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Nor let it be said that men, able and disposed to carry on this work, must not be looked for in such a world as ours. Christianity, which has wrought so many miracles of beneficence—which has sent forth so many apostles and martyrs—so many Howards and Clarksons, can raise up laborers for this harvest also. Nothing is needed but a new pouring out of the spirit of Christian love—nothing but a new comprehension of the brotherhood of the human race, to call forth efforts which seem impossibilities in a self-seeking and self-indulging age.”
From the outset, Dr. Channing exhibited great interest in the establishment of the Board of Education, and the permanent organization of the Normal Schools. In a letter addressed to Mr. Mann, in August, 1837, congratulating him and the commonwealth on his acceptance of the office of Secretary of the Board, he says:
“You could not find a nobler station. Government has no nobler one to give. You must allow me to labor under you according to my opportunities. If at any time I can aid you, you must let me know, and I shall be glad to converse with you always about your operations. When will the low, degrading party quarrels of the country cease, and the better minds come to think what can be done toward a substantial, generous improvement of the community ? ‘My ear is pained, my very soul is sick,' with the monotonous, yet furious clamors about currency, banks, &c., when the spiritual interests of the community seem hardly to be recognized as having any reality.
If we can but turn the wonderful energy of this people into a right channel, what a new heaven and earth must be realized among us! And I do not despair. Your willingness to consecrate yourself to this work, is a happy omen. You do not stand alone, or form a rare exception to the times. There must be many to be touched by the same truths which are stirring you.”
A few months afterward, he attended, at Taunton, one of the series of county conventions, which Mr. Mann held, in pursuance of the plan of the Board, to attract attention to the improvement of common schools, and took part in the proceedings by submitting and advocating a resolution affirming the immediate and pressing necessity of public and legislative action in behalf of common education. We make a few extracts from a newspaper report:
We are told that this or that man should have an extensive education; but, another, who occupies a lower place in society, needs only a narrow one : that governor of a state requires a thorough education, while the humble mechanic need only to study his last and his leather. But why should not the latter, hough pursuing an humble occupation, be permitted to open his eyes on the lights f knowledge Has he not a soul of as great capacity as the former ? Is he not sustaining the same relations as a parent, a citizen, a neighbor, and as a subject of God's moral government? To educate a child is, in fact, a greater work than to »erform the duties of a governor.../ What is it? It is to take the direction of mind, to cultivate the powers of thought, and to teach the duties which we owe to God and to our neighbor. Can a parent teach his child these duties, unless he has learned them himself? Every one, no matter what is his occupation or place, needs an education, in order that he may have the proper use of his powers, and be nabled to improve them through life. Some say, were these views of education to prevail, there would be little or no work done—manual labor would fail. But for the purpose of working effectually, one should be intelligent; he will bring the more to pass, because he labors for some known object, and is stimulated by motives which he understands and feels. We want worthy laborers, who exalt themselves while they benefit others. The circumstances in which they are placed, are fitted to call forth their mental powers, to awaken thought, and to impress them with their responsibilities. They are
THE TEACHER'S MOTIVES.
BY HORACE MANN, LL.D.,
Late Secretary of the Mass. Board of Education, and President of Antioch College, Ohio.
ALL labor is delightful or irksome; noble or ignoble; and right or wrong in the sight of God, according to the quality of the motive that prompts its performance. That the moral quality of an action is always determined by the nature of the motive that begets it is a truism. But this is not the whole of the truth which is contained in that truism; the perseverance, the sustaining and uplifting energy with which we prosecute a purpose: the joy or loathing that wings or bemires our steps, in whatever we undertake, depend upon the motive that inspires us. Motive may hallow the most servile or desecrate the most sacred employment; may elevate into piety the menial office of washing a Savior's feet, or profane into perfidy and murder the privilege of saluting the Savior with a kiss.
Every body knows that the scale of motive is infinite in extent. It reaches upward to God, who is at the moral zenith; and it sinks to the moral nadir of all that is anti-god-like. Some motives are born of nature, and are what are called spontaneous. Some are the offspring of a cultivated intellect, and others of a moral and religious education. In cases of high necessity, nature prepares special motives to meet special exigencies. In the brute creation, the love of the young lies dormant, until awakened by the birth of their own offspring, but as soon as that event occurs, there is sure to flame up the blind, resistless orgasm of maternal love. I have seen a barn-yard fowl fly defiantly at a railroad locomotive with its attendant train, for daring to invade her walks when she clucked forth her chickens. I have had the most timid and wild of all our wild-fowl-the partridge, fly in my face when accidentally obtruding upon her brood, in a woodland ramble. There is something which seems far more heroic and poetic, in the scream and swoop of the eagle, when her nest is invaded, than in her loftiest sunward flights; and the lioness bears about in her breast a latent magazine of rage, which nature stored there for the protection of her whelps. A mother is transfigured, when her babe is in peril. Fearlessly she climbs mountain heights, or plunges into ocean depths. During a child's sickness, her spirit seems to perform the miracle of abrogating or suspending the laws of the body. She can labor without rest, watch without sleep, subsist without food. An exaltation of motive works the seeming miracles. There are other motives which exist to some extent in all men, at all times; but they are variously combined, and they operate with various degrees of intensity. According to their several natures, they form the character and determine the destiny of their possessor. What made Columbus hold on in his course, while all his crew mutinied, and while nature herself, acting through the magnet which she had lent him as a guide, seemed to remonstrate against his audacity? What upheld those self-exiles, the Pilgrim Fathers of New England, as they went from England to Leyden, and from Leyden to Plymouth Rock, but a motive that was founded upon the Rock of Ages? In fine, motive determines every thing. It makes the same external act or course of