in redines by the said Henry and Edward, and the stages to be made by the said masons.

    6. Item. The 2 gable endes of the foresaide wals or scholehouse shall be wrought up in battlement fashion, at the prize of eighteene pence a yard, as above said.

    7. Item. The foresaid masons by these presents covenant that they wil lath the roofe of the aforesaid scholehouse and tile the same at sixe shillings the thousand the tile.

    8. Item. The said masons covenant to perfect the saide worke that is herein mentioned before the first of the sixth month that shal be in the yeare one thousand sixe hundred forty-eight, provided the said Henry Dunster and Edward Goffe procure all the materials requisite of stones, brick, timber, clay, lime, sand, and the sayde materials lay in convenient place.

    9. Item. It is the true intent and meaning of both partyes, that al pay specified in these writings should be such as is received of the inhabitants and neighbours of the town of Cambridge, provided it bee good and merchandible in its kind, whether corne or cattle, and to goe at such rates as now it is payable from man to man when the aforesaid masons take the aforesaid worke, [372] that is to say, Wheat at 4s. Ry at 3s 6d. Indian at 3s. Pease at 3s 6d. Barly mault at 4s 6d. the bushell.

    In witness of the premises wee for our parts subscribe our hands,

    Henrie Dunster [L. S.] Edward Goffe [L. S.]
    Sealed, signed, indented and delivered in presence of Richard Hildreth.

    It would seem from the Records, that the school-house was not erected by the town; but that certain public-spirited individuals, —Mr. Dunster being foremost in the enterprise,—assumed the responsibility, and defrayed the expense. Under date of Feb. 10, 1655-6, we find this record: ‘Whereas Mr. Dunster hath made proposition to the Townsmen for the acquitting and discharging of forty pounds upon the account of his outlaying for the school-house: the Townsmen hereby declare, namely, that as they cannot yield to the same, for the reasons before mentioned, yet nevertheless, if Mr. Dunster shall please to present any proposition concerning his outlayings for the school-house to the town when met together, they shall be willing to further the same according to justice and equity.’ Perhaps in consequence of some such proposition by Mr. Dunster, it is recorded that at a meeting, November 10, 1656, ‘The town do agree and consent that there shall be a rate made to the value of £ 108. 10s. and levied of the several inhabitants, for the payment for the schoolhouse; provided every man be allowed what he hath already freely contributed thereto, in part of his proportion of such rate.’ Whatever Mr. Dunster may have received as his share of this assessment, his heirs renewed the claim for further renumeration, after his death, with partial success: Nov. 12, 1660. ‘As a final issue of all complaints referring to Mr. Dunster's expenses about the school-house, although in strict justice nothing doth appear to be due, it being done by a voluntary act of particular inhabitants and Mr. Dunster; and also the town having otherwise recompensed Mr. Dunster for his labor and expenses therein; yet the town, considering the case as its now circumstanced, and especially the condition of his relict widow and children, do agree that thirty pounds be levied on the inhabitants of the town, by the selectmen, and paid to Mr. Dunster's executors,—and that on condition that they make an absolute deed of sale of the said house and land to the town, with a clear acquittance for the full payment thereof.’ A school-house, constructed as this apparently [373] was, might be expected to stand much more than twenty years; but the record shows that on the 4th of October, 1669, ‘at a meeting of the selectmen, Mr. William Manning and Petter Towne was appointed to agree with workmen to take down the school-house and set it up again; and to carry the stones in the cellar to the place where the house for the ministry is to be built.’ The town voted, June 24, 1700, to build a new schoolhouse, twenty-six feet in length and twenty feet wide; and in 1769 it was ordered, that the old grammar school-house then standing on this lot, be demolished, and that a new house be erected on the southerly side of Garden Street, about a hundred feet westerly from Appian Way. This house was removed to Brighton Street, converted into a dwelling-house, and succeeded by a larger and more convenient edifice in 1832, in which the Grammar School was taught until, after a transitional state of a few years duration, it was merged into the High School.

