18 Old-time Schools and School-books
the other in English. By such means the pupil was supposed not only to learn Latin, but to absorb a large amount of general knowledge concerning the industries and other"chief things that areinthe World." It was a crude effort to interest the child, and was encyclopaedic, dry, and verbal, having more the character of an illustrated dictionary than a child's reading-book ; yet for one hundred years this was the most popular text-book in Europe, and it was translated into fourteen languages.
Other Latin books in common use were iEsop, Eutropius, and The Colloquies of Corderius; and for the older boys Caesar, Ovid, Virgil, and Cicero. In Greek they had the grammar, the Testament, and Homer. Thus they fitted themselves for the university, which made very exacting requirements in the dead languages, but paid little attention to the progress its prospective students had made in science, mathematics, or anything else. The Harvard terms of admission were these: —
Whoever shall be able to read Tully, or any other suchlike classical author at sight, and correctly, and without assistance to speak and write Latin both in prose and verse, and to inflect exactly the paradigms of Greek nouns and verbs, has a right to expect to be admitted into the college, and no one may claim admission without these qualifications.
The classical requisites noted above become quite impressive when it is remembered that the law ordered every town in Massachusetts of a hundred families to provide this knowledge.