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thon, Shawanaw, Door, and Oconto, may shelter many an unpromising youth, who may yet date the dawning of true genius from reading, by the light of hickory bark or pine knots, the volumes in our School Libraries, and whose honored names will yet be placed high in the Temple of Fame. Such ever has been, and ever will be, the power of books—the mighty influence of libraries.
" The dew-drop on the infant plant,
Has warped the giant oak forever." Let me sum up the claims of School Libraries by citing the graphic and powerful appeal of that veteran friend of education, HORACE MANN : “He would, of course, dwell upon the facilities which a library would furnish at all times, to the children, for useful mental occupation; he would speak of time, redeemed from idleness and from that wantonness of juvenile mirth, that tends to mischievous habits, and, if unchecked and undiverted, grows up into adult vice ; he would advert to the wealth of information it would dispense, and to the nobleness of action it would inspire ;-thus, wherever its influences flowed, making its effects, in improved conduct and more elevated character, as visible to the mental vision, as the vigorous growth of meadows, which are watered by an enriching stream, is to the natural eye. He would explain the wonderful results of mere tendencies ; how, with but few exceptions, a uniform bias, on one side or the other, during the years of minority, settles destiny for life,-a truth almost wholly overlooked by the mass of men ; and he would illustrate,-not painting from fancy, but copying from some original fact,-how wide asunder is the termination of paths, whose divergency is scarcely perceptible. He would enumerate some of the exposures, to which active-minded children are now cruelly subjected, from the want of an attractive employment ; how their superabundant energy is tempted to flow out into acts of childish roguery, where, at first, the gamesomeness and fun predominate over the malice, but, at last, the malice gets the ascendency over them; how they are tempted to occupy their leisure with games of chance,-a habit of which ripens and matures into a love of gambling, of dissipation, of horse-racing, of tavern-haunting, of drinking, of drunkenness, of death ; or how, from a constant seeking after excitements, from a want of stable foundation of truth, unsettled habits and a volatility of thought are acquired, which, of course, are followed by inconstancy of purpose and of action, and lead outward and onward to unthriftiness, to penury, and the poor-house, and, at least, to temporal perdition. He would show, that all these evils are neighbors, living on the same road, and not very far apart. On the other hand, he would show, how a habit of intelligent reading, not only enriches the mind with facts, but creates ability, and thus enables it to take up and master many more of the innumerable problems of life, which observation and experience force upon it ; that the reading of good books, gives both the love and the power of instructive and elevating conversation, and tends to prudence, and wisdom, and benevolence in action; that it would turn the whole current of social feeling, which flows impetuously in the youthful mind, towards associations, formed for the mutual improvement of the members ; towards the reading-room, instead of the ball-room, the lecture-room, instead of the theatre ; that it would refine and elevate the social intercourse between the sexes, which has so decisive a bearing upon the indirect education of children ; or, if it led to privacy and seclusion at all, it would be the retirement of the study, where great plans for human advancement are devised and matured, and not the secrecy of the gaming-table, where abominations are wrought.”
“Now no one thing," says Mr. Mann, elsewhere, “will contribute more to intelligent reading in our schools, than a wellselected library; and, through intelligence, the library will also contribute to rhetorical ease, grace and expressiveness. Wake up a child to a consciousness of power and beauty, and you might as easily confine Hercules to a distaff, or bind Apollo to a tread-mill, as to confine his spirit within the mechanical round of a school-room, where such mechanism still exists. Let a child read and understand such stories as the friendship of Damon and Pythias, the integrity of Aristides, the fidelity of Regulus, the purity of Washington, the invincible perseverence of Franklin, and he will think differently and act differently all the days of his remaining life. Let boys or girls of sixteen years of age, read an intelligible and popular treatise on astronomy and geology, and from that day new heavens will bend over their heads, and a new earth will spread out beneath their feet. A mind accustomed to go rejoicing over the splendid regions of the material universe, or to luxuriate in the richer worlds of thought, can never afterwards read like a wooden machine,-a thing of cranks and pipes,—to say nothing of the pleasures and the utility it will realize.”
If we wisely provide School Libraries of appropriate books for our children, they will learn to drink in the patriotism and virtues of our fathers, and imbibe the sentiments of the noble representative men of our race of every age and clime. “ Can we breath the pure mountain air, and not be refreshed ; can we walk abroad amidst the beautiful and the grand of the works of creation, and feel no kindling of devotion ?" One of our noblest statesmen has said, that " we cannot recur too often, nor dwell
their heads.cology, and intelligible anet boysco,act diffe
too long, upon the lives and characters of such men ; for our own will take something of their form and impression from those on which they rest. If we inhale the moral atmosphere in which they moved, we must feel its purifying and invigorating influence. If we raise our thoughts to their elevation, our minds will be expanded and ennobled, in beholding the immeasurable distance beneath and around us.”
Freely and ungrudgingly furnish School Libraries for our children, and History will trace in our future literature the chastened, hopeful, enterprising spirit that reigned in the prayerful cabin of the Mayflower, in the primitive settlements of the Catholics of Maryland, the Baptists of Rhode Island, and Quakers of Pennsylvania, and which hovered over the sufferings and agonies of the never-to-be-forgotten heroes of Valley Forge.
