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manufactures? Have they been taught to examine the policy of other nations, and the effect of that policy on the prosperity of their own country? Are they prepared to discharge the duties of civil or military engineers, or to endure fatigue, or to become the defenders of their country's rights, and the avengers of her wrongs, either in the ranks or at the head of her armies? It appears to me not; and if not, then, agreeably to the standard established, their education is so far defective.
2. Another defect in the present system, ig, the entire neglect, in all our principal seminaries, of physical education, or the due cultivation and improvement of the physical powers of the students.
The great importance and even absolute necessity of a regular and systematic course of exercise for the preservation of health, and confirming and rendering vigorous the constitution, I presume, must be evident to the most superticial observer. It is for want of this, that so many of our most promising youths lose their health by the time they are prepared to enter on the grand theatre of active and useful life, and either prematurely die, or linger out a comparatively useless and miserable existence. That the health of the closest applicant may be preserved, when he is subjected to a regular and systematic course of exercises, I know, from practical experience; and I have no hesitation in asserting, that in nine cases out of ten, it is just as easy for a youth, however hard he may study, to attaip the age of manhood, with a firm and vigorous constitution, capable of enduring exposure, hunger and fatigue, as it is to grow up puny and debilitated, incapable of either bodily or mental exertion.
3. A third defect in our system is, the amount of idle time allowed the students; that portion of the day during which they are actually engaged in study and recitations, under the eye of their instructors, comprises but a small portion of the whole; during the remainder, those that are disposed to study, will improve at their rooms, while those who are not so disposed, will not only not improve, but will be very likely to engage in practices injurious to their constitutions and destructive to their morals. If this vacant time could be employed in duties and exercises, which, while they amuse and improve the mind, would at the same time invigorate the body and contirm the constitution, it would certainly be a great point gained. That this may be done, I shall attempt in the course of these observations, to show.
4. A fourth defect is, the allowing to students, especially to those of tho wealthier class, too much money, thereby inducing habits of dissipation and extravagance, highly injurious to themselves, and also to the seminaries of which they are members. I have no hesitation in asserting, that far the greater por. tion of the irregularities and disorderly proceedings amongst the students of our seminaries, may be traced to this fatal cause. Collect together at any seminary, a large number of youths, of the ages they generally are at our institutions, furnish them with money, and allow them a portion of idle time, and it may be viewed as a miracle, if a large portion of them do not become corrupt in morals, and instead of going forth into the world to become ornaments in society, they rather are prepared to become nuisances to the same. There is in this respect, an immense responsibility resting on parents and guardians, as well as on all others having the care and instruction of youth, of which it appears to me they are not sufficiently aw.le.
When youths are sent to a seminary, it is presumed they are sent for the purpose of learning something that is useful, and not to acquire bad habits, or to spend money; they should consequently be furnished with every thing necessary for their comfort, convenience and improvement, but money should in no instance be put into their hands. So certainly as they have it, just so certainly will they spend it, and this will, in nine cases out of ten, be done in a manner seriously to injure them, without any corresponding advantage. It frequently draws them into vicious and dissolute company, and induces habits of immorality and vice, which ultimately prove their ruin. The over-weening indulgence of parents, has been the cause of the destruction of the morals and future usefulness of many a promising youth. They may eventually discover their error, but alas, it is often too late to correct it. Much better does that person discharge the duties of a real friend to the thoughtless, unwary youth, who withholds from him the means of indulging in dissipated and vicious courses.
5. A fifth defect is the requiring all the students to pursue the same course of studies.
All youth have not the same inclinations, nor the same capacities; one may possess a particular inclination and capacity for the study of the classics, but not for the mathematics and other branches of science; with another it may be the reverse. Now it will be in vain to attempt making a mathematician of the former, or a linguist of the latter. Consequently, all the time that is devoted in this manner, will be lost, or something worse than lost. Every youth, who has any capacity or inclination for the acquirement of knowledge, will have some favorite studies, in which he will be likely to excel. It is certainly then much better that he should be permitted to pursue those, than, that by being forced to attend to others for which he has an aversion, and in which he will never excel, or ever make common proficiency, he should finally acquire a dislike to all study. The celebrated Pascal, is a striking instance of the absurdity and folly of attempting to force a youth to attend to branches of study, for which he has an utter aversion, to the exclusion of those for which he may possess a particular attachment. Had the father of this eminent man persisted in his absurd ar.d foolish course, France would never have seen him, what he subsequently became, one of her brightest ornaments.
