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Title: Popular Education - For the use of Parents and Teachers, and for Young Persons of Both Sexes
Author: Mayhew, Ira, 1814-1894
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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[Illustration: FREE ACADEMY, NEW YORK. [See p. 386.]]

                  POPULAR EDUCATION:

                    FOR THE USE OF
                 PARENTS AND TEACHERS,
                       AND FOR

                   State of Michigan.

                 BY IRA MAYHEW, A.M.,

                      NEW YORK:
                  82 CLIFF STREET.

 Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year one thousand eight
 hundred and fifty, by
 in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the
 District of Michigan.

                  State of Michigan:

                         HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,       }
                         _Lansing, February 27th 1849._  }

  HON. IRA MAYHEW, _Superintendent of Public Instruction_:

  SIR: I am instructed by the House of Representatives to transmit to you
  the following preamble and resolution, and to respectfully inform you
  that the same were this day _unanimously_ adopted by the House.

    I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

      A. W. HOVEY, Clerk of the House of Representatives.

_Whereas_, In the opinion of this House, a Manual on the subject of
Popular Education, embracing such considerations as shall have a
tendency to arouse the popular mind to a due appreciation of the
importance--in a political, social, moral, and religious point of
view--of securing to every child in all our borders a good common school
education, together with such instructions to citizens and teachers as
shall constitute a directory to the highest improvement of which our
primary schools are susceptible, is a desideratum; therefore,

_Resolved, by the House of Representatives of the State of Michigan:_
That the Hon. IRA MAYHEW, the present Superintendent of Public
Instruction in this state, be requested to prepare for publication, in
book form, the various matters set forth in his public Lectures,
delivered by request of the Legislature, in the Hall of the House,
during the present session, together with such other matter as, in his
judgment, would tend to the further improvement of our system of public
instruction; to the end that the necessary information in regard to this
subject may be diffused throughout the state and nation.

* * A Preamble and Resolution similar to the preceding were likewise
adopted by the Senate.


Who is sufficient for these things? is a question which any one may well
ask when sitting down to the preparation of a treatise on popular
education. The author of this work would have shrunk from the
undertaking, but from deference to the judgment of the honorable body
that unanimously invited its preparation. He has also been encouraged
not a little by many kind friends, one of whom, distinguished for his
labors in the department of public instruction, writing from New
England, says, "I rejoice at your good beginnings at the West. You have
a noble and inspiring field of action. 'No pent-up Utica contracts your
powers.' I beseech you, fail not to fill it with your glorious
educational truth, though you should pour out your spirit and your life
to do so."

The duties required by law of the Superintendent of Public Instruction
in the State of Michigan are comparatively few. The author, however,
five years ago, and soon after entering upon the discharge of those
duties, undertook _voluntary labors_ for the purpose of awakening a
deeper interest with all classes of the community in behalf of common
schools, and of inspiring confidence in their redeeming power, when
improved as they may be, constituting, as they do, _the only reliable
instrumentality for the proper training of the rising generation_. These
labors, which were hailed as promising great usefulness, and which were
prosecuted in every county of the state, were every where received with
unexpected favor, and constitute the foundation of the present volume.
Many of the subjects then discussed are here greatly amplified.

Among the lectures referred to in the resolution under which this work
has been undertaken, was one on the "Michigan School System." But as the
Convention for the revision of the Constitution of this state is now in
session, it has been deemed advisable to omit, in this connection, the
extensive consideration of the details of that system. This may
constitute the theme of a small manual which shall hereafter appear.

In the present volume the author has endeavored so to present the
subject of popular education, which should have reference to the _whole
man_--the body, the mind, and the heart--and so to unfold its nature,
advantages, and claims, as to make it every where acceptable. Nay, more,
he would have a good common education considered as the inalienable
right of every child in the community, and have it placed _first among
the necessaries of life_. For the better accomplishment of his object,
he has freely drawn from the writings of practical educators, his aim
being usefulness rather than originality. This course has been adopted,
in some instances, for the sole purpose of enforcing the sentiments
inculcated by the authority of the names introduced. Acknowledgments
have generally been made in the body of the work. These may have been
unintentionally omitted in some instances, and especially in those
portions of the work which were written several years ago, and the
sources whence information was drawn are now unknown.

An examination of the table of contents, and especially of the index at
the end of the volume, will show the range of subjects considered, and
their adaptation to the wants and _necessities_, I may say, of the
several classes of persons named in the title-page, for whose use it was
undertaken. Written, as it has been, for Parents and Teachers, and for
Young Persons of both sexes, it is what its title implies--a treatise on
Popular Education--and is equally applicable to the wants of families
and schools in every portion of our wide-spread country.

With all its imperfections, of which no one can be more sensible than
the author, this volume is given to the public, with the hope that it
may contribute, in some degree, to advance the work of general education
in the United States, but more especially in the State of Michigan.

                                                             IRA MAYHEW.

Monroe, Mich., July 4th, 1850.


 In what does a correct Education consist?            Page 13

 The Importance of Physical Education                      28

 Physical Education--The Laws of Health                    44

 The Laws of Health--Philosophy of Respiration             81

 The Nature of Intellectual and Moral Education           111

 The Education of the Five Senses                         146

 The Necessity of Moral and Religious Education           193

 The Importance of Popular Education                      224
 Education dissipates the Evils of Ignorance              226
 Education increases the Productiveness of Labor          253
 Education diminishes Pauperism and Crime                 286
 Education increases human Happiness                      311

 Political Necessity of National Education                325
 The Practicability of National Education                 353

 The Means of Universal Education                         362
 Good School-houses should be provided                    372
 Well-qualified Teachers should be employed               410
 Schools should continue through the Year                 440
 Every Child should attend School                         442
 The redeeming Power of Common Schools                    454

 INDEX.                                                   461




    I call that education which embraces the culture of the whole man,
    with all his faculties--subjecting his senses, his understanding,
    and his passions to reason, to conscience, and to the evangelical
    laws of the Christian revelation.--DE FELLENBERG.

From the beginning of human records to the present time, the inferior
animals have changed as little as the herbage upon which they feed, or
the trees beneath which they find shelter. In one generation, they
attain all the perfection of which their nature is susceptible. That
Being without whose notice not even a sparrow falls to the ground, has
provided for the supply of their wants, and has adapted each to the
element in which it moves. To birds he has given a clothing of feathers;
and to quadrupeds, of furs, adapted to their latitudes. Where art is
requisite in providing food for future want, or in constructing a
needful habitation, as in the case of the bee and the beaver, a peculiar
aptitude has been bestowed, which, in all the inferior races of animals,
has been found adequate to their necessities. The crocodile that issues
from its egg in the warm sand, and never sees its parent, becomes, it
has been well said, as perfect and as knowing as any crocodile.

Not so with man! "He comes into the world," says an eloquent writer,
"the most helpless and dependent of living beings, long to continue so.
If deserted by parents at an early age, so that he can learn only what
the experience of one life may teach him--as to a few individuals has
happened, who yet have attained maturity in woods and deserts--he grows
up in some respect inferior to the nobler brutes. Now, as regards many
regions of the earth, history exhibits the early human inhabitants in
states of ignorance and barbarism, not far removed from this lowest
possible grade, which civilized men may shudder to contemplate. But
these countries, occupied formerly by straggling hordes of miserable
savages, who could scarcely defend themselves against the wild beasts
that shared the woods with them, and the inclemencies of the weather,
and the consequences of want and fatigue; and who to each other were
often more dangerous than any wild beasts, unceasingly warring among
themselves, and destroying each other with every species of savage, and
even cannibal cruelty--countries so occupied formerly, are now become
the abodes of myriads of peaceful, civilized, and friendly men, where
the desert and impenetrable forest are changed into cultivated fields,
rich gardens, and magnificent cities.

"It is the strong intellect of man, operating with the faculty of
language as a means, which has gradually worked this wonderful change.
By language, fathers communicated their gathered experience and
reflections to their children, and these to succeeding children, with
new accumulation; and when, after many generations, the precious store
had grown until memory could contain no more, the arts of writing, and
then of printing, arose, making language visible and permanent, and
enlarging illimitably the repositories of knowledge. Language thus, at
the present moment of the world's existence, may be said to bind the
whole human race of uncounted millions into one gigantic rational being,
whose memory reaches to the beginnings of written records, and retains
imperishably the important events that have occurred; whose judgment,
analyzing the treasures of memory, has discovered many of the sublime
and unchanging laws of nature, and has built on them all the arts of
life, and through them, piercing far into futurity, sees clearly many of
the events that are to come; and whose eyes, and ears, and observing
mind at this moment, in every corner of the earth, are watching and
recording new phenomena, for the purpose of still better comprehending
the magnificence and beautiful order of creation, and of more worthily
adoring its beneficent Author.

"It might be very interesting to show here, in minute detail, how the
arts of civilization have progressed in accordance with the gradual
increase of man's knowledge of the universe; but it would lead too far
from the main subject." The preceding sketch may remind us of the low
condition of man in a state of ignorance and barbarism, and of the high
condition to which he may be brought by cultivation. We possess a
material and an immaterial part, mutually dependent on each other. On
one hand, we may well say to corruption, Thou art my father; and to the
worm, Thou art my mother and my sister. On the other hand, the Psalmist
says of man, Thou hast made him a little lower than the angels.

In the Scriptures we learn the origin and history of man--the subject of
education. He was created in the image of his Maker. It was his
delightful employment, in innocency, to dress the beautiful garden in
which he dwelt. Presently we learn he transgressed. His subsequent
career becomes infelicitous. In the earlier history of the human race,
the days of his pilgrimage were protracted several hundred years. In
process of time, because of the prevalence of sin, a universal deluge
swept away the entire family of man, save _one_--a preacher of
righteousness--and those of his household. Subsequently his days were
shortened to three score years and ten. Much of this time is consumed in
helpless infancy, in sleep, and in securing the necessary means of
supporting animal life. This, it would seem, is calamity enough; but not
so. Man finds himself beset with temptations on every side, to deepen
and perpetuate his degradation, by giving reign to unbridled passion.

But a Light has shined upon his dark pathway, pointing him to a brighter
country, and beckoning him thither. Under these adverse circumstances,
it becomes the duty of the Educator to unfold the opening energies of
his youthful charge; to mold their plastic character, and to assist
their efforts in the recovery of that which was lost, and in the
attainment of immortality and eternal life.

These are strong views, I am aware; but nothing less would be adequate
to the nature and wants of man. In these views I am fully sustained by
nearly every writer of any distinction in Europe and America. In a
volume of prize essays on the expediency and means of elevating the
profession of the educator in society, published in London, under the
direction of the central society of education, one of the writers,
introducing a quotation from an American author, says, I can not resist
the pleasure of quoting a few of Alcott's brief sentences, by way of
conclusion to the present division of the argument. The voice that has
been sent athwart the Atlantic may find an echo in some British bosoms.

These are its words: "Education includes all those influences and
disciplines by which the faculties of man are unfolded and perfected. It
is that agency that takes the helpless and pleading infant from the
hands of its Creator, and, apprehending its entire nature, tempts it
forth, now by austere, and now by kindly influences and disciplines, and
thus molds it at last into the image of a perfect man; armed at all
points to use the body, nature, and life for its growth and renewal, and
to hold dominion over the fluctuating things of the outward. It seeks to
realize in the soul the image of the Creator. Its end is a perfect man.
Its aim, through every stage of influence, is self-renewal. The body,
nature, and life are its instruments and materials. Jesus is its
worthiest ideal--Christianity its purest organ. The Gospels are its
fullest text-book--genius is its inspiration--holiness its
law--temperance its discipline--immortality its reward."

Says Dr. Howe, in a lecture before the American Institute of
Instruction, "Education should have for its aim the development and
greatest possible perfection of the whole nature of man: his moral,
intellectual, and physical nature. My _beau ideal_ of human nature would
be a being whose intellectual faculties were active and enlightened;
whose moral sentiments were dignified and firm; whose physical formation
was healthy and beautiful: whoever falls short of this, in one
particular--be it in but the least, beauty and vigor of body--falls
short of the standard of perfection. To this standard, I believe, man is
approaching; and I believe the time will soon be when specimens of it
will not be rare."

The following thoughts are drawn from a treatise on the "Mental
Illumination and Moral Improvement of Mankind," by that very judicious
and celebrated writer, Dr. Dick, of Scotland. The education of human
beings, considered in its most extensive sense, comprehends every thing
which is requisite to the cultivation and improvement of the faculties
bestowed upon them by the Creator. It ought to embrace every thing that
has a tendency to strengthen and invigorate the animal system; to
enlighten and expand the understanding; to regulate the feelings and
dispositions of the heart; and, in general, to direct the moral powers
in such a manner as to render those who are the subjects of instruction
happy in themselves, useful members of society, and qualified for
entering upon the scenes and employments of a future and more glorious

It is a very common but absurd notion, and one that has been too long
acted upon, that the education of youth terminates, or should terminate,
about the age of thirteen or fourteen years. Hence, in an article on
this subject in one of our encyclopedias, education is defined to be
"that series of means by which the human understanding is gradually
enlightened, between infancy and the period when we consider ourselves
as qualified to take a part in active life, and, _ceasing to direct our
views to the acquisition of new knowledge or the formation of new
habits_, are content to act upon the principles we have already

This definition, though accordant with general opinion and practice, is
certainly a very limited and defective view of the subject. In the
ordinary mode of our scholastic instruction, education, so far from
being _finished_ at the age above stated, can scarcely be said to have
_commenced_. The _key_ of knowledge has indeed been put into the hands
of the young; but they have never been taught to unlock the gates to the
temple of science, to enter within its portals, to contemplate its
treasures, and to feast their minds on the entertainments there
provided. Several moral maxims have been impressed on their memories;
but they have seldom been taught to appreciate them in all their
bearings, or to reduce them to practice in the various and minute
ramifications of their conduct. Besides, although every rational means
were employed for training the youthful mind till the age above named,
no valid reason can be assigned why regular instruction should cease at
this early period.

Man is a progressive being; his faculties are capable of an indefinite
expansion; the objects to which these faculties may be directed are
boundless and infinitely diversified; he is moving onward to an eternal
world, and, in the present state, can never expect to grasp the
universal system of created objects, or to rise to the highest point of
moral excellence. His tuition, therefore, can not be supposed to
terminate at any period of his terrestrial existence; and the course of
his life ought to be considered as nothing more than the course of his
education. When he closes his eyes in death, and bids a last adieu to
every thing here below, he passes into a more permanent and expansive
state of existence, where his education will likewise be progressive,
and where intelligences of a higher order may be his instructors; and
the education he received in this transitory scene, _if it was properly
conducted_, will found the ground-work of all his future progressions in
knowledge and virtue throughout the succeeding periods of eternity.

There are two very glaring defects which appear in most of our treatises
on education. In the first place, the moral tuition of youthful minds,
and the grand principles of religion which ought to direct their views
and conduct, are either entirely overlooked, or treated of in so vague
and general a manner, as to induce a belief that they are considered
matters of very inferior moment; and, in the business of teaching, and
the superintendence of the young, the moral precepts of Christianity
are seldom made to bear with particularity upon every malignant
affection that manifests itself, and every minor delinquency that
appears in their conduct, or to direct the benevolent affections how to
operate in every given circumstance, and in all their intercourses and
associations. In the next place, the idea that man is a being destined
to an immortal existence, is almost, if not altogether overlooked.
Volumes have been written on the best modes of training men for the
profession of a soldier, of a naval officer, of a merchant, of a
physician, of a lawyer, of a clergyman, and of a statesman; but I know
of no treatise on this subject which, in connection with other
subordinate aims, has for its grand object to develop that train of
instruction which is most appropriate for man considered as a candidate
for immortality. This is the more unaccountable, since, in the works
alluded to, the eternal destiny of human beings is not called in
question, and is sometimes referred to as a general position which can
not be denied; yet the means of instruction requisite to guide them in
safety to their final destination, and to prepare them for the
employments of their everlasting abode, are either overlooked, or
referred to in general terms, as if they were unworthy of particular
consideration. To admit the doctrine of the immortality of the human
soul, and yet to leave out the consideration of it, in a system of
mental instruction, is both impious and preposterous, and inconsistent
with the principle on which we generally act in other cases, which
requires that affairs of the greatest moment should occupy our chief
attention. If man is only a transitory inhabitant of this lower world;
if he is journeying to another and more important scene of action and
enjoyment; if his abode in this higher scene is to be permanent and
eternal; and if the course of instruction through which he now passes
has an important bearing on his happiness in that state, and his
preparation for its enjoyments--if all this be true, then surely every
system of education must be glaringly defective which either overlooks
or throws into the shade the immortal destination of human beings.

If these sentiments be admitted as just, the education of the young
becomes a subject of the highest importance. There can not be an object
more interesting to Science, to Religion, and to general Christian
society, than the forming of those arrangements, and the establishing of
those institutions, which are calculated to train the minds of all to
knowledge and moral rectitude, and to guide their steps in the path
which leads to a blessed immortality. In this process there is no period
in human life that aught to be overlooked. We must commence the work of
instruction when the first dawning of reason begins to appear, and
continue the process through all the succeeding periods of mortal
existence, till the spirit takes its flight to the world unknown.

While we would bring clearly into view the nature of that education
which is needful for man, considered as a candidate for immortality, we
would by no means overlook those subordinate aims which have reference
to his present condition, and the relations he sustains in this life.
The two are so intimately connected, and sustain such a reciprocal
relation to each other, that each is best secured by that system of
training and in the use of those appliances by which the other is most
successfully promoted. In training the rising generation for the proper
discharge of their duty to themselves and to one another--as children,
and subsequently as parents; as members of society and citizens of free
and independent states--we at the same time best promote their
interests as candidates for immortality. It is equally true that any
system of education which omits to provide for man's highest and
enduring wants as an immortal being, in a proportionate degree falls
short of providing for his dearest interests and best good in this life.

The system of education which we should promote comprehends whatever may
have any good influence in developing the mind, by giving direction to
thought, or bias the motives of action. To lead infancy in the path of
duty, to give direction to an immortal spirit, and to teach it to aspire
by well-doing to the rewards of virtue, is the first step of
instruction. To youth, education imparts that knowledge whose ways are
usefulness and honor, and by due restraint and subordination, makes
individual to intwine with public good in a just observance of laws,
comprehending the path of duty. To manhood, it "leads him to reflect on
the ties that unite him with friends, with kindred, and with the great
family of mankind, and makes his bosom glow with social tenderness; it
confirms the emotions of sympathy into habitual benevolence, imparts to
him the elating delight of rejoicing with those who rejoice, and, if his
means are not always adequate to the suggestions of his charity, soothes
him at last with the melancholy pleasure of weeping with those who
weep." To age, it gives consolation, by remembrance of the past, and
anticipation of the future. Wisdom is drawn from experience, to give
constancy to virtue; and amid all the vicissitudes of life, it enables
him to repose unshaken confidence in that goodness which, by the
arrangement of the universe, constantly incites him to perpetual
progress in excellence and felicity. Education is the growth and
improvement of the mind. Its great object is immediate and prospective
happiness. That, then, is the best education which secures to the
individual and to the world the greatest amount of permanent happiness,
and that the best system which most effectually accomplishes this grand
design. How far this is accomplished by the present systems of education
is not easily determined, but that it fails in many important
considerations can not admit of a doubt.

