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taught both said boys to read. Should their abilities enable her to so do and also to provide and furnish them with good wholesome food, clothing and lodging suitable for persons in their condition, 194 #

Slavery and colored indentures were closely related in Illinois. The Intelligencer, August 12, 1818, advocated a system of indenture with a term of service of forty years in which the servants were to be instructed in religion and the rudiments of education. “The word 'servant' was used to cover a multitude of sins. No matter under what name the farmers held their negroes—whether as 'servants,' 'yellow boys,' or 'colored girls'—the fact still remained that slavery existed in the Territory of Illinois as completely as in any of the Southern States. It was not limited to settlements and towns along the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, but was practiced all over the southern portion of what is now the State of Illinois, and as far north as Sangamon county, which was then just beginning to be settled." ;

But Illinois was admitted as a free state. In the constitutional convention, three classes of men existed—those for slavery, those against slavery, and those who wished to compromise. The latter, being the larger, won. The constitution was adopted and Illinois admitted on the ground that the Ordinance of 1787, governing the Northwest Territory, did not apply to negroes already held as slaves in Illinois at the time when it was enacted. “The state was admitted, and the right to retain negroes as indentured servants was recognized and secured.''

Slavery was tacitly recognized by the sixth article of the Constitution of 1818 in the form of indentures for one year with the right of renewal. “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude shall hereafter be introduced into this state otherwise than for the punishment of crimes whereof the party shall have been duly convicted. Nor shall any male person arrived at the age of twenty-one years, nor any female person arrived at the age of eighteen years, be held to serve any person as a servant under any indenture, hereafter made, unless such person shall enter into such indenture while in a state of perfect freedom, and on condition that a bona fide consideration received or to be received for their service. Nor shall any indenture of any negro or mulatto hereafter made and executed out of this state, or if made in this state, where the term of service exceeds one year, be of the least validity, except those given in the case of apprenticeship.””

* A Register of Papers Belonging to Free Persons of Color, Madison Co. • The Illinois Census of 1835 showed 304 negro indentures. • The Illinois Census of 1845 showed 226 negro indentures. • Harris, Negro Servitude in Illinois, p. 15. • Harris, Negro Servitude in Illinois, p. 26.

The education of the negro and the mulatto was bound up with the system of indentures. The apprenticeship system was, moreover, recognized by the state constitution.

Two forms of apprenticeship education have existed in the United States. The colonial system depended on the personal relation between master and servant. The system since the Civil War has had no personal or domestic element, being a means by which entrance to some trades could be had. The former had the advantage by which the apprentice could learn a trade and all of its ramifications. Moreover, the apprentice, living in the household of his master was considered as one of the family, on the same social basis as the master and eligible to marry his master's daughter, but the term of service of seven years was so long that the apprentice spent a lot of time in work not connected with his future trade. That work, usually, was day labor on the farm, and the apprentice was virtually a slave, so classed in some of the colonial laws. Naturally, it was hard to hold youth in America to the apprenticeship system because they could run away to the frontier, take up land for themselves and become independent. Consequently, the system was limited to small numbers of youth, either the poor who were public charges, or the negroes who could not escape the yoke of servitude. The latter was made a slave in the free state of Illinois by the indentures, renewable at the expiration of one year. However, in all cases, the master was required to fulfill his obligation in endeavoring to teach or causing to be taught, the apprentice.

The academy provided education for the wealthy, the indenture system provided for some of the public poor and the negroes; the next discussion will consider the first attempt for the free education of all the children of the state. CHAPTER VIlI.

* Constitution of 1818, Art. VI.

