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ANNALS OF EDUCATION.
WEST POINT MILITARY ACADEMY.
The philosophy and tendency of this institution have been discussed in former volumes of this journal. The reader will also find a tolerable engraving of it at page 3:37 of Vol. V. The engraving which accompanies this article gives a view of the buildings from a different point; which, together with the following historical and biographical sketches of the school itself, is extracted from the American Magazine.
The buildings first occupied by the academy have long since gone to decay, and are demolished. In 1812, the jurisdiction of 250 acres of land, was ceded by New York to the United States; and an appropriation of $12,000 having been made for the erection of quarters, the mess-hall, chapel and south barracks were begun, and completed in the following year. The three brick edifices nearest the mess-hall, were erected in 1815-16, and the other three nearest the flag-staff on the same line, in 1820–21. The north barracks were built in 1817. Of the three stone dwellings west of the flag-staff, the farthest was erected in 1821 ; the others in 1825-26. The hospital and hotel were built in 1828–29; and the ordnance or gun-house, in 1830. Appropriations have been made for a gymnasium and a chapel, which are now under construction. The water works, for supplying all the buildings with water, or extinguishing fire, were completed in 1830, at an expense of $4,500. The annual expense of the academy is stated at $ 115,000; averaging about $425 for each cadet. This is one fourth less than the average cost of each cadet, prior to 1817, which was not less than $550 per annum. The Library is well selected, of military, scientific and historical works, containing nearly 10,000 volumes. The philosophical apparatus lately received from France, is extensive,
and constructed with the latest improvements. The chemical laboratory and mineralogical cabinet yet require enlargement.
Our biographical history of the academy shall be brief. Its superintendence was entrusted, in its early stages, to Gen. Jocathan Williams, ex-officio, as chief of the corps of engineers. During this period, from 1802 to 1812, the number of cadets was small, and the total number of graduates was only 71. This may satisfactorily answer the question, why we do not find more of them among the distinguished men of our country. The only professors recorded during this period, are George Barron, and afterwards Francis R. Hassler, professor of mathematics, Francis De Mason, teacher of French, and Christian E. Zoeller, of draw. ing. Mr Hassler is now employed by the government on a trigonometrical survey of our coast.
From 1812 to 1815, the academy was placed under the direction of the succeeding chief engineer, Gen. Joseph G. Swift. Among the professors were the Rev. Adam Empie, chaplain; Andrew Ellicott, professor of mathematics ; Col. Jared Mansfield, professor of natural philosophy ; and Capt. Alden Partridge, professor of engineering.
In 1815, Capt. Alden Partridge was appointed superintendent of the academy ; the chief engineer, being, as at present, its inspector, er-officio. The only new professor appointed, was Claudius Berard, teacher of French.
Some traits of Capt. Partridge's character rendering a change desirable, he was relieved from his station in 1817; and succeeded by Col. Sylvanus Thayer, of the corps of engineers; a gentleman every way qualified by nature and by acquirements, both at home and abroad, for this responsible duty. Under his superintendence, an improved system of discipline was introduced; the course of studies much extended, so as to compare favorably with that of foreign military schools; and the studies required came to be thoroughly taught. Col. Thayer assiduously devoted all his resources to the advancement of the academy, until 1833, when, at his own request, he was honorably relieved from this station, and appointed to direct the erection of fortifications in Boston harbor. He was succeeded in the superintendence of the academy by Major R. E. De Russey, of the corps of engineers, a gentleman of amiable character and extensive acquirements.
The chief professors of the academy not yet mentioned, are: Chaplains, Rev. T. Picton, 1818; Rev. C. P. M'llvaine, 1825, now Episcopal Bishop of Ohio; and Rev. Thos. Warner, 1828. Professors of engineering, Claude Crozet, 1817, since chief civil engineer of Virginia ; Major David B. Douglass, 1823, now civil engineer ; and Dennis H. Malan, 1831; professor of natural
Improvement of Common Schools. 485 philosophy, Edward H. Courtenay; professor of matheinatics, Charles Davis, 1821 ; acting professors of chemistry, Dr James Cutbush, 1820; Dr John Torrey, 1824 ; and Lieut. W. Fenn Hopkins, 1828; teachers of drawing, Thomas Gimbrede, 1819; Charles R. Leslie, R. A. 1833; and Robert W. Weir, 1834.
The total number of graduates, from its establishment to July 1834, inclusive, is 785. Of this number 434 were in the service at the latter date, as officers of the arıy; 9 have been killed in battle ; 84 died in service ; 208 have resigned; and the remainder are disbanded, or otherwise dismissed from the service.
SOCIETY FOR THE IMPROVEMENT OF EDUCATION.
[The following article appeared in the February number of the third volume of the Journal of Education, of which this work is well known to be a continuation. As it is now nearly ten years since the first appearance of the article ; as the subject of which it treats is still greatly neglected ; and as some of our present readers have probably never seen it, we cheerfully comply with an urgent and repeated request to republish it. Would it might elicit that attention from the friends of education which its vast importance appears to us to demand !)
It is a fact, not undeserving of notice, that at present there is so little concert and co-operation among colleges and schools in all parts of the country,--so little of a common interest felt and expressed, where an open and free correspondence would be so favorable to effectual improvement in instruction, and to the advancement of the public good.
How to accomplish the formation of a very numerous society of intelligent and efficient men, throughout the country, we do not pretend to prescribe. This, indeed, is not the immediate object. Local societies or associations must first be forined under the direct impulse of local circumstances. A general society may then very naturally be formed, by the union of all or of many; and uniformity of measures, as far as desirable, may be in this way secured.
An approach to the object of our present remarks, is successfully made in county associations, for the improvement of common schools. Here certainly is a desirable point at which to begin, and from which to dispense an extensive and happy in