Page images
PDF
EPUB

ardent and competent friends of education. Their endeavors are worthy of commendation. They have encountered the struggle so common where the sentiment of slavery has ever had supreme sway. The differences of opinion with regard to the necessary measures are, indeed, an impediment, but how slight compared with the power of the legislative wisdom of the nation to overcome it.

The right and duty of Congress to take action cannot be questioned. Many special considerations enforce the duty. First, the influence of a model here would be beneficial everywhere else in the country, and especially in the South, now struggling for the establishment of efficient school systems; second, the Government is the largest owner of property here; third, 28 per cent. of the scholars enrolled in the public schools last year belonged to the families of those in Government employ.

I am indebted to George F. McLellan, esq., an active member of the board of trustees, for the following comparison of the cost of public schools on every hundred dollars of cash valuation for the last year:

New Haven, 10 cents; Boston, 15 cents; Chicago, 16 cents; Louisville, 18 cents; Cincinnati, 19 cents; Cleveland, 19 cents; Baltimore, 22 cents; Washington, (estimated,) 36 cents.

Value of school property on each hundred dollars actual valuation: St. Louis, $1 32; Cleveland, 97 cents; Cambridge, 80 cents; Chicago, 76 cents;. Washington, 72 cents; Boston, 72 cents; Louisville, 61 cents; New Haven, 50 cents; Pittsburg, 44 cents; Providence, 43 cents; Detroit, 42 cents; Albany, 37 cents.

According to this, the present endeavors made by the citizens of this city compare well with those of others. If this is correct, and there still remains a lack of school-houses and instruction and a lack of means for these purposes, is it not fair to infer that the responsibility rests upon Congress? How shall it be met?

THE TERRITORIES. Over the vast territorial domain of 1,619,353 square miles, already. supposed to be occupied by a population of 495,310 whites and 318,042 Indians, the National Government has, in education as in other matters, exclusive responsibility.

Great efforts have been made to secure the fullest and most authentic information in regard to the condition of schools and the means of education. The result presented, though inadequate and unsatisfactory, enforces the necessity of effort in this direction and adds assurance of its success. Why should not the National Government know and tell the people annually exactly the condition of education in these regions? Why should not these pioneers have the benefit of the moral influence of such knowledge upon the public mind The great social and civil organizations and institutions to receive and control the hundreds of thousands of people in the future are now in embryo, and all legislative, administrative, judicial, and military action in reference to them is absolutely and exclusively under the direction of the Government at Washington. The commonwealths to rise there and take their positions in

the equal sisterhood of States will be for centuries to come what they will be made in the next few years. Yet, up to the present date, facts and statistics upon these vital points have come before the legislative and executive departments of the Government only in a general and indifferent manner.

The influence of territorial ordinances is strikingly illustrated in the history of those which shaped the civilization of the States formed north of the Ohio.

Without a full knowledge of the facts little can be expected either of the Executive or of Congress. The inpouring settlers are left measurably to themselves, unless perchance an Indian massacre, the discovery of a mine, or the construction of a railroad directs to them public attention. No one who has not had some observation of these advancing settlements can form a correct idea of the struggles which occur between the different elements of civilization as to which shall prevail, whether that which looks backward or that which looks forward.

So far in the history of the country, these unoccupied portions of the land have served as outlets to many social and civil diseases which would otherwise have been concentrated, with their corrupting and destructive influences, in localities already included in State organizations. Intelligent foreigners, observing how quickly some of the knottiest social and civil questions are solved among us, exclaim: “Yes, you have this great safety valve; but soon that will be closed by advancing settlements, and you will be compelled to solve these questions, as we now are, in a dense and concentrated population, without means of relief by escape.” The truth is plain and admonitory.

The necessities of the older portions of the country, as well as the interest of the Territories, require the most prudent and thorough work in the management of territorial education. In contemplating these consequences we must not limit our attention to white men only. If the Indian is to be inspired by the genius of Christian civilization, it must be on the same soil now occupied by his hunting grounds. Why, then, should not the first foreshådowings of the National Government around him include him under the same laws, the same enforcement of justice, the same guarantees of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, the same institutions for the instruction and training of his children, adapted always to the differences of circumstances, as are extended to the whites ?

