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IN setting forth the objects of our work in the first number of the WESTERN JOURNAL, we promised to advocate the importance of establishing an efficient system of education, that would ensure to every free white individual in Missouri, sufficient instruction to enable them at least, to read the Holy Scriptures, and the constitution of the government under which they live, and also to enable every elector to write his own ticket, at the polls of an election. We have, until now, deferred the discussion of this subject, with a hope that some philanthropic and experienced individual would respond to our invitation, and furnish us with a plan for the consideration of our readers. But we have waited in vain. National politics, and the claims of certain individuals to the highest office in the gift of the people, are the absorbing topics of the season, and many seem to conclude that the condition of the people in either a mental or moral point of view, is of little consequence, provided they can elect the man of their choice to administer the goveinment. A lively interest in elections is commendable, but a reliance upon rulers to give direction to human conduct, is opposed to the principles of our form of government; and if continued, is calculated, in time, to introduce a change of system. It is true that such a system would, in a great measure, dispense with the teachers, who might be sent to labor in the field or the shop; and would also save the fees of tuition, as well as the time lost at school. These are truly important considerations in the political economy of the country; but those who incline to favor this system on the score of economy, omit to estimate the expense of a standing army, which would doubtless be necessary to sustain it; and would, in all probability, cost more than the education of every individual in the country. The subject is one which especially addresses itself to the statesman, and presents for his consideration the simple point, whether we shall abandon the troublesome experiment of governing ourselves, and return to the ancient, and more simple method of imposing the entire burthen upon one VOL. 1., NO. VIII.-39.

individual! As the consideration of this point, however, does not properly come within the scope of our work, we must leave it to others, while we proceed to discuss some of the preliminary topics involved in the subject of education. We consider it rather unfortunate for our purpose, that the importance of this subject is so generally admitted; for, owing to this general assent, we apprehend we shall be listened to as one who proposes to repeat a tale thrice told, especially at a season like the present. But we are pledged to the performance of a great duty, and we must redeem this pledge while it is in our power, lest the time should come when we may not labor, and our work remain unfinished.

Our present object is to discuss some of the evils of ignorance, rather than to propose a system of education. We have supposed that the importance of education is generally, if not universally admitted; but this admission is nothing more than that easy assent which saves the mind from the trouble of examination and reflection, and which rarely leads to action; for it is an assent without conviction. Intelligent men are not generally in the habit of considering the subject of universal education as one involving their individual interest or happiness, and are apt to conclude that the ignorance of others is of no disadvantage to themselves. Indeed, it may be affirmed that many base their calculations and hopes of success in their schemes of operation, upon the ignorance of the community to which they belong, These consider ignorance as a commodity in which they possess a sort of property, and therefore, we do not expect to enlist such individuals in the cause of education. But we entertain a hope that such as do not calculate to profit by the ignorance of others, will readily co-operate in some well devised plan of general education, provided we should be able to convince them that it will be the means of promoting their individual interest and happiness.

Man possesses a physical and a moral nature-the one selfish, the other socialeach endowed with instincts and desires, which continually conflict with those of the other; but when subjected to the control of an enlightened understanding, they kindly harmonize, and acting in concert, under the guidance of reason, conspire to elevate his condition to that exalted state for which he was designed in the beginning.

The wants and necessities of our physical nature are primary and imperious: and hence, self-love is the principal source of human action, and may be regarded as the chief agent in establishing the first organic forms of society. A sense of weakness and of danger prompted the individual to seek social aid and protection; but this point being obtained, the selfish nature no longer acted in concert with the social-and while each individual sought to appropriate the largest share of the social benefits to his own use, there was none to protect and sustain, in its purity, the social institution. And finally: mere intellectual intelligence, unmodified and unrestrained by moral improvement, enabled a small portion of the community to appropriate to themselves all its advantages; while they unreasonably claimed to be protected in the possession of these advantages by

those from whom they had been taken. And thus, self-love became the destroyer of the institution which it had aided in establishing.

Such is the history of the ancient institutions, and it is obvious to every intel. ligent mind, that all modern governments are in danger of dissolution from the same cause; and it matters not what their form, or upon what basis they may have been established, their tendency to the same destiny must ever continue, until mankind in general shall comprehend their true interest, and, adopt the principle that their individual happiness depends upon the social condition of the community of which they are constituents. This is a cardinal principle in moral economy involved in the nature of man as a social being, and its observance strongly enjoined by the precepts of christianity.

The desire of happiness, or of a better condition, is inherent in man's nature; and the Creator has not only endowed him with faculties suited to the enjoyment of a high degree of physical and moral pleasure, but has also supplied the means of gratification; but the discovery, development, and application of these means are confided to man, and hence the necessity of mental and moral improvement.

Mental improvement merely, although necessary to the attainment of a state of civilization, cannot elevate or sustain it beyond the degree of moral improvement attained by the community. The average degree of moral improvement, if we may so speak, is the true standard of civilization, and the degree of individual happiness, whether below or above this standard, must ever be more or less governed by it. No monopoly of knowledge or wealth can elevate the possessor above the influence that the ignorance and vices of others exert over his condition, nor protect his mind from a continual state of inquietude, induced by these causes. An individual may be learned in every science, and rich in the possession of every commodity necessary to human comfort; but if his lot is cast in a community that is ignorant and vicious, he is surrounded by a moral pestilence as fatal to his happiness as would be the malaria of the Pontine marsh to his physical health, were he confined within its poisonous influence. There can be no community of taste, sentiment, or sympathy between such an one and his unfortunate countrymen, and his dwelling would be in the midst of a moral desert, not less lonely or dangerous to his happiness, than the pathless wilds of an uninhabited conti


We can imagine but one way of ameliorating the condition of one in such circumstances, and this, by improving the intellectual and moral condition of his cotemporaries. His desire for intellectual and moral enjoyments would, in a measure, be gratified by imparting his knowledge to others, and as their minds became enlighted, the causes of error would cease, and the fountain of vice disappearing, that of virtue would be opened in its stead. Sympathy and social love would take the place of enmity and hatred, and harmony being established the benefactor, rejoicing in his labors, would repose in quiet and safety.

