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GENERAL SESSIONS OF THE ASSOCIATION.
ADDRESSES OF WELCOME.
GOVERNOR W. R. MERRIAM.
In the name of the people of the Commonwealth of Minnesota, it is with no ordinary pleasure that I extend to you, one and all, Mr. President, and ladies and gentlemen of the National Educational Association, a hearty greeting.
We tender you our hospitality and good-will, and evidence our appreciation of your high calling by offering you, in the fullest sense, a warm welcome.
From our sister States, north and south; from the rugged shores of Maine to the Golden Gate; in a gathering magnificent and inspiring, you have come —thoughtful, thought-loving, and thought-teaching representatives of a profession that controls in higher degree than aught else the destinies of the greatest nation upon the face of the earth.
We are rejoiced to see you, and our greetings are meant to be so warm as to cause you to feel that they come from every fireside; from every place of business; from every farm; from the mighty mills, where is heard the hum of industry; from the forest, where the woodman's ax is busy; and from every city and hamlet within our borders.
May your sojourn be prolonged to the utmost, and may you be so impressed with your surroundings and our desire for your comfort and happiness that your departure will be accompanied by feelings of regret, but tempered with the hope, entertained by us, that you may be induced to again honor us with your presence.
In the language of one of America's greatest statesmen, now gone from scenes of earthly activity: “You find yourselves upon the highlands in the center of the continent of North America, equidistant from the waters of Hudson's Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, from the Atlantic Ocean to the ocean in which the sun sets."
Upon this vast plateau, bounded on the east by our great inland lakes, and stretching through an empire to the shores of the Pacific, wonderful in its resources, marvelous in its development, and unrivaled in its matchless climate, thoughtful persons have predicted that we may rightfully look, in the coming years, for a race of men unsurpassed in moral, mental, and physical excellence.
This great Northwest counts among her citizens very many thousands of adopted children, who have gathered here from all parts of the world, in search of a home where plenty abounds. From the land of the midnight sun to the shores lapped by the waters of the Mediterranean, from England and Ireland, from the German empire, from the cantons of Switzerland, and historie France, they have congregated - a mighty throng - attracted here by opportunities not vouchsafed them in their native lands; and we rejoice that we have been able to offer them inducements, so many, and so great, for we can but hope that the fusion of the different elements, amid surroundings and under conditions that now prevail, and which the great educational forces, represented and propelled by you, are constantly lifting to a higher level, will result in a type of man higher and hardier than we have yet known, and in the development of the noblest specimens of the human kind that have thus far played a part in the great drama of civilization.
An exhilarating climate and productive soil; untold mineral awaiting but the energy of the miner to unfold its treasure to the vision; vast forests; inland oceans and mighty rivers; all elements productive either of physical or material well-being, and incentives to mental energy and growth; a generous plan for encouragement of the arts and sciences, and of all those things incidental to a highly civilized community, coupled with a broad and liberal system of public learning, and the benign influences of a free government, are conditions and causes that, with the mingling of the best blood of all lands, should certainly be potent in producing happy results.
Nations and communities thrive or decay as they are influenced for good or bad in physical, mental, and moral development, and the great work in which you are engaged is fundamental to all that we may hope for or expect.
I am impressed, as I note this vast assembly, with the paramount importance of your high profession; that through you and your labors the character of the youth of our land is formed and developed; and I also remember the close relationship that popular education bears to the present and future success and safety of our government.
From the inception of a plan to found a republic, the necessity for a liberal system of public schools and universities had primal place in the minds of the framers of our constitution. Washington himself foresaw that true liberty must rest on the basis of popular education. He realized that the future of the young nation depended upon the intelligence of the people, and he upon many occasions championed the cause to which you are devoting your lives and energies. In a letter addressed to the President and Faculty of the University of Pennsylvania, he says: “I am fully apprised of the influence which sound learning has on religion and manners, on government, liberty and laws. I conceive hopes, however, that we are on the eve of a very enlightened era. The same unremitting exertions which, under all the blasting storms of war, caused the arts and sciences to flourish in America, will doubtless bring them nearer to maturity when they shall have been sufficiently invigorated by the milder rays of peace.”
We have followed the advice of the fathers, and established in this country a system of schools, and of institutions of learning, that are at once a glory and an honor to them and to us. As Lowell well and truly says: “Knowledge is not an alms to be dependent upon the chance charity of private men, or the precarious pittance of a trust fund, but a sacred duty which the commonwealth owes to every one of her children.”
