Imagens da página

which they are to live. If the object of a civil organization, then, is to provide for the safety and happiness of those who compose it, the State cannot well pause in its work of education, or confine itself to the fundamental business of common schools. There is a vast amount of information, moreover, which the great mass of our pupils could never reach but for the liberality of the Commonwealth. The course of instruction adopted in our high schools, those free fountains offering their life-giving blessings to all, could not be enjoyed by thousands of our children should the State withdraw its aid. So, too, of many of our industrial schools which are under public endowment, and in which the most useful branches are taught, such as drawing for designs, the use of mechanical forces, and the manipulation of the arts. The business of life here makes great demands for all such accomplishments, and our system of public instruction can do no better work than to bestow them upon our young men and women. I can conceive of no more important service than the development of our high and special schools up to this requirement. And if there are weaknesses and defects in the present system, allow me to suggest that the remedy lies in the direction of enlarging instead of narrowing their sphere, and in engrafting upon them that general culture to which I have alluded, as the foundation of a good education, and also in establishing the most intimate relations between teacher and pupil.

I hardly need remind you of the objections which are raised against this view of the duty of the State toward the higher branches of education, – that the State can only do imperfectly what would be much better done, what is, in fact, better done in private institutions; that the result of such education is uneasiness and restlessness, and an unwillingness to enter upon the common toil of life, after being clothed with the accomplishments of the high school; that young men are simply elevated above mechanical occupations, and young women are unfitted to be mechanics' wives; that we are made impatient of toil, and are raised above ordinary service. I am aware that these objections are vigorously urged, and I know that they are entitled to the most careful and anxious consideration. But I find no remedy for the evils in pausing and retracing our steps. To my mind, the way out is the way on.

The weak and unfortunate notions to which the objectors allude are to be cured by additional knowledge, and not by a return of even comparative ignorance. I know many a young man whose daily toil on the land or in the shop is lightened and made more tolerable and profitable by the good education he has brought to his work. The graduates of our public schools have already learned that they are not educated above, but for, the daily toil of life, whatever that toil may be. And I am satisfied to wait for the wisdom and good sense which education will, in the end, develop to remedy the evils which may arise from temporary weakness and folly. I think the system will cure itself, if we will only give it unlimited opportunity. Permit me to call your attention to a still broader ground, upon which the argument in favor of the most advanced and liberal aid to education can be founded.

The problem of American suffrage and citizenship is vexing many of the best and ablest minds among us. The results of universal suffrage, so called, are not considered by many philosophic observers to be fortunate or encouraging. A century of national life based upon this right seems to them a century of antagonism and confusion. For myself, I do not read the lesson exactly in this manner. The exercise of the right of suffrage by a great mass of the American people- native, foreign, emancipated, rich, poor, learned, and ignorant-has at times produced results, I am aware, by no means creditable to our republic. But it has also produced results of which we have a right to be proud, and which have given us great power and high reputation.

I have often been startled by the defiance and courage of the popular instinct in great crises here. It is not necessary for me to enumerate the instances, with which you are all famil. iar, in which the best counsels and the best men have received popular support in our country, against the designs of ambi. cious and arrogant leaders. There is hardly a great political event in our history which has not been made great by a saga

cious and courageous people forcing their leaders to obey; and if you must have illustrations, let me remind you of the Emancipation Proclamation and Lincoln's second election. That evils arise from the same source, we all know; but how shortlived they generally are! That bad men are placed in high official position by the same power, we all know; but how few of them have entailed upon us a permanent damage, and how summarily have they been consigned to oblivion! If you will look carefully over the political history of our country, I think you will be struck with the fact that personal attempts to establish a bad policy, or to secure high position for mani. festly dangerous purposes, have seldom succeeded. But were it otherwise, I doubt if the remedy would be the abridgment of the right of suffrage. Classification does not work well here. It creates discontent, and destroys the flavor of republican institutions.

The perpetuation of power in our country is always dangerour, whether it be individual or party power. The prospect of defeat and overthrow makes parties and individuals often time-serving and cowardly; but if they are right, they always gather strength from defeat, and the successful party, if wrong, has always but a short-lived existence. The checks and balances of “universal suffrage" ought to be considered before it is condemned as an unmitigated evil; and we should ask ourselves whether the evil cannot be remedied better by correcting and improving and cultivating those who exercise the right, than by abridging the right itself, - one of the recognized corner-stones of republican institutions. If this is to be done, and I think it should be, tell me what instrument you have to do it with more powerful than the broadest, most dif. fused, and most liberal education, open to all? What other instrument have you to compare with this? If, then, you would purify the ballot-box, if you would provide against the dangerous uprising of the ignorant and misguided, if you would prepare the people for an honest and honorable patriotic policy, if you would arm them against the designs of demagogues, and make them quick to see the right and bold to maintain it, quicken their confidences and strengthen their minds, and give them a keen sense of their responsibilities by educating

them up to the highest standard which the State can bestow. A remedy like this harmonizes with our institutions. Abridgments and requirements are a reflection upon them, which we should avoid if possible.