    Besides the Grammar School, others of a lower grade were established; but their scanty patronage affords slight ground for boasting. In March, 1680, when it was certified that Master Corlett had only nine scholars, it was added, ‘For English, our schooldame is goodwife Healy; at present but nine scholars.— Edward Hall, English schoolmaster; at present but three scholars.’ A school was also established at an' early date in Menotomy, now Arlington: Jan. 16, 1692-3. ‘It was voted whether the town would give to Menotomie people a quarter of an acre of land, upon our common, near Jasson Russell's house, near the highway, for the accommodation of a school-house; and it was voted on the affirmative, so long as it was improved for that use, and no longer.’ The earliest trace which I have seen of a school-house on the south side of the river, afterwards Brighton, is in 1769, in which year new houses were erected in three sections of the town. At a meeting of the Selectmen, May 7, 1770,

    Voted, To give an order on the Treasurer to pay for the new school-houses erected in the town the last year, viz.—

    In the body of the town,£
    In the northwest part,
    In the south part,

    Dr. Holmes, writing in 1800, says, ‘A little to the westward of the Episcopal Church is the grammar school-house; where a [374] town school is kept through the year. Besides this, there are six school-houses in the town; two in each of the three parishes.’18 Of the two in the First Parish, one undoubtedly stood at the northeasterly corner of Winthrop and Eliot streets, and the other probably on the northeasterly corner of North Avenue and Russell Street. The Second Parish is now Arlington, and the Third is the Brighton District of Boston. Before the incorporation of the second and third parishes as separate towns, another schoolhouse was erected in 1802, at the northwesterly corner of Windsor and School streets, in Cambridgeport, on a lot of land given to the town by Andrew Bordman; it cost about six hundred dollars, of which sum about one half was contributed by individuals, and the remainder was paid by the town. Seven years later, in 1809, the population of Cambridgeport having rapidly increased, yet another school-house was erected on the southerly side of Franklin Street, about midway between Magazine and Pearl streets, on a lot of land given to the town by Chief Justice Dana; it cost somewhat more than eight hundred dollars, of which sum the town paid about three hundred dollars, and the remainder was contributed by individuals. After the inhabitants of East Cambridge had become numerous, and had repeatedly petitioned therefor, the town, in 1818, appropriated four hundred dollars for a school-house on the easterly side of Third Street between Gore and Bridge streets; the remainder of the expense was raised by subscription. In 1845, the School Committee described thirteen school-houses, then standing, and their cost, so far as it was paid by the town: 1. The North School-house, corner of North Avenue and Russell Street, erected in 1841 on the site of a former house, at the cost of $2,477, exclusive of land. 2. Washington, on Garden Street, erected in 1832 on the site of a former house, at the cost of $2,150.56, besides about $1,000 contributed by individuals. 3. Auburn, in School Court, erected in 1838, at the cost of $4,171.67. 4. Harvard, on the northerly side of Harvard Street, between Norfolk and Prospect streets, erected in 1843 (on the site of a similar house which was burned in March of that year), at the cost of $3,557.48, besides the land, which originally cost $500. 5. Franklin, on a lot given by Judge Dana, erected in 1809, at the cost to the town of about $300. 6. Mason, on Front Street, opposite to Columbia Street, erected in 1835, at the cost of $3,901.89. 7. Boardman, at the corner of Windsor and School streets, erected in 1802, on land given by Andrew Bordman, at the cost to the town of about [375] $300. 8. Broadway, at the southwesterly corner of Windsor Street and Broadway, ‘erected in 1838 for the accommodation of a Classical or High School for the whole town,’ at the cost of $5,791.05. 9. Bridge, on the westerly side of Pioneer Street, between Main Street and Broadway, erected in 1836, at the cost of $1,055, besides the land. 10. Otis, on Otis Street, erected in 1843, at the cost of $5,406.78, described as ‘quite a magnificent structure.’ 11. Thorndike, on Thorndike Street, erected in 1832, and enlarged in 1840, at the total cost of $2,585.31. 12. Putnam, on the southwesterly corner of Otis and Fourth streets, erected in 1825 at the cost of $550 to the town, besides about $800 contributed by individuals. 13. Third Street, on the easterly side of Third Street, between Gore and Bridge streets, erected in 1818, at the cost to the town of $400. During the thirty years since the date of this Report, several of the school-houses then standing have disappeared; but other spacious edifices have been erected, so that, instead of the thirteen houses described in 1845 as having cost $32,646.67, besides individual subscriptions, or the sixteen houses, valued by the Committee on Finance in 1850 at $80,000, there are now in the city twenty-six school-houses, which have cost more than half a million dollars.

