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A provisional comunittee has been formed for establishing, in Eng. Jand, a society to be designated the Society for promoting General Knowledge ;' the object of which shall be the publication of approved works in the various branches of useful knowledge, especial regard being had to their religious and moral tendency. The price is to be so low as to bring them within the reach of the public in general. There is reason to believe that a similar institution will be formed at Paris. The works to be published by this society will include religious and moral, historical, scientific, and miscellaneous. Every thing exclusive, whether in religion or politics, it is stated, will be carefully shunned. Cheap reprints of standard and unexceptionable works will form a prominent part of the society's labors. In some cases, however, new treatises will be required.
It is intended that extensive and varied knowledge shall be made subservient to the interests of religion and virtue, and a powerful counteraction thus afforded to the pernicious publications at present in fearfully wide circulation. The books of the Society, it is added, will be peculiarly adapted, both in matter and price, to mechanic's institutes, and it is hoped, will turn to good account the appetite for reading so widely diffused and so rapidly increasing. (Ch. Obs. Aug. 1825.
NEW PLAN OF INSTRUCTION.
[The following statement relating to a plan of instruction for the poor, is from the Monthly Repository of August, 1825. The experi. ment here alluded to was made at Linfield, in the county of Sussex, England.)
• Some benevolent individuals, conceiving that the labor of children might be made to pay for their education, have united and built schoolrooms, at the above place, of sufficient capacity for 200 boys and 200 girls During one part of the day, (from pine to twelve) the children are to be taught reading, writing, and arithmetic.
In the other part, (from two to live.) the boys will be instructed in classes) in agricultural labor, wben ihe weather permits, and in some of the most useful mechanical arts; while the girls will be employed in needlework, the duties of the household and dairy, making butter, knitting. strawplaiting, and, in short, every species of domestic industry that will contribute to make them valuable servants. At the commencement, the parents or friends of each child will pay threepence a week for its education ; but the projectors of the undertaking are confident that experience will soon contirm their theory, that the produce of three hours' labor of each child per day, will pay the expenses of the establisbment; in which case the weekly charge will altogether cease.
This is an undertaking worthy of the exertions of the greatest philogopher and of the most ardent philanthropist. To make the peasantry of our country virtuous, by affording them the means of an independent, economical education, to eradicate the root of evil, ignorance, is an attempt worthy of a Briton, and of a Briton, too, in the nineteenth century.'
NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF THE UNITED STATES.
[The following information on this subject will no doubt be interesting to our readers. It is truly gratifying to observe this topic so happily introduced to the attention of Congress.]
Extract from the President's Message. Upon this first occasion of addressing the Legislature of the Union, with which I have been bonored, in presenting to their view the execution, so far as it has been effected, of the measures sanctioned by them, for promoting the internal improvement of our country, I can. not close the communication without recommending to their calm and persevering consideration the general principle in a more enlarged extent. The great object of the institution of civil government, is the improvement of the condition of those who are parties to the social compact. And no government, in whatever form constituted, can accomplish the lawful ends of its institution, but in proportion as it improves the condition of those over whom it is established. Roads and canals, by multiplying and facilitating the communications and intercourse between distant regions, and multitudes of men, are among the most important means of improvement. But moral, political, intellectual improvement, are duties assigned, by the Author of our existence, to social, no less than to individual man. For the fulfilment of these duties, governments are invested with power; and, to the at. tainment of the end, the progressive improvement of the condition of the governed, the exercise of delegated power, is a duty as sacred and indispensable, as the usurpation of power not granted is criminal and odious. Among the first, perhaps the very first instruments for the improvement of the condition of men, is knowledge; and to the acquisition of much of the knowledge adapted to the wants, the comforts, and enjoyments, of human life, public institutions and seminaries of learning are essential. So convinced of this was the first of my predecessors in this office, now first in the memory, as living, he was first in the hearts of our country, that, once and again, in bis addresses to the congresses, with whom he co-operated in the public service, he ear. nestly recommended the establishment of seminaries of learning, to prepare for all tbe emergencies of peace and war-a national university, and a military academy. With respect to the latter, had he live ed to the present day, in turning his eyes to the institution at West Point, be would have enjoyed the gratification of bis most earnest wishes. But, in surveying the city which has been honored with bis name, VOL. I.
he would have seen the spot of earth which he had destined and bequeathed to the use and benefit of bis country, as the site for an uni. versity, still bare and barren.'
Proceedings of Congress on the above subject. On motion of Mr. Ruggles, the part of the President's Message which relates to a National University, was referred to a select Com. mittee, with instructions, if expedient, to report the principles on which it ought to be established, and a plan of organisation that will embody these principles.
EDUCATION IN THE STATE OF NEW-YORK.
