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School Libraries. The total number of School District Libraries reported last year, 1,103; this year 1,375—increase 272; total number of volumes last year 28,628; this year 38,755 -apparent increase 10,127 volumes. Judging from the fact that more counties this year report an increase in their libraries, than report money expended for the purpose, it is reasonable to presume that either all the expenditure for books is not reported, or that books were returned this year which were neglected last year. So that it is not possible to get at the amount really expended for library purposes. Last year 19,504 volumes were loaned for reading; this year 34,104—showing the very marked increase over last year of 14,600 volumes loaned to readers. From 1849 to the present time, there has been an average of less than a volume a year added to the School District Libraries of the State-a fact that should not only cause profound regret, but arouse us to the absolute necessity of some improved School Library system. Impressed with the uncommon importance of this matter, special pains have been taken, by personal visits and correspondence, to learn the practical workings of the library systems of other States; and this whole subject will be presented, in a subsequent part of this Report, in all its bearings, together with such practical deductions as the facts and experiences grouped together would seem to warrant.
These educational facts, as a whole, show that we are making progress in Wisconsin. Schools and school-houses, pupils and attendance, are steadily increasing; and the increased demand for better qualified teachers, and the increased wages they receive for their services, are gratifying and unmistakened evidences that the good work is gradually advancing and improving. The establishment of Normal Schools, the growing interest manifested in the Teachers' State Convention, together with the measure of success and usefulness attendant upon the Wisconsin Journal of Education, are so many additional evidences of progress, which should not be lightly esteemed or overlooked in making up the general estimate of the onward march of education in Wisconsin. That cause which last year expended for teachers' wages alone over two hundred and seventy thousand dollars, and this year over three hundred and thirty-four thousand dollars-over $64,000 this year more than the last, and over six hundred thousand dollars during the two years together, is one which very properly claims the warm sympathies and . zealous efforts of every true son of Wisconsin, both in and out of the Legislature.
EDUCATION—how vast the significance of that single word! It conveys to us the idea of the mental training of millions of children who are soon to fill the places we now occupy. “Each one of these millions," suggests HORACE MANN,“ with a fitting
education, is capable of adding something to the sum of human happiness, and subtracting something from the sum of human misery; and many great souls amongst them there are, who may become instruments of turning the course of nations, as the rivers of waters are turned.”
Important as all concede it to be, yet how little earnest attention is given by the mass of our people, by parents and by legislators, to the subject of education. It vitally concerns us all, and yet few seem to realize the ever-living fact. “Improvements in useful, and often in useless arts, command solid prices,twenty, fifty, or even a hundred thousand dollars,—while improvements in education, in the means of obtaining new guaranties for the permanence of all we hold dear, and for making our children and our childrens' children wiser and happier,--these are scarcely topics of conversation or inquiry." **
The total expenditures of our State for the nine years since its organization up to the first of January last, was, in round numbers, one million and nine hundred thousand dollars; while the total amount of the School Fund income apportioned to the several towns, including the apportionment in April last, amounts to $835,320 37, which was distributed on the express condition of at least half the amount being levied and collected by the several districts enjoying this educational bounty, which would at least add one half to making it $1,252,980 55. It would be a very moderate estimate to say, that during these nine years past at least fifty per cent. more has been raised by taxation for school purposes in Wisconsin than has been actually required in order to share the State bounty, which would bring up the grand total expended for common schools since the organization of the State to over a million and a half of dollars, together with over a million of dollars more for school-house propertythus exceeding, by more than one-quarter, all other State expenditures for the same period put together. Is not, then, the educational interest of our State, in its pecuniary aspect alone, one of immense importance? It may well be asked, with the learned Bishop BERKELEY, "whether a wise State hath any interest nearer heart than the education of youth ?” The education of the people should receive far greater attention from our legislators than -is' ordinarily bestowed upon it; for, I will venture to say, that in each successive session of two or three months of the Legislature, scarcely as many days are devoted to the paramount claims and mighty interests connected with the education of all the children of the State.
“Now, sir,” exclaims the eloquent EDWARD EVERETT, “I am coming to the point which I wish to illustrate ; and it is this : What none but a madman would knowingly do to his body; what no known community of men, raised above the abjectest level of savage life, and placed on a soil and in a climate that yield a competent supply of wholesome food, has ever done to the perishing corporeal frame; what no parent, in whose bosom the last drop of the milk of human kindness and natural love was not dried up, would do to his child,—that is done, and permitted to be done, without scruple and without rebuke, to the immortal intellect; and this in enlightened lands and in Christian communities, composed of men who know that they have not only minds to enlighten, but souls to save. I say the monstrous and unnatural cruelty, never practised to himself or another, as far as the body is concerned, unless by an idiot or a savage, is daily, constantly, remorselessly, practised upon that which excels the body, by all the difference between mind and matter, spirit and clay, heaven and earth.
