|146||History of Marshfield.|
enable them to read perfectly the English tongue and Knowledge of the Capital laws, upon penalty of twenty shillings for each neglect therein.'
"Under date of 1663 I find this: 'It is proposed by the Court unto the several townships of this jurisdiction as a thing they ought to take into Serious Consideration that some course may bee taken that in every towne there may bee a schoolmaster sett up to traine children to reading and writing.' But 'ye chsen men' did not seem to take it into consideration as I can find; so again, in a court held March 4, 1670, the subject of schools was agitated, and a grant was made of 'all such profits as might or should annually accrew or grow dew to this Colony from time to time from fishing with nets or saines att Cape Cod for Mackerell, basse, or herrings, to be imployed and improved for and toward a free school in some town in this jurisdiction for the training up of youth in litterature for the good & benefit of pesteritie, provided a beginning was made within one year.' And the 'ordering of said affair was to be the charge of the Governor and Assistants, or any four of them.' And said free school was established in Plymouth, and Mr. Thomas Hinckley was appointed 'Steward of the said schoole.' "
"But there does not appear to have been any action in regard to the act of 1663, that a school master should be 'set up' in every town. But at a court held at Plymouth Nov. 1, 1667, there was an 'order passed,' closely resembling one of 1663, resulting in establishing a free school in most of the towns of the Colony and sharing with Plymouth the profits of the 'Cape Cod fisheries.' In 1701 it is recorded that 'the laws of learning which are wholesome and necessary are shamefully neglected by Divers Towns, and the penalty thereof not required tending greatly to the Nourishment of Ignorance and Irreligion. The Penalty thereof shall henceforth be twenty pounds per annum.'
"And this new provision was added, 'That evry school
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