It is this service, gentlemen, which is committed to your hands. Upon its success depends the very existence of our government, the peace and happiness of our people You must have observed that the demand for your labor is urgent and universal in every section of our country. Every State, every community, recognizes its importance, and I am glad to say strives for its possession. Your occupation is now considered an important ally of the government, whose power and influence have been enlarged and glorified by the representatives of education and science who have been called into immediate service in our day.

FOURTH DAY.-FRIDAY, JULY 12. The devotional exercises were conducted by Rev. A. A. Miner, of Massachusetts. Reports of committees followed.

ELECTION OF OFFICERS. Mr. Hagar, chairman of the Committee on Nominations of Officers, proposed the renomination of Hon. T. W. Bicknell for the presidency of the Institute. Mr. Bicknell, having already served two years with marked fidelity, respectfully declined. The committee then reported a list of officers, and Mr. Hagar was authorized to cast the ballot for the members of the Institute. Ths balloting resulted in the election of the following officers : –

President. — Isaac N. Carleton, New Britain, Conn.

Vice-Presidents. – S. S. Greene, Providence, R. I.; Henry Barnard, Hartford, Conn.; Ariel Parish, New Haven, Conn.; George B. Emerson, Boston, Mass.; Hiram Orcutt, West Lebanon, N. H.; Charles Northend, New Britain, Conn.; Merrick Lyon, Providence, R. I.; Thomas W. Bicknell, Bos

ton, Mass. ; Calvin B. Hulbert, Middlebury, Vt.; C. C.
Rounds, Farmington, Me.; A. P. Stone, Springfield, Mass.;
John Eaton, Washington, D. C. ; Sarah E. Doyle, Providence,
R. I. ; Susan M. Hollowell, Wellesley, Mass. ; B. G. Northrop,
New Haven, Conn.; T. W. Valentine, Brooklyn, N. Y.; Ellen
M. Haskell, Norton, Mass.; T. B. Stockwell, Providence,
R. I.; David N. Camp, New Britain, Conn.; John D. Philbrick,
Boston, Mass.; Mary P. Colburn, Boston, Mass.; Fannie E.
Kyle, Essex Junction, Vt. ; Rebecca Jones, Worcester, Mass.;
D. W. Jones, Boston, Mass.; D. B. Hagar, Salem, Mass.;
David Crosby, Nashua, N. H.; John W. Dickinson, Newton,
Mass. ; Charles Hammond, Monson, Mass.; Joseph White,
Williamstown, Mass.; N. L. Bishop, Norwich, Conn.; Daniel
Leach, Providence, R. I.; Mary E. Rowe, Laconia, N. H ;
C. G. Clarke, Boston, Mass.; A. G. Boyden, Bridgewater,
Mass.; T. H. Hanson, Waterville, Me ; E. A. Hubbard,
Springfield, Mass.; J. W. Simonds, Milford, Mass.; George
J. Cummings, Meriden, N. H.; Edward Conant, Randolph,
Vt.; J. W. Webster, Boston, Mass.; W. A. Mowry, Provi-
dence, R. I.; W. J. Corthell, Calais, Me.; Augustus Morse,
Hartford, Conn.; Albert Harkness, Providence, R. I.; C.
P. Rugg, New Bedford, Mass.; R. S. Andrews, Bristol,
R. I.; D. P. Corbin, Hartford, Conn.; H. T. Fuller, St.
Johnsbury, Vt.; G. T. Fletcher, Castine, Me.; M. C. Steb-
bins, Springfield, Mass.; Moses Merrill, Boston, Mass.; D.
W. Hoyt, Providence, R. I; W. E. Eaton, Boston, Mass ;
Homer B. Sprague, Boston, Mass.; C. A. Downs, Lebanon,
N. H.; L W. Russell, Providence, R. I.; F. F. Barrows,
Hartford, Conn. ; S. W. Mason, Boston, Mass.

Secretary. — Henry E. Sawyer, New Britain, Conn.
Assistant Secretary.-G. A. Littlefield, Malden, Mass.
Treasurer. - George A. Walton, Westfield, Mass.

Councillors. — M. G. Daniell, Boston, Mass. ; John Kneeland, Boston, Mass.; E. Ruggles, Hanover, N. II.; A. J. Phipps, Lewiston, Me.; Horace M. Willard, Saxton's River, Vt.; W. 0. Fletcher, Rockland, Me.; A. J. Manchester, Providence, R. I.; A. P. Marble, Worcester, Mass.; B. F. Tweed, Boston, Mass.; A. D. Small, Salem, Mass.; James 8. Barrell, Cambridge, Mass.; J. C. Greenough, Providence, R. I.

« AnteriorContinuar »