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therefore brutalized rabble, shut in to watch and wait with her her deliverance or her doom, than the foe outside her gates.
I confess I am anxious that our own Government should keep on the best of terms with those Germans. I should dread a tyranny like that of Wurtemburg, which permits no child to learn a trade, enter any occupation, or receive any pay for any service whatsoever, until he has answered the demands of the school law. Imagine the consternation which the sudden enforcement of such a regulation would cause in America, in low and in high places! As an offset to this terror, imagine what it would be for you, teachers, to be enrolled among the "high mightinesses," to be ranked and considered as the most valuable civil servitors of the State, with honorable compensation and just promotions for your terms of service, and a comfortable pension when you are old.
Do not think I am praising overmuch, and covertly keeping back a part of the truth. Germany has outdone the world in education, and we have outdone Germany in just one respect! We have discovered and put in practice a great natural law of education, viz., that women are better teachers than men. And they only need the higher education from which they have been so long excluded to make their superiority manifest.
The educational creed of Prussia does not take long in the reading. Article one declares the sacred right of every individual to the best means of development.
Article two, the value to the State, to her wealth, power and civilization, of universal education.
Article three declares the realization of this impossible without the agency of a great profession, acting concertedly, wisely and zealously together, and that the members of this profession must be made to feel their position honorable, secure and independent.
Unless you are dissenters, I ask you to listen patiently to something I have to say about industrial education, for your help is very much needed in creating a desire for it.
On this new field of California, where we have only begun our work, and where there is only a glimmering apprehension on the part of the public of what this business of education is, and what it is worth, the informing and propelling influence must go out from the body of teachers themselves. Let us get a clear idea of the scope and value of our work, and of the wants of the people; let us, with firm and strong convictions of what is essential to the growth and prosperity of the State, be prepared to meet the most uninformed with some practical, tangible knowledge of the things with which they have to deal, and we shall create a public opinion, a demand for education, that will advance quite as fast as we can keep up with it. Our political system is of such a kind as to require this kind of effort. And our public school system, from the university to the primary school, must be a unit in motive and in method, in this respect.
The question has become one of vital importance to the nation, "How shall we educate our youth so that there shall be more farmers and mechanics in the land, and how shall we raise these pursuits to the rank they deserve in the hierarchy of industries?" It is in
vain to eulogize a calling whose votaries forsake it with every opportunity, and whose children turn from it with disgust. Congress might give every acre of the public domain to found Agricultural Colleges, making them not only free, but giving a bonus of land as a reward for attendance, and still their halls will remain empty, until the relations of agriculture to human welfare and to human nature are understood and carried into practice-until the farmer, out of his sense of privation, loss, failure and onesidedness, shall resolve that his children be as carefully cultured as his fields; that they shall grow up in pleasant homes, and lay up, if not dollars and cents, capital for after-pleasures of thought and memory.
Let us consider for a little wherein this business of agriculture fails to meet the higher demands of human nature; and why, in California, we are looking to the lower classes of foreigners for the permanent tillers of the soil.
The educational world has been aroused within the last few years to find a remedy for the growing aversion of American youth for pursuits most vital to the public welfare. What are the influences tending to the demoralization of young men by leading them to look to speculative enterprises, instead of steady industry, as a means of support? Is it the monotony of country life, or a want of the right kind of education?
How shall we create in this country, as there is in Europe, a higher attachment to the land than springs from a sordid self-interest, and make our paternal acres represent here, as they do in older lands, social standing, intelligence, leisure and culture?
By educating our youth, boys and girls, into a respect for these pursuits, and by multiplying in every possible way the social enjoyments and embellishments of country life.
The disadvantages of agricultural pursuits were clearly stated, and the remedies by which they can be overcome; social and isolated industries and their results were contrasted, and the methods of uniting the abstract and practical sides of industrial education fully presented. In a rapid survey of European progress, we were shown to what the immense recent development of Prussian power is mainly due.