    The earliest record which I have found of the election of a School Committee is dated May 21, 1744, when it was ‘Voted, That the Hon. Francis Foxcroft and Saml. Danforth, Esqs., Wm. Brattle, and Edmd. Trowbridge, Esqs., also the Hon. Jona. Remington, Esq., be a committee to inspect the Grammar School in this town, and to inquire (at such times as they shall think meet) what proficiency the youth and children make in their learning.’ Again, May 7, 1770, it was ‘Voted, That a committee of nine persons be and hereby are fully empowered to chuse a Grammar Schoolmaster for said town,—the Hon. Judge Danforth, Judge Lee, Col. Oliver, Judge Sewall, Mr. Abraham Watson, Jr., Mr. Francis Dana, Major Vassall, Mr. Samuel Thacher, Jr., Mr. Professor Winthrop, they or the major part of the whole being notified, and that said committee be a committee of inspection upon the said schoolmaster, and that said committee be and hereby are empowered to regulate said school.’ Generally, however, the schools were under the charge of the Selectmen until March 23, 1795, when a committee, consisting of Caleb Gannett,19 Rev. [376] Abiel Holmes, Maj. John Palmer, William Locke, Jonathan Winship, Rev. John Foster, and Rev. Thaddeus Fiske, was “chosen for the purpose of superintending the schools in this town, and carrying into effect the School Act. The only material change since that period consists in the appointment of a Superintendent of schools, in 1868, who acts, however, under the general direction of the School Committee, and is their executive officer.”

    At a town-meeting, March 3, 1794, a committee was ‘appointed to divide the town into school districts, as the law directs, and to put the schools into operation.’ Previously the schoolmoney was distributed among the ‘wings’ or ‘precincts’ of the town:—for example, twelve pounds were granted, in May, 1737, to ‘each wing,’ for winter schools; and June 4, 1770, the Selectmen “voted to give an order on the Treasurer to pay the town's school-money for the year 1769,” viz.:—

    The Body of the Town's20 proportion is£ 40.0.0
    The northwest Precinct,2118.18.11
    The southwest Precinct,2215.14.6 == 74.13.5

    and so for several years afterwards. Again, Aug. 4, 1777, in consideration of the diminished value of the currency, it was ‘agreed to make a present to our Grammar Schoolmaster for his encouragement to continue said school from the 4th day of last July to the 4th day of October next, being three months, the sum of four pounds, exclusive of the sum of £ 60, being the former contract for one year; he allowing the Hopkins money that he may receive for said term, as before. Also that the wings of the town shall have the same allowance in proportion.’ Subsequently the present territory of Cambridge was divided into three, and still later into five districts: (1.) Old Cambridge, south of the Railroad; (2.) The section north of the Railroad; (3.) Cambridgeport, west of Columbia Street; (4.) East of Columbia Street; (5.) East Cambridge. It was ordered, March 1, 1802, that in the first of these districts, there should be a Grammar School the whole year, and a school for female children four months; in the second district, a school for four months; and in the third, fourth, and fifth, then included in a single district, four months; ‘being the quantity required by law, according to the number of families in the town.’ May 4, 1829, a committee [377] reported the amount of valuation, the number of children between the ages of three and seventeen years, and the duration of the schools in each of the five districts before described,—12 months of school taught by a female being reckoned as equivalent to 4 4/5 months of a master's school.

