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which separates and shields these fair gardens, and fertile fields, and rich orchards, from the salt waves of desolation. Repeal these, and school-houses are closed ; schools are scattered ; teachers are turned to other employments; officers are powerless; taxes cease to be levied. Go back of the now revised General Statutes, and at intervals, in fact of late, every year, have advances been made ; back of which you can go, continually. The improvements in the system have been made by laws, behind which you can go, till a few score years limit the very existence of the whole system itself. You find the Puritan in Massachusetts in 1647 or 1642, establishing that Free School System, which still remains unimproved as to its essence, though often modified as to its form ; which declares it to be the right and duty of the State to establish and sustain a system of Free Schools for all the children within its limits. · It has been often objected, oftener insinuated, and still oftener unconsciously held, that the control which the State holds over education is itself a usurpation. By what right does it assume to educate ? Why does it depart from the simple idea that society, in its capacity as a State, institutes government only to secure justice and tranquillity; to afford to all the free enjoyment of life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness ?
To punish the guilty ; to protect the peaceful; to allow to all the opportunity of self-control and selfdevelopment, — these are the objects of government. Not to supply labor to the destitute workman ; not to establish institutions of religions; and, no more, to educate, — however desirable in themselves these may
be, - yet to be let alone, as out of the province of government. It is asked by sincere inquirers, why should the State step in between the child and his parent, when to the parent, not the State, is it said, “ Train up a child in the way he should go.” Nay, education and religion are inseparable, it is added ; the State, in refusing to educate in religion, establishes an atheistical failure. On the other hand, it is felt by some, whose souls are in their pockets, “ By what right is a childless man, or a man of wealth, taxed to educate other men's children? Why not as rightly be taxed to feed and clothe them?” In general, why not leave to private enterprise the establishment of such schools, as community demand?".
Because, as every thoughtful man feels, the general good of society demands the support of a State system of schools. Education is the means of civilization. General education, of general civilization. The peace, the harmony, the security, of society; the courtesies and culture of life; the development of strength and public prosperity ; and the high tone of civilization, as such, demand, not merely education, but a universal system sustained by the State. I know no better statement than that the general well-being of society demands that the State do this work, which no other instrumentality can do. Yet involved in this are the minor arguments, which satisfy different minds, and contribute to make up the whole. The political economist contemplates its relation to public wealth. He is evidently right in declaring that material prosperity is very greatly dependent upon general education. The experiment reported upon as to the value of intelligent labor, even in its connection with machinery, as embodied in the report of the Secretary of the Board of Education of Massachusetts, for 1860, intimates what the general prosperity of the country would gain, were all its people well educated. The difference is in intelligence. I doubt not that the great influx of foreign labor of so low a grade, is because of the fact that general intelligence has lifted our home population out of mere digging ; nature abhors a vacuum, and the tide of emigration rushes in to fill its appropriate place.
And yet, while general prosperity is greatly pro moted by a system of general instruction, even to the amount of ten to twenty-five per cent. in connection of labor with machinery, - almost of itself instinct with life, — I would not like to base our institution on this mainly. I should fear that such a principle carried out would justify the establishment of government workshops, as in the France of 1848; or to pass sumptuary laws, and agrarian enactments, which no sound economist can favor. Though to establish such a system as ours, is not so great an interference with trade as that of our fathers, when they paid the price of wheat, and barley, and beef, and mutton, declaring that the excessive prices were “ to the great dishonor of God, the scandal ofthe gospel, and the grief of divers of God's people ; " though no more interference than in tariffs, to discriminate in favor of home productions ; though no greater than to aid Agricultural Societies and Exhibitions ; inasmuch as it interferes with no channels of business, it disarranges no laws of trade, it only so educates children, as to enable them to add vastly more to the productiveness of industry, -still, we need to establish our free schools on a better security, a higher basis. · When, again, the statesman sustains a general system of education on its tendency to promote an intelligent support of government, we recognize the truth of his argument. Our free institutions depend, it is said, on general intelligence; hence they have the right to protect themselves. Perhaps to this the Constitution of Massachusetts alludes, when it says, " that wisdom and knowledge, as well as virtue, diffused generally among the body of the people,” are “necessary for the preservation of their rights and liberties ;” and these “ depend on spreading the opportunities and advantages of education in the various parts of the country.” True. No uneducated people can long preserve their liberties. “ Promote,” says Washington, in his Farewell Address, “ as an object of primary importance institutions for the diffusion of general knowledge. In proportion as the structure of government gives force to public opinion, it is essential that public opinion be enlightened.” · A free government depends on the intelligent support of freemen. A knowledge of their rights, a sufficient understanding of the cardinal features of polity, and that general intelligence which removes men from the liability of becoming mere tools, is a safeguard of liberties. Even the soldiery of despotic 'armies cannot, with their perfect machinery, withstand the less disciplined armies of intelligent men. But we cannot rely alone on this ground; for says
Horace Mann, with his accustomed clearness, “ a sincere monarchist, or a defender of absolute power, or a believer in the divine right of kings, would oppose Free Schools for the identical reasons we offer in their behalf.” If republicanism, as such, is the object desired, then Prussia would abandon the system which America cherishes ; the efforts now steadily aiming, in England, at a complete system of national education, would be palsied. It must be assumed that public education is consistent with any government which recognizes the rights of man, and which may be best for the people in their peculiar circumstances. So far is true, that public instruction is not consistent with despotism; the two are irreconcilable. To preserve the State, however, more is wanted. Our Massachusetts Courts enumerate “ wisdom and knowledge” only in addition to virtue ; world-wide experience demonstrates that it is not mere intelligence which preserves the good of the State ; it is the virtue of the people. Morality, public and private, sound Christian morality, is the life of the State. Knowledge alone is a precarious foundation. Without principle, education is a firebrand.
But admitting this, the tendency of education to promote virtue, is also alleged, and in the enthusiasm of many ardent laborers, the regeneration of the State is bared on Public Schools. Such unconsciously do a mischief. They prejudice them in the minds of many others. They appear to substitute mental instruction for religion. How far intellectual culture promotes virtue, it is hard to say; the question discussed, whether “purely intellectual culture tends