It is feared that, by a great majority, a wrong estimate is made of
education. Is it not generally considered as a _means_ which must be
employed to accomplish _some other purpose_, and consequently made
subservient and secondary to the employments of life? Is it not
considered as being contained in books, and a certain routine of
studies, which, when gone through with, is believed to be accomplished,
and consequently laid by, to be used as interest may suggest or
convenience demand? Education comprehends all the improvements of the
mind from the cradle to the grave. Every man is what education has made
him, whether he has drunk deep at the Pierian spring, or sipped at the
humblest fountain. The philosopher, whose comprehensive mind can scan
the universe, and read and interpret the phenomena of nature; whose
heaven-aspiring spirit can soar beyond the boundaries of time, indulge
in the anticipation of immortality, and discern in the past, the
present, and the future the all-pervading spirit of benevolence, is
equally the child of education with him whose soul proud science never
taught to feel its wants, and know how little may be known.

As we have already said, man possesses a material and an immaterial
part, mutually dependent on each other. These are so intimately
connected, and sustain such a reciprocal relation to each other, that
neither can be neglected without detriment to both. The body continually
modifies the state of the mind, and the mind ever varies the condition
of the body. Mental and physical training should, then, go together.
That system of instruction which relates exclusively to either, is a
partial system, and its fate must be that of a house divided against
itself. Education has reference to the _whole man_. It seeks to make him
a complete creature after his kind, giving to both mind and body all the
power, all the beauty, and all the perfection of which they are capable.

Our systems of education have hitherto fallen far short of this high and
only true standard. Education, in too many instances, has been confined,
almost entirely, to either the physical, intellectual, or moral energies
of men. With the greater part, it has been limited to the _physical
powers_. No effort has been made to develop any but their bodily
strength, animal passions, and instinctive feelings. Accordingly, the
great mass of mankind are raised but little above inferior animals. They
labor hard, and boast of their strength; gratify their passions, and
glory in their shame; eat and drink, sleep and wake, supposing to-morrow
will be like the present. They are scarcely aware of their rational,
intellectual powers, much less of their ever-expanding and never-dying
spirits; consequently they feel but imperfectly their responsibility,
and are governed principally by the fear of human authority. They have
been taught to fear or reverence nothing higher. Their education is
confined to animal feeling--physical energies. They have no conception
of any thing beyond. The whole intellectual world, and all hereafter, is
narrowed down to the animal feeling of the present time. How erroneous!
How badly educated! And what are we to anticipate when only the physical
energies of men generally are thus developed? Why, surely, what we are
beginning to witness--namely, physical power, trampling on all

The education of others is confined principally to _intellect_. Not that
their physical powers are not necessarily more or less developed, but
that their attention is directed almost exclusively to intellectual
attainments. From the earliest infancy their minds are taxed, though
their bodies are neglected, and their souls forgotten. Nor is it
unfrequent that their physical strength gives way under the constant
pressure of intellectual studies. And thus they are subjected to all the
evils of physical inability--the sufferings of living death, in
consequence of an erroneous education. Besides, they are destitute of
all those kinder feelings and sympathetic emotions which alone result
from the cultivation of the moral susceptibilities, and become
insensible to the more delicate affections of the soul, and elevating
hopes of the truly virtuous. They have nothing on which to rest for
enjoyment but intellectual attainments. And even these are small
compared with what they might have been under a different course of
education. Yet with what delight are the first developments of intellect
discovered by the natural guardian of the infant mind! and with what
anxious solicitude are they watched through advancing youth and manhood
by those employed in their education. In either stage the development of
intellect alone seems worthy of an effort. And yet, when carried to the
utmost, what may we expect of one destitute of virtue, and without
strength of body? Little to benefit himself or others. Like Columbus,
Franklin, or La Place, he may employ his intellect in useful
discoveries; or, like Hume, Voltaire, and Paine, to curse the world. In
either case he may lead astray, and should never be trusted implicitly.
As the bark on the ocean without compass or chart, that rides out the
storm or sinks to the bottom, he may guide us in safety, or ruin us

The education of others, again, is confined mostly to their _moral
energies_. Those of the body are almost forgotten, only as nature forces
their development upon the reluctant soul within. And those of intellect
are deemed unworthy of a thought, except as necessary in the rudest
stages of society; while the moral susceptibilities are cultivated to
the utmost. They are brought into action in every situation. They are
employed in private, in the social circle, and around the public altar.
Nor are those employing them ever satisfied. They become
fanatics--religious enthusiasts. They have zeal without knowledge, and
seem resolved on bringing all to their standard. They enlist in the work
all the sympathies of the soul--its tenderest sensibilities and most
compassionate feelings. Without intellect to guide, and physical
strength to sustain them, they sink under moral excitement, and become
deranged: a result that might be anticipated from such an education; and
one that is often developed, in some of its milder features, among the
reformers of the day. Nor may you reason with them. Reckless of
consequences and regardless of authority, they are not to be convinced
or persuaded. They are right, and _know_ they are right, for the plain
reason that they know nothing else, and will not be diverted from their
course. What degradation! Who would not shrink from such an education?
the development of the moral energies merely? It never qualified men for
the highest attainment--the utmost dignity of which they are

Diversified as are the developments of human character, and dissimilar
as they may appear to the careless observer, there are peculiar
characteristics of men that render them similar to one another, and
unlike every other being. In their natures, original susceptibilities,
and ultimate destinies, they are alike. They are material, intellectual,
and spiritual; animal, rational, and immortal. On these uniform traits
of character education should be based. It should develop and strengthen
the animal functions; classify and improve the rational faculties; and
purify and elevate the spiritual affections in harmonious proportion and
perfect symmetry.

The animal functions of the human system are to be developed and
strengthened by education. Hitherto they have been assigned to the
province of nature, and deemed foreign to the objects of education. But
a more unphilosophical and dangerous theory has seldom been embraced, as
the melancholy results abundantly testify. We shall therefore devote a
chapter to physical education, which seems to lie at the foundation of
the great work of human improvement; for, as we have seen, in the
present state the mind can manifest itself only through the body; after
which we shall proceed to the consideration of the other grand divisions
of the great work of education.



    The influence of the physical frame upon the intellect, morals, and
    happiness of a human being, is now universally admitted. The extent
    of this influence will be thought greater in proportion to the
    accuracy with which the subject is examined. Bodily pain forms a
    large proportion of the amount of human misery. It is, therefore, of
    the highest importance that a child should grow up sound and healthy
    in body, with the utmost degree of muscular strength that education
    can communicate.--LALOR.

The importance of the department of the great work of education which we
now approach has not hitherto been duly appreciated by parents and
teachers generally. I shall therefore devote more space to this subject
than is usual in works on education, but not more, I trust, than its
relative importance demands. Physical, intellectual, and moral education
are so intimately connected, that, in order duly to appreciate the
importance of either, we must not view it separate and alone merely, but
in connection with both of the others. And especially is this true of
physical education. However much value, then, we may attach to it on its
own account, considering man as a corporeal being, we shall have
occasion greatly to magnify its importance when we come to direct our
attention to his intellectual culture, and still more when we view it in
connection with his moral training. Then, and not till then, shall we be
enabled, in some degree, properly to appreciate the importance of
physical education.

It has been objected, says Dr. Combe,[1] that to teach any one how to
take care of his own health, is sure to do harm, by making him
constantly think of this and the other precaution, to the utter
sacrifice of every noble and generous feeling, and to the certain
production of peevishness and discontent. The result, however, he adds,
is exactly the reverse; and it would be a singular anomaly in the
constitution of the moral world were it otherwise. He who is instructed
in, and is familiar with grammar and orthography, writes and spells so
easily and accurately as scarcely to be conscious of attending to the
rules by which he is guided; while he, on the contrary, who is not
instructed in either, and knows not how to arrange his sentences, toils
at the task, and sighs at every line. The same principle holds in regard
to health. He who is acquainted with the general constitution of the
human body, and with the laws which regulate its action, sees at once
his true position when exposed to the causes of disease, decides what
ought to be done, and thereafter feels himself at liberty to devote his
undivided attention to the calls of higher duties. But it is far
otherwise with the person who is destitute of this information.
Uncertain of the nature and extent of the danger, he knows not to which
hand to turn, and either lives in the fear of mortal disease, or, in his
ignorance, resorts to irrational and hurtful precautions, to the certain
neglect of those which he ought to use. It is ignorance, therefore, and
not knowledge, which renders an individual full of fancies and
apprehensions, and robs him of his usefulness. It would be a stigma on
the Creator's wisdom if true knowledge weakened the understanding, and
led to injurious results. Those who have had the most extensive
opportunities of forming an opinion on this subject from extensive
experience, bear unequivocal testimony to the advantages which knowledge
confers in saving health and life, time and anxiety.

  [1] Principles of Physiology applied to the Preservation of Health.

If, indeed, ignorance were itself a preventive of the danger, or could
provide a remedy when it approached, then it might well be said that
"ignorance is bliss;" but as it gives only the kind of security which
shutting the eyes affords against the dangers of a precipice, and
consequently leaves its victim doubly exposed, it is high time to
renounce its protection, and to seek those of a more powerful and
beneficent ally. Every medical man can testify that, natural character
and other circumstances being alike, those whose knowledge is the most
limited are the fullest of whims and fancies; the most credulous
respecting the efficacy of every senseless and preposterous remedy; the
most impatient of restraint, and the most discontented at suffering.

If any of my readers be still doubtful of the propriety or safety of
communicating physiological knowledge to the public at large, continues
the author from whom we last quoted, and think that ignorance is in all
circumstances to be preferred, I would beg leave to ask him whether it
was knowledge or ignorance which induced the poorer classes in every
country of Asia and Europe to attempt to protect themselves from cholera
by committing ravages on the medical attendants of the sick, under the
plea of their having poisoned the public fountains? And whether it was
ignorance or knowledge which prompted the more rational part of the
community to seek safety in increased attention to proper food, warmth,
cleanliness, and clothing? In both cases, the desire of safety and sense
of danger were the same, but the modes resorted to by each were as
different in kind as in result, the efficacy of the one having formed a
glaring contrast to the failure of the other.

Dr. Southwood Smith, the able author of a volume entitled "The
Philosophy of Health," says, The obvious and peculiar advantages of this
kind of knowledge are, that it would enable its possessor to take a more
rational care of his health; to perceive why certain circumstances are
beneficial or injurious; to understand, in some degree, the nature of
disease, and the operation as well of the agents which produce it as of
those which counteract it; to observe the first beginnings of deranged
function in his own person; to give to his physician a more intelligible
account of his train of morbid sensations, as they arise; and, above
all, to co-operate with him in removing the morbid state on which they
depend, instead of defeating, as is now, through ignorance, constantly
the case, the best concerted plans for the renovation of health. It
would likewise lay the foundation for the attainment of a more just,
accurate, and practical knowledge of our _intellectual_ and _moral
nature_. There is a _physiology_ of the _mind_ as well as of the _body_,
and both are so intimately united that neither can be well understood
without the study of the other. The physiology of man comprehends both.
Were even what is already known of this science and what might be easily
communicated made a part of general education, how many evils would be
avoided! how much light would be let in upon the understanding! and how
many aids would be afforded to the acquisition of a sound body and a
vigorous mind! prerequisites more important than are commonly supposed
to the attainment of wisdom and the practice of virtue.

Human physiology, says Dr. Combe, in his admirable treatise on that
subject, from which I have already quoted, is as important in its
practical consequences as it is attractive to rational curiosity. In its
widest sense, it comprehends an exposition of the functions of the
various organs of which the human frame is composed; of the mechanism by
which they are carried on; of their relations to each other, or the
means of improving their development and action; of the purposes to
which they ought severally to be directed, and of the manner in which
exercise ought to be conducted, so as to secure for the organ the best
health, and for the function the highest efficacy. A true system of
physiology comes thus to be the proper basis, not only of a sound
_physical_, but of a sound _moral_ and _intellectual_ education, and of
a rational hygiene; or, in other words, it is the basis of every thing
having for its object the physical and mental health and improvement of
man; for, so long as life lasts, the mental and moral powers with which
he is endowed manifest themselves through the medium of organization,
and no plan which he can devise for their cultivation, that is not in
harmony with the laws which regulate that organization, can possibly be

Let it not be said that knowledge of this description is superfluous to
the unprofessional reader; for society groans under the load of
suffering inflicted by causes susceptible of removal, but left in
operation in consequence of our unacquaintance with our own structure,
and of the relation of different parts of the system to each other and
to external objects. Every medical man must have felt and lamented the
ignorance so generally prevalent in regard to the simplest functions of
the animal system, and the consequent absence of the judicious
co-operation of friends in the care and cure of the sick. From ignorance
of the commonest facts in physiology, or from want of ability to
appreciate their importance, men of much good sense in every other
respect not only subject themselves unwittingly to the active causes of
disease, but give their sanction to laws and practices destructive
equally to life and to morality, and which, if they saw them in their
true light, they would shrink from countenancing in the slightest

Were the intelligent classes of society better acquainted with the
functions of the human body and the laws by which they are regulated,
continues this judicious writer, the sources of much suffering would be
dried up, and the happiness of the community at large would be
essentially promoted. Medical men would no longer be consulted so
exclusively for the cure of disease, but would be called upon to advise
regarding the best means of strengthening the constitution, from an
early period, against any accidental or hereditary susceptibility which
might be ascertained to exist. More attention would be paid to the
_preservation_ of health than is at present practicable, and the medical
man would then be able to advise with increased effect, because he would
be proportionally well understood, and his counsel, in so far, at least,
as it was based on accurate observation and a right application of
principles, would be perceived to be, not a mere human opinion, but, in
reality, an _exposition of the will and intentions of a beneficent
Creator_, and would therefore be felt as carrying with it an _authority_
to which, as the mere dictum of a fallible fellow-creature, it could
never be considered as entitled.

It is true that, as yet, medicine has been turned to little account in
the way of directly promoting the physical and mental welfare of man.
But the day is, perhaps, not far distant, when, in consequence of the
improvements both in professional and general education now in progress,
a degree of interest will be attached to this application of its
doctrines far surpassing what those who have not reflected on the
subject will be able to imagine as justly belonging to it, but by no
means exceeding that which it truly deserves.

Every person should be acquainted with the organization, structure, and
functions of his own body--the house in which he lives: he should know
the conditions of health, and the causes of the numerous diseases that
flesh is heir to, in order to avoid them, prolong his life, and multiply
his means of usefulness. If these things are not otherwise learned, they
should be taught--the elements of them at least--in our primary schools.
This instruction would come, perhaps, most appropriately from the
members of the medical profession. But either society generally, or
physicians themselves, or both, have mistaken the true sphere of a
physician's usefulness, and what ought to constitute the grand object of
his profession, namely, the _prevention of disease_, and the _general
improvement of the health_, and not the CURING of diseases merely. The
physician, like the clergyman in his parish, should receive a salary;
and he should be occupied, chiefly, in teaching the laws of health to
his employers; in imparting to them instruction in relation to the means
of avoiding the diseases to which they are more particularly exposed,
and in laying before them such information as shall be needful, in order
to the highest improvement of their physical organization, and the
transmission to posterity of unimpaired constitutions. This he may do by
public lectures, at suitable seasons of the year; and by visiting from
house to house, and imparting such information as may be particularly
needed. The physician should not allow any of his employers blindly to
disregard the laws of health, or, knowing them, to violate them
unreproved. _He_ should be accounted the _best physician_, other things
being equal, whose employers have the _least sickness_, and uniformly
enjoy the _best health_. When the relation existing between the members
of the medical profession and the well-being of society generally comes
to be better understood, and physicians are employed in accordance with
the principles just stated, their greatest usefulness to the communities
they serve will be found to consist in teaching well men and women how
to retain and improve their health, and rear a healthy offspring, and
not in partially curing diseased persons who are constantly violating
the laws of health. These views will doubtless be new to many of my
readers, and seem to them very strange! But let me inquire of such what
they would think of the clergyman who should neglect to instruct his
parishioners in the ennobling doctrines of morality and religion, and
should suffer them to go on in sin unrebuked, until they become a burden
to themselves? who should wait until his counsels were solicited before
he sounds the note of alarm, and points the guilty sinner to "the Lamb
of God which taketh away the sin of the world?" and who should confine
his labors almost entirely to _condemned criminals_? Such conduct on the
part of clergymen would doubtless be regarded by these very persons as
passing strange! The course commonly pursued in the employment of
physicians is equally unphilosophical, and floods society with a legion
of evils--physical and intellectual, social and moral--three fourths of
which might be avoided, by the proper exercise of the medical
profession, in _one generation_; and ultimately, nineteen twentieths, if
not ninety-nine one hundredths of them. As I have already said, this
instruction would come, perhaps, most appropriately from the members of
the medical profession. But if these things are not taught elsewhere, I
repeat it, they should be taught--the elements of them at least--in our
primary schools.

I can not better enforce the importance of physical education than by
quoting from a lecture "on the education of the blind," by one of the
most distinguished practical educators[2] in this country. "That the
proportion of the blind to the whole population might be diminished by
wise social regulations, and by the dissemination of knowledge of the
organic laws of man, there is not a doubt; but whether the time has
come, or ever will come, is another question. At any rate, to so
enlightened a body[3] as I have the honor of addressing, suggestions of
methods by which the extent of blindness may be limited will neither be
misapplied, nor liable to offend a mawkish sensibility. That the
blindness of a large proportion of society is a social evil will not be
denied, nor will the right which society has to diminish that proportion
be questioned. But how? in a very simple way; by preventing the
transmission of an hereditary blindness to another generation; by
preventing the marriage of those who are congenitally blind, or who have
lost their sight by reason of hereditary weakness of the visual organs,
which disqualifies them to resist the slightest inflammation or injury
in childhood.

  [2] Dr. Samuel G. Howe, director of the New England Institution for the
  Education of the Blind, 1836.

  [3] The American Institute of Instruction.

"I am aware that many people would condemn this proposition as cruel,
because it might add to the sadness of the sufferers; and that the whole
seven thousand five hundred blind in this country would rise up and
scout it, as barbarous and unnatural; for I have experienced the effects
of contradiction to the wills of individual blind persons in this
respect. But my rule is, the good of the community before that of the
individual; the good of the race before that of the community. To give
you an instance: the city of Boston, with a population of eighty
thousand, is represented in the Institution for the Blind by two blind
children only; and I know of but four in the whole population; while
Andover, with but five thousand, is fully and ably represented by
seven;[4] and it has three more growing up.

  [4] This makes the ratio of representation in the institution from
  Andover _fifty six times greater_ than from the city of Boston.

"Now how is this? Why, the blind of Andover are mostly from a common
stock; three of them are born of one mother, who has had four blind
children. Another of the pupils is cousin, in the first degree, to these
three; and two other pupils are cousins in a remote degree. Then, from
other places, there are two brothers, who have a third at home. There is
one blind girl, who has two blind sisters at home. Then there are two
pairs of sisters.

