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in Botany, Geology, Entomology and Ornithology. The varieties of plants, flowers, herbs, grasses, grains, shrubs, and trees, -of soils and stones, -of insects and birds,—would furnish pleasing and profitable subjects for remark and inquiry. Upon these subjects all children should be instructed. It is a deplorable truth, that in all our larger towns, children are almost utterly ignorant in regard to them. There are thousands of school girls who, at a glance, could name the fabrics of all the dresses ever worn by Caroline Woodman or Flora McFlimsey; but who could not tell the growing oats, barley, rye and wheat; nor the oak, beach, maple and hickory apart; nor distinguish between an owl and an eagle, a wren and a robin.”
3. The influence of School Libraries upon the pupils themselves would be no less salutary. As children learn to read, proper books, suitable to their understanding, would prove a powerful incentive to their acquisition of knowledge. They would give a new zest to their studies, and constantly impart a new stimulus to learn more. It is well known, that in very many of our districts, schools are kept only the three months, the requisite period to secure a share of the School Fund apportionment; thus leaving the children in those districts nine months of the year without school instruction; and the average months of schools taught in the State is only five and three fifths—leaving more than half of the year throughout the State during which our two hundred and sixty-four thousand children are without the least visible means of instruction. Then, in an especial manner, do they need School Libraries, to which they can resort, and find the means and incentives for intellectual growth and improvement. Let them have the best works of the best minds, past and present, and it will be better for them than to have the most brilliant lectures, incomplete as they always, from their nature, must be, delivered in their respective neighborhoods by Bancroft, Everett, Emerson, Bayard Taylor and others of the most cultivated scholars of our country.
4. School Libraries would prove a powerful incentive towards the formation of Youth's Debating Clubs, and Literary Associations, by furnishing sources of information upon almost every practical subject. Thus would the spirit of research and discussion be fostered and encouraged, deep, clear and correct thinking promoted, and the rising man fitted for the stern mental conflicts of life, in which many, no doubt, will hereafter be called upon to engage, as the law-makers and expounders of our State and Union.
5. These Libraries should contain an appropriate selection of works of the best poets—God's interpreters of nature. The Iliad of Homer, is unquestionably the finest epic in the world, and the Edipus of Sophocles is peerless in poetic literature. But as a whole, it has been remarked, the English poetry is the richest gift ever bestowed, by the genius of any people, upon the human family. “The School Library,” observes President BARKER, “is the depository of this literature, and by the study of it chiefly, must the taste of our people be refined, and the current of their thoughts be ennobled. In Italy, pictures and statues, architecture and music, have performed this task; in England landscape gardening has infused universally a tinge of poetic sentiment. Here these agencies do not exist; but it is the privilege of all to see suspended in writing, the imperial creations of the poet and the philosopher, and to gaze on them till their own souls thrill with transport, and vibrate in unison with these generous sentiments.” Let us gladly scatter flowers along the pathway of knowledge, which may constantly fill the mind with the image of beauty and goodness.
“Do any reply,” asks Mrs. SIGOURNEY, “ that the perception of the Beautiful' is but a luxurious sensation, and may be dispensed with in those systems of education which this age of utility establishes? But is not its culture the more demanded, to throw a healthful leaven into the mass of society, and to serve as some counterpoise for that love of accumulation, which pervades every rank, intrudes into every recess, and spreads even in consecrated places the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of such as sell doves? In ancient times, the appreciation of whatever was beautiful in the frame of Nature, was accounted salutary, by philosophers and sages. Galen says, “He who has two cakes of bread, let him sell one, and buy some flowers; for bread is food for the body, but flowers are food for the soul.' If the perception of the Beautiful may be made conducive to present improvement, and to future happiness; if it have a tendency to refine and sublimate the character; ought it not to receive culture throughout the whole process of education? It takes root, most naturally and deeply, in the simple and loving heart; and is, therefore, peculiarly fitted to the early years of life, when, to borrow the language of a German writer, 'every sweet sound takes a sweet odor by the hand, and walks in through the open door of the child's heart.'"
6. To young ladies would School Libraries prove of unspeakable benefit. “But to you, my young lady friends," says GEORGE B. EMERSON, “even more than to your brothers, it is important now to acquire a talent for reading well, and a taste for reading. I say more important, for, looking forward to the future, you will need it more than they. They are more inde
pendent of this resource. They have their shops, and farms, and counting houses to go to. They are daily on change.They go abroad on the ocean. The sphere of woman, her place of honor, is home, her own fireside, the cares of her own family. A well educated woman is a sun in this sphere, shedding around her the light of intelligence, the warmth of love and happiness. And by a well-educated woman, I do not mean merely one who has acquired ancient and foreign languages, or curious or striking accomplishments. I mean a woman who, having left school with a firmly-fixed love of reading, has employed the golden leisure of her youth in reading the best English books, such as shall prepare her for her duties. All the best books ever written are in English, either original or translated ; and in this richest and best literature of the world, she may find enough to prepare her for all the duties and relations of life. The mere talent of reading well, simply, gracefully,—what a beautiful accomplishment it is in woman! How many weary and otherwise heavy hours have I had charmed into pleasure by this talent in a female friend. But I speak of the higher acquisition, the natural and usual consequence of this, a taste for reading. This will give a woman a world of resources.
