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The Stadtholder was without dignity or manners ; and the Viceroy of the Netherlands consoled himself under all misad ventures by exclaiming, “Eh bien, n'importe, je n'en serai pas
moins le Prince Charles de Lorraine !' It is singular how the greater number of the leading personages of all these courts agreed in one quality, which one should least expect to find in them shyness and awkwardness. One other ruling passion, too, they seem to have had in common-hunting, or rather shooting --pursued with an untiring zeal, great in proportion to the weakness of their understandings.
We will not follow Mr Swinburne through the remainder of his amiable life. He suffered heavy afflictions, which he bore with Christian fortitude. His only son was lost at sea, and the vessel never heard of, on the voyage to the West Indies. Those who have lately suffered by the similar fate of the President, will read the following passage with painful sympathy: • Every day takes away part of our hopes ; there are letters by the Jamaica mail, and arrivals have been received from the Honduras and other parts of the island. They have seen nothing of the unfortunate Babet; so that little hope remains but the chances of capture, which I am afraid would be known before
The Knox family and Colonel Barry give it up for lost. . ! I write illegibly, for my eyes are dim, and every letter appears double. Can it be that the Almighty made my Harry so good, so perfect, and protected him through so many perils, to take him away so early? I cannot believe it, till compelled by . time and circumstances. I will still hope, till hope itself shall • turn to despair. Pray, look among my papers for all his pre* cious letters, and put them carefully together.'
Poor man, he himself soon thereafter paid the great debt of nature! The government gave him the place of Vendue Master at Trinidad, and there his usual alacrity and sight-seeing habits exposed him too frequently to the sun. On the very day before his death, he writes thus— To me, Trinidad is a delightful
climate, and I can ride in its sun, or sit on its waves, with the same unconcern that I did near dear Ischia and Capri. The next day he was dead, struck by a coup de soleil. The concluding lines of his last letter not inaptly shadow forth the lineaments of his character . I am not one of those who think « ill of human nature. I have lost friends, some perhaps by my own fault and want of punctuality ; but others have started up most unaccountably to replace them. One must never be in a hurry to take umbrage, and look upon friends as ungrateful, 6 treacherous, or inconstant. Give them time, they may come round—if they do not, let them go.' VOL, LXXIII. NO, CXLVIII,
We have now performed an agreeable task in bringing this publication, which however is grossly misnamed in its title-page, before our readers. A short and not pleasant duty remains to be performed in respect to its Editor, whose notes and illustrations, we are compelled to say, are, with scarcely one exception, either unnecessary, vulgar, or ignorant; and not unfrequently combine all these qualities. Any thing more silly, more trifling, or more palpably incompetent, we have never seen, even in this age of unscrupulous book-making. We shall trouble our readers with only one exemplification of the incredible blundering of this annotator. Gross as it is, we should have overlooked it, had it stood alone, or been compensated by any other merits ; but it is only a small sample of that ignorance and weakness which characterize the whole of the editorial notes. Mr Swinburne relates his presentation to an old Duchess de la Vallière, who had been a beauty, and not very austere in her youth. Hereupon our editor takes upon himself the edifying defence of her as the renowned and unfortunate Mademoiselle de la Vallière, of the youthful days of Louis Quatorze; and whose grandnephew's widow happened to be the subject of Mr Swinburne's remarks. Mademoiselle de la Vallière would have been only a hundred and forty-three years old at the time Mr Swinburne was writing ; and was dead and buried before this Duchess de la Vallière was born! But we can safely recommend these volumes as amusing and instructive, in spite of the deficiencies of their Editor.
ART. VI-1. First, Second, Third, and Fourth Annual Re
ports of the Board of Education of the State of Massachusetts, with the Reports of the Secretary of the Board for 1837,
1838, 1839, and 1840. 2. Abstracts of the Massachusetts School Returns, 1837, 1838,
1839, and 1840. 3. The Common School Journal of Massachusetts. 3 vols. 8vo,
1837 to 1840. 4. Report of the Committee of the House of Representatives of
Massachusetts on Education, presented on the 7th March 1840.
share of the attention of patriotic minds, than the question, to what extent the government of a country may legitimately prescribe and enforce measures for the universal educa
tion of its people. Prussia exhibits the example of an enlightened government, forcing moral and intellectual cultivation on its subjects, by the unsparing exercise of despotic power. The free institutions of Great Britain render it impossible for us to imitate this example, even although it were proved by reason and experience to be beneficial. In the United States of America, again, we observé a democracy labouring to educate itself, by the application of such means as are consistent with its own principles of rule. We do not propose, at present, to investigate the advantages and disadvantages which attend each of these methods of promoting public instruction ; but we may remark that, as the government of Great Britain wields, to some extent, the concentrated power of that of Prussia, while it acts on elements resembling, in no inconsiderable degree, those of the American democracies, some useful principles of action, applicable to our own country, may be deduced from contemplating both.
