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August, 1852, and was then terminated by the resignation of his substitute, Mr. Gordon, on account of ill health, while he was himself in Europe, on leave of absence-" and too far away for any extension of his arrangements with the Trustees."
About the time Mr. Means was appointed Principal, commenced that period which he in his Jubilee address so fitly termed the "period of reward" and which succeeded as a "third stage " that long period of economy, which began with Mr. Richardson's administration, and had always continued, until the Lawrence benefactions relieved the institution from further embarrassment.
This period, as we have seen, was not unproductive of good, as the reward of faithful service on the part of the teachers and Trustees. The few thousands of capital given as a state endowment, were well invested. The first age when there were no proper endowments, Mr. Means aptly designated as "the period of faith."
Mr. Means was a near relative by marriage of Mr. Amos Lawrence, and he was made fully acquainted with, and entered heartily into all the plans of renovation and enlargement which had been formed by Mr. Lawrence in relation to the academy. The school buildings were greatly enlarged, the number of teachers was increased, the course of studies was extended, and a large library collected which now numbers over four thousand volumes.
When the first generation of Trustees and teachers had passed, the relative condition of Groton academy, both as to finances and literary rank were not equal to that of the first fifteen or twenty years of the present century. Though the funds were never ample, nor the course of studies extensive, or the amount of instruction great as compared with a first class academy of the present day, yet in the period just referred to, not so much was demanded of such an institution as was required twenty-five years later in consequence of the new impulse then given to the entire system of college education throughout the land, and especially in New England.
Andover, Exeter, the Boston Latin School, and a few other institutions, by reason of ample endowments, were able to keep pace with the onward progress of education. In the meantime the policy of the Commonwealth became entirely changed in respect to academies and colleges.
The patronage so liberally given at the beginning of the century, was withdrawn, and the common school system with its gradations alone received the sympathy of the state, while the theory gradually gained ground among the people, and was frequently advocated in the legislature, that the interests of the local schools sustained by
public tax, and the interests of the higher seminaries established and endowed for the general wants of the community, were in their nature diverse, and in their operations and results antagonistical to each other. Such a theory was disastrous to the welfare of schools of every grade, inasmuch as having a common end in view to subserve the public good, if any class in the entire system of instruction suffers, all the other departments of instruction must also suffer.
It is most evident that the continued operations of those causes of decline here indicated, would ultimately have reduced Groton academy to the present condition of very many of the ancient academies of Massachusetts, which once enjoyed the fostering care of the state, and were supported by the public patronage and sympathy, but which are now little more than local schools, having the same possible ends to accomplish as are embraced in the functions of what is called the high school, in the graded system of local public instruction.
The Lawrence benefactions were received most opportunely to interrupt the farther tendency to localization, and to restore to the institution once more the character of an ancient New England academy, by rendering it possible in the possession of ample funds that the demands of the public at large should be met in relation to a seminary established for universal, and not merely local purposes. Thus a great public want is supplied in adding one more seminary to that grade of schools intermediate between the public local schools and the colleges or universities. With the last class of institutions, a first class academy is in a state of close affiliation and inter-dependence, having a constitution and system of administration almost exactly similar.
To the abundant details in the historical sketches of Mr. Butler and Mr. Means, we must refer our readers for the particular benefactions which have been lavished on this highly favored institution.
We have already referred to the state endowment made in 1797, in the form of a grant of a half town-ship of Maine land. The fund arising from the sale of this land, amounted in 1825, to $7,420. That year a legacy was received from Hannah Brazer, the widow of James Brazer, Esq., which subsequently added to the funds of the academy nearly $3000.
The first donation of Amos Lawrence was made in 1838, and consisted of valuable books and philosophical apparatus. "From this time forward," says Mr. Means, "the gratitude of the board of Trustees, was not allowed to have rest. At first they were met by resolutions of thanks, but during my connection with the school, they became so incessant, that it was impossible to report them. Besides
the repairs of buildings the gift of apparatus and books, the deed of the Brazer estate (amounting with repairs to $5,600,) the establishment of twelve scholarships at Bowdoin, Williams and Wabash colleges for students from this academy, it was my custom, at his request, to report to him the case of indigent students, whose wants he promptly supplied, and whenever I wished urgently for money to pay some teacher, he supplied it. A rough estimate which I made of his benefactions to this academy shows that he expended from twenty-two to twenty-five thousand dollars. And yet not a cent appeared in the productive capital of the Trustees. This was charity without ostentation. His brother William gave more than Amos, and more of that which he gave remains to this day in a productive form. Of more than forty-five thousand dollars provided for the academy by Mr. William Lawrence, forty thousand will remain in the hands of the Trustees for purposes of instruction, i. e., while out of all that was given by Mr. Amos Lawrence not one cent was designed to be or now remains among the cash funds of the academy."