Another element of the responsibility that rests upon you as educators, is the duty of teaching to the youth of our land devotion to country and obedience to its laws. Next to worship of the Creator should come love for native land, and willingness to be sacrificed in its interest should occasion demand. All of you, I am sure, fully appreciate the importance and necessity of instilling into the minds of our youth the desire and purpose to become useful and loyal citizens, and of inspiring them with high and noble ideas of the obligations devolving upon them under their heritage of freedom.
Permit me to express the belief that your deliberations will prove of the highest moment to the people of the United States, and of the civilized world.
D. L. KIEHLE, STATE SUPERINTENDENT OF PUBLIC INSTRUCTION. We witness this day the fulfillment of Brougham's prophetic words: “The schoolmaster is abroad in the land." The two great bodies whom the nation delights to honor, are the survivors of the army that saved the nation from dismemberment, and this other grand army of half a million of the purest, most intelligent, and self-sacriticing teachers, to whom is committed the future of this republic, in the present training of its millions of youth.
This year it falls to Massachusetts in the East to entertain the old soldiers of the Grand Army of the Republic, and to Minnesota it falls to receive you, ladies and gentlemen, as the representatives of the teachers of America. And I may say, by the way, that to no city could she more appropriately accord the honor of representing her than to this, her capital city, noted for its unstinted hospitality, her first-born of thriving twins.
Unlike the body of veterans to whom I have referred, you are here not to recount your laurels, or to review your past battles, but with an eye upon the future, in the facing of advancing millions of children, born not only here, but in every land the sun shines upon, and of every tongue spoken by civilized men;
here you are to consider and plan how to unify this heterogeneous niass of young life into American citizens of intelligence, virtue, and industry.
Minnesota's pride to-day is in the high appreciation of the honor vou bestow upon her as her guests, and in the hearty accord of her people with the purpose of this meeting. She is proud in the recognition she receives from you, expressed by your presence here, and elsewhere, that she deserves an honorable place among the foremost States of educational progress.
As you continue your deliberations we shall be your attentive listeners, and when you leave us, you will leave with us your thoughts and your experience to become part of ourselves and our schools. For your recreation we welcome you to our lakes, our waterfalls, our mills, our cities and our wheat-fields. May your stay be pleasant, your remembrance of us abiding.
0. 0. CULLEN, PRESIDENT OF THE CITY COUNCIL, ST. PAUL. Owing to the absence of the Chief Executive of our city, I have been unexpectedly called upon for an address of welcome. In view of the many gentlemen who will speak to you this afternoon, I will simply, upon the part of the city of St. Paul and their officers, extend to you — to the noble army of educators assembled here to-day-a most cordial welcome, coupled with our best wishes for the success of your Association. I tender you the freedom, the courtesies, and the hospitalities of our city.
PRESIDENT CYRUS NORTHROP, STATE UNIVERSITY. You have been very felicitously welcomed to the whole State of Minnesota and to the city of St. Paul, and what more I am expected to welcome you to I cannot perceive; because what is there in Minnesota beyond St. Paul and Minnesota? As representing in some degree on this program the educational interests of the State, I will be expected to take a higher view than the material things discussed by the speakers who have preceded me. I welcome you to the bright Minnesota skies. We are supposed to be ethereal and heavenly in intellectual pursuits, and naturally lift our eyes to the bright skies characteristic of this land.
I welcome you to the poetry and romance of life in the beautiful Northwest, and trust that you will go home filled with it. There isn't a great deal of romance in the life of a teacher, but there would be much more if you would only look for it. Now, you are not going to get a great amount of good out of the speeches you will hear at these meetings, and you are not likely to go home filled with new ideas, because there are no new ideas. These men will get up, look wise and talk learnedly, but they will not say anything new. They will dress up the old things in new forms, and you may not recognize the hash, but it will be hash all the same. But
you will get good from this gathering—the good derived from personal experiences and acquaintance with a new part of the world. Why, ladies and gentlemen, you are now in a part of the country which forty years ago was unknown to civilization, and which was practically unsettled. To-day it contains a civilization as virile and full of energy and progress as is that of any other part of the United States of America.
I stand here to-day as a representative of the State University of Minnesota, which, through the generosity of the State, offers free education of the highest kind to every man and woman who can pass the preliminary examination, whether living in this State or outside. Where can you find any part of the land which provides more liberally for the education of its own sons and daughters, as well as those of other States? I trust that you will visit us; that you will come to our University and inspect its fine buildings and laboratories, and see if we are not keeping up with the spirit of the age in matters of education.
There is one thing more on which I wish to say a few words before closing.