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schools in Connecticut. Dr. Trumbull, in the second volume of his history of that State published in 1818, states the number at 1580, according to the best collection he had been able to obtain.” He adds, that, in some of them, there are a hundred scholars or more, and in others not more than twenty." He supposes, that,,“ on an average, they will amount to fifty-five or fifty-six." From the inquiries we have made, we are satisfied that this statement is not far from the truth.? .
The reviewers after a most excellent and elaborate account of the schools, and the means by which part of the large sum annually divided might be advantageously applied to supporting schools of a higher order, conclude with the following admirable remarks, In looking back upon the statements we have thus presented to our readers, one or two remarks are forced upon us. The first regards the noble testimony, borne to the characters of the Fathers of Connecticut, by the laws for the support of schools. To feel the strength of this testimony, we have but to compare their condition with these their efforts to see them, a handful of men, scattered in a few hamlets through the native wilderness, exposed to the most harassing of public dangers, the daily, and nightly dread of a savage foe, and yet enacting laws which should send the Grand Jury twice a year into every family, to see that its children, aye, its apprentices and servants, “ could read the English tongue.”. These are the men to whom our brethren beyond the sea courteously allude, when they say that “ the Adam and Eve of America came from Newgate." How does their conduct and policy contrast with that of the richiest and most powerful nation of the present day! What an apparition would it not be at the English Assizes--a true bill found by the grand jury against the proprietor of a cotton factory in Manchester, for that he had neglected to afford his apprentices“ at least so much learning as should enable them to read the Seriptures, and other good and profitable printed books in the English tongue.” Such a bill would transform even Mr. Brougham into Amicus Curiæ ; and do more to promote the education of the commonalty of England, than all the Bells and Lancasters have done, and all their monitors.' *
These are some of the noble institutions of the Americans for the diffusion of universal instruction. Every State, though it has not made the same exertion as Connecticut, is nevertheless fully aware of the importance of the subject. The new States have made immense appropriations of land, which is all they can do at present. These lands, though as yet of no great value, will eventually be able to support the schools and colleges to the full extent wanted. The wise men of the United States know, that the maintenance of their liberties
* North American Review, April 1823. Art. XXIV.
greatly depends upon having an enlightened population, who are capable of appreciating the advantages they enjoy; for despotism is more strongly supported by ignorance, than by armed thousands.
The law of the United States says: “ All men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences. No man shall be compelled to attend, erect, or support any place of worship, or to maintain any ministry, against his consent. No human authority ought in any case whatever to control or interfere with the rights of conscience—and no preference shall ever be given by law to any religious societies, or modes of worship.”
This law ought to be written in letters of gold on a pillar of marble. It should be recollected that the inhabitants of the United States were the first, and are still the only people, who have thus had the wisdom and courage to proclaim the legal equality of all religions.
Some of the States did not at first adopt so complete a system of toleration ; but they have now all agreed to it. The State of Virginia formerly granted certain privileges to those professing the faith of the Church of England; and it was in order to suppress this injustice, that Jefferson wrote his famous paper upon Religious Toleration.
“ Our rulers," says he, “ can have authority only over such natural rights as we have submitted to them. The Rights of Conscience we never submitted, we could not submit. We are answerable for them to our God. The legitimate powers of Government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others; but it does me no injury for my neighbour to say, there are twenty Gods, or no God. It neither picks my pocket, nor breaks my leg, If it be said, his testimony in a court of justice cannot be relied on, reject it then, and be the stigma upon him. Constraint may make him worse, by making him a hypocrite ; but it will never make him a truer man. It may fix him obstinately in his errors, but will not cure them.
“ Reason and free Inquiry are the only effectual agents against Error. Give a loose to them, and they will support the true Religion, by bringing every false one to their tribunal, and to the test of investigation. They are the natural enemies of Error, and of Error only. Had not the Roman Government permitted free Inquiry, Christianity could never have been introduced. Had not free Inquiry been indulged at the era of the Reformation, the corruptions of Christianity could not have been purged away. If it be constrained now, the present corruptions will be protected, and new ones encouraged.
“ Were the Government to prescribe to us our medicine and diet, our body would be in such