« The body is not starved, except in cases of cruel necessity. Not starved ? It is nourished and pampered by whatever can provoke or satisfy the appetite; the healthy child is nursed and nourished up into the healthy man ; the tiny fingers, which now weary with the weight of the rattle, will be trained up to a grasp of steel; the little limbs will learn to stretch, unfatigued, over plain and mountain ; while the inward intellectual. being will be allowed to remain unnourished, neglected, and stinted. A reason, capable of being nurtured into the vigorous apprehension of all truth, will remain uninformed and torpid, at the mercy of low prejudice and error. A capacity, which might have explored nature, mastered its secrets, and weighed the orbs of heaven in the golden scales of science, shall pass through life, clouded with superstition, ignorant of the most familiar truth, unconscious of its own heavenly nature. There is the body of a man, sound, athletic, well-proportioned; but the mind within is puny, dwarfed, and starved. Could we perceive it with our bodily sight, we should pity it. Could the natural eye measure the contrast between a fully-developed and harmoniously-proportioned intellect, on the one hand, and a blighted, stinted, distorted, sickly, understanding, on the other, even as it compares a diseased and shrivelled form with the manly expansion and vigorous development of health, we should be moved with compassion ; but, so completely do we allow ourselves to be the slaves of material sense, that many a parent, who would feel himself incapable of depriving a child of a single meal, will let him grow up, without ever approaching the banquet of useful, quickening knowledge.
"I know, sir, these are figures of speech. The mind does not grow by food, nor languish for want of it; but these similitudes are the only means we have of discoursing of the intellec
tual nature. I know not to what else we can better liken the strong appetence of the mind for improvement, than to a hunger and thirst after knowledge and truth ; nor how we can better describe the province of education, than to say, it does that for the intellect, which is done for the body, when it receives the care and nourishment which are necessary for its growth, health and strength. From this comparison, I think I derive new views of the importance of education. It is now a solemn duty, a tender, sacred trust. What! sir, feed a child's body, and let his soul hunger! pamper his limbs, and starve his faculties ! Plant the earth, cover a thousand hills with your droves of cattle, pursue the fish to their hiding places in the sea, and spread out your wheat fields across the plain, in order to supply the wants of that body, which will soon be as cold and as senseless as their poorest clod, and let the pure spiritual essence within you, with all its glorious capacities for improvement, languish and pine! What! build factories, turn in rivers upon the waterwheels, unchain the imprisoned spirits of steam, to weave a garment for the body, and let the soul remain unadorned and naked! What! send out your vessels to the farthest ocean, and make battle with the monsters of the deep, in order to obtain the means of lighting up your dwellings and workshops, and prolonging the hours of labor for the meat that perisheth, and permit that vital spark, which God has kindled, which He has intrusted to our care, to be fanned into a bright and heavenly flame,-permit it, I say, to languish and go out!
“But leaving," remarks Mr. EVERETT elsewhere, “all attempt to magnify the work of education, by pointing out the astonishing results to which it guides the well-trained mind, a much shorter method might be pursued with one who needed to be impressed with its importance. I would take such an one to a place of instruction, to a school, to a child's school, (for there is no step in the process more important than the first,) and I would say, in those faint sparks of intelligence just brightening over the rudiments of learning, you behold the germ of so many rational and immortal spirits. In a few years, you and I, and all now on the stage, shall have passed away ; and there on those little seats, primer in hand, are arranged our successors. Yes, when the volume of natural science, and Nature with it, shall have vanished,—when the longest periods of human history shall have run together to a point, -those infant children will have ripened into immortal beings, looking back from the mansions of eternity, with joy or sorrow, on the direction given to their intellectual and moral natures in the dawn of their existence! If there is any one not deeply impressed, by this single reflection, with the importance of education, he is beyond the reach of any
thing that can be urged, by way either of illustration or argument."
THE SCHOOL FUND. It is one of the duties imposed by law on the Superintendent of Public Instruction, to propose plans for the improvement and management of the Common School Fund.” În compliance with a resolution of the Assembly, at its last session, I had occasion to enter quite fully into this matter, and shall now proceed to its re-examination, making such additions and modifications as the change of circumstances seems to require. Some of the statistics come down no later than in April last-relating chiefly to land sales ; but as few lands have since been sold or pre-empted, the aggregates will remain about the same, and can in no case materially effect the general result.
The School Fund proper, after deducting the amount set apart for Normal School purposes, amounted, on the 1st of October last, to $2,845,846 34-considerably less than the year preceding, owing to the diversion from the Fund of $261,598 54 to the Drainage Fund. The interest on the present School Fund, at 7 per cent., is $199,212 04. There is now in the treasury the sum of $40,790 07 of School Fund income ; adding this to the interest due prior to 5th of March next, and we should have a total of $240,002 11 for the next apportionment. This, as experience shows, cannot all be collected. Last year the figures pointed out fifty thousand dollars more than was actually paid in, in time for the apportionment. If we have $190,000 to appropriate in March next, it will probably be as much as can reasonably be expected ; and this sum would give about seventytwo cents to each child, of school age, in the State. It would not be safe to estimate more.
. SOURCES OF AUGMENTING THE SCHOOL FUND.
The sources of increasing the School Fund, as already provided, are-25 per cent. of the net proceeds of the sale of the Swamp Lands ; five per cent. net proceeds of the sale of Government lands in Wisconsin ; and the sale of the remaining unsold School Lands—the item of fines, penalties and forfeitures being too unimportant to take into the account in a general estimate of this kind. Let us look carefully at these several sources, and see what may reasonably be estimated as the ultimate amount of the School Fund, when all these additions shall have been made :
Swamp Land Grant.-The total amount of the Swamp Land Grant, can only be approximately estimated. In the report of the