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tion is Anthony Benezet. Born, 1713, at St. Quentin in
France, of "an ancient and respectable family" he spent his
early years in France and then in Holland, whither his father
had fled for refuge. 15 A few months were spent in Rotterdam
and the family then moved to London where the father
entered into the mercantile business and retrieved to some
extent his fallen fortunes. This enabled him to give Anthony

"Extracts London Yearly Meeting Minutes and Advices, pub. 1802,

"Necessary for use of missionaries in foreign fields.
"Schools established in England.
"Barclay, Apology, n.
u Vaux, Memoirs of Benezet, 10-11.




In his

early life and

Early Quaker Education in Pennsylvania

a function of
but often
neglected as
such; hence

they must
be educated

sufficient education to qualify him for that business, for
which, however, he seemed to evince but little taste. Being
of a very religious nature, he became a member of Friends at
about fourteen years of age, and in that society found the
field of his whole life's activity, which was chiefly educa-
tional. 16 Considerable space will be devoted to his work in
respect to the education of Negroes, so that will be entirely
omitted in this place. 1 ' He was a voluminous writer, pro-
ducing chiefly tracts and letters, and a great majority of these
have a definite educational bearing. Because of the great
number of them it is impossible really to do them justice,
but an attempt will be made to state a few brief theses for
which he unchangingly stands.

First, education is a religious and social duty. 18 It is
exceedingly interesting to notice that he looks upon education
as in the first place a governmental function, if the govern-
ments of this world were influenced by true wisdom, they would
make the proper education of youth their first and special care; 19
but since governments have neglected to do this, it occurs to
him that it is a service for which Quakers are remarkably well
fitted. It is a service for which the wage is very small and
which secures no return of special social favors for the laborer.
But they, being a quiet people, not wishing to gain great
wealth or to shine in social positions, can find their sphere of
activity in the education of the youthful members of society.

Second, a special care in the education of the poor is urged. 20
This should become the duty and secure the interest of the
well-to-do public spirited man, for if the upper class does not
safeguard it, they cannot be educated. The poor child
represents so much unimproved property, the owner being
unable to improve it, which, if taken over by philanthropists,
may become of some consequence to himself and perform
great services for society at large. Such a movement would,
besides being a great aid to the poor and uneducated, be also
a worthy occupation for those who at present have nothing

16 Vaux, Memoirs of Benezet, 13.

"Chapter on Negro Education, pp. 235f.

18 Letter to Samuel Fothergill. Friends Library, IX, 220.

19 Ibid., 221.

Educational Ideals of Quaker Leaders


but time and money to spend. It would help them to realize
that there is something real in the world, something greater
than wealth and broader than religious denominations. The
heart of Benezet knew no bounds; in his philanthropy he
included all classes.

Third, a definite stand is made for higher standards for

I do not know how it is amongst you, but here any person of tolerable
morals, who can read and write, is esteemed sufficiently qualified for a
schoolmaster; when indeed, the best and wisest men are but sufficient
for so weighty a charge. 21

He endeavors to show that the work of a teacher is pleasant
and should interest a better class of masters than it has in the
past. The experiences of Benezet in the school work were of
most pleasant nature. Not only by his own statement, but
judged also by the accounts given in his memoirs by Robert
Vaux, it seems that he was unusually kind and sympathetic
as a master, which won him the greatest respect of his pupils. 22
The tasks of schoolteaching are only unpleasant when being
performed merely for the sake of the wage obtained. Those
who attempt to teach large numbers for the sake of a large
income find it disagreeable; they form the class of teachers
against whom he would discriminate. 23 Add to these three
principles, his great contribution toward the freedom and
education of the Negroes, his long life of service, and we have
all for which he lived. It is stated that he had no private
life; at any rate it sinks into oblivion in comparison with
his interest and active work in public philanthropies. 24

The educational influence of John Woolman in regard to
Negro and Indian education will be mentioned in another
chapter, 25 but concerning education generally he was equally
outspoken, and being a member of some consequence he was
able to make his influence felt. Like Benezet, he regarded
education as a social duty, both to each individual and to the
community of individuals. This duty could not be per-

n lbid.

^Vaux, Memoirs of Benezet, 15-16.