6. A sixth defect is the prescribing the length of time for completing, as it is termed, a course of education. By these means, the good scholar is placed nearly on a level with the sluggard, for whatever may be his exertions, he can gain nothing in respect to time, and the latter has, in consequence of this, less stimulus for exertion. If any thing will induce the indolent student to exert himself, it is the desire to prevent others getting ahead of him. It would be much better to allow each one to progress as rapidly as possible, with a thorough understanding of the subject.
Having stated what appeared to him the most prominent defects in the academies and colleges as organized and conducted, he next proceeds to point out the remedies.
1. The organization and discipline should be strictly military.
Under a military system, subordination and discipline are much more easily preserved than under any other. Whenever a youth can be impressed with the true principles and feelings of a soldier, he becomes, as a matter of course, subordinate, honorable, and manly. He disdains subterfuge and prevarication, and all that low cunning, which is but too prevalent. He acts not ibe part of the assassin, but if he have an enemy, he meets him openly and fairly. Others may boast that they have broken the laws and regulations of the institution of which they are, or have been members, and have escaped detection and punishment, by mean prevarication and falsehood. Not so the real soldier. If he have broken orders and regulations, he will openly acknowledge his error, and reform; but will not boast of having been insubordinate. Those principles, if imbibed and fixed in early youth, will continue to influence his conduct and actions during life; he will be equally observant of the laws of his country, as of the academic regulations under which he has lived; and will become the more estimable citizen in consequence thereof. I shall not pretend, however, that all who wear a military garb, or live, for a time, even under a correct system of military discipline, will be influenced in their conduct by the principles above stated; but if they are not, it only proves that they have previously imbibed erroneous principles, which have become too firmly fixed to be eradicated; or that nature has not formed them with minds capable of soaring above what is low and groveling.
2. Military science and instruction should constitute a part of the course of education.
The constitution of the United States has invested the military defense of the country in the great body of the people. By the wise provisions of this instrument, and of the laws made in pursuance thereof, every American citizen, from eighteen to forty-live years of age, unless specially exempted by law, is liulle
to be called upon for the discharge of military duty-he is emphatically a citizen soldier, and it appears to me perfectly proper that he should be equally prepared by education to discharge, correctly, his duties in either capacity. If we intend to avoid a standing army, (that bane of a republic, and engine of oppression in the hands of despots) our militia must be patronized and improved, and military information must be disseminated amongst the great mass of the people; when deposited with them, it is in safe hands, and will never be exhibited in practice, except in opposition to the enemies of the country. I am well aware there are amongst us many worthy individuals, who deem the cultivation of military science a sort of heresy, Hattering themselves, and endeavoring to induce others to believe, that the time has now arrived, or is very near, when wars are to cease, and universal harmony prevail amongst mankind. But, my fellow-citizens, be not deceived by the syren song of peace, peace, when, in reality, there is no peace, except in a due and constant preparation for war. If we turn our attention to Europe, what do we behold? A league of crowned despots, impiously called holy, wielding a tremendous military force of two millions of mercenaries! IIl-fated Naples, and more ill-fated Spain, have both felt the effects of their peaceable dispositions, and were it not for the wide-spreading Atlantic, which the God of nature in his infinite goodness has interposed between us, we also, ere this, should have had a like experience. The principles of liberty are equally obnoxious to them, whether found in Europe, Asia, Africa, or America. If rendering mankind ignorant of the art of war, (as a science) would prevent wars, then would I unite most cordially with those, usually termed peace-men, for the purpose of destroying every vestige of it. But such, I am confident, would not be the result. Wars amongst nations do not arise because they understand how to conduct them skillfully and on