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GENTLEMEN OF THE CONVENTION : The clock is now striking the hour--the air in now waving with its vibratious—at which it has been decided to bring the labors of this ( onvention to a close. We have been looking for the last three days upon the bright side of the tapestry; tliedark side is now turned toward us. The pleasing acquaintances which have been formed, and which can have been to none more pleasing than to myself, njust be broken, and we must go away, carrying such good as we can, from the deliberations of this assembly. In parting from you, I can not forbear to express my warmest acknowled, ments for the continual kindness with which you have been pleased to regard the performance of the duties of the chair. You have made all its labors light, and all its difficulties nominal. In parting from you, gentlemen, it is impossible for me to express the feelings of hope, mingled with anxiety, with which I look forward to the consequences of this meeting. We shall separate. We shall go away to move in different and distant spheres.. From these narrow walls wbich now inclose us, we shall find ourselves, at the end of a week, in a dozen different states, east, west, north, and south. Shall the influences which have been here concentrated and brought to a focus, be dissipated and lost, when our local proximity to each other is gone; or shall the moral influences which have been here gen. erated, expand themselves over the vast spaces where we shall soon be found, keep themselves vivid and animate, and make the common air electric with their fullness of life? I trust the latter, and our zeal will not be of the flashy kind, that will evaporate as soon as the exciting cause is withdrawn, but that it will be like the heat of the sun, which, beir once kindled, glows on forever.
Gentlemen, this occasion has brought together two classes of men, sufficiently distinguished from each other to be the subjects of a division. May I be permitted to address a few words to each? We have before us the practical teachers; men who have devoted themselves to the business of the schoolroom, who do not exercise a very diffusive influence in a broad sphere, but an intense influence in a narrow sphere-points of strong light thrown upon a small space, rather than wider radiations of a flame that is weakened by its expansion. What are the duties of the school teacher? I have not time to enumerate or define them. I can not even mention the names of the long catalogue; but I will call your attention to one which comes very near to embracing all. By this one I mean thoroughness in every thing you teach. Thoroughness—thoroughness—and again I say THOROUGHNESS is the secret of success. You heard some admirable remarks this morning from a gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. Sears), in which he told us that a child, in learning a single lesson, might get not only an idea of the subject matter of that lesson, but an idea how all lessons should be learned; a general idea, not only how that subject should be studied, but how all subjects should be studied. A. child in compassing the simple subject, may get an idea of perfectness, which is the type, or archetype of all excellence, and this idea may modify the action of his mind through his whole course of life.
Be thorough, therefore, be complete in every thing you do; leave no enemy in ambush behind you as you march on, to rise up in your rear to assail you. Leave no broken link in the chain you are daily forging. Perfect your work so that when it is subjected to the trials and experiences of life, it will not be found wanting. It was within the p st year that I saw an account in the public papers of a terrible gale in one of the harbors of the Chinese seas. It was one
of those typhoons, as they are called, which lay prostrate not only the productions of nature, but the structures of man. In this liarbor were lying at anchor the vessels of al nations, and among them the United States sloop of war P.ymouth, Every vessel broke its cable but one. The tornado tossed them about, and dashed them against each other, and broke them like egg-shells. But amidst this terrific scene of destruction, our government vessel held fast to its moorings, and escaped unbarmed. Who made the links of that cable, that the strength of the tempest could not rend? Yes! Who made the links of that cable, that the tempest could not rend? Who was the workman that worked under oath, and whose work saved property and human life from ruin, otherwise inevitable? Could that workman have beheld the spectacle, and heard the raging of the elements, and seen the other vessels as they were dashed to pieces and scattered abroad, while the violence of the tempest wre:.ked itself upon its own work in vain, would be not liave liad the amplest and purest reward for the fidelity of his labor ?
So, in the after periods of your existence, whether it be in this world, or from another world which you may be permitted to look back, you may see the consequences of your instruction upon the children whom you have trained. In the crises of business life, where intellectual accuracy leads to immense good, and intellectual mistakes to immense loss, you may see your pupils distinguishing between error and truth, between false reasoning and sound reasoning, leading all who may rely upon them to correct results, establishing the highest reputation for themselves, and I r you as well as for themselves, and conferring incalculable good upon the community.
