Popular Science Monthly/Volume 31/September 1887/Industrial Training Two Centuries Ago
By GEORGE P. MORRIS.
AN Industrial College has just been opened in the city of New York. The State Teachers' Association of New Jersey, at its recent session, devoted some time to the discussion of the question of "Manual Instruction." Almost every one of the current magazines has monthly contributions from prominent instructors, shedding new light upon this question of the coming education. So much in order to prove the timeliness of the following reference to the past.
Thomas Budd arrived in Burlington, New Jersey, in 1678. His father was the Rev. Thomas Budd, at one time rector of the parish of Martock, Somersetshire, England, but who forsook the state Church and became a follower of George Fox, and an ardent Quaker. Arriving in Burlington, Budd immediately assumed the rank of a leading citizen in that wonderful colony of West Jersey. If any doubt the propriety of the adjective wonderful, let them read Bancroft's tribute to the Quakers of West Jersey, and the laws which governed and the habits which distinguished them.In 1683 Budd and Francis Collins were each granted a large tract of land near the Falls of Trenton, "in consideration and in discharge for building the market and court-house at Burlington." In 1684, in company with Samuel Jenings, Budd went to London to confer with Edward Byllinge about the affairs of the province. In 1685 he became a citizen and merchant of Philadelphia. In 1688 his name is found among the petitioners for a bank in that city. In the great controversy between George Keith and the Quakers, Budd espoused the cause of Keith, whose intimate friend he was, and in 1694 went with Keith to England to defend him before the yearly meeting. In 1685 Budd wrote and published "a small Treatise," the title-page bearing the following peculiar inscription and dedication:
Good Order Established
Pennsilvania & New Jersey
Being a true Account of the Country;
By Thomas Budd.
Printed in the Year 1685.
Those that have generous Spirits, whose desires and
Authorities differ as to the place of publication. It is commonly said to have been printed in London while Budd and Jenings were there upon their mission as deputies of the province. Others assert that it was one of the publications of the well-known William Bradford, of Philadelphia, and give reasons why it could not have been printed in London, and why Bradford omitted to insert his name as publisher.
In this treatise Budd describes, first, the physical features of the two provinces East and West Jersey the prevailing social customs; and then, after giving wholesome advice to the farmers, brewers, manufacturers, and tanners, and after outlining a scheme by which public storehouses might be built with profit to the community, and describing the ways by which the industry of flax and hemp might be encouraged, he gives his readers what he deems to be the proper system of education. His conclusion is that, if this system of education is adopted and prevails, then not only will the minds and bodies of the youths be properly developed, but the public and private coffers will be enriched. We quote so much of the treatise as deals with the subject of education. He writes:
years to the publick School, or longer, if the Parents please.
"2. That Schools be provided in all Towns and Cities, and Persons of known honesty, skill, and understanding, be yearly chosen by the Governour and General Assembly, to teach and instruct Boys and Girls in all the most useful Arts and Sciences that they in their youthful capacities may be capable to understand, as the learning to Read and Write true English, Latine, and other useful Speeches and Languages, and fair Writing, Arithmatick, and Book-keeping; and the Boys to be taught and instructed in some Mystery or Trade, as the making of Mathematical Instruments, Joynery, Turnery, the making of Clocks and Watches, Weaving, Shoemaking, or any other useful Trade or Mystery that the School is capable of teaching, and the Girls to be taught and instructed in Spinning of Flax and Wool, and Knitting of Gloves and Stockings, Sewing, and making of all sorts of useful Needle-Work, and the making of Straw-Work, as Hats, Baskets, &c, or any other useful Art or Mystery that the School is capable of teaching.
"3. That the Scholars be kept in the Morning two hours at Reading, Writing, Book-keeping, &c, and the other two hours at work in that Art, Mystery or Trade that he or she most delighteth in; and then let them have two hours to dine and for Recreation, and in the afternoon two hours at Reading, Writing, &c., and the other two hours at work at their several Imployments.
"4. The seventh day of the Week the Scholars may come to school only in the fore-noon, and at a certain hour in the afternoon let a Meeting be kept by the Schoolmasters and their Scholars, where after good instruction and admonition is given by the Masters to the Scholars, and thanks returned to the Lord for his Mercies and Blessings that are daily received from him, then let a strict examination be made by the Masters of the Conversation of the Scholars in the week past, and let reproof, admonition, and correction be given to the Offendors, according to the quantity and quality of their faults.