The people of this country are wont to boast of their free institutions, their

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general intelligence, and the rapid progress which we are supposed to be making in the march of civilization; and in many respects, but more especially in regard to the excellence of our political institutions, we have just cause of gratulation. For, never before in the history of man has so large a portion of the human family enjoyed the protection of laws which exerted so little restraint upon individual pursuits; but even here the evils of ignorance and vice exist to an extent which detracts much from individual and social happiness. Where is the individual of learning and refined taste who does not feel the need of social intercourse with congenial minds, or where the possessor of great wealth who is free from the apprehension of being reduced to poverty by the machinations of bad men? While all confide more in locks and bars, than in the morals of the community; and like sentinels placed to watch the movements of a wily foe, dare not sleep at their post lest they should be surprised and plundered. The patriot also, lives in a state of continual inquietude, lest designing men, by unwarrantable practices, should mislead the ignorant, and taking advantage of their prejudices, excite them to the support of measures calculated to subvert the principles of government, and destroy the institutions of the country. Nor is the condition of the ignorant and destitute one of more quietude-for, always mindful of the advantages which the rich and the intelligent enjoy, and magnifying in their own minds the happiness which is supposed to attend these advantages, they cherish a spirit of envy and distrust, which usurp the place of sympathy; and hence they bestow their confidence upon those who belong to their own ranks, or upon unprincipled dissemblers, who seek their own aggrandizement, regardless of the means of attainment.

These are evils which are felt and complained of throughout the land, but those who complain most generally do least to correct them; for such seem to conclude that misery in this life is the inevitable lot of man, and that it is little less than sinful to remove the cause, and thus making a virtue of wretchedness, they evince a kind of savage satisfaction in being able to suffer more than their neighbors.

In considering the nature and cause of all these evils, we conclude that they are mainly attributable to ignorance, and consequently in proportion to the advancement of intellectual and moral improvement, they will cease to exist. For, the desire of happiness being inherent in the nature of man, it is absurd to suppose that he would deliberately seek to be miserable if his mind was fully enlightened in regard to the consequences of his actions; and hence we conclude, that a just knowledge of the rewards of obedience, and a proper appreciation of the consequences of moral dereliction would remove the cause of all those moral delinquencies denominated crime, as well as of that general state of inquietude which detracts so much from the happiness of those whose lives are comparatively free from vice. And we are persuaded that the annals of crime in every country will sustain this opinion. Out of 41,500 males taken into custody last

year in London, 13,000 were totally ignorant of even the rudiments of learning, and only 150 could read and write well; and of 20,500 females taken into custody, 9,000 could neither read nor write, and only 14 could read and write well. More than one-third of the whole number were ignorant of even the rudiments of learning, and out of 64,000 only 164 could read and write well. And we may fairly conclude, that of those who could read indifferently, perhaps not one in a thousand had ever been taught the first principles of moral philosophy, either from books, or from their associations in society. It is true that highly educated individuals are too frequently guilty of moral delinquencies; but this does not disprove the correctness of our opinion; for a whole life may be spent in cultivating the intellect, with but little advantage to the moral nature; and it may be esteemed as among the errors of the age, that more consideration is given to intellectual than to moral culture.

A system of education, embracing every individual in the State, may be regarded as essentially necessary to the perpetuation of a republican form of gov ernment, and for the attainment of this object, the legislature should be invested with power, not only to raise the necessary means by taxation, but also to compel the attendance of such as might refuse or neglect to avail themselves of the opportunities afforded for instruction. And no male individual should be discharged from school until he had received a course of instruction in moral philosophy and political economy. We do not object to universal suffrage even in the present condition of society; but we are fully persuaded that universal education is necessary to sustain it as a system.

It is generally conceded that there must be at least two parties in all free governments; and there is a philosophical reason why this should continue to be the case, perhaps throughout all time. For, if we should suppose all men to be both intelligent and virtuous, still there would remain that difference of temperament which distinguishes the ardor of youth from the caution of age—the former constituting what may be denominated the motive or progressive power of society, while the latter serves to direct its course and restrain it from violence. These are legitimate and natural party grounds, and political parties formed upon any other than these, must be short-lived, and may be regarded merely as episodes in history, which are calculated to blemish rather than embellish its pages.

The more nearly the strength of parties is balanced, the greater will be the influence of ignorance and vice in the councils of the nation; for the suffrages of the ignorant and vicious are more likely to be given to the candidate whose intelligence and morals do not elevate him above their sympathies. And hence, eminent talent, experience, and virtue become practical disqualifications for office. While availability is sought with little regard to the opinions or desires of intelligent and good men, but with reference mainly to the support of those who have no better guide for their actions, than selfishness or prejudice.

Should the intellectual and moral condition of the community demand a con

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