Extract from Gov. Clinton's Message, Jan. 3, 1826. The first duty of government, and the surest evidence of good gove ernment, is the encouragement of education. A general diffusion of knowledge is the precursor and protector of republican institutions, and in it we must confide as the conservative power that will watch over our liberties and guard them against fraud, intrigue, corruption, and violence. In early infancy, education may be usefully administered. In some parts of Great Britain, infant schools have been successfully established, comprising children from two to six years of age, whose tempers, hearts, and minds are ameliorated, and whose indigent parents are enabled, by these means, to devote themselves to labor without interruption or uneasiness. Our common schools embrace children from five to fifteen years old, and continue to increase and pros. per. The appropriations for last year from the school fund amount to $80,670; and an equivalent sum is also raised by taxation in the several school districts, and is applied in the same way. The capital or fund is $1,330,000 which will be in a state of rapid augmentation from sales of the public lands and other sources. And it is well ascertained that more than 420,000 children have been taught in our common schools during the last year. The sum distributed by the state is now too small, and the general fund can well warrant an auge mentation to $120,000 annually. An important change bas taken place in the free schools of New-York. By an arrangement between the corporation of that city and the trustees of the Free-School society, these establishments are to be converted into cominon schools, to admit the children of the rich as well as of the poor, and by this appibilation of tactitious distinctions, there will be a strong incentive for the display of talents, and a felicitous accommodation to the genius of republican government. In these seminaries, the monitorial sy-tem has been always used, and it has in other institutions been applied with complete success to the higher branches of education.
Our system of instruction, with all its numerous benefits, is still, however, susceptible of great improvement. Ten years of ibe lite of a child may now be spent in a common school. In iwo years, the elements-of instruction may be acquired; and the remaining eight years must be spent either in repetition or in idleness, unless the teachers of common schools are competent to instruct in the bigher branches of knowledge. The outlines of geography, algebra, mineralogy, agricultural chemistry, mechanical philosophy, surveying, geometry, astronomy, political economy, and ethics, might be communicated in that period of time by able preceptors without essential interference with the calls of domestic industry, The vocation of a teacher, in its influence on the characters and destinies of the rising and all suture generations, has either not been fully understood, or not duly estimated. It is, or ought to be, ranked among the learned professions. With a full admission of the merits of several who now officiate in that capa. city. still it must be conceded, that the information of many of the instructers of our common schools does not extend beyond rudimental education—that our expanding population requires constant accessions to the numbers and that to realise these views, it is necessary that some new plan for obtaining able teachers should be devised. I there. fore recommend a seminary for the education of teachers in the monitorial system of instruction, and in those useful branches of knowledge which are proper to engraft on elementary attainments. A compliance with this recommendation will have the most benign influence on individual happiness and social prosperity. To break down the barriers which poverty has erected against the acquisition and dispensation of knowledge, is to restore the just equilibrium of society, and to perform a duty of indispensable and paramount obligation: and under this impression I also recommend that provision be made for the gra. tuitous education in our superior seminaries, of indigent, talented, and meritorious youth.
I consider the system of our common schools as the palladium of our freedom; for no reasonable apprehension can be entertained of its subversion, as long as the great body of the people are enlightened by education. To increase the funds, to extend the benefits, and to remedy the defects of this excellent system, is worthy of your most deliberate attention. The officer who now so ably presides over that department, is prevented by his official duties, from visiting our schools in
person, nor is he indeed clotbed with this power. A visitatorial authority, for the purpose of detecting abuses in the application of the funds, of examining into the modes and plans of instruction, and of suggesting improvements, would unquestionably be attended with the most propititious effects.
FEMALE HIGH-SCHOOL OF NEW-YORK.
The success of the High-School for boys having been entirely satisfactory, a considerable number of stockholders were anxious that a similar institution should be provided for Females. A meeting of the Society was therefore called, and it was unanimously resolved to purchase ground, and erect a building of dimensions sufficient to accommodate 400 scholars.
The trustees bave accordingly purchased a lot 72 feet by !00, in Crosby, near Spring-street, in the vicinity of the edifice for Boys, on which they have erected a brick building of three stories, 44 feet by 60. The cost of the ground, the building, and its furniture, will be about $18,000.
MR. OWEN'S SCHOOL AT NEW-HARMONY. MR. Owen, wbose plans for the melioration of society, bave of late excited considerable interest in this country, bas instituted, at bis set. tlement of New-Harmony, (Indiana,) a school similar to that which attracted so much attention ai bis establishment in New-Lanark, (Scot. land.) An account of this school will be given in an early number of our work.
EDUCATION IN MASSACHUSETTS.
Extract from Governor Lincoln's Message, January 4, 1826. The cause of education and learning, can never unappropriately be presented to the favorable regard of the representatives of a free people. Various propositions for its advancement, by the establishment and endowment of institutions for qualifying teachers of youth, for instruction in the physical sciences, in agriculture, and in the wbole circle of the arts, have been recently brought before the public, and will solicit the fostering patronage of the legislature. It can be with no gratifying reflections to the descendents of the pilgrim founders of the college, and the free schools of Massachusetts, that they find themselves constrained, by the state of the finances of the commonwealth, to deny to these high objects, the only effectual provision for their encouragement. Will not this bumbling consideration serve as an incentive to devise some more ample resources for a revenue to the state, that thus, the solemn and imperative injurctions in the constitution upon ‘legislatures and magistrates, in all periods of the commonwealth, to cherish the interests of literature and the sciences, and all seminaries of them, public schools and grammar schools in the towns, to encourage private societies, public institutions, rewards and indemnities for the promotion of agriculture, arts, sci. ences, commerce, trade, manufactures, and a natural history of the country,' may be faithfully and efficaciously observed. A present appropriation and pledge of a proportion of the proceeds of future sales of the public lands, would, at no very distant day, ensure a liberal fund for those objects.
AGRICULTURAL SEMINARY. We are happy to understand that the establishment of an agricultural seminary, on a plan worthy of the State of Massachusetts, is