So, if you have been wise and successful in your moral training, you will have prepared them to stand unshaken and unseduced amidat temptations, firm when others are swept away, uncorrupt wliere others are depraved, unconsumed where others are blasted and perish. You may be able to say that, by the blessing of God, you have lielped to do this thing. And will not such a day be a day of more exalted and sublime joy than if you could have looked upon the storm in the eastern seas, and known that it was your handiwork that saved the vessel unharmed amid the wrecks that floated around it? Would not such a sight be a reward great and grand enough to satisfy and fill up any heart, mortal or immortal?
There is another class of men in this meeting—those who hold important official situations under the State governments, and who are charged with the superintendence of public instruction. Peculiar duties devolve upon them. They, in common with the teachers, have taken upon themselves a great responsibility. When in the course of yesterday's proceedings, a resolution was introduced, proposing to make this a National Convention, with a permanent organization, I confess that as I sat here in my chair, I felt my joints trembling with emotion, at the idea of the responsibility you were about to assume. Shall this body establish itself as a National Convention? Shall we hold ourselves out to this great country as a source of information and a centre of influence, on one of the most important subjects that can be submitted to the human faculties? Shall we hold ourselves up here in full sunlight, and virtually say to the whole country, come here and fill your urns from our fountains of wisdom? Those views came over me with such force, as almost to make me forget where I was, and the duties I had to discharge; for experience has led me to know something of the difficulties of the work. Yet it was the pleasure of tho Convention to adopt the resolution; and through the signatures of your cfficers you will severally subscribe to that conclusion. You have already authorized a committee to send out this determination, and to proclaim it to the world. Now, by these acts you have signed and sealed a bond. You hade obligated yourselves to perform great duties, and you can not deny or elude this obligation, without a forfeiture of honor and character. If we fulfill the duties we have assumed, this meeting will prove one of the most important meetings ever held in this country. If we fail in our respective spheres of action to fulfill these duties, this meeting will be the ridicule and shame of us all. By i.self it is a small movernent, but we can make it the first in a series that shall move the whole country. It begins here upon the margin of the sea, but we can expand it until it shall cover the continent. However insignificant in itself, it is great by its possibilities. To the eye of the superficial observer, beginnings are always unimportant; but whoever understands the great law of cause and effect
, knows that without the feeble beginnings, the grandest results could never have been evolved. He who now visits the northwestern part of the State of New York, to see one of the wonders of the wor.d—the Falls of Niagara—may see also a wonder of art not unworthy to be compared with this wonder of nature. He may see a vast iron bridge spanning one of the greatest rivers in the world, affording the means of safe transit for any number of inen, or any weight of merchandise, and poised high up in the serene air hundreds of feet above the maddened waters below. How was this ponderous structure stretched from abutment to abutment across the raging flood ? How was it made so strong as to bear the tread of an army, or the momentum of the rushing steam car? Its beginning was as simple as its termination is grand. A boy's plaything, a kite, was first sent into the air; to this kite was attached a silken thread, to the thread, a cord; to the cord, a rope; to the rope, a cable. When the toy fell upon the opposite side, the silken thread drew over the cord, and the cord the rope, and the rope the cable, and the cable, one after another, great bundles, or fascia of iron wire; and these being arranged, side by side, and layer upon layer now constitute a bridge of such massiveness and cohesion, that the mighty genius of the cataract would spend his strength upon it in vain.
Thus, my friends, may great results be educed from small beginnings. Let this first meeting of the National Association of the Friends of Education be like the safe and successful sending of an aerial messenger across the abyss of ignorance and superstition and crime, so that those who come after us may lay the abutments and complete the moral arch that shall carry thousands and mil, lions of our fellow beings in safety and peace above the gulf of perdition, into whose seething floods they would otherwise bave fallen and perished !.
