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higher standard, and higher aspirations on the part of the people in regard to common school education. We therefore look with much satisfaction, upon the law of the last session of our legislature, by which an appropriation was made for the purpose of employing agents to visit the different towns, and, so far as practicable, the different districts, for the express purpose of lecturing on subjects connected with education, and thereby awakening an interest in regard to it. This is what is wanted. We must have more interest in common school education among the people, and then we shall have longer schools, more and higher studies, and last, but not least, abler and better paid teachers ; yes, I will say better paid teachers, because we can never hope for teachers of ability and high qualifications, unless their services are acknowledged by commensurate wages. How is it now? Official documents show that the average wages of common school male teachers is less than one dollar per day! Less, in fact, than the average wages of carpenters, shoe-makers, and blacksmiths. If there be one point, more than another, on which. public sentiment needs to be radically changed, it is in regard to the value of the services of those who are engaged in the business of instruction in all its departments, high or low. If good wages cannot be afforded, good teachers, permanent and well qualified, cannot be had; it is a sine-qua-non, for human nature has not yet advanced to that degree of perfection, when men will engage in the severest labors and most responsible duties, for less compensation than they can obtain in the ordinary pursuits of life.
I trust I shall be pardoned for this digression. I find
it difficult ever to speak of education without alluding to what I have long regarded as a great obstacle to improvement, the inadequate compensation granted to teachers.
Mr. President, and Gentlemen of the American Insti
tute of Instruction :
The important services you have rendered to the cause of education, during the twenty years of your associated existence, give me confidence that the topic I have at this time presented, will receive, at your hands, a respectful consideration. It is not, indeed, your province to legislate for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, or any other state in the American Union ; that duty is reserved for other bodies. Yours is a higher mission. To form that public sentiment, which is anterior and superior to all legislative action, is your object and aim. The State of Massachusetts has already been greatly indebted to you, for the assistance you have afforded to the cause of education. She has given an expression of her approbation of your course, and appreciation of your services, by an annual appropriation towards the expenditures of your Association.
May that appropriation be continued so long as you, gentlemen, shall continue your philanthropic and valuable services.
In looking over “ an enlarged and revised edition of the Tenth Annual Report of the first Secretary of the Massachusetts Board of Education," a document published by the authority of the Legislature of 1849, I find a brief history of the American Institute of Instruction, concluding with the following paragraph :
“ This Institute may justly be considered as the source of all the improvements in education, which have been made [since its organization) in New England, and other Northern States; and its influence is slowly diffusing itself through the uncongenial regions of the South.” Can you wish for
wish for a higher compliment, from a higher source ? Can you aspire to a better fame, than that of having led the way in all the improvements that have been made in education in our country, since you have been a society? Is not such an acknowledgment some reward for your sacrifices and efforts ? Will you not feel new encouragement to exertion, and be inspired with new zeal and determination in the great work you have so nobly begun ?
We cannot doubt your response. The heroism and self-devotion that animated your Association in the early and trying days of existence, will lead you forward to new and higher achievements, to wider and more comprehensive efforts.
It must, I am confident, be a source of high gratification to those of you, who have, from the first, been members of this Institute, to contemplate the various steps of your progress thus far, and the eminent success which has crowned your exertions.
You have done niuch to awaken a proper esprit du corps, in the teacher's profession. No profession will be respected that does not place itself in a position to command respect. It must have identity. It must have an associated existence, and associated action. It must make its appearance before the public, as a distinct body, who have rights, duties, responsibilities, and claims. Without this, we cannot expect that any profession will stand out in its true position before the public mind, and secure the respect to which it is entitled.
The exertions of this Institute, the leading members of which are gentlemen connected with our most prominent seminaries of learning, have already, to a wide extent, attracted the attention of the public, and drawn to themselves the sympathies and the co-operation of the friends of education, throughout the country, and they have laid the foundations of an edifice, which we trust will continue to rise in importance and interest, long after its public-spirited founders shall be sleeping in the dust.
Gentlemen :— You have done much, we expect you will do still more. You belong to a profession that is just beginning to take its proper place in public estimation, and assume the rank which belongs to it. If we mistake not, society itself is entering upon a new and higher career of existence, and that the “ good time coming" is near at hand, the time when
6. Ideas shall conquer swords,”
the time when men and institutions shall be valued and applauded, not for the mischiefs they have inflicted, but the benefits they have conferred upon mankind.
ON THE IMPORTANCE OF EARLY TRAINING.
OF NEW YORK.
MR. PRESIDENT, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN :
In appearing before you, in obedience to the call of the Executive Board, justice to myself requires a word of explanation.
The time which I had positively appropriated to the preparation of an Address, I have been obliged to devote to a beloved brother, whom I have just laid in the grave. I shall, therefore, present only a few thoughts, which I have hastily thrown together.
It is with feelings of no ordinary character that I stand among you, assembled as we are to promote the great cause of popular education.
Deprived of that early training so essential to the full development of all our faculties, I shall not detain you with a recital of my hopes and fears, excited by an ardent desire to benefit the race, and the consciousness of my own inability to perform the duty which your kindness has enjoined upon me.