    District.Valuation.No. of Children.Months.
    11,290,24535016 4/5
    3630,39536216 4/5
    5725,66255716 4/5

    An entirely new system23 was adopted Oct. 6, 1834, when the town voted to abolish the five school districts, or to merge them into three Wards, namely, the first and second districts into Ward One; the third and fourth into Ward Two; and the fifth into Ward Three. The schools were graded, and designated as Grammar, Middle, and Primary, in each ward. It was ordered that schools should be maintained in the several Wards as follows: Ward One to be in two sections, of which the first should have one Grammar School, one Middle, and one Primary, and the second, schools equivalent to one female school for the whole year; Ward Two should have one Grammar School, one Middle, and three Primary; Ward Three should have one Grammar School, one Middle, and one Primary. In addition to these a High School was established in 1839 for the whole town.24 In this school since 1854, has been given the instruction contemplated in the will of Governor Edward Hopkins, who died in England in 1657, namely, ‘to give some encouragement in those Foreign Plantations, for the breeding up of hopeful youth in a way of learning, both at the Grammar School and College, for the service of the Country in future times.’ Five hundred pounds of his donation were assigned to the College and School in Cambridge. ‘Three fourths of the income of this estate,’ [378] says Dr. Holmes, in 1800, ‘are applied, according to the instruction of the will of the donor, to the maintenance of five resident Bachelors of Arts at Harvard College, and the other fourth “ to the Master of Cambridge Grammar School, in consideration of his instructing in grammar learning five boys nominated by the President and Fellows of Harvard College, and the Minister of Cambridge for the time being,” who are, by the will, “ Visitors of said School.” ’25 Some of the subsequent changes in the management of the ‘Hopkins Fund’ are described in the Report of the School Committee of 1869:—

    We sometimes hear complaints that our High School is essentially a classical school. This we deny; it should, however, be remembered that it ought to be really more than a High School under our statutes. In 1839, the Legislature authorized “ the trustees of the charity of Edward Hopkins,” who was the second governor of the Connecticut colony, “to establish in the town of Cambridge a classical school, the main object of which shall be to prepare boys for admission to Harvard University,” and “ to apply one fourth part of the net income of their funds to the support of said school.” This school was accordingly established.26 It was provided, however, in the act above referred to, that at any time thereafter, when the school should “ cease to be supported in said town, the trustees shall annually pay over the said fourth part of the net income of their funds to the treasurer of the town of Cambridge, on condition that the said town of Cambridge shall provide and maintain a school, and perform and comply with the other duties and provisions contained in the next section of this act.” The next section is as follows: “ The town of Cambridge shall annually apply so much of said income as may at any time hereafter be paid to the treasurer thereof, in pursuance of the preceding section, to the instruction of nine boys in the learning requisite for admission to Harvard University; the said instruction to be furnished in a public school in said town, the instructor of which shall be at all times competent to give such instruction; and said town shall, so long as said income shall continue to be paid, receive into said school, and admit to all the benefits, privileges, and advantages thereof, free of expense, any number of boys not exceeding nine at any time, who, being properly qualified, shall be selected and presented for admission thereto, by the President and Fellows of Harvard College, and the Minister [379] of the First Church in Cambridge, who shall be the visitors of said school for the purpose of seeing that the duties and provisions in this section are duly complied with and performed.” In 1854, the trustees proposed to the city to discontinue the Hopkins School, and, pursuant to the provisions of the statute above recited, to transfer to the city that portion of the income of their fund which had been previously applied to the support of that school; this proposition was accepted by the city, which thereby assumed the obligations above quoted, and the school Committee of that year immediately acted in fulfilment of those obligations, by appointing a Hopkins classical teacher. It is not for us to pass upon the wisdom of the contract thus entered into by the city, but we will ask those who may be inclined to think our High School too much a classical school, whether it can be any less so without a violation of that contract.