A concise report of what has been done in America by Michigan and other States, what has been done by Congress, and what California will be able to accomplish for industrial education, if her people appreciate in any just degree the value of that system of free instruction which, from the common school to the university, guarantees to every child the general culture and special training necessary to energize and economize, to lighten and enlighten all labor, until the measure of usefulness shall come to be the measure of greatness.
2. DUTIES OF THE STATE TO PUBLIC SCHOOLS.*
At a time like the present, when the nation is one vast camp of instruction for armed men; when argument has ended in the right of appeal to trial by battle; when the one absorbing topic of each successive day is the brief telegram, telling of victories won, or of
* Read before the State Teachers' Institute, 1863.
hope deferred; when our eyes turn with longing gaze across the Sierras to catch the first breaking of the war clouds which fringe their summits-it might seem, at first thought, that a convention like this, which waives all military and political considerations, and relates only to the peaceful and almost unseen workings of the public schools, would be inopportune, and out of harmony with the spirit of the times.
But when we stop to ponder, and consider the vital relations which public schools hold to our national life; when we consider the agency which they have had in supplying the intelligence and the patriotism of the army; when we begin to feel, amid the terrible realities of war, that the schools have been the nurseries of loyalty, and the lack of them, the right arm of treason; when we begin to fully realize that the trite truism, "The only safety of a Republican Government is in the virtue and intelligence of the people," is no abstraction-there is a deep significance in this meeting, and in all such conventions, as concerning the future stability of the Government, and the integrity, power, glory and unity of the nation. Constitutions and laws may be bequeathed by one generation to its successors; but patriotism, intelligence and morality die with each generation, and involve the necessity of continual culture and education. Public opinion, the sum of the intelligence of the citizens of the nation, constructs and modifies all constitutions, and breathes vitality into all laws by which the people are governed.
Let the public opinion of one generation become demoralized by ignorance, or by passion resulting from ignorance, and any constitution is like gossamer to restrain and bind it.
It is an axiom in education that the great majority of the people can be well educated only by a system of Free Public Schools, supported by law, in which the property of the State is taxed to educate the children of the State.
"The first object of a free people," says Daniel Webster, "is the preservation of their liberty." In a government where the people are not only in theory the source of all powers, but in actual practice are called upon to administer the laws, it is evident that some degree of education is indispensably necessary to enable them to discharge their duties, maintain and administer the laws, and to retain their constitutional rights. All nations recognize the necessity of educating the governing classes. In a Government like ours, either we must have officers unqualified for their duties, or we must be ruled by an educated and privileged aristocracy, or we must provide a system of public instruction which shall furnish a supply of intelligent citizens capable of discharging their various official trusts with honesty and efficiency.
If left to their own unaided efforts, a great majority of the people will fail through want of means to properly educate their children; another class, with means at command, will fail through want of interest. The people, then, can be educated only by a system of Free Schools, supported by taxation, and controlled directly by the people.
The early settlers of our country recognized this vital principle by providing by law for Free Schools, and by making schools and taxation as inseparably connected as taxation and representation.
The Puritans of Massachusetts Bay had just escaped from a government which provided only for the education of the higher classes; which declared, in the words of Charles the First, that "the people's right was only to have their life and their goods their own, a share in the government being nothing pertaining to them;" and in nothing does far-seeing sagacity of those self-reliant men appear more conspicuous than in the wise forecast which led them to provide for the general diffusion of the elements of knowledge as the basis of a principle which is expressed in the Constitution of Massachusetts, as opposed to the declaration of Charles the First, in the following words: "The people of this Commonwealth have the sole and exclusive right of governing themselves as a free, sovereign and independent State."
