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No. CXXVIII.

Extract from an Account of the Parish Schools in Scotland. By James Currie, M. D.

By an act of the King (James VI.) and Privy

Council, of the 10th December 1616, it was recommended to the bishops to deale and travel with the heritors (landed proprietors) and inhabitants of the several parishes in their respective dioceses, towards the fixing upon some certain, solid, and sure course" for settling and entertaining a school in each parish. This was ratified by a statute of Charles I. (in the year 1633,) which empowered the Bishop, with the consent of the heritors of a parish, or of a majority of the inhabitants if the heritors refused to attend the meeting, to assess every plough of land (that is every farm in proportion to the number of ploughs upon it) with a

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certain sum for establishing a school. This was an ineffectual provision, as depending on the consent and pleasure of the heritors and inhabitants. Therefore a new order of things was introduced by an act passed in 1646, which obliges the heritors and minister of each parish to meet and assess the several heritors with the requisite sum for building a school-house, and to elect a school-master, and modify a salary for him in all time to come. The salary is ordered not to be under one hundred, nor above two hundred merks, that is, in our present sterling money, not under 5l. 11s. 11⁄2d. nor above 11l. 25. 3d.; and the assessment is to be laid on the land in the same proportion as it is rated for the support of the clergy, and as it regulates the payment of the land tax. But in case the heritors of any parish, or the majority of them, should fail to discharge this duty, then the persons forming what is called the committee of supply of the county (consisting of the principal landholders) or any five of them, are authorised by the statute to impose the assessment

instead of them, on the representation of the presbytery in which the parish is situated. To secure the choice of a proper teacher, the right of election of the heritors, by a statute passed in the year 1693, is made subject to the review and control of the presbytery of the district; who have the examination of the person proposed, committed to them, both as to his qualifications as a teacher, and as to his proper deportment in the office when settled in it. The election of the heritors is therefore only a presentment of a person, for the approbation of the presbytery; who, if they find him unfit, may declare his incapacity, and thus oblige them to elect anew.

The legal salary of the school-master was not inconsiderable at the time it was fixed; but by the decrease in the value of money, it is now certainly inadequate to its object; and it is painful to observe, that the landholders of Scotland resisted the humble application of the schoolmasters to the legislature for its increase a fcw years ago. The

certain sum for establishing a school. This was an ineffectual provision, as depending on the consent and pleasure of the heritors and inhabitants. Therefore a new order of things was introduced by an act passed in 1646, which obliges the heritors and minister of each parish to meet and assess the several heritors with the requisite sum for building a school-house, and to elect a school-master, and modify a salary for him in all time to come. The salary is ordered not to be under one hundred, nor above two hundred merks, that is, in our present sterling money, not under 5l. 11s. 11⁄2d. nor above 11l. 2s. 3d.; and the assessment is to be laid on the land in the same proportion as it is rated for the support of the clergy, and as it regulates the payment of the land tax. But in case the heritors of any parish, or the majority of them, should fail to discharge this duty, then the persons forming what is called the committee of supply of the county (consisting of the principal landholders) or any five of them, are authorised by the statute to impose the assessment

instead of them, on the representation of the presbytery in which the parish is situated. To secure the choice of a proper teacher, the right of election of the heritors, by a statute passed in the year 1693, is made subject to the review and controul of the presbytery of the district; who have the examination of the person proposed, committed to them, both as to his qualifications as a teacher, and as to his proper deportment in the office when settled in it. The election of the heritors is therefore only a presentment of a person, for the approbation of the presbytery; who, if they find him unfit, may declare his incapacity, and thus oblige them to elect anew.

The legal salary of the school-master was not inconsiderable at the time it was fixed; but by the decrease in the value of money, it is now certainly inadequate to its object; and it is painful to observe, that the landholders of Scotland resisted the humble application of the schoolmasters to the legislature for its increase a fcw years ago. The

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