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present time, than those which were circulated during the . canvass for a successor to the first President.
There were bad men among both the real and the nominal Whigs of the Revolution, among those who remained steadfast, as well as those who fell off from the cause, and the fact should neither be concealed nor denied. Still, there is much to palliate their errors, and to excuse some of the failings for which that generation has been most strongly censured. No colonists, we again remind the reader, have a character of their own. Every thing they say, do, and think is but the repetition of something which has been said, thought, or done 66
at home.” It is so with British colonists now ; it was so with those of the Cold Thirteen."
Besides the effect thus produced on the formation of national character, we should remember that several of the prominent personages of the time were natives of the British isles, and claimed the deference and consideration which persons thus born always have, and still demand, among British Americans. Some of the Englishmen who espoused the popular side, though distinguished for talents, were mere adventurers and men of' wicked 'lives. Their influence and example were pernicious in the highest degree, and it is upon them that the stigma of the attempt to displace Washington, and many of the severest rebukes which we have uttered, should principally fall.
We have endeavoured to show that the charges which are made against the present generation, like the sins which exist among them, are as old as the Revolution, and were used by the adherents of the crown as an argument to prevent a dissolution of the union with the mother country. Once severed from the parent stock, it was said that Americans would become the victims of every moral and political disorder. Those who insist that we are the degenerate sons of worthy sires do but echo the predictions which the Loyalists uttered seventy years ago. The opinion of Proud, the loyal bistorian of Pennsylvania, was cited at the commencement of this article. Chalmers, a Loyalist of Maryland, whose works on American history are of acknowledged merit, gravely remarked, that " whether the famous achievement of Columbus introduced the greatest good or evil, by discovering the New World to the Old, has in every age offered a subject for disputation." With these words he opens an elaborate work
devoted to an explanation of the causes which produced the dismemberment of the British empire. But is it now a question for disputation, whether the transplanting of Englishmen to America has occasioned more evil than good ? Our fathers were but British colonists, and as such might rightfully claim immunities and exemptions to which we, the members of an independent nation, are not entitled. Two generations have elapsed since we commenced the experiment of selfgovernment. In developing our resources, and in increasing our wealth, we have done more than any nation of modern times. Our territory is vastly more than sufficient for the subsistence of those who now inhabit it, but is still deemed by many quite too small to meet our future growth. If, then, we have made, and are making, no progress in virtue, the fault is all our own, and the consequences of it will be upon our heads and
those of our children.
Art. IX. - Reports of the Annual Visiting Committees of the Public Schools of the City of Boston. 1847.
Boston : J. H. Eastburn, City Printer. pp. 123 and 91.
The idea of popular education may be said to lie at the basis of the free institutions of New England. Amidst all the changes in public and private affairs, through the calm of peace and the storms of war, this idea has never been lost sight of, as one, to carry out which into complete practical results constant efforts must be made. We have, however, fallen far short of the perfect attainment of this end, — nay, of what a people so earnestly bent on the fulfilment of this high purpose might reasonably have been expected to reach.
Of late years, however, public attention has been thoroughly roused to the importance of doing more to forward the magnificent conception of educating the people. The labors of Mr. Horace Mann, who left the profession of the law, the highest honors of which his abilities and the estimation they were held in by the public justified him in aspiring to, in order that he might consecrate his energies and his time to the holy cause of popular education, have so set the machinery of progress in
motion, that there seems but little danger of pause or hesitation in carrying on the work. His untiring services since he assumed the office of Secretary to the Board of Education will immortalize his name as one of the great benefactors of the
presWith an industry to which a parallel can scarcely be found, he has collected facts from every quarter ; travelled from town to town, county to county, State to State ; organized institutes, delivered lectures, examined school-houses, done every thing which bore directly or indirectly upon the accomplishment of his mighty work. Everywhere, his zeal, his ardor, his eloquence, have encourged the hopeful, roused the indifferent, strengthened the friends and borne down the enemies of education. At times, the feeble voice of the bigot, born out of time in this age of light, and blinking like an owl suddenly roused from his darkling corner by the breaking in of the mid-day beam, has been heard to make a shrill outcry, and to call for a return of his congenial darkness. In vain! The reign of bigotry is over. Science, letters, arts, inventions, the schemes of philanthropy, the practical application of the great truths of Christianity to the conditions and duties of daily life, — these august and absorbing interests of the present day make men slow to listen to the voice of the mediæval croaker, who fancies that by reviving the old, wornout theological odium, he can scare the human mind back into its ancient courses.
