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DEAR SIR:—I have been looking over my old papers and have found the article that I was speaking of to you:
“ Useful Orthographical Rule.—Among the other difficulties of English orthography is the relative position of i and e in the words ending in “ieve' or 'eive,' and both in manuscript and print are seen • believe' and · beleive,' • recieve' and receive,' reprieve' and
repreive.' The writer was somewhat surprised on being told not long since, by a foreign lady who has taught English in Holland, that there was a rule regulating the position of the letters referred to in all such words; and as it was new to him, and so far as he has discovered, new to every one, he thinks it may be useful to give it publicity. When the preceding consonant is a letter which comes after i in the alphabet, e comes after i in the word, as believing'; but when the preceding consonant comes before i in the alphabet, e comes before i in the word, as 6 receive. The rule is invaluable as applied to the class of words referred to, but is not of as general application to words of one syllable having the same vowels in juxtaposition ; thus we have “niece,' ceil,' etc., which conforın to the rule; and chief,' seize,' etc., which do not.” From Christian Witness.
With much respect, very truly yours.
EXTRACT FROM THE ANNUAL REPORT OF THE SCHOOL COMMIT
TEE OF THE CITY OF PROVIDENCE---1865.
FREE SCHOOLS IN MASSACHUSETTS.
In the autumn of 1636, the General Court of Massachusetts, over which body Henry Vane presided, voted four hundred pounds towards the creation of a public “School or College.” This appropriation was equivalent to the Colony tax for a year. Regarded in that light, says Barry, a million of dollars at the present day would inadequately represent it. This was only six years from the first settlement of Boston. “Provision,” to use the language of Palfrey, “ had bardly been made for the first wants of life.-- habitations, food, clothing, and churches. Walls, roads and bridges were yet to be built. The power of England stood in attitude to strike. A desperate war with the natives had already begun, and the government was
threatened with an Antinomian insurrection.” Through and beyond these dark complications of the present, the New England founders looked forward to the great necessities of the future, and cheerfully endured privation and toil, that they might advance human learning, and perpetuate it for the benefit of posterity. The special motive and object of all this are plainly indicated by the motto “Christo et Ecclesiae," on the seal of Harvard College or University, the foundations of which were thus laid.
In the early part of the previous year, provision had been made for instruction in the elementary branches of learning. At a public meeting held in Boston, on the 13th day of April, 1635, so runs the record, “it was generally agreed upon, that our Brother Philander Purmont shall be entreated to become schoolmaster, for the teaching and nurturing of children with us." In 1642, the General Court of the Colony, by a public act, enjoined upon the municipal authorities the duty of seeing that every child, within their respective jurisdictions, should be educated. Five years later, a law was passed making the support of schools compulsory, and education both universal and free. Every town of fifty families was bound to maintain a school, in which children should be taught to read and write; and every town of one hundred families was obliged to maintain a grammar school, the master whereof should be able to qualify youth for the University.
Thus, the early settlers of Massachusetts conceived, and, in their poverty, executed a scheme, which had proved too high for the intellect, and too vast for the power of every previous potentate or people. Universal education, at the public expense, was now inaugurated. On this rock, says the lamented Edward Everett, the infant settlement was laid, and on this it has ever rested. And more than two centuries of successful operation proclaim the firmness of the foundation, and the wisdom and beneficence that planned the structure. Every community in the civilized world awards it the meed of praise ; and states at home, and nations abroad, in the order of their intelligence, are copying the bright example. To her free school system it is mainly owing that Massachusetts, with an area of but eight thousand square miles, without mines or precious metals, with a sterile soil, a cold climate, and a “rock bound coast,” has been enabled to rear and support, within her narrow limits, a population, according to the last census, of nearly a million, being a greater population, in proportion to her size, than that of any other State in the Union ; and this besides sending forth, from year to year, a host of intelligent and enterprising emigrants to people the sunny lands of the South, and the fertile prairies of the West. To this, too, it is mainly owing that, in her political history, in commerce and manufactures, in science, literature and the arts, in statesmanship, in wealth, in efforts to ameliorate the condition of suffering humanity and to improve the human race, in everything that makes and constitutes influence, she has always held the first and foremost rank among all her sister States. True, there are political and moral causes for prosperity, which should not, says Everett, be overlooked. A free popular govtrnment, which extends an equal protection to all; a greater degree of practical equality than exists in any other highly civilized country ; a traditional respect for the law; a good state of public morals; a pervading religious sentiment; these have all been conducive, in a greater or less degree, to the prosperity which Massachusetts, as a State, has so preëminently enjoyed. It need hardly be said, however, that some of these influences owe their existence to the intelligence which education has fostered and diffused in the community, and that all of them operate through that intelligence.
