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college, he gave to the said trustee full power to apply the whole income of the residuary estate to its own benefit, namely, to diminish the burden of taxation, until such time as, in the judgment of the same trustee, the necessity might arise for using it in the maintenance of the college. And this he did at the same time that he declared expressly that the education of orphans, and the institution to be created for that purpose, was the primary object of the whole will.” Here, plainly, is a bribe to the full amount of the income of $4,000,000, offered to the trustee of his own choice, and by his own hand, to violate ad perpetuum the main intention of his own last will and testament. Surely, never was man more infatuated, or more inconsistent with himself. That deep insight into the relations of cause and effect, and that never-failing sagacity resulting therefrom, which had been the chief instruments in the accumulation of his vast estate, would seem to have taken leave of him, when he came to dispose of it.
3. The third cause of the delay so generally and justly complained of, is the remarkable opinion of John Sergeant and Horace Binney, Esqs., the two most distinguished lawyers of the Philadelphia bar, that, without violating the terms of the will, the college cannot be opened for the reception of pupils until all the buildings are completed, and furnished with every thing needful to carry the design of the testator into execution. I call this a remarkable opinion, considering the source whence it emanates, because it is a mere inference from the phraseology of the will, and the relative position of certain paragraphs in the section relating to the college ; because it rests at best upon an extremely doubtful con
struction,-a construction deriving all its force from the mere position of the clause on which it is founded, -a construction which, nine persons out of ten, if not ninetynine out of a hundred, would never think of; and because it is contradicted by a positive injunction in the will, as plain as words can make it, that “the institution shall be organized as soon as practicable.” A formal refutation of this opinion, though easily accomplished by the application of the plain principles of common sense to the interpretation of the document, would be upon the present occasion both an ill-timed and fruitless labor. It is enough for my present purpose to have referred to the opinion, given officially on application by the Board of Trustees, as an impediment of no slight magnitude to the organization of the institution. It will be sufficient, on this part of my subject, to add, which I do with great pleasure, that the Councils have ceased to use the income of the residuary funds for city purposes, that the main building is progressing towards its completion, and that there is ground to hope that further delays, so far as they are causeless, will be avoided.
The only fruit hitherto of Mr. Girard's munificent bequest, so far as the promotion of the cause of education is concerned, is the able “Report on Education in Europe,” of Alexander Dallas Bache, LL. D., President of the Girard College. This is an elaborate and detailed account of the various systems of education and chief educational establishments in Europe. I know of no other work which contains such a vast and welldigested body of information touching these matters, or which so well deserves to be studied by those who frame and administer our systems of instruction, and by all who
believe that the education of the people is essential to the purity and perpetuity of our social institutions, and identified with the cause of morals and religion, with the triumph of law over mob violence, and with the promotion of all the great interests of society. I have read the Report of Dr. Bache attentively, I have been nearly three years associated with him in teaching, and longer in habits of familiar intercourse, and have conversed with him freely and repeatedly on all the topics relating to the interests of education. His sentiments on all the leading questions connected wtth the training of the young, seern to me eminently characterized by sobriety and good
ense, and to be of excellent augury for the usefulness of the institution over which he will undoubtedly be called to preside, whenever it shall go into operation. I have no hesitation in expressing the opinion that he possesses qualifications for the organization and conduct of the school, superior to those of any other citizen in the Union. Under his enlightened and efficient administration, it may confidently be predicted that the Girard College will become a MODEL INSTITUTION, scarcely less useful by its influence in correcting wrong modes of instruction, and in raising the general standard of education, than by the more direct benefit of adding to the number of well-instructed and virtuous citizens.
It only remains to glance at some of the objects which, from the several data within our reach, we may reasonably conclude the Girard College will aim to accomplish. It will, I think, be regarded by the members of this Institute as just ground of rejoicing, that the president of the college is disposed to use the college, as far as may be, in the preparation of teachers. The great want of our country, at this moment, in so far as popular schools are concerned, is a body of well qualified instructors ; a want, however, which can never be met, till these are specially prepared for their business, by an appropriate course of theoretical and practical training. The errors of mankind are innumerable ; every age and country has its share ; but, among them all, there is scarcely one more remarkable, or more disastrous in its influence, than the idea that persons without any special qualifications may make very tolerable instructors of the young. No fallacy could be more preposterous, and no course of action more shortsighted than that which has resulted from it. It is not thus that men think and act on other subjects. To say nothing of the learned professions, in any one of which a man would seek long for employment without any previous preparation,--they who build our houses, make our shoes, teach our sons to ride and our daughters to dance, and cut our coats and hair, must all understand their business; and an apprenticeship of several years must be served by a cabinet-maker, before he is allowed to undertake the formation of an elegant piece of furniture, when nothing can result from failure but the loss of the rude material and the workman's time. But the infant mind, that most delicate and complex piece of the Almighty's workmanship, is, without the slightest apparent hesitation or misgiving, committed to men who have never studied even the first principles of its structure,—and that, too, at a time when its parts are most easily disarranged, and when such disarrangement produces the most fatal and lasting effects. As long as such views practically prevail, it is vain to look for the fruits of wise and thorough instruction. There is no stronger
conviction in my mind, than that little, comparatively, can be effected towards raising popular education to its proper level, till we have a supply of teachers trained to their business, and the occupation of teaching takes rank among the learned professions. When the title of schoolmaster, now almost a reproach, shall become a passport to respect, then, and not till then, will the common education be what it ought to be. And who is entitled to a higher degree of respect than the competent, faithful, laborious instructor of youth ? What nobler work can task the human energies, than that of training immortal beings to act well their part in life, and to enjoy the rewards of goodness throughout interminable ages ? It may be affirmed, without the least hesitation, that there is no office in general society more truly honorable, and none on which the present and future well being of the human race so much depends. From various causes, however, though chiefly from an almost universal deficiency in the qualifications of teachers,—the office has been rendered inefficient for the great purposes of human improvement, and the teacher himself degraded from the rank which he ought to hold in the scale of society. He must now be raised to the proper elevation in that scale, or we must be content to forego the advantages of a higher moral and intellectual developement of the popular mind. Without qualified teachers we cannot have good schools; without special training, we cannot have qualified teach
These positions are so much the nature of axioms, the relations of cause and effect expressed in them are so plain, and the best interests of society are so deeply involved in the general application of the principles they embody, that it is most remarkable that any can dis