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in Europe ; and we are not willing to be behind the old world in accuracy, and in honorable and permanently useful results.
The course pursued has already met the approbation of men abroad eminent in science, and practised in such works, whilst at home the survey has more than repaid the suins drawn from the treasury by the benefits it has conferred upon two of the largest commercial cities, New York and Philadelphia. It ought to be a sufficient argument for its continuance, that it has discovered what other operations, though often repeated, failed to find out ; and its success here was owing to strict conformity to the principles of surveying, which alone a severe science recognises. It is needless to say, that the duration of the work is indefinitely protracted by the frequent interruptions to which it has been subjected. If it were permitted to enjoy the friendly and intelligent patronage of Congress and the government, the greatest number admissible of assistants would be employed, and all the rapidity of execution consistent with accuracy would be secured. Mr. Hassler has given a list of similar works which have been executed, and are now in progress, in Europe ; from which it appears that not only flourishing kingdoms, but even petty principalities, have made their triangulations. When we contemplate the wealth, extent, and dignity of this vast empire, we feel that the hope is not unreasonable which looks for enterprises suited to its condition. But science, which knows no limits either of power or national boundary, finds a home among the thrones and insignificant dominations of Italy and Germany ; and, if it be rejected from the councils of this nation, will confer upon their humble princes a distinction before which we must be content to bow. The abandonment of this work will not fail to be regarded in Europe both as a calarnity and a dishonor. The impress of instability, which seems to be stamped upon every public measure, might at least be removed from this, in which all parties and all prejudices may unite and harmonize. The survey of the coast has already created a distinguished school of topographical and hydrographical engineers, thus overcoming one of the early difficulties in the undertaking ; it will further contribute to erect a standard of science, the practical value of which we cannot now discuss. Should some other mode be adopted for the time, there can be small doubt that the present method, the only one which strict science approves, will be hereafter resumed ; and “the chances of an accumulation of errors upon such a long extent of seacoast as that of the United States, particularly in the direction in which it lies, will be too great, and the consequences of a want of system and care too glaring, not to bring discredit and shame upon a less accurate operation."*
We observe, in conclusion, that we have heard with surprise, that some officers of the navy are to be found among the active enemies of the present survey of the coast. It certainly reflects no credit upon that gallant profession, that such should be the case. None are so likely as seafaring men to profit by its labors, and we were disposed to believe, that gentlemen of that service were able to appreciate the utility and merits of the work. We will venture to remark, that it will give a desirable appearance of candor and disinterestedness to their efforts, if they are not found to derive a personal advantage from any contemplated change of measures which may go into effect. If, among those who are consulted either by the Navy Department or by members of Congress in relation to this subject, there be found any who have heretofore unsuccessfully sought a connexion with the Coast Survey, or who, having been once engaged in it, have had that connexion unhappily dissolved, it will be well, in considering their testimony, to weigh its value with an even hand. Any suspicion that may rest upon their opinions will not be attributed to our suggestion, but to the common experience of mankind, and to that judgment of human affairs, which finds in the probable motives of men the best explanation of their conduct.
* Papers relating to the Survey of the Coast. American Philosophical Transactions, New Series. Vol. II. p. 400.
Art. IX. - 1. Reports of the Board of Commissioners of
Common Schools in Connecticut, together with the Annual Reports of the Secretary of the Board. 1839.
1840. 1841. 2. The Connecticut Common School Journal ; published under the Direction of the Board of Commissioners of Common Schools. Vols. I. II. III. Hartford. 1838
- 1841. 3. Fifth Annual Report of the Board of Education,
[of Massachusetts] together with the Fifth Annual Report of the Secretary of the Board. Senate Document, No. 4. Boston : Dutton & Wentworth. 8vo. pp. 135.
The State of Connecticut has always recognised, in her practice and her legislation, the duty of a State to provide for the moral and intellectual education of all its children. The first enactment in her statute book on the subject of education bears the date of 1650, and forms part of a body of laws compiled by Mr. Ludlow. In this compilation are found various provisions on the subject of education, the preamble to one of which we copy for the sake of its quaint phraseology.
