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AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF INSTRUCTION.
THIRTY-SIXTH ANNUAL MEETING.
New Haven, Conn., Aug. 8, 1865. The Thirty-sixth Annual Meeting of the AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF INSTRUCTION commenced this afternoon at Music Hall, the spacious hall being well filled with members and friends of the Institute from nearly all parts of the country. About seven hundred guests from abroad were present, most of them connected with educational institutions in various parts of New England. Among the members present were some of the most eminently learned men of the land. The meeting was called to order by the President of the Institute, Rev. B. G. Northrop, of Saxonville, Mass. Prayer was offered by Rev. Dr. Cleaveland, of this city. The venerable Ex-President Day, of Yale College, was then received by the whole assembly rising from their seats, and standing a moment, in token of the respect for that eminent patriarch.
The President of the Board of Education, Andrew De Forest, Esq., welcomed the Institute to this city in an appropriate address. The President replied as follows:
THE PRESIDENT'S RESPONSE.
In behalf of the American Institute of Instruction, permit me to return most grateful acknowledgment for your cordial welcome.
We return to New Haven with cherished memories of our former session here, and with very pleasant anticipations for this meeting. The rural beauty of New Haven, uniting, in a rare degree, the attractions of the country with the city; its majestic elms; its noble parks; the spacious grounds of so many of its mansions; the culture and refinement of its citizens; the College, with its various departments, — its library, cabinets, and gallery of art, — make this a most inviting place for our session ; certainly to me, with the thronging associations of eight happy and earnest years of student-life
We are glad to come again, for the fifth time, to Connecticut, the State which held a proud preëminence in the early educational history of this country, producing, by reason of the former superiority of its common schools, more eminent men, literary, professional, and practical, than any other State, in proportion to its population. To allude to but one of the many proofs of this statement, — according to Lanman’s “ Dictionary of the United States Congress,” — Connecticut has sent, from her sons scattered over the country, two hundred and fifty-two members to that body; while Massachusetts, with a much larger population, has sent two hundred and twenty-two.
If, since the origin of the American Institute of Instruction, other States have more fully applied its suggestions, and have surpassed Connecticut, we hope that your Board of Education, just appointed, will rally the friends of public instruction, and bring this State again, where she used to
be, and, with her munificent school fund, where she ought to be, into the front rank.
We are happy to come to the State that founded the first law school in this country, and that started the first institution for the instruction of the deaf and dumb; to the city which originated, in 1783, the first series of elementary school-books issued in America, and, nineteen years later, the first American dictionary; to the home of Roger Sherman, who, with Chief Justice Ellsworth, did much to form our present Constitution; to the city which started the first American Journal of Science, and which reverently cherishes the remains of our honored instructor in Yale, whom Edward Everett fitly termed the Nestor of American science.
The President then delivered his annual address.
THE PRESIDENT'S ANNUAL ADDRESS.
MEMBERS OF THE AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF INSTRUCTION :
Our thirty-sixth anniversary, instead of giving signs of decay or diminished usefulness, opens a new career of activity. Our work is broader than ever. At the first meeting of this body in 1830, sixteen States were represented. So many friends of education, not teachers, from the Middle, Western, and to some extent from the Southern States, desired to share its exercises, that, instead of the New England Association of Teachers as at first proposed, it was incorporated by the next Legislature of Massachusetts as the American Institute of Instruction.
In the present crisis of American history, our field is, as never before, the whole country. The association which did so much by its large annual gatherings, its able lectures and discussions published yearly, its well-argued petitions to legislative bodies, to originate State systems, superintendents, and boards of education, should adapt its plans to our new and urgent wants, and seek to create a deeper popular sentiment in behalf of learning, throughout the length and breadth of the land. Never before was the public ear so open to appeals for the education and elevation of all classes, irrespective of race, color, or condition. This blessed peace, bringing rest to our war-worn veterans, urges upon the friends of education duties and responsibilities, opportunities of service and influence, hitherto unknown. The foundations of society at the South are broken up,
and a better ground-work is to be laid for the social fabric. Old ideas and prejudices are to be buried with the ruins of the slave system out of which they grew. Glorious achievements may yet be made, and new fields won. A race is to be raised to intelligence, freedom, industry, and manhood, or they are to sink to idleness, serfdom, and anarchy.
We hope this year in some measure to bridge over the chasm which has too often separated the college from the school. We urge their interdependence. We would invite more manifest fellowship, practical sympathy, and mutual coöperation. The cordial interest taken in this meeting by the Presidents of Yale College and Michigan University, a Professor of Law in Harvard College, and the aid promised in our discussions by Professors of Brown, Yale, Wesleyan, and other colleges, are hopeful signs for the future.
We respectfully ask the instructors of our collegės not to overlook the common schools, nor underrate their own privilege of public service, in advancing the great cause of popular instruction.
We would remind them that the weakest point in the whole system of American education ever has been, and still is, the want of thoroughness in the rudiments as taught in the common schools. The culture of our colleges answers