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I want you teachers to feel that you are not engaged in work that is all in a rut—so much work for so much salary — that it is not the teaching of so much grammar and so much arithmetic that constitutes the essence of life, but that you are the greatest factors in the development of what we most need -American citizens capable of administering the affairs of this vast land when they are called upon to take our places. I want you to teach the boys and girls to honor this flag above all other flags, so that, no matter where their fathers came from, no matter whether they were Scandinavians, Germans, or French, they will grow up loyal and true to the American flag. By the development of the pupils' minds and thoughts you are helping on this grand work, preparing to make the rising generation more noble and mighty than the present.
I join with the other speakers in heartily welcoming you to our midst. I want you to feel that in so doing we are unselfish; that we expect no return but one thing, and that is when you get home and remember all the lovely sights you have seen, you will tell all your friends about this land, and then make your arrangements and return with them to remain here the rest of your days. I trust your stay will be as pleasant and profitable as I am sure it will be delightful to us.
PRESIDENT IRWIN SHEPARD, STATE NORMAL SCHOOL, WINONA. When a year ago you were invited to come to Minnesota, you were promised the earth and as much of heaven as this saintly city of St. Paul had to give. It is therefore appropriate that this meeting of welcome should be held where, in the rights of possession, you can stand upon the one under the fair canopy of the other, and where you may breathe an air which, in the past weeks, has been washed and purified for your special comfort and benefit. Our fair State, from the Red River of the North to where the great finger of destiny points; from the course of the majestic Father of Waters on the east, across three hundred miles of beautiful prairies to the west, has bedecked herself in her greenest and fairest robes of joyous hope and promise in honor of your coming.
I am reminded that it is just fifteen years since this Association honored our State with its presence. The membership of the Association was about 360, of whom two hundred came from outside of the State. To-day you have come again, with numbers increased ten, twenty and even fifty fold, and we are happy that we are able, in the wealth of our material and social and educational prosperity and growth, to extend to you a correspondingly large and cordial welcome.
It was fitting, at that meeting, in the center of this great empire of industrial promise, that discerning the signs of the times you should have added to this Association the Industrial section. We now invite you to look over our prairies and behold the near promise of the most abundant harvest that even our great Northwest has ever seen. Visit our granaries, our workshops, our factories, our mines, our mills, our warehouses; ride over our countless highways and byways of busy commerce; look over the industrial exhibits of the schools of these two great cities and of the State at large, and tell if we have not proved ourselves worthy of our honor as the birthplace of the Industrial section of this great Educational Association.
We cannot speak of our history, educational or otherwise. We are too young to have a history. The men who made this State are for the most part living and present to-day. I would like, however, to remind you that fortythree years ago there was not an English school in all this country. In 1817 the missionary, Williamson, appealed to the Popular Educational Society of New England for a lady teacher, saying: “I suppose that a good lady teacher can do more to promote the cause of education and true religion than a man;" and adding: “The teacher coming should bring books with her sufficient to begin a school, for there is no book-store within 300 miles.” In answer to this response, Miss H. E. Bishop came forward and opened the first school for whites in a log hut, on the present site of the First Presbyterian Church. Two years later, in this same school-house, the public-school system of the Territory was organized. From these humble beginnings, less than half a century ago, has risen a system of public schools, whose growth has kept even pace with the marvelous material prosperity, the evidences of which are so abundant about you. Among the first acts of the Legislature of this State thirty-two years ago, and but eleven years after the opening of Miss Bishop's school, was one creating the first State normal school established west of the Mississippi. Other normal schools soon followed, until now the appropriations granted to the four State schools for the training of teachers is greater in proportion to the number of pupils enrolled than in any other State in the Union. The percentage of normal-trained teachers in the common schools of our State is greater than in New York, the same as in Pennsylvania, with its normal schools, and exceeded only in the States of Massachusetts and California. While we speak with pride of the State whom you have honored the second time with your presence, we remember that every State in the Union has contributed of its best life, its best blood, its best thought to the enriching of our social, material and educational prosperity, and we therefore welcome you.