conduct, high or low, joyous or painful, sacred or profane. It gives fertility to our life, or smites it with barrenness. It makes a king on his throne tremble, or a martyr on his scaffold triumph. Before considering the motives by which you as teachers should be animated, I deem it proper to lay open for your inspection, my own motives for addressing you on this subject. I come before you, my friends, feeling an unspeakable interest in your personal advancement and professional success. If there be any class of persons toward whom my heart yearns with a tender, gushing, and deathless affection, it is the teachers of our youth. My nerves are intertwined with their nerves; my heart thrills or throbs with theirs; and so close is the affinity I feel for them, that their good or ill fortune is matter of personality to me. If I have any earthly ambition, it is that which can be gratified only by their success; and all the high hopes which I do avowedly entertain of a more glorious future for the human race, are built upon the elevation of the teacher's profession and the enlargement of the teacher's usefulness. Whatever ground of confidence there may be for the perpetuation of our civil and religious liberties; whatever prospect of the elevation of our posterity; whatever faith in the general Christianization of the world;—these aspirations and this faith depend upon teachers, more than upon any, more than upon all other human instrumentalities united. And if in the councils of God, there be a gracious purpose of restoring his lost image to the human race, I believe that he will choose and anoint the teachers of youth among the choicest of His ministers for the holy work. In addressing teachers, therefore, I feel that I stand upon holy ground; for I am in the august presence of the highest interests, mortal and immortal;-I am in the midst of the eternal principles of moral life and moral death. God's law, human accountability, the unending consequences of our conduct, encompass me about. Amid these awful concernments, the most splendid of earth's objects fade into dimness; the most magnificent of earthly ambitions wane and recede, and I am admonished, as with no mortal voice, to speak alike in the love and in the fear of truth. This, therefore, my friends, is no occasion for flattery. I come not here to feast praise-loving hearts with honeyed words, or to sing lullabies over disquieted consciences. If the worm gnaws in any breast, let it gnaw, until it shall eat out the very pith and core of vanity and egotism. If the fire burns, let it not be quenched, until the dross shall be purged from the gold. If there be a noble-hearted teacher here present, I know that he or she would rebuke me if I should spend the passing hour in magnifying his rights, forgetful of his duties; if I should extol the dignity of his profession, as though he had created it, instead of being obligated by it; or in telling him that because he grasped the implement of Solomon in his hand, he, therefore, must have the wisdom of Solomon in his head. As it is the duty of the faithful physician to probe a wound to the bottom, though the patient does flinch; so it is the office of the faithful friend to unmask any low or unworthy motive which may lurk in the heart of his friend. Would that I could so unfold our responsibilities to the rising generation, and our duties to heaven, that each one of us should clothe himself in the sackcloth of humility, and cry out from the bottom of his heart, “Woe is me, that in performing the great work which the Lord has committed to my hands, I have been so unprofitable a servant.” In considering the motives by which teachers should be governed, I shall begin with the lowest. I maintain that it is not only right and proper for a teacher, but that it is his duty also, to have reference to the recompense of reward; I mean pecuniary reward, or in the vernacular, dollars and cents. In this, as in every other vocation, the workman is worthy of his hire. To say that in proportion as a work is invested with high and sacred attributes, it is therefore to go unpaid for, transcends transcendentalism. When it shall be found that a man's natural appetites for food and beverage shall die out, one after another, as he enlists in more sacred callings, it will be good evidence that a life devoted to holy labor should forego those natural supplies which it no longer needs. When a minister of the gospel, with a family to be educated, can subsist, as the chameleon was once said to do, on the air; when a missionary to the Arctic regions can keep his blood at the temperature of 98°, without clothing or shelter; or when an apostle, or one greater than an apostle, can sequester himself from all worldly cares and pursuits, and devote his life to training up children in the way they should go, and the ravens shall bring him his food and raiment; then I shall believe that all our teachers ought to do, as some of them are now almost compelled to do—work for nothing and find themselves. But so far as I can learn, the experience is universal in our times, that a healthy stomach, after a strict abstinence of twelve or fifteen hours, will crave food, however pure the conscience may be; or in other words, a conscience void of offence will not replenish a stomach void of nourishment. So a missionary, sent naked to Iceland or Spitzbergen, will freeze, however ardent his benevolence; and the most exalted piety will not be a sufficiently tenacious cement to hold body and soul together, without a little alloy of animal food; or at least, without some chemical amalgam whose principal ingredients are bread and butter. But while I maintain that it is right for a teacher to make sure of an honorable and equitable salary;-nay, that it would be inexcusable in him to make no provision for his own household—whether that household be in the plural or have just passed into the dual, or still remain in the singular number, still, when he has deliberately agreed upon a price for his services, all pecuniary considerations should forthwith be dismissed from his thoughts. He has then come under the most solemn obligations to perform a certain amount of duties, and no inadequacy in his compensation, however great, can excuse any neglect in his duties, however small. The pilot must not sleep and suffer the vessel to be wrecked, on the plea of short pay. What then shall we think of a teacher, who having secured the most liberal salary, seeks to contract his duties within a narrower and narrower limit, and grudgingly performs even those which are embraced within the contracted circle; who spends his purloined leisure in pleasure-seeking, in pecuniary speculations, or without the most cogent reasons in the lottery of school-book making? What of him who clips a half hour from the morning or afternoon session,--which however it may stand in the civil code, is a greater offence in the moral one than clipping the king's coin? What of him who carries his body only to the school-room, while his soul plays truant; and who, when his classes are hungering and thirsting for spiritual food, gives them for bread, a stone; for a fish, a serpent; and for an egg, a scorpion? There is no neglect on earth so criminal as the neglect of a teacher