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FIFTH ANNUAL MEETING
WESTERN LITERARY INSTITUTE,
COLLEGE OF PROFESSIONAL TEACHERS,
HELD IN CINCINNATI, OCTOBER, 1835.
Promote then, as an object of primary importance, institutions for the general diffusion
WASHINGTON'S FAREWELL ADDRESS.
PUBLISHED BY THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
Entered according to an act of Congress, in the year 1836, by ALBERT PICKET,
THE Fifth Annual Convention of the College of Teachers” proved itself to be one of unusual interest. The discussions were of a more practical character than ordinary, and conducted with uncommon earnestness and fidelity, so as to inspire a confident hope, that this institution will live, being constitued on a basis of UNIVERSAL GOOD, attracting to it the sympathies of benevolent and considerate men, and, from its very nature, excluding all selfish, narrow, and sectarian principles.
We are enabled to present the greater part of the regular documents, and fragments of the discussions, But, as is usual in such cases, that which is most vital and interesting, is often the least capable of being seized and embodied : it has left a salutary impression on the minds of those who were present, but neither the form of the words nor the felicity of the conception can be recalled.
We subjoin a synopsis of the views, from which the utility of this and similar institutions can be estimated; and we beg, that they may be most deliberately examined.
The American Government is founded on the right of universal suffrage : that is to say, on the acknowledgement of the sovereignty, not merely of STATES or orders of men, but of INDIVIDUALS. In theory, it offers a tribute of respect to each man's understanding ; it takes each man by the hand, however inconsiderable his condition, and says to him, “we respect
your opinion, we desire to know it; for, occupying a situation which is peculiar, we are aware that you see the commonwealth in a light in which no other one precisely views it.” Such is universal suffrage, and such is the language implied in it. It acknowledges the sovereignty of the individual ; it secures to every man that political consideration which belongs to him as a rational being, and which the God who made him designed him to possess. He is a responsible agent, invested with the right of self-government; he is such in the eye of Heaven, he ought to be such in the regard of his countrymen. But it is evident, that the right of universal suffrage, however important, becomes a dead letter, unless means are taken to render it offootual. It is in rain, that a man may express an opinion, unless he is put in a stiuation to form a right one.
The Revolution, and the various consiliulunul charters which arose out of it, conferred on our countrymen the letter of freedom, and the means must be employed by the present generation to fill it with spirit. Thanks to the kindness of an auspicious Providence, the letter is yet safe and whole: the boon of universal suffrage has been conferred, and cannot be recalled : Democracy (we use the word in its best and legitimate sense) has been inscribed on all the institutions, customs and laws of these flourishing republics ; and in characters so deeply and essentially engraved, that they never can be torn out or obliterated, unless the whole frame-work of them should be destroyed. As Teachers, and lovers of mankind, we rejoice that this is so, for we repose more confidence in the whole of human nature than in any part of it. And, although thousands have
been the attempts to fix an infallible boundary between the wise and foolish, between those who should govern, and those who should be subject : we are satisfied that all such experiments have proved themselves to be, in the long run, not merely futile, but even pernicious. There is no safety but in God and the People : ONE GOD and the WHOLE PEOPLE. And hence arises the necessity for Education : we must know God, — the relation in which we stand to him, and to one another : and the acquisition of this knowledge is Education, — true, practical, useful Education, ramifying and distributing itself into all those branches of science and literature, which are commonly comprehended under the name. It is through
this means that “Universal Suffrage” must act as the • great cementing law of human society, — the law of
mutual love and kindness, not of terror and alarm ; and yet such is the aspect which it will wear, and in this country every year more and more, if it shall be coupled with Ignorance and Vice, -unfeeling, unthinking Depravity ;- it will speak in terror, continually so, unless Education, a gentle, a Christianizing, á rational Education be consociated with it, as an inseparable ally, binding man to man in all the brotherly and ennobling ties of protection on the one hand, and services on the other, mutually and reciprocally rendered. There is a provision in the very laws of human nature for this happy and firm consociation, in the variety of natural talents with which individuals are gifted. Artificial castes destroy society or embitter it: the natural distinctions of mind conserve and endear it. But what is particularly worthy of remark is, that the moment these natural distinctions are attempted to be converted into artificial ones, by