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ing, is often heard to complain of the disadvantage he lies under in every path of honor and profit. Could I but get over some nice points and conform to the practice and opinion of those about me, I might stand as fair a chance as others for dignities and preferment. And why can you not? What hinders you from discarding this troublesome scrupulosity of yours, which stands so grievously in your way If it be a small thing to enjoy a healthful mind, sound at the very core, that does not shrink from the keenest inspection; inward freedom from remorse and purturbation; unsullied whiteness and simplicity of manners; a genuine integrity
Pure in the last recesses of the mind;
if you think these advantages an inadequate recompense for what you resign, dismiss your scruples this instant, and be a slave-merchant, a parasite, or what you please."
But while we make persevering efforts for the promotion of education, we ought not, on the other hand, to be discouraged if we do not see any sudden or immediate results from our labors. The leaven of Christianity has been working in the world for eighteen hundred years, and the world is not yet Christian. If we make up our minds as I think we must, without regard to statistics-that education does promote the welfare of a people as well as the good of the individual, we shall be prepared not to be alarmed by any apparent results of statistics. Most of the communities of the civilized world may be said to be in a transition state from ignorance to knowledge; and it is this fact, that their condition is a transition one, which enables us to account satisfactorily for many things which the tables of crime exhibit to us. They have lost that sort of contentedness and negative happiness which results from brute ignorance in the mass and a strong government in the hands of the few, and they have not yet reached that state of intellectual and moral knowledge where each man is a law unto himself. The elements of society are in conflict, and we cannot expect peace; but better, far better, is any condition-conflicts, wars, and rumors of wars-than the apparent peace of quiet and submissive ignorance. Individuals may suffer, humanity must gain.
So in regard to the wonderful increase of wealth in the present age. The first effect of the increase of wealth, and while it is in the hands of the few, is to offer temptations to crime; and we see, as a consequence, an increase of certain sorts of offences in wealthy communities. But may we not hope, that as wealth becomes diffused, as its beneficial effects are felt through all classes of society, as the luxuries of one age become the necessaries of life to the next, as the poor obtain comforts in one age which before only wealth could pur
chase, the class of crimes arising from disparity of wealth will diminish. Poverty and distress we know to be fruitful sources of those offences which our laws denounce as crimes. As these disappear before the progress of education and wealth, we may hope for a better state of society. If the diffusion of wealth is a blessing, then we must bear with whatever is necessary to this diffusion. So the principle of competition appears to be a necessary concomitant of the increase of wealth -yet it leads to a great amount of misery and crime. In this light, we should look upon these evils as temporary ones-as the undeniable consequences of our being in what I have called a transition state.
These considerations serve to show us that while we should not indulge unreasonable expectations from moral education, we need not be without hope. We cannot expect, and perhaps ought not to, to remove all temptations from the way of youth. That virtue is of but little worth which has been brought up as a tender plant in the shade, and which is only virtue because it has never been exposed. We should rather endeavor to cultivate a moral energy which may be acquainted with vice and misery, and yet not be contaminated by it.
In conclusion, I would say, that we ought not to be disappointed if we do not see immediately from our system the results which we may think we have a right to look for. unreasonable to expect that all our towns or all our districts should at once come up to the standard which we have fixed in our own minds as desirable and attainable. It is the policy of our laws, and the only policy consistent with the principles of a free government, to allow to towns and to districts the management of their own schools, subject to such general rules as the common good may require. Compulsion is against the spirit of our institutions and of our laws. We might by the exercise of the central power of the State, force upon a town or district a school somewhat in advance of what the town or district would otherwise establish. But it will probably be found to be the wisest course in the end, to rely upon means of persuasion, to endeavor to influence the minds of the people by argument and information, and we shall thus make a progress peaceful and sure, though slow.
E. R. POTTER,
Comm'r of Pub. Schools. KINGSTON, R. I., January, A. D, 1852.