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among the mass of the people. The expenditure of five to ten millions of dollars a year for this purpose, would be made good by almost immediate returns to the Post-office and Treasury departments. The unschooled millions of the South write few letters, take few papers, and pay small taxes on incomes. There are no mines in this country so productive of wealth as the mind of the country. Educated labor is the true alchemy that can turn greenbacks into gold.

There is one other agency forming an essential part of the third plan proposed, which I hasten to consider. I allude to a National Bureau of Education, corresponding in many of its features to the National Department of Agriculture. The interests of education would unquestionably be greatly promoted by the organization of such a Bureau at the present time. It would render needed assistance in the establishment of school systems where they do not now exist, and prove a potent means for improving and vitalizing existing systems. I conceive it to be possible for a National Bureau of Education to be so managed as to well-nigh revolutionize school instruction in this country, and this too without its being invested with any official control of the school authorities in the several States. This it could accomplish:

1. By securing greater uniformity and accuracy in school statistics, and so translating and interpreting them that they may be more widely available and reliable as educational tests and measThe present great diversity in the modes of collecting school statistics in the several States, makes it almost impossible to use them for the purpose of comparing the results attained.


2. By bringing together the results of school systems in different communities, states and nations, and determining their comparative value, not simply by measuring their length and breadth as with a yard-stick, but by separating the pure gold of education from the dross, as in a crucible.

3. By collecting the results of all important experiments in new or special methods of instruction and management, and making them the common property of the school officers and teachers of the country.

4. By diffusing among the people much needed information respecting the school laws of the different States; the various modes of providing and disbursing school funds; the different classes of school officers employed and their relative duties; the qualifications demanded of teachers and the agencies provided for their special training; the best methods of classifying and grading schools; im

A woman kept the school, sharp, precise, unsympathetic, keen and untiring. Of all ingenious ways of fretting little boys, doubtless her ways were the most expert. Not a tree to shelter the house, the sun beat down on the shingles and clap-boards till the pine knots shed pitchy tears; and the air was redolent of hot pine wood smell. The benches were slabs with legs in them. The desks were slabs at an angle, cut, hacked, scratched; each year's edition of jack-knife literature overlaying its predecessor, until it then were cuttings and carvings two or three inches deep. But if we cut a morsel, or stuck in pins, or pinched off splinters, the little sharp-eyed mistress was on hand, and one look of her eye was worse than a sliver in our foot, and one nip of her fingers was equal to a jab of a pin; for we had tried both.

We envied the flies-merry fellows; bouncing about, tasting that apple skin, patting away at that crumb of bread; now out the window, then in again; on your nose, on neighbor's cheek, off to the very school-ma'am's lips; dodging her slap, and then letting off a real round and round buzz, up, down, this way, that way, and every way. Oh, we envied the flies more than any thing except the birds. The windows were so high that we could not see the grassy meadows; but we could see the tops of distant trees, and the far, deep, boundless blue sky. There flew the robins; there went the bluebirds; and there went we. We followed that old Polyglott, the skunk-blackbird, and heard him describe the way that they talked at the winding up of the Tower of Babel. We thanked every meadow-lark that sung on, rejoicing as it flew. Now and then a "chipping-bird" would flutter on the very window-sill, turn its little head side-wise, and peer in on the medley of boys and girls. Long before we knew it was in Scripture, we sighed: "Oh that we had the wings of a bird "—we would fly away, and be out of this hateful school. As for learning, the sum of all that we ever got at a district-school, would not cover the first ten letters of the alphabet. One good, kind, story-telling, Bible-rehearsing aunt at home, with apples and ginger-bread premiums, is worth all the school-ma'ams that ever stood by to see poor little fellows roast in those boy-traps called district-schools.

But this was thirty-five years ago. Doubtless it is all changed long since then. We mean inside; for certainly there are but few school-houses that we have seen in New England, whose outside was much changed. There is a beautiful house in Salisbury, Conn., just on the edge of the woods. It is worth going miles to see how a school-house ought to look. But generally the barrenest spot is chosen, the most utterly homely building is erected, without a tree or shrub; and then those that can't do better, pass their pilgrimage of childhood education there.

We are prejudiced of course. Our views and feelings are not to be trusted. They are good for nothing except to show what an effect our school-days left upon us. We abhor the thought of a school.-We do not go into them if we can avoid it. Our boyhood experience has pervaded our memory with such images, as breed a repugnance to district-schools, which we fear we shall not lay aside, until we lay aside every thing in the grave. We are sincerely glad, that it is not so with every body. There are thousands who revert with pleasure to those days. We are glad of


But we look on such with astonishment.

to such progress always comes from without and above. The civilization of the world has a fountain-head. The same law holds true in education. An ignorant community has no inward impulse to lead it to educate itself. Just where education is most needed there it is always least appreciated and valued. The half-savage population of Ban de la Roche had for centuries hugged their barbarism, when the good Oberlin went among them. Berkeley, a colonial Governor of Virginia, thanked God that there were no free schools in his colony, and only twice twelve months ago the slave shamble, instead of the school-house, still stood at the cross-roads of the Old Dominion. The demand for education is always awakened by external influences and agencies. Hence, Adam Smith and other writers on political economy expressly except education from the operation of the general law of supply and demand.

