« НазадПродовжити »
recognized in our thoughts and speech as a solar system. In like manner a mere mul
tiplicity of schools, each existing in itself, for itself, by itself, each doing such work the le
as of itself it could and might, without methodical and regulated connection with othurs in
ers, with no common motive power to impel them, no common law to regulate them,
and guide them to an intelligently determined result, would not claim the dignity of a Port
a system, but would bear rather the character of an unorganized mass, A schocl system, on the contrary, contemplates the whole array of schools, however various, and however numerous, as pervaded by some general influence, acting in mutual harmony
and due subordination, and however complicated or intricate their actions and relaeisure de
tions, moving all together to an end, determined by the intelligence which controls the whole.
What, then, constitutes the ideal perfection of such a system ?
1st. It is obvious that a perfect system of this character must embrace schools adapted to intellects of every grade of deve nt, furnish the means of culture for all the inventive and discursive faculties of the human mind, and impart instruction in all the liberal and ingenious arts--the arts which are based upon scientific truths,
and whose processes are guided by intelligible laws. If any grade of intellect be left 1938 unprovided with the appropriate means of improvement, the system falls so far short
of this ideal perfection. If any one worthy faculty of the human mind be left uncared app for, and its due means of culture disregarded, the system again falls short of its true
completeness. If any one of the liberal and ingenious arts which improve and emprice bellish life, which gratify the tastes or unfold the powers of the individual, which add
to the comfort and the charms of society, and advance the race toward its true des. The tiny ; if any one of these be treated with indifference, and the rightful provisions for mpsc its development neglected, the ideal perfection which we are contemplating fails so
far forth of being attained.
2d. Since, as we have scen, the very phrase "a school system,” implies a mutual i leiset adaptation and correlation of the schools, so that they work with, minister to, and
complement each other, the whole number being bound together by a common tie, and pervaded by a common thought, the ideal perfection of such a system implies the
completeness of this mutual adaptation, and the thorough pervasion of the whole this body by the harmonizing law and thought. In short, every part of the complex ma
chine must be supplied, and every part also perfectly fitted to its connected parts, so that all may work together as a perfect unit, without jar, without friction, and without failure.
I have thus sketched in a manner at once hasty and somewhat abstract, the idea of a school, of a school system, and of a perfect school system. But ladies and gentlemen! I know full well that I am here to-day in an atmosphere of reality, and that mere abstractions and theories, remote from common use and practical results, are not what is hore expected. We come up hither, all of us, with our brains busy upon practical questions, and our hearts throbbing with the interests, the wants, the real issues of the living and active present. In this hurried life of ours, in which a great commonwealth, with all its systems of education, of commerce, of agriculture and of civil policy, is to be built up in a single generation, we feel justly that mere theorizing must be left to men of other lands, and that those thoughts must mainly occupy our attention, which are obviously and speedily fruitful in beneficent, political and social results. Let us then descend, or perhaps I should rather say ascend, from these
general conceptions of a perfect school system to those practical views which appear to be properly connected with them.
And first the question arises—Where shall we look for a power adequate to the establishment of such a system-thus extensive, thus complete, thus harmonious, thus adapted to all the necessities of soci What power, what intelligence, what will is competent to the organization of a system approximating to this ideal universality and perfection. Let me say at once that there exists in human society, no intelligence so clear and vast as to be capable of comprehending, at once, all the magnificent outlines and all the minute and multifarious details of a perfect system ; no individual intelligence and no aggregate intelligence, qualified to make anything more than a very distant approach to such an ideal. But the practical question is, where are found best combined both the intelligence and the power to make the nearest approach to this result, of which human imperfection will admit? Where are the amplest resources, where the most diffused sympathies and interests, where the largest aggregate of mind and will and power of every kind to meet this great demand ?
