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inet, aiding an institution for practical education or for some other object for the benefit of the society.
The officers of each branch of the society shall be a President, Vice President, Treasurer, Recording and Corresponding Secretaries; five Curators, and three Delegates to meet delegates from other branches of the society in the same county.
The President, Vice President, Treasurer, and Recording Secretary, shall perform the duties usually implied in those offices. The corresponding scretaries shall make communications to each other for the benefit of the society, as discoveries, improvements, or other circumstances shall require.
The curators shall have charge of the library, apparatus, cabinet, and all other property of the society, not appertaining to the treasury.
The delegates of the several branches of the society in any one county, shall meet semi-annually, at such place as they shall choose, for the purpose of consulting upon meaures for promoting the designs of the society, particularly for encouraging an institution for giving an economical and practical education, and for qualifying teachers.
The delegates from the several branches of the society in any county, shall be called the board of delegates from the society for Mutual Education in that county.
The board of delegates in each county shall appoint such officers as shall be necessary for their organisation or for doing any business coming within their province.
Each board of delegates shall appoint a representative, to meet representatives from other boards who shall be styled the Board of Mutual Education for a given State; and it might be advantageous to have also a General Board embracing the United States.
It shall be the duty of the General or State Boards to meet annually to appoint a president and other officers, to devise and recommend such a system of Education as they shall think most eligible, also to recommend such books as they shall think best fitted to answer the purposes for which they are designed, and to adopt and recommend such measures, generally, as are most likely to secure to the rising generation the best intellectual, moral, and physical, education, and to diffuse the greatest quantity of useful information among the various classes of the community.
Any branch of the society will have power to adopt such by-laws and regulations, as will be necessary for the management and use of the library, apparatus, cabinet, &c. and for carrying into effect any designs not inconsistent with the general object of the society.
Several institutions essentially the same as here proposed, have already been formed in our country, and some of them are highly useful and respectable: that others may and will be formed, there is rro doubt. The object of the above articles is to forward the formation of them upon a general plan, and to form a connecting link between them which will enable them to unite their efforts, and may possibly lead them to vie with each other in prosecuting their general object, which is certainly second to no one that ever enlisted the talents of the Philosopher or of the Statesman, or the feelings of the Philanthropist.
POLITICAL IMPORTANCE OF EDUCATION.
[The following paragraphs are extracted from Mr. Burnside's Address delivered at Worcester, on the anniversary of a new organisation of the schools in that town, March 25th, 1826.
The subject of education furnishes to the philanthrophist an instructive as well as a pleasant theme of contemplation, in every light in which it is considered. Its political value is not, in this country at least, apt to be overlooked. Still, it cannot be too often brought to view; and the probability that legislative measures for the farther improvement of education, are probably to be soon adopted on a higher scale than heretofore, gives an additional interest to the subject of the able address from which this article is taken.]
From the different estimates, which have been made on the subject, we may assume eight hundred millions as the probable population of the globe we inhabit. Of these, christianity can claim but little more than one fifth, as nominally her own. All the residue, except about two millions of Jews, amounting to more than 600 millions, are Mahometans and Pagans. To these may be added, at least 100 millions of nominal christians, embracing ninetenths of the Greek and catholic churches; and we find there are 700 out of 800 millions of human beings, no one of whom can compare in knowledge with the humblest child who has been instructed in the free schools of Massachusetts; and I shudder to add, that most of these are as morally worthless, as they are stupidly ignorant. This is indeed a dark picture, though I believe a just one, of the present state of mankind. The thought is humillating, that this immense portion of the human family is thus lost to all that is valuable and dignified in the character of rational beings. In presenting this view, however, of the degradation of man, I do not forget what has been effected, in every age, to enlaige his mind and meliorate his condition; nor do I overlook the present advanced state of science and the useful arts. Were it our purpose to trace the progress of human knowledge, we should find cause for admiration at the successful exertion of the intellectual powers of man, when directed to their legitimate objects. But it is more appropriate to this anniversary, to inquire into the causes which have so effectually prevented the diffusion of knowledge among our fellow men; for with whatever splendor the rays of science have shone upon a part of our world, they have hardly lessened the thick darkness which has ever brooded over the greatest portion of it. The principal cause may be found, if I mistake not, in the forms of civil government which have prevailed among the nations. With few exceptions, these have been arbitrary, both in ancient and modern times.
Now it is the manifest policy of every such government to prevent a general spread of knowledge among their subjects; to take prompt and efficient measures to suppress every indication of a spirit of inquiry into the rights of mạn, and the pretensions of princes to govern without responsibility. It requires little sagacity to foresee that such inquiries would never result favorably to the claims of ambition; but must always terminate, as they ever have done, in the overthrow of unlimited authority, and the establishment, upon its ruins, of a different political system, directly recognising the people as the only legitimate source of power, and entitled to the right of self government. Without resorting for illustrations to nations of antiquity, I appeal directly to the history of modern Europe to show how steadily, how artfully, and how successfully, this fatal policy has been pursued by the rulers of that continent. After much research, I have found but one solitary instance, in which provision has been made by law for the indiscriminate instruction of children in the elements of useful knowledge. In 1646, the Parliament of Scotland passed an act, requiring free schools to be maintained in all the Parishes of that kingdom for the elementary instruction of the poor.* Scarce had the system contemplated by this act gone into operation when the statute was repealed, upon the restoration of Charles II. together with all other laws passed during the Commonwealth, as not having received the royal assent. It did not suit the views of the politic Charles or the headstrong James II. to furnish facilities for the education of the Scottish peasantry. No attempt, therefore, was made during those
* Laws of an earlier date, though of a more limited tendency, might perhaps have been found. Among the ancient acts of the Scottish Parliament are some designed to enforce the universal diffusion of education, as far at least as regarded ability to read the Scriptures. Heary penalties were threatened against every master, and every head of a house, who should be guilty of neglecting the instruction of his apprentices, domestics, or children. Similar enactments, our readers no doubt reinember, were among the earliest legislative measures of the founders of the New-England colonies.
two reigns to revive the statute of 1646, because no hope could be entertained that a bill for that purpose would not be indignantly negatived in the exercise of the royal prerogative. But after the revolution, in 1696, it was re-enacted, and is probably still in force. The Parliament of Ireland once made a similar law; but they immediately diverted the fund designed for the object, and abandoned the enterprise. In no other country except our own, are the means of education furnished by law to the common people. In the Protestant Cantons of Switzerland, and in some of the districts of England, and in a few of the states of Prussia, the peasantry have access to schools similar to those maintained in Scotlands but they owe their existence to individual munificence, or to the patronage of religious associations. We look in vain to the records of other countries for evidence that the interests of education have ever been embraced within the scope of their policy; that the instruction of the poor has ever been the object of one single act of legislation; or that the smallest portion of public revenue has ever been pledged to enlighten the minds and form the morals of the rising generation.
It is vain ever to hope for an enlightened populace, under governments, whose very existence depends on their ignorance. But we may confidently trust in the benevolence of God, that the depressed and degraded millions of Europe will, at last, be emancipated. Liberal principles are making slow, but sure progress, and in opposition to the combined operation of the causes I have mentioned, will ultimately triumph in a radical change of the political aspect of Europe. Far different was the policy, and more exalted were the views of the venerable fathers of New-England. They were too wise, and too patriotic to leave schools dependent on private liberality. They laid deep the foundations of education in the principles of their constitution of government. They made it an early object of legislation to enjoin upon towns the duty of supporting masters to instruct the young in elementary knowledge, and gospel ministers to guide both old and young in the paths of moral rectitude. They not only permitted but they invited and urged the poor to send their children for instruction, to the schools maintained for them at the expense of the public. Their system of education has come down to us, through a period of 200 years, as the most valued and precious of the institutions of our country; and there is scarcely a child, that hears me, who does not know, that its daily lessons are taught by legislative direction.
Before this audience, it is not necessary to dwell long, upon the advantages, which flow from it. Most of our legislators, our judges and governors have commenced their preparation for the high stations they have filled in society, hy drinking at these simple springs of knowledge. We see the magic influence of our schools in the habits of industry, sobriety and order, which prevail in the community; in the cheerful obedience, so generally yielded to the laws, and in the acts of charity and benevolence, which are, every day, multiplied around us. Rarely have we seen a native of Massachusetts paying the forfeit of his life, to the violated laws of the State. Still more rarely have we found, of the unhappy number of capital sufferers, one, whose early years have been passed in the seminaries of our villages.
In our sister States, experience has been equally decisive of the saving influence of these primary institutions. The executive of New-York, states in an official communication to the legislature, that of ten thousand children, who had been educated in the freeschools of the metropolis, not one had ever been convicted of an infamous crime. And the eloquent editor of the works of the Scottish bard, to whom I am indebted for whatever information I have given of his country, speaks of the effects of schools upon the peasantry, in language so forcible and pertinent, that I cannot forbear repeating it on the present occasion "At the present day, there is perhaps no country of Europe, in which, in proportion to its population, so small a number of crimes fall under the chastise ment of the criminal law, as Scotland. We have the best authority for asserting that, on an average of thirty years preceding the year 1797, the executions in that division of the island did not amount to six annually; and one quarter sessions for the town of Manchester only, has sent, (according to Mr. Hume,) more felons to the plantations, than all the judges of Scotland usually do, in the course of a year. It might appear invidious, (he continues,) to attempt a calculation of the many thousand individuals in Manchester and its vicinity, who can neither read nor write.
A majority of those, who suffer the punishment of death for their crimes in every part of England, are, it is believed, in this miserable state of ignorance.” This, we should recollect, is an account of the state of morals among the Scotch peasantry, one century after their free schools had gone into operation. The contrast of this representation
may be read in the political works of Fletcher of Salton, who describes the conditon of the Scots, before the establishment of their schools; and he exhibits a state of society, depraved and wretched beyond conception.