Page:Democracy in America (Reeve, v. 1).djvu/89

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the poor was provided for[1]; strict measures were taken for the maintenance of roads, and surveyors were appointed to attend to them[2]; registers were established in every parish, in which the results of public deliberations, and the births, deaths, and marriages of the citizens were entered[3]; clerks were directed to keep these registers[4]; officers were charged with the administration of vacant inheritances, and with the arbitration of litigated landmarks; and many others were created whose chief functions were the maintenance of public order in the community[5]. The law enters into a thousand useful provisions for a number of social wants which are at present very inadequately felt in France.

But it is by the attention it pays to Public Education that the original character of American civilization is at once placed in the clearest light. “It being,” says the law, “one chief project of Satan to keep men from the knowledge of the Scripture by persuading from the use of tongues, to the end that learning may not be buried in the graves of our forefathers, in church and commonwealth, the Lord assisting our endeavours,. . . . .[6]” Here follow clauses establishing schools in every township, and obliging the inhabitants, under pain of heavy fines, to support them. Schools of a superior kind were founded in the same manner

  1. Code of 1650, p. 78.
  2. Ibid., p. 49.
  3. See Hutchinson's History, vol. i. p. 455.
  4. Code of 1650, p. 86.
  5. Ibid., p. 40.
  6. Ibid., p. 90.