Abbildungen der Seite

like many others, was not long observed; for I find by a minute of December 14, 1756, that the examination of the schools by the trustees had been long neglected, and it was agreed that it should thereafter be done on the first Monday in every month; and yet, notwithstanding this new rule, the neglect returned, so that we are informed, by another minute of January 13, 1761, "that for five months past there had not been one meeting of the trustees." In the course of fourteen years several of the original trustees, who had been disposed to favor the English school, deceased, and others not so favorable were chosen to supply their places; however, it appears by the minutes, that the remainder had sometimes weight enough to recal the attention of their colleagues to that school, and obtain acknowledgments of the unjust neglect it had been treated with; of this the following extracts from the minutes are authentic proofs, viz.— "Minute Book, vol. i. February 8, 1763.—The state of the English school was taken into consideration, and it was observed that Mr. Kinnersleys time was entirely taken up in teaching little boys the elements of the English language (this is what it dwindled into, a school similar to those kept by old women, who teach children their letters); and that speaking and rehearsing in public were totally disused, to the great prejudice of the other scholars and students, and contrary to the original design of the trustees in the forming of that school; and, as

this was a matter of great importance, it was particularly recommended to be fully considered by the trustees at their next meeting."—At their next meeting it was not considered; but this minute contains full proof of the fact, that the English education had been neglected, and it contains an acknowledgment that the conduct of the English school was contrary to the original design of the trustees in forming it.

In the same book of minutes we find the following, of April 12, 1763:—" The state of the English school was again taken into consideration, and it was the opinion of the trustees that the Original Design should be prosecuted, of teaching the scholars (of that and the other schools) the elegance of the English language, and giving them a proper pronunciation; and that the old method of hearing them read and repeat in public, should be again used. And a committee was appointed to confer with Mr. Kinnersley, how this might best be done, as well as what assistance would be necessary to give Mr. Kinnersley to enable him to attend this necessary service, which was indeed the Proper Business of his professorship."

In this minute, we have another acknowledgment of what was the original design of the English school; but here are some words thrown in to countenance an innovation, which had been for some time practised. The words are, (and the other schools) "originally by the constitutions, the rector was to teach the Latin scholars their English; the words of the constitution are, 'The rector shall be obliged, without the assistance of any usher, to teach twenty scholars the Latin and Greek languages, and the English tongue.'" To enable him to do this, we have seen that some of his qualifications indispensably required, were, his polite speaking, writing, and understanding the English tongue. Having these, he was enjoined on all occasions consistent with his other duties, to assist the English master in improving the boys under his care; but there is not a word obliging the English master to teach the Latin boys English. However, the Latin masters, either unable to do it, or unwilling to take the trouble, had got him up among them, and employed so much of his time, that this minute owns he could not, without farther assistance, attend the necessary service of his own school, which, as the minute expressly says, " was indeed the proper business of his professorship."

Notwithstanding this good resolution of the trustees, it seems the execution of it was neglected, and the public not being satisfied, they were again haunted by the friends of the children with the old complaint, that the original constitutions were not complied with, in regard to the English school. Their situation was unpleasant. On the one hand, there were still remaining some of the first trustees who were friends to the scheme of English education, and these would now and then be remarking that it was neglected, and would be moving for a reformation; the constitutions at the same time staring the trustees in the face, gave weight to these remarks. On the other hand, the Latinists were combined to decry the English school as useless. It was without example, they said, as indeed they still say, that a school for teaching the vulgar tongue, and the sciences in that tongue, was ever joined with a college, and that the Latin masters were fully competent to teach the English. I will not say that the Latinists looked on every expense upon the English school as so far disabling the trustees from augmenting their salaries, and therefore regarded it with an evil eye; but when I find the minutes constantly filled with their applications for higher wages, I cannot but see their great regard for money matters, and suspect a little their using their interest and influence to prevail with the trustees not to encourage that school. And indeed the following minute is so different in spirit and sentiment from that last recited, that one cannot avoid concluding that some extraordinary pains must have been taken with the trustees between the two meetings of April 12, and June 13, to produce a resolution so very different, which here follows in this minute, viz. "June 13,1763. Some of the parents of the children in the academy having complained that their children were not taught to speak and read in public, and having requested that this useful part of education might be more attended to,


Mr. Kinnersley was called in, and desired to give an account of what was done in this branch of his duty; and he declared that this was well taught, not only in the English school, which was more immediately under his care, but in the philosophy classes, regularly every Monday afternoon, and as often at other times as his other business would permit. And it not appearing to the trustees that any more could at present be done, without partiality and great inconvenience, and that this was all that was ever proposed to be done, they did not incline to make any alteration, or to lay any farther burthen on Mr. Kinnersley." Note here, that the English school had not for some years preceding been visited by the trustees. If it had, they would have known the state of it without making this inquiry of the master. They might have judged, whether the children more immediately under his care, were in truth well taught, without taking his word for it, as it appears they did. But it seems he had a merit, which, when he pleaded it, effectually excused him: he spent his time when out of the English school in instructing the philosophy classes who were of the Latin part of the institution. Therefore they did not think proper to lay any farther burthen upon him.

It is a little difficult to conceive how these trustees could bring themselves to declare, that "No more could be done in the English school than was then done, and that it was all that was ever

« ZurückWeiter »