A section of the Massachusetts Colony Laws of 1642 reads as follows:
“Forasmuch as the good education of children is of singular behoof and benefit to any Commonwealth; and whereas, many parents. and masters are too indulgent and negligent of their duty in that kind; it is ordered that the Selectmen of every town shall have a vigilant eye over their brethren and neighbors, to see, first: that none of them shall suffer so much barbarism in any of their families as not to teach, by themselves, or others, their children and apprentices so much learning as may enable them perfectly to read the English tongue, upon penalty of twenty shillings for each neglect therein.
In 1647, this law was followed by another, to the end, in the words of the statute, "that learning may not be buried in the grave of our fathers in the Church and the Commonwealth," which required every town of fifty families to provide a teacher to instruct all the children of the town in reading and writing, and every town of a hundred families to set up a grammar school, with a teacher competent to fit young men for the university; the expense of these schools to be borne by the town, or by the parents, as the town should determine.
In 1692, the law provided that these schools should be supported exclusively by tax levied on all the property of the town.
The Colony Laws of New Haven, 1665, provided that the "Deputies of the Court" should have a vigilant eye" over all parents and masters, "that all their children and apprentices, as they grow capable, may, through God's blessing, obtain at least so much learning as to be able duly to read the Scriptures, and other good and profitable printed books in the English tongue, being their native language."*
If this law was not complied with, the delinquent was fined ten shillings; and if after three months the offender failed to comply, the fine was doubled; and then the magistrates were empowered to take such children and apprentices, and place them till they became of age, "with such others who shall better educate and govern them, both for the public conveniency, and for the particular good of said children and apprentices."
In 1669, the Colony of Plymouth passed the following law: "Forasmuch as the maintenance of good literature doth much tend to Probably the first American compulsory school law.
the advancement of the weal and flourishing state of societies and republics, this Court doth therefore order, that in whatever township in this government, consisting of fifty families or upwards, any meet man shall be obtained to teach a Grammar School, such township shall allow at least twelve pounds, to be raised by rate on all the inhabitants.
The following is the old Colonial Connecticut Law for "appointing, encouraging and supporting schools:"
"Be it enacted by the Governor, Council and Representatives, in General Court assembled, and by the Authority of the same: That Every Town within this Colony, wherein there is but one Ecclesiastical Society, and wherein there are Seventy House Holders or Families, or upwards, shall be at least Eleven Months in each Year Provided with and shall Keep and Maintain One good and sufficient School for the Teaching and Instructing of Youth and Children to Read and Write, which School shall be steadily Supplied with, and Kept, by a Master, sufficiently and suitably Qualified for that Service.
“And, also, there shall be a Grammar School Set up, Kept and constantly maintained in every Head or County town of the several Counties, that are, or shall be Made in the Colony, Which shall be steadily Kept by some Discreet Person of good Conversation, and well Skilled in and Acquainted with the Learned Languages, especially Greek and Latin."
For the support of these schools, a tax of "Forty Shillings upon every Thousand Pounds in the Lists of the Respective Towns," was levied and collected.
Many of the wealthy counties of California levy, this year, a smaller school tax than was paid by the hard-fisted colonists of Connecticut.
The following preamble to an act shows the germ of our national policy of reserving certain sections of public lands for school purposes:
"And Whereas, the several Towns and Societies in this Colony, by Virtue of an Act of this Court, made in May, in the Year of our Lord One Thousand Seven Hundred and Thirty-Three, Received by their Committees Respectively, for that purpose appointed, considerable Monies, or Bills of Public Credit, Raised by the sale of certain Townships, Laid out in the Western lands, then so Called, to be Let out, and the Interest thereof, Improved for the Support of the Respective Schools aforesaid, for Ever, and to no other Use: Be it enacted," etc.
In 1785 an ordinance respecting the disposition of the public lands was introduced into the old Congress, referred to a committee, and passed May 20, which provided that the sixteenth section. of every township should be reserved "for the maintenance of public Schools."
The celebrated ordinance of 1787, which confirmed the provisions. of the land ordinance of 1785, further declared that "MORALITY and KNOWLEDGE, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, SCHOOLS, and the means of EDUCATION, shall be forever encouraged."