« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
and in many parts possess the same natural advantages of water power. This is strikingly true, even if we look to the neighborhood of their great towns. The manufactures of New-England will constitute much of its riches and power. Yes, power, for a State without riches, cannot have power.
While Watt and Boulton were bringing the steam engine to the perfection it had in their time, and which is said to save to England the labors of two millions of men, the latter was asked by his king, “Well sir, what are you now about?” “Manufacturing that which kings like much of; power, your majesty," was the answer. The manufacturing ability of Massachusetts just begins to show itself: that interest is in the bud: many intelligent persons are of opinion, that not a fifiieth, and some that not a hundreth part of our water power is occupied. Already those who are at the head of these establishments, enjoy salaries, that far exceed the professional emoluments of gentlemen of the first reputation.
In the mechanic department, in this school, our young men will furnish themselves with the preparatory education, necessary in these establishments, and in an economical manner. In most countries individual enterprise is powerless, without capital; but here, a well educated person, with industry, commands it. He finds those who are willing to furnish that, which is better employed by him, than by them. The one has a fortune already accumulated, and only desires an investment of his money in the hands of prudence, economy, and industry. It is by this process, that here, credit is a new power, the value of which cannot be fully understood in other countries. The diffusion, therefore, through the State, of that knowledge that is best calculated to call out the ingenuity of our youth, in the various departments of mechanical and manufacturing business, is of the greatest importance to a State like Massachusetts. It was said of the father of our country, that after the revolution, when the scene of trial had passed by, and good humor prevailed, he asked in a laughing mood, a native of our State, “What have you, in New-England, gained by this eight years war; you seemed to me to be as well off before; we can enjoy trade; we have rice, tobacco, and cotton.” “ Sir,” said his companion in arms, we have heads, and hands; we had heads and hands before, but our hands were tied behind our backs."
Massachusetts, in deciding this question, will do well to consider what is now passing in the same way in other countries, and in various parts of this.
In the year 1823, a meeting was called in London, (in that country which had the honor of giving birth to Boulton, to Watt, to Arkwright,) for the purpose of establishing an institution for the instruction of her artisans in mechanic science. At the first meet
ing, some of the most eminent men in the country attended, such as Dr. Gregory, Dr. Lushington, and others. Mr. Brougham not having it in his power to be at the meeting, sent an apology, with a handsome donation, in favor of the objects proposed. Dr. Birkbeck addressed the meeting, and stated, that an institution similar to that then proposed for London, had been set on foot by him and other gentlemen, at Glasgow, in Scotland, twenty years before. That when the plan of it was maturing, all treated the idea of instructing the common mechanics in the principles of science, as the dream of enthusiasm; that it was predicted that if the mechanics were invited, they would not come; if they did come, that they would not listen; and if they did listen, they could not comprehend. That all this, however, was falsified in the result, and that the institution in Glasgow, was in the most flourishing condition. At the meeting mentioned, in London, the Mechanics’ Institute was established, with this as its first principle, that the mechanics should pay for their instruction.
The managers now publish a regular magazine, which is full of scientific information. The example of Glasgow and London has given excitement to the country; and similar institutions are established, or proposed, in many other cities. Now it must be observed, that this system of instruction is for the common mechanics, the working men, the day laborers; in the language of Dr. Birkbeck, “the unwashed artificers.” Of men like these, Dr. Birkbeck states, that there were then in the society at Glasgow, one thousand. We have mentioned these facts as among the most interesting incidents of the day, and to show the deep conviction which appears everywhere, of the necessity of extending knowledge to a class of men which has heretofore, in other countries, been doomed to every degradation. The question for us now is, shall we sulier Europe to march before us in that career of improvement, which we have claimed as peculiarly our own? There are indications that a better spirit begins to prevail.
In the Geneva College, in the State of New-York, the trustees propose, as appears from a circular, dated March 1st, 1824, to establish, if the consent of the Regents of the University can be obtained, a course of instruction, as follows:
1st. Under the English Professor, the pupil shall be taught, the philosophy of the English language, geography, rhetoric, history, English composition, moral philosophy, logic, metaphysics, evidences of christianity, and shall practise public speaking,
2d. Under the Professor of Mathematics, he shall study geometry, trigonometry, land surveying, theoretical and practical mensuration, generally; navigation, levelling, with reference to canals and aqueducts; hydraulics, as applied to machinery driven by water power, and steam power; natural philosophy and astronomy, with the use of mathematical instruments; the principles of architectural proportions, and bridge building, drawing of plans, &c.
3d. Under the Professor of Chemistry, shall be studied, chemistry, the principles of dyeing, bleaching, &c. the nature and use of different earths and soils, the fertilising qualities and effects of different substances; mineralogy, and botany: that this course of study shall embrace two years; at the expiration of which, diplomas, usual in colleges, shall be given.
