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FRIDAY, January 30, 1874.
The department re-assembled at the hall of the house of delegates at 94 o'clock on this morning, with an increased attendance of members. The audience was larger than yesterday, and a number of ladies were present. The department was called to order by Mr. J. H. Binford, the president, at whose request Rev. Mr. S. S. Mitchell, of Washington City, opened the proceedings with prayer.
The Chair read a communication from the secretary of the Vermont State Teachers' Association, inclosing a resolution recently adopted by the association, indorsing the plan of giving the proceeds of the sale of public lands for educational purposes ; referred to the committee on national aid to education. Also, a communication from Governor Shepherd inviting the department to partake of lunch at his residence at 2 o'clock this afternoon. The invitation of the governor was accepted.
Mr. J. O. WILSON extended an invitation to the members of the department to visit the public schools of Washington during their stay in this city ; also, an invitation to attend a literary entertainment to be given by the young ladies connected with one of the advanced schools of Washington at the Seaton school-building this evening. On motion of Mr. Philbrick, of Boston, the thanks of the department were tendered to Mr. Wilson for his courtesy, and the invitations he extended were accepted.
Mr. BICKNELL desired to remind the department that the State Teachers' Association of Rhode Island have passed a resolution similar to the one forwarded by the secretary of the Vermont Association.
THE CENTENNIAL. General Eaton, from the committee on the Centennial, reported progress, and said the committee had given careful consideration to the subject and were able to present at this time several recommendations.
He said there was a most cordial and earnest interest manifested by every member of the committee in making the educational feature of the Centennial a success.
(1) That each State and Territory be invited to prepare a representation of its educational condition for the Centennial.
(2) That each State and Territory also be invited to prepare a historical record of its educational progress for the same purpose.
(3) That each city be invited to act with the State-authorities in pre
paring such records, and that it present an exhibit of its own educational growth and condition.
(4) That each educational institution be invited to participate in the same way.
r(5) That a census be taken in 1875. That the Commissioner of Education be requested, on behalf of the educators of this country, to cor. respond with the prominent educators of the world and invite their cooperation in the matter of the Centennial.
(6) That an international educational congress be held in connection with the Centennial.
The report was accepted. General EATON said : As our views in these matters are just now shaping themselves and will depend very much upon the facts that are before us, those which we have in mind, and can more or less see, I desire very much that Mr. Philbrick—who was present at Vienna, and who is well known throughout the country and the world as the distinguished superintendent for Boston, and had so much to do in promoting the success of the American educational exposition at Viennabe invited to state facts which may aid the different members of this department in deciding what is feasible and how the exposition at Phil. adelphia can be made a success.
Mr. PHILBRICK said : Mr. President, I do not come this morning pre. pared to say anything on this subject. It is a very broad one, and I hardly know what it may be best to attempt to say about it. I can say, however, at the outset, that I feel a very deep interest in the whole project, and I hope it will be carried out successfully. I consider it a very important movement for the promotion of the cause of education in this country. It will not be easy, of course, to make a proper, full, and complete representation of the educational condition of this country. But the very effort which will be required by the different States and cities to accomplish this purpose, the examination which it will necessarily require educational authorities and teachers everywhere to make, until that time, in the study of their educational affairs, will itself be of immense advantage in disclosing their deficiencies and imperfections as well as their excellences, and will, therefore, tend no doubt, in a very large degree, to give a new impulse to the progressive movement of the cause of education throughout the country.
If I could, this morning, Mr. President, take the grand World's Exhibition at Vienna and place it somewhere in the vicinity of the city of Washington, and then take this company of assembled superintendents there for just one day, to take simply a cursory glance at that magnifi. cent display of the results of the skill and learning of the world, includ. ing the educational department; when you came to see, as you undoubt. edly would, the grand cause underlying all, the source from which all that magnificent display of the products of the human mind had been derived, you would begin to perceive the bearing and relation of the exhibition of educational institutions and systems in connection with the progress of civilization in the world. There is now, I believe, no doubt, in the minds of the most advanced philosophers and statesmen, that the remark of the great French statesman and educator, that "the nation wbich has the best schools is the first nation, or, if it is not so to-day, it will be tomorrow," is absolutely correct. Sir, that idea is coming to be recognized universally throughout the civilized world ; and in proportion as it becomes recognized and comes to be carried out in actual affairs in connection with education, just in that proportion shall we make progress in everything that is desirable in civilization.
Now, it has been proposed in the report just submitted that each State and Territory shall be invited to make its own representation in the coming World's Exhibition to be held in Philadelphia. I regard this as a recommendation that cannot fail to stimulate the friends of education and enterprising educational officers in every State to endeavor to make the best possible representation of their respective systems and institu. tions; and if, by calling upon foreign nations, we can succeed in inducing Prussia or Saxony, Würtemberg, Austria, France, Sweden, or Switzerland, or Englaud even—any one of these people—to come and display at Philadelphia their systems and the result of their work, I have no doubt it will be of the greatest advantage to the cause of education in this country.
You know very well—the whole country knows-that America, as a whole, made a very insignificant display at the Vienna Exposition, an exhibition bumiliating to every American, by the side of what was exhibited, even from the smallest European nation. I of course will except, in this sweeping remark, some excellent machines exhibited from America; and I think I may be permitted to say, having had so very little to do with it, that the educational department from America was relatively the most respectable of the twenty-five groups exhibited from this country at Vienna. And yet I want to say, Mr. President, that, in comparing in certain departments even our best things with the exhibition of other educational systems at Vienna, I could not help feeling that we were immensely inferior to almost all the nations there represented, and particularly in the department which related to technical education. It is unnecessary for me to go into details in regard to this: but I would say, sir, that I believe that, if we had had the money wbich we needed, we could have placed at Vienna a school-house, with all its equipments, equal to that which was placed there by the Swedish gov. ernment.
I mean no discredit to the learned gentlemen connected with education in America ; but, within my knowledge, there is not one, even the most eminent and accomplished among them, who would have known how to plan and arrange a school-house, fit it up, and furnish it, with all the appliances of apparatus, in the scientific, tasteful, neat, and complete inanner which was seen in that Swedish school-house. And if we