Imagens da página
[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

L. S.

BE IT REMEMBERED, That on the fifth day of May, in the forty-fourth year of the Independence of the United States

of America, A. D. 1820, Joseph Lancaster, of the said District, hath deposited in this office the title of a Book, the right whereof he claims as author and proprietor, in the words following, to wit:

“Letters on National Subjects, auxiliary to universal education, and “scientific knowledge; addressed to Burwell Bassett, late a member of “the House of Representatives, Henry Clay, Speaker of the House of “Representatives, and James Monroe, President of the United States of “ America.” By Joseph Lancaster, founder of the Lancasterian system of education.

In conformity to the act of the Congress of the United States, entitled “ An act for the encouragement of learning, by securing the copies of maps, charts, and books, to the authors and proprietors of such copies during the times therein mentioned ;" and also to the act, entitled “An act supplementary to an act, entitled “ An act for the encouragement of learning, by securing the copies of maps, charts, and books, to the authors and proprietors of such copies during the times therein mentioned,' and extending the benefits thereof to the arts of designing, engraving, and etching historical and other prints."

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and affixed my seal of office, the day and year above written.

EDM. I. LEE, Clerk of the District Court of the District of Columbia.


6 All nations, indeed, of which we have any account in becoming rich, have become profligate : a torrent of depraved morality has in every opulent state, borne down with irresistable violence, these mounds and fences, by which the wisdom of legislators attempted to protect chastity, sobriety, and virtue. If any check can be given to the corruption of a state increasing in riches and declining in morals, it must be given, not by laws enacted to alter the inveterate habits of 'men, but by education adapted to form the hearts of children, to a proper sense of moral and religious excellence.' -The late bishop of Landaf's charge to the clergy of his diocese, 1788.


I present thee with four letters on National subjects, either auxiliary or principally connected with the great business of my life-Education. I assume not that this nation, is more in a state of ignorance than any other, but advocate the utter extinction of the very last remains of it from among you as a people. Possibly some persons over-prone to condemn whatever does not originate with themselves, may accuse me of flattery, because I dwell only on the bright side; but such individuals may be assured that my determination is never to meddle with any fault I cannot mend. I do not say the American character is perfect, faultless or above the standard of human nature in other countries, but I do not consider it my duty, as a stranger, needlessly to notice errors common to humanity, rather would I wish to cherish the noblest feelings of the heart among a people I highly esteem.

I remain thy well wishing friend,


[ocr errors]





11th Month, 20th, 1819.


IN addressing thee, and the friends of education in their legislative capacity, I have two objects to which I wish to claim attention, and both are well known to accord with thy patriotic solicitude :- 1st. Measures essential to the extension of the Lancasterian system of education, in its most perfect shape :-and secondly, Measures by which the citizens of the United States may increase their intellectual rank as a nation, beyond all precedent in the history of the world. Measures by which a national excellence may be attained in relation to subjects truely scientific and dignifying, not only as productive of great local advantage, but as setting an example beneficial to future ages and opening to other countries the path of knowledge. The march of mind.

Near twelve months have now elapsed since I was honored with thy friendship;—thy spontaneous kindness—and the consequent honors of congress. A quick revolving year reminde me that claims which call for gratitude ought not to be neglected. I feel anxious to make such communications as may prove how deeply I have felt the open-hearted and generous reception which I experienced when lecturing before the national legislature. How can I better express my feelings than by proving

that the general prosperity of this country has been a subject of consideration ever since I landed? The first subject, that of education, is in the line of my professional duty,-in which after twenty-two years devotion, I feel an unabated zeal and enthusiastic ardor, but the important" measures" which may conduce to the general advancement of art, science and national resources, is most consonant to my present feelings. I not only intend to keep the subjects very much distinct, but, in the present case, the first shall be last, and the last first.

In travelling above four thousand miles in the United Statesand lecturing to above fifty thousand persons, I have seen much for one twelve months ; yet compared with the magnitude of territory or extent of population, I feel satisfied that all I have yet seen of the character of the people-or the productions of the country, is comparatively small. Twelve months travelling, with much public and private intercourse, cannot warrant me in forming as too many have done, a superficial and fixed opinion of the country, which is as various from itself as from any territory of the same extent on the surface of the globe. Far from vain confidence in the acquisition of knowledge respecting a country so new to me in many respects, I would not haz. zard an opinion even with much diffidence-yet I am convinced, by the little I have seen, that any contemplative mind under the same circumstances must feel deeply impressed with those natural riches and superior capacities for improvement, which must ultimately raise its rank in the scale of nations, and by the early cultivation of these capacities, may even confer a benefaction on the human race. · It has seemed to me not only possible, but easy, contrasted with the magnitude of the object and result of the design, for such a nation to exert their patriotic and intellectual energy, so, as to take tribute of all nature on a scale of grandeur which never entered the mind of any earthly potentate, which is without a parallel in the history of nations or records of science; if the truth of this assertion be eventually demonstrated, knowledge shall have temples reared to its right use, more universal and' ennobling than that of Solomon, but, like that building, containing emblems and marks of his goodness, who not only

« AnteriorContinuar »