EARLY CHRISTIAN SCHOOLS AND TEACHERS
About the year 664, an English priest named Egbert, who had been tanght at Lindisfarne by Bishop Colman, was studying in the monastery of Rathmelsigi, in Connaught, Ireland, formed the purpose of planting christian institutions in Friesland, and after seven ineffectnal attempts, inspired Wilibrord, who, with twelve companions, proceeded there, and as bishop of Utrecht, founded a school about 696, to which he afterwards sent thirty young Danes. He was joined for a time by Winfred, the philosopher of Christ,' but who subsequently extended his labors into Hesse and Thuringia. Winfred was born in Devonshire, near the border lands of English Saxony, about the year 766. He studied at Exeter, and subsequently in the school of Nutscell in Hampshire, under the direction of Abbot Winbert. Of this school he became scholasticus, and his teaching of grammar, poetry, and the sacred sciences, drew students from all the southern provinces. But his zeal to preach the Gospel among the races of Germany, from whom he was descended, took him even to Utrecht. In one of his journeys he stopped at Treves, and attached to him a grandson of the daughter of King Dagobert, Gregory by name, a boy of fifteen years, who afterwards became bishop of Utrecht, on the death of Wilibrord, and founded the Episcopal seminary of that place. Of this school Luidger, the son of a Friesland noble, was an alumnus. He afterwards studied in the English school of York, then under Alcuin. When the latter became fixed at the court of Charlemagne, he recommended Luidger for the first bishop of Mimigardford, which he caused to be changed to Minster, or Munster, and where he founded a monastery and episcopal school, in which he deposited the books he had brought with him from England.
WINFRID AS ST. BONIFACE.
Winfred, after pursuing his apostolic career along the banks of the Rhine and the Danube, was summoned to Rome, and there consecrated bishop of the German nation, and took the name of Boniface. Ile applied to the bishops and abbots of England for
assistance, and was joined by a band of missioners, among whom was Burchard, Lullus, Wilibald, and Winibald, who formed a community, wherever they labored. In addition to the church and episcopal schools at Utrecht, Treves, Ordorp, Munster, &c., Boniface established schools at Fritislar and Fulda (in 744), and just before his violent death, he wrote to King Pepin, asking protection for such of his disciples as were engaged in the work of educating (mugistic infanticum), as they were principally foreigners. In 748 Boniface established several congregations of ladies under the auspices of English women, who devoted themselves to the education of girls—Lioba at Bischoffsheim, and Walburga at Hildesheim.
In 747, the Council of Cloveshoe was held, at the instigation of Boniface, who had then received the pallium from the hands of Pope Gregory III., together with the authority of Papal Legate and Vicar over the bishops of France and Germany—his own seat being at Mentz, and his jurisdiction as archbishop extending from Utrecht to the Rhetian Alps. In this council, whose proceedings. were inspired by the archbishop of Mentz, there was much action touching on schools and instruction. Bishops, abbots, and abbesses, must diligently see that all their people learn to read, and that boys are brought up so as to be useful to the church of God, and are not overworked in bodily labors. Sunday was to be strictly observed as a day of freedom (freolsung), even for the serfs, lasting from noontide on Saturday to the dawn of light on Monday morning. In church schools every one must learn the psalter by heart, and the chant must conform exactly to the custom of the Roman church. Mass priests must always have a school of learners, for which they shall make no demand of any thing from their parents, beyond what they may give of their own will. This decree was first issued in the Council of Vaison in 529, and was re-enacted in the same words at Orleans and at Vercilli. Boniface was cruelly slaughtered at Dokkum, in East Friesland, but his body was rescued, and borne to Mentz, and afterwards to Fulda, where, in a crypt still preserved in the chapel of the monastery founded by him, his ashes have reposed undisturbed in the revolutions of a thousand
PEPIN AND CHARLEMAGNE.
Pepin extended his protection to the schools and teachers which Boniface had established in Germany. After his death in 768, and his son Carleman in 771, Charlemagne became master of all the Frankish territories, and extended the boundaries of his empire from the shores of the Baltic to the banks of the Elsa, and from the Danube to the Atlantic Ocean.