All history shows the lasting effects upon the development of any country of the institutions first brought and established there. Education is the last and the highest result of civilization. It is therefore especially incumbent upon the colonizing powers that the means for the immediate education of their children be furnished to the new colonists. There is no want so imperative as this. It is in the power of the United States, by wise forethought, to secure for all the Territories under its rule the adoption of that system of local provision for the free public instruction of all the children which has been the foundation of the prosperity of the older States. Simply sufficient supervision and control to direct, into the most approved methods, will make untold difference in the educational history of tbe new States. Clearly, nothing should be done by the nation wbich would diminish the educational endeavors of these new communities, nor should anything appropriate be omitted which may render their endeavors successful. How legitimately and easily an act of Congress could provide that every settlement containing six, fifteen, or any other number of children of school age could, in accordance with a prescribed manner, meet and organize into a school district, provide school officers, levy and collect a tax for the erection of buildings and the conduct of schools; that some or no aid should be bestowed by General Government; that appropriate inspection and reports should be made; and from the very center of the nation an influence go directly to these small communities, however remote, suggesting the best models and methods, and contributing to an educational growth, permanent and accordant with the most approved standards.* In case a community was too degraded to feel the force of motives necessary to arouse it to action, the law could provide for the appointment of committees or directors to levy the necessary tax and establish and conduct schools, under due accountability. This would throw the light of intelligence into every nook and corner, however secluded. The responsibility which rests upon Congress for the providing for the government of these inchoate States places this subject of securing the adoption of some school system directly in its hands and renders argument unnecessary.

* The following interesting letter has been received from Greeley, Colorado : “DEAR SIR: * * *

"I can furnish you but a brief statement of school efforts here, as our town is but six months old. On the 1st of May, where Greeley now stands, the antelope, the wolf, and the prairie dog had right of possession by occupancy; but the Union Colony of Colorado came, saw, remained, and to-day there are 375 houses, and a population over 1,000. Perhaps 250 are children.

“In June we organized a temporary board of school trustees, and opened a primary school capable of accommodating about fifty scholars. It was supported by voluntary contributions, and the report of the teacher at the close of the summer session showed an average attendance of thirty-seven. Branches taught : Reading, writing, spelling, geography, arithmetic, English grammar, object lessons, and mental exercises.

“We labored under many disadvantages in organizing and sustaining this school, as we were nearly all strangers to each other, representing twenty-seven States of our Union, and with as great a variety of text-books as there were number of pupils.

"But we are slowly, yet surely, evolving out of chaos, and the adjuncts of a settled civilization are becoming our own. This winter we hope to maintain a graded school, partly sustained by a county fund, and the deficiency to be met by a tax on the colonists. Our organization has provided for schools and seminaries, and we hold in reserve some fine locations for building institutions of learning, as well as lands to support them. I trust to keep you informed as to our future movements in this direction.

« Our report, including a history of the colony from its organization, is nearly ready for the press, and, when issued, I shall take great pleasure in sending you a copy. “Yours, truly,

“ WILLIAM E. PABOR. "Hon. J. EATON.

The necessity of the suggestion of compulsory school organization, in some cases, is rendered more apparent when we consider the fact that in New Mexico, on the question whether there should be a school law or no school law, 37 voted for, and 5,016 against the law. And when we read such statements as this, from a responsible writer, in regard to feeling on the subject in the Territories, the same truth is confirmed : “Parents either seem to have an idea that the propagation of children should return early profits, or to dread a little learning as a more dangerous thing for their sons and daughters than blasting in a mine, driving an ox team, taking in washing, and marrying early." I invite special atten. tion here to the following letter from Governor William A. Pile, of New Mexico: TERRITORY OF NEW MEXICO, EXECUTIVE OFFICE,

Santa , October 20, 1870. SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of letter from your Department of the 27th ultimo, making inquiries as to the condition of education in this Territory, to which I reply with pleasure.

