The Civil War in North Carolina

Reminiscences and Memoirs of North Carolina and Eminent North Carolinians

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        A writer in the Raleigh Observer, says of education in the colony of Carolina: "McMaster's History of the People of the United States, is a work which has met with a very favorable reception from the public. But it would be remarkable if a work of that nature should not have here and there some coloring to which just and reasonable exception might well be taken. And so we are not surprised to find that what McMaster says of education in the Southern colonies, has met with a warm reply. Indeed it is not strange that Northern writers deal unfairly by the South, because Southern men have hardly dealt justly with her themselves. They have not put the facts on record. We ourselves have therefore been somewhat to blame. But yet that does not excuse a writer of history for taking it for granted that things do not exist merely because he has no information of them. McMaster is quoted as saying in his history: "In the Southern States, education was almost wholly neglected, but nowhere to such an extent as in South Carolina. In that colony prior to 1730, no such thing as a grammar school existed. Between 1731 and 1776, there were five. During the Revolution there were none. Indeed if the number of newspapers printed in any community may be taken as a guage of the education of the people, the condition of the Southern States as compared with the Eastern and Middle, was most deplorable. In 1775 there were in the entire country, thirty-seven papers in circulation. Fourteen of them were in New England, four in New York, and nine in Pennsylvania; in Virginia and North Carolina there were two each, in Georgia one, in South Carolina three. The same is true of to-day."

        Mr. McCrady, of Charleston, has replied vigorously on behalf of South Carolina, and we trust that some one will likewise compile the statistics of schools in the colony of North Carolina, and give them to the public. In the meantime we will contribute our mite. It is true that there were but few towns in this colony--and that rendered impossible the village schools which existed in England, and which came naturally enough in the thickly settled parts of Massachusetts. But education was not wholly neglected. Gentlemen living in the country had tutors for their children, and there doubtless were schools in the more thickly settled neighborhoods, of which no record now exists. There was higher education and that is an evidence of the existence of grammar schools. On the Cape Fear it seems to have been the custom from 1740 to the Revolutionary War to send the young men to Boston. We have heard that Mr. William Hill, the father of Hon. William Hill, came from Boston to the Cape Fear to attend the wedding of one of his classmates. This was before 1750. He remained on the Cape Fear and married there. A will in our possession, dated 1735, directs the education of the testators's children, and says that they shall be taught French--"perhaps some Frenchman on the Peedee might be engaged." We think it was the general practice in that section to patronize Boston rather than England, although we remember to have heard a tradition, that a vessel carrying a considerable number of young men to England to finish their education, was lost at sea. Foote says that in 1760, Rev. James Tate opened at Wilmington, the first classical school ever taught there. At that time Wilmington could have had but a few hundred inhabitants. There were chartered academies at Edenton and at New Berne; but this does not signify that grammar schools were lacking wherever the population was sufficient to justify them. That there were not more chartered academies was doubtless due to the fact that the Royal governors insisted on a clause in the charters requiring "the masters" to belong to the established church and giving the governor power to appoint them. That was the settled policy--to extend the influence of the established church, and as it was distasteful
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