23 Friends Library, IX, 221.

24 Vaux, Memoirs 105.

25 See chapter on negro education, p

John Wool-
man, his
position in
regard to


Early Quaker Education in Pennsylvania

The responsi-
bility of
tutors and

Tuke, White-
head, Crouch
as advocates
of education

formed by immoral tutors, and schoolmasters, for the pupil
could be made to rise no higher than the master; so the
result would be an immoral society. 26 The responsibility,
in the last analysis, for the right conduct of schools falls upon
the parents. If they are indifferent, nothing can be accom-
plished for the schools, for the whole community is no better
or more insistent in its demands than the individuals con-
stituting it. For this reason he urges individual philanthropy
to come to the aid of the school?, which are badly neglected;
those who possess wealth can do no better, for, as he says :

Meditating on the situation of schools in our provinces, my mind hath,
at times, been affected with sorrow, and under these exercises it hath
appeared to me, what if those that have large estates were faithful
stewards, and laid no rent or interest nor other demand, higher than is
consistent with universal love; and those in lower circumstances would
under a moderate employ, shun unnecessary expense, even to the
smallest article; and all unite humbly in seeking the Lord, he would
graciously instruct and strengthen us, to relieve the youth from various
snares, in which many of them are entangled. 27

If to this list of advocates of education, it is necessary to
add others, mention should be made of Henry Tuke, George
Whitehead, and William Crouch. In defending certain
differences between the Quaker doctrine and that of other
denominations, the former discusses this one, in not consider-
ing human learning essential to a minister of the gospel?* The
reasons adduced are chiefly biblical; the knowledge of human
literature is not recommended by the New Testament as
being necessary for a minister, and this is considered con-
clusive proof. Moreover, it is pointed out that Paul, though
a well educated man, disclaimed the value of his education
for that service, and wished always to appear to the people
as an unlettered man of God. 29 But Tuke goes on to explain
that though it is not essential for a minister, learning is not
unesteemed nor its usefulness slighted. 30 Members are
desired to direct their attention to education, for a right use
of it may promote religion and benefit civil society. 31 That

28 Woolman's Works, 305-6.
28 Tuke, Works, III, 95 ff.
29 Corinthians, Chap. 2:1-5.
s Tuke, Works, III, 95 ff .
* l lbid.


Educational Ideals of Quaker Leaders


the use of Latin and Greek is not decried may be seen in the
work of Penn and Whitehead, who were both scholars, and
whose works are full of classical references and illustrations.
In one instance their chief argument against swearing is
produced from certain references to the works of Socrates
and Xenocrates, pointing out that the Greeks were aware of
a higher "righteousness excelling that of the legal Jews. 32
The same point of view with reference to a knowledge of the
classics is taken by William Crouch, as is understood at once
by this statement:

They acknowledge the understanding of languages, especially of
Hebrew, Greek and Latin, formerly was and still is very useful, yet they
take them not therefore to be necessary to make a minister nor so
profitable as that one unacquainted with them must be styled an idiot,
illiterate and of no authority. 33

Moreover, from various sources one is assured that a classi -
cal education was not abhorred by the Quakers of Philadel-
phia. The work offered in the classical school was for any
one who had the ability to do it and its attainment was
encouraged by Friends. The higher education was for girls
as well as for .boys, as we may judge from reading the journal
kept by Sally Wister (or Wistar), a Quaker girl of the days
of the Revolution. 34 She attended the school kept by
Anthony Benezet,* which was one of the highest class, moral
and literary, and patronized by the best classes of the citizens.
Extracts from her Journal indicate that her education had
not been limited to the mere rudiments, but that she enjoyed
also an elementary knowledge, at least, of Latin and French. 35
This sort of education was clearly not uncommon among
Friends and it was not the object of opposition on their part.
It must, however, be kept in mind that the Quakers never
confused education necessarily with true Christianity. 36
Religion in this life and the salvation of one's soul in the next
was a problem which concerned the poor as well as the rich,
theuntutored as well as the learned. How could the demands

3t The Christian Quaker, 181.
^Crouch, W., Collection of Papers of, 183.
M Wister, Sally, Journal, 13-14.
*Established 1754 (M. P. C. S., I, 117.)

The Latin
School of
contention of
those quoted
the above

36 Phipps, Original and Present State of Man, 90.

Early Quaker Education in Pennsylvania

Education an
asset; but
apt to be

Scheme of
suggested by

to be in
public school
seven years
or more

To receive
in the arts
and sciences
and to learn
a trade

be greater for one than the other; the same tests had to be
met and passed by all, the educated one received no favors
though more might be expected of him. 37 Education was
looked upon as an asset which might be turned to great use
for Christianity, but the lack of it was never a bar to Chris-
tianity. 38 On the other hand, education might easily
become, according to the Quakers' views, a definite hindrance
to Christianity. 39

It would be quite improper in connection with this subject
to fail to mention the scheme, Utopian in that day, which was
conceived in the mind of Thomas Budd, for the development
of a system of education for Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
At the very outset it seems more comprehensive than any-
thing suggested by any other leader, and in fact it embodied
so much that it was quite beyond the limit of expectation for
either of the colonies. Thomas Budd, though not at first a
member of Friends, became convinced of the justice of their
principles and joined the society before the year i678. 40
He was a man of affairs and became greatly interested in the
colonization of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, whither he
soon came as a colonist himself. At that time it was equally
true, as at the present, that if a scheme or undertaking was to
be put through, it must be made as attractive as possible to
the prospector. The attempt to do this called forth a con-
siderable exercise of individual initiative, and one result was
the educational plan outlined by Thomas Budd and published
in Philadelphia in 1685. The details of the scheme as out-
lined are deemed of sufficient interest and importance to
warrant their reproduction here.