“It gives her the oracles of God. These will be very near her ;-nearest to her hand when she wakes, and last from her hand when she retires to sleep. And what stores of wisdom, for this world and for a higher, will she gain from this volume ! This will enable her to form her own character and the hearts of her children. Almost every distinguished man has confessed his obligations to his mother. To her is committed the important period of life. How necessary, then, is it that she should possess a knowledge of the laws of the body and the mind, and how can she get it but by reading? If you gain only this, what an unspeakable blessing will your education be to you !"
7. Such Libraries would have a tendency to lop off many of the rougher exterior habits of our youth, and lead them to cultivate habits of refinement and politeness. They are sadly needed. The ancient bow and courtesy-little civilities, but none the less significant of respect for elders and superiorswhich were so common forty years ago, are now become quite out of fashion. “But where,” enquires Mr. Commissioner Smyth, of Ohio, “in all our land, does this good old practice prevail ? Where are the evidences in our children of the possession of that spirit of kind respect and appropriate regard for their superiors in years and wisdom? Who does not know that bows and courtesies, on the part of our boys and girls, are ob
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solete, both in idea and practice ; and are numbered with the lost arts of the ancients? It has been remarked, that there are thousands of boys in this great country, not one of whom has ever made a bow, unless when he had occasion to dodge a snow-ball, a brick-bat, or a bowlder.'.
6 Some eight or ten winters since, Ex-Governor Everett, of Massachusetts, with the late Amos Lawrence, was, in a sleigh, riding into Boston. As they approached a school-house, a score of young boys rushed into the street, to enjoy their afternoon recess. Said the Governor to his friend, Let us observe whether these boys make obeisance to us, as we were taught to do fifty years ago.' At the same time he expressed the fear, that habits of civility were less practised than formerly. As they passed the school-house, all question and doubt upon the subject received a speedy, if not a satisfactory settlement ; for each one of those twenty juvenile New Englanders did his best at snow-balling the way-faring dignitaries.”
“ That more regard,” says Mr. NORTHEND, the late distinguished Principal of the Connecticut State Normal School, "should be manifested by the young to rules of etiquette and courtesy, must be admitted by every observing mind. There is too little reverence for age and authority ; too slight a respect to laws of both man and God. The transition from boyhood to imagined manhood is altogether too rapid, as by it the son is, often, placed above the parent, and the pupils taught becomo much wiser, in their own estimation, than their teachers. Boys in their undue anxiety to become men, are neither men nor boys, but form a new, peculiar race." To rectify these evil tendencies, the School Library must come to the aid of the teacher and the parent.
8. Good Libraries would not fail to exert a happy influence in eradicating vicious habits. “Habitual novel reading,” says Hon. JOHN D. PHILBRICK, recently Superintendent of Common Schools of Connecticut, and now City Superintendent of Boston, “is extremely detrimental to the health and vigor of both body and mind. Works of fiction, and those of the baser sort, constitute almost the entire staple of the reading of the multitudes of our youth. This species of literature has increased, within a few years, to an alarming extent, and its readers have increased in a corresponding ratio. It is spreading over the land like a moral plague, tainting the whole moral atmosphere with its pestilential breath. The reading of such productions inflames the passions, depraves the imagination, and corrupts the heart. A recent author has truly said, “They paint for our imitation, humane murders, licentious saints, holy infidels, and honest robbers. Over loathsome women and unutterably vile men, is thrown the checkered light of a hot imagination, until they glow with an infernal luster.'”
“Would you," asks Prof. READ, “effectually banish from the generation growing up, stupid knavery, low vices, idleness, loafing, running about upon the Sabbath? These and kindred vices will be most effectually banished by sending out into every neighborhood the means and incentives of intellectual culture.”
What boy," inquires HORACE MANN, “what boy, at least, is there, who is not in daily peril of being corrupted by the evil communications of his elders? We all know, that there are self-styled gentlemen amongst us,-self-styled gentlemen,-who daily, and hourly, lap their tongues in the foulness of profanity; and though, through a morally insane perversion, they may restrain themselves, in the presence of ladies and of clergymen, yet it is only for the passing hour, when they hesitate not to pour out the pent-up flood, to deluge and defile the spotless purity of childhood, and this, too, at an age, when these polluting stains sink, centre-deep, into their young and tender hearts, so that no moral bleachery can ever afterwards wholly cleanse and purify them.”
It is always with pain and sorrow, that the good man hears God's name taken in vain ; yet, in fervent charity may he hope that, “The accusing spirit flew up to Heaven's chancery with the oath, and as she wrote it down, dropped a tear on the word, and blotted it out forever.” By multiplying the purest models of literature, we may confidently hope to do much towards rooting out this vile habit, and implanting in the breasts of our youth an unswerving reverence for the sacred name and character of the Supreme Being.
Another evil habit to which a love of reading, acquired by the School Library, would prove superior, is the low and grovelling desire to witness the vulgar minstrels, and corrupt ballet dancers, who stroll through the land not of the Venus Celestial sort, but of the Venus Infernal. “One of the most striking things,” says HORACE MANN, “in the Letters from Abroad,' by Miss C. M. Sedgwick, is the uniform and energetic condemnation which that true American lady bestows upon opera-dancers, and the whole corps de ballet, for the public and shameless exhibition of their persons upon the stage. Have
Jung ladies of our cities a nicer sense of propriety, of modesty, and of all the elements of female loveliness, than this excellent author, who has written so much for their improvement, and who is herself so admirable an example of all feminine purity and delicacy? And have the young men of America