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intimation of which movement had been given him. He soon died after futile efforts to recover himself.
Similarly, Jones of Erie, Pa., at the end of more than thirty years, was dropt, when, broken and disheartened, he retired from notice, and almost from acquaintance, to die in a little hamlet in the Far West.
W. B. Powell was killed by the ordinary machinations of that element of American society that viciously participates in attacks made from ignorant and improper motives. The attack on Powell was led by men who had position, therefore power. The Senate Document on the schools of Washington, D. C., put forth by its committee in charge of Senator Stewart of Nevada, presents one of the most disgraceful and ignorant misrepresentations of the schools of a city ever printed. I know of but one other book in the English language that equals it in ignorance, but not in wickedness: The life of Lord Timothy Dexter of Newburyport, written by himself, a few copies of which still exist. This report of the Stewart committee has probably been retired by the Senate Committee on Disposition of useless papers. One copy, embalmed I trust, remains in the family of each of the men who signed the report.
Powell, retired, tried to interest himself in active work, traveled a little, and, like the others, died broken in heart and spirit, a comparatively young man. I knew him intimately; I worked with him when both were young and ambitious. His single thought was the betterment of the common school. He was the peer of any; he received the recompense often obtained by the city superintendent.
Bright among the spirits about me is that of Colonel Francis W. Parker. Everybody knew and loved him; to me especially, our antecedents as boys in New Hampshire being nearly identical, and our army life, from ’61 to '65, being similar, he was very near.
What a genial, jolly temperament was his, and how wildly possest with a divine impulse of child-life and power. His presence was a contribution to the highest emotions; his reason, sometimes, was supplanted by a fervor possest and demonstrated by no other in our ranks. His lectures were so interwoven with his personal magnetism as to carry his audience with him to ecstatic heights. I have forgotten all my trifling objections to his hyperbolic illustrations and over-colored pictures in the realization of his great, warm heart, and his genial conversation. A few hours' social converse with Frank Parker was ample remuneration for a journey to his side.
The Quincy plan marks quite a spot in our educational career. Colonel Parker fell into company with an eminent man, Charles Francis Adams, who, awakened from the school lethargy of a New England community, believed, under Colonel Parker's inspiration, that a new era had arrived in commonschool management. Mr. Adams exploited the discovery. In common with the rest, I was profoundly interested. Quincy was far from my home. Among inquiries made, one was to the venerable Danial Hagar, Principal of the Salem Normal School. Dr. Hagar, who had my life long been an adviser in his visits to Denver, in interviews at conventions and at his home, wrote that he would spend the day at Quincy and write me about it. When his letter came, I learned that he had spent an interested day at Quincy. I learned that, while he had found nothing new, he had found new combinations and old methods applied under new relations; that the visit was well worth making, but that appropriation or imitation of the work doing there could not be transplanted, except the presiding genius and administrator, Colonel Parker, were taken along; that without his personal presence the term Quincy method could not obtain.
Dr. W. T. Harris wrote me, “ The Quincy Plan is the highest pedagogical joke of our day and generation." The accuracy of the judgment of the writers has been verified.
Associated with Dr. Harris early in St. Louis was Frank A. Fitzpatrick, principal of a ward school, and one of the group of philosophers gathered in that city. Among them were Davidson, Morgan, and Soldan, who with others since famous were students with the great leader in speculative philosophy. The work did not phase Fitzpatrick's tendency to avoid psychological recluseness, and while he appropriated the benefit of counsels, he was not disposed permanently to travel in the philosophical road exclusively. He is with us today and very much alive to all important issues. After a competent experience as superintendent in St. Louis, Leavenworth, Omaha, and Kansas City, he left school administration for business activity. I have learned him to be one of the fullest (if the adjective may admit of comparison) all-around men in school, as well as in general affairs, since 1870.
He has never ceased interest in education and remains a wise, safe, and prudent counselor. Scores of schoolmasters are indebted to Frank for helpful advice and assistance. He is an omnivorous reader, and holds and uses what he reads. As a reference in politics, history, or religion, either ancient or modern, American or European, no encyclopedia can replace him. His acquaintances are great in number and influential in quality. His presence is welcomed in the eminent homes of the land, his counsel sought by men from every plane. Had he remained schoolmaster, he would have been first; had he been a politician, his rise would have been assured; had he adopted letters, his pen would have been mighty. Education lost when he yielded to the call of business; now he is more comfortable, while the schools are less effective.
