If that failed to elicit the proper answer, the attempt was then made to
ascertain whether he was in the first class in certain schools named; if
so, it was taken for granted that he understood the simple rules of
The table may seem dry and uninteresting, but let the reader analyze
it a little, and he will find it instructive. The large number who cannot
read (4123) may startle him at first, but let him consider that free
born persons, in slave States, are so nearly on a level with the slaves,
as far as school privileges are concerned, that he may add them to the
slave-born, making the number 4583—difference to their credit, 460.
Then let him suppose that 140 of those who cannot read were born on
our own soil, a very moderate calculation, and he will have 600 as the
number who learned to read, at least, since they came from the slave
States. He will readily believe, however, that the number is much
greater than that, if he will take the trouble to visit the evening schools
and Sunday schools where adults are instructed. Such memoranda as
the following, taken from the canvassing books of the Agent, will serve
to strengthen this belief.
" The wife Sarah has learned to read tolerably well since she was 40
years old—never received any instruction worth mentioning," "Pretty
good scholar—went to school only two months—slave-born." "Reads
and writes, and is wholly self taught." "Went to school but six weeks
—can read and write." "Though a slave for 50 years, she began;
when about 65 years of age, to attend Sunday school, with crutch and
staff, (being very lame,) and got so as to read tolerably well in the
Bible—is now about 80, and goes to Sunday school and Church, when
able." " Can read, write, and cypher, though he never attended school."
2. Libraries and Literary Associations.
Public Library and Reading Room in the Institute for Colored
Youth. Established in 1853 by the Managers of the Institute. From
the 2d Annual Report of the Librarian, dated 4th mo. 1st, 1855, we
learn that there were then about 1,300 volumes belonging to the Li¬
brary, The number of readers were 450, of whom 233 were males, and
217 females. New applicants, 127.
Number of books loaned out during the year, - - 4,088
" " " in the Reading Room, - - 1,554
Total, - - 5,642
The interest in the Institution was represented to be steadily increas-