scientific principles; but are induced by the evil propensities and dispositions of mankind. To prevent the effect, the cause must be removed. We may render nations ignorant of the use of the musket and bayonet; we may carry them back, as respects the art of war, to a state of barbarism, or even of savageism, and still wars will exist. So long as mankind possess the dispositions which they now possess, and which they ever have possessed, so long they will fight. To prevent wars, then, the disposition must be changed; no remedy short of this, will be effectual. In proportion as nations are rude and unskilled in the art of war, will their military code be barbarous and unrelenting, their battles sanguinary, and their whole system of warfare, destructive. War, therefore, in such a case, becomes a far greater evil, than it does under an improved and refined system, where battles are won more by skill than by hard fighting, and the laws of war are proportionally ameliorated. What rational man, what friend of mankind, would be willing to exchange the present humane and refined system of warfare, for that practiced by an Attila, a Jenghis Khan, a Tamerlane, or a Mahomet, when hundreds of thousands fell in a single engagement, and when conquest and extermination were synonymous terms. On the principles of humanity, then, it appears to me that, so long as wars do exist, the military art should be improved and refined as much as possible; for, in proportion as this is done, battles will be less sanguinary and destructive, the whole system more humane, and war itself a far less evil. But independent of any connection with the profession of arms, or of any of the foregoing considerations, I consider a scientific knowledge of the military art, as constituting a very important part of the education of every individual engaged in the pursuit of useful knowledge, and this for many reasons; viz. :-
First. It is of great use in the reading of history, both ancient and modern.
A large portion of history is made up of accounts of military operations, descriptions of battles, sieges, &c. How, I would ask, is the reader to understand this part, if he be ignorant of the organization of armies, of the various systems of military tactics, of the science of fortification, and of the attack and defense of fortified places, both in ancient and modern times? Without such knowledge it is evident he derives, comparatively but little information from a large portion of what he reads.
Second. It is of great importance in the writing of history. I presume it will not be denied, that in order to write well on any subject, it must be understood. How, then, can the historian give a correct and intelligible account of a campaign, battle, or siege, who is not only unacquainted with the principles on which military operations are conducted, but is also ignorant of the technical language necessary for communicating his ideas intelligibly on the subject ? This is the principal reason why, as it appears to me, the ancient historians were so much superior to the modern. Many of their best historical writers were military men. Some of them accomplished commanders. The account of military operations by such writers as Xenophon, Thucydides, Polybius and Cæsar, are perfectly clear and intelligible, whereas when attempted by the great body of modern historians, the most we can learn is, that a fortress was besieged and taken, or that a battle was fought and a victory won, but are left in entire ignorance of the principles on which the operations were conducted, or of the reasons why the results were as they were.
Third. It is essentially necessary for the legislator.
The military defense of our country is doubtless one of the most important trusts which is vested by the constitution in the general government, and it is a well known fact, that more money is drawn from the people and disbursed in the military, than in any other department of the government. Now as all must be done under the sanction of the law, I would beg leave to inquire, whether it be not of the greatest importance, that those who are to make such laws should be in every respect well prepared to legislate understandingly on the subject? That there has been, and still is, a want of information on this subject amongst the great body of the members of Congress, I think will be perfectly evident to any one who is competent, and will take the trouble to examine our military legislation since the conclusion of the Revolutionary war. I feel little hesitation in asserting, that from want of this information, more than from any other cause, as much money has been uselessly expended in our military department alone, as would cancel a large portion of the national debt.
Fourth. It is of great use to the traveler.
