Boston, August 21, 1860. The Thirty-First Annual Meeting of the American Institute of Instruction was held in Boston, commencing its sessions on Tuesday, August 21, at half-past three o'clock, in Tremont Temple.

The President, D. B. HAGAR, Esq., of Jamaica Plain, called the meeting to order, which at its opening gave ample promise, from the number and the character of the audience assembled, of its success.

Prayer was offered by Rev. DR. LOTHROP, of Boston.

The Secretary, B. W. PUTNAM, of Boston, then read the minutes of the last Annual Meeting, which was held at New Bedford, and they were approved.

Mayor LINCOLN then made an address of welcome as follows:

MAYOR LINCOLN'S ADDRESS. Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen :- It is my pleasant official duty, in behalf of the citizens of Boston, to bid you, one and all, a most cordial welcome to this scene of your deliberations.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

In the history of our good city we have had many examples of the inauguration of institutions designed to promote the public welfare, but none has higher claims upon our regard, or has wielded a more important influence than this Association, which after many meetings in different sections of our country, has again assembled, as at first, within our own borders. I suppose it will be universally admitted by those who are cognizant of the facts, that the period of its existence marks an important and golden era in the annals of education in this country. Its annual assemblies have in some measure been both the cause and effect of that intellectual progress which has so distinguished the last thirty years. This occasion is one which must suggest to some of your number, whom I see around me, the most pleasant reminiscences of the past, and encourage the most hopeful prospects for the future.

I apprehend that but few are present who participated in its first meetings. Many of the earlier friends of the Institution have gone to their reward, but it is pleasant to know that there are others who have taken their places, fired by the same noble zeal, and equally earnest in the same great cause.

This Convention is unlike many other assemblies which occasionally meet in this city. You are engaged in a holy and honorable cause. There is none more important which can engage the attention of intelligent men or women. No mercenary schemes of pecuniary profit or political ambition have drawn you together, no selfish aggrandizement of place or power do you covet, but you are here simply to consult upon the highest good of the thousands of youth who have been committed to your care, and in the result of whose training rest, in the providence of God, the destinies of the Republic.

I need not remind you that the cause of sound learning has ever been an important interest in Boston. Our system of free public schools has ever been a cherished object with the public of this metropolis. Education was one of the first topics which engaged the attention of the founders of the colony. It has grown with our growth, and strengthened with our strength. It has never ceased to have a strong hold in the affections of the people, and is as prosperous now as in any previous period of our history. In no part of the world is the Teacher more respected, his talents better appreciated, or do his labors meet with a more abundant reward.

I understand that you have assembled here from all sections of our common country. May we not trust that the cause in which you are engaged may serve to cement still stronger the bond of the Union of these States, and that the result of your deliberations will have no inconsiderable influence in continuing to us the blessings which we now enjoy, as a free, intelligent, and happy people. The President responded as follows:

MR. HAGAR'S ADDRESS. Mr. Mayor : -- For the generous welcome which you, in behalf of the city of Boston, have been pleased to extend to the members of the American Institute of Instruction, we return our most grateful acknowledgments. We thank you for your liberal offer of those public and pri

vate hospitalities for which Boston and its citizens are so · justly renowned, and especially do we thank you for this • distinguished recognition of the character and usefulness of our honored Association.

Just thirty years ago the Institute had its birth in Boston. Here it spent a vigorous and promising youth, and then, like many a young Bostonian, went forth to

seek its fortune. Its success has, we believe, done no dishonor to the place of its origin ; and now, after nineteen years of prosperous sojourning in other cities, it comes back, like an affectionate child, to the old homestead. It expected a parental welcome, and in that welcome it now gratefully delights.

If now it be asked, “What, during these thirty years — this lifetime of a generation — have been the objects of the Institute? What has it accomplished ?” We answer, its grand objects have been these: First, to awaken the public mind to the vast importance of the proper education of the young; to diffuse right views in regard to the kind of education demanded by the best interests of our country; and so to reach the judgments and hearts of the people as to secure the erection of suitable school edifices, the supply of necessary school equipments, and, above all, the employment of liberally paid and thoroughly competent school instructors. Secondly, to elevate the standard of personal character and scholastic attainments to be reached by teachers; to give them high conceptions of the responsibilities they assume; to show them how to instruct, and how to govern; to' establish among them sentiments of equality and fraternity; and to inspire them with love for their calling, and a profound conviction that the work of the true teacher is respectable, dignified, and honorable.

Such have been the chief objects of the Institute. How far it has succeeded in their accomplishment, it is impossible precisely to state. But that it has not labored in vain, its valuable publications, its many crowded conventions, its acknowledged influence in the advancement of schools in all their interests, and the united evidence of all who have observed its course, abundantly testify.

Cherishing the same objects as heretofore, we, as mem

« ForrigeFortsett »