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The most gratifying part, however, of the statistics of this flourishing state is that which relates to its appropriations for education. Of colleges for superior and professional learning, there are, in the State of New
York, Columbia College and the new University in the City of New-York, Union College in Schenectady, Hamilton College in Clinton, and two medical colleges, one in the city of New-York, and the other in Fairfield, Herkimer county. But, besides the support of these, which are well sustained, there is a fund of about 200,000 dollars devoted to the assistance of academies; and no less a sum than a million of dollars is expended annually in support of the Common Schools for the education of youth. Of this sum, one tenth is paid by the state from its school-fund; one tenth is paid by a tax for education on the towns; and two tenths by a similar tax on the property of the several school districts, making four tenths raised or furnished by the state; while the other six tenths, or better half, is cheerfully paid by the parents and guardians of the scholars. It was in the City of Albany that that useful work, the “ Common School Assistant," a monthly newspaper devoted to the advancement and improvement of education, was first established; and some of the wealthiest men of the state are still among the most munificent patrons of the system of Common School education.
Of the topography of this city, the legislative capital of the Empire State, it may be said that its site is well chosen, being on the west bank of the River Hudson, with the lower portion of the city on a slightly-ascending plain, near the stream, which makes it commodious for the transaction of business; while the graduallyascending angle by which it at length attains a steep ascent, and terminates in a lofty and commanding hill, is also favourable to the imposing appearance of the city on approaching it, to the display of its public buildings at different degrees of devation, to the convenience of the more opulent inhabitants, who desire spacious and airy situations for their dwellings, and also to the general cleanliness and consequent salubrity of every part of the town.
The plan of arrangement and subdivision is not so regular as many of the American cities, but, like New-York and Baltimore, while its older parts are remarkably irregular, all its more modern laying out is as symmetrical as could be desired. The principal street, which ascends from the banks of the river and terminates at the foot of the Capitol on the hill, is a noble avenue of at least 120 feet iņ breadth ; Market-street and Pearl-street, by which this is intersected at right angles, as these streets run nearly parallel to the
IMPROVEMENT OF ALBANY.
river, are also as fine streets as can be desired, of ample breadth, from 80 to 100 feet, shaded on each side by rows of trees, and containing many spacious and excellent mansions, interspersed with places of worship and public buildings, which produce a most agreeable effect.
Here and there are some striking contrasts, to impress on the spectator the difference which a century has made in the style of building and scale of domestic comfort. The house we occupied, at the southeast corner of Pearl and Steuben streets, was a most commodious and delightful mansion; it had formerly been the residence of the late governor, De Witt Clinton, and was equal in size and accommodation to some of the best houses in Baker-street, Harley-street, or other similar streets in the northwest of London. Next door to us was the residence of Governor Marcy, the present governor of the state; and next to him was a new mansion, belonging to the President of the Albany Bank, Mr. W. Olcott, as well-finished and fine a building as could be seen in any part of the world--indeed, a sumptuous abode; while on the opposite or north side of the street were, in addition to the noble private dwellings, the two projecting Ionic porticoes of the Female Academy and the Baptist Church, which, with the graceful dome and turret of the latter, made a most beautiful architectural picture, which even an inhabitant of Rome, or Venice, or Genoa would admire.
In contrast with all this, however, there stood at the northeast corner of Pearl and Steuben streets, and right opposite the house we dwelt in, a Dutch burgher's residence, bearing the date of 1732 ; its yellow and ill-cemented bricks, its small windows and doors, its low body, and immensely disproportioned sloping roof, covered with tiles of all shapes and fashions, showing what description of city Albany was likely to have been a century ago, and enabling one to judge of the amazing advance in opulence, taste, and comfort which had been made since that humble dwelling had been first reared; in this respect, the occasional presence of such relics as landmarks, or indexes of the progress of time, and corresponding progress of improvement, is useful, and nowhere more so than in
In the laying out of the new or upper part of the city, care has been taken to appropriate some portion of the space to public squares for the recreation and health of the population, and public baths are spoken of as being likely to be undertaken by the city authorities.
The shops, or stores, as they are here universally called, are not equal to those of any of the larger cities we had visited except Washington, which are decidedly inferior to those of Albany; but there are well-furnished warehouses here of almost everything needed, and an air of great activity and bustle prevails in the principal business streets.
The hotels are not many in number, but they are on a large scale, and have the reputation of being among the most comfortable in the country. Of the boarding-houses we heard also a very favourable account; and if they at all resembled the one in which we had the good fortune to be placed, they must be of the best description, as we had found nothing so much like a comfortable English home as the house of Mrs. Lockwood, at 59 Pearl-street, where we remained for several weeks, and enjoyed ample accommodation in rooms, good fare, and, above all, great kindness and courtesy, and genteel and agreeable society. There is a large temperance hotel in North Market-street, well furnished, supplied with baths, and conducted, as we had heard from competent and impartial authorities, in a manner to afford great satisfaction to all who frequented it.
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their thet tives thel
Government of the State, Legislative and Executive. ---Extent and Costs of the public
Establishments. Liberal Appropriations for Education.-Examples of American Rulers as to Education.- Penn, Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe. -Question as to the Connexion of Ignorance and Crime.-Extracts from the Letter of Dr. Lieber on this Subject. --Opinions of the Keepers of Penitentiaries and Jails.Testimony of Mr. Wood, of the Philadelphia Prison.- Testimony of Mr. Wiltse, of the Singsing Prison.–Testimony of Mr. Smith, of the Auburn State-prison.—Testimony of Mr. Pillsbury, of the Connecticut State-prison.-Contrast of the Legislatures of England and America.-Albany Academy for the Education of Male Youths.-- Albany Female Academy.- Issue of the Experiment of Female Education.-Great Defect in the Want of physical Training.--Supposed gradual Decline in the Health of Females.-Causes which contribute to this in America.