Suppose a young man, with the best education he can obtain at any of our colleges or universities, were to visit Europe, where the military constitutes the first class of the community, and where the fortifications constitute the most important appendages to nearly all the principal cities, how much does he observe, which he does not understand ? It he attempt a description of the cities, he finds himself embarrassed for want of a knowledge of fortification. If he attempt an investigation of the principles and organization of their institutions, or of their governments, he finds the military zo interwoven with them all, that they can not be thoroughly understood without it. In fine, he will return with far less information, than with the aid of a military education he might have derived. As it respects the military exercises, I would observe, that were they of no other use than in preserving the health of students, and confirming in them a good figure and manliness of deportment, I should consider these were ample reasons for introducing them into our seminaries generally; they are better calculated than any others for counteracting the natural habits of students, and can always be attended to, at such times as would otherwise be spent in idleness or useless amusements. Having expressed my views thus fully on this subject, I will next proceed to state more specifically the other branches which I would propose to introduce into a complete course of education : and
1. The course of classical and scientific instruction should be as extensive and perfect as at our most approved institutions. The students should be earnestly enjoined and required to derive as much of useful information from the most approved authors, as their time and circumstances would permit.
2. A due portion of time should be devoted to practical geometrical and other scientific operations in the field. The pupils should frequently be taken on pedestrian excursions into the country, be habituated to endure fatigue, to climb mountains, and to determine their altitudes by means of the barometer as well as by trigonometry. Those excursions, while they would learn them to walk, (which I estimate an important part of education,) and render them vigorous and healthy, would also prepare them for becoming men of practical science generally, and would further confer on them a correct coup d'ail so essentially
necessary for military and civil engineers, for surveyors, for travelers, &c., and which can never be acquired otherwise than by practice.
3. Another portion of their time should be devoted to practical agricultural pursuits, gardening, &c.
In a country like ours, which is emphatically agricultural, I presume it will not be doubted, that a practical scientific knowledge of agriculture would constitute an important appendage to the education of every American citizen. Indeed the most certain mode of improving the agriculture of the country will be to make it a branch of elementary education. By these means, it will not only be improved, but also a knowledge of their improvements generally disseminated amongst the great mass of the people.
4. A further portion of time should be devoted to attending familiar explanatory lectures on the various branches of military science, on the principles and practice of agriculture, commerce and manufactures, on political economy, on the constitution of the United States, and those of the individual states, in which should be pointed out particularly the powers and duties of the general govern ment, and the existing relations between that and the state governments, on the science of government generally. In fine, on all those branches of knowledge which are necessary to enable them to discharge, in the best possible manner, the duties they owe to themselves, to their fellow men, and to their country.
5. To the institution should be attached a range of mechanics' shops, where those who possess an aptitude and inclination might occasionally employ a lei. sure hour in learning the use of tools and acquiring a knowledge of some useful mechanic art.
The division of time, each day, I would make as follows, viz. :
Eight hours to be devoted to study and recitation; eight hours allowed for sleep. Three hours for the regular meals, and such other necessary personal duties as the student may require. Two hours for the military and other exercises, fencing, &c. The remaining three hours to be devoted, in due proportion, to practical agricultural and scientific pursuits and duties, and in attending lectures on the various subjects before mentioned.
Some of the most prominent advantages of the foregoing plan would, in my opinion, be the following; viz.:
1. The student would, in the time usually devoted to the acquirement of elementary education, (say six years) acquire, at least, as much, and I think I may venture to say more, of book knowledge, than he would under the present system.
2. In addition to this, he would go into the world an accomplished soldier, a scientific and practical agriculturist, an expert mechanician, an in telligent merchant, a political economist, legislator and statesman. In fine, he could hardly be placed in any situation, the duties of which he would not be prepared to discharge with honor to himself and advantage to his fellow-citizens and his country.
3. In addition to the foregoing, he would grow up with habits of industry, economy and morality, and, what is of little less importance, a firm and vigorons constitution; with a head to conceive and an arm to execute he woula emphatically possess a sound mind in a sound body.
After much correspondence Capt. Partridge decided to carry out his principles of education in an institution organized on his own plan and conducted by himself, with such assistance as he could command, in his native village of Norwich, Vermont. Here he opened, on the 4th of September, 1820, the American Literary, Scientific and Military Academy, on which the pupils or their parents had their choice of studies, out of a course as extensive as that of any academy and college in New England combined—in which