1 . Now it might be well if a law were made by the Governors and
General Assemblies of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, that all persons
inhabiting the said provinces, do put their children seven years to the
Public School, or longer, if the parent please.

2. That schools be provided in all towns and cities, and persons of
known honesty, skill and understanding be yearly chosen by the Gov-
ernor 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

37 Phipps, Original and Present State of Man, 65.

"Ibid., 90.

39 Ibid.

"Budd, Good Order Established, p. 9.

Educational Ideals of Quaker Leaders


be capable to understand, as the learning to read and write true English
and Latin, and other useful speeches and languages, and fair writing,
arithmetic and bookkeeping; the boys to be taught and instructed in
some mystery or trade, as the making of mathematical instruments,
joinery, turnery, the making of clocks and watches, weaving, shoemaking
or any other useful trade or mystery that the school is capable of teach-
ing; 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 needlework, and the making of straw work, as hats,
baskets, etc., or 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, bookkeeping, etc., and 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, etc., and the other two hours at work at their
several employments.

4. The seventh day of the week the scholars may come to school only
in the forenoon, and at a certain hour in the afternoon let a meeting be
kept by the schoolmasters and their scholars, where 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 con-
versation of the scholars in the week past, and let reproof, admonition
and correction be given to the offenders, according to the quantity and
quality of their faults.

5. Let the like meetings be kept by the school mistresses, and the
girls apart from the boys. By strictly observing this good order our
children will be hindered from 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 public school that shall be set up, and the rent or income
of it to go towards the defraying of the charge of the school.

7. And to the end that the children of the poor people, and the
children of Indians may have the like good learning with the children
of the 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 dis-
posed of in the building of the schoolhouses and improvements on the
thousand acres of land, which belongs to the school. 41

The author does not claim to be entirely original in his
scheme, having been influenced, he says, by a similar thing

4I Budd, Good Order Established, p. 43 ff.

Eight hours
per day
allotted to
studies and
chosen trade

school work
five and one-
half days
per week;
moral in-
struction on

for girls


for schools

Indians and
the poor to
be educated
free of cost

Early Quaker Education in Pennsylvania

The indus-
trial and
values to be
derived are
pointed out

Scheme to be
by the

points urged
in the

The lack of
mental sup-
port; sup-
plied through
meetings of

described by Andrew Yarenton in a book, England's Improve-
ments by Sea and Land. 42 His chief interest seems to be in
the benefit to be derived for the commercial life of the
colonies, and for that reason there is accordingly a great
stress on the industrial education. By this introduction of
the industrial schools, spinning for example, in the larger
cities and the preparation of children at an early age for
participation in that great occupation, the production of
linen cloth could be made equal not only to the domestic
demands but also a considerable margin for the foreign
trade. 43 It is pointed out that the colonial consumer pays
twice as much for his purchase as its cost of production in
France or Germany, and that he pays this extra cost into the
coffers of the English merchants. This profit should accrue
to the home merchants.

The educational and also the industrial scheme is to receive
the backing of the colonial government. It is recommended
that laws be passed for the encouragement of linen manufac-
turers and that farmers "that keep a plow" should sow an
acre of flax and two of hemp, with which to supply the manu-
facturers. 44 Educational support by the government was not
secured, as is amply evidenced by the unsurpassed develop-
ment of private and parochial schools of all denominations.
The churches were the sponsors for education. It is worthy
of note, however, that the elements emphasized by Budd, (i)
education in the arts and sciences for all those capable of it,
(2) industrial education for a trade for every one, (3) moral
and religious training, and (4) equal educational opportuni
ties for poor and rich or otherwise unfavored classes, are the
same as those urged officially by the Quakers. 45

Far from receiving governmental support, it was necessary
that the schools be supported by individual or small group
enterprise. The society recognized this, and it is stated in
the organization of the church that the duty of the monthly
meeting is to provide for the subsistence of the poor and for
their education. Furthermore it is recommended that all

^Budd, Good Order Establishsd, p. 43ff.
*Ibid. "Ibid.

K Ibid. Friends Library I, 435.
^Summary of Doctrines of Friends, 23-24.