The Free School Law of 1825. Before discussing the results of slavery on the whole educational system of Illinois, a brief statement of the slavery struggle from 1818 to 1825, should be given. The Illinois representatives in Congress voted against Missouri entering as a slave state. The majority of the people of Illinois were angry at that vote. The southern sympathizers decided to retaliate. They began to organize a plot to call a convention to change the constitution of the state to permit slavery. The Spectator, published at Edwardsville, exposed the undertaking, with the result that the plan for calling a constitutional convention failed for the time being. In 1822, senators, representatives, a governor and legislators were to be elected. The anti-slavery men won the congressional election and the governorship, but the pro-slavery men succeeded in winning a majority of the seats in the state legislature. Shameful proceedings were carried through the state legislature and a resolution was passed for a constitutional convention. Organizations were built up on both sides. The proslavery men established a central organization at Vandalia with committees in all the counties of the state. A secret convention was held by the anti-slavery men, made up of Rev. J. M. Peck, thirty other preachers and Governor Coles. Pamphlets were distributed by the thousands to the people of Illinois, through this organization. Birkbeck, the English farmer of southern Illinois, wrote excellent articles against slavery which were very effective. Coles bought the Intelligencer, published at Vandalia, and had copies containing much anti-slavery material sent to the old subscribers even if they failed to pay their subscriptions. When the vote came for a convention and slavery it was defeated.

The results of the victory, at least to the people of Illinois, were very great. The question, whether Illinois should be a slave or a free state, was settled forever. A contest with the federal government over the question of changing the constitution, through which Illinois entered the Union, to one that would recognize slavery, was prevented. Free labor, the energetic and progressive farmer with the merchant and professional men from the East, developed the country otherwise impossible with slavery tacitly recognized. Finally, southern immigration with its institutions, was checked. The easterner began to supplant the southerner. New ideas of the rights of the children of the common man were brought along. The New England common school began to be advocated.

However, a few leaders, such as General Duncan, Rev. Peck and Governor Coles saw the tremendous importance of the education of the children of the state, before many New Englanders had arrived. These leaders believed that slavery and ignorance were the twin relics of barbarism. The surest way to save the state from the blight of slavery was. through enlightenment. The older people were, perhaps, beyond the direct influence of schools, but the youth must be taught the evils of slavery and ignorance, in free schools provided by the state, in order to insure the future of the state and the Republic. The preamble of the Free School Law of 1825 was the classic statement of those ideals:

“To enjoy our rights and liberties, we must understand them ;—their security and protection ought to be the first object of a free people;—and it is a well established fact no nation has ever continued long in the enjoyment of civil and political freedom, which was not both virtuous and enlightened;—and believing that advancement of literature always has been, and ever will be the means of developing more fully the rights of man;—that the mind of every citizen of every republic, is the common property of society, and constitutes the basis of its strength and happiness;—it is considered the peculiar duty of a free government, like ours, to encourage and extend the improvement and cultivation of the intellectual energies of the whole, Therefore,”

The free school law of 1825 was unique in that, at that time, there were only a few states in the East that had a free

1 Sess. Laws, 1825, p. 121.


school law. The essential features of the law provided that a school system was to be established by law; that the school was to be free to all children between certain ages, and that all expenses for the schools thus established should be met by a general tax upon property:

“Sec. 1–Be it enacted by the people of the State of Illinois represented in the General Assembly, That there shall be established a common school or schools in each of the counties of this state, which shall be open and free to every class of white citizens between the ages of five and twentyone years: Provided, That persons over the age of twentyone years, may be admitted into such schools, on such terms as the trustees of the school may prescribe

“Sec. 15—Be it further enacted, That for the encouragement and support of schools, respectively established within this state, according to this act, there shall be appropriated, for that purpose, two dollars out of every hundred thereafter to be received in the treasury of this state; also, five-sixths of the interest arising from the school fund; which shall be divided annually between the different counties of this state, in proportion to the number of white inhabitants in each county, under the age of twenty-one years, after the next census shall be taken; until which time no dividend shall be taken.''

Finally, school districts were to be incorporated by the action of the county commissioners' courts, upon a petition of a majority of the qualified voters of any settlement. The voters in each district, by a majority of the votes, could levy a tax not exceeding one-half per centum on property, and appoint trustees and other officers to manage the system. Since the origin of the bill is a disputed question in Ilinois education, an examination of the evidence is pertinent. The author. ship of the free school law was generally attributed to General Duncan, a member of the Senate from Madison county, afterwards elected to Congress and the governorship of the state, who introduced it in the upper branch of the legislature. Whether or not he was the author has been difficult to determine. At least, he was its ardent supporter in and out of the legislature, but he evaded the issue when asked by a


? Sess. Laws, 1825, pp. 121-25. * Sen. Jr., 1824-25, p. 220.

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