« ForrigeFortsett »
scribed, or else we are obliged to be superficial, merely skimming over the whole. A few years since I obtained catalogues of all the colleges of New England, and compared them as to the amount of preparatory work required. The conclusion I came to was that the amount was altogether too large to be profitable. We begin with a line or two a day, and then go on to fifty or seventy-five; do we not, Dr. Taylor ?
Dr. Taylor. I never could push a student beyond a hundred.
Mr. Sawyer. I do not see the difficulty of any college reducing at once the amount of ground to be passed over. The students would soon find out that what was left was intended to be examined upon. If we take one or two books of the Anabasis thoroughly, and go over the rest, will not the effect be to induce the student to suppose he may get the rest, except the two books he is to be examined upon, in any way he can? I would prefer that the amount be fixed, and to be able to say, “ You must have so much.” As it is now, the students will say, “I can get into college well enough if I do not read so much.” I wish the amount might be fixed. Let it be reasonable, and then, if pupils are not prepared to enter college, let them be sent back again.
A letter from President Woolsey, tendering the Institute the opportunity to visit the public rooms of the college, was read, and the invitation accepted.
At eight o'clock, Ex-Governor Washburn, of Cambridge, Massachusetts, was introduced to the audience, and gave a lecture on “Civil Polity as a Branch of School Education." After the lecture, Bishop . Smith, of Kentucky, was introduced.
He said, Just before the first gun was discharged at Sumter, I was travelling from Maysville, Kentucky, to Flemingsburg. It was a bleak, uncomfortable day, a light snow falling My companions were chiefly cattle-dealers, who had been to Cincinnati to dispose of their herds, and at a very low figure indeed. They were discussing in a very crude manner the condition of the country. By my side there was a young man whom I took to be a physician, but who proved to be a lawyer. With the utmost indifference they were weighing the considerations which should decide whether Kentucky should go with the South, or remain loyal to the North. Some of them were discussing the expediency of throwing a coast guard along the whole length of the Ohio River to prevent the colored people from escaping, and they were fully persuaded that Kentucky could maintain a neutral position, and never become the battle-field of the war. I was exceedingly uncomfortable personally, and distressed by the tenor of their remarks, till at the half-way house the farmers got out to warm themselves up at the fire and at the bar, and I was left alone with the young man. I said to him, In my whole life I have never heard anything that gave me so much pain as that to which I have just listened. It has led me to doubt whether there can be any such thing as patriotism in a republic. I wonder if it be absolutely necessary that there should be visible exponents of that spiritual idea, that abstraction, patriotism; or whether it is for the want of being suitably educated and enlightened upon the subject, and the conscience and the heart cultivated. What can it be? For, said I, there is no want of patriotism where there is a visible head to the government; and then related what occurred in my own family in 1848 when the crowned heads of Europe were in very great
trouble, and we had with us an English lady as an assistant teacher, very much devoted to her country. In jest, at table, I said, “Now if little Vic. should have to abandon her throne and come to this country, would not you consent to set up a school with her to help maintain her ? “Oh,” said she, how can you speak of my sovereign as “little Vic.'? I would fall on my knees and scrub the floor before my sovereign should labor for a living.” There, I said, was out-spoken patriotism ; but here I have heard no such sentiment: I wonder if it be possible that patriotism can exist in a republic.
So I felt until after the first gun at Sumter; and what a glorious uprising of a great people was that! (Applause.)
I was in New York when the heavy, disastrous news came to me of the defeat of the first Bull Run. I can never describe the sensation diffused on that day through that great city ; but after that did I ever doubt, on the second uprising of this great people, whether there could be patriotism in a republic? It has proved itself to exist in a larger measure and more fervent intensity than has ever before been exhibited in our world.
But I am none the less impressed with the vast importance of implanting these lessons early, that at no future day shall any lover of his country have the question arise in his mind and the oppressive sentiment weigh upon his heart as it did on mine, “I wonder if patriotism can be possible in a republic.”
You must teach young people that it is possible; you must instil a knowledge of our institutions, and inculcate upon them the fear of God and the love of country, that theirs may be the short creed that I was led very early to pronounce in Kentucky, and often and often to repeat, “I should just as soon think of being disloyal to my mother, to my church, or my God, as of being disloyal to my country.” (Applause.)
Hon. Joseph White, of Massachusetts, Secretary of the Board of Education, said, Mr. President, after listening to that excellent address of our distinguished friend from Cambridge, and that beautiful statement of the gentleman from Kentucky, it seems to me much like carrying coals to New Castle to attempt to say anything, even if there were coals that I
I agree fully with all that has been said about the importance of teaching civil polity-and I wrote that article in the law which has been referred to, and I think I understand tonight what it means better than when I wrote it. I meant that the children should be taught, in our schools which are sustained by public money, something of those things which make them fit to look after the public good. You can teach a boy as well the origin of government, the objects of government, the forms of government, the history of government, the right of revolution, when it exists and when it does not exist, and the civil polity of any particular government, as you can teach arithmetic, geography or algebra.
Is it said that there are no text-books. I grant it; but we have the means of getting text-books. Any man who has read, as I have, that beautiful book, emanating from New Haven, on the subject of International Law, will believe me when I say that if this Institute will pass a vote, asking President Woolsey to give one on civil polity, he will produce one, and a good one. But the teacher must be and is going to be the living text-book on all subjects. He can speak to his pupils when the word “jury” occurs in the reading-book, and explain the difference between a grand and petit jury, and make it plain; and if he finds one of them, about twenty-one, who is in danger of becoming a justice of the peace soon, he can show what are the functions of a justice of the peace ; and so on through the whole catalogue. In all country places, we have or may have debating societies where political principles can be explained and studied, so that the youth may become master of questions relating to this subject. Give us a full understanding, such as may be acquired in our common schools, of the principles of government and the polity of our own government, and what a change it will make in the reading of history! how the questions which have come down from the ages will loom up in importance ! how the impinging of one race upon the rights of another will acquire new light! The student of history will find in that of his own government something of the history of all governments. Besides, it will give the people power to resist the influence of demagogues, whether on the stump or in the press. · When public questions are discussed, the appeal is too often made to some immediate effect of a measure, and not to its broader and more general aspect. Let young men be properly instructed on such questions, and they cannot be deceived. Let the young people know how the principles which are the foundation-stones of our government have, one by one, been eliminated and made sacred in the past, by war, by the fagot, and by the scaffold ; let them learn to associate Hampden with one principle, Sidney with another, Cromwell with another, and Sir Matthew Hale with another; and they will love those principles as never before. The love of our flag will be exalted from an instinct to a high principle; indeed our flag will be the Jehovah Nissi of our people, and we shall follow it as we follow the banner of Him who hung upon the cross.