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tion has neglected, whether it be I am sensible that the world have the judgment, or memory, or imag- often judged of intellectual attain. ination, or any other principle, it is ment by a different standard. Ofthis business not to continue, as in en has the laurel been entwined the common course, devoted to the around the brow of one whose elecultivation of those in which he vation was suspended on the high finds himself superior ; but he is perfection of a single faculty. He bound, as he values that high men- who has pushed the boundary of tal perfection which gives true ele- science in a single instance, what. vation of character, to break up es- ever may be his imperfections, is tablished habits and enter upon a hailed as the genius of his age. new course of studies, and a new The blind man may be justly cele. course of discipline, till he has re- brated for his taste in music, but stored the equilibriam of the soul. he is entitled to no credit for skill The artisan would be ill-employed in painting. who, neglecting to examine and as- Is it said in oppositon to the stancertain the defective part of a com- dard proposed, that utility is the plicated piece of mechanism, should standard by which all intellectual labour to improve it by strengthen- attainments are to be tested. But ing a part already too powerful. The does it appear that utility does not mind is a mechanism too delicate demand the harmonious and elevaand too valuable to admit such tri- ted exercise of all the mental facAling.
ulties. What though by bending The symmetry of the mind is pre- all your attention to a single pursuit served, and its powers perfected, you may push discovery beyond by an acquaintance with the whole any who have preceded you--if by circle of literature and science. No this means, as is probable, you part is to be neglected, from the have unfitted yourself for duties lowest depths of abstract thought equally important, where is the to the highest regions of poetic fan- gain in point of utflity? Nor are cy. This wide range, while it ex- we, in estimating the utility of atpands the soul, presents something tainments, to confine our views to to nourish and mature each of its the present life. And what is the faculties. Inconsistent with a rigid value of a scanty superiority in a and philosophical cultivation of the single department, compared with mind, is exclusive devotion to a the high perfection of that immor. profession, supreme attachment to tal principle by which our bodies a favourite science, or an enthusi- are animated ? For I will not beastic ardor for what is novel in the lieve that intellectual culture pro. fields of literature. There are pro- duces no fruit to be matured by fessional men eminent in their pro- immortality. Knowledge, meanfession, who appear degraded when ing by it a mere memory of facts, found beyond its limits. There are may vanish away. But if it denote literary epicures, hurried on by that intrinsic worth which the mind their passions they know not whith, derives from a careful study of the er, and while dreaming of literary phenomena of nature, it is lasting eminence, the mind has lost that as the mind that possesses it. gigantic grasp which alone is worthy Does the mind of an infant enter to be called great. That is a no- its future state of existence with ble mind which, soaring aloft, is the same majesty and strength as able to suspend itself, and looking the mind of a Newton? I will not with the eye of an eagle on the ex- believe in a principle which would panded fields of science, has power break up the mental fabric, reared to choose whither to direct its flight. and adorned with so much care,
and cast it in scattered fragments bave seen their present stations filon the ocean of eternity. It shall led, or rather occupied, by incumbe a consolation amid the toils and bents possessed indeed of more fatigues of mental discipline, that I hereditary wealth, but destitute of cherish an immortal mind,--a mind the talent and integrity thus called which will enter eternity with the forth to bless the community. same intellectual character that is Here, by enjoying the means of here possessed, and which, should instruction, and by being brought it be so happy as to enter the Par- into comparison with their equals adise of God, may, by continued in age, they at once gained a relish culture, rival the hosts of heaven. for knowledge, and exhibited capa
city and disposition to excel, sufficient to gain the encouraging tongue and fostering hand. I would here
take the liberty to suggest to schoolTHOUGHTS ON THE IMPORTANCE visitors and others who may have
AND IMPROVEMENT OF COMMON the means of forming a judgment SCHOOLS.
in such cases, that one among the
many duties that rest upon them as COMMON SCHOOLS are the glory good citizens, is that of selecting of our land. In connection with and encouraging youths, of the our higher seminaries, and espe- right stamp, to the acquisition of cially with religion, they furnish the an education. It is a delicate surest basis and bulwark of our task, and full of responsibility as refree institutions, and afford the gards the individual to be encourfairest promise of our high exalta- aged, his family connexions, and tion. For, should some unfore- the good of the public. Someseen concurrence of adverse cir- thing more, also, must be regarded cumstances ever prostrate our lib- in the selection than merely a caerties, yet sure I am that no tyran- pacity to learn. The disposition ny can ever long keep its foot on and general adaptedness to be usethe neck of a people, where even ful, are at least of equal importance. the beggar's child is taught to read, But, for the responsibility assumed and write, and think, and act for and the pains taken in selection and himself.
