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Beyond Penn's Treaty

The Life of Thomas Eddy; Comprising an Extensive Correspondence

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those who would do the best for the community, must
strike at the root of this evil, by teaching the children
of the poor to read and write, that they might be
able to find useful employment, or learn some trade
to enable them to earn a competent subsistence.
As this subject was deeply impressed on his mind,
he frequently corresponded with his friend Patrick
Colquhoun
, of Westminster, who entertained similar
views, and he had, of course, the light of that
powerful mind to assist him. Mr. Eddy was tho-
roughly convinced of the efficacy of the system of
general instruction in operation in the Eastern States;
but, he thought, that it would be quite impossible to
bring the Legislature of New-York to pass a law for
such a school system, at that time;—such a one
must grow up radically with a people—it cannot
easily be done, after the population is numerous, and
wealth has greatly increased. The rich man will
not consent that he should be taxed, according to his
property, to maintain schools, and then see that
money distributed in districts, according to the num-
ber of children under a certain age, such as usually
attend an instructor the whole or a portion of a
year.

Mr. Eddy had frequently conversed with his
friends, John Murray, jun. and Matthew Franklin, on
the subject of schools; and, in February, 1805, they
proposed to him, to form an association of Friends,
to establish a free school, for the benefit of poor child-
ren, not members of their religious society. To this
Mr. Eddy objected, as he thought it would be impos-
sible to raise funds sufficient to support a school,
except on a small scale, if it was confined to Friends
alone. He then proposed to call to his aid a num-
ber of respectable citizens, of different religious de-
nominations. The meeting was called; it was gene-
rally attended by the most active classes in the city,
and a committee was appointed to raise funds by
subscription; and, also, to apply to the Legislature