    It has already been stated that the compensation paid to the pioneer master of the Grammar School was meagre. He probably received about £ 7 10s. per annum from the Hopkins Charity, with a small tuition-fee for each scholar; in addition to which occasional special grants from the town and colony served to eke out a precarious subsistence. His successors for more than a century, received a very moderate stipend. Nov. 9, 1691, ‘it was put to vote, whether there should be given by the town, in common pay, annually, to a schoolmaster, twelve pounds, and it was voted on the affirmative, to teach both Latin and English, and to write and cypher;’ and June 27, 1692, ‘it was voted to pay the schoolmaster twenty pounds per annum in common pay.’ The Grammar School was made a Free School27 May 16, 1737, and, in consideration, it would seem, of the discontinuance of a tuition-fee, the salary of the master was increased. It was then ‘put to vote whether the Grammar School in our town should be a Free School for the year ensuing, and it passed in the affirmative. Also voted, that the sum of forty pounds be paid Mr. Hovey for his service as schoolmaster for the year ensuing. Also voted, that twelve pounds be paid each wing in our town, to defray the charge of their schools in the winter season.’ This [380] salary remained stationary until 1777, when it was advanced to sixty pounds; but as an offset the master was required to relinquish all claim to the ‘Hopkins money.’ During the Revolution, all values became unsettled and fluctuating. The schoolmaster was partially protected, however, by an agreement that the town should pay for his board in addition to the stipend from time to time established. We obtain a glimpse of the financial disturbances at that period from the records of the Selectmen. For example: Sept. 4, 1780. ‘Allowed the schoolmaster Kendall his account from July 7, 1780, to Sept. 2d., £ 407 4s., including two weeks boarding at £ 50, per week, and allowing £ 8, per week, above what he charged some time before, for eight weeks board.’ Oct. 1, 1780. ‘Allowed to Mr. Wm. How £ 90, for boarding Mr. Kendall two weeks, and £ 55, per week, for boarding him four weeks, £ 220, being in the whole £ 310. It is too much, and the account was allowed by the selectmen for prudential reasons, but sorely against their wills.’ Dec. 18, 1780. “Allowed Mr. Kendall's account (schoolmaster's) to this day, at £ 380, if paid within one week, otherwise to be £ 400. Soon afterwards a more stable currency was introduced, and the former was withdrawn.” The electmen, May 9, 1781, ‘allowed Master Whittemore's account of £ 1,000, in old emission, to be paid in new emission at one for forty.’ Under this new state of things Master Kendall's salary was fixed at thirty pounds and his board, as appears by a vote of the Selectmen, April 7, 1783, ‘to engage with Mr. Asa Packard to keep the Grammar School in this town for three months, to commence on Thursday next,28 at the rate of thirty pounds per annum, and his board to be found for him, it being upon the same terms that Mr. Kendall kept it.’ Fifty years later, it appears by the Report of the Auditing Committee, April 19, 1833, that the salary of the schoolmasters (of whom there were then five) was five hundred and fifty dollars,—each providing his own board; since which time the amount of salary has been more than quadrupled.

    The following tables exhibit the condition of the schools, and cost for instruction, as stated in a ‘Tabular View of the Public Schools of Cambridge, Jan. 1, 1876,’ appended to the Report of the School Committee. [381]

    Grade.No. Teachers.No. Pupils.Cost of Instruction.For each Pupil.
    High School.12402$21,700$53.98
    7 Grammar .883,44576,85022.31
    20 Primary .833,70157,40015.51
    Music . . . .1-2,500-

    Female Teachers.Salary.Amount.Male TeachersSalary.Amount.
    1$1,200$1,2001$4, 000$4,000
    11670081,200 Female 171---123,950

    An additional expense of $5,862.44 was incurred for ‘Evening Schools for Adults.’29

    1 1 New England's First Fruits, p. 12. A History of Cambridge may well be considered incomplete, if it do not contain a full account of Harvard College. But such an account must be omitted by me for two obvious reasons: (1.) The subject is too important to be thrust into a corner and treated as merely subsidiary to a general history of the city. (2.) Three histories of the College have already been published, and there is no apparent necessity to glean a field so recently and so thoroughly reaped. See History of Harvard University, by Benjamin Peirce, Librarian, etc., 1833; History of Harvard University, by Josiah Quincy, President, etc., 1840; and Sketch of the History of Harvard College, by Samuel A. Eliot, 1848.

    2 Rather, ‘they may be received into the Colledge: of this schoole, Master Corlett is the Mr.’ In the ‘Errata,’ without any more definite reference, is found this direction: ‘At Colledge, put a colon.’ There is no other place in the tract where the change is so much needed.

