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exists, and the problem of neglected children is not solved, and we fear will not be by any number of Truant Officers until a more vigorous and enlightened public sentiment is evoked from the consciences of parents. Our whole system of public instruction must be reconstructed from the foundation, so as to reach children between the ages of three and eight, by the Kindergarten and the Primary School, by which the home and the school shall be brought into direct connection through the warm, coöperating sympathy of parents and teachers. School attendance must be made a habit early in life, and private and parental action must be stimulated to secure this paramount objcct.
In the problem of reconstruction of the South, Mr. Hawkins, by pen and voice, labored to introduce the factor of the free public school. In March, 1875, he delivered an address in Boston on the subject,. which was printed in a pamphlet of thirty-two pages, bearing the title of “ The Educational Problem in the Cotton States.” With a convincing array of facts drawn from official sources, he demonstrates the proposition that it is the interest and the duty of these States to provide, by tax on property and other wise legislation, for the free elementary instruction of every child within their borders. He recommends an amendment of the National Constitution empowering the Federal Government, in case of any State neglecting to make this provision, to intervene in the interest of the whole country and perform it. This address was widely circulated, and even the entire pamphlet of thirty-two pages was reprinted in a large number of papers in the States directly interested.
In September, 1877, Mr. Hawkins delivered before the American Social Science Association, at the annual meeting at Saratoga, an address on “ Education, the Need of the South,” bristling with the statistics of illiteracy among both whites and blacks, and demonstrating by solid arguments the inevitable results of such ignorance on society, business, and politics. The remedy pointed out was-wise State Legislation, aided by immediate and liberal coöperation of the National Government in the appropriation, for a term of years for free common schools, of the proceeds of the sales of the public land, and their distribution among the States, according to the number of illiterates in each. This address was widely copied in the public press of the South, and in the discussion which it aroused has helped largely to shape public sentiment for some decided action of Congress in this direction. A bill to this effect passed the Senate in December, 1880.
In 1871 a paper prepared by him at the request of Dr. Peck
(now Bishop Peck), on the “ E.ctravagance of the Tammany Ring," was published in the New York Times, June 30th of that year, and by its wide republication in other papers helped to arrest the attention of the whole country to the astounding fact that in twenty-eight months an addition of over fifty millions had been made, without the knowledge of the people, to the debt of the City of New York. It lead to the speedy overthrow of the ring.
The overthrow of the now “infamous Tweed Ring” led to the exposure of many devices by which politicians contrive to keep the people blinded to their movements by subsidizing the public press, and thus securing silence, or apologies, or open advocacy of measures of insidious and even flagrant enormity. When the scrutiny and approval of bills against the City Treasurer was transferred from a corrupt official to a man of Spartan integrity and firmness, Andrew H. Green, it was discovered that these infamous politicians had virtually in their pay in the city of New York twenty-eight daily and sixty weekly papers-eighty-nine organs by which the popular intelligence and public opinion were in a great measure formed. For five years over a million of dollars a year—the sum of five million dollars in five years, had been incurred under the guise of advertising for the city government. The Controller refused to pay these bills until the claims of each item was adjusted. Three millions had already been paid, and to override the decision of the Controller the claimants or their agents applied to the Legislature at Albany for a law compelling the city to pay. Many prominent lawyers, invited to appear for the city before the committee having these and other bills to deplete the public treasury, refused for want of time or adequate compensation, or unwillingness to incur the abuse of the parties exposed or defeated. Mr. Hawkins, on the application of the Controller, spent, several months at Albany in the interests of the city. He showed that some of those bills had been already paid, and that the city held their receipts in full, but as a portion of the money had been divided with the “Ring,” the papers wished to be paid again; other bills were shown to be charged at many times a fair price, and had already been paid more than was just; other claims were shown to be pure frauds,-a sheet of advertisements had been bought for a trifling sum, on which a newspaper heading had been printed, and then the whole page charged at forty cents a line; in another a whole file for a daily paper for six months had been manufactured out of a single issue contained in a page of city advertisements, by simply running the date in the heading back day by day for half a year, thus making the charge more than one hun
dred and fifiy times what it should be. In the face of these exposures several of these claims were withdrawn, and the Legislature threw out the whole bill designed for a public act. Since this exposure the city advertising has cost just one-seventh of the sum paid under the Tammany Ring.
In 1873, in a pamphlet, entitled, “ Donations of Public Property to Prirate Corporations and the Illegal Exemptions of the same from Taxation,” Mr. Hawkins shows that upwards of ten millions of public property in the City of New York had been given to private corporations, and that more than half of this vast sum escaped tax. ation. This exposure of the abuses of municipal legislation and administration led not only to local reform, but to an amendment of the State Constitution prohibiting the donation of public property to private corporations.
In 1879, within twenty-four hours after the publication of Governor Robinson's annual message to the Legislature, in which the Chief Magistrate had assailed for a second time the common school system of the State for going beyond the requirements of the old curriculum of reading, writing, and cyphering, and trying to provide teachers beyond the old district school standard—Mr. Hawkins addressed an open “ letter to the Governor of the Empire State," the purport of which neither Governor Robinson or the State will soon forget. In this letter Mr. Hawkins exposes in clear, logical, and forcible language, the sophistical statements of the opponents of a graded system of public schools in all cities and populous districts; and shows the necessity of a higher grade for the older and more advanced pupils, in order to secure the instruction demanded by the duties of American citizenship, and the claims of intelligent and skilled labor, and at the same time give efficiency to the grades below. In our system of public (not charity) schools, the children of the poor and laboring classes must have equal advantages of education for citizenship as the children of the rich and professional classes ; and to have good public schools, their teachers must be properly trained and adequately paid.
In 1873 Mr. Hawkins published a literary gem—“Traditions of Overlook Mountain," and in 1875 delivered the annual address before the Syracuse University “ On the Anglo Saxon Race-its History, Character, and Destiny," which was printed both as a pamphlet and in the Methodist Quarterly Review. In 1880 he prepared a pamphlet on “ The Roman Catholic Church in New York City and the Public Land and Public Money," which assails any further grants to religious bodies. It is published by the Tract Society.