The Prussian system has deeply engaged the attention of Europe, but that of America has scarcely received the consideration which its importance, and its closer adaptation to our own circumstances, appear to demand. Many persons believe that there is nothing deserving the name of an organized system of public instruction in operation in the United States; but this is à mistake. It is true, that each commonwealth has adopted a special political constitution suited to its own habits and condition, and that each of them has also instituted particular arrangements for the education of its people; but it is equally certain, that in their general features they bear a close resemblance to each other. Universal suffrage (excluding the coloured race, felons, paupers, foreigners, and persons under twentyone years of age), and annual elections, by ballot, of the members of the popular branch of their legislatures, characterize nearly the whole of the confederated States. In these commonwealths, therefore, the people at large control every social interest, public education included. Moreover, the provisions for education in them all, exhibit such a striking similarity, thắt by examining the system in force in one State, and tracing its details, we shall be able to judge of the general nierits of the whole, and of the relation which they bear to our own wants and condition. On the present occasion, we select as the subject of our scrutiny the common school system of Massachusetts, for the following reasons :—first, Massachusetts is one of the oldest, most enlightened, and civilized of the States ; secondly, It has had a legal system of public instruction in operation for more than two centuries; thirdly, Its system has recently received some important additions; and fourthly, The publications we have named at the head of this article, present us with official information, highly valuable, concerning the past and present effects of its educational arrangements.
The history of education in Massachusetts may be briefly told. From the very infancy of the colony, two grand features stand forth on the statute-book, and which have never undergone repeal or modification ; namely, That the benefits of a common school education should be brought within the reach of every child in the State, however poor; and that the property of the State should support a number of schools sufficient to confer this boon.
The provisions for public school education in Massachusetts are now substantially as follows:- The whole superficies of the commonwealth is laid off into towns,' (or townships, as we should designate them,) each of which is a body politic and corporate, with power to elect officers and levy taxes. There are three hundred and seven of these towns' in the State, which are subdivided into two thousand five hundred school districts. The revised statutes, title x. chapter 23, under the head of Public In
struction, contain an act which prescribes the number of schools that shall be maintained by the towns. Towns containing fifty families are required to maintain a school or schools, for terms of time which shall together be equivalent to six months in each year, in which children shall be instructed in orthography, reading, writing, English grammar, geography, arithmetic, and good behaviour, by teachers of competent ability and good morals.
In towns of one hundred and fifty families or householders, the same kinds of schools, and not less than two, are to be kept for terms not less than nine months each, or three or more schools for terms together equivalent to eighteen months.
In towns of five hundred families, similar schools, not less than two, are to be kept for twelve months each, or three or more such schools for terms together equivalent to twenty-four months; and, in addition to the above, they are required to maintain a school for the benefit of all the inhabitants of the town, ten months at least, exclusive of vacations, in each year; in which the history of the United States, book-keeping, surveying, geometry, and algebra, shall be taught by a master of competent ability and good morals. And if the town contain four thousand inhabitants, the teacher shall, in addition to all the branches above enumerated, be competent to instruct in the Latin and Greek languages, general history, rhetoric, and
The act authorizes the inhabitants to raise money, by taxing themselves, for supporting the schools, and ordains them to appoint committees annually for managing them. It confers on the school committees ample powers over the teachers, scholars, school-books, and subjects to be taught, and imposes on them the duty of visiting the schools. If the parents neglect to supply the children with the school-books prescribed, the committee are empowered to provide them, and to levy the price by a tax on the parents. If they are unable to pay, the tax on them may be partially or totally remitted, and the expense charged to the town. Section 23d enacts, that · The school committee
shall never direct to be purchased or used, in any of the town schools, any school-books which are calculated to favour the 'tenets of any particular sect of Christians.'
The statute prescribes rules for forming school districts,' each of which is authorized to appoint a ' prudential committee,' with a clerk. The prudential committees are empowered to fix the site of school-houses, to raise money for their erection, and for other purposes.
Regulations are prescribed as to the mode of levying the school taxes; and it is declared, that if the inhabitants of a • district' neglect to establish schools, the committee may do so, and that the town' may order the necessary sums to be levied on that district.
It provides also, that where two or more contiguous school districts, in adjoining towns, are too small to maintain schools advantageously in each, they may unite themselves into one, and become corporations for the purposes of maintaining schools, raising money, and appointing committees, as before described.
By section 60th, it is declared, that if any town shall neglect to raise money for the support of schools, it shall forfeit double the highest sum which had ever before been voted for schools therein ; and if it refuse to choose school and prudential committees, it shall forfeit not less than one hundred, nor more than two hundred dollars, to the treasury of the county.
The school committees are ordained to make returns annually to the Secretary of State, setting forth certain prescribed particulars regarding the condition and management of the schools; sufficient to enable the legislature to judge whether the provisions of the law have been duly attended to. If they fail to make returns, the district receives no share in the distribution of the public school fund.
This machinery, more or less modified, has been in operation during two centuries in Massachusetts ; but it will be observed, that although the schools have been supported by taxes levied