Page images

been maintained at least three months in each year shall be entitled to receive any portion of such funds.

SEC. 5. The school lands shall not be sold unless such sale shall be authorized by a vote of the people at a general election, but subject to a revaluation every five years; they may be leased for any number of years not exceeding twentyfive, at a rate established by law.

Sec. 6. All money wbich shall be paid by persons as an equivalent for exemp: tion from military duty; the clear proceeds of estrays, ownership of which shall vest in the taker up; and the proceeds of fines for any breach of the penal laws, shall be exclusively applied in the several counties in which the money is fined, or fines collected, to the support of common schools.

SEC. 7. Provision shall be made by law for the establishment, at some eligible and central point, of a State university for the promotion of literature, and the arts and sciences, including a normal and agricultural department. All funds arising from the sale or rents of lands granted by the United States to the State for the support of a State university, and all other grants, donations, or bequests, either by the State or by individuals, for such purpose, shall remain a perpetual fund to be called the University fund,” the interest of which shall be appropriated to the support of the State university.

Sec. 8. No religious sect or sects shall ever control any part of the common school or university funds of the State.

Sec. 9. The State superintendent of public instruction, secretary of state, and attorney general shall constitute a board of commissioners for the management and investment of the school funds. Any two of said commissioners shall be a quorum.

WEST VIRGINIA. Area, 23,000 square miles. Admitted as a State in December, 1862. Population in 1860, 393,234. The constitution, as amended February 18, 1863, has the following:

ARTICLE X.-EDUCATION. SECTION 1. All money accruing to this State being the proceeds of forfeited, delinquent, waste, and unappropriated lands, and of lands heretofore sold for taxes, and purchased by the State of Virginia, if hereafter redeemed or sold to others than this State; all grants, devises, or bequests that may be made to this State for the purpose of education, or where the purposes of such grants, devises, or bequests are not specified; this State's personal share of the literary fund of Virginia, whether paid over or otherwise liquidated, and any sums of money, stocks, or other property which this State shall have the right to claim from all persons who may die without leaving a will or heir, and of all escheated lands; the proceeds of any taxes that may be levied on the revenues of any corporation hereafter created; all moneys that may be paid as an equivalent for exemption from military duty; and such sums as may from time to time be appropriated by the legislature for the purpose, shall be set apart as a separate fund to be called the school fund, and invested, under such regulations as may be prescribed by law, in the interest-bearing securities of the United States or of this State ; and the interest thereof shall be annually applied to the support of free schools throughout the State, and to no other purpose whatever. But any portion of such interest remaining unexpended at the close of a fiscal year shall be added to, and remain a part of, the capital of the school fund.

SEC. 2. The legislature shall provide, as soon as practicable, for the establishment of a thorough and efficient system of free schools. They shall provide for the support of such schools by appropriating thereto the interest of the invested school fund, the net proceeds of all forteitures, confiscations, and fines accruing to this State under the laws thereof, and by general taxation on persons or property or otherwise. They shall also provide for raising in each township, by the authority of the people thereof, such a proportion of the amount required for the support of free schools therein as shall be prescribed by general laws.

Sec. 3. Provision may be made by law for the election and prescribing the duties of a general superintendent of free schools for the State, whose term of office shall be the same as that of the governor, and for a county superintendent of each county; and for the election in the several townships, by the voters thereof, of such officers not specified in this constitution as may be necessary to carry out the objects of this article ; and for the organization, whenever it may be deemed expedient, of a State board of instruction.

SEC. 4. The legislature shall foster and encourage moral, intellectual, scientific, and agricultural improvement; they shall, whenever it may be practicable, make suitable provisions for the blind, mute, and insane, and for the organization of such institutions of learning as the best interests of general education in the State may demạnd.

NEVADA. Organized as a Territory in 1861. Admitted as a State in 1964. Area, 283,500 square miles. Population in 1863, 40,000. The constitution (1864) provides for education in these words :

ARTICLE XI.-EDUCATION. Section 1. The legislature shall encourage, by all suitable means, the promotion of intellectual, literary, scientific, mining, mechanical, agricultural, and moral improvement, and also provide for the election by the people, at the general election, of a superintendent of public instruction, whose term of office shall be two years from the first Monday of January, A. D. eighteen hundred and sixty-five, and until the election and qualification of his successor, and whose duties shall be prescribed by law.

