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Hon. HENRY BARNARD, of Hartford.
Mr. President: Hopes long cherished, and efforts strenuously put forth, by many persons, for many successive years, have their fulfillment and reward in this occasion. This house, with its spacious grounds, and attractive groves and hillside,-with its halls and classrooms so admirably lighted, warmed, ventilated and furnished, -with all the facilities of illustration, experiment and reference, which its cabinets, laboratory and library afford, leaves nothing to be desired by teachers or pupils, in the way of material outfit and appliance, and at the same time guarantees that the future necessities of the school, in a larger number of well trained teachers, will be promptly and cheerfully provided, on the suggestion of the accomplished principal, under whose auspices it is the good fortune of this academy to open.
The plan of its establishment and support takes this school out of the disturbing influences, to which schools of higher learning are exposed, when under popular control, and eflorts of popular enlightment do not exist, or are not timely applied. On the other hand, it has dangers no less imminent; but so long as the spirit which has prompted this large endowment, for such large ends, and which has found fit utterance in the address to which we have all been delighted listeners, continues to animate the administration of its affairs, and rises to the demands of a progressive age, so long the institution will not be found "lagging behind the times,” which so often marks the history of educational charities. No class of corporations require, and should covet publicity, more than endowed schools; and nothing but a vigilant public press, and a lively
a sense of benefits received by the community, in an ever-ripening harvest of refined manners, developed intellect, and enlightened conscience, under the cultivation of accomplished teachers, can save this Free Academy from the perversion and decay, which has visited, in the third and fourth generation, and cometimes sooner, so many of the Free Grammar Schools of England, and the partially endowed academies of this country.
The course of instruction, resting on the solid basis of thorough systematic teaching in the schools below, which its plan of admission by open examination in certain specified requirements will help to secure, and the want of which in any of the lower schools will be sure to be exposed, in the failure of its candidates to gain admission here,-and rising and spreading out into all of those studies which in one direction take hold of all the occupations of society, the farm, the workshop, the counting-room, the deck, the home, and on the other, discipline and inform the mind, and fit it for the acquisition and retention of all sound learning, and for the perception and assimilation of truth and beauty in all the works of God, as unfolded in our colleges and still higher seminaries—such a course of study seems to me eminently judicious. It meets the demands of our age for an education in science which shall make the wind and the stream, and the still more subtle agents of nature, minister to our material wants, and stimulates in all directions, the inventive faculties of man, by which mere muscular toil can be
abridged, and made more effective. At the same time it does not ignore those apparently less practical studies, especially the mathematics and classics, which the gathered experience of successive generations of teachers, and the profoundest study of the requirements of the mind of youth, and the disciplinary and informing capabilities of different kinds of knowledge, have settled to be the best, if not the only basis of a truly liberal scheme of general or professional education. I do not believe that any amount of applied science, and the largest amount practicable should be given in this and other institutions of higher learning, or that any attention which may be bestowed on the English language only,,and whatever else is taught or omitted, the English language and literature should ever hold a prominent, the prominent place in the actual aims and results of your scheme of study,-can ever train the three great faculties of reason, memory, and imagination, to their full natural and harmonious development. But wbile 1 hold this not hastily formed opinion, I see no reason why the instruction of our schools, from the oral or primary, up to the university, should not deal with common things, with the principles, the phenomena and duties of every-day lise;- why sewing, and a practical knowledge of domestic economy should not find a place somewhere in the training of every girl ; and a “round about common sense,” the power of applying the mind and the hands readily to all sorts of work in helping himself and other people, about the house, the shop, or the farm, be the result of the house and school training of every boy. This was, and still is to some extent, the glory of our best New England school and domestic education. And to all this should now be added the modern developments of science in their applications to the arts.
One of the great advantages of the Free Academy to this community, in connection with the reorganization and improved teaching of the schools below, is the opportunity it affords of the highest advantages of public education,—the free struggle of children and youth of the same age, of both sexes, and of every condition, for the mastery of the same knowledge, and the acquisition of the same mental habits, in the same class-rooms, under accomplished teachers,—with the protection of parental vigilance at home, and that education of the heart and the hand which comes from the constant exercise of mutual help and courtesy, from innocent sports and rambles, and the practice of household and rural industry. These advantages of home and school education, are in the plans of this institution, extended to the female sex. My hopes for the regeneration of society, and especially for the infusion of a more refined culture in manners and morals, into the family and the school, rest on the influence of pious and educated women as mothers and teachers; and in the appropriate training of such women, this school will become an important instrumentality.
In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, I shall not, I trust, cast a shadow over this joyous occasion, if I add a few words by the way of suggesting duties yet to be done, and dangers which may arise and can be avoided. You and your associates need not be told, that great as your individual giving is, munificent as the sum total sounds, and is, compared with anything here, or elsewhere in the State, that the annual income of your fund is quite inadequate to supply all the accomplished teachers which the full development of your course of study will call for, or all the means of demonstration which the successful teaching of the applications of science to the arts, absolutely require. From some source, or sources, -from further subscriptions by this, and future generations of liberal minded inen,-from the avails of scholarships and exhibitions established for the benefit of towns in which a public or endowed high school does not and will not exist,-from occasional grants by the town, to meet extraordinary demands, (and I should think your institution had sailed in its noble mission of enlightenment and benevolence, if the town or city or district should not be ready at any time to meet any such wants of the school, by prompt appropriations,)—from a moderate tuition, payable each term in advance, by the parent or guardian of every pupil, (unless your plan of supporting the school, or ofeven meeting its incidental expenses, excludes the application of a principle, which need be oppressive to none, and which universal experience shows to be operative in inspiring attention and securing vigilance and co-operation in all whom it reaches,)—from some, or all of these sources, the trustees of this academy must have a large and certain income to employ good teachers, and enough of them, to make repairs, and to replenish the cabinet, apparatus and library.
You need not be told, that an institution of learning, whether endowed or not, can not flourish in this country, if lifted above the sympathy and co-operation of the people, whose educational wants it is designed to supply; and although the mode of support and management which you have adopted, exempts the Free Academy from the storms of popular ignorance and prejudice, it does not protect it from the slow but sure decay of neglect, or the perversion of a narrow and exclusive policy. Here as well as elsewhere-in respect to this as to every other grade and kind of school-the public mind must be kept informed as to the necessity and reasonableness of your requirements,--the public heart must be warmed so as to embrace cordially your plans,-and the fullest publicity should be given to all your proceedings. Let each anniversary of the opening of your academy be marked by its own ment exerciseg”-let the best scholars in the land be invited to discourse to parents, teachers and pupils, on the delights of learning, the motives to study, the triumphs of science, and on examples of heroic and martyr devotion. Let your annual catalogue, beside the names of officers, teachers, and students, record promotions for good behavior, as well as scholarship, contain one or more successful themes, or compositions in Latin and Greek, as well as in some of the modern languages, and be accompanied with appeals from trustees and teachers to parents, on such points as may most need their attention and co-operation from year to year. Such exercises and publications will keep the school prominently before the community to whose sympathy and cheerful co-operation the trustees must look for the realization of the admirable plan which they have adopted, and which has been so clearly set forth here to-day. And with that sympathy and co-operation which I am sure will not be withheld, this Free Academy will stand a monu
ment of wise liberality, and large public spirit,-a trophy of the victory of knowledge over ignorance, and of goodness, order and progress over grovelling views, dissociated effort, and a blind adherence to the past, – a temple where young and ingenuous minds shall inquire after truth, and be inspired with the love, not merely of excelling, but of excellence,-a shrine, at whose altar-fire many hearts will be kindled with that cheerful piety which shall light up your beautiful homes with unfading smiles,-a fountain of living waters, but poorly symbolized in the stream which the “Man of Ross” bade to flow,
ti - clear and artless, pouring through the plain,
Health to the sick, and solace to the swain," -those healing waters seen in the vision of the prophet, which springing from beneath the threshold of the temple, flowed out into the wil. derness, widening and deepening into a majestic stream, and nourishing all along its banks, trees, whose leaves are for the healing of the nations.
MR. ELBRIDGE Smith,* Principal of the Free Academy.
Mr. President:-My official relation to the institution which we this day inaugurate, may seem to justify and perhaps even require me to give some brief expression of thought and feeling in reference to it on this occasion. But in attempting this I labor under a great embarrassment--not that I have nothing to say, but that I have so much to saynot from any feeling of indifference in respect to the occasion which has called us together, but from a conviction that to do any thing like justice lo it, far transcends my humble ability,
The circumstances under which we are convened, are of far more than ordinary interest. Whatever may be the ultimate fate of this institution, whether it be destined to a career of prosperity and success, or whether it be destined to adversity and early decay, in either case, sir, we must concede this day to be one of signal importance. The success of the “Norwich Free Academy” will, I believe, most favorably affect the interests of education in this state, and indeed in the adjoining states. Its failure will be no less operative in its influence. You will pardon me, sir, for speaking of its failure. I speak of this not as an event probable but as an event possible-not as a result to be permitted, and yet as one which must be duly contemplated, that it may be the more effectually avoided. We place ourselves to-day, sir, in a kind of moral Thermopylæ. We take a position which we may and which we can hold with immortal honor, but from which we can not retire without something more than the mortification of defeat. In inviting our friends and the riends of education from distant cities and from other states, to be with us on this occasion of joysul and yet of solemn consecration, we make them witnesses of the sacred covenant which we this day make for the higher and better education of the youth in this community. In invoking the higher sanctions of religion by the lips of her ministers, we not only make our solemn appeal to Heaven for that aid without which we can never prosper, but we express our deliberate vows that we will be true
* The following suggestions were not delivered, on account of the lateness of the hour, but have been written out at the request of the Editor.
to the holy cause to which this temple has been reared. The act of dedication which we this day perform, is not a mere formality We have not been summoned here to an unmeaning and heartless ceremony.
The establishment of an endowed school upon a liberal foundation is one of the most significant events that can occur in the history of the community in which the school is situated. I say of an endowed school; but I do not know that I ought to make this limitation The establishment of any school which answers the great ends for which schools exist, is one of the most interesting events that can occur in the progress of society. We enter to-day, sir, upon no untried and doubtful experiment. In our own country, and more especially in that from which we are proud to derive our origin, the establishment of endowed schools has worked important eras, not only in intellectuat, but in social and even in political history. And I can not resist the temptation which this day presents to the mind, as we stand at the source of a stream which is to flow on through succeeding generations, and affect them in their highest relations and dearest interests, to trace some of the more prominent features of its future course. We should not forget that the "Norwich Free Academy” already has a history. It has a local history; and more than this it has a genealogical history. Not more truly do we trace our lineage to our Anglo-Saxon progenitors, than does this Academy derive its origin from the same hardy and exalted source. From the character of its ancestors let us endeavor to conjecture something of what its own will be. Let me go back for a moment to a period one hundred and twenty-five years prior to the discovery of this continent, and find in William of Wykeham, who founded the oldest of the Grammar Schools of England, a worthy representative of yourself, sir, and those who are associated with you in this enterprise of expensive and disinterested benevolence. The Grammar School of Winchester was founded in 1373, and its imposing architecture at the present day stands as a monument of the liberality and artistic skill of its founder. And this is the school which has given to England and to the civilized world in the present century, one of the noblest men which the century has produced. In the succeeding century, the example of William of Wykeham was imitated by Henry Vi., in the establishment of Eton school, and these two foundations in subsequent reigns, gave rise to those numerous charitable foundations, both collegiate and academic, in which the stern Anglo-Saxon character was nurtured and developed, and which became the foster parents of the great Puritan leaders, the Miltons, the Cromwells, the Pyms, and the Iretons. And is it rash, sir, to cherish the belief that from this foundation may go forth an influeice not unlike that which has gone forth from Winchester and Etonthat these ample halls may resound with the voices of those who will give new direction to human thought, and higher energy to human action? Could William of Wykeham have foreseen the career of glory which his charity would run-the heroes, the statesmen, the scholarsand the divines who have been reared upon his foundation, would he not have felt more than compensated for his toil and his sacrifice ? Or could Henry the VI. have seen in a kind of prophetic vision, the illustri
No. 8.-[VOL. III., No. 1.]–14