32 Old-time Schools and School-books
However, in some towns no public provision was made for the youngest children until after the Revolution.
I have been describing educational conditions more particularly as they were in New England. Though far from ideal, these conditions were nevertheless better than in any other part of the country. Especially in the South, with its widely separated houses and few villages, the environment was in every way unfavorable for maintaining public schools. The children of wealthy planters were usually taught by private tutors, or sent to England to be educated; yet once in a while a planter would start a little school for the benefit of his own children and the other white children who chanced to live on or near his plantation. The teachers of such plantation schools were apt to be redemptioners and exported convicts. In Europe at this time the lot of the poor was extremely hard, and many persons came across the Atlantic solely to escape the inevitable misery at home. The captain of the ship that brought over a penniless man of this class was allowed to sell him for four years to pay his passage. It was also customary to transport men who had been convicted of small crimes and sell them for periods of greater or less length. When one of these unfortunates could read and write, he sometimes was purchased for a schoolmaster, and teachers of this kind were common both in the Southern and the Middle colonies. Not infrequently they were coarse and degraded, and they did not always stay their time out as is witnessed by advertise-