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stability of our institutions. Hence the care which gove ment has extended to schools and colleges,--and hence the common school system of New England.
But too much dependence has been placed upon mere instruction, without moral education as a preparative for self-government. There is a radical difference between knowing the right, and feeling a disposition to pursue it. In the language of Brougham, “Knowledge is power, in whatever way it is used. But whether that power shall be available to virtue, depends upon the kind of education which has been given. If a people be educated without any regard to moral instruction, it is only putting instruments into their hands which they have every motive to misuse." Knowledge is not the antagonist of vice; it may become its hand-maid. If the power which knowledge confers is placed in the hands of the people, the disposition to use it rightly should accompany it. It would seem that a very partial acquaintance with the philosophy of mind would lead one to conclude, that knowledge alone can never make a good citizen ; and all history confirms such a conclusion. Intellect may shine as brightly in a Catiline as in a Brutus,-in a Napoleon as in a Washington. Hence society, in making provision for the education of the intellect alone, does only half its duty. The power which this education confers may be turned against society,--and it will be little consolation to reflect that
“ She nursed the pinion that impelled the steel.”
So thought our fathers, when they penned the statutes making the following requisitions upon teachers, even now in our statute-book, although probably unknown to
a large majority of our teachers. “It shall be the duty of all preceptors and teachers of academies, and all other instructers of youth, to exert their best endeavors to impress on the minds of children and youth, committed to their care and instruction, the principles of piety, justice, and a sacred regard to truth, love to their country, humanity, and universal benevolence, sobriety, industry, and frugality, chastity, moderation, and temperance, and those other virtues, which are the ornament of human society, and the basis upon which our republican constitution is founded ; and it shall be the duty of such instructers to endeavor to lead their pupils, as their ages and capacities will admit, into a clear understanding of the tendency of the above-mentioned virtues to preserve and perfect a republican constitution, and secure the blessings of liberty, as well as to promote their future happiness, and also to point out to them the evil tendency of the opposite vices."
Either these requisitions are very much disregarded, or our teachers are very unsuccessful in their efforts to impress upon the minds of their pupils the virtues so strongly recommended. While in all our schools the pupils, with more or less rapidity, at length acquire the common rudiments of knowledge that are there taught, it is almost as certain that, at the same schools their morals are impaired ;-or, at least, such is the moral atmosphere around them, that it is with anxious solicitude that many parents intrust their children to the tuition of the public school. But these are the nurseries which the State has provided for the training of her children. To their care the child is intrusted to be qualified to enter the partner
. ship of society.
These are the responsibilities which society imposes upon her teachers. She demands that they do their duty. The interests of a nation are confided to them. If a parent's happiness, if the welfare of the individual impose responsibilities, how much more the welfare of a nation,-a nation, too, which we in our pride consider as the pole-star of freedom.
It is not so much knowledge on moral and religious subjects that is needed, as the formation of habits of virtue, by moral training. The pupil in one of our schools, mentioned by a late English tourist, as an evidence of the imperfect manner in which our children are taught, who, upon being asked, “In what state was man left after the fall ?”—replied, “ In the state of Vermont,” might, after all, have been better qualified to fulfil his duties in society than many a youth, upon whose memory has been impressed the whole of the catechism, even to the jots and tittles. Knowledge can be attained at any period, but without early moral training, habits of virtue and correct principles can scarcely be attained in after life. Even savage nations understand the influence of early training. It is by early training that those traits of character are developed that distinguish the American Indian. It was by early and long-continued training, that, that love of country and contempt of danger was formed, that was manifested by that Spartan band,
" Who whilome did await, A willing doom in bleak Thermopylæ's sepulchral straits,”— acting out the spirit of that inscription which afterwards marked the place --- Traveller, proclaim at Lacedæmon that here we lie, in obedience to her laws."
If the young savage can be taught to endure the most excruciating torture, without uttering a complaint ; if a Spartan mother could train her child to such habits of fortitude, as to suffer a painful death, rather than divulge the secret of his guilt ; what may we not hope will be accomplished in training our children in all those virtues which adorn a state, when education is rightly understood, and those engaged in its offices act up to the high vocation to which they are called ?
We not unfrequently meet with those who, having once commenced the business of teaching, have abandoned it ;-because, they say, it does not give sufficient scope for the exercise of their powers of mind ;-—so narrow is the sphere in which they are obliged to act, that the employment seems to contract and cramp gies of the mind.
One who makes the business of teaching a mere mechanical routine of duty, engaged in no higher duty than to hear the child recite through the spelling-book from " A to abomination,” and then turn back and begin again ; who considers, with Mr. Squeers, that the children are his natural enemies, and feels as if arrayed in hostility against them, “himself against a host,”—such a one has reason to suspect that his mind has already become so much contracted, that it is very doubtful whether a change of employment will prove a remedy. The wonder is, that in his shrewdness, his suspicions have not been aroused before. A teacher who should enter on his duties with no higher views as to the nature of his employment, might well suspect there was a strong tendency to contraction, before he engaged in the work of education.
But to the teacher who looks at this subject with the eye of a philosopher, who observes its moral aspects, who sees how intimately connected with the happiness of the individual and the welfare of society is education, what an unbounded field for the exercise of the highest intellectual and moral powers, is presented. If he hesitate to enter the field, it is not because he fears that his transcendant powers will be enfeebled by the employment. His fear arises from a view of the greatness of the work, and a sense of his own inability. He hesitates to incur so great responsibilities. He perceives that if any occupation in life has dignity and importance attached to it, this is one. If his profession is an important one, who heals the diseases which flesh is beir to, much more is his, who can prevent them. If bis profession is important, who redresses the injuries of the injured, and pleads the cause of the oppressed, much more is his who shall aid in forming the character of the community, so that injury and oppression shall not exist. If his is a station of responsibility, who is placed upon the “ watchtowers of Zion,” to preach repentance to the people, and to call back the sinful and erring to the path of rectitude, is his less whose duty it is to guard the child froin the stains of earth, and prevent his feet from ever going astray ?
The sculptor, after long years of patient study of his art, commences a work which be hopes will wreath his brows with unfading laurels. In the chambers of his imagination he forms an ideal, which he undertakes to present to the world. He takes the marble from the quarry. Day by day he plies the instruments of his art. Gradually the mass assumes form and beauty ;-until, after years of toil, the ideal which existed in his mind becomes