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probably be surprised to find that the sense of propriety and selfrespect of their pupils would prove a surer reliance than any artificial barriers imposed from without. On the other hand, it is important that the intercourse of the young people be regulated by such restrictions as the good sense of the community will justifynot minute and arbitrary, in an attempt to meet all deficiencies of taste and judgment, and forestall every conceivable impropriety, but comprehensive and suggestive, expanded as occasion may require in familiar and practical suggestions from principal or teacher. It is desirable that the intercourse of the school be easy and natural, not fettered at every step by some restriction. The government of our school would be impossible, except as approved and sustained by the great body of the pupils. It would be easy, but extremely unwise, to surrender this stronghold in the endeavor to fortify ourselves by artificial barriers.
The experience of the Friends in this country in the management of their schools is instructive. For many years they have had boarding-schools at the East and the West, to which they sent both their sons and their daughters, but intended to allow no association between them in the schools. They found the undertaking too
Walls could not be built that would entirely separate them. Within two or three years the policy has been changed and the walls removed, and, as I am informed, with the happiest results. A regulated association becomes easy now which was impossible before.
5. But will not the young people form such acquaintances as will result, during their course of study or after they leave school, in matrimonial engagements ? Undoubtedly they will; and if this is a fatal objection, the system must be pronounced a failure. The majority of young people form such acquaintances between the ages of sixteen and twenty-four, and these are the years devoted to a course of study. It would be a most unnatural state of things if such acquaintances should not be made in a school where young men and young women are gathered in large numbers; nor is it to be expected that marriage engagements even will not be formed more or less frequently. Now and then it may occur that parties will seem to have left school for the purpose of consummating such an engagement. The reasonable inquiry in the case is, whether such acquaintances and engagements can be made under circumstances more favorable to a wise and considerate adjustment, or more promising of a happy result. Are the circumstances such as naturally to promote hasty and ill-assorted marriages! If the sys
tem were to stand or fall by this one test, its friends would have no occasion to apprehend the result.
6. But what security is there that positive immoralities may not at times occur, and startling scandals even, that shall shock the community and produce distrust of the system! Of course, such a thing might be; but it would scarce be logical to condemn the system on the ground of such possibilities or even actualities. The only pertinent inquiry is whether such immoralities are the more natural and frequent product of this than of other systems. Is the moral atmosphere of the best and most approved Eastern colleges perfectly free from every taint of impurity? Is the propriety of the best-ordered and most carefully-guarded female seminary not liable to be broken in upon by a sporadic offense of this character ! Such liabilities go everywhere with fallen human nature; and it has not been shown that the monastic institutions of either ancient or modern times have afforded perfect security upon this point. There may have been a time when one such scandal in a school for joint education would have brought reproach upon the system and overwhelmed it with popular disgust. A generation of successful trial, under a sheltering Providence, should have won for it the impartial judgment which is the right of every system.
7. But is this method adapted to schools in general, or is the success attained at Oberlin due to peculiar features of the school and of the place, which can rarely be found or reproduced elsewhere? This idea is not an unnatural one, and is somewhat prevalent. It is true, we have been favored with some special advantages. The place and the school were founded together--a Christian enterprise, with a common aim. From the beginning, the great interest of the place has been the school. The religious earnestness, in which the enterprise had its birth, has been in some good degree maintained, securing a unity of interest and of action very rare in the history of schools and of communities. The habits of the community have in a good degree taken their shape from the necessities of the school, and there is a very general and hearty interest in all that pertains to its welfare. On the other hand, the village has increased until its population numbers nearly 4000—a population gathered from all parts of the country, with a colored element amounting perhaps to one-fifth of the whole, of every grade of culture and of want of culture, not in any proper sense a disturbing element, but precluding that perfect homogeneity of thought and life embraced in the popular idea of Oberlin society. Our students, too, have been so numerous as to preclude the possibility of the
close personal supervision attainable in a smaller school; and while we have had occasion to congratulate ourselves on their general character, their earnest endeavors after improvement and usefulness, still they are essentially like the pupils in other schools at the West between the parallels which embrace the New-England emigration, with the addition of the colored element, varying from five to seven per cent. of the whole.
The experiment was commenced, too, by those who had had no experience in such a school, who had to feel their way through the various questions involved in its organization and arrangement. Thus, with the special advantages of our position, there have been some special difficulties.
But the experiment at Oberlin, if the earliest, is by no means the only one. At least a score of schools have sprung up that have adopted essentially the same plan, and I have yet to learn that there has been any other than a uniform result in the convictions of those who have best understood these movements. There are doubtless advantages in entering upon the plan at the organization of a school instead of introducing it into a college already in existence. The usual style of college life, the traditional customs and habits of action and of thought, are not suited to a school where ladies are gathered as well, and the changes required might occasion difficulty at the outset, and peril the experiment. On this point I have no experience; but I have such confidence in the inherent vitality and adaptability of the system, that I should be entirely willing to see it subjected to this test.