SEC. 2. The legislature shall provide for a uniform system of common schools, by which a school shall be established and maintained in each school district at least six months in every year, and any school district neglecting to establish and maintain such a school, or which shall allow instruction of a sectarian character therein, may be deprived of its portion of the interest of the public school fund during such a neglect or infraction, and the legislature may pass such laws as will tend to secure a general attendauce of the children in such school districts upon said public schools.

Sec. 3. All lands, including the sixteenth and thirty-sixth sections in every township, donated for the benefit of public schools in the act of the thirty-eighth Congress to enable the people of Nevada Territory to form a State government, the thirty thousand acres of public lands granted by an act of Congress approved July second, eighteen hundred and sixty-two, for each senator and representative in Congress, and all proceeds of lands that have been or may be hereafter granted or appropriated by the United States to this State, and also the five hundred thousand acres of land granted to the new States under the act of Congress distributing the proceeds of the public lands among the several States of the Union, approved A. D), eighteen hundred and forty-one: Prorided, That Congress make provision for or authorizes such division to be made for the purpose herein contained ; all estates that may escheat to the State ; all of such per cent. as may be granted by Congress in the sale of land; all fines collected under the penal laws of the State; all property given or bequea hed to the State for educational purposes; and all proceeds derived from any or all of said sources, shall be, and the same are hereby, solemnly pledged for educational purposes, and shall not be transferred to any other fund for any other uses, and the interest thereon shall, from time to time, be apportioned among the several counties in proportion to the ascertained numbers of the persons between the ages of six and eighteen years in the different counties; and the legislatnre shall provide for the sale of floating land warrants to cover the aforesaid lands, and for the investment of all proceeds derived from any of the above-mentioned sources in United States bonds or the bonds of the State: Provided, That the interest only of the aforesaid proceeds shall be used for educational purposes, and any surplus interest shall be added to the principal sum; And provided further, That such portions of said interest as may be necessary may be apportioned for the support of the State university.

SEC. 4. The legislature shall provide for the establishment of a State uni

versity, which shall embrace departments of agriculture, mechanic arts, and mining, to be controlled by a board of regents, whose duties shall be prescribed by law.

Sec. 5. The legislature shall have power to establish normal schools and such different grades of schools, from the primary departinent to the university, as, in their discretion, they may deem necessary; and all professors iu said uni. versity or teachers in said schools, of whatever grade, shall be required to take and subscribe to the oath as prescribed in article sixteen of this constitution. No professor or teacher who fails to comply with the provisions of any law framed in accordance with the provisions of this section shall be entitled to receive any portion of the public moneys set apart for school purposes.

SEC. 6. The legislature shall provide a special tax of one-half of one mill on the dollar of all taxable property in the State in addition to the other means provided, for the support and maintenance of said university and common schools: Prorided, That at the end of ten years they may reduce said tax to oue-quarter of one mill on each dollar of taxable property.

SEC. 7. The governor, secretary of state, and superintendent of public in. struction shall, for the first four years, and until their successors are elected and qualified, constitute a board of regents to control and manage the affairs of the university and the funds of the same, under such regulations as may be provided by law. But the legislature shall, at its regular session next preceding the expiration of the term of office of the said board of regents, provide for the election of a new board and define their duties.

SEC. 8 The board of regents shall, from the interest accruing from the first funds which come under their control, immediately organize ani maintain the said mining department in such manner as to make it the most effective and useful: Prorided, That all the proceeds of the public lands donated by act of Congress approved July second, eighteen hundred and sixty-two, for a college for the benefit of agriculture, the mechanic arts, and including military tactics, shall be invested by the said board of regents in a separate fund, to be appropriated exclusively to the benefit of the first named departments to the university, as set forth in section four above; and the legislature shall provide that if, through neglect or any other contingency, any portion of the fund so set apart shall be lost or misappropriated, the State of Nevada shall replace said amount so lost or mis. appropriated in said fund, so that the principal of said fund shall forever remain undiminished.

Sec. 9. No sectarian instruction shall be imparted or tolerate in any school or university that may be established under this constitution

Organized as a Territory in 1854. Area, 63,300 square

miles. Ad. mitted into the Union March, 1967. Its constitution has the following article on

EDUCATION, SECTION 1. The principal of all funds arising from the sale or other disposition of lands, or other property granted or intrusted to this State for educational and religious purposes, shall forever be preserved in violate and undiminished; and the income arising therefrom shall be faithfully applied to the specific objects of the original grants or appropriations. The legislature shall make such provisions, by taxation or otherwise, as, with the income arising from the school trust fund, will secure a thorough and efficient system of common schools throughout the State; but no religious sect or sects shall ever have any exclusive right or control of any part of the school funds of this State,

SEC. 2. The university lands, school lands, and all other lands which have been acquired by the Territory of Nebraska, or which may hereafter be acquired by the State of Nebraska for educational or school purposes, shall not be aliened or sold for a less sum than five dollars per acre.



