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Manual Labor Schools.
the importance of the fly on the wheel, supposing they are the fortunate and sole movers of what only moves in spite of them; they may fit their little day, and be enshrined in marble at last, and yet the mass of the breathing, moving: practical world, will go on in nearly the same beaten track, and will be in nearly the same condition a thousand years hence, as if they had never been.
Against a ministerial education which tends to this, we most earnestly protest, as we have no doubt Mr C. would. And yet will he say this is not the legitimate tendency of an education purely intellectual ? Is it not also the tendency of an education purely intellectual and moral? Isit not the tendency of any education which leaves out of view, in its practical results, man's physical development and physical nature? And are not the fashionable speculative theological errors of our day, and of all days and times, the results, directly or indirectly, of this unnatural, this one-sided sort of education ?
We think it not improbable, that those who, in spite of what has been said within the last ten or twelve years, of the importance of physical education, for moral ends, still remain skeptical, have been confirmed in their skepticism, by a short sighted view of the results of manual labor schools. They do not perceive so much good produced by these schools, as many suppose; nay, they even fancy they see great reason for deciding on their inefficiency.
But the truth is, that like the fashionable 'exalted,' we have spoken of above, they do not see correctly. They see either with jaundiced eyes, or through bad glasses.
In the first place, we have not had time in this country, to trace the effects of physical exercise at these schools, on those who have employed it. We act not wisely when we sow the seeds of physical and moral character, especially the former, in the expectation of reaping a crop the same day. The intelligent husbandman hath · long patience. No young man bred in any of our United States' manual labor schools, has yet lived long enough to exhibit, in his own person, the practical results.
But in the second place, the United States have had, as yet, so far as we know, no manual labor schools conducted on right principles. There certainly have been none such for the benefit of young men destined to enter the ministry. Where manual labor has been connected with our institutions, its legitimate objects have seldom been righily understood, even by teachers themselves; much less so by their pupils or students. Manual labor schools must fail to answer the ends at which they ought always to aim, when they are not conducted and understood to
Signs of the Times.
be conducted as a means, primarily, of promoting the health and morals and usefulness of those who attend them.
Manual labor schools always fail of accomplishing their legitimate purposes, when labor is not made respectable, (and this can only be done, when the teachers, as a general rule, labor with the pupils ;) when it is used as a means of defraying expenses, rather than of promoting health, morals and happiness ; and when it is not persevered in. We have no objection to the custom of allowing the avails of each pupil's labor, at a reasonable rate, to be applied to diminish his expenses; it should be
But to labor with the view, principally, of defraying expenses, and thus make labor and its avails a primary concern, and study only a secondary matter, is destructive to the whole system of manual labor in schools; and though it could be proved that even on this principle, more intellectual progress were made at some particular school, the final consequences must be deplorable.
We do not believe one boy or young man in ten, can be taken from the farm—and this is the place whence it is desirable he should be taken-and carried through the course of study to which the young minister is usually subjected, and hurried into the ministry under the age of twenty five years, without ultimately losing his health, unless his studies are accompanied by several hours' active exercise daily, in the open air. And of all kinds of active exercise, that of the farm and garden is decidedly the best, and must forever be found so. We are ready to grant that the necessity of out of door exercise is less imperative where the student has led a sedentary life from the first. In other words, a certain smaller measure of health can be maintained in the studies and duties of the ministry, with the aid of a smaller measure of active exercise afterwards, when one has never been trained to it. But it must also be remembered, that such men, trained in band boxes, as it were, seldom, if ever, make firin, efficient, successful pastors, until they change their whole habits. They never make men of Galilee ; still less does any of them ever become a Boanerges. The men of Galileethe man, too, of Tarsus, we venture to say it-had muscle as well as brain and nerves. The doctrine of an incompatibility between a healthy muscular development and strength of intellect, would never have been drawn from the observation of such men. It must have had its origin in a state of society where ministers were too often the pale faced, inefficient individuals they sometimes are, in our own days, and in our own country.
There are, however, cheering indications in the signs of the times on this subject. There is a growing belief-we rejoice
Mistakes of a Correspondent.
that it is so—that all our ministers ought to use from two to four hours of agricultural or horticultural exercise, every day, during the summer, and some sort of exercise in the open air, at all times and seasons. The Christian Watchman and Zion's Herald, both of this city, have contained, from time to time, articles which had this bearing; and we have seen essays on the subject from various quarters. We do hope, most ardently, as well as believe most sincerely, that the day is not distant when no professor in our literary institutions will be found making the narrow, meagre stateinent, that 'a proper education for a minister of Christ,' should be such as will, at the same time give him the most perfect command of his mental powers, and furnish him with the largest amount of useful knowledge.
BOSTON PRIMARY SCHOOLS.
(We are under much obligation to the individual who has furnished us with the following article for our pages; and who has labored so zealously to set us right, in regard to supposed errors. We have—as we trust the writer of that article has—but one object; which is to make known the truth. We have no prejudices-how can we have?-against the Buston Primary Schools; and in so far as our own statements were incorrect, we are truly glad to have them corrected. Yet, after all, we wish our correspondent could have found a more pleasing task than that of attempting to exonerate the School Committee, in regard to their school hours, and complain of the City Government. We had hoped, when we began to peruse the article, thilt he was going to prove, or at least attempt to prove, that our statements in regard to the condition of the schools were themselves erroneous; instead of confirming those statements, or at least substantially doing so by his own confessions. That the Boston Primary School Houses, are, in many instances, and in many respects, sadly deficient, is beyond debate. We are glad so much has been done, in relation not only to them, but for the improvement of school books, and for the advancement of morals. Yet, after all, we are more confirmed than we were before we received the following article, in the belief that the primary school system of Boston, though better than nothing, great y needs reform; and we are sorry to have good men so zealously opposed, as many seem to be, to its improvement. The facts before us, while they show that something was done in regard
Primary School Rooms.
to school houses before Messrs Woodbridge and Fisher made their visit, also show very conclusively, at least to our own mind, that in spite of the array of books and studies, they are as yet, far from being what all men, not of narrow minds, most beartily desire. But if not,-if the following article does not produce the conviction, we think a few visits to the schools will do it.
But enough of this. He who reads the following article will scarcely fail to perceive that, be the fault where it may, whether in the parents of the pupils, the City government, or the School Coinmittee, or in all of them conjoined, there is fault some. where. All we ask is that instead of boasting perpetually of our own excellent system, and of its happy results, those whom it concerns would spend their strength in correcting the fault, and in making the system more worthy of the times in which we live, and of the proud metropolis for which it was and still is designed.]
It was not until a short time since, that an article was pointed out to us, in the March number of the Annals of Education, on the subject of the Boston Primary Schools. As the writer of that article has fallen into some errors, unintentionally no doubt, he must desire, that in your journal, as an exponent of the true condition of education in this country, those errors should be corrected. The refutation is contained in the following remarks on School Rooms, Books, Studies and Moral education.
First, as to School Rooms. It seems the object of the writer in question, not only to disparage the present condition of the rooms occupied by the Primary Schools of this city, but to ascribe any improvements which have been made, to some influence out of the Board, rather than to any exertions made by the Board itself. “About four years ago,' says the writer in the Annals, ' Rev. W. C. Woodbridge, then editor of this jorunal, accompanied by Dr J. D. Fisher, visited and examined all the Primary Schools in this city, except those of South Boston; and a Report was drawn up by them, and presented to the Chairman of the Primary School Committee.'' This report had special reference to the condition of School Rooins.
• This report, the writer goes on to say, 'was not very well received at first, and some were quite offended with its honest plainness. It did great good, however, as we have reason to believe, and as is confidently stated by a writer in a late number of the Mercantile Journal.' This writer speaks of the results, as he calls them, of the investigation so perseveringly made by Messrs Woodbridge and Fisher. Again the writer says, 'It is a matter of astonishment-utterly so—that individuals worthy of being chosen
Efforts at Improvement.
as School Committee men, should slide over these matters from year to year; and only promise, from time to time, to procure better school rooins.' There is a material error in these, and various other passages of the article, which a few facts, we think, will clearly show.
The Primary Schools of Boston were established in 1818, after a strong and continued opposition from the heaviest tax payers. The first object, therefore, of the friends of these Schools, was to organize the small number allowed in the outset ; to extend them from time to time; and to ingratiate them into favor among the great body of the people, by conducting them on an economical and efficient system. They were increased from 36, the first number allowed, to 50, in about eight years. At this period, the friends of the system felt they were in successful operation, established in every part of the city, and receiving under their care a large proportion of all the children in the city between the
of 4 and 7. It then seemed that the time had arrive.l, to do something for their external condition. A Committee was accordingly raised, in April 1827, on the subject of
procuring more convenient school rooms,' who subsequently reported upon the many evils arising from the insufficiency and inconvenience of the rooms, and the urgent necessity of taking some measures to procure better accommodations ;
and it was thereupon voted-eleven years ago - That a Committee be raised ' to represent to the city government the scrious evils and bad consequences resulting from the want of suitable rooms, &c., and praying that measures may be adopted to remedy the evil.' This application failed ; and perhaps it should excite no wonder that it did, as an appropriation would have been necessary of $200,000, at least, to have given the accommodations then required for the whole number of Primary Schools.
in 1828—ten years ago, another memorial was presented to the city government for an annual appropriation of $3000, for the erection of Primary school houses. That body was not yet prepared to adopt the poicy of erecting houses expressly for these schools. But this application resulted in a vote `authorising the Board of Aldermen to hire a suitable number of school rooms of such location and of such size, as after consultation with the Primary School Committee, shall be deemed suitable, for a term not exceeding ten years. At that time, the whole number of Primary Schools wa 57, and only 20 of them deemed satisfactory. This power to lease for a term of ten years, was used by the Committee with great alacrity and efficiency. A large number of better rooms was obtained under this order. But not being able to obtain them in all situations, they applied