« PreviousContinue »
THE MARCH OF
INTELLECT" AND ITS CON
TEMNERS, GLORY OF THE SCHOOLMASTER
AND THE CONQUEROR.
"But there is nothing which these adversaries of improvement are more wont to make themselves merry with, than what is termed the “march of intellect ;" and here I will confess, that I think, as far as the phrase goes, they are in the right. It is very absurd, because a very incorrect expression. It is little calculated to describe the operation in question. It does not picture an image at all resembling the proceedings of the true friends of mankind. It much more resembles the progress of the enemy to all improvement. The conqueror moves in a march. He stalks onward with the "pride, pomp, and circumstance of war,"_banners flying,--shouts rending the air,-guns thundering, -and martial music pealing, to drown the shrieks of the wounded, and the lamentations for the slain. Not thus the Schoolmaster, in his peaceful vocation. He meditates and pre
pares in secret the plans which are to bless mankind; he slowly gathers round him those who are to further their execution,-he quietly, though firmly, advances in his humble path, laboring steadily, but calmly, till he has opened to the light all the recesses of ignorance, and torn up by the roots the weeds of vice. His is a progress not to be compared with any thing like a march, but it leads to a far more brilliant triumph, and to laurels more imperishable than the destroyer of his species, the scourge of the world, ever won.
Such men-men deserving the glorious title of Teachers of Mankind, I have found, laboring conscientiously, though, perhaps, obscurely, in their blessed vocation, wherever I have gone. I have found them, and shared their fellowship, among the daring, the ambitious, the ardent, the indomitably active French ; I have found them among the persevering, resolute, industrious Swiss; I have found them among the laborious, the warm-hearted, the enthusiastic Germans ; I have found them among
the high-minded, but enslaved Italians ; and in our own country, God be thanked, their numbers every where abound, and are every day increasing. Their calling is high and holy; their fame is the property of nations; their renown will fill the earth in after ages, in proportion as it sounds not far off in their own times. Each one of these great teachers of the world, possessing his soul in peace : performs his appointed course-awaits in patience the fulfilment of the promises, resting from his labors, bequeathes his memory to the generation whom his works have blessed, and sleeps under the humble, but not inglorious epitaph, commemorating 'one in whom mankind lost a friend, and no man got rid of an enemy.''
[In the United States, there are eighty-five thousand teachers of Common Schools.These men are giving character and education to four millions of Sovereigns. And the education of the American People will be whatever these teachers have to impart, for the child
is the wax which the instructer stamps. “As is the teacher, so is the school."
What a model-man should a teacher be ! He who is to sweep the harp,--the human heart, that harp of a thousand cords,—the tones of which are to remain in the strings forever ! such a one only can be a good instructer, who is thus described by the poet :
“A man so various that he seemed to be
And what imparting powers are required in a teacher! To so delight the young mind while pouring light and truth into it,
“ As if the soul that moment caught
Should not a profession, demanding such powers and attainments, be honored and well rewarded? They who are giving knowledge to the children of this free government, are friends to the world, benefactors to society, and deserve all the encouragement from those who preside over society, with the applause and good wishes of all good and honest men,
But it is not surprising that teachers are so meanly estimated, when “Instruction, that mysterious union of Wisdom with Ignorance, no longer requires a study of individual aptitudes, and a perpetual variation of means and methods to varied intellects; but a secure, universal, straight-forward business, to be conducted in the gross, by proper mechanism, with such intellect as comes to hand.”
What capabilities has such a one, to give battle against the great empire of darkness? He is “darkness striving to illuminate light !!"
On this momentous subject public opinion must be enlightened, that the teacher may be qualified; for he has yet
That it is dangerous sporting with the world,
"O how many teachers yet are hide-bound pedants, without knowledge of man's nature or of boys; or of aught save their lexicons and birch rods."