MORAL EDUCATION. It has been well remarked, “That it is a State's duty, and the true object had in view by any system of public education, to make a virtuous population, will hardly be doubted. Indeed, the expenditure of the public money for any system of State Schools, can scarcely be justified on other grounds than those of self-preservation, and the duty to promote the general prosperity of the commonwealth. Ignorance does clog the wheels of enterprise, and fetter the steps of all improvement. * * * It becomes therefore the right, nay, the imperative duty of the State, to encourage the spread of intelligence, and the repression of ignorance. But ignorance is not, by a hundred-fold, so deadly a foe to the quiet and permanence of a society, as is vice ; and hence, the duty of the State to suppress this most destructive of monsters. The penal laws all proceed upon the supposition that it is a solemn duty to punish the overt act of crime and vice. Is it not then a duty to prevent these? And this can be done partly by education, if that education embraces suitable subjects, and is imparted in a proper manner. The right of a community to take measures for its own self-preservation, therefore, implies, and carries along with it the duty, to educate its children, and save them from both ignorance and vice—the one of which 'benumbs and stifles, the other of which corrupts and blights, whatever might be good and noble.
“ To make our schools, then," continues the Hon. ROBERT ALLYN, late Commissioner of Public Schools of Rhode Island, “ what they are intended to be, the conservators and stimulators of all goodness and enterprise, they must be made redolent of moral influences ; they must be at all times filled with the allVervading presence of virtuous instructions. It must be the teacher's duty to study daily in what manner he can best form his scholars to the manners of good, law-abiding citizens, and brave-hearted, energetic defenders of the weak and defenceless. He must remember that no external ornaments of learning— mere polish of refinement-can atone for the possession of a debased and an unworthy soul. We must insist on this high, unsectarian, moral instruction, in all the school rooms which the State sends its money to support, and its officers to oversee. We must insist that a moral character is the first requisite in a teacher, and that an ability to teach the same morality, is a matter of higher importance than any amount of merely secular knowledge.”
It is not necessary to discuss this subject at length, in this connection, important as it confessedly is, as it has been quite fully treated in a separate paper, which will be found appended to this Report.
NORMAL SCHOOLS. “I have heard,” says Hon. HORACE MANN, “that distinguished surgeon, Doct. John C. Warren, of Boston, relate the following anecdote, which happened to him in London :-Being invited to witness a very difficult operation upon the human eye, by a celebrated English oculist, he was so much struck by the skill and science which were exhibited by the operator, that he sought a private interview with him, to inquire by what means he had become so accomplished a master of his art. 'Sir,' said the oculist, “I spoiled a hat-full of eyes to learn it.' Thus it is with incompetent teachers; they may spoil schoolrooms-full of children to learn how to teach, -and perhaps may not always learn even then."
It has been sententiously and truly remarked, “The life or death of the school is the teacher.” “As is the teacher, so is the school,” is a great fundamental maxim. “No teacher," says President Wayland, “is fit to have a scholar unless he is able to make his mark upon him.” Every sentiment inculcated by the teacher should be such that he could conscientiously say, “Nothing which dying I would wish to blot."
We do not knowingly trust illiterate men to instruct us in spiritual and divine things ; nor quacks to trifle with our lives or health, nor ignorant pretenders to defend our characters or property in courts of justice. We want thoroughly disciplined men for these important professions. Nor is it less important that we should have men as thoroughly fitted to teach our children—to so direct their young immortal intellects, that they may be led to pursue the path of knowledge, virtue and happiness. This thorough course of preparation is only acquired at Normal
or Training Schools. As these are of European origin, let us take a brief view of their fruits, by which alone we can properly judge them :
« On reviewing a period of six weeks," says HORACE Mann, “the greater part of which I spent in visiting schools in the North and Middle of Prussia and Saxony, (except, of course, the time occupied in going from place to place,) entering the schools to hear the first recitation in the morning, and remaining until the last was completed at night, I call to mind three things about which I cannot be mistaken. In some of my opinions and inferences I may have erred, but of the following facts there can be no doubt :
“1st. During all this time, I never saw a teacher, hearing a lesson of any kind, (excepting a reading or spelling lesson,) with a book in his hand.
“2nd. I never saw a teacher sitting while hearing a recitation.
" 3rd. Though I saw hundreds of schools, and thousands - I think I may say, within bounds, tens of thousands of pupils, I never saw one child undergoing punishment, or arraigned for misconduct. I never saw one child in tears from having been punished or from fear of being punished.
“Durir; the above period, i witnessed exercises in Geography, ancient and modern, in the German language, from the explanation of the simplest words up to belles-lettres disquisitions, with rules for speaking and writing ; in Arithmetic, Algebra, Geometry, Surveying and Trigonometry ; in Book-keeping, in Civil History, ancient and modern ; in Natural Philosophy; in Botany and Zoology ; in Mineralogy, where there were hundreds of specimens ; in the endless variety of the exercises in thinking, knowledge of nature, of the world, and of society ; in Bible history and Bible knowledge; and, as I before said, in no one of these cases did I see a teacher with a book in his hand. His book,- his books,- his library, was in his head. Promptly, without pause, without hesitation, from the rich resources of his own mind, he brought forth whatever the occasion demanded.
“I have said that I saw no teacher sitting in his school. Aged or young, all stood. Nor did they stand apart and aloof in sullen dignity. They mingled with their pupils, passing rapidly from one side of the class to the other, animating, encouraging, sympathizing, breathing life into less active natures, assuring the timid, distributing encouragement and endearment to all.
“ These incitements and endearments of the teachers, this personal ubiquity, as it were, among all the pupils in the class,