172 Old-time Schools and School-books
to be paid only on condition that he leaves out the title of 'Squire at the bottom of said picture, which is extremely odious in an American school-book, and must inevitably tend to corrupt the principles of the republican babies that behold it."
Webster was a good deal disturbed by the criticisms passed on his book, and in replying to one which especially irritated him, he challenged the writer to " meet him in the field." But the offender chose to shed ink instead of blood, and the warfare was confined to the columns of the newspapers. Fortunately this sort of thing proved good advertising and brought the speller thoroughly into notice.
One of the first effects of the publication of the Grammatical Institute was to make spelling a craze. Previously spelling had been little taught, but now it absorbed a large share of the student interest and enthusiasm, and the pupil who could " spell down the whole school" ranked second only to him who surpassed the rest in arithmetic. The child at the head of a class when the day ended had a credit mark, and perhaps was given a written certificate of good scholarship to carry home. There were instances, too, where the spelling classes had prizes — possibly a half dollar for the oldest class, a quarter for the next, and a " nine-pence " for the little ones. Each prize coin was drilled and hung on a string, and the winners in the afternoon spelling lessons were entitled to carry a coin suspended from their necks until the next morning, when these decorations were turned over to the teacher to be again contended for, A record was kept, and at the close