In Boston, the standard of education has always been comparatively high. In a wealthy city, animated by a liberal and patriotic spirit, this was no more than satisfying a just expectation. Many schools, however, in the larger towns of the Commonwealth, have disputed the palm of excellence with the public schools of Boston. A generous rivalry in this respect may lead to infinite good, and ought to be encouraged by every lawful means. City and country will be alike improved by the noble strife. In some respects the city schools have advantages over those of the country. The city is the centre of intelligence, as well as of wealth. Ideas, no less than money, circulate with greater rapidity there. Books are more abundant and accessible, and the mental powers are more speedily brought into activity. Talent of all kinds naturally concentrates in the city. Professional, literary, commercial eminence_gravitates towards the city, as its centre of attraction. But on the other hand, the activity of
city intellect is apt to be superficial and showy, just as a young man accustomed to society in the capital may, with ordinary capacities and shallow acquirements, outshine in conversation and on all common occasions the studious youth of loftier abilities, to whom these external advantages have been denied. This tendency of city life, which runs from the highest down to the lowest classes, must be resisted by the instructor with uncompromising sternness.
There is another disadvantage under which the cause of education labors in the city, that does not exist, to the same extent at least, in the country. This is to be found in the comparative social position of the teacher. In the society of a respectable country town, the able teacher is known and “honored of all men.” In point of income, he stands on a level, or nearly so, with the leading men of the place, and is able to live with at least the average elegance of his neighbours. With a few favored exceptions, this is not so in a city. We are speaking now, be it remembered, of the teachers in the public grammar and writing schools. There are, in all our large cities, private instructors who have incomes equal to those of the first class of professional men ; even who have accumulated fortunes. And surely no men in any community better deserve success, if desert is to be measured by services rendered to the community. But let us take the salaries paid to the masters of the Boston public schools, and compare them with the incomes of men in business or in the so-called professions. The salaries of ushers and sub-masters may be put aside from the present question, because we presume those places are not generally regarded as permanent. It is a reasonable view to take, that men, who are intrusted with an interest so vitally important as the education of the young, should be placed at ease in their pecuniary circumstances, so that the whole energies of their minds may
be devoted to their work. Their salaries should be sufficiently ample to enable them to live with a modest elegance and hospitality, not very far below the average style of the society in which they are placed. They should also be able to lay up something against the hour of sickness, to which all
may, and the infirmities of age, to which all must, come. To do this, it is not necessary that the situations of teachers should be rendered highly lucrative. It may be presumed that the object of the teacher never is mere money-making,
and therein his career differs materially from that of the business man. Then, too, the regularity and certainty of his income are, to a limited extent, compensating circumstances for its smallness; but it will not do to press this consideration too far. The question with the school authorities should not be, for how small a sum the instruction of youth can be procured ; but how large a sum will place the instructors on a respectable footing in their worldly circumstances, and enable them to meet the exigencies above enumerated.
The tendency in all business communities is to economize in the salaries of public teachers, while it is thought necessary to compensate with liberality the services which are connected with pecuniary and material interests. Large fees are paid to a distinguished lawyer, for a few moments' consultation, without a murmur. A confidential clerk receives a salary twice or three times as large as a professor of letters in the University, and at least as large as the most eminent professor of law. The actuary of a life insurance company is paid, for a few hours' work a day, four or five times the salary of a master who has six hundred future hopes of the republic under his charge all the weary hours from morning to evening. The cashier of a bank enjoys an income as large as is received by all the teachers in the most numerous public school. the advice of a lawyer, or the service of a clerk, or the calculation of the actuary, or the money-changing of the cashier, so high a function as the training up of the rising generation of a great city to virtue and knowledge ? Judged by any rational standard, there can be but one answer to this question ; and it is a question of immense importance to the civic fathers who have it practically to decide.
Boston lays claim to the credit of great liberality in the matter of education ; to that credit she is, as compared with other cities, fully entitled. But how stands the case, if we apply to her conduct the principles indicated by the foregoing remarks ? Are the instructors in her public schools placed on such a footing, in respect to income, as the importance of their labors deserves ? We believe the answer to this question, which every right-minded man must give, will be an unhesitating No. With the exception of the head-masters of the Latin School and the English High School, whose salaries are barely respectable, the incomes of the public teachers are miserably inadequate. Are the public teachers able to take their