From The Second War With England To 1850.
Bonsall, vice-presidents; and J. S. White and A. D. Williamson as secretaries. That meeting adopted the following resolution:
"Resolved, That the tax levied by the Commissioners and Delegates ought to his extended to bonds, mortgages, stocks, etc., in the same proportion as on real estate, and that in order to raise an additional tax for the support of common schools, that the directors in the several districts shall meet as directed in the Seventh Section, and determine whether there shall be an additional tax, and if they decide in the affirmative, then the Clerk of the Board shall notify the directors, who shall determine the amount and be authorized to levy and collect such tax on bonds, mortages and profitable occupations, as well as real estate, and the proper officers of the townships constitute a Court of Appeal to case any person may think himself aggrieved in the amount of tax so levied by said Directors."
The second resolution indorsed the course of Governor Wolf in the matter of popular education, as also that of the members of the General Assembly who had voted for the measure, and the third resolution appointed William Amies, Dr. Jesse Young, Spencer McIlvain, Samuel T. Walker, and William Martin to prepare a memorial to be presented to the Legislature. This memorial stated that the signers-were "deeply impressed with the importance of a proper system of education by common schools throughout the State. They have examined the last act passed at the last session of the Legislature for that purpose, and are of opinion that the objects contemplated by the law would be greatly promoted by an alteration in the mode for raising the fund necessary to support public schools. So far as the law bears equally on all, they cheerfully acquiesce in it, but some of its provisions they deem burdensome and unequal in their operations on a portion of their fellow-citizens. The landed interest, as the law now exists, pays nearly the whole expense of the system, while many that are proper objects of taxation coutribute but a very small proportion."
The memorial therefore suggested that bonds, mortgages, money at interest, and occupations should be taxed, as well as a fixed proportion to be paid by real estate; that such sums as may be necessary, beyond the State appropriation, should be levied by the school directors as a township tax, while the township officers should act as a Board of Redress. The memorial concluded:
"Your memorialists remonstrate against a repeal of the law, and are only desirous that the matter may have your deliberate consideration; sensible that such amendments will be adopted as you may deem most beneficial and just, tending to equalize the operations of the law, the effects of which will strengthen the system, disseminate knowledge among the people, the only sure means of perpetuating the principles of national Liberty."
Those opposed to the law presented thirty-three petitions to the Legislature, containing one thousand and twenty-four names, while those remonstrating against its repeal presented thirteen petitions, bearing eight hundred and seventy-three names. It is creditable to Delaware County that the remonstrants against the repeal of the school law exceeded in numbers almost threefold that from any other county in the State.
James W. Baker, superintendent of the public schools of Delaware County, in his report for the year 1877, presented an interesting and valuable history of education in this county, in which he says, "On the 4th of November, 1834, of the twenty-one districts of the county, eleven accepted the law, viz., Birmingham, Chester, Haverford, Lower Chichester, Marple, Nether Providence, Radnor, Ridley, Upper Darby, and Upper Chichester. In consequence of the obscurity of the law, and the difficulty of putting it in operation, only six accepted it the following year; but in 1836 all the districts but one accepted the new law enacted that year. The last one joined the others in 1838."1 On the other hand, in the report of James Findlay, secretary of the commonwealth, on the subject of common schools, submitted to the Legislature and dated March 2, 1835, it is stated that in Delaware County all the school districts had accepted the law, that the State appropriation was one thousand seventy dollars and ninety-three cents, and that two thousand two hundred dollars had been voted to be raised in that county by tax.2
1 Report of Superintendent of Public Instruction for 1877, p. 239.|
2 Hazard's Register of Pennsylvania, vol. xv. p. 194.
The narrative of the rise and progress of the beneficent public school system is from this time part of the story of the several townships, and will be therein related under the proper heading.
On July 4, 1834, the equipped militia of Delaware County, as was usual with those organizations at that time, celebrated Independence Day with a parade, followed by a banquet. On that occasion Gen. Root presided, and at his right hand was a militia colonel, who was called on for a toast. The latter, not having prepared himself, trusted to his genius and the occasion to creditably propose a sentiment when the time came, sat a moment in thought, and finally concluded his toast ought to be something of a military nature. The guests called again upon the colonel before he had fully determined what he would say. In response, he arose and announced in a loud voice, "The military of our country - may they never want ---" Here he hesitated, - "may they never want!" He came to a full stop, and looking imploringly at Gen. Root, he whispered, "What the devil shall I say next?" "And never be wanted," whispered back the general. "And never be wanted," roared the colonel. The joke was too good to prevent it being related, and at length it found its way into the newspapers of the day, and now it is so popularly known in the country that long since its birthplace was generally forgotten.
The military history of the county, other than that occurring in times of actual war, is brief and of a spasmodic character. usually the ground-swell after