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PUBLIC SCHOOLS OF NEW ORLEANS.
Before General Butler's .arrival in New Orleans, the virus of treason animated all the Public Schools of that city. The Board of Education, the Superintendent and Trustees, with but few exceptions, conspired to infuse the deadly poison of treason into the minds of the youth everywhere in their charge.
Wm. O. Podgers was the Superintendent of the Public Schools in New Orleans, when the United States Government was treated with contempt by the scholars under his charge. Two months before General Butler's arrival in New Orleans, at a public examination in one of the schools, the black flag was hung upon the walls with the words worked in white, "We ask no quarters and grant none." A rebel paper in that city thus commented upon these emblems :—" Strangely appropriate emblems for our schools—the best in the Confederacy." Such were the institutions of learning under the secession epidemic. Treason had become a power which defied the United States Government, and the thousands, who daily assembledQat the Public Schools, were taught to insultingly Haunt the flag of Secession in the faces of the United States officers, who were in New Orleans to protect Republican Government. These treasonable teachers soon perceived that their ship of rebellion must plunge beneath the waves of the contest in which they had so proudly embarked, and that the helm they had attempted to grasp, had passed into the hands of one fully capable of subduing defiant traitors. Butler quickly discovered the necessity of purifying the public schools from the corruption of rebellion.
Rogers fled before the stern justice of Butler into a confederate retreat. The Board of Education, which had favored the "black flag " in the schools expired, not to be revivified whilst loyal men governed New Orleans. Union men, among whom were Dostio, Heath, Halm, Heine, Shupert, and Flanders were appointed to revolutionize the public schools. L. B. Carter was made the loyal superintendent. Dr. Dostie was the animating soul in that reformation, whose avowed work was to extirpate treason from those institutions. It was a settled plan in which all the loyal Board of Education harmonized, "That no symbol of treason should be permitted in the schools under their supervision." In March, 1863, the Board of Education adopted the following resolutions:
"Whereas, It is a rule of action in the education of youth, of universal acceptance that the inculcation of sound moral principle is no less important than intellectual culture: and,
"Whereas, The present lamentable state of our national affairs has lowered the standard of public morals, and to a certain extent created disregard for those high obligations which teach us to love our country and its beneficent institutions: and,
"Whereas, It is the duty of those to whom is entrusted the education of our youth to counteract the evil tendencies of the times, and to infuse into the minds of their pupils ideas in relation to public affairs which will be equally consistent with true patriotism and sound morality: therefore be it
"Resolved, That the teachers of the public schools be instructed, henceforth, to make the singing of patriotic songs, and the reading of appropriate passages from the addresses of patriotic men, a part of the business of each day, in the several departments of their respective schools."
A few days after these resolutions were passed by the Board of Education, an invitation was given to the public to assemble at the Madison School (where a few months previous the "black flag " had been displayed) to witness the interesting ceremony of presenting a beautiful United States flag to the school. Upon that occasion, hundreds of childish voices greeted their friends with the national air, " Star-Spangled Banner," after which, seven little girls stepped upon a platform and presented their flag to their school with the following address :— "We dedicate to the Madison School this " Star-Spangled Banner," the emblem of our own dear native land, as a tribute to patriotism. Long, long may it wave over our school dedicated to union, science and liberty!"
Dr. Dostie, on behalf of the Directors, addressed the school as follows:
"Miss Whitby, Principal; Ladies, Teachers; and you, Pupils of Madison School:
"The scene witnessed by the friends of thorough and correct education to-day is destined to be long remembered. There can be no occasion of deeper interest to the lovers of the human race, its progress in education and advancement in true loyal patriotic sentiments, than now appears in the brilliant and most encouraging spectacle you have, by your noble and indefatigable exertions, wrought for tile llOpes; of the liberty and freedom of our land.
"Here the youths of our city have gathered for the culture and proper education of their minds and hearts in a correct knowledge of the various duties belonging to good and virtuous members of society.
"As we cast our eyes over this great Republic, bequeathed us by ' him whom envy dared not hate,' and behold the causeless and furious civil war now desolating our once peaceful, nappy and glorious land, filling, as it does, the patriot's heart with terrible apprehensions for the future of this most sacred of gifts—self-government— to whom arc we to look for hope of salvation, but to you of this rising generation, educated as, we pray the Father of Nations you may b?, in the just and beneficent principles of Republicanism, of unity, peace and fraternity. Then our dear country will not know'the Arnolds, Burrs, Calhouns, or Davises any more.
"Be therefore zealous in the acquisition of useful knowledge that you may distinguish truth from error, virtue from vice, and labor assiduously in disseminating these virtues, these duties, and God will bless and reward you with felicity here and heaven in the hereafter.
"Trace thoughtfully the history of our immortal Washington's school days—remember he could not lie—that he lived and practiced all the pure anct exalted virtues, thereby compelling the high eulogium from mankind of being ' first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen.'
"The public schools of our nation should be the avenue to the education of all the various and manifold duties devolved upon the citizens of our great Commonwealth. They should be treasured as the corner-stone of the Republic—they were designed for the education and enlightenment of the masses, in their duties to God, their country, and themselves; and where they prevail and arc encouraged, treason, rebellion, and their atrocious attendants arc not known.
"Had the youths of the rebellious portions of our country been the recipients of the blessings of this munificent institution, 'grim-visaged war,' with its concomitants— famine, pestilence and death, would not now be blighting our once happy and homogeneous people—the land had not been pierced by the murderous stabs of our brethren.
"Let us, citizens, be in future the careful and untiring guardians of this institution, pregnant with such vast promises of good; then the hydra-headed, execrable monster—Treason—will not again make parricidal thrusts at our dearest mother, who for eighty years has nourished us with the delicious milk of Liberty, Freedom and Fraternity.
"Now, in behalf of loyal Louisiana and of the loyal United States, permit me to introduce little Mary Murray, and through this pure patriot, her four hundred associates, in behalf of loyal Americans everywhere, to thank them for the gift of that ' gorgeous ensign of our Liberty Land.' That beautiful emblem of our glory and power! that a Washington triumphantly bore through the revolutionary struggles; that a Jackson won a halo of undying glory upon the Plains of Chalmette; that a Taylor so heroically bore aloft at Buena Yista; that a Scott reveled within the halls of the Montezumas; that a Farragut carried by Forts Jackson and St. Phillip in a