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ance was made him out of the public funds. In Mississippi a certain sum per head was allowed to every child of school age. The rich planter put his allowance in his pocket, and sent his children North to school. The poor white, if he did not spend it for bread and meat, could at the best send but one child to a neighboring school, poor at best, while the rest grew up in inevitable and irredeemable ignorance. Such were the free-school systems which the Southern aristocracy established for the benefit of the common people. They tossed education to the children of the poor as one tosses a bone to a hungry dog, or a copper to a beggar. They perpetuated those caste distinctions which a true public-school system utterly ignores, and stamped on the degradation of poverty and ignorance a deeper degradation still. No wonder the common people resented the insulting charity. No wonder, knowing no other system, they learned to look on free schools with an aversion, comparable only to that with which the New-Englander regards the poor-house. No wonder every parent possessed of honorable pride shrank from the public declaration that he was too poor to give his children education, and that every boy shrank from attending a public school, since the very fact of his attendance marked him a child of indigent parents, one of the “ trash,” the outcast of all respectable society, the object even of the negro's undissembled scorn.
This system was not framed by the Southern people. It was the workmanship of the few, not of the many. The masses were not strong enough to overcome the power
which inthralled them. A few struggled in hopeless effort to secure for themselves and their children the advantages which more favored States enjoyed. More fled from the society which forbade their improvement, to seek for their children the advantages of education in Northern schools.
remained to suffer what they were powerless to escape, or even too ignorant to feel. School-houses that once had been full were suffered to fall into ruin and decay. They who possessed a monopoly of wealth and power took care to maintain a monopoly of knowledge also. The aristocracy of wealth and influence boasted of its aristocracy in culture and refinement as well.
The war has effectually demolished this fabric of despotism. Our chief gratulations are not that four millions of our fellowmen are liberated, but that an odious caste is destroyed, and genuine republicanism is free once more to assert itself.
Power is replaced once more in the hands of the masses. By his twenty-thousand-dollar clause, President Johnson indicates his purpose to break up the monopoly of wealth. But all will be in vain if we do not also destroy the monopoly of knowledge. If the many are still left in ignorance, the few will soon retrieve their fallen fortunes, and the ancient oligarchy be restored to its previous dimensions and power.
Our duty, then, seems plain. It is not merely to provide by generous charity for the temporary education of the white or the black. Charity cannot adequately educate half a continent. We cannot raise the money nor provide the teachers. An honorable pride will exclude many from schools established by benevolence. A sectional pride unabated will shut out many more. No spasmodic charity can accomplish the great work which the nation has set before it. That work is simple, though sublime. We are called upon to establish, in every State of the Union, those systems of public instruction which have stood the test of time with us. Universal education is the only safeguard of our liberties. It is the only protection against the power of prejudice and the acts of demagogues.
Public schools must become the national glory of America.
We have had three-fourths of a century of experience to very little purpose if we have not learned that there is no safety for the Republic save in universal intelligence, and no assurance of universal intelligence save in public instruction. We may for a little while help a few thousand a little way in the path of progress. But we cannot rest content until each State secures by taxation equal privileges of education to all her citizens, of whatever caste, nationality, or color. This work is one in which we have a direct and immediate interest. The Southern States are a part of our country. Their people are our countrymen. The power taken from the few who have abused it cannot permanently remain in military hands. The government is rapidly placing it in the hands of the people. They will exercise an important influence on the welfare and destinies of the nations, a controlling influence on the prospects and prosperity of their several States. Their adequate education is essential to our self-protection. We are scarcely less interested in aiding to secure a good public school system for Virginia, than we are in maintaining it in Connecticut. Nor is it only education, but the right kind of education. We are vigilantly watching the progress of events. We rightly demand that the power taken from the leaders of rebellion shall not revert to their hands. We demand that none but loyal men shall hold the offices and administer the government. Shall we give back to them the schools, replace in academy and college the political economies of Calhoun as their text-book, and suffer their children to be retaught the doctrines of secession and slavery, which we have at such cost and labor destroyed ? “We have,” said a loyal clergyman of East Tennessee to me the other day,
we have our school established. The people are devoting their first earnings to the education of their children. They support their own schools. But our teachers are all rebels
from Louisiana and Alabama. We need some good loyal teachers.” Public systems of instruction, and teachers of experience to administer them, are the educational want of the South. Assistance in providing these is the duty we owe to our fellow-countrymen.
Will they be willing to receive this assistance? Yes! they will welcome it.
There are two parties in the South not yet clearly marked, but gradually crystallizing, as parties in American politics always do. The one is the old aristocracy. It represents most of the ancient wealth and renown. It includes a large number of former planters. It embraces many of the old political leaders. It includes most of the former press and nearly all the Southern clergy. It enjoys the prestige which half a century of undisputed control in Southern politics necessarily gives. It is in brief made up of the débris and remnants of the old South ; the only South we ever knew. Unfortunately for the nation, it controls the press and the clergy, with few honorable exceptions, and is still the only South which many seem to know. This aristocratic party still feebly endeavors to regain by political manoeuvring the ascendency it has lost by the appeal to arms. Power is never easily or willingly relinquished. It endeavors to restore slavery under the nom de plume of apprenticeship. It forms unlawful combinations to keep down the price of labor. It combines to exclude Northern capital from its State, Northern emigration from its soil. It closes the pulpit against the Northern clergyman, the school-house against the Northern teacher, and avails itself of every pretext to fan sectional pride, increase sectional prejudice, and maintain the old jealousies and divisions. But there is gradually forming another party in the South. It is made up of the Southern masses. It has not the wealth, nor the culture, nor the aristocratic honors of the State. It enjoys no prestige of past power. It has no churches, few presses. Its leaders have never led before. It is not yet fairly. organized as a party. But it is daily assuming more definite form, daily increasing in influence and power. It is the party which alone the president recognizes, the party from which Governors Holden, Brownlow, and Pierpont, and others, have been selected. This party enters heartily into the new life of the nation. It cheerfully recognizes the overthrow of slavery. It not unwillingly welcomes the restoration of the Union. It forgets the conflicts of the past and turns hopefully with new plans and purposes to the future. It welcomes our coöperation in those plans and purposes. It invites Northern capital and Northern enterprise to enter its territory. And it already begins to look longingly towards our system of public instruction, and to ask, “Why cannot we afford our children like privileges ?” The first act of emancipated Maryland was to establish a system of public instruction - declared by competent judges to be inferior to none in the Union. Among the first appropriations of Tennessee was one of a million of dollars for educational purposes. This party not only welcomes our coöperation, but invites it. More than one letter have I received from Governor Brownlow asking us to send teachers into Tennessee. Already we have commissioned some of the recent graduates of Yale College to go to Nashville to take leading positions in reëstablishing public schools in that city.
Professor F. P. Brewer, of the scientific department of Yale College, goes into North Carolina on this mission, welcomed by Governor Holden, who promises him every facility in the educational work and even in the city of Richmond several of the churches have been opened, not by military authority, but by the action of their clergymen, for maintaining free schools for the children of the masses.