Educational Ideals of Quaker Leaders


special bequests of Friends be kept as a distinct fund for the
purpose originally intended by the donor, and that if expended
for any other purpose, it must be again made up by the
quarterly meeting. 47 One of the most frequent uses desig-
nated, judging from the records, seems to have been the
educational. 48

The reader may have perused the foregoing pages with
more or less interest; a curiosity may have been aroused
concerning the present-day attitude of Friends, educationally.
Have they experienced any considerable change? The insti-
tutional evidences of their continued interest are familiar
enough to the educationist. But what is the attitude within
the schools : Is instruction stiff and more formal there than
in the public school?, and what can be said of the progress
among the teachers? To answer all of these questions and
similar ones is not the purpose of this present work. And in
the following excerpt, taken from an expression drawn up by
a body of teachers, it is not hoped to find conclusive proof of
this or that, but perhaps it may be taken as a fairly reliable
indication of the present professional attitude.

The teachers' subjects are not Mathematics, nor Latin, nor Scripture,
nor Quakerism they are boys and girls. The information imparted is,
in a sense, a minor matter: the growth of the mind that assimilates
it is all-important growth in keenness, efficiency and power.

To the Society at large we would put forward this view that the
principles urged above are deserving of careful consideration in making
any forward move. The quality of the teaching given in our schools is
in a measure in the hands of Friends; they have raised admirable
buildings in many places these are a small matter compared with the
character of the staff. The freedom of the teacher, which is in indis-
pensable condition of excellence is a gift they can grant or withhold.
And that we who are responsible for the term of school life may have
the best chance and the best reward, we would press upon Friends the
need of laying foundations and awakening interest in the days of child-
hood, and of turning to best account the powers of those who go forth
from our schools. 49

"Friends Library, 1, 135 ; Accounts of expenditures from the J. Walton
Fund, II, p. i. (Richland Monthly Meeting.)

Have Quaker
schools kept
pace with
the public?

The pupil
as an

to be

and their

"Religious Instructions in Our Schools. No. 9 of a vol. of pamphlets.

Early Quaker Education in Pennsylvania

of Cox's

of points
by certain


This chapter treats of the attitude of Friends towards educa-
tion. At the beginning there is presented a criticism of
S. H. Cox, which is a concrete example of the type of criticism
referred to in these pages. Following thi r there are presented
the educational views of several Friends, Penn, Barclay,
Benezet, Woolman, Whitehead, Crouch, Tuke, and Thomas
Budd, in order that the readei may judge of the truth or error
presented in the criticism. The chief points made in Cox's
criticism are: (i) hostility of the Quaker system to classical
education, (2) general hostility of the Friends to colleges and
seminaries of learning, and (3) that the "light within" was
sufficient without any education.

From the material next presented it is shown that: (i) Penn
recommended both practical and higher education, (2) useful
arts and sciences are recommended to be taught in public
schools, (3) the classics were introduced a? a part of the
curriculum in the Penn Charter School, and also in other
schools established by the society, (4) Barclay explains that
the society holds a classical education not absolutely neces-
sary for a minister, though it is useful, (5) the learning of
languages is recommended by the London Yearly Meeting,
(6) education is advocated by Benezet as a religious and
social duty; the education of the poor and unfortunate
classes and races is urged; a higher education for school-
masters is recommended, (7) Woolman urges the education
of Negroes and Indians as a social duty; the responsibility
is placed on the individual, (8) Crouch states that Hebrew,
Greek, and Latin are recognized as useful and are not opposed
when taught for that purpose, (9) Budd, one of the early
Quakers in Pennsylvania, introduced a very comprehensive
and Utopian scheme for (a) industrial education and (6)
higher education, proposing to organize it under the control
of the General Assembly, and (10) indications are that
progress, within the teaching body in Friends' institutions, is
quite comparable with that of other institutions, though there
is no attempt to produce conclusive evidence either to that
effect or the contrary.



On ye 27th day of October, 1682, arrived before ye Towne of New
Castle from England, William Penn, Esqe., whoo produced twoo deeds
of feofment for this Towne and twelve myles about itt, and also for ye
twoo lower counties, ye Whoorekills and St. Jones's wherefore ye said
William Penn received possession of ye Towne ye 28th of October, 1682. 1

It is probable that Penn reached Philadelphia in the latter
days of October or the early part of November, 2 though no
student of Philadelphia history has yet been able to settle the
question of the day absolutely. Tradition says he came up
the river in an open boat and landed at the landing on Dock
Street near the new tavern, the Blue Anchor, which had just
been erected by George Guest, a Quaker. 3 The formal cere-
mony of transferring the territory which had been arranged
between Penn and the Duke of York before leaving England, 4
was accomplished with the Duke's commissioners, Moll and

Online LibraryThomas WoodyEarly Quaker education in Pennsylvania → online text (page 4 of 28)