The law approved January 28, 1363, was repealed, and there is no general law in this Territory on the subject of education. Thero is not a free public school nor a public school-house in the Territory. The Catholic Church, which largely predominates in this Territory, has schools in this place, Las Vegas, Albuquerque, Taos, La Mesilla, and in some of the smaller towns. There are Protestant schools in this city, Las Vegas, La Junta, and Elizabethtown.

The great mass of the population in this Territory is deplorably illiterate, and wholly without school facilities.

The subject has been repeatedly urged upon the attention of the legislature, but as yet nothing has been accomplished.

I am preparing an elaborate statement of the educational condition and needs of this Territory, which I hoped to finish in time to send to you for your annual report, but the delay in the census returns to the United States marshal renders it impossible to get the necessary statistics. I therefore only write you thus briefly now, and will forward a full report at the earliest possible moment, accompanied with such suggestions and recommendations as to congressional legislation on this subject as I may have to make. I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

WM. A. PILE, Governor. Hon. JOHN EATON,

Commissioner of Education, Washington, D. C. The recommendation of Governor Pile appears in its appropriate place among the accompanying papers.

By the annexation of Mexican territory in 1850, the United States received an interesting population, settled in villages. Under the efforts inaugurated by Charles V, of Spain, and continued by the government of Mexico, a considerable portion of the population had acquired some limited knowledge of letters, which, from the neglect they have received since they have been under the Government of the United States, has been lost. Scarcely any can read or write Spanish, and still less English.

EDUCATION OF INDIANS. Since the educational endeavors of John Eliot among the Indians, the sentiment among Anglo-Americans has struggled over Indian edu. cation vs. Indian destruction. On the one hand all humane and Christian considerations have been affirmed to demand every exertion for their education, and challenged opposition by pointing to examples of 'success.

The original foundation of Dartmouth College was Moore's Indian school for the education of Indians. Many Indians have diplomas from this and other colleges. Numerous eleinentary schools, under the auspices of the Government, or supported by charity, or the respective tribes, are declared eminently successful.

On the other hand, we are referred to massacres, wars, and the. tenacity of barbarism in various Indian tribes, and emphatically told that the destruction of the Indian is the only solution of the question of their occupation of the same soil with the Anglo-American.

A statement, revised in the Indian Bureau, is to the effect that the . first Indian appropriations for educational purposes were made in 1806. Since that time $8,000,000 have been expended for this object, and at least $500,000,000 for Indian wars. Of the appropriations now made for the relief and civilization of the Indians, about one dollar in ten is for the purpose of education. A most liberal estimate indicates only one child in ten or eleven receiving even the simplest rudiments of an education. Indeed, until the present administration announced its Indian policy, it has been to a great degree true, as affirmed by one of the mission reports, that in treating or dealing with the Indians the United States Government seemed to meet them upon a financial rather than a moral basis-sought its own self-interest more than the temporal and moral good of these children of nature, as if wishing to gain possession of the vast domain claimed by the wild, roving bands, in order to make out of it farms, villages, and towns for its own citizens.*

The earnest and united efforts of the President, the Secretary of the Interior, and the Commissioner of Indian Affairs to enforce honesty and justice in the place of corruption in Indian affairs, and to enlist the Christian and philanthropic mind of the country in this direction, sug. gested to me the importance of bringing out as fully as possible the facts in regard to Indian education, that the information upon these points might be in a form accessible to those outside of the Indian workto teachers, educators, and those who are studying and directing the philosophies and methods of culture in other respects in the countryso that the benefit of their sympathy, opinions, and coöperation might be secured to these efforts, so worthy and yet so bitterly opposed. This purpose has been strengthened by communications from teachers and others among the Indians, asking aid in the way of suggestions, in regard to methods of instruction, text-books, black-boards, charts, globes, and. other means of illustration.t

Ninety-fourth General Report of the Society of United Brethren.

+ In a letter to Hon. J. D. Cox, Secretary of the Interior, William Welch, esq., a devoted friend of the Indian, says:

“Will you not also direct the Bureaus of Education and Agriculture to coöperate with,

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »