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attention was specially drawn to them, by observing that the man frequently took pains to throw whole handfuls of the hay down the side of the load, in order, as was quite apparent, to convey, in as quiet a manner as possible, sentiments of comfort to the hearts of these suffering poor. As our walk lay in the direction of the market, we determined to witness the conclusion of this exhibition of sympathy and generosity. By-and-by the gleaning became so abundant, that the poor woman could refrain from her expressions of gratitude no longer ; and, bursting into tears, she beckoned to the man to stop, and then, in a manner which indicated both intelligence and a delicate sense of her wretched condition, besought him to permit her a single word of thankfulness for his kindness.
“Madam,” said the man, “ I, too, have been in the vale of poverty, and seen the time when a lock of hay would have been considered a treasure. A friend, by an act of kindness, of less value in itself than the one I have done to you, saved me from despair, and made me hopeful for better days. Years have passed now, and a kind Providence has blessed me with a good farm and a happy home. For years, as I have waked each morning, I have seemed to hear a sweet voice whispering, · This day remember the poor.'”
As he said this, he raised the fork, and threw in the woman's arms as great a quantity as she and the lads could carry, and then drove onward, with a countenance expressive of the truth, “ It is better to give than to receive.”
We turned from the scene to read again, and with greater profit than ever, the story of Ruth, gleaning in the fields of the generous Boaz, and of the kindness of the reapers to the destitute and successful gleaner.
The following presents a specimen of lofty magnanimity:
A NOBLE REVENGE. — The coffin was a plain one, — a poor, miserable, pine coffin. No flowers on its top ; no lining of rose-white satin for the pale brow; no smooth ribbons about the coarse shroud. The brown hair was laid decently back, but there was no crimped cap, with its neat tie beneath the chin. The sufferer from cruel poverty smiled in her sleep ; she had found bread, rest, and health.
“ I want to see my mother," sobbed a poor child, as the city undertaker screwed down the top.
“ You can't, - get out of the way, boy! Why don't somebody take the brat?”
“Only let me see her one minute,” cried the hapless, hopeless orphan, clutching the side of the charity-box; and, as he gazed into that rough face, anguished tears streamed rapidly down the cheek on which no childish bloom ever lingered. O, it was pitiful to hear him cry, “ Only once, let me see my mother ; only once !”
Quickly and brutally the hard-hearted monster struck the boy away, so that he reeled with the blow. For a moment the boy stood panting with grief and rage ; his blue eye distended, his lips sprang apart, a fire glittered through his tears, as he raised his puny arm, and, with a most unchildish accent, screamed, “When I'm a man, I'll kill you for that!”
“There was a coffin and a heap of earth” between the mother and the poor, forsaken child, and a monument stronger than granite built in his boy-heart to the memory of a heartless deed.
The court-house was crowded to suffocation.
There was a silence when he finished, until, with lips tightly pressed together, a look of strange intelligence, blended with haughty reserve, upon his handsome features, a young man stepped forward, with a firm tread and kindling eye, to plead for the erring and the friendless. He was a stranger, but from his first sentence there was silence. The splendor of his genius entranced, convinced. The man who could not find a friend was acquitted.
“May God bless you, sir, - I cannot."
“ Man! I will refresh your memory. Twenty years ago you struck a brokenhearted boy away from his mother's poor coffin. I was that poor, miserable boy."
The man turned livid.
“No; I have a sweeter revenge. I have saved the life of the man whose brutal deed has rankled in my breast for twenty years. Go ! and remember the tears of a friendless child.”
The man bowed his head in shame, and went out from the presence of a magnanimity as grand to him as incomprehensible ; and the noble young lawyer felt God's smile in his soul forever after.
The style of some of these stories may need alteration, but the lessons taught in them will commend their adoption to every one.
In conclusion, I am satisfied that well-selected or original illustra
Ι tions of the beauty of the several virtues to be inculcated, with welladapted remarks in addition, by the teacher, will be found most effectual in teaching morals in schools, and have, at the same time, this advantage: that, if the subjects are judiciously chosen, with due regard to diversity, they seldom, if ever, weary the pupil, while they furnish his mind with exhibitions of lofty principles of action, which will be a valuable moral capital to him to the end of life.
POSTSCRIPT.-After the above letter was in type, I received from a friend a copy of Cowdery's “Moral Lessons ;” a book prepared to carry out the maiu branch of the plan for moral instruction, which I have endeavored to unfold and recommend ; and I should do injustice to myself, to the author of the work, and to the cause of moral improvement, were I to omit the acknowledge ment of my obligation to him for his successful and appropriate labors. It is to be hoped that he will continue the work so well begun, and furnish, as his opportunities permit, an extension of these Lessons,- presenting a greater variety of illustrations, and touching increased diversity of principles, - to the end that the work may at length become -- as it is already, as far as it goes - a full store-house of material for the direction of the young in the formation of habits and principles indispensable to a successful encounter with the temptations to which they will be exposed.
The teacher himself, too, would render an important benefit to his school and his successors, by transcribing, in a book' kept for the purpose, every incident or anecdote bearing upon the same point, for future use, - that those of this book may not become inefficient, by too frequent repetition, but, recurring after longer intervals, will retain their freshness and interest. from generation to generation.