PRESIDENT LORI), STATE TEACHERS' ASSOCIATION. I had prepared a speech in which I had welcomed you to our air and skies; but it is not necessary to do that now, as the ground has been well covered. However, I'll welcome you to Summit avenue, the handsomest residence street in the world! The heartiest welcome viven you here to-lay ought to be seeonded by “all sorts and conditions” of men. But if any members of certain learned professions seem inclined to give you the cold shoulder, it is not because of any lack of respect, but because of a possible exaggeration of the teacher's power and influence. The doctors of medicine have long held us responsible for many of the ills of children and youth, and have insisted that the child had a body as well as a mind. Their talk has begun to tell, and because we are beginning to be alive to the importance of school sanitation and physical training, these M. D.s fear that if we do our work as they have insisted we shall, that aches and pains will cease and the doctor's services be dispensed with. The doctors of the law maintain that the schools shall instill the principles of mine and thine, that patience and forbearance shall be taught and practiced. We are taking their advice, and sooner or later good teaching will do away with mortgage foreclosures, writs of attachments, and lawsuits. The doctors of theology have vigorously and justly insisted that a boy is neither all head nor all body, but that he has a soul to be made spotless and pure, to be trained not only for time, but for eternity. We know this claim is right; we are trying to meet the demands of the clergy, and when the work of formation is complete there is no need of reformation, because there is no deformation. Then the teacher has usurped the place of the preacher. Therefore if any carping, unkind criticism upon the deliberations of this great body is heard from the doctors, lawyers, or clergy, it is because they fear that our work will be so well done as to remove those causes which make their calling necessary or possible. But, all nonsense aside, no heartier welcome is possible than the one you will receive from the doctors, lawyers and clergymen that are an honor to this great State, and every man, woman and child between the valley of the Mississippi and the Red River of the North is glad you have come. Get up in the morning and drive through Summit avenue, the finest residence street in America; visit a score of our 10,000 lakes; stay till the 15th of August and we will take you chicken-shooting; then wait till the ducks and geese come in the fall; and while you are about it, stay all winter and see more sunshine than you ever saw in any ten winters of your life. In fact, we want to give you such a welcome that you will stay always.
PRESIDENT J. W. STRONG, CARLETON COLLEGE, NORTHFIELN. After these words from the honored officials of the State and State institutions, you must feel assured that you are welcome to the Northwest, to the State, and to this city. But the reception committee recognizes the fact that Minnesota has other educational interests than those under immediate State control, and it is as representing these other interests that I have the privilege and the honor of adding words of cordial greeting and of welcome. Our private schools and seminaries of learning, our Christian academies and colleges, although not technically a part of our public system of instruction, are not an unimportant part of our educational facilities. They do not oppose that public system, nor do they undervalue the work it does. In no sense and in no degree are they antagonistic to any mental culture afforded by the State; but they aim at what is beyond the province of public education, and what the State can never consistently give-a religious training, essential both to a complete education and a symmetrical development of character.
It is one of the chief glories of our republic that in this land there is religious liberty as well as political freedom, and that the conscience is bound by no law save the law of God and the law of equal rights. To Minnesota have come from all lands those who believe in this personal liberty, and they have brought hither the same religious convictions, the same love of liberty, the same devotion to education which wrought so mightily in the founders of this nation; and here they are building upon a Christian basis institutions of learning avowedly religious in their spirit and their aim. The permanence of the State, as all must admit, depends upon morality, but philosophically and practically the only enduring basis of morality is found in the sanctions of religion; hence as patriots no less than as Christians, we must provide an education which does not divorce the heart from the head, but recognizes the moral and spiritual as well as the intellectual, and aims to secure through the culture of the whole man all that is involved in a Christian civilization. We do not ask the State to teach religion -- not at all; but we hold that for her own sake she must, in the sphere of education no less than in the sphere of worship, guard well religious liberty. In this there is no union of church and State, but there is a natural coöperation prejudicial to neither, and absolutely essential to the highest interests of both.