" It being one chief project of that old deluder, Satan, to keep men from the knowledge of the Scriptures, as in former times, keeping them in an unknown tongue, so, in these latter times, by persuading them from the use of tongues, so that at least the true sense and meaning of the original might be clouded with false glosses of saint-seeming deceivers ; and that learning may not be buried in the graves of our forefathers, in church and commonwealth, the Lord assisting our endeavours: it is therefore ordered, &c.”
Various other provisions were made from time to time, by the legislature, showing a laudable interest in the subject of education, and a wish to contribute to its improvement. In 1795, the avails of the sale of certain Western lands, now forming part of Ohio, which had been reserved by the State in its deed of cession to the United States in 1782, amounting to $ 1,200,000, were for ever appropriated to the support of common schools; and, in 1818, this legislative destination of it was confirmed, with the sanction of constitutional provision. This capital has been increased by judicious management to more than two millions of dollars, and the interest, amounting to about one hundred thousand dollars, is annually distributed among the several school societies and districts, according to the number of children between the ages of four and sixteen. In 1836, that portion of the surplus fund belonging to the United States, which fell to Connecticut, was, by an act of the legislature, deposited with the several towns in proportion to their respective population, according to the census of 1830, on condition that at least one half of the income thereof should be appropriated for the promotion of education in the common schools in such towns. Under this act, $ 764,670:61, have been deposited with the towns. The other expenses of public instruction are defrayed from society and local school funds, from taxes on property, and assessments on the parents of children attending schools. Of the whole expense, it is estimated, that property pays one ninth, parents who send children, three ninths, and permanent funds, five ninths. Thus it will be seen, that of the three modes of sustaining common schools, namely, by permanent and liberal State endowments, by the property of local organizations, or by a school rate paid by the parents of scholars, Connecticut has not adopted either entire. Her main reliance, however, is on the avails of permanent funds, and in this respect her system is peculiar, and has attracted much attention. The fund has been supposed not to exert a favorable influence upon education ; but Mr. Barnard, the Secretary of the Board of Education, in his second annual Report, maintains, that great injustice has been done to the system in this respect, and he suggests reasons in favor of a judiciously managed fund, which are entitled to much consideration from their intrinsic good sense, and his own knowledge and experience.
The example of Connecticut, however, and of many of her sister States, showed that neither wholesome laws nor liberal appropriation of money would create good schools, unless seconded by zealous, intelligent, and high-principled efforts in the people themselves. The attention of the judicious and thoughtful was called to the urgent necessity of improving the condition of common schools, and elevating the standard of public education. The subject was recommended to the consideration of the legislature by the Governor in his annual message in 1838, and official information respect
ing the condition of the common schools, was, for the first time, laid before the legislature, in the form of returns from one hundred and four, out of two hundred and eleven school societies in the State. A select committee on the part of the House and Senate was raised, to whom these and other documents were referred. Their Report embodied the following conclusions ; that parents generally exhibit little or no interest in common schools by attending examinations or otherwise ; that school visitors and school committees, in some school societies, were not faithful in the discharge of their duties as prescribed by law ; that poorly qualified and inefficient teachers were employed in the schools, and that the rate of compensation was not adequate to their deserts or equal to the rewards of skill and industry in other fields of labor ; that the diversity of school books was an evil of alarming magnitude ; that school houses, in respect to location, structure, warming, ventilation, seats, and desks, were very much neglected ; that many children of the proper age to receive instruction, did not attend any school; that this number, in 1837, was not less than six thousand; and that there were over one thousand persons, between the ages of sixteen and twenty-one who could not read or write.
With these facts before them, the committee unanimously recommended a bill for a public act “ to provide for the better supervision of common schools,” which was passed into a law by the unanimous vote of the Senate and with but a single dissenting voice in the House.
This act constitutes the Governor, the commissioner of the school fund, and one person for each county in the State, a “ Board of Commissioners for Common Schools”; and it aims to secure the better supervision of schools by bringing their condition, in the form of annual Reports, first before the school societies by the local visitors, and afterwards before the legislature and the State, in the communications of the Board. To make these Reports subserve the progress of the system, both the State Board and the local visitors are required to submit such plans of improvement, as their own observation and reflection may suggest. To enable the Board to ascertain the condition of the schools, and collect materials for sound legislative action, they are authorized to call for information from the proper local school authorities, and to appoint a Secretary, who shall devote his whole time, if required,