Page images
PDF
EPUB
[blocks in formation]

PROFESSOR OF MORAL PHILOSOPHY IN THE UNIVERSITY

OF ST. ANDREW'S.

“ Men generally need knowledge to overpower their passions and master their
prejudice; and therefore to see your brother in ignorance is to see him unfurmshed
to all good works: and every master is to cause his family to he instructed; every
governor is to instruct his charge, every man his brother, by all possible and just
provisions. For if the people die for want of knowledge, they who are set over
them shall also die for want of charity,"-BISHOP JEREMY TAYLOR.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

PREFACE.

ADDRESS TO THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES.

“ Before you can rectify the disorders of a State, you must examine the character of the people"-Voltaire.

"If you would preserve your republican Institutions, and nourishi ibe tree of Liberty, diffuse intelliger.ce among the people.”- Common Sense.

IN sending before the public the following treaties on the subject of National and popular Education; taken from the late work of E. L. Bulwar;—the publishers are aware that they may be considered by some as enthusiasts. In assuming the task, however, we acknowledge its magnitude; but, instead of being intimidated we are from this fact the more embolden to consummate to a successful issue the principles there laid down.

Former success in the accomplishment of great events, induces a hope, that by the same perseverance, like causes may produce like events, and those difficulties which at first, present themselves, will soon vanish and the cheering prospect will present itself, requiring nothing but energy of character to accomplish it. Who can look back to the period, the glorious period, when our forefathers, bending under the injustice and cruelties of a British King, took upon themselves the responsibility, of declaring us free and Independent; and how many were they, who deemed them enthusiasts in the cause of Liberty. Yet those acts of the Patriot, by a union of thought and action, accomplished their resolves—and thus were we rendered free. Then, with the same union of thought and action, let us persevere in these plans of general education, and that Liberty, earned by the sacrifice of so much blood and treasure, will be preserved.

At the adoption of our Federal Government, our Institutions as they now are, were in advance of the intelligence of the people. It was an evil felt and deplored by the framers of our Constitution. To remedy this evil their hopes were firm, in the wisdom of the future-Has that hope been realized? Has our government-a government emenating from the people, acting on the people, supported and protected by the people, ever yet acted on this important measure? Will the American statesmen sit with folded arms, whilst other governments, goveruments not of the people, are marching with rapid strides in the pursuit of education? Look to Prussia, and behold her elementary schools throughout her dominions, where every child, no matter what his station, receives an educa

PREFACE AND PROPOSITION.

tion? Can America-Free and enlightened America, be less grateful to her children than the government of Prussia?

We feel convinced that it only requires the American Statesman, to reflect on this subject, when the appalling fact will present itsel!, of our utter incapacity to cherish and nourish the tree of liberty, without the dissemination of intelligence, amongst the great mass of the people. That a plan and an effective one, can be odopted, we hesitate not in believing

And to our National and State Governments we most respectfully suggest, the adoption of some plan, that may afford to the great mass of citizens, the means of intelligence which will ever remain an unbroken link in the preservation of our Liberty.

Wheeling, Va. November, 1833.

PROPOSITION. 1st. All the lands now belonging to the United States, and all the lands which hererfter may be acquired by the United States, shall be and remain a perpetual fund for the support of Education. The proceeeds of the sales of all such lands, after defraying the incidental expenses, shall be annually distributed among the several States and Territories, according to the ratio of their representation, and shall by them respectively be invested either in works of internal improvement, each state guaranteeing the legal interest, or in such other manner as the state may deem most secure and productive. The interest arising from said investments shall be invariably appropriated and applied to the support of the Common Schools, or a system of General Education throughout each State..

2d. Of said interest or income, not more than one half shall be expended in the purchase of lots, the erecting and repairing of buildings, furniture, fuel and other incidental or subsidiary objects; and the other half at least, shall be positively applied to the payment of teachers, purchase of books and apparatus, and to other direct and essential purposes of General Education.

3d. Lots not exceeding one hundred acres may be sold to actual settlers on credit for an indefinite time, at six per centum yearly interest; which interest and the principal, when paid, shall be paid to the Treasuries of the State, in which said lots are located, and the amount deducted from the dividend due such states (on account of land) from the general treasury, but when the amount shall exceed said dividend, the surplus shall be paid over.

POPULAR EDUCATION.

Governments require Strength in order to dispense with Violence

State of our popular Education-Report on Lord Brougham's Committee-The Poor defrauded of some Schools-Ousted from others-Ancient popular Education in EnglandHow corrupted -Progress made by Sunday and Lancasterian Schools-Beneficial Zeal of the Clergy-Religion necessary to the Poor-A greater Proportion of our People educated than is supposed; but How educated?—Evidence on this Subject- The Class-books in the Schools at Saxe Weimar-Comparative Survey of popular Education in Prussia, &c.

[ocr errors]

I shall not enter into any geneaal proofs of the advantage of general education; I shall take that advantage for granted. In my mind, the necessity of instruction was settled by one aphorism centuries ago; “Vice we can learn of ourselves; but virtue and wisdom require a tutor.” If this principle be disputed, the question yet rests upon another: “We are not debating now whether or not the people shall be instructed—that has been determined long ago--but whether they shall be well or ill taught.”

With these two sentences I shall rest this part of my case, anxious to avoid all superfluous exordium, and to come at once to the pith and marrow of the subject.

If ever, sir-a hope which I will not too sanguinely form—if ever the people of this country shall be convinced that a government should be strong, not feeble—that it should be a providing government, and not a yielding one -that it should foresee distant emer

* Seneca.

| Lord Brougham. | Persons who contend that individuals may not be the better for Education, as an argument against general Instruction, forget that, like Christianity and civililization, it is upon the wholesale character of large massess, that it is its nature to act. Thus Livingston, the American statesman, informs us, such success has attenủed the Schools at Boston, “that though they have besn in operation more than ten years, and on an average more than 3000 have been educated at them every year, not one of those edu. cated there has been ever committed for a crime. In New York, a similar effect has been observed. Of the thousands educated in the public schools of that city, taken generally from the poorest classes, but one, it has been asserted, has ever been com. mitted, and that for a trifling offence.”—Livingston's Introductory Report to the Code of Prison Discipline for Louisiana. Now, just as a curiosity, read the following account of a certain people many years ago: "At country-weddings, markets, burials, and other the like public occasions, both men and women are to be seen perpetually drunk, cursing, blaspheming, and fighting together.” What people is it, thus des. cribed?The Scotch! The moral, sober, orderly Scotch people—such as they were in the time of Fletcher or Saltoun, whose words these are! Is this a picture of exist. ing Scotland? No! Existing Scotland is educated !

« PreviousContinue »