This law has a wide application in school affairs. Communities that have, indeed, some general appreciation of education, rest satisfied with very indifferent schools until some influence supplies the impulse to reform and progress. No one obstacle lies so directly across the track of school advancement as the idea entertained by nearly every community that they have attained unsurpassed excellence in education; and this self-flattery often exists where the work of reform needs to be most earnestly undertaken. A National Bureau would hold up to many school systems a mirror which would reveal attainable results and desirable changes.

I remark, finally, that the creation of a National Bureau would be a practical recognition by the government of the value and necessity of universal education as a means of perpetuating free institutions. It would impart to the common school cause a dignity and a character which would surely widen its influence and enhance its efficiency. It would be an argument for the education of the people, which would be felt throughout the country.

The highest success of the Bureau will, of course, depend much upon the manner in which it is officered. Instead of being made a burrow for seedy politicians, it must be made the center of the ripest experience, and the most eminent attainments to be found among the educators of the country. The work of such a Bureau must be directed by a mind that comprehends the aim and scope of education, its philosophy, its history, its processes, its practical details.

But we need to go further than this. Commissions similar to the great Commissions that have been sitting successively in Great Britain, should be appointed by Congress to examine respectively

into our systems of collegiate education, our professional or special schools, and the instruction of our public schools. Such investigations would exert a powerful influence upon our educational systems which have as yet neither crystallized nor fossilized. Now is the opportune time to introduce changes and modifications.

Let it be remembered that the next great problem of republican institutions is the uplifting of each successive generation of Americans to a true comprehension of their high duties and responsibilities. In this sublime work, society, the state, and the nation must be conjoined. Around each child born into American liberty, they must stand as a triple guaranty that the boon of education shall not be denied.

form the character. Natural logic-the self-taught art of thinking-was the guard and guide of the female mind. The first of Watts' five methods of mental improvement, "The attentive notice of every instructive object and occurrence," was not then in circulation, but was exemplified in practice. Newspapers were taken and read in perhaps half a dozen families, in the most popu lous villages and towns. Books, though scarce, were found in some families, and freely lent; and in place of a flood of books, many of which are trifling or pernicious, there were a few, of the best character. They were thoroughly read, and talked of, and digested. In town and village libraries, there were some useful histories, natural and political. Milton, Watts' Lyric Poems, Young's Night Thoughts, Hervey's Meditations, the Tattler, and Addison's Spectator, were not scarce, though not generally diffused. Pamela, Clarissa Harlow, and an abridgement of Grandison, were in a few hands, and eagerly read; and the Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, was the chief work of this kind for the young.

But the daily, attentive study of the Holy Scriptures, the great source of all wisdom and discretion, was deemed indispensable in those days, when every child had a Bible, and was accustomed to read a portion of the lesson at morning prayers. This study, with the use of Watts' Psalms (a book which, with all the defects it may have, contains a rich treasure of poetry and thought, as well as piety,) at home, at church, and in singing schools, I regard as having furnished, more than all other books and instructions, the means of mental improvement, for forty years of the last century.

But when were found the hours for mental improvement? Time will always be found, for that which engages the affections. If the spinning day's work was one and a half, or two runs, early rising, and quick movements at the wheel, dispatched the task. The time was redeemed. Often was the book laid within reach of the eye that occasionally glanced upon it for a minute or two, while knitting or sewing.

In the families of educated men, social intercourse became an important means of education to the daughters. The parents spent their evenings at home. In almost every town, there were one or more collegiate students, or men of professional and liberal education. Many taught in the common schools, and "boarded round" in families. The conversation of such persons was then highly appreciated, listened to, repeated and remembered. These circumstances afforded considerable aid to the cause of female education; for here, as in other cases, the means more scantily provided, were more carefully improved.

The mind is formed by the current of its leading thoughts, as the intervale, by that of its river. At that period, the social, domestic and sacred virtues were the general standard of female merit, in place of learning and accomplishments. Throughout the wisdom of Solomon, the domestic virtues are extolled; and among the ancients, the companions of kings and princes, without these accomplishments, were thought unqualified for their station. The daughters of New England studied the economics of the Proverbs. Nine tenths of all the cloths in use were of domestic manufacture. So late as the eight years' Revolutionary war, when hand-cards only were used in carding wool, all, or nearly all, the clothing for the New England troops, was manufactured by the patient, laborious industry, of our mothers and daughters. This was done in addition to all family clothing, bedding and hosiery. If they had a calico, worsted, or

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