FROM LETTERS ON SILESIA, WRITTEN IN THE YEARS 1800 AND 1801.* LETTER XLII.--Schools and Seminaries for the Instruction of Youth in

Silesia-System of Education established by Frederick II. upon the recommendation of Felbiger.

Berlin, March 7th, 1801. I HAVE promised in this letter to give you some account of the institutions in the province of Silesia for the education of youth. The university at Breslau and the academy of nobles at Liegnitz I need not mention, having noticed them in my letters at the time when we visited those places. Besides these, there are what we call grammar schools, where Latin is taught in almost every town of the province, and usually in connection with some church or convent. But the arrangements and regulations of the trivial schools, as they are here called-schools destined for that elementary instruction which ought to be diffused over the whole mass of the people—particularly deserve your attention, because you may, perhaps, as a native of New England, entertain the prejudice, that your own country is the only spot on earth where this object is rightly managed, and where the arts of reading and writing are accomplishments almost universally possessed.

Probably no country in Europe could so strongly contest our preëminence in this respect as Germany, and she, for this honorable distinction, is indebted principally to Frederick II. ; to the zeal with which he pursued the purpose of spreading useful knowledge among all classes of his subjects, and to the influence of his example and of his success even beyond the limits of his own dominions. To enter upon this topic, with the details of which it is susceptible, might, perhaps, not amuse you, and would lead me too far from my subject, I shall, therefore, confine myself to the measures he adopted and the system he introduced in this particular into Silesia.

At the time of his conquest education had seldom been made an object : of the concern of governments, and Silesia, like the rest of Europe, was but wretchedly provided either with schools or teachers. In the small towns and villages the schoolmasters were so poorly paid, that they

• First published in consecutive numbers of the Port Folio, Philadelphia, in 1803, and collected and republished in a volume of 387 pages, in London in 1804. The letter on the School System of Silesia was copied, with commendation as an example to the English Government, in the Edinburgh Review for October, 1804, and in the London Quarterly Journal of Education for January, 1831.


could not subsist without practicing some other trade besides their occupation as instructors, and they usually united the character of the village fiddler with that of the village schoolmaster. Even of these there were so few, that the children of the peasants in general, throughout the province, were left untaught. This was epecially the case in Upper Si. lesia. Frederick issued an ordinance, that a school should be kept in every village, and that a competent subsistence should be provided for the schoolmaster, by the joint contribution of the lord of the village and of the tenants themselves. The superintendence of the schools was prescribed as the duty of the clergy.

But in order that this ordinance might have its due execution, it was necessary to form the teachers themselves properly qualified to give useful instruction. This was effected by the persevering intelligence and zeal of a man by the naine of Felbiger, an Augustine monk, belonging to a convent at Sagan; a man, says a Silesian historian, whom a great part of Germany must thank for a revolution, not less important, though of slower progress and milder character, than that which, two centuries and a half earlier, was accomplished by another monk of the same orderby Luther.

Felbiger, after spending some years at Berlin to obtain a perfect knowledge of the best method of instruction practiced in the schools there, returned to Sagan, and made the convent to which he belonged a seminary for young ecclesiastics and candidates as schoolmasters to acquire the knowledge of the improved mode of teaching. Several other institutions of the same kind were, in due time, established at Breslau, Glatz, and other places, upon his principles, and conducted by persons whom he had formed. To defray the expenses necessary for the support of these seminaries, a fund is raised, consisting of one quarter's salary, which every Catholic curate is obliged to pay upon being first settled in a parsonage.

With each of these seminaries are connected certain schools, where the young candidates for the clerical or teaching office are obliged to attend and observe the practice of the method, the theory of which they learn at the seminaries themselves. The clergy are required, no less than the teachers, to go through this process, because the superintendence over the teachers is intrusted to them. No young man can be admitted to either of the offices without an attestation of his qualification from one of the seminaries.

After all these preparatory measures had been carried into effect, an ordinance was published in the year 1765 prescribing the mode of teaching as adopted in the seminaries, and the manner in which the clergy should superintend the efficacious establishment of the system. The regulations of this ordinance prove the earnestness with which the king of Prussia labored to spread the benefits of useful knowledge among his subjects. The teachers are directed to give plain instruction, and upon objects applicable to the ordinary concerns of life; not merely to load

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »