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pursuit of knowledge in after years. This dullness needs to be renioved; their faculties to be aroused, strengthened, balanced ; their enthusiasm of knowledge kindled, their curiosity quickened, their taste cultivated, their intellectual efforts rendered habitually regular, patient and intense. Their mental acquisitions will be almost as natural as breathing and corporal growth, and will continue to be made through life, even in spite of the business and bustle of the world ; then knowledge will be receive ed from every quarter, tongues be found“ in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in every thing.” Let me invoke those who teach the children of the United States to give them an education superior greatly to that of the present day, an education widened on every hand, and improved in every particular.
I come now to suggest to them motives and encouragements to the faithful discharge of their responsible duties. These are of the most important and dignified character. ,
It is matter of deep regret that pecuniary reward has been so stinted and reluctant, to the great injury of education as well as discouragement of teachers. But let instructers be reminded that, in the dignified character and excellent influences of their employment, there is presented a nobler inducement to duty. The high-minded and conscientious cannot fail to feel its power.. Says Lord Brougham, “ However averse by taste or habit to the turmoil of public affairs, or the more ordinary strifes of the world, instructers-in all quiet and innocence may enjoy the noblest gratifications of which the most aspiring nature is susceptible.” Vulgar ambition seeks to sway multitudes of men, and influence widely the operations and interests of society. The successful teacher of children establishes a far nobler, wider, surer empire. He influences mind; mind that will wake and mould mind again. The intelligence which he communicates is itself communicable. Every intellect which he instructs, becomes an instructer of a cluster of pupil intellects gathered round it. These last become points and sources of education to greater numbers, and these to greater numbers still, until quickly the calculation of numbers baffles our arithmetic and even our imagination. The humblest teacher, if he could pass along with his own influence as it should pursue its widening course onward, though he would never need to weep for another world to conquer, would one day see greater numbers reached by his power than ever bowed to him of Macedon. Let teachers feel entirely satisfied with their employment; it is worthy the ambition of the greatest men. There is but one higher service for man or angel; the cultivation of the heart, the moulding of the moral nature into likeness of character to the infinite Father of the universe.
In reference to the interests of our own country, no position can be more honorable than that which is held by American teachers. Our national character, our escape from imminent dangers, the duration of our free institutions, our thrist, wealth, power, and happiness, in an important degree are dependent upon the education and intelligence which they have the privilege of diffusing among the people. Our public affairs at this moment are at a most important crisis. Among the wise and good, every eye is now turned to the school-houses and schoolteachers of the country, for conservative influences. There may not be wanting many strong ebullitions of national feeling among us. All over the land the morning of each fourth day of July may thunder forth from the cannon's mouth the enthusiasm of fourteen millions of people on the subject of freedom. Our legislative assemblies may vie with each other in ardent professions of patriotismn ; the spirit of seventy-six may be industriously implanted and cherished around every fire-side in the country; still, without the school-master abroad, our career of freedom and prosperity would be quickly closed, and our brilliant prospects be shut out by as dark a night as that which has set upon the glory of all former republics. The aid which teachers may contribute to preserve the privileges and possessions of this great and free people, is certainly a most valuable and most honorable service. It is pleasant to me to recollect that I am in the old “Bay State," where this matter has always been so regarded. Here have risen men, of whom the world was not worthy, who, by the enlightened principles which they held and diffused abroad, not only moulded society and government into their best forms, but provided for their permanency by providing with special care and liberality for the education of the whole people. I can now almost hear the pilgrims, and my blood grows warm as I remember that my ancestor. landed from the Mayflower, and that the first born of the Plymouth colony is only six generations before me. I can almost hear the Pilgrim Fathers and their early successors administering to us a stern rebuke for neglecting that edu
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cation of the popular mind, to which, except religion, they gave their best love and richest charities, their earliest labor and latest prayer. Let American school-teachers turn to all that has been done by the great dead to earn for us our inheritance. In addition to their efforts in behalf of popular education, let them recollect their toils and sacrifices, their unrewarded efforts in council, and their struggles in the field of death, and then count it all honor to enter into their labors and carry out their far-sighted and benevolent plans. Let them render themselves worthy of those from whom they are descended, by their intelligent and sustained and efficient efforts to educate the general mind, and to remove away the vast mass of ignorance which now sits like an incubus on the nation's heart, and suppresses its breath.
The teachers of this portion of the United States hold a place of peculiar importance and honor. New England is a nursery for the whole country. She settles many portions of it almost exclusively ; she sprinkles her population over the entire breadth of the land. She is yet to be the mother of new states, and a large contributor to old ones. Her schoolmasters should be aware that in consequence of this, they occupy a high position, which enables them by educating the emigrating population of New England, to form the intellectual character eventually of more than half of these United States. Who ought to desire a station more honorable and useful? Who are called to act under the influence of nobler motives and encouragements ?
The relation in which this country is placed to other nations, elevates American teachers to a still more commanding position. The experience of the world hitherto is against the duration and success of republics. Every civilized people and every crowned head is turned to us to learn what shall be the destiny of ours. Whatever aid American teachers shall contribute in conducting the grand experiment, which this country is making in the face of the world in the event of its success, will be a most important service to mankind. Should the experiment prove to be a failure, it will be a splendid one, and if teachers shall be faithful to their important trust, they will still enjoy the consciousness of having done what they could in a noble sphere of duty. But the experiment will not fail. Our free institutions will continue, and our people continue to enjoy under them unparalleled prosperity. By and by they will become a model for the governments of the old world. Nations successively, as they arrive at sufficient intelligence and virtue, will either adopt them as they are, or such modifications of them as shall contain their essential features. In this way the instructers of America will share the glory not only of having improved and perpetuated what is most dear and valuable to Americans, but of having set up an illustrious public example, which may yet change the forms of society and of government throughout more than half the world. Already the sovereigns of Europe, though they lay deep their plans, though they bring all the wisdom of the wisest heads, and all the influence of flattery, wealth, and arms to secure their power, feel underneath their thrones a ground swell which makes them totter fearfully. They may not be fully aware whence comes so irresistible a movement. There is an ocean rolling between them and the feeding springs of the tremendous under-working current. The whole agitation has its source in the neighborhoods, habits, villages and cities of America, where the humble school-master pursues his weary and unnoticed labors, where silently but surely he imbues the prospective sovereigns and subjects of the country with the spirit, and principles, and intelligence appropriate to Americans. The school-houses of America are the terrible magazines, and the teachers hold and apply the fires — perhaps the entire world may yet feel their power. No class of men occupies a higher position than American teachers. Schoolmasters, feel the inspiring of the glorious encouragements open around you. They that gather wealth and they that wear crowns shall quickly be laid away in the narrow house. Then their possessions and their splendour, to themselves, shall be no more than the wind that blows over their graves; to those who shall live after them, they will be in memory as those figures upon the sand which were effaced by the following wave, or as yesterday's vapor that hath passed wholly away. But you, if you fulfil your high responsibility, will leave impressions upon the current of human affairs passing by you, which will never disappear, but grow deeper and more valuable as that current moves forward through the track of time. And your good influence, as it travels along with this sweeping current over following centuries, will procure for your efforts constantly a fuller appreciation, and for yourselves a more grateful remembrance. While lying quietly in your graves, generation after generation, as it rises up, will look back to you as valuable contributors to its proud inheritance of intelligence, freedom, virtue, happiness. They may raise to you no marble or “storied urn,” but they will consecrate to you a more enduring and a more desirable memorial. They will write for you this inscription on their hearts, “ Blessed are the dead, for their works do follow them.”
School-masters of America, appreciate the high motives and encouragements thrown around you. Up! to your high vocation. Your country now is the brightest place which the world hath, — make it a brighter one still! Kindle up a light in it which shall shine more and more brilliantly on, until all nations come and walk in it; a light that shall wax more and more heavenly, until it mingle well with the glories of eternity.