VIII. EDUCATION - A STATE DUTY;
MAY THE STATE INSIST ON THE EDUCATION OF HER YOUTH? AND TO WHAT
EXTENT CAN SHE GO IN THIS DIRECTION ? *
A Few remarks, growing out of this inquiry, may not be deemed unworthy of consideration by this society.
Thus far our educational essayists have been more particularly interested in discussions as to the various forms and systems of education, how far moral and intellectual cultivation may be safely introduced into our public schools, and topics of a kindred character.
There is, however, beyond all these questions, yet another, which ere long must obtrude itself upon the judgment of the American people ; and it is proper that this association should be among the first to consider and shape opinion in reference to it. That question is the one we have adopted as the subject of this essay.
To a large extent primary educational facilities have been supplied to the youth of this country, in a manner as yet unprecedented by other nations ; so that wisdom has reared her store-houses on almost every corner of our Eastern cities, and along the sectional roads of the West as fast as they are opened into our forest wilderness. Her temples, “templa quam dilecta !” have gone up in beautiful proportions, and, through her ministers, the invitation has long since gone forth, and been carried down into the highways and hedges, for every child to come up and worship at the pure altars therein enshrined. Yet with each recurring year we find this invitation still unheeded by a large number of those for whom the feast has been especially prepared; nor are all those who inhabit the by-ways and the hedges even disposed to come in and receive the free bounty thus offered to them. They prefer the gutters and purlieus of ignorance and vice, rather than come forth from their pollutions and accept the State's beneficence.
So rapidly have the ranks of uneducated youth been increasing * A paper read before the American Association for the Advancement of Education, on the 13th of August, 1856, at Detroit, Michigan.
No. 8. [VOL. III. No. 1.] 6
among us of late years, that they have already been estimated to this body, as two millions, or more than one half of our entire population ; while those in attendance on the various public schools in the United States number one million eight hundred thousand scholars or less. This fact once legitimately and incontestably brought before the friends of popular education, the search after a remedy must sooner or later be commenced. What shall that remedy be, and whence emanate?
At the very outset we find ourselves obliged to investigate the power and duty of the State as the remedial agent; for individual effort, however lavish in endowment, or eloquent in persuasive words, has no positive right to enforce or compel to good works.
Were the one million eight hundred thousand scholars of the nation this day to desert the public schools, so munificently endowed and sustained, no authority beyond the parental could fill again their vacant halls, unless it were lodged in the supreme power of the State.
Has the State such authority, in case the parental influence should oppose itself to our system of public education, and unite thus to withhold the children from her schools ?
If she possesses it in reference to such a supposed exigency as this, does she not possess it in reference to that important majority of youth, who never enter the school-room, and whose only education is that which ripens them into vagrants and criminals ?
If she is clothed with this power, should she not exercise it? These are the inquiries we humbly present for investigation; and, in doing so, we venture to offer a few thoughts in support of an affirmative reply to these latter questions.
History reveals to us the fact, that those nations who have enjoyed the most brilliant career, and extended a victorious standard over the largest area of territory, have each, in the time of their prosperity, ordained and enforced, according to their own notions of the subject, a system of education for their youth. And this system, when examined, will be found, so far as they could make it, decidedly promotive of those objects in which they supposed their national excellence to consist. Or, in other words, they appreciated and prized the merits of their government, and sought to preserve and prolong the safety of the State through the education of their youth.
These systems comported with the spirit and genius of the people, and were invariably adapted to the production and advancement of that particular end or object, which such nation had set up as its
The first instance of this form of education we find in the history of the children of Israel, after they had escaped from their house of bondage, and the Theocracy had been established over them with all its solemnities of fire and smoke. He who made a covenant with them in Horeb, here taught them that there was but one God, that it was He who had brought them out of the land of Egypt, and that they should love, with all their heart, and with all their soul, and with all their might, Him who was the great first cause and the only proper object of human worship. He had consented to become their great Head and Lawgiver, and, descending into “the Holy of Holies," revealed himself through the brilliant Shekinah to the ambassador of the people. Nor was He satisfied with this one command of direction, by which He sought to lift the heart of the nation toward himself, in holy love and worship; for He issued another of prohibition, saying, “ Thou shalt not make thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in the heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the waters under the earth; thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them ; for I, the Lord thy God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generations of them that hate me, and shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments."
The great end aimed at in her government was the worship of the true God, and these stern prohibitions of idolatry were enforced because that aimed directly at the overthrow of the theocracy, and undermined those great moral foundations on which it was based. The end of this government, therefore, was to be preserved by laws, and they were to be enforced both by promises and threatenings, by blessings on those who loved, and curses on those who hated the great Head and Ruler of this people, who had made the Lord both their God and their King. It was with the same view, that the various heads of their tribes and families were enjoined by those solemn words, which furnished in brief a prescribed course of education for their youth : these words which I "command thee this day shall be in thine heart, and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them, when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up; and thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes; and thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house and on thy gates."
Yet with all these newly-born laws and precepts, with the presence and voice of the Lord to enforce them, how soon after this system