FREE SCHOOLS IN RHODE ISLAND. More than a century and a half elapsed before Rhode Island followed the bright example of Massachusetts, in establishing free public schools. Perhaps there were grave reasons why she should be unwilling to imitate a State from which her founder had been banished, and in which her teachers of religion had been scourged and imprisoned " for conscience sake.” These, however, are matters which it is not necessary to discuss in the present report. Whatever may have been the causes, it is certain that here the people, as a whole, have never been peculiarly favorable to schools or institutions of learning. Providence has manifested more interest in them than the other towns, yet, even here, the record, until within a comparatively recent period, is r.ot especially flattering. It may be gratifying to the public to have the facts pertaining to the origin and early history of our own free public schools, embodied in pamphlet form, for circulation and future reference.
ORIGIN OF FREE SCHOOLS IN PROVIDENCE. In the spring of 1770, the Rev. Dr. James Manning, President of Rhode Island College, now Brown University, removed from the town of Warren and settled in Providence. He found here a population of less than four thousand inhabitants, not a few of whom were unable to write even their names. Whatever efforts had previously been made by the town in behalf of popular instruction, and they may be found recorded in full in Staples' “ Annals,” — schools, at this period, says the late Samuel Thurber, “ were but little thought of," and ignorance and her twin sister, prejudice, generally prevailed. Dr. Manning at once addressed himself to the work of “ enlightening and informing the people,” in which, again quoting the words of Thurber, he “ did great things.” Under his genial and all-pervading influence, schools of various grades were established, the present commodious and elegant meeting house of the First Baptist Church was built, and the forms of worship, especially in his own religious denomination, were greatly improved. For this work he was singularly well adapted by nature, and qualitied both by position and superior culture and attainments. He was himself the Principal of a Grammar or Latin School, in addition to his duties as a College instructor, and for many years, even until the day of his death, he was the Chairman of the School Committee of the town. Through the columns of the weekly press, and by means of private conversation and public addresses, a feeling was awakened, on the part of the people, in favor of popular education. In creating and developing this feeling or sentiment, Dr. Manning was greatly assisted by his friend and associate the Rev. Dr. Enos Hitchcock, Pastor of the First Congregational Church, and for many years a prominent Fellow of the College.
At length, the favorable ti.ne seemed to have arrived for the establishment of free public schools in Providence. At the annual town meeting held on the 6th day of June, 1791, the subject came up in the form of a petition, praying that a sufficient number of schoolmasters be appointed to instruct all the children in town, at the public expense. The petition was read and referred to the School Committee, consisting, besides the Chairman, Dr. Manning, of the Rev. Dr. Hitchcock, the Rev. Joseph Snow, pastor of the Beneficent Congregational Church, the Rev. Moses Badger, pastor of St. John's Church, the Rev. Jonathan Maxcy, then the youthful Pastor of the First Baptist Church, and Messrs. Jabez Bowen, Moses Brown, John J. Clark, David Howell, Theodore Foster, John Dorrance, Welcome Angell and Benjamin Bowen. The consideration of the subject, says the “ Providence Gazette,” was referred to the adjournment, on Monday next, (June 13,);— and the School Committee were requested to report, at that meeting, rules and regulations for the government of such Schools, &c. From the alınost unanimous approbation this important measure received from all quarters, “we anticipate,” says the Gazette, “ with the greatest pleasure, the happy consequences that may be reasonably expected to result from an establishment which will do honor to the town, be of infinite service to the rising generation, and which must interest every humane mind in its final success. We cannot close this article without saying, what we deem it but just should be generally known, that a number of the most opulent gentlemen in town, who will pay largely on this establishment, have interested themselves warmly in its favor.”
At the next meeting, the Committee found themselves unprepared to report in full upon a subject of such vast importance, and again the meeting was adjourned until the first Monday in August. Meanwhile the matter was discussed in the columns of the weekly press, and the advantages of free public schools were fully and ably set forth. In the Gazette for Saturday, July 30, every male inhabitant, and heads of families especially, are requested to lay aside other concerns, “ and attend on the town meeting next Monday, in the afternoon, to consider and decide on the important measure of establishing town schools.” The report presented on that memorable occasion was prepared by Dr. Manning, but the author, alas! was no longer living to advocate, and, by his resistless eloquence, enforce its claims. On the Friday previous to the meeting he had ceased from his earthly toils and labors, after a brief illness of less than a week. We may be pardoned if we introduce here this remarkable report in full, embodying as it does, in clear and decisive language, the great fundamental principles for which the advocates of popular education must always contend, and constituting in reality the CHIEF CORNER STONE of the FREE SCHOOL SYSTEM of Providence.
[TO BE CONTINUED.]
CORPORAL PUNISHMENT IN SCHOOLS. THERE are works of fiction which are valuable addenda to the more ponderous labors of the historian. Such, certainly, are many of Sir Walter Scott's romances. The ever-changing scenes of national life which are pictured in the pages of Robertson and Hume, are illustrated and embellished by the finished figures and home scenes which