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There is need, then, not only of the continued existence of the best Academies of New England but of their great enlargement and improvement. They are needed to supply that lack of the best culture which the local schools of the rural sections of the country can never supply. They are needed as places of resort for training the best minds of both of the city and country under certain influences, which few purely local schools can have under the best of circumstances. They are needed to prepare for the colleges the best material to make good scholarship, much of which is found among the hill towns of New England, though they may be as rough as Mount Helicon, on whose slopes the muses did not deign the less to dwell, because they were wild and barren.
We need them that the proper work of all the local schools, both 1 of the city and the country, may not be interfered with, in the vain attempt to make them answer for uses and purposes not belonging to their proper design, in educating the whole mass of the popular mind to the highest possible average of attainment at the public expense. The duty of sustaining the local schools, in all their grades, will be met by the American people, and the local schools will have attained their limit of perfection, not when they shall attempt to fit one out of a thousand boys as he ought to be to enter college, but to educate the nine hundred and ninety and nine, who can not and ought not to go to college, in the best possible manner, for not the learned professions but for the not less honorable callings which society demands shall be filled by well-educated and good citizens. It is perhaps enough that the State confine itself to this great work, the education of the people, by improving to their utmost capacity the local schools of every grade.
With respect to colleges and middle schools, it is perhaps all that we can expect, if we demand the kindly regard of the State and such a scanty appropriations as can be afforded. For the history of the higher education of society shows that, in all ages of modern civilization at least, universities and classical schools have had to depend on the enlightened liberality of a few noble and generous benefactors. All the colleges and universities of England and the Continent, all the colleges of this country, the oldest and the youngest, all the important Academies and professional schools, are monuments of private liberality, supported chiefly by the endowments of those who, blessed by Providence with wealth, have left it as a legacy of perennial good for the successive generations of men, who, as they receive the benefit of their benefactions, revere and bless their memory with “perpetual benedictions."
II. EDUCATIONAL BIOGRAPHY.
WARREN BURTON. Rev. WARREN BURTON, author of "District School as it was," and "Helps to Home Education," was born in Wilton, New Hampshire, November 23, 1800. His mother, before her marriage, was a teacher, and the traditional reputation of her gentleness and goodness is embodied by the son in the character of “ Mary Smith." His own happy training in the family of his grandparents, after the death of his father and mother, suggested those views and sentiments of the incalculable importance of the home as a school of Christian wisdom and love, which afterwards found expression in his teaching from the pulpit and by his pen. With no previous advantages than a district-school, he achieved by himself a preparation for college, with the occasional instructions of a good parish minister who lived two miles off'; and entered old Harvard in 1817, where he graduated with distinction in 1821. After the usual probation of school-keeping, he entered the Theological Institution at Cambridge, and after a three years' course, was approved and in 1828 ordained and settled at East Cambridge. But this connection was soon amicably dissolved, and henceforth he devoted himself to special objects of philanthropy, the most prominent of which was the school and home training of children. By addresses formal and informal, in school-houses, lecture rooms, State-houses, and churches, by articles in the newspapers, contributions to educational journals, and by more formal publications, and by the widest correspondence and personal intercourse, Mr. Burton has arrested parental attention to this all important subject, and deserves, by the permanent good done, to be regarded as a public benefactor. His "District School as it was,” from its lively and spirited pictures of the wretched condition of the common school in the rural portions of New England, was widely read in quarters where more formal expositions would not have been listened to or heeded, and helped to revolutionize public sentiment and public action in rural school edifices and management. His lecture on cultivating a taste for Natural Scenery—as the earliest, broadest, and liveliest exercise of the observing faculties, and the most direct method of reaching the imagination and the æsthethic portion of our nature-afterwards enlarged and published as "Scenery Showing, or Word Painting, of the Beautiful, Picturesque, and Grand in Nature," opened up a new field of educational discussion and practice. His "Helps to Education in the Homes of our Country," a volume of 368 pages, published in 1863, contains a Lecture on Parental Responsibility—a Lecture on Government, Management, and No Government in the Family—a Lecture on the Management of Self-hood—Suggestions on the Discipline of the Observing Faculties— Topics of Religious Education—The First Knowledge of the Creator The First and Great Commandment-The Child's First Ideas of Jesus—The Bible-a series of subjects of the highest practical value discussed in a most interesting and masterly manner.