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of false syntax, of which that work of modest title is largely composed,—you would think authors of many Fnglish grammars might be sadly deficient in the art, if not in the science of Grammar. But this last, lest I should seem to be actuated by some lurking prejudices of which I profess myself to have been long since entirely divested, I do not assert. On this subject consult the work above-mentioned ; I think you will find it richer and more complete on that than on any other subject, except perhaps prosody. In these two respects this book excels all others.
[TO BE CONTINUED.]
SUPERINTENDENT'S QUARTERLY REPORT.
OFFICE OF THE SUPERINTENDENT, PROVIDENCE, May 6, 1865. To the School Committee of the City of Providence :
GENTLEMEN: - It is fitting in this sad hour of our nation's grief to endeavor to trace out the origin of the dire calamities that have befallen us, and to ascertain what connection they may have had with a false or defective system of education.
At first view it has seemed impossible to account for a rebellion so causeless and of such fearful magnitude in an age so enlightened as the present-a rebellion unparalleled for fiendish atrocity in the darkest age of the world's history. Pagan Greece and Rome would have shrunk with horror from the savage barbarity that has characterized this treasonable warfare. But a more careful examination into the social and civil condition of the revolted States discloses the prime cause of all our woes. Slavery, the curse of man, has covered our nation in sack-cloth and filled our house with mourning.
It is this accursed institution that has blighted the fairest portion of our land. Its influence is seen and felt in every member of the body politic. It has changed and modified all the relations of life. It has degraded labor and established an indolent and pleasure-seeking aristocracy. It has divided society into distinct classes, separating them by almost impassable barziers, thus rendering universal and popular education wholly impracticable. In the training of the young, their moral nature has been almost entirely ignored, and the culture of the heart and conscience sadly neglected. By one class intellectual refinement and courtly etiquette have been regarded among the noblest virtues. The laws of chivalry have often been substituted for the laws of God, and the skillful use of the bowie-knife and the revolver has been a passport to the best society, and deemed the highest accomplishments of a gentleman.
A high moral and Christian culture are utterly impossible amid the abominations of slavery. It is but solemn mockery to attempt to inculcate moral precepts when
they are universally violated with impunity. How can children be taught to love their neighbors as themselves, when their neighbors' dearest rights are taken from them and trampled in the dust?
How can they be taught to do to others as they would that they should do to them, when those who teach these sacred truths hold others in cruel bondage, and treat them but little better than the brutes ? How can they be made to understand and to feel that without purity, both in heart and in life, there can be no moral virtue whatever-when the violation of every social tie is ignored, and the vilest debaucheries, sanctioned by practice if not by law are constantly before their eyes ?
Had the youth of the revolted States enjoyed the priviliges of a wise and generous culture—had they been taught to fear God, to obey his laws, and to respect all the rights of man-had they been trained from early childhood to revere the eternal principles of righteousness, justice, and purity—had they been taught to believe that the wicked shall not go unpunished, but that sooner or later a righteous retribution awaits all evil doers—this most infernal rebellion would never have cursed our land.
Whilst we deplore the awful scourge that has been brought upon us by the institution of slavery, let us now rejoice that this blighting curse is forever removed.
May we not in this hour of our trial learn a lesson of wisdom which should lead us to examine more carefully and rigidly our own system of education; to ascertain whether there may not be incipient evils with which we are threatened. Does not the efficiency and excellence of our schools, in the estimation of many, depend more upon the extent and thoroughness of the pupils in the different branches of study than upon their pure and elevated character? and are we not in danger of giving too much prominence to intellectual culture to the neglect of moral ? '
If we would shield our youth against the evils with which they are surrounded, we must begin in early childhood. It is then truth makes the deepest and most indellible impression ; before the poison of bad examples has been infused into the heart ; before the understanding has been blinded by prejudice, perverted by false opinions or enslaved by skepticism. Unless this precious season is rightly improved, we cannot reasonably expect in manhood the mature fruits of patriotism and virtue.
It is to be feared that we are gradually becoming an irreligious people—that infidelity, skepticism and immorality are increasing on every side-that the elements of disorder, anarchy and ruin are gathering their forces for a fearful contest. Our only hope, our only safety, is in the redemptive power of education-moral, Christian, intellectual education--a perfect and harmonious development of the entire man. No narrow or partial culture will suffice. It must be as broad as man's sphere of duty. It must not only be a safeguard and shield against all temptations, but it must possess a vital power to control the passions and propensities of a fallen nature. It must embrace every known duty-social, civil and religious.
The present age is fraught with peculiar dangers. Many of the evils of war continue after the return of peace. A familiarity with the terrible scenes of the battle field and the debasing and demoralizing influence of camp life, have a tendency to blunt the moral sensibility of our youth by rendering less odious every species of wickedness. To guard against this, a new duty is imposed upon all who are entrusted with the nurture and care of the young. Parents, teachers and the friends of humanity should unite in persevering efforts to stay the new tide of evil which is threatening our land. All the means and agencies that a Divine Providence has placed in our hands, to invigorate the intellect and to quicken the sensibilities of the heart, should be employed. No higher duty can be conceived. No more responsible trust can men assume.
There is also danger from another source. Much of the popular and current literature of the day, which is being devoured by the young with great avidity, contains an insidious poison of impurity and infidelity. This is now vitiating the public taste, lowering the high tone of moral purity, and fast corrupting the nation's heart.