The commissioners are not informed whether this plan has been adopted. In the same State, through the munificence of Mr. Van Rensselaer of Albany, there has been established at Troy, a school with the same general design, as that now proposed. In Derby, in the State of Connecticut, there is one. The Gardiner Lyceum, the honor of the establishment of which belongs to him whose name it bears, is too well known to require particular mention here,
The commissioners have thus presented their views upon the subject. In deciding upon it, we must remember, that the eyes of the world are upon these free republics; that whatever we do, is a subject of observation and comment; that millions of beings unknown to us, are concerned in the result. To what degree of refinement the mass of mankind can be carried, is yet to be shown.
By the best cultivation of ourselves, let us manifest to wretched man every where, what he also may become, under the same discipline. God has doubtless set us on high, for an example. It is time that we should understand, that it is knowledge, and not punishment, that is to improve our moral condition: let men be brought to the conviction at once, that their penal codes, curious devices for punishment, their penitentiaries, stepping mills, and other artful contrivances to inflict suffering, cannot be relied on to deter men from crime. That when gross offences bave once been committed, there is little hope of amendment ; that the subject of them, so far as the power of man extends, is a dead loss to society, and seems to be so to nature.
In that sound and right instruction, which prepares the mind to love virtue, which makes man a religious creature, thus connecting him with God, and with good beings throughout the universe, there is every thing to hope, and to press us on to all possible exertion.
The commissioners now close their labors in furtherance of the objects of the foregoing Report, and in conformity with the design of the General Court, in their appointment, by respectfully submitting the draft of two bills.
Note A.] Since the Report was prepared, further inquiry and considerable personal observation of the common schools, have induced the commissioners to make additional remarks on that head. They would fail in their duty, should they withhold from the legislature their decided opinion, that the public is not fully aware of the very defective state of the common schools; and their conviction, that the honor of the State, its duty as the guardian of the poor and least informed classes, imperatively demand an immediate attention to them.
They are satisfied that in those schools, there is no improvement corresponding with the state of society in other respects, or with the successful efforts made in education by the well informed and richer classes.
On the contrary, that for the last twenty years, there has been no improvement worthy of mention, when compared with the great advances made by society in general. Leaving out of view any notice of what might be taught in those schools, and which is not at present, it may be said with truth, that in the most common branches of elementary knowledge, many of the teachers are wholly unqualified. How can it be otherwise?
Many of these teachers receive no greater compensation than the wages of common laborers.
Certainly such a recompense will never induce men to qualify themselves for the occupation of school-keeping, one which requires judgement, discretion, sobriety, and dignity of character, united with great experience. To commit fifty or sixty children to the care of a young man of eighteen or twenty years of age, in the common mode of instruction, and to call this education, seems an insult to the good sense of the times.
There are facts enough to show, both in Europe and in this country, that the Lancasterian system has been introduced not only in the common schools, but in those in which the classics and the sciences are taught, with great success. This is true of the HighSchool in Edinburgh; and one of the commissioners can bear testimony to the same fact, in regard to the High-School in New-York, under the care of Professor Griscom. The country is deeply indebted to this gentleman for his efforts upon the subject, and particularly for having in an excellent work, lately published in NewYork, clearly set forth the merits of that system. To what extent it may or ought to be introduced, into the country part of the State, in populous villages, and the neighborhoods of extensive manufactories, it is not intended to express an opinion here, but should be a
subject of serious inquiry, and generally how far it may be made applicable, (if at all,) where the residence of children is remote from each other.
One of its chief excellences is its economy: for the same money vastly more may be obtained.
In other respects, the system has its advantages and its disadvantages: of the former, the most striking can be made obvious to those only, who have witnessed its operation. The subject in all points of view is worthy of investigation.
In respect to the common schools, Mr. James G. Carter has addressed to William Prescott, Esq. several letters which are in print, in which the importance of the subject is pressed upon the public, in a manner to deserve its most serious attention.
Massachusetts, in what she may now do for the common schools, will have the benefit of the experience of her sister States, together with the lights furnished by the progress of education elsewhere. Nothing upon this subject can be expected to be thoroughly done, till the facts in regard to the present state of the schools are carefully collected, together with every other fact, that may throw light upon it; and this by some person or persons, who shall be responsible for presenting to the legislature a system deserving of its consideration. A crude and undigested one would be unworthy of the times.
The commissioners, as they have before stated, do think, that if the proposed institution should accomplish no other object, it would well repay the bounty of the State, in becoming a nursery for schoolmasters; and to effect that object, they would recommend, that a department be organised in the school, for the express purpose of qualifying in the most economical way, such persons as shall resort to it, with the view of obtaining instruction for that occupation.
BOSTON MONITORIAL SCHOOL.
(Continued from p. 80.)
NOTE 1.–Page 37 The system of mutual instruction owes its origin to Lancaster and Bell, two Englishmen, or, as the French say, to Paulet a Frenchman, who is known to have systematically employed his pupils in teaching each other, as long ago as the year 1785. Whether the Englishmen got their hints from him is doubtful; for the attempt died with its author, who would probably never have been mentioned again, had not the wonderful success of the system ren