It is too obvious to need remark that this demand could never be met by a mere multiplicity-for I will not say a system—of disconnected, independent private schools. If it ever could have been considered a debatable question, I suppose that it has long since ceased to be such, and therefore, I assume without argument that what is sometimes facetiously called the “private school system" has failed and must for ever fail to satisfy this great want. There was a time, however, in the history of the world when in response to this question, our attention would have been at once directed to the church. When the church sat upon the throne of a mingled temporal and spiritual power, the arbitrary mistress of the nations; when, beyond any other power, she was able to move by “the two main nerves, iron and gold,” to the accomplishment of whatever lay within the scope of her ambition or her sense of duty, there would have been a propriety in looking to her for the most extensive and the most thoroughly organized system of schools which the intellect of that age could devise. Boasting of an absolute unity, and radiating her influence from a common centre of absolute power, containing within herself the amplest monetary resources, and possessing in her clergy nearly all the learning of the age, the church might have created a system of schools extending over Christendom, which should have been chracterized by a variety, a unity, a completeness as great as the intelligence of that age was able to conceive. This great possibility she did not appreciate and did not realize. Institutions of learning of a more or less ecclesiastical character were indeed estɛblished; cathedral and conventual schools at some places and at certain periods abounded, in which bishops and monks and nuns furnished nearly all the scholastio education of the christian world; but even these were for the most part established and regulated by the authority of the various civil rulers, and I am not aware that at any period in the history of the Roman hierarchy, any general comprehensive system of schools, such as I have described, was attempted or even contemplated by the central authority of the church. In more modern times, again, when the ecclesiastical power has been distributed among national churches, the state bas often availed itself of the services of the church, not only for those educational purposes which belong more distinctly and obviously to her peculiar vocation, but also for the general scholastic education of the people. And if we could find in any nation, a church organization extending its power over all the people, and possessing the sympathies of all, capable of sum
moning to its uses the monetary resources, the intelligence, and the activity of the whole body, and of giving its decrees the authority of law in every part; possessed at the same time of a quick sympathy with every feeling and want of the people and readily appreciating every demand of its free intellectual life; one whose ruling
body fully represented the people, and had no special interests to serve, and no speIr
cial prejudices to promote-could we find in any nation a church combining all these characteristics, we should readily acknowledge in such a body the proper source and seat of power for the establishment of a true educational system for the whole people. Without referring to the present condition of other nations in this respect, the practical question for us is simply this: does any ecclesiastical body in the United States, or in any one of them, occupy such a position ? To ask this question is to answer it. The church in this country, broken into its dozens of independent sects, each embracing in its folds only a small proportion of the whole people; commanding only to a very limited extent either the mental or monetary resources of the nation or of any state, commanding likewise the sympathies and confidence of only a part, and incapable of giving to its decisions the authority of law; the church, I say, existing here under such conditions, is obviously quite incompetent to organize, establish and maintain a system of schools characterized by that unity, that universality, that liberality, that completeness of appointment, that mutual fitness of the parts and that adaptation of the whole to all the popular wants, which the age and the country demand. The church, then, cannot meet this great demand-we must look elsewhere,
And where shall we look ? It is clear that there is no power adequate to the work, except that power which embraces all the parties in whose behalf the system is designed, eommands all their resources, possesses the sympathies of all, and exercises supreme control. In short, there is no power equal to the task, except the State itself. The Civil State therefore, is bound to furnish, as it alone can furnish, the complete system of schools, fitted to meet every want of the people.
I do not forget, gentlemen, that the church is itselr a series of schools of a peculiar but most important character-schools in which are taught to old and young, from Sabbath to Sabbath, the sublime sciences of Christian morality and faith, and the ennobling arts of the Christian life. I do not forget, either, that according to our American ideas of the separation of the civil State from religious teaching, I must so far modify my claim for the civil State as the power which possesses in itself all the resources necessary for the establishment of a perfect school system, as to admit that these higher schools of moral and religious training must exist in some sense independently of the State. Nor do I forget that the Christian church has been in every age, one of the chief patrons of learning and the liberal arts; or that the great ideas of the Christian faith in regard to God and man, of our common brotherhood, our essential equality before God, and our responsibility for each other's welfare, not only physical but spiritual, and not only for this life but for the life evərlasting, have been the grand inspiring ideas of the modern systems of education in Christian lands, the fruitful germs from which all the greatest efforts for popular education have sprung. I do not forget John Calvin or John Knox; I do not forget Martin Luther or Philip Melancthon; I do not forget Geneva, or Scotland, or Germany. Nor until our right hands forget their cunning, shall any of us forget the devout and earnest piety of the Puritan fathers, who, amid poverty and strife, laid the foundations not only of Harvard and Yale, but also of that common school system which constitutes
the glory of New England and of America. That profound sense of the dignity and worth of every individual soul which Christianity imparts, will ever render its true anđ intelligent disciples the best friends of popular education. While, therefore, it follows inevitably from the principles and facts which have been stated, that the civil state is the proper power to devise, inaugurate and maintain an approximately perfect school system, it must be cheerfully granted that only in a Christian state is this great idea likely ever to be realized.