There is another class of 'publications which are being widely but stealthily circulated of the very vilest character; these have a debasing and demoralizing influence on the minds of the young which cannot be described. They are furnishing food and stimulants for the very worst passions, which are often excited into a whirlwind of fury that no human power can restrain. They are cowing broadcast the seeds of wickedness, which will as certainly as harvest follows seed.time in the natural world, produce a harvest of crime which we must sooner or later reap.
There have been no marked changes in the general character of our schools since my last report. Most of them are justly entitled to high commendation for the faithful manner in which both teachers and pupils' have performed their work; and I wish I could add that there were no exceptions to be made ; but I am compelled to say that for the lack of interest or skill, or from some other cause, there are schools that have not accomplished all that they ought.
So long as there are teachers who are often late, and who seem anxious to close their schools before the regular time, who appoint monitors for their classes while they write notes or visit other rooms, we shall be sure to find indifferent schools. In no sphere of duty are faithful labor and earnest effort more, apparent than in the school-room. The inexperienced may sometimes be deceived, but the practiced eye can detect any defect or irregularity as readily as the skillful mechanic can discover the slightest friction in the most perfect machinery. Much valuable time is lost in the school by long and tedious attempts to explain what needs no explanation, and also by the introduction of many useless rules and regulations in school discipline. The fewer and more simple the rules, the better. And those schools are the best governed where children are taught mainly to govern themselves. And those are usually the best taught whose pupils are instructed to rely most upon their own powers.
The number of pupils registered the past term is somewhat smaller than usual. The principal cause of this diminution is the removal of Roman Catholic children to attend schools of their own denomination. The whole number admitted is 7332. In the High School there have been received 259; in the Grammar Schools, 1988; in the Intermediate, 1840; in the Primary, 3245. All which is respectfully submitted.
DANIEL LEACH, Supt. Public Schools.
RESIDENT EDITORS' DEPARTMENT.
The City Council at a late meeting increased the salary of the Superintendent of our city schools $200, making the salary $2,000. We are glad to know that our City Fathers are beginning to appreciate the labors of our worthy Superintendent. His efforts to make our schools an honor to the city have been untiring and constant, and we rejoice that his labors have been successful.
The Valedictory Essay of the Providence High School Exhibition, May 3d, 1865,
BY MISS CLARA T. CHILDS.
THERE are longings and aspirations of the human soul that the cold realities of this practical world are far from satisfying. Incapable of creating, and unaided by the light of Revelation, it deifies the aspects and harmonies of nature, filling them with the spirit of life. Thus, from the midst of the fair land of Greece, so romantically situated, so bountifully favored by nature with beauty and picturesqueness, there sprung up a mythology, the most light, airy, and beautiful in its forms that the fantasy and credulity of the people could furnish. In these “ bubbles and rainbows of human fancy, rising so aimless and buoyant with a mere freshness of animal life against a black back-ground of utter and hopeless ignorance as to man's past or future,” the artist has found a bountiful field upon which to display his powers. The country, the belief, would seem to furnish a world of thought in which the poet or the artist might revel amid its greatest pleasures. We find it so. The poet sings the deeds of the gods and goddesses, while by the chisel of the sculptor or the brush of the painter they have been immortalized. Venus de Medici, that “statue that enchants the world,” still stands untouched by time, with its form of wondrous beauty, remaining an imperishable monument to the
genius of Cleomener, the Athenian. Apollo, “lord of the unerring bow,” his countenance illumined by a consciousness of triumphant power, is seen exulting in his victory over the serpent Python. The aged Laocoon still strives in vain to free himself and sons from the “coiling strain and gripe and deepening of the dragon's grasp,” while the terrified mother, who brought down upon herself and offspring the vengeance of the gods, clasps in her arms her expiring children, raising in vain her imploring eyes to the heavens for mercy.
“ To stone the gods have changed her, but in vain
The sculptor's art has made her breathe again,"
and Niobe, the unhappy parent, lives. The name of Phidias comes down to us in connection with the famed Minerva of the Parthenon, so beautiful and dignified in her regal wisdom, and with the great Olympian Jupiter, whose mandates were once held supreme. These are but a few of the great subjects which the fruitful mythology of the ancients furnish to art, as materials upon which to develop its heavenborn energies. The walls of the lordly Vatican at Rome, of the majestic Dameo at Florence, contain numberless specimens of ancient beauty and genius, numberless works of delicate grace and massive grandeur. The cold statues of marble, the bright glowing canvas gratify to the utmost the love of the beautiful. The eye lingers upon the forms of faultless shape and beauty, the colors of inimitable shade and arrangement, worshipping in silent admiration this great triumph of the skill and genius of mankind. Yet no higher sentiment is awakened, to no nobler part of our being do these works of ancient art appeal. The eye is fixed, as by some mighty spell, at their loveliness and beauty, the senses are gratified. This is all.
Farther north, among the wilds of Scandinavia, Iceland, in the vast solitudes around him, Nature spoke to the poet in terms in unison with the wild beatings of his heart. “From the midnight gloom of groves, the deep-voiced pines answered the deeper-voiced and neighboring sea. Yet to his ear these were not the voices of dead but of living things. Demons rode the ocean like a weary steed, and the gigantic pines flapped their sounding wings to smite the spirit of the storms.” We find not here the graceful lightness of the Grecian paganism, but a simple, brave, heavy rusticity. The elements of the belief contain a massiveness, a grandeur and a beauty deserving a better commemoration than they have received. Yet the artist seems