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which they might be provided for. Five gentlemen attended the meeting. They were all discouraged but Nathan Guilford. He was resolved that the few present should not shrink from service, and at his suggestion the meeting was organized. Mr. Guilford then moved that a committee be appointed, to report at an adjourned meeting. The motion prevailed, and Mr. Guilford was appointed to prepare the report. When the time set for the adjourned meeting arrived, three gentlemen assembled at the council-chamber—the president, the secretary, and Mr. Guilford. The expected report was ready. It recommended a special law for Cincinnati; set forth what ought to be its leading features ; and forcibly argued the growing necessity for free schools for all the children of the city. The report was unanimously adopted. It was then signed by the officers of the meeting, and a petition, praying that the general assembly would give it respectful attention, was industriously circulated: Robert T. Lytle and Elijah Hayward then represented Hamilton county in the general assembly. When they received the report, its suggestions were prayed for by a large number of the most influential of their constituents. A bill was immediately presented by Mr. Lytle; and, without formidable opposition, became a law. It authorized the city council to levy a tax, and provided for local school-directors. The law read, however, "the city council may tax." An indignation meeting was held, in which the legislators for Hamilton county were severely condemned "for increasing the burden of taxation.” Several large property-holders opposed the execution of the law with bitterness; and, for one year, the city council took no action respecting it.
Nathan Guilford then announced himself as a candidate for election in the city council. Other candidates " came out on the school question,” and an exciting canvass was the result. The friends of common school progress triumphed.
At the first session of the new council, Nathan Guilford proposed a tax of one per cent. This proposition was met with scorn; but Mr. Guilford calmly presented the reasons why, in his judgment, such a tax was required, and the levy was ordered. By that tax common schools were supported one year. When it was understood that free schools would be regularly open, a new difficulty met the school officers. There were no school-houses. The schools had to be kept in the basements of churches, and in dilapidated tenements, which could be rented cheap. Mr. Guilford brought an ordinance before council, proposing a loan of $40,000, to be obtained on bonds runping twenty years, bearing interest, to meet which a tax of one mill was suggested. This measure was adopted, after fair discussion, during which amendments, designed to divide the school-men, were
frequently offered. The money was obtained in Philadelphia, and the first school-house site was purchased. It was on Race street, near Front. A substantial building was immediately erected, and free schools were then fairly established in Cincinnati. But the peo ple did not yet take general interest in their prosperity. Mr. Guilford felt the necessity of directing public attention to the free school movement; and, upon consultation with a few citizens, determined that a procession of the school-children, with music and banners, should march through the principal streets. He suggested this idea to the teachers. Without exception they declined to participate, alledging that such a demonstration would signally fail of the object desired, and that all who took part in it would be severely ridiculed. Mr. Guilford, however, went quietly on with his preparations; and when he declared that the demonstration would, at all hazards, be made, the teachers reconsidered their resolution and informed him that they would co-operate. Mr. Guilford then applied to council for a small appropriation, to purchase banners and provide music. His application was rejected. He ordered banners at his own expense, engaged a band of music, and employed all the sextons of the city to ring the bells of the churches which they attended, at ten o'clock on the morning of the day appointed for the demonstration.
The heavens were propitious. Many children, who had been instructed to appear in their best clothes, and who anticipated a happy holiday, looked up gladly to the clear sky when they arose, on the morning set apart for the first common school celebration in Cincinnati. At ten o'clock the church-bells began to ring-groups of schoolchildren then crowded the sidewalks, on their way to Broadway, where the procession was to be formed. There they were met by a band of music; each school was presented with a banner, on which was an appropriate motto; and all were marched in line to Fourth street, Nathan Guilford and Calvin Fletcher leading the procession. The scene was novel. The ringing of the church-bells—the hurrying along the streets of hundreds of well-dressed children--the lively strains discoursed by the band-all had contributed to awaken the people of the city to a clear sense of the fact that an unusual demonstration was to be made, and Fourth street was crowded with curious, expectant people. The procession marched to the corner of Fourth and Main streets, where the children were conducted into the Presbyterian church, (the first edifice for religious services erected in Cincinnati.) Every portion of the large assembly-room was immediately crowded. Rev. Joshua L. Wilson, the pastor, invoked the blessing of God upon the children assembled, and upon the cause, to promote which they had been gathered together. Addresses were delivered by Mr. Guil.
. ford and by Rev. Mr. Robinson—the band played several lively tunes—the children were delighted—and all the people were given fit occasion to talk about the common schools. The newspapers the city all spoke in high praise of the demonstration and its effect; and from that day dates the interest in popular education which has made Cincinnati distinguished among the cities of our country for liberal and thorough free schools.*
Having secured good feeling for the schools, Mr. Guilford next gave his attention to the improvement of text-books. He prepared an - Arithmetic, which was for many years almost universally used; and he published a revised edition of Webster's Spelling-book, improving it, as his friends have claimed, in many important particulars, which have since been recognized in other spelling-books.