    3 New England's First Fruits, p. 13.

    4 Magnalia, Book II., Part i. App. § 27.

    5 Caleb Cheeshahteaumuck, 1665, died 1666.

    6 Plym. Col. Rec., x. 217.

    7 Mass. Col. Rec., IV., part II., p. 406.

    8 Middlesex Court Files, 1860.

    9 The ‘younger’ was Ammi-Ruhamah Corlett, H. C. 1670, who obtained the coveted fellowship, and died 1679.

    10 Harvard College Papers (Mss.), i. 11.

    11 Mass. Col. Rec., IV., part i., p. 397.

    12 Middlesex Court Files, 1660.

    13 John Hancock was elected teacher, Jan., 1690-1; John Sparhawk, Feb., 1692-3; Nicholas Fessenden, Jr., about 1701; Samuel Danforth, Oct., 1719; John Hovey, April, 1730; Stephen Coolidge, May, 1730; John Hovey, May, 1737; Stephen Coolidge, May, 1741; William Fessenden, Jr., May, 1745; James Lovell, May, 1756; Antipas Steward, about 1760; Ebenezer Stedman, Jr., about 1765; Thomas Colman, July, 1770; Jonathan Hastings, Jr., May, 1772; Jonathan Eames, May, 1776; Elisha Parmele, May, 1778; Aaron Bancroft, Aug. 1778; Samuel Kendall, May, 1780; Asa Packard, April, 1783; Lemuel Hedge, July, 1783. All these teachers were graduates of Harvard College. I have not found the materials for a consecutive list at a later period.

    14 Nephew of Nicholas Fessenden, Jr.

    15 There are now engaged in the service of the city three veterans, whose lives have been devoted to this work, and whose terms of service commenced as follows:— Aaron B. Magoun, Harvard Grammar School, 1838. Daniel Mansfield, Washington Grammar School, 1842. Benjamin W. Roberts, Allston Grammar School, 1848. In addition to these should be mentioned Dr. Alvah C. Smith, who was compelled by the failure of his health in 1872 to resign the office of Grammar Master, to which he was elected in 1845. He served the city two years afterwards as teacher of penmanship.

    16 This lot was used for a school-house until 1769; not many years later, a printing office was erected on nearly if not precisely the same spot, which has thus been devoted almost continuously to the cause of literature.

    17 For a copy of these ‘articles of agreement,’ made by him from the original in 1845, I am indebted to John Wingate Thornton, Esq., of Boston.

    18 Coll. Mass. Hist. Soc., VII. 5.

    19 Mr. Gannett declined, and Josiah Moore was substituted.

    20 What is now the City of Cambridge.

    21 Now Brighton or Boston.

    22 Now Arlington.

    23 Concerning this change from the district system to that of regular gradation, Hon. James D. Green, in his Inaugural Address, as Mayor of the City, in 1853, says: ‘I claim for the town of Cambridge the honor of having introduced it into this Commonwealth, and of having carried it to the greatest degree of completeness.’

    24 The first High School-house was on the corner of Windsor Street and Broadway; the second, on Summer Street, between Inman and Amory streets; and the third on the northeasterly corner of Fayette Street and Broadway.

    25 1 Coll. Mass. Hist. Soc., VII. 22, 23.

    26 In a house which stood on the southerly side of Main Street, a few rods westerly from Dana Street.

    27 Notwithstanding this vote, the scholars were not wholly exempt from expense. At a town-meeting, Nov. 28, 1748, it was ‘Voted, that the Grammar Schoolmaster in this town be desired and is hereby empowered to make a tax on every schoolboy, not exceeding six shillings old tenor, from time to time, as there shall be occasion to purchase wood for the use of said Grammar School.’ If not paid, delinquent pupils were to be excluded from the school.

    28 Mr. Samuel Kendall closed his three years service April 10, 1783, having taught the Grammar School more than two years before he graduated at H. C. 1782. He was ordained at Weston Nov. 5, 1783, where he died Feb. 16, 1814. He received the degree of D. D. from Yale College, 1806.

    29 In his Inaugural Address, Jan. 1, 1877, the Mayor says that, with 29 schools, 176 teachers, and 7,554 pupils, the amount expended during the year 1876, on account of schools, was:—

    For General Instruction$159,318.00
    Instruction for Evening Schools5,881.50
    Furniture and Apparatus for Evening Schools2,126.47
    Care and Repair of School-houses32,052.43
    Alterations of School-houses1,636.50
    Books for Indigent Scholars3,166.89
    Stationery, etc., for Schools406.77
    Truant Officers5,500.00

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