"5. Let the like Meetings be kept by the School-Mistrisses, and the Girls apart from the Boys. By strictly observing this Good Order, our Children will be hindred of running into that Excess of Riot and Wickedness that youth is incident to, and they will be a comfort to their tender Parents.
"6. Let one thousand Acres of Land be given and laid out in a good place, to every publick School that shall be set up, and the Rent or incom of it go towards the defraying of the charge of the School.
"7. And to the end that the Children of poor People and the Children of Indians may have the like good Learning with the Children of Rich People, let them be maintained free of charge to their Parents, out of the Profits of the school, arising by the Work of the Scholars by which the Poor and the Indians as well as the Rich, will have their Children taught, and the Remainder of the Profits, if any be, to be disposed of to the building of School-houses, and Improvements on the thousand Acres of Land, which belongs to the School."
"The manner and Profits of a Spinning-School in Germany, as it is laid down by Andrew Yarenton in his own words, in a book of his call'd 'England's Improvements by Sea and Land,' take as followeth: 'In Germany, where the Thred is made that makes the fine Linnens, in all Towns there are Schools for little Girls, from six years old and upwards, to teach them to spin, and so to bring their tender fingers by degrees to spin very fine; their Wheels go all by the Foot, made to go with much ease, whereby the action or motion is very easie and delightful. The way, method, rule, and order, how they are governed is: 1st. There is a large Room, and in the middle thereof a little Box like a Pulpit: 2ndly. There are Benches built around about the Room, as they are in Play-houses; upon the benches sit about two hundred Children spinning, and in the box in the middle of the Room, sits the grand-Mistress with a long white Wand in her hand; if she observe any of them idle, she reaches them a tap, but if they will not do, she rings a bell, which by a little Cord is fixed to the box, and out comes a Woman, she then points to the Offendor, and she is taken away into another Room and chastized; and all this is done without one word speaking. In a little Room by the School there is a Woman that is preparing and putting Flax on the Distaffs, and, upon the ringing of a Bell, and pointing the Rod at the Maid that hath spun off her Flax, she hath another Distaff given her and her Spool of Thred taken from her, and put into a box unto others of the same size, to make Cloth, all being of equal Threds. 1st. They raise their Children as they spin finer, to the higher Benches. 2. They sort and size all the Threds, so that they can apply them to make equal Cloths; and after a young Maid hath been three years in the Spinning-School, that is taken in at six, and then continues until nine years, she will get eight pence the day, and in these parts I speak of, a man that has most Children lives best.'"
It will be readily seen that this scheme of Budd's is very like that proposed to-day. What are its striking features? 1. That attendance should be made compulsory. 2. It recognized that education to a great degree should be a preparation for life's struggle. Hence the boy is to receive instruction in that which would most naturally be of use to him; the girl in that which would best fit her for the duties of housewife, never for a moment forgetting the education of the mind. 3. It in a sort recognized, what is now known as the "elective system," be it of mind or hand, for they are to work "at that Art, Mystery, or Trade, that he or she most delighteth in." 4. The necessity of moral and religious training in public schools is asserted. Matthew Arnold has recently reiterated the necessity of this, and no doubt greatly astonished many of his readers, by asserting that he finds to-day, in the public schools of Germany, a recognition of the fitness and propriety of religious instruction and an enforcement of the same, which can not be found either in England or the United States. 5. A fostering policy by the State was urged. How? In the very way that the great public-school system of our land has been established. 6. No distinction was made between the rich and the poor, the Indian's child and the Quaker's child. With a charity that marked everything done by a Quaker, this education was to be the priceless possession of all; with the foresight which was equally characteristic of the Quaker, he prophesied that these schools would be in a measure self-supporting. In the light of to-day was this a false presumption?
Lastly, how significant is the quotation from Yarenton, who is styled by Dove, the "Father of English Political Economy"!—significant, in that it reveals to us the food upon which our colonial statesmen fed; also, because of the index-finger pointing to Germany, from which so many modern educational ideas have sprung.
Whether Budd was the first to suggest this system of co-education of mind and hand in America, we do not know. He certainly must have been among the first. Remembering that he was a colonial statesman of West Jersey growth, this fact assumes added interest, when it is recalled to mind that in all probability the first public schools in this country to establish an industrial department were those of Montclair, New Jersey, and they not until September, 1882, nearly two hundred years after Budd's treatise appeared.