DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, BUREAU OF EDUCATION,
Washington, D. C., November 15, 1873.
SIR: I have the honor to submit my fourth annual report. The disasters which have
fallen upon the finances and industries in portions of the country have, in some in-
stances, embarrassed the progress of education by delaying the payment of teachers
and by depriving many poor children of the opportunity of attending school ; but, on
the whole, the year has been one of substantial progress in this important interest.
Especially is this true as respects the work assigned this Office.
The facts now ready for use present, as respects amount, definiteness, and freshness,
a striking contrast to the condition of educational information when my first report was
commenced, in 1870.
Doubtless we cannot expect that the result of efforts in this direction for any year
will be wholly satisfactory until every child is brought under the influence of element-
ary instruction and there is a sufficient number of youth in the secondary, superior,
and special grades of training to assure the progress of the Republic in the improve-
ment of all its vast opportunities.
At present, however, these facts cannot be fully, accurately, and promptly collated ;
yet any report of them must carry with it a certain useful impression, as it reveals the
extent of ignorance that prevails in quarters and the evils that flow from it to individ-
nals, society, and the state. It is of interest to the sailor to know whether his chart
and his observations enable him to compute accurately his position and bearings. It
is of no less consequence to the patriot to know whether his country is responding to
the necessary conditions of growth and perpetuity. This he can never know if he leaves
ont of view what is transpiring with the rising generation. He may compare the facts
relating to the material condition of his country with those respecting other national-
ities, and may find them flattering to his pride; and yet, if he has not taken into con-
sideration the educational factors—the efforts for the culture of the young-and their
effects, and the other facts which may be definitely known, showing whether ignorance
or intelligence, vice or virtue, crime or justice, honesty or dishonesty, are on the in-
crease, he has left out the one element most essential to a correct conclusion.
Commerce, industry, legislation, and administration would go back towards barbarism,
if the care of the young were neglected for a single generation. The lack of these data
for our whole country has for a long period been a standing complaint among students
of American civilization. No officer could make satisfactory replies to foreign inquir-
ies. No statesman could find facts for the formation of his opinions or the guidance of
his conduct. There was much pompous boasting of American intelligence, but nobody
could exactly describe it.
The most cminent investigators in this field had confessed their embarrassment. The
demand for something comprehensive and complete was increasing from every quarter
and every interest. Leading minds in other countries, as they saw the restored Union
rise above the commotions which had been thought by monarchists certainly fatal to
it and to republicanism, more universally accepted education as the primal cause of
national safety as well as of national progress and in this belief came here to study it
anew. At the same time the transition through which our own society was passing,
especially in those sections where slavery had been abolished, increased the public .
solicitude in this direction. The desire for information was not satisfied with the