Over against the class of able men who have past on, leaving the results their good work has wrought at such personal sacrifice, is found the other group of superintendents who have been fairly permanent in position. Unlike the policy of that great institution, the M. E. Church, which some of the ablest minds approve, namely, frequently to transfer their clergy, school management can never be strong and progressive with frequent change of manager; the work can not be taken up by a man's successor. Each newcomer, however able, is incompetent along the ambitious lines of his predecessor; sometimes, it is true, weak lines exist which ought to be effaced. The school system must be revamped in accordance with the notions of the new supervisor, and so, what crimes are committed upon thousands of pupils by the revolutionary initial step of the new arrival! Better continue in the necessarily somewhat imperfect system of the incumbent, always providing no heinous faults are apparent, than to
change. The impossibility of finding a man, having grand qualities without having great defects, is apparent. Nature provides the nightingale with song, but not the eagle.
The superintendent is necessarily driven to conservatism, but we read of noble and ignoble conservatism. The duties of the superintendent are quite unlike those of any other public office. His principals are not the small board of a commercial or transportation corporation, few in number, but the entire population—men, women, and children. His acts are provokingly before everybody, and each one of that everybody insists upon the right of counsel; too often the compulsory yielding to that counsel. His employer is not a public nor a private, but a quasi-public corporation.
The outcome is overwhelming. The possible and actual differences upon the issues that ultimately rest with the superintendent's decision,—modifications of course of study, discipline for the individual teacher or pupil, location of schoolhouses, appointment of teachers, adoption of the amateur reformer's plans-scores of problems are left with him to solve. He decides according to his expert knowledge gained by study, observation, and experience, with presumably competent judgment. The decision in each case affronts that group which is particularly interested. In time the groups of the disaffected are many: they join hands in the condemnation of him who, as they believe, has erroneously decided, organized opposition becomes effective and, like Bram Powell, the superintendent departs; with another, and often quite as able or even abler superintendent, the revolution in management is on, while the teacher and pupils start on a new trail.
The office of the city superintendent is especially vulnerable. It is at the mercy not only of the whole community, but also of the press, and the press of today is of a varying quality. Its great power has made it formidable and has drawn to its ranks the highest, ablest, and most scholarly talent in the nation. It directs and controls the chief matters of government, local and national: to the high and noble part of it is due much of the credit of our greater accomplishments as well as the lessening of the wrongs perpetrated by the smaller but vicious minority. The influence of the press for good is incalculable; sometimes temporarily, it assists the bad.
When the real authority of the superintendent can be cloaked by the assistance of a Board membership that publicly assumes the responsibility of action, his path is less steep; rarely, however, can a Board be found but a part are quite willing to place upon the superintendent the onerous task of defense for what ought to be announced as the unanimous conclusion of the Board.
One great superintendent, Enoch A. Gastman of Decatur, Ill., was a notable example whose lot fell usually along the road of concord with the Board, at least so far as the community knew. His fifty years of tenure of office is an example of what a wise, prudent, conservative superintendent can accomplish with a united Board. I re-read his correspondence last night. Numerous instances of disagreement came to him, but he conquered by confining the knowledge of heated arguments to the Board's meetings. Enoch has just left us, leaving for our comfort the memory of a beautiful, true, and inimitable life.
I should like to write of the personal characteristics as they appeal to me of superintendents I have known; characteristics covering all attributes of men: as Audubon would have written of birds, from the nightingale to the eagle, finding admirable qualities in each, but no duplicates.
Wickersham, White, Calkins, Hancock, Soldan, Marble, Wells, Lane, Howland, Maxwell, Blodgett, Seaver, Cooley, Greenwood, Van Sickle, and Sabin are a few of the names whose lives are familiar and sweet to know.
What has been is most helpful as sentiment, but yet inspiration comes from contemplation. We are in the present; what can we do now, and what can we do for the future, is the chief purpose of life.
An old man's conclusions must be taken with a grain of reserve, advancing years are likely to emphasize the glories of the past wherein he was an active factor; he forgets that the young men of the present have, to the experience of the