encouragement, if wisely done, you While these schools are of ines- may have the rich reward, for time timable value in preparing the mass and eternity, of knowing that you of men to transact business and to have more than doubled your own become free, useful, and indepen- usefulness in the person of him dent citizens, they serve likewise whose exertions you thus elevate to call forth real genius from the to a higher sphere. shades of obscurity, and start it in Our colleges are increasing in the path to eminence. I believe number, yet they are still increaswe hazard nothing in saying, that ingly supplied with pupils. Whence the country is indebted primarily come they ? and why? The true to our common schools for the ex- answer to these queries, will call tended usefulness of a very large us again to the same topic—the proportion of her ablest and best importance of our primary seminamen in the departments of civil, ries. Inspect the annual cataliterary, and professional life. But logues of all the colleges in the for these schools, planted at their United States, and it will at once doors, and accommodated to their be seen that those States which resources, they would have con- maintain these primary schools, tinued in obscurity, and we should furnish an immensely greater proportion of the students in the high- other education societies, reside in er seminaries, than those which those districts of our country, who have them not; and the contrast would be prompt to patronize dibecomes still more striking when rectly such as they might find wor. we take into consideration the ratio thy. Or will it be said that such of population in the different sec- youths do not exist there? The tions compared with the number admission is not more gloomy in they respectively educate. In ad- itself than it is fatal to its argument. dition to this fact, look at the char. For if common schools are so inacter of the students from the two timately connected with that state different descriptions of territory. of society which furnishes the With all due allowance for excep- youths in question, that where the tions in individual cases, it may one is found, the other is to be still be deemed sufficiently invidi- sought, this single circumstance ous by those acquainted with the cannot fail to evince them of still interior of our colleges, barely to higher consequence than any thing allude to the comparison as regards I have yet adduced. It matters morality of conduct, attainment little, as regards the present topic, in study, and hopeful promise of whether they be considered as the usefulness. These very honoura- cause or the effect of such a state ble facts, so obvious on slight in- of society; or, as is doubtless the spection, are to be attributed, in a fact, possessing both these characgreat measure, to the influence of teristics at once ;--they must be of our free schools in eliciting from vital importance, especially in such the shades of obscurity those gems a community as ours. of mind which are fitted for the Every measure, then, which is highest polish. Annihilate our fitted to promote the utility of comprimary institutions, and we should mon schools, should command soon see a sad reverse in those of prompt attention and vigorous cohigher grade. Some of our col. operation. Deeply impressed as I leges and academies would stand am with this thought, I cannot but as empty walls ; and others would confess my regret at not seeing as exbibit a revolting mixture of a yet any effectual excitement prolittle true genius and application duced in my own State towards the with much dulness, idleness, and accomplishment of one of the best riot.
and most needful projects for this Should it be said that education purpose which has ever been spread societies and benevolent individu- before the community. I refer to als have called forth from the re- that very able and elegantly written gion of common schools, a host of series of dissertations in behalf of a intelligent, sober, and industrious seminary for the training of inyouths, to fill our colleges; we structers, first published in the doubly rejoice while admitting the Connecticut Observer, and since fact. Why have they not called printed in the pamphlet form at them forth in equal numbers from Boston, with the name of the authe other far more extensive re- thor, Mr. Gallaudet. The subject gions? Do such youths exist there? of it was soon warmly recommendThen to what is it owing in a great- ed to the notice of the legislature er degree than to the want of these of New York by that enlightened schools, that they are not discover statesman, Gov. Clinton ; and it ed and brought forward ? We well is to be hoped it will be ultimately know that many wealthy and very carried into effect on a distinguishbenevolent individuals who con- ed scale in that powerful state ; and tribute largely to the national and that something of the kind will
soon appear in Massachusetts. But incredible that there should be any it would have given me peculiar foundation in the nature of the pleasure could we have seen some case for such a precedence. We of the wealthy individuals in our may as well say that hearing and own state coming forward with speech are useless faculties in the the same promptness and liberality communication of thought. No; which they so honourably exhibited this advance is to be attributed to a few years since in seconding the careful and scientific training the benevolent views of the same of those who assume the office of distinguished individual in behalf teaching the deaf. It is, then, as of a class of persons who are pre- deep ingratitude to the Creator as cluded by their Creator from being it is a dereliction of our own interof equal utility to the public. In est, to neglect practicable improvethat instance, we set an example ments in the art of teaching the which other parts of our Union great mass whom he has kindly have been eager to emulate ; and provided with all the requisite orI think we may safely say, we should gans. have gained equal honour in a Such an institution