The government of the State of New-York, which is seated at Albany, is composed of a legislative and an executive body, assisted by an extensive judiciary. The legislative body comprises a House of Representatives, consisting of 128 members, chosen every two years by the people, and a Senate, consisting of thirty-two members, eight of whom, or one fourth of the whole, are chosen annually; so that the longest period of their service without reelection is four
of the members of both houses is the same, namely, three dollars per day.
The executive consists of a governor, elected every year, at a salary of 4000 dollars; a lieutenant-governor, who is, ex-officio, president of the Senate, and receives six dollars per day during the session; a comptroller at 2500 dollars a year, and two deputycomptrollers at 1500 dollars each per annum; a treasurer at 1500 dollars, and a deputy-treasurer at 1300 dollars yearly; an attorney-general at 1000 dollars ; a surveyor-general at 800 dollars; and a secretary of state, who is also superintendent of common
schools, or a minister of public instruction for the state, at 1750 dollars, with a deputy-secretary, who is also clerk of the commissioners of the law office, at 1500 dollars a year. There are also four acting canal commissioners and three bank commissioners, at 2000 dollars a year each; and these together constitute what is here called “The Regency,” or effective force of the executive; the entire cost of which is only 31,350 dollars, or about 62701. sterling : scarcely equal to the retiring pension of a single lordchancellor or a single speaker of the House of Commons in England. The whole expense, indeed, of the government of this large state, greater in area than England and Wales, and with more than three millions of people, including the legislative, executive, and judiciary, the army and police, is not greater than the cost to England of any one of her numerous colonies in the Eastern or Western world.
One of the certain consequences of making the government in harmony with the public sentiment is the absence of any disposition to rebellion; and as the people here have always a remedy in their own hands against any oppressive measure in the exercise of the electoral franchise, by which they can change their representatives, senators, and governors at fixed periods, if not satisfied with their administration, there is consequently no fear of insurrection, and neither fleets nor armies are necessary to overawe or check them. The best government is that which, while it affords ample protection to the persons and property of all those living under it, exacts the smallest portion of the labour or capital of the people to defray its expenses.
The judiciary consists of a Court of Chancery, with a chancellor and three assistants, their whole salaries being only 3000 dollars, or about 600l. per annum ; a Supreme Court, with three judges and a. registrar, whose united salaries are 8000 dollars, or 16001. a year; a Superior Court for the City of New-York, with three judges and a registrar, whose united salaries are 7500 dollars a year; and eight Circuit Courts, with a presiding judge in each ; the whole cost of the eight courts, at 1600 dollars each, being 12,800 dollars, or 25601. sterling per annum.
While the expense of the general government in its legislative, executive, and judicial apartments is thus light, it is pleasing to see how wisely and judiciously the resources of the state are applied to the diffusion and support of education; the conviction being strong and general here, that ignorance and intemperance are the chief causes of crime; and that the most efficient, as well as the most economical way of preventing crime, is to instruct the people, and teach them that their true interest lies in being industrious, sober, and virtuous. The latest statistics in the appropriation of the school-fund of the State of New-York is the following:
Amount of the Common School Fund, Sept. 30, 1836. $1,917,494.17 Number of school districts in 853 towns of the state
10,207 Number of school districts that made returns in 1836
9,696 Number of children taught in districts returned
532,167 Number of children between 5 and 15 or 16 in those districts
583,396 Expenses of the Common School System in 1836. Public money distributed among the towns
$313,376.91 Amount paid for teachers' wages, besides public money 425,643.61 Paid for teachers' wages
739,020.52 Interest at 6 per cent. on 2,183,200 dollars invested in schoolhouses
130,992.00 Annual expense for books for 532,167 scholars, at 50 cents each.
266,083.50 Fuel for 9916 schoolhouses, at 10 dollars each
1,235,256.02 While Great Britain is behind both France and Prussia in conceiving the advantages, or granting funds for the support, of a good system of national education, and her successive administrations have received with coldness and neglect every proposition for devoting the funds of the state to the establishment of such a general system as should embrace the very poorest classes, under some vague fear that they would become wiser than was desirable for persons
in their sphere of life, the first settlers of America, and all its subsequent rulers and persons in authority, have been from the very beginning so uniformly impressed with the importance of educating the rising generation, that they have almost all placed their testimony on record on this subject. The following are only a few of such instances :
William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania, uses this language in one of his addresses to his council: “That which makes a good constitution must keep it, namely, men of wisdom and virtue; qualities that, because they descend not with worldly inheritance, must be carefully propagated by a virtuous education of youth. Above all things," he adds,“ endeavour to bring up children in the love of virtue : sweetness mixed with gravity, and cheerfulness tempered with sobriety. For their learning, let it be liberal. Spare no cost ; for by such parsimony all is lost that is saved; but let it be useful knowledge, such as is consistent with truth and godliness. It is commendable in the nobles of Germany that they have all their children instructed in some useful occupation. We are too careless of posterity, not considering that as they are, so the next generation will be. If we would amend the world, we should amend ourselves; and teach our children to be, not what we are, but what they should be.”