In this connection Mr. Means quoted from the then unpublished correspondence of Mr. Amos Lawrence, the following most interesting extracts, which go to show the noble motives which influenced Mr. Amos Lawrence in the gifts he made to the school.
Of the library he says in one of his letters:
"I trust it will be second to no other in the country except Cambridge, and that the place will become a favorite resort of students of all ages, before another fifty years have passed away."
This library was entirely the gift of Mr. Lawrence, and the books were mostly selected by his own hand.
When he presented a cabinet of medals he wrote as follows:
"I present them to the Institution in the name of my grandsons, Francis William, and Arthur Lawrence, in the hope and expectation of implanting among their early objects of regard, this school, so dear to us brothers of the old race, and which was more dear to our honored father, who labored with his hands, and gave from his scanty means, in the beginning, much more in proportion than we are required to do, if we place it at the head of this class of institutions, by furnishing all it can want."
The principal benefactor of this academy, was Mr. William Lawrence. From the extract already quoted from Mr. Means' Jubilee Address, it appears that he gave, in the form of permanent funds, a sum which will amount to $45,000, when the limit of accumulation has been reached.
Besides this large fund, he gave in 1846, the sum of $5000, for
general purposes. With this sum, the Trustees were enabled to enlarge the academy buildings, to embellish the grounds, and to enclose the entire plot with a very substantial fence, the front side of which was constructed of iron, after a very beautiful pattern. From the avails of this gift, a suitable bell was also purchased for the Institution.
It is not necessary to enlarge respecting the benefactions of Mr. William Lawrence, since a tribute to his character and memory is paid in the present number of this Journal.
In relation to Mr. Amos Lawrence, the "Life and Correspondence," recently published by his son, William R. Lawrence, M. D., will furnish the most abundant illustrations of all that adorned the character of that most excellent lover of his race. Other literary institutions besides the academy of his native town, shared largely in the gifts lavished by his hand.
It is most earnestly desired that the illustrious example of William and Amos Lawrence may be imitated by men of wealth, in the endowment of academies and other higher seminaries of learning in our land.
Such endowments are ever-flowing streams of good to mankind. As memorials, they are more precious than monuments erected to honor great warriors and statesmen. The grateful scholars of New England, shall in every coming age, repeat the names of PHILLIPS, WILLISTON, and LAWRENCE, with "perpetual benedictions."
To make this Journal the repository of the History and Literature of the great subject to which it is exclusively devoted, we shall enrich our pages from time to time with some of the most valuable contributions which have been made in past years by eminent scholars and educators, either in independent treatises, or occasional suggestions, for the improvement of systems, institutions or methods of education. With this view, and because of its large scope and generous spirit, and not because its details are of immediate use, we republish the TRACTATE of John Milton, the most resplendent name for genius and culture, in prose and poetry, in English literature, on the reforming of education, which he deemed "one of the greatest and noblest designs that can be thought on "-" the only genuine source of political and individual liberty, the only true safeguard of states, the bulwark of their prosperity and renown." The design of this essay-first published amid the revolutionary upbreak of English society, in the year 1644-was not to unfold a scheme of general education, necessarily limited and superficial in its course of study, but to map out the vast domain of literature and science, which pupils of ample leisure and fortune, and of the highest industry, and emulative ardor, with teachers of the best learning and genius, could successfully traverse and master. Its aim was far beyond anything attained at that day by the university scholars of England, and its details anticipates reforms in the direction of practical science, which after the lapse of two hundred years, are now likely to be generally introduced into the educational schemes of that country. Its diligent perusal can not but inflame any ingenuous mind " with a love of study and the admiration of virtue," and its precepts faithfully followed, can not but fit men "to perform justly, skilfully, and magnanimously all the offices, both private and public, of peace and war." We can not more appropriately introduce this essay than by an account of Milton's education, principally in his own vigorous and eloquent prose.
John Milton was born in London on the 9th of December, 1608. His father was a man of education and property, and gave his son every facility for acquiring a consummate education. To his mother's excellence of character and deeds of charity, Milton bears willing