BLTC Press Titles

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The Picture of Dorian Gray

Oscar Wilde

The Haunted Bookshop

Christopher Morely

Knowledge of Higher Worlds and its Attainment

Rudolf Steiner

The Worm Ouroboros

E. R. Eddison

Minnesota historical collections

by Adolph Oscar Eliason


Seeing may bo knowing, but only the superficial mind can accept the "dead result'' of our laws or institutions as knowledge of them. The leaven of ''know thyself" must over work through 1 he individual to the conditions which are his.opportunity of \i\id, progressing life. So more and more we seek to understand the historical origin of institutions peculiar to us as a nation, whether they have sprung from necessity, the great mother of invention, or whether we brought the nucleus across the Atlantic, whether they are American or Americanized. Nothing. of our many valued possessions, has been more generally conceded our own. than our system of education. For the sake of a clear understanding of its growth and the laws protecting it. and that our appreciation of results may be the outcome of basic, historical information, not superficial observation, we will venture to trace the derivative and American elements in a system which by its form of support has become, before the world, our own.

While Frederick II. was warring for Jaffa and Jerusalem, and Edward 1. was fighting for the Stone of Scone, the Dutch were establishing at Dordrecht, ten miles from Rotterdam, a Latin School, which was the beginning of State School systems ( founded in 125)0). This school became one of the most famous in northwestern Europe, having frequently six hundred pupils, coming from all parts of the continent. Of the first colonists landing in Massachusetts, one-thirtieth were graduates of Cambridge. Of this number those who had been voluntary exiles in Holland must have

* Read at the monthly meeting of the Executive Council, December 11. 1905. This Address has been published also by the University in a pamphlet (46 pages, 1906). with the following dedication: "To its two presidents. Dr. William W. Folwell and Dr. Cyrus Northrop, whose life work has made the > University what it is. this paper is respectfully dedicated by the Author."

known the Dordrecht School and the laws controlling it. England

had no provision for general education, for two hundred years after

it was thoroughly established in Holland.

Martin Luther in 1524 wrote in a letter to magistrates: •

If there were no soul, no heaven, no future after this life, and temporal affairs were to be administered solely with a view to the present, it would yet be sufficient reason for establishing in every place the best schools, both for boys and girls, that the world merely to maintain its outward prosperity has need of shrewd and accomplished men and women.

At this time, on this basis, the parochial schools of Germany were established. About the same time, John Calvin at Geneva gave a similar system to the Cantons of Switzerland. John Knox, learning from these men, introduced a system of schools in Scotland. This was in the last half of the sixteenth century, fully a hundred years before definite free schools had been established in the American Colonies, Virginia, New York and Massachusetts each claiming a priority in this.

In 1619, three years after the death of William Shakespeare, Sir Edwin Sandys. President of the Virginia Company in England, moved in Parliajnent the grant of 15,000 acres of land for the establishment of a University in Virginia, 10,000 of this to be set aside for an Indian College, the remainder "for the foundation of a seminary of learning for the English." The same year the Bishops of England raised £1,500 for the education of the children of the barbarians in the colony of Virginia. Tenants were sent to occupy the lands, and Mr. George Thorpe, of His Majesty's Private Chamber, came over to be superintendent of the University. This was in 1621. and in 1622 came the Indian massacres. From that time, though efforts were constantly made, moneys raised, and lands granted, nothing was done for sixty years, except on paper, towards the public establishment of schools in Virginia. In 1688 £2,500 ($12,500) were subscribed, by wealthy gentlemen in the colony and their English friends, towards an institution of higher education. Rev. James Blair was sent to England in its interests, and appealed directly to Queen Mary. King William was interested, through her, in the aspiration of the Colony, and they allowed "£2,000 out of the quitrcnts of Virginia." for building the college, which was to be called the College of William and Mary. The English government decided to give 20,000 acres of land and £2,000 in money, with a tax of one penny on every pound of tobacco exported from Maryland and Virginia. To this they added all fees and profits arising from the office of Surveyor General, these fees to be controlled by the president and faculty of the eollege. which gentlemen were to appoint "special surveyors for the counties whenever the Governor and his council thought it necessary." These conditions dating from 1693 had a vivid influence on the-development of the colony, placing the entire land system in the hands of a collegiate land office. After the Revolution and until 1819, one-sixth "of the fees of all public surveyors cont inued'' to bo paid into the college treasury.

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