I am well aware that some who recognize in the State the only power adequate to this great work by virtue of its financial resources, its supreme authority, its all-comprehending sympathies, and its all-pervading influence, have yet such a distrust of the intelligence and integrity of those who administer the State, as leads them to despair of its ever fulfilling aright those great responsibilities which are laid upon it. In regard to higher education especially, this distrust appears to prevail. It must be admitted, that when we observe how feebly and how blunderingly the interests of higher education are too often managed under State control, there seems to be some justification for this sentiment. It must be further admitted that amid the actual and gross imperfections of the State system, and the selfish imbecility which too often characterizes its administration, they do well for the State itself and are entitled to esteem as public benefactors, who seek to supply those obvious defects by individual enterprise or by denominational zeal and devotion. But, gentlemen, he is not a good citizen who allows himself to despair of the commonwealth. If we rightly appreciate the sublime possibilities of a system of public education established by the authority and maintained by the energies of a well adıninistered Christian State ; if we justly appreciate the impossibility of any true and large and perfect system arising in any other way, we shall not allow ourselves to abandon the great idea, or stumble at the difficulties that must be encountered in its realization. We shall rather depote ourselves with new courage and new earnestness to the extension and improvement of our public school system, until it shall stand forth a pefect whole, complete in all its parts, and providing adequately for every educational interest of the entire people.
The next question of practical importance relates to the subjects of instruction which a perfect school system should embrace. The faculties of the human mind are various; the arts which adorn and embellish life, and over which the laborious Muses preside are manifold; the fields of effort for the inventive powers of man are ever widening and multiplying with the advancement of civilization. Not only the old scholastic trivium an- quadrivium, the liberal arts of an earlier time; not merely grammar, and rhetoric, and logic,with arithmetic and geometry, astronomy and music, are now presented to us as at once the results and the means of human culture. Nor do we add to these merely those branches of science which even in that semi-barbarous age were taught in some rude way, such as theology, law, and medicine, or those fine arts which the Middle Age did not extinguish. These, indeed, have been immeasurably enlarged in their scope and contents. The Grammar, for instance, of that early period, was but the babling of a child compared with that range of facts and principles accumulated by centuries of immeasurable toil,which constitutes the science of Philol. ogy in our day. Between the mathematical studies of the quadrivium in the Middle Ages, and the science of mathematics, with its applications to the arts of life in modern times, the difference is no less immense. But when to these we add the entire
range of natural sciences, the accumulated treasures of history, and the manifold arts and processes based upon scientific principles, which have enriched the mind, multiplied the resources, extended the dominion, and elevated the hopes and aims of man in modern society, and all of which furnish new materials and new work for tho school, we shall then begin to form some just conception of that variety of studies which must be provided for in any school system in the present age. Here let me iterate and reiterate that for all these studies alike-with the single exception of polemic theologythe State is bound to make provision in her system ; a provision adequate to the ac
tual demands of the people. On this point I speak with earnestness, because it has 217 been the lot of some of us, during years past, to encounter, just here, the most oppo
site and conflicting prejudices. The arts and sciences which belong to the industrial pursuits, and which are capable of being made subjects of school instruction, have equal claim to a place in our school system with those more peculiarly adapted to preparation for what were once called the learned professions. Against the bigoted exclusion, or jealous and niggardly treatment of the former, we do well to pritest earnestly and to the end. But, on the other hand, that is an equally narrow view of the educational obligations of the state to her children, which would exclude from her system of schools those studies which specially fit men for the invaluable functions of the jurist, the moral and religious teacher, the man of letters, or the physician; or those, which without any immediate relation either to the processes of industry, or the duties of professional life, tend to improve the taste, to quicken the fancy, to de. velop the moral sentiments, to strengthen the intellectual faculties, to render the individual man or woman wiser, better and happier, or to impart a sweeter tone, and a more attractive charm to the intercourse of human society. Why, on the one hand, should philosophy or ancient learning appropriate to themselves the resources of the State devoted to the higher education, and either exclude or reduce to ridiculously narrow limits, and treat as mere step-children of the brain, those sciences which have within two centuries so marvellously enlarged the sphere of human vision and the dominion of man, both in knowledge and in act, over the material world ? This question is surely apt and legitimate. But why, on the other hand, should the latter exclude the former? And why should the multitude of men and women who seek to gratify and purify their tastes, to develope their intellectu al powers, to increase their knowledge of man-in himself and in his relations, in the products of his mind and his means of influencing his fellow men, and who seek these attainments in the way whose efficiency has been demonstrated by long experience, through the study of philology, of history, of literature, of rhetoric and logic, and of the mental, moral, social and political sciences—why, I ask, should these be shut out from our State institutions, whether higher or lower, and deprived of the amplest means of pursuing in connection with our State system of schools, their chosen methods of mental culture? This question seems to me equally apposite and unanswerable with the former. No, let us not for a moment give way to the idea of destroying the symmetry and the perfection of our State system of education, by leaving out of its scope any expanding and fruitful studies, any valuable and liberal arts.
A distinotion is frequently made between disciplinary+studies and those which lack this character ; and upon this is sometimes based an attempt to circumscribe the range of studies appropriate for schools. I have not referred hitherto to this distinction for two reasons; first, because even if it is a sound one, both classes of studies