Mr. Guilford, having mainly given up the practice of the law, was engaged in Cincinnati, as a bookseller and publisher, the greater portion of the time between 1825 and 1843. He then started the “Daily Atlas,” a Whig journal, of which he was chief editor and proprietor until 1847. In 1849, a law was passed authorizing the Cincinnati Board of School Visitors to elect a superintendent of the city schools. Mr. Guilford was chosen. His health had become impaired, but he gave the best energies he could command to a work which enlisted the warmest emotions of his heart. He continued in office till 1852, when he was elected to the office of local magistrate. He was an active friend of the movement by which the Hughes High School, in 1847, and the Woodward, in 1852, were opened, under the auspices of the Cincinnati School Board; and in numerous other good works, of which we have not sufficient data to give particulars, manifested those noble characteristics which his common school labors so emphatically evince-characteristics which will associate his inemory, through all the history of Ohio, with one of her proudest and most-to-be-cherished institutions.
Mr. Guilford died in the sixty-ninth year of his age, December 18th, 1854, lamented as an invaluable citizen, a philanthropist, and an exemplary husband and father.
Mr. Guilford was a tall, compactly-built man. His face was strongly marked, in his later years, with lines which showed that he had been a severe thinker and an earnest worker.
* In his first report as superintendent of schools, (1837,) Samuel Lewis said the only free schools in Ohio were in Cincinnati.
XVI. PUBLIC INSTRUCTION IN NORWAY.
By HARTVIG NISSEN, Educational Councillor.
I. PRIMARY OR DISTRICT SCHOOLS.
Norway has an area of about 5,750 square miles, whereof about twofifths are unfit for any sort of cultivation, while of the remaining threefighs, large tracts are covered with scanty wood, and scarcely fifty geographical miles are cultivated in corn-fields.
There are in Norway about 1,400,000 inhabitants. Of these about 180,000 dwell in the larger or smaller towns, while the remaining 1,220,000 are spread over the country districts. Generally, only one family dwells in each separate farm-house or cottage, and the distances of these houses or cottages from each other are, in many parts of the country, so great that it is not possible to bring together in any one spot a sufficient number of children to form a school. Herein lies an essential impediment to the satisfactory organization of the system of schools in the country districts of Norway. A sort of coercive or compulsory system, as regards the education of children, has been in operation, according to the Norwegian law, since 1739. The parents and guardians of every chiid are under a legal obligation to instruct, or cause the child to be instructed, in those elementary branches of education which are usually taught in the district schools. Although the law does not usually bind parents to send their children to any school properly so called, and still less to any public school established by the state, yet the result is the same as if it did so as regards the great majority of the lower classes, who are unable and have not time to instruct their children, nor means to pay for their children's instruction in private schools or by private teachers, especially in the country districts, where, as a matter of course, cheap private schools can not exist together with the public schools. The time during which children must either go to school or receive instruction at home, begins in the seventh or eighth year of their age, and ends at the period of their confirmation, which usually takes place when they are fourteen or fifteen years old. The number of children in the country districts, who are thus under the conditional obligation of going to school, may be taken to be about 198,000, of whom about 4,000 may be supposed to receive instruction either at home or in the higher public or private schools. In the towns the number of such children is about 25,000, of whom about 6,000 may be supposed to receive instruction in private or in the higher public schools. The number of the above-named children attending the
district schools may thus be estimated at about 213,000, while the number of those not attending the district schools may be taken to be about 10,000.
The state having thus imposed on parents a duty which they would not usually be able to fulfill, unless there existed, at proper intervals throughout the country, schools to which the children could be sent to obtain the instruction required by the law, it has also, by the same law, imposed on every district (in the country on every parish) the duty of establishing a sufficient number of such schools. It must be remarked that every town forms one municipality, and so does also every parish in the country, a certain number of towns and parishes forming one higher municipal body, called an “Amt" (county), of which there are eighteen in the whole country. This duty is, on account of the local peculiarities of the country above described, connected with great difficulties; and most places have hitherto been forced to make shift with very scantily endowed schools, where instruction is imparted only during a short time in the course of the year.
The schools in the country districts are divided into stationary or permanent, and circuit or itinerating schools. Every stationary school is attached to the nearest surrounding district, the children of which (as before mentioned) must go to the school, unless their parents provide in another manner for their receiving the instruction prescribed by law. The distance which the children have to go to such a school is usually not more than a quarter of a Norwegian mile, or about two English miles; sometimes, however, it is as much as four English miles. Every stationary school has its house, comprising a school-room and an apartment for the master. Every master at a stationary school has, moreover, besides his salary (which on an average can be reckoned at about 90 sp. drs. *), a free lodging, and a certain portion of land for his own use. The number of stationary schools in the country districts is estimated to be about 380, and the number of children who attend them about 24,000; there are thus, on an average, 63 children to each school. The time of instruction is from 16 to more than 40 weeks in the year; on an average it is about 30 weeks or 180 days in the year. As most of the pupils of these schools are divided into two classes, which attend school on alternate days, each pupil has on an average, opportunity for receiving instruction 90 days in
The majority of the children belonging to the country population attend the circulating or itinerant schools. Every parish, which usually contains several churches, with their separate church districts, is divided into school districts. Every such school district not possessing one of the above described stationary schools, is again subdivided into several “Roder" (sections or circuits), the children of each of which attend the school together. Thus, although the whole district only has one teacher, there are in reality as many schools as there are sections or circuits in each
* One pound sterling is equal to four specie dollars and a half.