In concluding this statement, permit me to say that I have no special call as an apostle or propagandist of this system of education. The opinions set forth are such as, with my limited experience, I am compelled to cherish, and when called upon, as now, I cheerfully express them,
NOTE. OBERLIN COLLEGE, and OBERLIN as a settlement or town, originated in the deep religious convictions of the founders of both, which bad been awakened and confirmed in the "revivals" of 1830, and the few years following. The author of the plan of the “Collegiate Institute," on the manual labor system, and the “Covenant,” under which a tract of land three miles square, and com. prising about eight thousand acres, was purchased in Lorain County, at the low rate of one dollar and fifty cents per acre, was Rev. John J. Shipherd, while he was pastor of the Presbyterian church in Elyria in 1832. Associated with him, in public and private prayer and effort, was Mr. P. P. Stewart, a retired missionary among the Cherokees in Mississippi, then residing in Mr. Shipherd's family. The early colonists and students, deeply imbued with the religious spirit which the preachings of Rev. Charles Finney had awakened, entered on the enterprise with missionary zeal, "lamenting the degeneracy of the Church, and the deplorable condition of the perishing world, and ardently desirous of bringing both under the influence of the blessed gospel of peace” and “of glorifying God in doing good to meu to the extent of their ability.” Assuming the name of the French pastor and educator of the retired parish of Walbach, in the Ban de la Roche, they have achieved, within the period measured by that pastor's labors, an educational success, and made their principles and practices felt in the political and ethical, as well as the educational questions of the day, to an extent which Oberlin never aspired to.
The land was bought in 1832—the first log cabin on the tract, by no means inviting for settlement, was built in April, 1833, and the first college building was extemporized, out of trees felled from the till then untouched forest; in the following summer, a church on the Congregational basis, but in temporary connection with a Presbytery, was gathered in September, and in December a school was opened in “Oberlin Hall," with thirty pupils, which number before the close of May, 1834, was increased to one hundred. And thus was launched an enterprise which, in little more than thirty years, has grown into a village and township of 3000 inhabitants, and according to the annual catalogue of 1867-68, (of fifty-six closely-printed pages,) and an institution (no longer the “Oberlin Collegiate Institute" on the manual labor system, with one undergraduate student of Western Reserve College as teacher,) known throughout the land as OBERLIN COLLEGE, with an endowment of $160,000, seven buildings, and twenty professors and instructors laboring in a Theological Department with 11 students; a College Department with 119 students, 9 of whom are ladies in a four years' courge; a Scientific Course of three years, with 34 students; a Preparatory Department with 484 “gentlemen " students; a Young Ladies' Course of four years, with 190 students; and a Ladies' Preparatory Course with 294 pupilsa grand total of 1134 pupils. Besides these regular courses, there is a “Teach. ers' Institute" every Fall term, continuing about six weeks, in which special instruction is given to those who propose to teach; a “Winter Vacation School," under the superintendence of the Faculty, in optional studies, commen. cing at the close of the Autumn term; and a “Conservatory of Music," under a Professor fresh from the Conservatory of Music at Leipzig in Saxony. And in these thirty years, over 15,000 pupils have been instructed to some extent in its various courses. (We shall return to Oberlin.-Ed.]
VI. CIRCULAR RESPECTING ACADEMIES
AND OTHER INSTITUTIONS OF SECONDARY EDUCATION.
U. S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION,
Washington, D. C. To the President of the Board of Trustees, or the Principal of Incorporated
Academies and other Seminaries of Secondary Education The undersigned will be happy to receive a copy of any printed document, and such other information as you may find it convenient to communicate respecting your institution in any or all of the particulars specified in the following Schedule.
Commissioner of Eaucation.
1. NAME, LOCATION, AND SPECIAL OBJECT.
II. HISTORICAL DEVELOPEMENT.
A. 1. When, by whom, and for what avowed objects the Institution was originally established; date of Incorporation, with names and residence of incorporators; first opening-date of, and condition at the time as to
2. Endowment-productive funds.
Non-Resident. 7. Boarding Arrangements for non-resident Pupils. 8. Religious Instruction. 9. Health and Physical Culture. 10. Discipline—its principles and methods. 11. Societies for Debate, Library. &c. 12. Tuition. 13. Terms—Vacations—Daily Routine-Public Exhibitions—Prizes. B. In giving the chronological developement of the institution, specify
1. Any change in the original object of the institution, or the constitution or policy of the Board of Trustees.