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a higher ideal of what belongs to a true gentleman,—to a man of lofty and noble nature, than a writer, who is so justly celebrated, in both hemispheres, for her pure and elevated conceptions of human character ?”
9. By placing in every School Library one or two standard works on School Architecture, we should soon see a decided improvement in the size, style, arrangement, and comfort of our school-houses, and in the selection of the most beautiful and appropriate locations for them—thus rendering them attractive, rather than repulsive, to the youth who repair there for the highest and holiest of purposes. What Mr. Mann said eighteen years ago of the school-houses of Massachusetts, is equally applicable to those of Wisconsin at the present day.“Our school-houses,” said he, “are a fair index or exponent of our interest in Public Education. Suppose, at this moment, some potent enchanter, by the waving of his magic wand, should take up all the twenty-eight hundred school-houses of Massachusetts, with all the little triangular and non-descript spots of earth whereon and wherein they have been squeezed, whether sand bank, morass, bleak knoll, or torrid plain,-and whirling them through the affrighted air, should set them all down, visibly, round about us, in this place ; and then should take us up into some watch-tower or observatory, where, at one view, we could behold the whole as they were encamped round about each one true to the point of compass which marked its nativity, each one retaining its own color or no-color, each one standing on its own heath, hillock or fen ;-I ask, my friends, if, in this new spectacle under the sun, with its motley hues of red, gray, and doubtful, with its windows sprinkled with patterns taken from Joseph's many-colored coat, with its broken chimneys, with its shingles and clap-boards Aapping and clattering in the wind, as if giving public notice that they were about to depart,-I ask, if, in this indescribable and unnameable group of architecture, we should not see the true image, reflection and embodiment of our own love, attachment and regard for Public Schools and Public Education, as, in a mirror, face answereth to face ? But, however neglected, forgotten, forlorn, these edifices may be, yet within their walls is contained the young and blooming creation of God. In them are our hope, the hopes of the earth. There are gathered together what posterity shall look back upon, as we now look back upon heroes and sages, and martyrs and apostles ; or as we look back upon bandits and inquisitors and sybarites. Our dearest treasures do not consist in lands and tenements, in rail-roads and banks, in ware-houses or in ships upon every sea ; they
are within those doors, beneath those humble roofs ; and is it not our solemn duty to hold every other earthly interest subordinate to their welfare ?”
10. School Libraries will create the germs of thought in the minds of our ingenious youth, and will thus be likely to lead to useful inventions. We know not whose humble roof may shelter a Franklin, a Newton, a Watt, an Arkwright, a Fulton, a Whitney, or a Morse.
o Of what use is all your studying and your books ?” said an honest farmer to an ingenious artist. “They don't make the corn grow, nor produce vegetables for market. My Sam does more good with his plough in one month, than you can do with your books and papers in one year.”
“What plough does your son use?” said the artist, quietly.
“Why, he uses — ’s plough, to be sure. He can do nothing with any other. By using this plough, we save half the labor, and raise three times as much as we did with the old wooden concern."
The artist turned over one of his sheets, and showed the farmer a drawing of his much-praised plough, saying with a smile, “I am the inventor of your favorite plough, and my name is
The astonished farmer, it is said, shook the artist heartily by the hand, and invited him to call at the farm-house, and make it his home as long as he liked.
11. A good School Library in every neighborhood, would serve a most important purpose, in giving the rising generation a better idea of the learned professions, commerce, manufactures, and the mechanic arts, and of the requisite amount of knowledge and preparation necessary to fit them for engaging, with a fair prospect of success, in any of these several pursuits. An appropriate proportion of the best works on Agriculture, Horticulture, stock and fruit raising, the culture of the Chinese sugar cane, and other branches of Farm Husbandry, would tend to dignify the earliest and noblest occupation of man, and would be worth many thousands of dollars annually, to the yeomanry of our State, their rising sons and daughters. “The farmer and mechanic, and even the housewife," the late Judge Buel well remarked, “require professional books, books that will instruct them in their several employments that will render their labors more .enlightened, more pleasant, more profitable, more respectable,_as much as the lawyer, the physician, or the clergy require professional books to perfect them in their several vocations."
12. How few, comparatively, have any practical knowledge of physical education, its wants and necessities, its neglects and penalties. It is the physical condition of the child from its birth onward, and the physical condition of the parents before its birth, that involve its health, growth, and longevity. Air, temperature, dress, diet and exercise, with their proper relations and bearings to each other, have more to do with the successful rearing of children, than the most devoted maternal love, ignorant of these requisites, or any amount of the best medicines ever devised by the skill of man. Nearly a fourth part of the human race die before they attain the age of a single year. It has been well asked, what would the farmer or the shepherd say, if he should lose nearly a fourth part of all his lambs and kids before a seventieth part of their natural life had been reached ! Before attaining the age of five years, more than a third part of all our race die—a great majority of them from ignorance on the part of their parents of the great laws of physical education. How much of human life would be saved, bereavement and misery avoided; and how much of joyous health, rosy beauty, and unspeakable happiness, would be promoted, if we had in every School Library throughout the length and breadth of the State, so all could read and profit by them, such works as Dr. Combe's Principles of Physiology as applied to Health and Education, and kindred works on the mental and physical condition of man, and the great laws of nature, relating to the preservation of health, and the longevity and happiness of our race.
13. The School Library would diminish the commission of crime. It has been the experience of the civilized world, that education has invariably had this effect. Scotland presents a remarkable instance of the diminution of crime, the increase of public wealth, and the diffusion of private comforts, as the result of the increased and increasing attention to the education of the people. Little care is paid to educating the masses in Spain, and, as the natural consequence, we find there twelve hundred and thirty-three convictions for murder in a single year, seventeen hundred and seventy-three convictions on charges of maiming with intent to kill, and sixteen hundred and twenty persons convicted of robbery under aggravated circumstances. According to the returns made to the British Parliament, the commitments for crimes, in an average of nine years, in proportion to population, are as follows : In Manchester, the most infidel city in Great Britain, 1 in 140 ; in London, 1 in 800 ; in all Ireland, 1 in 1600 ; and in Scotland, celebrated for learning and religion, 1 in 20,000! Out of nearly 28,000 persons convicted of crime in the State of New York, during a period of ten years, but 128 had enjoyed the benefits of a good common school education, and only about one half could either read or write. Statistics of crime will everywhere reveal to us the sad policy of neglecting to provide for our youth the necessary means of good education and attractive School Libraries, while paying at the same time a still greater tax for the protection of community against the crimes and depredations of the ignorant, the idle, and the vicious -- whose very ignorance and vice are the result of their early want of schools and libraries.
14. The School Library would increase the wealth of the State. “If a man,” says FRANKLIN, “ empties his purse into his head, no one can take it away from him. An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.” “Knowledge,” says Hon. J. D. PHILBRICK, " is the great producer of wealth. Just in proportion as the hands of those who labor in the field, or in the work-shop, at the plow or the loom, are guided by intelligence, in the same proportion will their labor be productive. This proposition holds true even in the lowest species of productive industry. It has been demonstrated beyond the shadow of a doubt, that the well educated operative or laborer does more work, does it better, wastes less, uses his allotted portion of machinery to more advantage and more profit, earns more money, commands more confidence, rises faster, rises higher from the lower to the more advanced positions of his employment, than the uneducated. The farmer who reads on the subject of farming, has money in the bank, while his neighbor, who does not take a paper, sleeps under a mortgaged roof.”
SCHOOL LIBRARY EXPERIENCE IN SISTER STATES. In the matter of School Libraries, we have no occasion to look to Europe and profit by her experience ; they are purely an American out-growth — the natural result of the necessities of an earnest and inquiring people. While several of our States have taken hold of the subject of School Libraries with more or less earnestness, all have not equally well succeeded ; and where failures, or partial failures, have occurred, it is of as great importance to learn the true causes, as to ascertain the means of success in others. Thus may we alike profit by the mishaps of the one, and the more fortunate experience of the other.
New York. It was reserved for the Empire State to lead the way in this noble enterprise. That far-seeing and sagacious statesman, DeWitt Clinton, in his message as early as 1827, recommended a small collection of books and maps to be attached to common schools. Gov. Clinton died the following year, but in 1830, Azariah C. Flagg, then Secretary of State, and Superintendent of Public Instruction, presented the subject to the Legislature ; and, in 1833, his successor, Gen. John A. Dix, strongly urged the establishment of district libraries.-The next year, an act was passed, permitting the districts, if they saw fit, to impose a tax of $20 for the first year, and $10 for each succeeding year, and leaving the districts to select the books. Simply permitting the districts to establish libraries, and throwing the selection of books into the district meetings, were grave errors — the last of which still remains unremedied. The former was effectually corrected in 1838, when upon Gov. Marcy's recommendation, a portion of the United States' deposit fund was appropriated to each district which should raise by tax an equal amount. Thus was $55,000 a year set apart by the State for books and apparatus for the School Libraries, on condition that the districts should raise as much more — making $110,000 annually, an example of enlightened public munificence for a noble object, which had no precedent in the history of legislation.
“New York has the proud honor,” says Hon. HENRY S. RANDALL, in a report on the subject in 1844, "of being the first government in the world, which has established a free library system, adequate to the wants of her whole population. It extends its benefits equally to all conditions, and in all local situations. It not only gives profitable employment to the man of leisure, but it passes the threshold of the laborer, offering him amusement and instruction, after his daily toil is over, without increasing his fatigues, or subtracting from his earnings. It is an interesting reflection, that there is no portion of our territory, so wild or remote, where man has penetrated, that the library has not peopled the wilderness around him, with the good and wise of this and other ages, who address to him their silent monitions, cultivating and strengthening within him, even amidst his rude pursuits, the principles of humanity and civilization. This philanthropic and admirably conceived measure, may justly be regarded as, next to the institution of Common Schools, the most important of that series of causes, which will give its distinctive character to our civilization as a people.”
In 1841, Gov. SEWARD, after observing that almost every district in the State was then in possession of a library, remarked in his message : “Henceforth, no citizen who shall have improved the advantages offered by our Common Schools and District Libraries, will be without some scientific knowledge of the earth, its physical condition, and its phenomena ; the animals that inhabit it, the vegetables that clothe it with verdure, and the minerals under its surface; the physiology and intellectual powers of man; the laws of mechanics and their practical uses ; those of chemistry and their application