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vocates of libraries as a complement to our school system.
A random volume may kindle a flame which will shed a light upon all succeeding ages. A few old books in his grandfather's library awakened a love of history in Gibbon; and Goethe, listening to the Vicar of Wakefield, it is said, was first aroused to a consciousness of his powers.
Town libraries would furnish to the communities, in which they might be sustained, new and instructive themes for conversation and discussion. This would awaken a spirit of investigation, which would greatly increase the general intelligence. The character of the social intercourse of society would thus be improved, good manners encouraged and the moral tone of the whole population elevated. The rough and vulgar habits of our youth would insensibly give place to politeness and refinement; and, what is of far greater importance than any merely external change, the habits of reading engendered by this access to books would tend to restrain the young from the low vices and wicked practices into which idleness and the restless spirit of youth so often plunge them. Such a means of intellectual culture would banish, in a measure, profanity and Sabbath-breaking, and looseness of life. It would do more—it would impart to the rising generation much valuable knowledge of history and general literature, of law and the science of government, of commerce and agriculture, and all the practical arts of industry.
We have not time to multiply arguments, and would therefore urge, as a last consideration, that a well ordered library furnishes a refuge and an unfailing source of pleasure to old age, when the joys of youth and the enticements of manhood have passed. The aged, though still the objects of respect and affection, are likely to be forgotten in the amusements and pursuits of a more youthful generation. One by one they have seen the companions of their childhood, and the friends of later years, fall at their side, and saddened by unconscious neglect and feeling but little sympathy with the schemes and impatient haste of younger men, they muse silently at the hearth-stones of their children, or wander forth to gaze vacantly at the earth and sky, while memory is busy with departed years. On the printed page their companions come back to them, and they live again amid the scenes, and thrill with the events of earlier years. The sweet sympathy and cheerful converse which they have lost with the living, they can still hold with each
“Dear son of memory, great heir of fame.” Let us for this, if for no other reason, establish a library in every town in the country. It would seem as though our filial affection and grateful patriotism could do no less.
Drawing, in Graded Public Schools.
WHAT TO TEACH, AND HOW
TO TEACH IT.
BY WALTER SMITH, Art Master, (South Kensington, London,) General Supervisor of Drawing in
the Public Schools, Boston, and State Director of
Art Education, Massachusetts.
In a country like America, where education is generally regarded as a living question of the highest importance, it is not to be wondered at that conventions such as this should be continually assembling to criticise and discuss the old agencies and methods, and to learn something of the new. The opportunities afforded for this interchange of experience among educationists in the Teachers' Institutes, County and State Associations, and finally at national meetings such as this, must necessarily account for some of the many excellencies which characterize the common-school education of America. In no other country are such meetings so frequent, or so well attended ; -and in very few do they exist at all.
A short time after coming to reside in this country, and after having attended some of the Teachers' In
stitutes annually held in Massachusetts (which were quite new to me, being utterly unknown in Great Britain), I wrote an account of these organizations, and their method of operation, to one of the officials of the English Educational Department, who read and discussed my description with the head of his department; afterwards informing me that it was with the greatest interest they had heard of an agency so novel, and apparently, from my description, so efficient.
The only corresponding organization existing in England, and which has but recently been established, is for the benefit of teachers of art and science, who are annually invited from provincial towns and cities to a sort of Teachers’ Institute in London,-lasting for about six weeks, --where the greatest men in science are employed by the government to deliver courses of lectures upon those subjects which are taught in the provincial science and art schools. In this case the teachers are brought to the professors ; and such as attend all the lectures have their expenses paid by the government. This is a modern experiment, and very limited in its influence; not to be compared, I think, with that of a well-conducted plan of Teachers' Institutes as carried out in Massachusetts, where the professors go to the teachers.
A national organization for meeting and discussion, such as this, does not exist in England; though, from the additional interest now being felt in the educational subject there, this feature, as well as oth
ers, may possibly be annexed also to the new national system.
The continual alterations which are made in the field of education, both in methods and subjects of instruction, are indications either of change or of progress, it is sometimes difficult to distinguish which ; for growth and decay, development and corruption, are alike equally characterized by perpetual change.
Nevertheless, recent movements, both here and abroad, in the direction of comprehensiveness, can not but be regarded as improvements upon the narrow limits in which the education of the past has been confined; and with new conditions of society, and some of the ability which the world has at its command, it may yet be possible to devise schemes of education that shall have a definite and practical bearing upon each man's future occupation, without jeopardizing all men's necessities in the direction of general knowledge.
In an age when every man must pay his way, or die-and it is impossible to compromise the matter by doing a little of both-we can not speak or think of an ideal education; for that in practice would be advancing a small section of the human race out of all proportion with the rest of mankind-an experiment usually ending in evil times for both the van
and the rear.
The actual functions of education are to prepare a human being to get along in this world without any reference to idealities, but with direct bearing upon his faculty at all times to pay a hundred cents