In behalf of those who hold these views and they are many—I welcome you all here to-day, trusting that there will be freedom to discuss any question legitimately involved in education, both public and private. We need light and we need to learn the truth, for it is the truth that makes and keeps us free. May we find, according to the scriptural saying, that in this “multitude of counselors there is safety,” and may we all gain a measure of that wisdom which is "profitable to direct.”
D. D. MERRILL, CHAIRMAN OF THE LOCAL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE.
We gladly welcome you to our city, as you gather here this day for your thirty-fourth annual convention. There is a special fitness in your holding your session with us as you come to “The Great Northwest,” for this is the pioneer place in the interest of education, as well as in all other departments of our modern civilization in this vast region of country. It is fitting that I give you a short snatch from the history of the early educational beginnings:
The true historian must go down to the bed-rock of the historic mine for incipient facts and events -even to the undefined forces of influence which brought the first teacher to Minnesota, the first professing Christian to St.
In 1846 the “Board of National Popular Education” was organized in New England; its object “to supply the new settlements of the West with competent female Christian teachers”—all evangelical denominations uniting in the movement with ex-Gov. Slade, of Vermont, its general manager and corresponding secretary. In May, 1847, the first class of thirty-three teachers was convened at Albany, N. Y., for general instruction and individual destination. Here a letter was received, addressed to a member of the Board, more than three months previous, from Rev. Thomas S. Williamson, missionary at Little Crow's Village, now South St. Paul, a few miles below the bluff where our city now stands. I quote from his letter:
My present residence is on the utmost verge of civilization in the northwestern part of the United States, within a few miles of the principal village of white men in the Territory that, we suppose, will bear the name of Minnesota, which some would render .clear-water,' though strictly, it signifies slightly turbid or whitish.
- The village referred to has grown up within a few years, in a romantic situation on a high bluff of the Mississippi, and has been baptized by the Roman Catholics by the name of St. Paul. They have erected in it a small chapel, and constitute much the larger portion of the inhabitants. The Dakotas call it Im-mi-ja-ska (white rock), from the color of the sandstone which forms the bluff on which the village stands. This village has five stores, as they call them, at all of which intoxicating liquors constitute a part, and I suppose the principal part, of what they sell. I would suppose the village contains a dozen or twenty families living near enough to send to school. Since I came to this neighborhood I have had frequent occasion to visit the village, and have been grieved to see so many children growing up entirely ignorant. Unless your society can send them a teacher, there seems little prospect of their having one for several years. A few days ago I went to the place for the purpose of making inquiries in reference to the prospects of a school. I visited seven families, in which there were twenty-three children of proper age to attend school, and was told of five more, in which were thirteen more that it is supposed might attend, making thirty-six in twelve families. I suppose more than half of the parents of these children are unable to read themselves, and care but little about having their children taught. ... I suppose a good female teacher can do more to promote the cause of education and true religion than a man. The natural politeness of the French (who constitute more than half the population) would cause them to be kind and courteous to a female.
I suppose she might have twelve or fifteen scholars to begin with, and if she should have a good talent for winning the affections of children, (and one who has not should not come,) after a few months she would have as many as she could attend to.
“One woman told me she had four children she wished to send to school, and that she would give board and room in her house to a good female teacher, for the tuition of her children." (This lady is still one of our respected citizens.)
“A teacher for this place should love the Saviour, and for His sake be willing to forego, not only many of the religious privileges and elegances of a New England home, but some of the neatness also. She should be entirely free from prejudice on account of color, for among her scholars she might find, not only English, Frerch, and Swiss, but Sioux and Chippewas, and some bearing kindred to the African stock.
"A teacher coming should bring books with her sufficient to begin a school, as there is no bookstore within three hundred miles."
This letter, as the Divine mind guided, was handed to Miss HARRIET E. BISHOP, one of the members of the “first class of thirty-three,” with the request that she would aid in the selection of teacher for this point, if in her