we exceedprompt establishment of a seminary ingly need; and, sooner or later, for instructers. If, in the one we must have one. The increascase sympathy operated with pecu- ing dearth of competent teachers, liar power, in the other, it needs imperiously demands the establishonly a more perfect knowledge of ment; and the call of necessity facts to awaken at once a deep will wax louder and louder till it feeling of both sympathy and self shall make itself heard. When I interest. Of sympathy; for who say the dearth is increasing, I speak can endure to see his own children not as the fond advocate of a faand those of a great community, vourite institution, ready to coin though blessed by their Maker with reasons where I cannot find them, the perfect use of all their senses, but by the reluctant compulsion of left to the tardy, inaccurate, and my own observation, and by the often irksome, processes of instruc- testimony of many in the same post tion, for the want of better teach- of observation. It has been my ers, thus enduring much useless “ pleasing, painful task” for many toil and real suffering, and wasting years, to be concerned in the exsome of the brightest years of their amination of scliools and instructexistence. An acquaintance with ers; and while I have witnessed facts, must also awaken us to a with pleasure a regular advance sense of self-interest. If our chile in the schools, I have experienced dren can generally be taught more no small pain in being compelled to in the same time, or better taught, approbate teachers in increasing in matter or manner, it is as really numbers, who were incompetent to our interest as it is that they should the task. It may sound paradoxibe taught at all. And that such cal, that the schools should grow improvements may be made in the better while the teachers grow processes of instruction, is suffi- worse. An explanation of my ciently evident from this fact, if no meaning will show that there is no other,--that the present improve- absurdity in the allegation, and ments in teaching the deaf-mutes may, at the same time, serve to are such, though the science is of correct some statements which recent origin, that in a variety of have been hastily made by some respects the pupils are made to sur ardent friends of improvement. pass those of the same standing in I can by no means agree with common schools. Now it is utterly those who consider our schools as
in a positively bad condition, or as will not be likely to understand growing worse, or even as station- them so thoroughly without addiary. I have already expressed my tional opportunities for preparation. views of them as an inestimable Unless, then, we provide these opblessing; and therefore cannot help portunities, we have nothing before regretting the erroneous statements us but the certain prospect either of an opposite cast, on two ac- of our schools becoming stationary counts. They may lead those who and lagging far behind the general have no common schools to a to improvements of the age, or of an tally false view of the existing increasing proportion of incompefacts; and, blessing themselves tent teachers whom we are comthat they have no such 'public nui- pelled to license because we can sances,' they may firmly resolve procure no better. Now, shall this never to adopt them. I also strong progress, in a department of such ly suspect that these overdrawn vital importance, be arrested for statements, meeting the eye of the the want of means for qualifying intelligent and benevolent among teachers ? Shall agriculture, man. us as plainly false, as to the general ufactures, and every art of human fact, have served to retard, if not life, be borne forward in even rank utterly to defeat the main design of with its compeers in the march of their well-meaning authors.
improvement; and shall this, the The fact I take to be simply this. most important of all, be left limpWhile our schools generally are by ing behind ? Shall we advance no means retrograde, the march the means of improvement in all of improvement in higher semina- our higher seminaries, thus enaries, and in everything pertaining to bling our favoured sons whom we mind, is very rapid. Of course our send to college to spend their four schools, and especially the teach- or seven years to the best possible ers, hold relatively a lower grade. advantage, and shall we take no And this is fact enough, if duly re- thought for increasing the advantagarded, to rouse us to the requisite ges of the few puny years of instrucimprovement. The branches now tion we allow to their brothers and taught in our common schools, or sisters whom we retain to toil at rather attempted to be learnt by the home? And shall we nobly endow pupils, are nearly double to what our schools for the deaf, till they are
they were some years ago. And able to command for teachers the • these branches are constantly in- very first rate scholars who gradu
creasing ; and it is very desirable ate at our colleges, and shall we that they should increase, to the still leave those whom God has full extent of possible requisition. blessed with the requisite senses While this is the fact, it is easy to for easy improvement destitute of see that the ratio of competent the means ? Shall we ungratefully teachers may and indeed must be leave our gifted child to the tempon the decrease till some special tation of cursing God for the gift of measures are taken for their quali- an ear to hear and a tongue to fication. What was competency speak, when he shall find, had he ten years ago, is no longer so. A been born deaf, that the delights of new branch is introduced since the science would have been farther teacher received his instruction, expanded to his view ? While I and which of course he cannot be complain not, but rejoice, at what expected to teach. And provided is done for the “unfortunates," I he has attended to all the requisite scruple not to say that the same branches, yet, as they are much effort and expenditure, judiciously more numerous than formerly, he directed to the thorough qualifica