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or for instruction turns. There were votes for establishing the Free Academy 19,404, against it 3409, giving the enormous and honourable majority in favour of instruction of 15,995—and thus the scheme went on, and the beautiful new edifice was opened in the beginning of 1849, with the following staff of professors :
Mathematics and Natural Philosophy.
No government is so much in need of universal enlightenment, or so much in danger from popular ignorance, as the republican. Each member of it ought, by having a certain store of knowledge laid up in his own mind, to be sheltered from the overpowering influences of eloquence, the hasty and unweighed opinions of talking demagogues, and the misleading sympathies of popular cries. He requires to discern the liberal from the selfish, the just from the unjust. Not only his own, but the general welfare, is concerned in his being able to take a part in carrying on its government; he may be required to enact laws, or to aid in their execu-tion when enacted. If he understands his own rights as a citizen, and those of his neighbours, and
takes any part that may fall to him in carrying on the government, he will gain a useful ascendency, and may, by means of superior cultivation, become a help, an honour, and a blessing to his country. Therefore it is pleasant to consider that the largest proportion of those who enjoy the advantages of the Free Academy are sprung from parents who could not well afford to give them such an educationand that the only barrier against their admission is deficient attainment in those lessons which they ought to have previously acquired in the Common School.
It is curious to remark the grounds of dissent from the plan of the Free Academy propounded by Horace Greeley—a kind of republican run mad, who objects to learning the dead languages, because science and art are of far greater practical importance, and refuses to afford to a part of the youth a more costly education, because it cannot be provided for, and freely proffered to all.
If the Free Academy were to abridge the powers and extent of the Common School, the objection might be valid; but as it only offers the deeper cup of instruction to the lip which has already drained the shallower, and as it only passes it from those who, from position or slow attainment, have not leisure or relish for it, one apprehends that the objection is unsound, or mayhap insincere, and got up to serve some political turn.
A republic possesses a sacred trust in the talents
of its citizens, and ought to cultivate them for the public good—and the more that the average of talent is low, ought those who rise above the average to be cared for. As you would select the strongest to bear the standard, and the bravest to man the breach, so should you cherish him of powerful intellect to deal with the laws and executive of his country. Self-educated and self-raised persons are apt to despise the ladder to learning, from a notion that if mind is worth anything, it will find its level. But what an advantage to remove early difficulties, and suggest pursuits that may be selected according to taste. These selfraised know not how much higher they might have risen, or how much better they might have acquitted themselves, had they been early placed amid the facilities which education furnishes.
New York may bravely lift up her head and say she has not left the “stepchildren of nature and fortune, the outcast, the benighted, the brutalised, and the homeless,” to flee to a rock for shelter. She has generously opened her arms, and is opening them wider and wider still. She has instructed thousands, and will instruct thousands more. Besides the very extensive benevolent institutions sustained by voluntary subscription, the report for 1850 shews at least nearly 11,000 dollars contributed by the city, to aid in sustaining orphan houses, blind asylums, and places of reform for juvenile delinquents. How
How poor and dangerous a plea i
for depriving the few of the refining and expanding influences of good scholarship, that the same boon cannot be conferred on the masses !—and how much need has á republic of leading minds, well imbued with principles of justice, and enriched with the histories of other ages and other nations, and with their experience, under a just and wise Providence, of past failures and successes! It is easy to raise a popular cry which may frustrate the wisest purposes. Such a cry, about liberty of conscience, has hooted all catechisms and creeds out of the present scheme of instruction; and, in virtue of the city having at present an inheritance of children, whose parents, as Romanists, dare not, or as infidels, will not, read the Scriptures, the Holy Book, and all teaching founded on it, are sparingly used in the Common Schools. How this comports with the order of a country calling itself Christian, and essentially Christian in most of its institutions, it is not easy to see; while it is very easy to see that a cry raised about encroachment on liberty of conscience was sure to tell on a people so jealous for liberty as are the Americans.
It is melancholy to observe bright children, capable of all manner of impressions, well versed in the brief history of their own country, but utterly ignorant, so far as the school-teaching goes, of the history of the world they live in, its creation, the path by which they may pass safely through it, and, above all, of how they may go well out of it.
It will be said that this statement is not fact, and
that a portion of Scripture is read each morning, and the Lord's prayer said, or sometimes chanted, at the opening of the school. This is optional, and, judging by delicate admonitions in the reports, it would appear is omitted by some teachers. If reading the Scriptures were steadily observed, it could not be said that some classes, after learning to read, pass on to other things, and never read any more, or at least read a little history so seldom, that the inspectors complain of reading not being cultivated as an art, and say there is no reason why the pupils should not read as well as Miss Fanny Kemble, to listen to whose “readings of Shakspere," the taste and cultivation of the city were thronging.
It is an excellent rule to begin the day by the habitual reading of the Word of God. Let it be without note or comment, if that be necessary to security against the teacher's peculiar dogmas, but still let it be—solemnly and soberly. How many whose hours are hereafter to be spent in earning a livelihood, may thus stow up sacred sentiments to fall back upon when the time of reflection or of retrospection comes. And if there is to be no more extended petition than what is found in the Lord's Prayer, at least let that be said, not sung, with deliberation and reverence, each in the attitude of prayer.
Were the vote re-considered, apart from any false excitement about encroachment on liberty of con