"In the immediate vicinity of Boston, I know of a family in which
blindness is hereditary; the last generation there were five. Of these
five one is married, and has four children, not one of whom can see well
enough to read; and if the others marry, they may increase the number to
twelve or twenty.

"Now apply this state of things to the whole country, and have you any
difficulty in conceiving how it happens that there are seven thousand
five hundred blind in the United States? And can you doubt whether or
not this great proportion of blind to the whole community might not be
considerably diminished, if men and women understood the organic laws of
their nature? understood that, very often, blindness is the punishment
following an infringement of the natural laws of God; and if they could
be made to act upon the holy Christian principles, that we should deny
ourselves any individual gratification, any selfish desire, that may
result in evil to the whole community?

"I would that every individual whom I have the honor to address would
assist in the education of the blind, so far as to give them just and
Christian views of this subject. I would that all should work for
society; not for society to-day alone, but for the society of future
ages; not in any one narrow, partial way, but upon a broad scale, and in
every way in which they can be useful. If a person congenitally blind,
or strongly predisposed to become so, or one who marries a person so
born or so disposed, has blind offspring in consequence of it, I ask, is
he not as responsible, in a moral point of view, for the infirmity of
his children as though he had put out their eyes with his own hands?

"You may suppose, perhaps, that the infirmity of blindness would
incapacitate sufferers from winning the affections of seeing persons;
and that, with respect to two blind persons, the sense of incapacity to
support a family would prevent them from uniting themselves. In the
first place, I answer, that seeing people do no better than the blind.
Even a blind man may perceive that many marriages are mere matters of
course, resulting from juxtaposition of parties; and rarely matters
where the purer affections and higher moral sentiments are consulted.
And, in the second place, that incapacity of supporting a family will
not weigh a feather in the balance with desire, unless the intellectual
and moral nature is enlightened and cultivated. Do we not see, every
day, cases of misery entailed upon whole families, because one of the
parties had overlooked or disregarded _moral infirmity_, which ought to
have been a greater objection than any _physical defect_--than even
blindness or deafness?

"But no process of reasoning is required, for there stand the facts. The
blind not only seek for partners in life, but are sometimes sought by
seeing persons; and numerous instances have occurred within my
knowledge. It is true, that despair of success in any other quarter, or
an equally unworthy motive, may induce some to seek for partners among
the blind, or the blind to unite with the blind; but still, there is the

"My observation induces me to think that the blind, far more than seeing
persons, are fond of social relations, and desirous of family
endearments. A moment's thought would induce one to conclude that this
would naturally be the case; a moment's observation convinces one that
it is so. Now I have found among them some of the most pious,
intelligent, and disinterested beings I ever knew; but hardly more than
one who was prepared to forego the enjoyments of domestic relations. And
how can we expect them to be so, more than seeing people? The fact is,
but very few persons in the community give any attention to the laws of
their organic nature, and the tendency to hereditary transmission of
infirmities. Very few consider that they owe more to society than to
their individual selves; that if we are to love our neighbor _as
ourself_, we must, of course, love _all_ our neighbors, collectively,
more than the single unit which each one calls I.

"I would that considerations of this kind had more weight with the
community generally. I would that the subject were more attended to, and
that the violation of the laws of our organic nature were less frequent
in our country. There is one great and crying evil in our system of
education; it is, that but part of man's nature is educated, and that
our colleges and schools doom young men for years to an uninterrupted
and severe exercise of the intellectual faculties, to the comparative
neglect of their moral, and still more of their physical nature. Nay,
not only do they _neglect_ their physical nature--they ABUSE it; they
sin against themselves and against God; and though they sin in
ignorance, they do not escape the penalties of His violated laws. Hence
you see them pale, and wan, and feeble; hence you find them
acknowledging, when too late, the effects of severe application. But do
they acknowledge it humbly and repentingly, as with a consciousness of
sin? No, they often do it with a secret exultation, with a lurking
feeling that you will say or think, 'Poor fellow, his mind is too much
for his body!' Nonsense! his mind is too weak; his knowledge too
limited; he is an imperfect man; he knows not his own nature. But if he
has no conscientiousness, no scruple about impairing his own health and
sowing the seeds of disease, he has less about entailing them upon
others. And a consumptive young man or woman--the son or daughter of
consumptive parents--hesitates not to spread the evil in society, and
entail puny faces, weakness, pain, and early death upon several
individuals, and punish their children for their own sins.

"Is this picture too high-colored? Alas! no. And if I showed you
satisfactorily that sin against the organic laws caused so great a
proportion of blindness, how much more readily will you grant that the
same sin gives to so many of our population the narrow chest, the hectic
flush, the hollow cough, which makes the _victim doomed_, by his
_parent_, to consumption and early death! Do you not see, every Sabbath,
at church, the young man or woman, upon whose fair and delicate
structure the peculiar impress of the EARLY DOOMED is stamped? and as a
slight but hollow cough comes upon your ear, does it not recall the
death-knell which rang in the same sad note before to the father or
mother? Who of you has not followed some young friend to his long
resting-place, and found that the grass had not grown rank upon the
grave of his brother? that the row of white marbles, beneath which slept
his parents and sisters, were yet glistering in freshness, and that the
letters which told their names and their early death seemed clear as if
cut but yesterday?

"They tell us that physical education is attended to in this country;
and yet, where is the teacher, where is the clergyman even, who dares to
step forth in these cases, and say to those who are _doomed_, you must
not and shall not marry? and where are the young men and women who would
listen to them if they did? It is not that they are wanting in
conscientiousness; they may be conscientious and disinterested; but they
do not know that they are doing wrong, because they are not acquainted
with the organic laws of their nature. All that is done in schools or
colleges toward physical education is the mere strengthening of the
muscular system by muscular exercise; but this is not half enough. These
remarks may be deemed irrelevant to my subject, but they can not be lost
to an audience whose highest interest is the education of man; and if I
am mistaken in supposing that little attention has been paid to the
subject, its importance will guaranty its repetition."

Before dismissing this subject, I will introduce two additional
quotations from American authors, whose opinions are received by the
medical profession in this country not only, but throughout Europe. In
both instances, I copy from works published in Great Britain, into which
the opinions of these American writers have been quoted. In regard to
hereditary transmission, Dr. Caldwell observes: "Every constitutional
quality, whether good or bad, may descend, by inheritance, from parent
to child. And a long-continued habit of drunkenness becomes as
essentially constitutional as a predisposition to gout or pulmonary
consumption. This increases, in a manifold degree, the responsibility of
parents in relation to temperance. By habits of intemperance, they not
only degrade and ruin _themselves_, but transmit the elements of like
degradation and ruin to their posterity. This is no visionary
conjecture, the fruit of a favorite and long-cherished theory. It is a
settled belief resulting from observation--an inference derived from
innumerable facts. In hundreds and thousands of instances, parents,
having had children born to them while their habits were temperate, have
become afterward intemperate, and had other children subsequently born.
In such cases, it is a matter of notoriety that the younger children
have become addicted to the practice of intoxication much more
frequently than the older, in the proportion of five to one. Let me not
be told that this is owing to the younger children being neglected, and
having corrupt and seducing examples constantly before them. The same
neglects and profligate examples have been extended to all, yet all have
not been equally injured by them. The children of the earlier births
have escaped, while those of the subsequent ones have suffered. The
reason is plain. The latter children had a deeper animal taint than the
former."--_Transylvania Journal._

Physiologists in general coincide in the belief that a vigorous and
healthy physical and mental constitution in the parents communicates
existence in the most perfect state to their offspring, while impaired
constitutions, from whatever cause, are transmitted to posterity. In
this sense, all who are competent to judge are agreed that the Giver of
life is a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the
children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate him or
violate his laws. Strictly speaking, it is not _disease_ which is
transmitted, but organs of such imperfect structure that they are unable
to perform their functions properly, and so weak as to be easily put
into a morbid state or abnormal condition by causes which unimpaired
organs are able to resist.

My last quotation on this point is from a lecture delivered by Dr.
Warren before the American Institute of Instruction, copied into the
"Schoolmaster," a work published in London under the superintendence of
the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge:

"Let me conclude by entreating your attention to a revision of the
existing plans of education in what relates to the preservation of
health. Too much of the time of the better educated part of young
persons is, in my humble opinion, devoted to literary pursuits and
sedentary occupations, and too little to the acquisition of the
corporeal powers indispensable to make the former practically useful. If
the present system does not undergo some change, I much apprehend we
shall see a degenerate and sinking race, such as came to exist among the
higher classes in France before the Revolution, and such as now deforms
a large part of the noblest families in Spain;[5] but if the spirit of
improvement, so happily awakened, continues--as I trust it will--to
animate those concerned in the formation of the young members of
society, we shall soon be able, I doubt not, to exhibit an active,
beautiful, and wise generation, of which the age may be proud."

  [5] I am informed by a lady who passed a long time at the Spanish court,
  in a distinguished situation, that the grandees have deteriorated by
  their habits of living, and the restriction of intermarriages to their
  own rank, to a race of dwarfs; and, though fine persons are sometimes
  seen among them, they, when assembled at court, appear to be a group of



    If man is ever to be elevated to the highest and happiest condition
    which his nature will permit, it must be, in no small degree, by the
    improvement--I might say, the redemption--of his physical powers.
    But knowledge on any subject must precede improvement.--ALCOTT.

    Physical and moral health are as nearly related as the body and the
    soul.--HUFELAND'S _Art of Prolonging Life_.

If the reader is persuaded that the views presented in the last chapter
on the importance of physical education are truthful--and they are
concurred in by physiologists generally--he will naturally desire to
become acquainted with the _laws of health_, that, by yielding obedience
to them, he may improve his physical condition, and most successfully
promote his intellectual and moral well-being. I might, then, here refer
to some of the many excellent treatises on this subject; but I shall
probably better accomplish the object for which this work has been
undertaken by presenting, within as narrow limits as practicable, a
summary of these laws.

In every department of nature, _waste_ is invariably the result of
_action_. In mechanics, we seek to reduce the waste consequent upon
action to the lowest possible degree; but to prevent it entirely is
beyond the power of man. Every breath of wind that passes over the
surface of the earth, modifies the bodies with which it comes in
contact. The great toe of the bronze statue of Saint Peter at Rome has
been reduced, it is said, to less than half its original size by the
successive kisses of the faithful.

In _dead_ or _inanimate_ matter, the destructive influence of action is
constantly forced upon our attention by every thing passing around us,
and so much human ingenuity is exercised to counteract its effects that
no reflecting person will dispute the universality of its operation. But
when we observe shrubs and trees waving in the wind, and animals
undergoing violent exertion, year after year, and continuing to increase
in size, we may be inclined, on a superficial view, to regard _living_
bodies as constituting an exception to this rule. On more careful
examination, however, it will appear that waste goes on in living bodies
not only without intermission, but with a rapidity immeasurably beyond
that which occurs in inanimate objects.

In the vegetable world, for instance, every leaf of a tree is
incessantly pouring out some of its fluids, and every flower forming its
own fruit and seed, speedily to be separated from, and lost to its
parent stem; thus causing in a few months an extent of waste many
hundred times greater than what occurs in the same lapse of time after
the tree is cut down, and all its living operations are at a close.

The same thing holds true in the animal kingdom: so long as life
continues, a copious exhalation from the skin, the lungs, the bowels,
and the kidneys goes on without a moment's intermission, and not a
movement can be performed which does not in some degree increase the
circulation, and add to the general waste. In this way, during violent
exertion, several ounces of the fluids of the body are sometimes thrown
out by perspiration in a very few minutes; whereas, after life is
extinguished, all the excretions cease, and waste is limited to that
which results from ordinary chemical decomposition.[6]

  [6] For the views presented in the preceding paragraph (as also in
  several that follow) I would acknowledge my indebtedness to Dr. Andrew
  Combe's treatise on the "Physiology of Digestion." From the "Principles
  of Physiology," by the same author, I have already quoted. These
  admirable works will prove an invaluable treasure to persons desirous of
  becoming acquainted with the laws of health.

So far, then, the law that waste is attendant on action applies to both
dead and living bodies; but beyond this point a remarkable difference
between them presents itself. In the physical or inanimate world, what
is once lost or worn away _is lost forever_; but _living_ bodies,
whether vegetable or animal, possess the distinguishing characteristic
of being able to _repair their own waste_ and add to their own
substance. The possession of such a power is essential to their
existence. But there is a wide difference between them in other
respects. In surveying the respective modes of existence of vegetables
and of animals, we perceive the fixity of position of the one, and the
free locomotive power of the other. The vegetable grows, flourishes, and
dies, fixed to the same spot of earth from which it sprang. However much
external circumstances change around it, it must remain and submit to
their influence. At all hours and at all seasons, it is at home, and in
direct communication with the soil from which its nourishment is
extracted. But it is otherwise with animals: these not only enjoy the
privilege of locomotion, but are compelled to use it, and often to go a
distance in search of food and shelter. The necessity for a constant
change of place being imposed on them, a different arrangement became
indispensable for their nutrition. The method which the Creator has
provided is not less admirable than simple. To enable animals to move
about, and at the same time to maintain a connection with their food,
they are provided with a stomach. In this receptacle they can store up a
supply of materials from which sustenance may be gradually elaborated
during a period of time proportioned to their necessities and mode of
life. Animals thus _carry with them_ nourishment adequate to their
wants; and the small nutritive vessels imbibe their food from the
internal surface of the stomach and bowels, where it is stored up, just
as the roots or nutritive vessels of vegetables do from the soil in
which they grow. The possession of a stomach or receptacle for food is
accordingly a distinguishing characteristic of the animal system.

The sole objects of nutrition being to repair waste and to admit of
growth, the Creator has so arranged that within certain limits it is
always most vigorous when growth or waste proceeds with the greatest
rapidity. Even in vegetables this provision is distinctly observable. It
is also strikingly apparent in animals. Whenever growth is proceeding
rapidly, or the animal is undergoing much exertion and expenditure of
material, an increased quantity of food is invariably required. On the
other hand, where no new substance is forming, and where, from bodily
inactivity, little loss is sustained, a comparatively small supply will
suffice. In endowing animals with the sense of _appetite_, including the
sensation of hunger and thirst, the Creator has effectually provided
against any inconvenience which might otherwise exist, and given to them
a guide in relation to both the quality and quantity of food needful for
them, and the times of partaking of it, with that beneficence which
distinguishes all his works. He has not only provided an effectual
safeguard in the sensations of hunger and thirst, but he has attached to
their regulated indulgence a degree of pleasure which never fails to
insure attention to their demands, and which, in highly-civilized
communities, is apt to lead to excessive gratification. Their end is
manifestly to proclaim that nourishment is required for the support of
the system. When the body is very actively exercised, and a good deal of
waste is effected by perspiration and exhalation from the lungs, the
appetite becomes keener, and more urgent for immediate gratification;
and if it is indulged, we eat with a relish unknown on other occasions,
and afterward experience a sensation of internal comfort pervading the
frame, as if every individual part of the body were imbued with a
feeling of contentment and satisfaction; the very opposite of the
restless discomfort and depression which come upon us, and extend over
the whole system, when appetite is disappointed. There is, in short, an
obvious and active sympathy between the condition and bearing of the
stomach, and those of every part of the animal frame; in virtue of
which, hunger is felt very keenly when the general system stands in
urgent need of repair, and very moderately when no waste has been

We have seen that _waste_ is every where attendant upon _action_, and
that the object of nutrition is to repair waste and admit of growth. We
come now to consider the _Process of Digestion_.

All articles used for food necessarily undergo several changes before
they are fitted to constitute a part of the body. In the process of
digestion, four different changes should be noticed. More might be

1. MASTICATION.--The first step in the preparation of food for imparting
nourishment to the system consists in proper mastication, or chewing.
Food should be thoroughly masticated before it is taken into the
stomach. This is necessary in order to break it up and reduce it to a
sufficient degree of fineness for the efficient action of the gastric
juice. Besides, the action of chewing and the presence of nutrient food
constitute a healthful stimulus to the salivary glands, situated in the
mouth. By this means, also, the food not only becomes well masticated,
but has blended with it a proper amount of saliva, upon both of which
conditions the healthy action of the stomach depends. We have here
another illustration of the beneficence of the Creator, who has kindly
so arranged that the very act of mastication gratifies taste, the mouth
being the seat of this sensation. But if we disregard these benevolent
laws, and introduce unmasticated food into the stomach, the gastric
juice can act only upon its surface, and changes of a purely chemical
nature frequently commence in food thus swallowed before digestion can
take place. Hence frequently arise--and especially in children and
persons of delicate constitution--pains, nausea, and acidity, consequent
on the continued presence of undigested aliment in the stomach.

2. CHYMIFICATION.--As soon as food has been thoroughly masticated and
impregnated with saliva, it is ready for transmission to the stomach.
This interesting part of the process of digestion, called deglutition or
swallowing, is most easily and pleasantly performed, when the alimentary
morsel has been well masticated and properly softened, not by drink,
which should never be taken at this time, but by saliva. When the food
reaches the stomach, it is converted into a soft, pulpy mass, called
_chyme_; and the process by which this change is effected is called
_chymification_. This is the second principal step in digestion, and is
effected immediately by the action of the _gastric juice_. This powerful
solvent is secreted by the gastric glands, which are excited to action
by the presence of food in the stomach. In health, the gastric secretion
always bears a direct relation to the quantity of aliment required by
the system. If too much food is taken into the stomach, indigestion is
sure to follow, for the sufficient reason that the gastric juice is
unable to dissolve it. This is true even when food has been well
masticated; but it becomes strikingly apparent when a full meal has been
hastily swallowed, both mastication and insalivation having been
imperfectly performed.

The time usually occupied in the process of chymification, when food has
been properly masticated, varies from _three to four hours_. Digestion
is sometimes effected in less time, as in the case of rice, and pigs'
feet soused; but it more commonly requires a longer period, as in the
case of salt pork and beef, and many other articles of food, both animal
and vegetable.

By the alternate contraction and relaxation of the muscular coat of the
stomach, which is excited to action by the presence of food, a kind of
churning motion is communicated to its contents that greatly promotes
digestion; for by this means every portion of food in turn is brought in
contact with the gastric juice as it is discharged from the internal
surface of the stomach. This motion continues until the contents of the
stomach are converted into chyme, and conveyed into the first intestine,
where they undergo another important change.

3. CHYLIFICATION.--As fast as chyme is formed, it is expelled by the
contractile power of the stomach into the _duodenum_, or first
intestine. It there meets with the _bile_ from the liver, and with the
pancreatic juice. By the action of these agents, the chyme is converted
into two distinct portions: a milky white fluid, called _chyle_, and a
thick yellow residue. This process is called _chylification_, or
_chyle-making_. The chyle is then taken up by the absorbent vessels,
which are extensively ramified over the inner membrane or lining of the
bowels. From the white color of the contents of these vessels, they have
been named _lacteals_ or _milk-bearers_, from _lac_, which signifies
milk. These lacteals ultimately converge into one trunk, called the
_thoracic duct_, which terminates in the great vein under the clavicle
or collar bone, hence called the _subclavian_ vein, just before that
vein reaches the right side of the heart. Here the chyle is poured into
the general current of the venous blood, and, mingling with it, is
exposed to the action of the air in the lungs during respiration. By
this process, both the chyle and the venous blood are converted into
red, arterial, or nutritive blood, which is afterward distributed by the
heart through the arteries, to supply nourishment and support to every
part of the body. The change which takes place in the lungs is called
_sanguification_, or _blood-making_. The chyle is not prepared to impart
nourishment to the system until this change takes place. _Respiration_,
then, is, in reality, _the completion of digestion_. This interesting
and vital part of the process of digestion will be considered more fully
in the following chapter.

Before passing from this part of the subject, a few remarks of a more
general nature seem called for. The _nerves of the stomach_ have a
direct relation to _undigested_ but _digestible_ substances. When any
body that can not be digested is introduced into the stomach, distinct
uneasiness is speedily excited, and an effort is soon made to expel it,
either upward by the mouth or downward by the bowels. It is in this way,
says Dr. Combe, that bile in the stomach excites nausea, and that tartar
emetic produces vomiting. The _nerves of the bowels_, on the other hand,
are constituted in relation to _digested_ food; and, consequently, when
any thing escapes into them from the stomach in an _undigested_ state,
it becomes a source of irritative excitement. This accounts for the
cholic pains and bowel-complaints which so commonly attend the passage
through the intestinal canal of such indigestible substances as fat,
husks of fruits, berries, and cherry-stones.

The process of digestion, which commences in the stomach, is completed
in the intestines. Physiologists have hence sometimes called the former
part of the process, or chymification, by the more simple term _stomach
digestion_; and the latter, or chylification, has been termed
_intestinal digestion_. The bowels have distinct coats corresponding
with those of the stomach. By the alternate contraction and relaxation
of the muscular coat, their contents are propelled in a downward
direction, somewhat as motion is propagated from one end of a worm to
the other. It has hence been called vermicular, or _wormlike motion_.
Some medicines have the power of _inverting_ the order of the muscular
contractions. Emetics operate in this manner to produce vomiting. Other
medicines, again, excite the _natural_ action to a higher degree, and
induce a cathartic action of the bowels. When medicines become necessary
to obviate that kind of costiveness which arises from imperfect
intestinal contraction, physicians usually administer rhubarb, aloes,
and similar laxatives, combined with tonics. But when the muscular coat
of the bowels is kept in a healthy condition by a natural mode of life,
and is aided by the action of the abdominal muscles, it rarely becomes
necessary to administer laxative medicines.

The inner or mucous coat of the stomach and bowels is generally regarded
by physiologists as a continuation of the skin. They greatly resemble
each other in structure, and they are well known to sympathize with each
other. Eruptions of the skin are very generally the result of disorders
of the digestive organs. On the other hand, bowel complaints are
frequently produced by a chill on the surface. The mucous coat and the
skin are both charged with the double function of _excretion_ and
_absorption_. By the exercise of the _former_ function, much of the
waste matter of the system, requiring to be removed, is thrown into the
intestines, and, mingling with the indigestible portion of the food,
forms the common excrement; while by the exercise of the _latter_
function the nutritive portion of their contents is taken up, and, as we
have seen, passes into the general circulation, and contributes either
to promote growth or to repair waste.

4. EVACUATION.--This is the fourth and last principal step in the
process of digestion. After the chyle is separated from the chyme and
passes into the circulation, the indigestible and refuse portion of the
food, which is incapable of nourishing the system, passes off through
the intestinal canal. In its course its bulk is considerably increased
by the excretion of waste matter which has served its purposes in the
system, and which, mingling with the innutritious and refuse part of the
food, is thrown out of the body in the form of excrement. If the
contents of the bowels are too long retained, uneasiness is produced.
Hurtful matter, also, which should pass off by evacuation, is
reabsorbed, passes again into the general circulation, and is ultimately
thrown out of the system either by the lungs or through the pores of the

This part of the process of digestion is _very important_, for it is
impossible to enjoy good health while this function is imperfectly
performed. To secure full and natural action in the intestinal canal,
several principal conditions are necessary. These are, first,
well-digested chyme and chyle; second, a due quantity and quality of
secretions from the mucous or lining membrane of the bowels; third, a
free and full contractile power of the muscular coat, and the
unrestrained action of the abdominal and respiratory muscles; and,
finally, a due nervous sensibility to receive impressions and
communicate the necessary stimulus. The contractile power of the
muscular coat, and the free passage of the intestinal contents from the
stomach downward, are greatly aided by the constant but gentle agitation
which the whole digestive apparatus receives during the act of
breathing, and from exercise of every description. By free and deep
inhalations of air into the lungs, the diaphragm is depressed and the
bowels are pushed down. But when the air is thrown out from the lungs,
the diaphragm rises into the chest, and the bowels follow, being pressed
upward by the contractile power of the abdominal muscles. During
exercise, breathing is deeper and more free, which gives additional
pressure to the bowels from above. The abdominal muscular contraction is
also, in turn, more vigorous and extensive, and thus the motion is
returned from below. Persons that take little or no exercise, or who
allow the chest and bowels to be confined by tight clothing, lose this
natural stimulus, and frequently become subjects of immense suffering
from habits of costiveness. These should be removed if possible, and
they generally can be by a proper course of discipline. This should have
reference to both diet and exercise. Such articles of food should be
used as tend to keep open the bowels. This should be combined with the
free exercise of the lungs and the abdominal muscles. In addition to
these, there should be a determination to secure a natural evacuation of
the bowels at least once a day. This is regarded by physiologists
generally as essential to health. Efforts should be continued until the
habit is established. Some definite period should be fixed upon for this
purpose. Soon after breakfast is, on many accounts, generally

TIME FOR MEALS.--Before passing from the subject of digestion, I will
submit a few thoughts in relation to the times for eating. It has
already been observed that _three or four hours_ are generally necessary
for the digestion of a simple meal. Usually, perhaps, a greater length
of time is required. It is also an established doctrine, based upon the
results of careful examination and experiment, that _the stomach
requires an interval of rest_, after the process of digestion is
finished, to enable it to recover its tone before it can again enter
upon the vigorous performance of its function. As a general rule, then,
_five or six hours should elapse between meals_. If the mode of life is
indolent, a greater time is required; if active, less time will suffice.
Where the usages of society will allow the principal meal to be taken
near the middle of the day, the following time for meals is approved by
physiologists generally: breakfast at 7 o'clock, dinner at half past 12,
and tea at 6. Luncheons and late suppers should be avoided; for the
former will always be found to interfere with the healthful performance
of the function of digestion, and the latter will induce restlessness,
unpleasant dreams, and pain in the head. "A late supper," says the
author of the Philosophy of Health, "generally occasions deranged and
disturbed sleep; there is an effort on the part of the nerves to be
quiet, while the burdened stomach makes an effort to call them into
action, and between these two contending efforts there is disturbance--a
sort of gastric riot--during the whole night. This disturbance has
sometimes terminated in a fit of apoplexy and in death."

THE SKIN.--This membranous covering, which is spread over the surface of
the body to shield the parts beneath, serves also as an excreting and
secreting organ. By the great supply of blood which it receives, it is
admirably fitted for this purpose. The whole animal system, as we have
seen, is in a state of transition, decay and renovation constantly
succeeding each other. While the stomach and alimentary canal take in
new materials, the skin forms one of the principal outlets by which
particles that are useless to the system are thrown out of the body.
Every one knows that the skin perspires, and that checked perspiration
is a powerful cause of disease and death; but few have any just notion
of the extent and influence of this exhalation. When the body is
overheated by exercise, a copious sweat breaks out, which, by
evaporation, carries off the excess of heat, and produces an agreeable
feeling of coolness and refreshment. The sagacity of Franklin led him to
the first discovery of the use of perspiration in reducing the heat of
the body, and to point out the analogy subsisting between this process
and that of the evaporation of water from a rough porous surface, so
constantly resorted to in the East and West Indies, and in other warm
countries, as an efficacious means of reducing the temperature of the
air in rooms, and of wine and other drinks, much below that of the
surrounding atmosphere. This is the higher and more obvious degree of
the function of exhalation. But in the ordinary state of the system, the
skin is constantly giving out a large quantity of waste materials by
what is called _insensible perspiration_; a process which is of great
importance to the preservation of health, and which is called
_insensible_, because the exhalation, being in the form of vapor, and
carried off by the surrounding air, is invisible to the eye. But its
presence may often be made manifest, even to the sight, by the near
approach of a dry cool mirror, on the surface of which it will soon be
condensed so as to become visible. It is this which causes so copious
deposits upon the windows of a crowded school-room in cold weather. A
portion of these exhalations, however, proceed from the lungs.

There is an experiment that may be easily tried, which affords
conclusive evidence that the amount of insensible perspiration is much
greater than it is ordinarily supposed to be. Take a dry glass jar, with
a neck three or four inches in diameter, and thrust the hand and a part
of the fore-arm into it, closing the space in the neck about the arm
with a handkerchief. After the lapse of a few minutes, it will be seen,
by drawing the fingers across the inside of the jar, that the insensible
perspiration even from the hand is very considerable. Many attempts have
been made to estimate accurately the amount of exhaled matter carried
off through the skin; but many difficulties stand in the way of
obtaining precise results. There is a great difference in different
constitutions, and even in the same person at different times, in
consequence of which we must be satisfied with an approximation to the

Although the precise amount of perspiration can not be ascertained, it
is generally agreed that the cutaneous exhalation is greater than the
united excretions of both bowels and kidneys. Great attention has been
given to this subject. Sanctorius, a celebrated medical writer, weighed
himself, his food, and his excretions, daily, for thirty days. He
inferred from his experiments that _five pounds_ of every eight, of both
food and drink, taken into the system, pass out through the skin. All
physiologists agree that from twenty to forty ounces pass off through
the skin of an adult in usual health every twenty-four hours. Take the
lowest estimate, and we find the skin charged with the removal of
_twenty ounces_ of waste matter from the system _every day_. We can thus
see ample reason why checked perspiration proves so detrimental to
health; for every twenty-four hours during which such a state continues,
we must either have this amount of useless and hurtful matter
accumulating in the system, or some of the other organs of excretion
must be greatly overtasked, which obviously can not happen without
disturbing their regularity and well-being. It is generally known that
continued exposure in a cold day produces either a bowel complaint or
inflammation of some internal organ. Instead of expressing surprise at
this, if people generally understood the structure and uses of their own
bodies, they would rather wonder why one or the other of these effects
is not _always_ attendant upon so great a violation of the laws of
health, _which are the laws of God_.

The lungs also excrete a large proportion of waste matter from the
system. So far, then, their office is similar to that of the kidneys,
the liver, and the bowels. In consequence of this alliance with the
skin, these parts are more intimately connected with each other, in both
healthy and diseased action, than with other organs. Whenever an organ
is unusually delicate, it will be more easily affected by any cause of
disease than those which are sound. Thus, in one instance, checked
perspiration may produce a bowel complaint, and in another, inflammation
of the lungs, and so on. Hence the fitness, in prescribing remedies, of
adapting them not only to the _disease_ itself, but of taking into the
account the _cause_ of the disease. A bowel complaint, for example, may
arise either from overeating or from a check to perspiration. The thing
to be cured is the same in both cases, but the _means_ of cure ought
obviously to be different. In one instance, an emetic or laxative, to
carry off the offending cause, would be the most rational and
efficacious remedy; in the other, a diaphoretic should be administered,
to open the skin and restore it to a healthy action. Facts like these
expose the ignorance and impudence of the quack, who undertakes to cure
every form of disease by one remedy.

It has already been remarked that the skin is charged with the double
function of _excretion_ and _absorption_. We have a striking
illustration of the exercise of the latter function in the vaccination
of children and others, to protect them from small-pox. A small quantity
of cow-pox matter is inserted under the external layer of the skin,
where it is acted upon, and in a short time taken into the system by the
absorbent vessels. In like manner, when the perspiration is brought to
the surface of the skin, and confined there, either by injudicious
clothing or by want of cleanliness, there is much reason to believe that
its residual parts are again absorbed. It is established by observation
that concentrated animal effluvia form a very energetic poison. We can,
then, see why the absorption of the residual parts of perspiration
produces fever, inflammation, and even death itself, according to its
quantity and degree of concentration. This leads me to notice the
importance of

BATHING.--The exhalation from the skin being so constant and extensive,
and the bad effects of it when confined being so great, it becomes very
important that we provide for its removal. This can be most easily and
effectually accomplished by frequently bathing the whole body. This is a
luxury within the reach of all, but one which is unappreciated by those
who have not enjoyed it. An aged gentleman said to me recently, that in
early life he "used to go a swimming frequently and enjoyed it much;
but," he added, "I have not bathed or washed myself all over _for the
last thirty years_!" This, it is believed, is an extreme case. But it
is to be feared there are not wanting instances in which persons do not
bathe the entire person once a month, or once a year even! When the
residual parts of the perspiration are not removed by washing or
bathing, they at last obstruct the pores and irritate the skin. It is
apparently for this reason that, in the Eastern and warmer countries,
where perspiration is very copious, ablution and bathing have assumed
the rank and importance of _religious observances_. Those who are in the
habit of using the flesh-brush daily are at first surprised at the
quantity of white dry scurf which it brings off; and those who take a
warm bath for half an hour at long intervals can not have failed to
notice the great amount of impurities which it removes, and the grateful
feeling of comfort which its use imparts. It is remarked by an eminent
physician, that the warm, tepid, cold, or shower bath, as a means of
preserving health, ought to be in as common use as a change of apparel,
for it is equally a measure of necessary cleanliness. Many, no doubt,
neglect this, and enjoy health notwithstanding; but many more suffer
from its omission; and even the former would be greatly benefited by
employing it. Cleanliness, then, is as essential to health as to
decency. Still more, it promotes not only physical health, but
contributes largely to strengthen and invigorate the intellectual
faculties, and to elevate and purify the affections. It comes, then, to
be ranked among the _cardinal virtues_.

To secure the benefits of bathing or ablution, a great amount of
apparatus is not necessary. A shower-bath, or plunge-bath, may not be
best for all. Every one can procure a wash-bowl and one or two quarts of
water, which are all that is necessary. To prevent the reduction of heat
in the system by evaporation, and especially in cold weather, it will
usually be found best to bathe the body _by sections_. It is generally
agreed that the morning is the best time for bathing. Immediately on
rising, then, the clothing being removed, let the head, face, and neck
be washed as usual, and thoroughly dried by the use of a towel. Proceed
to wash the chest and abdomen, which may be dried as before, after which
a coarse towel or a flesh-brush should be vigorously applied, until the
skin is perfectly dry, and there is a pleasant glow upon the surface.
The back and limbs, in turn, should be washed, dried, and excited to a
healthy and pleasant glow by friction. This last is of the utmost
importance. If not easily secured, salt or vinegar may be added to the
water, both of which are excellent stimulants to the skin.[7] When these
are used, and care is taken to excite in the surface, by subsequent
friction with a coarse towel, flesh-brush, or hair glove, the healthful
glow of reaction, it will be found to contribute largely to both
physical and mental comfort. The beneficial results will be more
apparent if, while bathing and rubbing the chest and abdomen, pains are
taken to throw back the shoulders, expand the lungs, and enlarge the

  [7] It will frequently be found more convenient, and will be well-nigh
  as serviceable, to wash in soft water as usual, and excite a reaction in
  the skin in the use of a towel that has been dipped in brine and dried.

By an act of the Legislature of the commonwealth of Massachusetts,
passed in April last, it is required that "physiology and hygiene shall
hereafter be taught in the schools of that commonwealth, in all cases in
which the school committee shall deem it expedient."

When physiology is not made a study in school, the teacher should not
fail to give familiar and instructive lectures on the subject. I know of
instances where, by this simple means, the habits of a whole school,
composed of several hundred youth of both sexes, have been radically
changed; and the practice of daily ablution has ceased to be the luxury
of the few, having become the necessity not only of teachers and
scholars, but of the families in which they reside. There is the most
satisfactory evidence that cleanliness is conducive to health.[8] How
important it is, then, that _habits of cleanliness_ be formed at an
early age.

  [8] The friends of educational reform may well take courage from the
  increased attention which the subject of physical education is of late
  receiving from the _pulpit_ and the _press_, those mighty conservators
  of the public weal. Since the text was prepared for the press, the
  following remarks and pertinent inquiry have appeared in the Family
  Favorite for February, 1850. They are quoted from a Discourse by the
  editor, the Rev. James V. Watson, on the First Sabbath of the New Year:

  "The true interpretation of the providence of God in Asiatic cholera
  perhaps has never yet fully been given. Is it not one of God's marked
  modes of rebuking intemperance, physical uncleanness, and social
  degradation--evils which result from perverted appetite, wrong forms of
  government, and a want of Christian benevolence? The reformer, the
  philanthropist, and the Christian may learn a lesson here."

Dr. Weiss, a distinguished German physician, in his remarks on this
subject, says, the best time, undoubtedly, for these ablutions, is the
morning. They are to be performed immediately after rising from the bed,
when the temperature of the body is raised by the heat of the bed. The
sudden change favors in a great measure the reaction which ensues, and
excites the skin, rendered more sensitive by the perspiration during the
night, to renewed activity. Cold ablutions, he adds, are fitted for all
constitutions; they are best adapted for purifying and strengthening the
body; for women, weak subjects, children, and old age. The room in which
the ablution is performed may be slightly heated for debilitated
patients in winter, to prevent colds in consequence of too low a
temperature of the apartment; this exception is, however, only
admissible for very weakly persons. Generally speaking, ablutions may
be performed in a cold room, especially where persons get through the
operation quickly, and can immediately afterward take exercise in the
open air.

It is the opinion of Dr. Combe that bathing is a safe and valuable
preservative of health, in ordinary circumstances, and an active remedy
in disease. Instead of being dangerous by causing liability to cold, it
is, he says, when well managed, so much the reverse, that he has used it
much and successfully for the express purpose of diminishing such
liability, both in himself and in others in whom the chest is delicate.
In his own instance, in particular, he is conscious of having derived
much advantage from its regular employment, especially in the colder
months of the year, during which he has found himself most effectually
strengthened against the impression of cold by repeating the bath at
shorter intervals than usual. I shall conclude my remarks on bathing by
presenting a paragraph from this transatlantic author.

If the bath can not be had at all places, soap and water may be obtained
every where, and leave no apology for neglecting the skin. If the
constitution be delicate, water and vinegar, or water and salt, used
daily, form an excellent and safe means of cleansing and gently
stimulating the skin. To the invalid they are highly beneficial, when
the nature of the indisposition does not render them improper. A rough
and rather coarse towel is a very useful auxiliary in such ablutions.
Few of those who have steadiness to keep up the action of the skin by
the above means, and to avoid strong and exciting causes, will ever
suffer from colds, sore throats, or similar complaints; while, as a
means of restoring health, they are often incalculably serviceable. If
one tenth of the persevering attention and labor bestowed to so much
purpose in rubbing down and currying the skins of horses were bestowed
by the human race in keeping themselves in good condition, and a little
attention were paid to diet and clothing, colds, nervous diseases, and
stomach complaints would cease to form so large an item in the catalogue
of human miseries. Man studies the nature of other animals, and adapts
his conduct to their constitution; himself alone he continues ignorant
of and neglects. He considers himself a being of superior order, and not
subject to the laws of organization which regulate the functions of the
lower animals; but this conclusion is the result of ignorance and pride,
and not a just inference from the premises on which it is ostensibly

CLOTHING.--The skin is very materially affected in the healthy
performance of its functions by the nature and condition of the
clothing. It is a very commonly received opinion that one principal
object in clothing is to impart heat to the body. This, however, is an
erroneous idea; the utmost that it can do is to _prevent the escape of
heat_. All articles of clothing are not alike in this respect. Some
conduct the heat from the body readily, and are hence much used in warm
weather; as linen, for example. Others, again, have very little tendency
to convey heat from the body, and are hence sought in cold weather. Of
this nature are furs, and cloths manufactured from wool. I do not intend
in this connection to speak of the merits of different kinds of
clothing, but to remark simply upon the necessity of changing clothes
often, or at least of ventilating them frequently. This remark applies
particularly to all articles of clothing worn next to the skin, and to
beds. Clothes worn next to the skin during the day should be removed on
going to bed, and a fresh sleeping-gown should be put on. The former
should be hung up in a situation that will allow the accumulated
perspiration of the day to pass off by evaporation. By this means they
will become sufficiently freshened and ventilated, by morning, to be
worn another day, when the night-clothes, in turn, should be ventilated.
Beds also should be thrown open and exposed to fresh air with open
doors, or at least windows, several hours before being made. In our
best-regulated boarding schools, and literary and benevolent
institutions of all kinds, particular attention is now paid to this
subject. In some instances, lodging rooms are furnished with frames for
the express purpose of facilitating the ventilation of the bed-clothes.
Immediately on rising in the morning, the clothes are removed from the
beds, and exposed upon these frames to a current of fresh air for
several hours, the windows being opened for that purpose.
Notwithstanding care be taken to promote personal cleanliness by daily
ablutions, if the ventilation of beds and clothing be neglected, and
perspiration be suffered to accumulate in them, it may be reabsorbed,
and, passing again into the circulation, produce all the mischief of
which I have before spoken.

THE TEETH.--I have already spoken of the relation the teeth sustain to
digestion. Their use in the proper mastication of food is essential to
the healthy and vigorous performance of this important function. The
proper use of a good set of teeth contributes largely to both the
physical comfort, and the intellectual and moral well-being of their
possessor; but when neglected, they very commonly decay and become
useless; nay, more, they are not unfrequently a source of great and
almost constant discomfort for years. In order to preserve the teeth,
they must be _kept clean_. After every meal, they should be cleaned
with a brush and water. A tooth-pick will sometimes be found necessary
in the removal of particles of food that are inaccessible to the brush.
Metallic tooth-picks injure the enamel, and should not be used. Those
made of ivory, or the common goose-quill, are unobjectionable. The brush
should be used, not only after each meal, but the last thing at night
and the first thing in the morning. This will prevent the accumulation
of _tartar_, which so commonly incrusts neglected teeth. If suffered to
remain, it gradually accumulates, presses upon the gums, and destroys
their health. By this means the roots of the teeth become bare, and thus
deprived of their natural stimulus, they prematurely decay. Food or
drink either very hot or very cold is exceedingly injurious to the
teeth. Sour drops, acidulated drinks, and all articles of food that "set
the teeth on edge," are injurious, and should be carefully avoided.
Should it become necessary to take sour drops as a medicine, they should
be given through a quill, and every precaution should be taken to
prevent their coming in contact with the teeth. Even then the mouth
should be well rinsed immediately after they are swallowed.

Disordered digestion is a great source of injury to the teeth both in
childhood and in mature age. When digestion is vigorous, there is less
deposition of tartar, and the teeth are naturally of a purer white.
Especially is this true when the general health is good, and the diet
plain, and contains a full proportion of vegetable matter. This accounts
for the fact that many rustics and savages possess teeth that would be
envied in town. Tobacco is sometimes used as a _preservative_ of the
teeth. It is, indeed, occasionally prescribed as a _curative_ by
ignorant physicians, and those who are willing to pander to the diseased
appetites of their patients. But there is the best medical testimony
that the use of this _filthy weed_ "_debilitates the vessels of the
gums, turns the teeth yellow, and renders the appearance of the mouth
disagreeable._" Dr. Rush informs us that he knew a man in Philadelphia
who _lost all his teeth_ by smoking. In speaking of the _moral effects_
of this practice, he adds, "Smoking and chewing tobacco, by rendering
water and other simple liquors insipid to the taste, dispose very much
to the stronger stimulus of ardent spirits; hence the practice of
smoking cigars throughout our country has been followed by the use of
brandy and water as a common drink." A dentist of extensive and
successful practice in the Middle and Western States, after listening to
the reading of this article, said to me, he had a patient, a young lady,
two of whose front teeth had decayed through, laterally, in consequence
of smoking. On removing the caries, he found it impossible to fill her
teeth, because the openings continued through them. He thinks, as do
many others, that the heat of the smoke is a principal cause of the

Among the conditions upon which the healthy action of the voluntary
organs depends is a due degree of _appropriate exercise_. This is a
_general law_, and holds with reference to the _teeth_ as well as to any
other organ or set of organs. The proper mastication of healthful and
nutritious food constitutes the appropriate exercise of the teeth, and
is a condition upon which _their health_, and the healthy exercise of
the function of _digestion_, alike depend. If from any cause the teeth
of one jaw are removed, the corresponding teeth of the other jaw, being
thus deprived of that exercise which is essential to their health, are
pressed out of the jaw, appear to grow long, become loose in their
sockets, and sometimes fall out. Hence the propriety and advantage of
inserting _artificial teeth_ where the natural ones fail; an event which
rarely happens when they are properly taken care of. I need hardly add
that nuts, and other hard substances that break the enamel, are
injurious to the teeth, and should be avoided.

THE BONES.--The bones constitute the frame-work of the system. They
consist of two substances, being formed of both _animal_ and _earthy_
matter. To the former belongs every thing connected with their _life_
and _growth_, while the latter gives to them _solidity_ and _strength_.
The proportions of the animal and earthy elements of which the bones are
composed vary at different ages. In childhood and early youth, when but
_little strength_ is needed, and _great growth_ of bone is required, the
animal part preponderates. As growth advances the animal part
_decreases_, and the earthy part _increases_. In middle life, when
growth is finished and the strength is greatest, and when nutrition is
required only to repair waste, the proportions are changed, and the
solid or earthy part exceeds the vital or animal; and in extreme old
age, the earthy part so predominates as to cause the bones to become
very brittle.

The bones, like other parts of the system, require exercise. If properly
used, they increase in size and strength. But while a due degree of
exercise is beneficial, it ought to be remarked that severe and
continued labor should not be required of children and youth; for its
tendency is to increase the deposition of earthy matter to a hurtful
extent. It is by this means that many children are made dwarfs for life,
their bones being consolidated by an undue amount of exercise and
excessive labor before they have attained their full growth. Multitudes
of children in our country, from this and kindred causes, fail of
attaining the size of their ancestors. These remarks may be turned to a
practical account in the family and in the school. At birth, many of
the bones are scarcely more than cartilage; yet children are frequently
urged to stand and walk long before the bones become sufficiently strong
to sustain the pressure; and, as a consequence, their legs become
crooked, and they are perhaps other ways deformed for life. Children
ought always, when seated, to be able to rest their feet upon the floor.
When they occupy a seat that is too high, and especially when they are
unable to reach their feet to the floor, the thigh bones very frequently
become curved. If, in addition to high seats, the back is not supported,
children become round shouldered, their chests contract, their
constitutions become permanently enfeebled, and they become peculiarly
susceptible to pulmonary disease. The back to the seat should afford a
pleasant and agreeable support to the small of the back, but it ought
not to reach to the shoulder blades.

Parents and teachers should never forget that children are as
susceptible to physical training as to intellectual or moral culture.
And here, especially, they should be "trained _up_ in the way they
should go." Physical uprightness is next to moral. If children are
allowed to contract bad physical habits, they are liable not only to
grow crooked, but to become deformed in various ways. But so great is
the power of education, that by it even the physically crooked may be
made straight; the chest may be enlarged, the general health may be
improved, and much may be done in many ways to fortify those who have
inherited feeble constitutions against the attacks of disease. The
benefits resulting from maintaining an upright form, and a free and open
chest, have already been considered, and I shall have occasion to refer
to them again. The chest of most adults, although _incased with bone_,
may be increased several inches by drawing the arms back in the use of
_nature's own shoulder-braces_, and at the same time taking deep
inhalations of air, and filling the lungs to their utmost capacity.
Hundreds of individuals in different parts of the country have borne
testimony to the efficacy of this treatment in the improvement of their
health. The good results of such discipline in childhood are still more

A stooping posture is frequently induced by sitting at tables and desks
that are too low. It has been erroneously maintained by some that the
top of the desk should be on the same plane with the elbow when the arm
hangs by the side. When the desk is higher, it has been said the
tendency is to elevate one shoulder, to depress the other, and to
produce a permanent curvature of the spinal column. Although this may
have been frequently the result of sitting at a high desk, yet it is not
a _necessary result_. To prevent the projection of one shoulder, and the
consequent spinal curvature, _both of the arms must be kept on the same
level_. For this purpose, there should be room to support them equally;
and care should be taken to see that this support is regularly sought.
If this be not done, the right arm will be apt to rise above the left,
from its more constant use and elevation. A physician, highly celebrated
for the success that has attended his treatment for lung affections,
after dwelling upon the injury to the health that frequently results
from sitting at too low desks, remarks, that "every parent should go to
the school-rooms, and know for a certainty that the desks at which his
children write or study are fully up to the arm-pits, and in no case
allow them to sit stooping, or leaning the shoulders forward on the
chest. If fatigued by this posture, they should be called to stand, or
go out of doors and run about." The height of table I find most
conducive to comfort for my own use is midway between the two; that is,
half way from the elbow (as the arm hangs by the side) to the arm-pit.
It is necessary, however, to rest both arms equally upon the table. The
secret of posture consists in avoiding all bad positions, and in not
continuing any one position too long. The ordinary carriage of the body
is an object worthy of the attention of every parent and instructor. The
more favorable impression which a man of erect and commanding attitude
is sure to make, should not be overlooked. But there is a greater good
than this; for he who _walks erect_, enjoys better health, possesses
increased powers of usefulness, realizes more that _he is a man_, and
has more to call forth gratitude to a beneficent Creator, than he who
adopts an _oblique_ posture. It was just remarked that "physical
uprightness is next to moral." Physical _obliquity_, it may be added, is
akin to _moral_. If they are not German-cousins, there can be little
doubt but that, considered in all its bearings, the tendency of the
former is to induce the latter.

Important as an erect posture and a well-developed chest are to
gentlemen, they are in some respects even more so to the fairer sex;
for, in addition to the advantages already considered, which both enjoy
in common, these impart to them a peculiar charm, that to men of sense
is far greater than pretty faces, which Nature has not given to all.
"For a great number of years, it has been the custom in France to give
young females, of the earliest age, the habit of holding back the
shoulders, and thus expanding the chest. From the observations of
anatomists lately made, it appears that the clavicle or collar bone is
actually longer in females of the French nation than in those of the
English. As the two nations are of the same race, as there is no
remarkable difference in their bones, and this is peculiar to the sex,
it must be attributed, as I believe, to the habit above mentioned,
which, by the extension of the arms, has gradually produced an
elongation of this bone. Thus we see that habit may be employed to alter
and improve the solid bones. The French have succeeded in the
development of a part in a way that adds to health and beauty, and
increases a characteristic that distinguishes the human being from the

  [9] Quoted into the Schoolmaster (a work published in London under the
  superintendence of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge)
  from a lecture delivered by Dr. J. C. Warren before the American
  Institute of Instruction, August, 1830.

THE MUSCLES.--The muscles consist of compact bundles of fleshy fibers,
which are found in animals on removing the skin. They constitute the red
fleshy part of meat, and give form and symmetry to the body. In the
limbs they surround and protect the bones, while in the trunk they
spread out and constitute a defensive wall for the protection of the
vital parts beneath. The muscles have been divided into _three parts_,
of which the middle and fleshy portion, called the _belly_, is most
conspicuous. The other two parts are the opposite ends, and are commonly
called the _origin_ and _insertion_ of the muscle. The _origin_ is
usually fastened to one bone, and the _insertion_ is attached to
another. By the contraction of the _belly_ of the muscle, the
_insertion_, which is _movable_, is drawn toward the _origin_, which is
_fixed_, and brings with it the bone to which it is attached. This any
one can see illustrated in bending the arm. The muscle which performs
this function lies between the elbow and the shoulder. It is attached to
the shoulder by its _origin_, and to one of the bones of the fore-arm,
just below the elbow, by its _insertion_. By grasping the arm midway
between the shoulder and the elbow with the opposite hand, and then
bending the arm, the enlargement of the belly of the muscle by the
contraction will be at once perceived. Then, by moving the hand down on
the inside of the arm toward the elbow, the lessening muscle may be
readily traced until it terminates in a _tendon_, of much less size than
the muscle, but of great strength, which is inserted into the bone just
below the elbow. As the fore-arm is drawn up, and especially if there be
a weight in the hand, the _tendon_ may be felt just within the
elbow-joint, running toward the point of insertion. Extend the arm at
the elbow, and the muscle on the outside of the arm will swell and
become firm, while the inside muscle, and its tendon at the elbow, will
be relaxed. This example well illustrates the principle on which all the
joints of the system are moved. Those who are acquainted with mechanics
will readily perceive that the action just described is an example of
the "_third_ kind of lever," where the power is applied between the
weight and the fulcrum. The elbow is the fulcrum, the hand contains the
weight, and the tendon, inserted into the bone just below the elbow, is
the power. This kind of lever requires the power to be greater than the
weight, and acts under what is called a _mechanical disadvantage_. What
is lost in power, however, is compensated in increased velocity.

There are upward of four hundred muscles in the human body. Some of
these are _voluntary_ in their motions, as those I have described, while
others are _involuntary_, as the action of the heart and the respiratory
muscles. Had the action of these depended upon the will, as does the
action of the muscles of locomotion, the circulation of the blood and
the process of breathing would cease, and life would become extinct
whenever sleep or any other cause should overcome the attention. Here,
then, we have another beautiful illustration of the wisdom and
beneficence of the Creator in so ordering that those muscles which are
essential to the continuation of life shall perform their functions
without the control or attention of the individual.

The study of the muscular system involves an exposition of the
principles by which exercise should be regulated, and can scarcely fail
to excite the attention of the general reader, and especially of those
who, as parents or teachers, are interested in the education of the

The muscles enable us to move the frame-work of the system. Their chief
purpose obviously is to enable us to carry into effect the various
resolutions and designs which have been formed by the mind. But, while
fulfilling this grand object, their active exercise is, at the same
time, highly conducive to the well-being of many other important
functions. By muscular contraction, the blood is gently assisted in its
course through the smaller vessels to the more distant parts of the
body; and by it the important processes of digestion, respiration,
secretion, absorption, and nutrition are promoted; and by it the health
of the whole body is immediately and greatly influenced. The mind itself
is exhilarated or depressed by the proper or improper use of muscular
exercise. It thus becomes a point of no slight importance to establish
general principles by which that exercise may be regulated.

In every part of the animal economy, the muscles are proportioned in
size and structure to the efforts required of them. Whenever a muscle is
called into frequent use, its fibers increase in thickness within
certain limits, and become capable of acting with greater force and
readiness. On the other hand, when a muscle is little used, its volume
and power decrease in a corresponding degree.

In order to secure the most beneficial results from exercise, reference
should be had to the time at which it is taken. Those who are in perfect
health may engage in it at almost any hour except immediately after a
meal; but those who are not robust ought to confine their hours of
exercise within narrower limits. To a person in full vigor, a good walk,
or other brisk exercise before breakfast may be highly beneficial and
exhilarating, while to an invalid or delicate person it will be likely
to prove detrimental. In order to prove beneficial, exercise must be
resorted to only when the system is sufficiently vigorous to be able to
meet it. This is usually the case after a lapse of from two to four
hours after a moderate meal. The forenoon, then, will generally be found
the best time for exercise for persons whose habits are sedentary. If
exercise be delayed till the system feels exhaustion from want of food,
its tendency will be to dissipate the strength that remains and impair
digestion; while, if taken at the proper time, it will invigorate the
system and promote digestion. The reasons are obvious; for exercise of
every kind causes increased action and waste in the organ, and if there
be not materials and vigor enough in the system to keep up that action
and supply the waste, nothing but increased debility can reasonably be

Active exercise immediately _before_ meals is injurious. The reasons are
apparent, for muscular exercise directs a flow of blood and nervous
energy to the surface and extremities; and it is an established law in
physiology, that energetic action can not be kept up in two distant
parts of the system at the same time. Hence, whenever a meal is taken
immediately after vigorous exercise, the stomach is taken at
disadvantage, and, from want of the necessary action in its vessels and
nerves, is unable to carry on digestion with success. This is very
obviously the case where the exercise has been severe or protracted.

Active exercise ought to be equally avoided immediately _after_ a heavy
meal, for then the functions of the digestive organs are in the highest
state of activity. If the muscular system be called into vigorous action
under such circumstances, it will cause a withdrawal of the vital
stimuli of the blood and nervous influence from the stomach to the
extremities, which can not fail greatly to retard the digestive process.
In accordance with this well-established fact, there is a natural and
marked aversion to active pursuits after a full meal. A mere stroll,
which requires no exertion and does not fatigue, will not be injurious
before or after eating; but exercise beyond this limit is at such times
hurtful. All, therefore, who would preserve and improve their health,
will find it to their advantage to observe faithfully this important
law, otherwise they will deprive themselves of most of the benefits that
are usually attendant upon judicious exercise. All, then, who are forced
to much exertion immediately after eating, should satisfy themselves
with partaking of a very moderate meal. These remarks apply to both
physical and mental exercise; for if the intellect be intently occupied
in profound and absorbing thought, the nervous energy will be
concentrated in the brain, and any demands made on it by the stomach or
muscles will be very imperfectly attended to. So, also, if the stomach
be actively engaged in digesting a full meal, and some subject of
thought be presented to the mind, considerable difficulty will be felt
in pursuing it, and most probably both thought and digestion will be

Another law of the muscular system requires that relaxation and
contraction should alternate; or, in other words, that rest should
follow exercise. In accordance with this law, it is easier to walk than
to stand; and in standing, it is easier to change from one foot to the
other than to stand still. To require a child to extend his arm and hold
a book in his hand, or even to keep the arm extended but a short time,
is a violation of this law which should never be permitted. Akin to this
is the very injudicious practice, which is sometimes resorted to in
schools, of requiring a boy to stoop over, and, placing his finger upon
a nail in the floor, "hold it in." Teachers who are disposed to inflict
punishments like these ought first to try the experiment themselves.
Such protracted tension of the muscles enfeebles their action, and
ultimately destroys their power of contraction.

These remarks sufficiently explain why small children, after sitting a
while in school, become restless. Proper regard for this organic law
requires that the smaller children in school be allowed a recess as
often, at least, as once an hour; and that all be allowed and encouraged
frequently to change their position. I fully concur in the opinion
expressed by Dr. Caldwell, who says, "It would be infinitely wiser and
better to employ suitable persons to superintend the exercises and
amusements of children under seven years of age, in the fields,
orchards, and meadows, and point out to them the richer beauties of
nature, than to have them immured in crowded school-rooms, in a state of
inaction, poring over torn books and primers, conning words of whose
meaning they are ignorant, and breathing foul air."

A change of position calls into action a different set of muscles, and
relieves those that are exhausted. The object of exercise is to employ
all the muscles of the body, and especially to strengthen those that
are weak. It ought hence to be frequently varied, and always adapted to
the peculiarities of individuals. Different kinds of exercise will
therefore be found to suit different constitutions. Sedentary persons
best enjoy, and will be most profited by, that kind of exercise which
brings into action the greatest number of muscles.

To give exercise its greatest value, it should be taken at the same hour
every day. This is well-nigh as important as the rule that requires
meals to be taken regularly. If exercise be taken irregularly, one day
in the morning, another day at noon, and another day at night, if at
all, it is possible that good may result from it, but its beneficial
effects would be greatly increased if the same amount of exercise were
taken every day at the same hours. Give the system an opportunity of
establishing _good habits_ in this respect, and it will derive great
advantage from them; but it is difficult for it to derive any benefit
from a _habit of irregularity_, if such may be called a habit. Students,
teachers, and all persons who lead sedentary lives, should have their
regular times for exercise as well as for meals, and if they find it
necessary to do without one, they will generally find it advantageous to
dispense with the other also.

Walking, it has been said, agrees with every body. But as it brings into
play chiefly the lower limbs and muscles of the loins, and affords
little scope for the play of the arms and muscles of the chest, it is of
itself insufficient to constitute adequate exercise. To render it most
beneficial, the shoulders should be drawn back, and the chest should be
enlarged by taking deep inspirations of pure air. The muscles of the
chest, and of every part of the body, should be free to move and
unconfined by tight clothing. Fencing, shuttlecock, and such other
useful sports as combine with them free movements of the upper part of
the body, are doubly advantageous, for they not only exercise the
muscles of the whole body, but possess the additional advantage of
animating the mind and increasing the nervous stimulus, by which
exercise is rendered easy, pleasant, and invigorating. For the purpose
of developing the chest, physiologists generally concur in recommending
_fencing_ as a good exercise for boys. Shuttlecock is a very beneficial
exercise for females, calling into play, as it does, the muscles of the
chest, trunk, and arms. It ought to be practiced in the open air. When
played with both hands, as it may be after a little practice, it is very
useful in preventing curvature, and in giving vigor to the spine. It is
an excellent plan to play with a battledore in each hand, and to strike
with them alternately. The graces is another play well adapted for
expanding the chest, and giving strength to the muscles of the back, and
has the advantage of being practicable in the open air. It is very
important that the muscles of the back be strengthened by due exercise,
for their proper use contributes to both health and beauty.

When managed with due regard to the natural powers of the individual,
and so as to avoid effort and fatigue, _reading aloud_ becomes a very
useful and invigorating exercise. In forming and undulating the voice,
not only the chest, but also the diaphragm and abdominal muscles are in
constant action, and communicate to the stomach and bowels a healthy and
agreeable stimulus. Where the voice is raised and the elocution is
rapid, the muscular effort becomes fatiguing; but when care is taken not
to carry reading aloud so far at one time as to excite a sensation of
soreness or fatigue in the chest, and the exercise is duly repeated, it
is extremely useful in developing and giving tone to the organs of
respiration and to the general system.

"Vocal music is also very useful, by its direct effect on the
constitution. It was the opinion of Dr. Rush, that young ladies
especially, who, by the custom of society, are debarred from many kinds
of salubrious exercise, should cultivate singing, not only as an
accomplishment, but as a means of preserving health. He particularly
insists that it should never be neglected in the education of females;
and states that, besides its salutary operation in enabling them to
soothe the cares of domestic life, and quiet sorrow by the united
assistance of the sound and sentiment of a properly chosen song, it has
a still more direct and important effect. 'I here introduce a fact,' he
remarks, 'which has been suggested to me by my profession, and that is,
that the exercise of the organs of the breast by singing contributes
very much to defend them from those diseases to which the climate and
other causes expose them. The Germans are seldom afflicted with
consumption, nor have I ever known but one instance of spitting blood
among them. This, I believe, is in part occasioned by the strength which
their lungs acquire by exercising them frequently in vocal music, for
this constitutes an essential branch of their education. The
music-master of our academy has furnished me with an observation still
more in favor of this opinion. He informed me that he had known several
instances of persons who were strongly disposed to consumption, who were
restored to health by the exercise of their lungs in singing.'"[10]

  [10] Mr. Woodbridge's lecture before the American Institute of
  Instruction, 1830.

Bathing or ablution, when conducted as recommended on pages 60 and 61,
is not only a means of cleanliness and of exciting a healthy action in
the skin, but it constitutes, at the same time, a most _admirable
exercise_. If a lodging-room has been properly ventilated by leaving
open windows, or otherwise, so that the air is pure and healthful in the
morning, ten or fifteen minutes spent in bathing and friction, with a
proper exercise of the muscles of the back and abdomen, will contribute
more to invigorate the system and promote the general health than twice
the amount of exercise taken at any other time or in any other way.

From the foregoing remarks, it appears that the most perfect of all
exercises are those which combine the free play of all the muscles of
the body, mental interest and excitement, and the unrestrained use of
the voice.



    We instinctively shun approach to the dirty, the squalid, and the
    diseased, and use no garment that may have been worn by another. We
    open sewers for matters that offend the sight or the smell, and
    contaminate the air. We carefully remove impurities from what we eat
    and drink, filter turbid water, and fastidiously avoid drinking from
    a cup that may have been pressed to the lips of a friend. On the
    other hand, we resort to places of assembly, and draw into our
    mouths air loaded with effluvia from the lungs, skin, and clothing
    of every individual in the promiscuous crowd--exhalations offensive,
    to a certain extent, from the most healthy individuals; but when
    arising from a living mass of skin and lungs in all stages of
    evaporation, disease, and putridity, they are in the highest degree
    deleterious and loathsome.--BIRNAN.

Respiration is usually defined as the process by which air is taken into
the lungs and expelled from them. It explains the changes that take
place in these organs, in the conversion of _chyle_ and _venous_, or
worn-out blood, into _arterial_ or nutrient blood. In order to be
clearly understood, I must premise a few observations on the
circulation of the blood.[11] The blood circulating through the body is
of two different kinds; the one _red_ or _arterial_, and the other
_dark_ or _venous_ blood. The former alone is capable of affording
nourishment and supporting life. It is distributed from the _left_ side
of the heart all over the body by means of a great _artery_, which
subdivides in its course, and ultimately terminates in myriads of very
minute ramifications closely interwoven with, and in reality
constituting a part of, the texture of every living part. On reaching
this extreme point of its course, the blood passes into equally minute
ramifications of the _veins_, which in their turn gradually coalesce,
and form larger and larger trunks, till they at last terminate in two
large veins, by which the whole current of the venous blood is brought
back in a direction contrary to that of the blood in the arteries, and
poured into the _right_ side of the heart. On examining the quality of
the blood in the arteries and veins, it is found to have undergone a
great change in its passage from the one to the other. The florid hue
which distinguished it in the arteries has disappeared, and given place
to the dark color characteristic of venous blood. Its properties, too,
have changed, and it is now no longer capable of sustaining life.

  [11] Taken, with slight alterations, from the description of Dr. A.

Two conditions are essential to the reconversion of venous into arterial
blood, and to the restoration of its vital properties. The first is an
adequate provision of _new materials_ from the _food_ to supply the
place of those which have been expended in nutrition, and the second is
the free exposure of the _venous blood_ to the _atmospheric air_. The
first condition is fulfilled by the chyle, or nutrient portion of the
food, being regularly poured into the venous blood just before it
reaches the right side of the heart, and the second by the important
process of _respiration_, which takes place in the air-cells of the
lungs. The venous blood, having arrived at the right side of the heart,
is propelled by the contraction of that organ into a large artery,
leading directly, by separate branches, to the two lungs, and hence
called the _pulmonary_ artery. In the innumerable branches of this
artery expanding themselves throughout the substance of the lungs, the
dark blood is subjected to the contact of the air inhaled in breathing,
and a change in the composition both of the blood and of the inhaled air
takes place, in consequence of which the former is found to have
reassumed its florid or arterial hue, and to have regained its power of
supporting life. The blood then enters minute venous ramifications,
which gradually coalesce into larger branches, and at last terminate in
four large trunks in the left side of the heart, whence the blood, in
its arterial form, is again distributed over the body, to pursue the
same course and undergo the same change as before.

It will be perceived that there are two distinct circulations, each of
which is carried on by its own system of vessels. The one is from the
_left_ side of the _heart_ to _every part of the body_, and back to the
_right_ side of the _heart_. The other is from the _right_ side of the
_heart_ to the _lungs_, and back to the _left_ side of the _heart_. The
former has for its object nutrition and the maintenance of life; and the
latter, the restoration of the deteriorated blood, and the
_animalization_ or _assimilation_ of the _chyle_ from which the _blood_
is formed. This process has already been referred to as the _completion
of digestion_; for _chyle_ is not fitted to nourish the system until, by
its exposure to the atmospheric air in the lungs, it is converted into
_arterial blood_.

As the food can not become a part of the living animal, or the venous
blood regain its lost properties until they have undergone the
requisite changes in the air-cells of the lungs, the function of
respiration by which these are effected is one of pre-eminent importance
in the animal economy, and well deserves the most careful examination.
The term respiration is frequently restricted to the mere inhalation and
expiration of air from the lungs, but more generally it is employed to
designate the whole series of phenomena which occur in these organs. The
term _sanguification_ is occasionally used to denote that part of the
process in which the blood, by exposure to the action of the air, passes
from the venous to the arterial state. As the chyle does not become
assimilated to the blood until it has passed through the lungs, this
term, which signifies _blood-making_, is not unaptly used.

The _quantity_ and _quality_ of the blood have a most direct and
material influence upon the condition of every part of the body. If the
_quantity_ sent to the arm, for example, be diminished by tying the
artery through which it is conveyed, the arm, being then imperfectly
nourished, wastes away, and does not regain its plumpness till the full
supply of blood be restored. In like manner, when the _quality_ of that
fluid is impaired by deficiency of food, bad digestion, impure air, or
imperfect sanguification in the lungs, the body and all its functions
become more or less disordered. Thus, in consumption, death takes place
chiefly in consequence of respiration not being sufficiently perfect to
admit of the formation of proper blood in the lungs. A knowledge of the
structure and functions of the lungs, and of the conditions favorable to
_their_ healthy action, is therefore very important, for on their
welfare depends that of every organ of the body.

The exposure of the blood to the action of the air seems to be
indispensable to every variety of animated creatures. In man and the
more perfect of the lower animals, it is carried on in the lungs, the
structure of which is admirably adapted for the purpose. In many
animals, however, the requisite action is effected without the
intervention of lungs. In fishes, for example, that live in water and do
not breathe, the blood circulates through the gills, and in them is
exposed to the air which the water contains. So necessary is the
atmospheric air to the vitality of the blood in all animals, that the
want of it inevitably proves fatal. A fish can no more live in water
deprived of air, than a man could in an atmosphere devoid of oxygen,
which is the element that unites with the blood in the lungs in

In man the lungs are those large, light, spongy bodies which, along with
the heart, completely fill up the cavity of the chest. They vary much in
size in different persons; and as the chest is formed for their
protection, it is either large and capacious, or the reverse, according
to the size of the lungs.

The substance of the lungs consists of bronchial tubes, air-cells,
blood-vessels, nerves, and cellular membrane. The bronchial tubes are
merely continuations and subdivisions of the windpipe, and serve to
convey the external air to the air-cells of the lungs. The air-cells
constitute the chief part of the lungs, and are the termination of the
smaller branches of the bronchial tubes. When fully distended, they are
so numerous as in appearance to constitute almost the whole lung. They
are of various sizes, from the twentieth to the hundredth of an inch in
diameter, and are lined with an exceedingly fine, thin membrane, on
which the minute capillary branches of the pulmonary arteries and veins
are copiously ramified. It is while circulating in the small vessels of
this membrane, and there exposed to the air, that the blood undergoes
the change from the venous to the arterial state. So numerous are these
air-cells, that the aggregate extent of their lining membrane in man has
been computed to exceed twenty thousand square inches, or about ten
times the surface of the human body. Some writers place the estimate
considerably higher.

A copious _exhalation_ of moisture takes place in breathing, which
presents a striking analogy to the exhalation from the surface of the
skin already described. In the former as in the latter instance, the
exhalation is carried on by the innumerable minute capillary vessels in
which the small arterial branches terminate in the air-cells. Pulmonary
exhalation is, in fact, one of the chief outlets of waste matter from
the system; and the air we breathe is thus vitiated, not only by the
subtraction of its oxygen and the addition of carbonic acid gas, but
also by animal effluvia, with which it is loaded when returned from the
lungs. In some individuals this last source of impurity is so great as
to render their vicinity offensive, and even insupportable. It is this
which gives the disagreeable, sickening smell to crowded rooms. The air
which is expired from the lungs is rendered offensive by various other
causes. When spirituous liquors are taken into the stomach, for example,
they are absorbed by the veins and mixed with the venous blood, in which
they are carried to the lungs to be expelled from the body. In some
instances, when persons have drank copiously of spirits, their breath
has been so saturated with them as actually to _take fire_ and _burn_.
An instance of this kind has recently been communicated to me by several
reliable witnesses, in which the flame was extinguished by closing the
mouth and nose, thus excluding the pure air that supported the
combustion, until the unfortunate experimenter could remove the candle
by which his breath had taken fire. This illustration will explain how
the odor of different substances is frequently perceptible in the breath
long after the mouth is free from them.

The lungs not only exhale waste matter, but _absorption_ takes place
from their lining membrane. In both of these respects there is a
striking analogy between the functions performed by the lungs and the
skin. When a person breathes an atmosphere loaded with the fumes of
spirits, tobacco, turpentine, or of any other volatile substance, a
portion of the fumes is taken up by the absorbing vessels of the lungs,
and carried into the system, and there produces precisely the same
effects as if introduced into the stomach. Dogs, for example, have been
killed by being made to inhale the fumes of prussic acid for a few
minutes. The lungs thus become a ready inlet to contagion, miasmata, and
other poisonous influences diffused through the air we breathe.

From this general explanation of the structure and uses of the lungs, it
is obvious that several conditions which it is our interest to know and
observe are essential to the healthy performance of the important
function of respiration. The first among these is a healthy original
formation of the lungs. No fact in medicine is better established, says
Dr. Combe, than that which proves the hereditary transmission, from
parents to children, of a constitutional liability to pulmonary disease,
and especially to consumption; yet, continues he, no condition is less
attended to in forming matrimonial engagements.

Another requisite to the well-being of the lungs, and to the free and
salutary exercise of respiration, is a due supply of rich and healthy
blood. When, from defective food or impaired digestion, the blood is
impoverished in quality, and rendered unfit for adequate nutrition, the
lungs speedily suffer, and that often to a fatal extent. The free and
easy expansion of the chest is also indispensable to the full play and
dilation of the lungs. Whatever interferes with or impedes it, either in
dress or in position, is obviously prejudicial to health. On the other
hand, whatever favors the free expansion of the chest equally promotes
the healthy action of the respiratory organs. Stays and corsets, and
tight vests and waistbands, operate most injuriously, compressing as
they do the thoracic cavity, and interfering with the healthy dilation
of the lungs.

The admirable harmony established by the Creator between the various
constituent parts of the animal frame, renders it impossible to pay
regard to the conditions required for the health of any one, or to
infringe the conditions required therefor, without all the rest
participating in the benefit or injury. Thus, while cheerful exercise in
the open air and in the society of equals is directly and eminently
conducive to the well-being of the muscular system, the advantage does
not stop there, the beneficent Creator having kindly so ordered it that
the same exercise shall be scarcely less advantageous to the important
function of respiration. Active exercise calls the lungs into play,
favors their expansion, promotes the circulation of the blood through
their substance, and leads to their complete and healthy development.
The same end is greatly facilitated by that free and vigorous exercise
of the voice, which so uniformly accompanies and enlivens the sports of
the young, and which doubles the benefits derived from them considered
as exercise. The excitement of the social and moral feelings which
children experience while engaged in play is another powerful tonic, the
influence of which on the general health ought not to be overlooked; for
the nervous influence is as indispensable to the right performance of
respiration as it is to the action of the muscles or to the digestion of

The regular supply of pure fresh air is another essential condition of
healthy respiration, without which the requisite changes in the
constitution of the blood, as it passes through the lungs, can not be
effected. To enable the reader to appreciate this condition, it is
necessary to consider the nature of the changes alluded to.

It is ascertained by analysis that the air we breathe is composed
chiefly of the two gases _nitrogen_ and _oxygen_, united in the ratio of
four to one by volume, with exceedingly small and variable quantities of
carbonic acid and aqueous vapor. No other mixture of these, or of any
other gases, will sustain healthy respiration. To be more
specific--atmospheric air consists of about seventy-eight per cent. of
nitrogen, twenty-one per cent. of oxygen, and not quite one per cent. of
carbonic acid. Such is its constitution when taken into the lungs in the
act of breathing. When it is expelled from them, however, its
composition is found to be greatly altered. The quantity of nitrogen
remains nearly the same, but eight or eight and a half per cent. of the
oxygen or vital air have disappeared, and been replaced by an equal
amount of carbonic acid. In addition to these changes, the expired air
is loaded with moisture. Simultaneously with these occurrences, the
blood collected from the veins, which enters the lungs of a dark color
and unfit for the support of life, assumes a florid hue and acquires the
power of supporting life.

Physiologists are not fully agreed in explaining the processes by which
these changes are effected in the lungs. All, however, agree that the
change of the blood in the lungs is essentially dependent on the supply
of oxygen contained in the air we breathe, and that air is fit or unfit
for respiration in exact proportion as its quantity of oxygen
approaches to, or differs from, that contained in pure air. If we
attempt to breathe nitrogen, hydrogen, or any other gas that does not
contain oxygen, the result will be speedy suffocation. If, on the other
hand, we breathe air containing too great a proportion of oxygen, the
vital powers will speedily suffer from excess of stimulus.

The chief chemical properties of the atmosphere are owing to the
presence of _oxygen_. Nitrogen, which constitutes about four fifths of
its volume, has been supposed to act as a mere diluent to the oxygen.
_Increase_ the proportion of oxygen in the atmosphere, and, as already
stated, the vital powers will speedily suffer from excess of stimulus,
the circulation and respiration become _too rapid_, and the system
generally becomes highly excited. _Diminish_ the proportion of oxygen,
and the circulation and respiration become _too slow_, weakness and
lassitude ensue, and a sense of heaviness and uneasiness pervades the
entire system. As has been observed, air _loses_ during each respiration
a portion of its oxygen, and gains an equal quantity of _carbonic acid_,
which is an _active poison_. When mixed with atmospheric air in the
ratio of one to four, it extinguishes animal life. It is this gas that
is produced by burning charcoal in a confined portion of common air. Its
effect upon the system is well known to every reader of our newspapers.
It causes dimness of sight, weakness, dullness, a difficulty of
breathing, and ultimately _apoplexy_ and _death_.[12]

  [12] Since the text was prepared for the press, I have noticed from the
  Syracuse (New York) Journal of January 3d, 1850, mention of the death of
  General Rensselaer Van Rensselaer, of that city, from breathing "the
  fumes of charcoal" burned in a "portable furnace." This, it should be
  remembered, is but _one_ of the _many instances_ that are constantly
  occurring all over our country, in which _immediate death_ is the result
  of breathing this destructive agent.

Respiration produces the same effect upon air that the burning of
charcoal does. It converts its oxygen, which is the aliment of animal
life, into carbonic acid, which, be it remembered, is an active poison.
Says Dr. Turner, in his celebrated work on chemistry, "An animal can not
live in air which is unable to support combustion." Says the same author
again, "An animal can not live in air which contains sufficient carbonic
acid for extinguishing a candle." It will presently be seen why these
quotations are made.

It is stated in several medical works that the quantity of air that
enters the lungs at each inspiration of an adult varies from thirty-two
to forty cubic inches. To establish more definitely some data upon which
a calculation might safely be based, I some years ago conducted an
experiment whereby I ascertained the medium quantity of air that entered
the lungs of myself and four young men was thirty-six cubic inches, and
that respiration is repeated once in three seconds, or twenty times a
minute. I also ascertained that _respired air will not support
combustion_. This truth, taken in connection with the quotations just
made, establishes another and a _more important_ truth, viz., that AIR
experiment by which it was ascertained that respired air will not
support combustion is very simple, and I here give it with the hope that
it may be tried at least in every _school-house_, if not in every family
of our wide-spread country. It was conducted as follows:

I introduced a lighted taper into an inverted receiver (glass jar) which
contained seven quarts of atmospheric air, and placed the mouth of the
receiver into a vessel of water. The taper burned with its wonted
brilliancy about a minute, and, growing dim gradually, became extinct
at the expiration of three minutes. I then filled the receiver with
water, and inverting it, placed its mouth beneath the surface of the
same fluid in another vessel. I next removed the water from the receiver
by _breathing into it_. This was done by filling the lungs with air,
which, after being retained a short time in the chest, was exhaled
through a siphon (a bent lead tube) into the receiver. I then introduced
the lighted taper into the receiver of respired air, by which it was
_immediately extinguished_. Several persons present then received a
quantity of respired air into their lungs, whereupon the premonitory
symptoms of apoplexy, as already given, ensued. The experiment was
conducted with great care, and several times repeated in the presence of
respectable members of the medical profession, a professor of chemistry,
and several literary gentlemen, to their entire satisfaction.

Before proceeding further, I will make a practical application of the
principles already established. Within the last ten years I have visited
half of the states of the Union for the purpose of becoming acquainted
with the actual condition of our common schools. I have therefore
noticed especially the condition of school-houses. Although there is a
great variety in their dimensions, yet there are comparatively few
school-houses less than sixteen by eighteen feet on the ground, and
fewer still larger than twenty-four by thirty feet, exclusive of our
principal cities and villages. From a large number of actual
measurements, not only in New York and Michigan, but east of the Hudson
River and west of the great lakes, I conclude that, exclusive of entry
and closets, when they are furnished with these appendages,
school-houses are not usually larger than twenty by twenty-four feet on
the ground, and seven feet in height. They are, indeed, more frequently
smaller than larger. School-houses of these dimensions have a capacity
of 3360 cubic feet, and are usually occupied by at least forty-five
scholars in the winter season. Not unfrequently sixty or seventy, and
occasionally more than a hundred scholars occupy a room of this size.

A simple arithmetical computation will abundantly satisfy any person who
is acquainted with the composition of the atmosphere, the influence of
respiration upon its fitness to sustain animal life, and the quantity of
air that enters the lungs at each inspiration, that a school-room of the
preceding dimensions contains quite too little air to sustain the
healthy respiration of even _forty-five_ scholars three hours--the usual
length of each session; and frequently the school-house is imperfectly
ventilated between the sessions at noon, and sometimes for several days

Mark the following particulars: 1. The quantity of air breathed by
forty-five persons in three hours, according to the data just given, is
3375 cubic feet. 2. _Air once respired will not sustain animal life._ 3.
The school-room was estimated to possess a capacity of 3360 cubic
feet--_fifteen feet less than is necessary to sustain healthy
respiration_. 4. Were forty-five persons whose lungs possess the
estimated capacity placed in an air-tight room of the preceding
dimensions, and could they breathe pure air till it was all once
respired, and then enter upon its second respiration, _they would all
die with the apoplexy before the expiration of a three hours' session_.

From the nature of the case, these conditions can not conveniently be
fulfilled. But numerous instances of fearful approximation exist. We
have no air-tight houses. But in our latitude, comfort requires that
rooms which are to be occupied by children in the winter season, be
made very close. The dimensions of rooms are, moreover, frequently
narrowed, that the _warm breath_ may lessen the amount of fuel necessary
to preserve a comfortable temperature. It is true, on the other hand,
that the quantity of air which children breathe is somewhat less than I
have estimated. But the derangement resulting from breathing impure air,
in their case, is greater than in the case of adults whose constitutions
are matured, and who are hence less susceptible of injury. It is also
true in many schools that the number occupying a room of the dimensions
supposed is considerably greater than I have estimated. Moreover, in
many instances, a great proportion of the larger scholars will respire
the estimated quantity of air.

Again, all the air in a room is not respired _once_ before a portion of
it is breathed the second, or even the _third_ and _fourth_ time. The
atmosphere is not suddenly changed from purity to impurity--from a
healthful to an infectious state. Were it so, the change, being more
perceptible, would be seen and _felt_ too, and a _remedy_ would be
sought and applied. But because the change is gradual, it is not the
less fearful in its consequences. In a room occupied by _forty-five
persons_, THE FIRST MINUTE, _thirty-two thousand four hundred cubic
inches of air impart their entire vitality to sustain animal life, and,
mingling with the atmosphere of the room, proportionately deteriorate
the whole mass_. Thus are abundantly sown in early life the fruitful
seeds of disease and premature death.

This detail shows conclusively sufficient cause for that uneasy,
listless state of feeling which is so prevalent in crowded school-rooms.
It explains why children that are amiable at home are mischievous in
school, and why those that are troublesome at home are frequently
well-nigh uncontrollable in school. It discloses the true cause why so
many teachers who are justly considered both pleasant and amiable in the
ordinary domestic and social relations, are obnoxious in the
school-room, being there habitually sour and fretful. The ever-active
children are disqualified for study, and engage in mischief as their
only alternative. On the other hand, the irritable teacher, who can
hardly look with complaisance upon good behavior, is disposed to magnify
the most trifling departure from the rules of propriety. The scholars
are continually becoming more ungovernable, and the teacher more unfit
to govern them. Week after week they become less and less attached to
him, and he, in turn, becomes less interested in them.

This detail explains, also, why so many children are unable to attend
school at all, or become unwell so soon after commencing to attend, when
their health is sufficient to engage in other pursuits. The number of
scholars answering this description is greater than most persons are
aware of. In one district that I visited a few years ago in the State of
New York, it was acknowledged by competent judges to be emphatically
true in the case of not less than _twenty-five scholars_. Indeed, in
that same district, the health of more than _one hundred_ scholars was
materially injured every year in consequence of occupying an old and
partially-decayed house, of too narrow dimensions, with very limited
facilities for ventilation. The evil, even after the cause was made
known, was suffered to exist for years, although the district was worth
more than three hundred thousand dollars. And what _was_ true[13] of
this school, is now, with a few variations, true in the case of scores,
if not hundreds of schools with which I am acquainted, from far-famed
New England to the Valley of the Mississippi.

  [13] In the district referred to there has since been erected a large
  and commodious union school house, which constitutes at once the pride
  and ornament of a beautiful and flourishing village.

This detail likewise explains why the business of teaching has acquired,
and _justly too_, the reputation of being unhealthy. There is, however,
no reason why the health of either teacher or pupils should sooner fail
in a well-regulated school, taught in a house properly constructed, and
suitably warmed and ventilated, than in almost any other business. If
this statement were not true, an unanswerable argument might be framed
against the very _existence_ of schools; and it might clearly be shown
that it is _policy_, nay, DUTY, to close at once and forever the four
thousand school-houses of Michigan, and the hundred thousand of the
nation, and leave the rising generation to perish for lack of knowledge.
But our condition in this respect is not hopeless. The evil in question
may be effectually remedied by enlarging the house, or, which is easier,
cheaper, and more effectual, by frequent and thorough ventilation. It
would be well, however, to unite the two methods.

In the winter of 1841-2, I visited a school in which the magnitude of
the evil under consideration was clearly developed. Five of the citizens
of the district attended me in my visit to the school. We arrived at the
school-house about the middle of the afternoon. It was a close, new
house, eighteen by twenty-four feet on the ground--two feet less in one
of its dimensions than the house concerning which the preceding
calculation is made. There were present forty-three scholars, the
teacher, five patrons, and myself, making fifty in all. Immediately
after entering the school-house, one of the trustees remarked to me, "I
believe our school-house is too tight to be healthy." I made no reply,
but secretly resolved that I would sacrifice my comfort for the
remainder of the afternoon, and hazard my health, and my life even, to
test the accuracy of the opinions I had entertained on this important
subject. I marked the uneasiness and dullness of all present, and
especially of the patrons, who had been accustomed to breathe a purer
atmosphere. School continued an hour and a half, at the close of which I
was invited to make some remarks. I arose to do so, but was unable to
proceed till I opened the outer door, and snuffed a few times the purer
air without. When I had partially recovered my wonted vigor, I observed
with delight the renovating influence of the current of air that entered
the door, mingling with and gradually displacing the fluid poison that
filled the room, and was about to do the work of death. It seemed as
though I was standing at the mouth of a huge sepulcher, in which the
dead were being restored to life. After a short pause, I proceeded with
a few remarks, chiefly, however, on the subject of respiration and
ventilation. The trustees, who had just tested their accuracy and
bearing upon their comfort and health, resolved immediately to provide
for ventilation according to the suggestions in the article on
school-houses in the last chapter of this work.

Before leaving the house on that occasion, I was informed an evening
meeting had been attended there the preceding week, which they were
obliged to dismiss before the ordinary exercises were concluded,
because, as they said, "We all got sick, and the candles went almost
out." Little did they realize, probably, that the light of life became
just as nearly extinct as did the candles. Had they remained there a
little longer, both would have gone out together, and there would have
been reacted the memorable tragedy of the _Black Hole_ in Calcutta, into
which were thrust a garrison of one hundred and forty-six persons, one
hundred and twenty-three of whom perished miserably in a few hours,
being suffocated by the confined air.

What has been said in the preceding pages on the philosophy of
respiration was first given to the public nearly ten years ago, in a
report of the author's in the State of New York. He has since seen the
same sentiments inculcated by many of our most eminent practical
educators, some of whom had written upon the subject at an earlier date.
Allen and Pepy showed by experiment that air which has been once
breathed contains eight and a half per cent. of carbonic acid, and that
no continuance of the respiration of the same air could make it take up
more than ten per cent. Air, then, when once respired, has taken up more
than _four fifths_ of the amount of this noxious gas that it can be made
to by any number of breathings.

Dr. Clark, in his work on Consumption, remarks as follows: "Were I to
select two circumstances which influence the health, especially during
the growth of the body, more than others, and concerning which the
public, ignorant at present, ought to be well informed, they would be
the proper adaptation of food to difference of age and constitution, and
the constant supply of pure air for respiration." Dr. William A. Alcott,
who has given especial attention to this subject, after quoting the
preceding remark of Dr. Clark, adds: "We believe this is the opinion of
all medical men who have studied the constitution of man, and its
relation to outward objects."

A distinguished surgeon[14] of Leeds, England, goes somewhat further in
praising pure air than most of his contemporaries. "Be it remembered,"
says he, "that man subsists more upon air than upon his food and
drink." There is some novelty in this remark, I admit: but is it not
truthful? Men have been known to live _three weeks_ without eating. But
exclude the atmospheric air from the lungs for the space of _three
minutes_, and death generally ensues. We thus see that life will
continue with abstinence from food three thousand times as long as it is
safe to protract an atmospheric fast.

  [14] Dr. Thackrah, author of a most valuable work on the "Effects of
  Employments on the Health and Longevity of Mankind."

Let us take another view of the subject. Men usually eat _three times_
in twenty-four hours. This is all that is necessary to, or compatible
with, the enjoyment of uninterrupted good health. But we involuntarily
breathe nearly _thirty thousand times_ in the same length of time. We
need, then, fresh supplies of pure air ten thousand times as often as it
is necessary to partake of meals. Is it not apparent, then, that _man
subsists more upon_ AIR _than upon his_ FOOD _and_ DRINK?

The atmosphere which we so frequently inhale, and upon which our
well-being so much depends, surrounds the earth to the height of about
forty-five miles. The surface of the earth contains about two hundred
millions of square miles, and it is estimated that there dwell upon it
eight hundred millions of inhabitants. This gives to each individual
about eleven cubic miles of air. But the air is breathed by the inferior
animals as well as by man. It is also rendered impure by combustion. If
by both of these causes ten times as much air is consumed as by man,
there is still left one cubic mile of uncontaminated atmospheric air to
every human being dwelling upon the surface of the earth. This would
allow him to live more than twice the age allotted to man, without
breathing any portion of the atmosphere a second time. And still, as if
to avoid the possibility of evil to man on this account, the beneficent
Creator has wisely so ordered, that while we do not interfere with the
laws of Nature, there is not even the possibility of rebreathing
respired air until it has been purified and restored to its natural and
healthful state; for carbonic acid, the vitiating product of
respiration, although immediately _fatal_ to _animals_, constitutes the
very _life_ of _vegetation_. When brought in contact with the upper
surface of the green leaves of trees and plants, and acted upon by the
direct solar rays, this gas is decomposed, and its carbon is absorbed to
sustain, in part, the life of the plant, by affording it one element of
its food, while the oxygen is liberated and restored to the atmosphere.
Vegetables and animals are thus perpetually interchanging kindly
offices, and each flourishes upon that which is fatal to the other. It
is in this way that the healthful state of the atmosphere is kept up.
Its equilibrium seems never to be disturbed, or, if disturbed at all, it
is immediately restored by the mutual exchange of poison for aliment,
which is constantly going on between the animal and vegetable worlds.
This interchange of kindly offices is constantly going on all over the
earth, even in the highest latitudes, and in the very depths of winter;
for air which has been respired is rarefied, and, when thrown from the
lungs, _ascends_, and is thus not only out of our reach, whereby we are
protected from respiring it a second time, but this (to us) deadly
poison falls into the great aërial current which is constantly flowing
from the polar to the tropical regions, where it is converted into
vegetable growth. The oxygen which is exhaled in the processes of
tropical vegetation, heated and rarefied by the vertical rays of the
sun, mounts to the upper regions of the atmosphere, and, falling into a
returning current, in its appointed time revisits the higher latitudes.
So wisely has the Divine Author ordered these processes, that air, in
its natural state[15] in any part of the world, does not contain more
than _one half of one per cent._ of carbonic acid gas, although, as
already stated, air which has been once respired contains _eight and a
half per cent._ of this gas, which is at least seventeen times its
natural quantity.

  [15] It would be difficult to say whether carbonic acid gas is in the
  atmosphere constitutionally, or accidentally, or both.--_Dr. Wm. A.
  Alcott's Health Tracts._

There are other agencies than carbonic acid gas which in civic life
render the atmosphere impure. Of this nature is carbureted hydrogen gas,
which is produced in various ways. This, says Dr. Comstock, is
immediately destructive to animal life, and will not support combustion.
It exists in stagnant water, especially in warm weather, and is
generated by the decomposition of vegetable products. Dr. Arnott
expresses the conviction that the immediate and chief cause of many of
the diseases which impair the bodily and mental health of the people,
and bring a considerable portion prematurely to the grave, is the poison
of atmospheric impurity, arising from the accumulation in and around
their dwellings of the decomposing remnants of the substances used for
food and in their arts, and of the impurities given out from their own
bodies. If you allow the sources of aërial impurity to exist in or
around dwellings, he continues, you are poisoning the people; and while
many die at early ages of fevers and other acute diseases, the remainder
will have their health impaired and their lives shortened.

There are many instances on record where the progress of an epidemic has
been speedily arrested by ventilation. A striking instance is given by
the writer last quoted. "When I visited Glasgow with Mr. Chadwick," says
he, "there was described to us one vast lodging-house, in connection
with a manufactory there, in which formerly fever constantly prevailed,
but where, by making an opening from the top of each room through a
channel of communication to an air-pump common to all the channels, the
disease had disappeared altogether. The supply of pure air obtained by
that mode of ventilation was sufficient to dilute the cause of the
disease, so that it became powerless."

Sulphureted hydrogen gas is also exceedingly poisonous to the lungs and
to every part of the system. When pure, this gas is described as
instantly fatal to animal life. Even when diluted with fifteen hundred
times its bulk of air, it has been found so poisonous as to destroy a
bird in a few seconds. "This gas," says Dr. Dunglison, in his Elements
of Hygiene, "is extremely deleterious.[16] When respired in a pure state
it kills instantly; and its deadly agency is rapidly exerted when put in
contact with any of the tissues of the body, through which it penetrates
with astonishing rapidity. Even when mixed with a portion of air, it has
proved immediately destructive. Dr. Paris refers to the case of a
chemist of his acquaintance, who was suddenly deprived of sense as he
stood over a pneumatic trough in which he was collecting this gas. From
the experiments of Dupuytren and Thenard, air that contains a thousandth
part of sulphureted hydrogen kills birds immediately. A dog perished in
air containing a hundredth part, and a horse in air containing a
fiftieth part of it."

  [16] Sulphureted hydrogen gas is the deleterious agent exhaled from
  privies or vaults, which have been so fatal, at times, to night men, who
  have been employed to remove or cleanse them.--_Dr. Dunglison._

The preceding are far from being all the causes of atmospheric impurity.
Besides these, there are numerous exhalations, as well as gases, that
are poisonous. Some of these exhalations are more abundant in the
night, and about the time of the morning and evening twilight. "Hence
the importance," says a writer on health, "to those who are feeble, of
avoiding the air at all hours except when the sun is considerably above
the horizon."

Although the atmosphere, in its natural state, is not at all times
perfectly pure, still it is comparatively so, and especially in the
daytime. All, therefore, who would retain and improve their health,
should inhale the open air as much as possible, even though they can
not, like Franklin's Methusalem,[17] be always in it. This remark is
applicable to both sexes, and to every age and condition of life.

  [17] Dr. Franklin, in his usual humorous manner, but with his accustomed
  gravity, relates, in one of his essays, the following anecdote, for the
  purpose, doubtless, of showing the influence of pure air upon health,
  happiness, and longevity.

  "It is recorded of Methusalem, who, being the longest liver, may be
  supposed to have best preserved his health, that he slept always in the
  open air; for when he had lived five hundred years, an angel said to
  him, Arise, Methusalem, and build thee a house, for thou shalt live yet
  five hundred years longer. But Methusalem answered and said, If I am to
  live but five hundred years longer, it is not worth while to build me a
  house. I will sleep in the air as I have been accustomed to do."

The following, from the pen of an American author[18] who has written
much and well on physical education, is pertinent to the subject under
consideration: "We breathe bad air principally as the production of our
own bodies. Here is the source of a large share of human wo; and to this
point must his attention be particularly directed who would save himself
from disease, and promote, in the highest possible degree, his health
and longevity. We must avoid breathing over the carbonic acid gas
contained in the tight or unventilated rooms in which we labor or
remain for a long time, whether parlors, school-rooms, counting-rooms,
bed-rooms, shops, or factories. The individual who lives most according
to nature--who observes with most care the laws of life and health--must
necessarily throw off much carbonic acid from his lungs, if not from his
skin. It does not follow, however, that because this gas is formed we
are obliged to inhale it. We may change our position, change our
clothing, ventilate our rooms of all sorts, shake up our bed-clothing
often and air our bed, and use clean, loose, and porous clothing by
night and by day. We may thus very effectually guard against injuries
from a very injurious agent.

  [18] From Dr. William A. Alcott's Tract on Breathing Bad Air.

"One thing should be remembered in connection with this subject which is
truly encouraging. The more we accustom ourselves to pure air, the more
easily will our lungs and nasal organs detect its presence. He who has
redeemed his senses and restored his lungs to integrity, like him who
has redeemed a conscience once deadened, is so alive to every bad
impression made upon any of these, that he can often detect impurity
around or within him, and thus learn to avoid it. It will scarcely be
possible for such a person long to breathe bad air, or nauseous or
unwholesome effluvia, without knowing it, and learning to avoid the
causes which produce it. Such a person will not neglect long to remove
the impurities which accumulate so readily on the surface of his body,
or suffer himself to use food or drink which induces flatulence, and
thus exposes either his intestines or his lungs, or the lungs of others,
to that most extremely poisonous agent, sulphureted hydrogen gas. Nor
will he be likely to permit the accumulation of filth, liquid or solid,
around or in his dwelling. There are those whose senses will detect a
very small quantity of stagnant water, or vinegar, or other liquids, or
fruit, or changed food in the house, or even the presence of those
semi-putrid substances, wine and cider. But some will indeed say that
such integrity of the senses would be an annoyance rather than a
blessing. On the same principle, however, would a high degree of
conscientiousness in regard to right and wrong in moral conduct be a
curse to us. If it be desirable to have our physical sense of right and
wrong benumbed, it is so to have our moral sense benumbed also. Yet what
person of sense ever complained of too tender a conscience, or too
perfect a sense of right and wrong in morals?"

EXERCISE OF THE LUNGS.--Judicious exercise of the lungs, in the opinion
of that eminent physiologist, Dr. Andrew Combe, is one of the most
efficacious means which can be employed for promoting their development
and warding off their diseases. In this respect the organs of
respiration closely resemble the muscles and all other organized parts.
They are made to be used, and if they are left in habitual inactivity,
their strength and health are unavoidably impaired; while, if their
exercise be ill-timed or excessive, disease will as certainly follow.

The lungs may be exercised _directly_ by the use of the voice in
speaking, reading aloud, or singing, and _indirectly_ by such kinds of
bodily or muscular exertion as require quicker and deeper breathing. In
general, both ought to be conjoined. But where the chief object is to
improve the lungs, those kinds which have a tendency to expand the chest
and call the organs of respiration into play ought to be especially
preferred. Rowing a boat, fencing, quoits, shuttlecock, the proper use
of skipping the rope, dumb-bells, and gymnastics are of this
description, and have been recommended for this purpose. All of them
employ actively the muscles of the chest and trunk, and excite the
lungs themselves to freer and fuller expansion. Climbing up a hill is,
for the same reason, an exercise of high utility in giving tone and
freedom to the pulmonary functions. Where, either from hereditary
predisposition or accidental causes, the chest is unusually weak, every
effort should be made, from infancy upward, to favor the growth and
strength of the lungs, by the habitual use of such of these exercises as
can most easily be practiced. The earlier they are resorted to, and the
more steadily they are pursued, the more certainly will their beneficial
results be experienced.

If the _direct_ exercise of the lungs in practicing deep inspiration,
speaking, reading aloud, and singing, is properly managed and persevered
in, particularly before the frame has become consolidated, it will exert
a very beneficial influence in expanding the chest, and giving tone and
imparting health to the important organs contained in it. As a
preventive measure, Dr. Clark, in his treatise on Consumption and
Scrofula, recommends the full expansion of the chest in the following
manner: "We desire the young person, while standing, to throw his arms
and shoulders back, and, while in this position, to inhale slowly as
much air as he can, and repeat this exercise at short intervals several
times in succession. When this can be done in the open air it is most
desirable, a double advantage being thus obtained from the practice.
Some exercise of this kind should be adopted daily by all young persons,
more especially by those whose chests are narrow or deformed, and should
be slowly and gradually increased."

In this preventive measure recommended by Dr. Clark, some of our most
eminent physiologists heartily concur. They also express the opinion
that, for the same reason, even the crying and sobbing of children,
when not caused by disease, contribute to their future health. Dr. Combe
says, "The loud laugh and noisy exclamations attending the sports of the
young have an evident relation to the same beneficial end, and ought,
therefore, to be encouraged." But beneficial as the direct exercise of
the lungs is thus shown to be, in expanding and strengthening the chest,
its influence extends still further, and, as we have already seen,
contributes greatly to promote the important process of digestion. If,
therefore, the lungs be rarely called into active exercise, not only do
_they_ suffer, but an important aid to digestion being withdrawn, the
_stomach_ and _bowels_ also become weakened, and indigestion and
costiveness ensue.

The exercise of what has not unaptly been called Vocal Gymnastics, and
the loud and distinct speaking enforced in many of our schools, not only
fortify the vocal organs against the attacks of disease, but tend
greatly to promote the general health. For this purpose, also, as well
as for its social and moral influences, vocal music should be introduced
into all our schools. That by these and like exercises deep inspirations
and full expirations are encouraged, any one may become convinced who
will attend to what passes in his own body while reading aloud a single

There is danger of exercising the lungs too much when disease exists in
the chest. At such times, not only speaking, reading aloud, and singing,
but ordinary muscular exertion, ought to be refrained from, or be
regulated by professional advice. When a joint is sore or inflamed, we
know that motion impedes its recovery. When the eye is affected, we, for
a similar reason, shut out the light. So, when the stomach is
disordered, we respect its condition, and are more careful about diet.
The lungs demand a treatment founded on the same general principle. When
inflamed, they should be exercised as little as possible. All violent
exercise ought, therefore, to be refrained from during at least the
active stages of a cold; but colds may often be entirely prevented at
the time of exposure by a proper exercise of the lungs.

In conversing with an eminent physician recently on this subject, he
expressed the conviction that one of the most effectual methods of
warding off a cold, when exposed by wet feet or otherwise, is to take
frequent deep inhalations of air. By this means the carbonic acid, which
the returning circulation deposits in the lungs, is not only more
effectually disengaged, but, at the same time, the greater amount of
oxygen that enters the lungs and combines with the blood quickens the
circulation, and thus, imparting increased vitality to the system,
enables it more effectually to resist any attack that may be induced by
unusual exposure.

A late medical writer, who has become quite celebrated in this country
for the successful treatment of pulmonary consumption,[19] expresses the
opinion that, to the consumptive, air is a most excellent medicine, and
"far more valuable than all other remedies." He thinks it "the grand
agent in expanding the chest." In urging the importance of habitually
maintaining an erect position, he expresses the conviction that
"practice will soon make sitting or standing perfectly erect vastly more
agreeable and less fatiguing than a stooping posture." To persons
predisposed to consumption, these hints, he thinks, are of the greatest
importance. While walking, he says, "the chest should be carried proudly
erect and straight, the top of it pointing rather backward than
forward." To illustrate the advantages of habitually maintaining this
position, he refers to the North American Indians, who never had
consumption, and who are remarkable for their perfectly erect posture
while walking. "Next to this," he adds, "it is of vast importance to the
consumptive to breathe well. He should make a practice of taking long
breaths, sucking in all the air he can, and holding it in the chest as
long as possible." He recommends the repetition of this a hundred times
a day, and especially with those who have a slight cold or symptoms of
weak lungs. When practiced in pure cold air, its advantages are most
apparent. To increase the benefits resulting from this practice, he
recommends the use of the "inhaling tube." He thinks that inhaling tubes
made of silver or gold are much better than those made of wood or
India-rubber. In this opinion I fully concur, for I think with him that
gold and silver tubes will not so readily "contract any impure or
poisonous matter." But there is another and a stronger reason why I
prefer _silver_, and especially GOLD inhaling tubes, to those made of
wood or India-rubber. _They would be more highly prized_ and MORE

  [19] S. S. Fitch, M.D., author of "Consumption Cured."

The same writer entertains the belief that about one third of all the
consumptions originate from weakness of the abdominal belts. He hence,
in such cases, recommends the use of the "abdominal supporter." In order
to favor an erect posture and an open chest, he also recommends the use
of "shoulder-braces." He says the proper use of these, with other
remedies, will "entirely prevent the possibility of consumption, from
whatever cause." The inhaling-tube, together with the shoulder-braces
and supporter when needed, he says are perfect preventives, and should
not be neglected; for if the shoulders are kept off the chest, and the
abdomen is well supported, and then an inhaling tube is faithfully
used, "the lungs can never become diseased. Any person in this way, who
chooses to take the trouble, can have a large chest and healthy lungs."

When persons have contracted disease they may require these _artificial
helps_; but it should be borne in mind that an all-wise and beneficent
Creator has kindly given to each of his creatures _two inhaling tubes_,
admirably adapted to their wants. He has also furnished them with a set
of _abdominal muscles_ which, when properly used, have generally been
found to supersede the necessity of artificial "supporters." He has,
moreover, in the plenitude of his goodness, furnished each member of the
human family with a good pair of _shoulder-braces_. It should also be
borne in mind that Nature's shoulder-braces _improve by use_, while the
artificial ones not only soon fail, but their very use generally impairs
the healthy action of the natural ones; for these, like all other
muscles, improve by use and become enfeebled by disuse. Parents and
teachers, then, and all who have the care of the young, should encourage
the correct use of Nature's inhaling tubes, shoulder-braces, and
abdominal supporters; for in this way they have it in their power not
only to supersede the necessity of resorting to artificial ones later in
life, but of preventing much of human misery, and contributing to the
permanent elevation of the race.



    In the cultivation and expansion of the faculties of the mind, we
    act altogether upon _organized matter_--and this, too, of the most
    delicate kind--which, while it serves as the mediator between _body_
    and _spirit_, partakes so largely of the nature, character, and
    essential attributes of the _former_, that, without its proper
    physical growth and development, all the manifestations of the
    _latter_ sink into comparative insignificance; so that, without a
    perfect organization of the _brain_, the mental powers must be
    proportionally paralyzed; without _its_ maintaining a healthy
    condition, _they_ must be rendered proportionally weak and
    inactive.[20]--DR. J. L. PEIRCE.

It has already been stated that there exists such an intimate connection
between physical, intellectual, and moral education, that, in order duly
to appreciate the importance of either, we must not view it separate and
alone merely, but in connection with both of the others. However much
value, then, we may attach to physical education on its own account,
considering man as a corporeal being, we shall have occasion greatly to
magnify its importance as we direct our attention to the cultivation and
development of his mental faculties. We have no means of becoming
acquainted with the laws which govern independent mind; but that mind
separate from body is, from its very nature, all-knowing and
intelligent, is an opinion that has obtained to a considerable extent.
Be this as it may, it does not immediately concern us in the present
state. This much we know, that embodied mind acquires knowledge slowly,
and with a degree of perfection depending upon the condition of the
brain and the bodily organs of sense, through the medium of which mind
communicates with the external world. We do not even know whether
education modifies the mind itself; and, if at all, how it affects it in
its disembodied state. Neither is it important that we should possess
this knowledge. There is, however, much reason for believing that the
mind of man in the future state will be permanently affected by, and
enjoy the full benefit of, the preparatory training it has received in
this life; that then, as now, it will be progressive in its attainments;
and that the rapidity with which it will then acquire knowledge, and the
nature of its pursuits, will depend upon the degree of cultivation, and
the habits and character formed in this life.

  [20] From an Essay upon the Physical and Intellectual Education of
  Children, written by request of the Managers of the Pennsylvania Lyceum.

From what we know of the beneficent and all-wise Creator, as manifested
in his word and works, we have abundant reason for believing that our
highest and enduring good will be best promoted by becoming acquainted
with, and yielding a cheerful obedience to, the laws of organic mind.
Whatever the effect of education upon independent mind may be, we may
rest well assured that man's everlasting well-being in the future state
will be most directly and certainly reached by a strict conformity to
those laws which regulate mind in its present mode of being. It should
be borne in mind, also, that just in proportion as man remains ignorant
of those laws, or, knowing them, disregards them, will he fail to secure
his best good in this life not only, but in that which is to come, to an
extent corresponding with the influence which education may exert upon
independent mind. In order, then, most successfully to carry forward the
great work of intellectual and moral culture, and to secure to man the
fullest benefits of education in the present life, and in that higher
mode of being which awaits him in the future, we have only to acquaint
him with the laws by which embodied mind is governed, and to induce him
to yield a ready, cheerful, and uniform obedience to those laws. We
shall therefore devote the following pages to an inquiry into the laws
which must be observed by embodied mind in order to render it the
fittest possible instrument for discovering, applying, and obeying the
laws under which God has placed the universe, which constitutes the one
great object of education, when considered in its widest and true sense.

All physiologists and philosophers regard the brain as the organ of the
mind. Although it is not befitting here to give a particular description
of this complicated organ, still it may be well further to premise that,
by nearly universal consent, it is regarded as the immediate seat of the
_intellectual_ faculties not only, but of the passions and moral
feelings of our nature, as well as of consciousness and every other
mental act. It is also well established that the brain is the principal
source of that nervous influence which is essential to vitality, and to
the action of each and all of our bodily organs. As, then, its functions
are the highest and most important in the animal economy, it becomes an
object of paramount importance in education to discover the laws by
which they are regulated, that by yielding obedience to them we may
avoid the evils consequent on their violation.

Let no one suppose these evils are few or small; for, in the language of
an eloquent writer, "the system of education which is generally pursued
in the United States is unphilosophical in its elementary principles,
ill adapted to the condition of man, practically mocks his necessities,
and is intrinsically absurd. The high excellences of the present
system, in other respects, are fully appreciated. Modern education has
indeed achieved wonders. It has substituted things for names, experiment
for hypothesis, first principles for arbitrary rules. It has simplified
processes, stripped knowledge of its abstraction and thrown it into
visibility, made practical results rather than mystery the standard by
which to measure the value of attainment, and facts rather than
conjecture its circulating medium."[21]

  [21] Report on Manual Labor, by Theodore D. Weld, 1833.

_A sound original constitution_ may be regarded as the first condition
of the healthy action of the brain; for, being a part of the animal
economy, it is subject to the same general laws that govern the other
bodily organs. When a healthy brain is transmitted to children, and
their treatment from infancy is judicious and rational, its health
becomes so firmly established that, in after life, its power of
endurance will be greatly increased, and it will be enabled most
effectually to ward off the insidious attacks of disease. On the other
hand, where this organ has either inherited deficiencies and
imperfections, or where they have been subsequently induced by early
mismanagement, it becomes peculiarly susceptible, and frequently yields
to the slightest attacks. The most eminent physiologists of the age
concur in the opinion that, of all the causes which predispose to
nervous and mental disease, the transmission of hereditary tendency from
parents to children is the most powerful, producing, as it does, in the
children, an unusual liability to those maladies under which their
parents have labored.

When both parents are descended from tainted families, their progeny, as
a matter of course, will be more deeply affected than where one of them
is from a pure stock. This sufficiently accounts for the fact that
hereditary predisposition is a more common cause of nervous disease in
those circles that intermarry much with each other than where a wider
choice is exercised. Fortunately, such is the constitution of society in
this country, that there are fewer evils of this kind among us than are
manifest in many of the European states, where intermarriages are
restricted to persons of the same rank, as has already been illustrated
by reference to the grandees of Spain, who have become a race of dwarfs
intellectually as well as physically. But even in this country there are
painful illustrations of the truth of the popular belief that when
cousins intermarry their offspring are liable to be idiotic. The command
of God not to marry within certain degrees of consanguinity is, then, in
accordance with the organic laws of our being, and the wisdom of the
prohibition is abundantly confirmed by observation.

What was said of hereditary transmission in the second chapter of this
work applies here with increased force. It is of the highest possible
importance that this subject should receive the especial attention of
every parent, and of all who may hereafter sustain the parental
relation; for posterity, to the latest generations, will be affected by
the laws of hereditary transmission, whether those laws are understood
and obeyed or not. The importance of this subject, already inconceivably
vast, becomes infinitely momentous in view of the probability that the
evils under consideration are not confined to this life, but must, from
the nature of the case, continue to be felt while mind endures.

Unfortunately, it is not merely as a cause of disease that hereditary
predisposition is to be dreaded. The obstacles which it throws in the
way of permanent recovery are even more formidable, and can never be
entirely removed. Safety is to be found only in avoiding the
perpetuation of the mischief. When, therefore, two persons, each
naturally of an excitable and delicate nervous temperament, choose to
unite for life, they have themselves to blame for the concentrated
influence of similar tendencies in destroying the health of their
offspring, and subjecting them to all the miseries of nervous disease,
melancholy, or madness.

There is another consideration that should be noticed here: it is this.
Even where no hereditary defect exists, the state of the mother during
pregnancy has an influence on the mental character and health of the
offspring, of which even _few parents_ have any adequate conception. "It
is often in the maternal womb that we are to look for the true cause not
only of imbecility, but of the different kinds of mania. During the
agitated periods of the French Revolution, many ladies then pregnant,
and whose minds were kept constantly on the stretch by the anxiety and
alarm inseparable from the epoch in which they lived, and whose nervous
systems were thereby rendered irritable in the highest degree compatible
with sanity, were afterward delivered of infants whose brains and
nervous systems had been affected to such a degree by the state of their
parent, that, in future life, as children they were subject to spasms,
convulsions, and other nervous affections, and in youth to imbecility or
madness, almost without any exciting cause."[22]

  [22] The testimony of M. Esquirol, whose talent, general accuracy, and
  extensive experience give great weight to all his well-considered
  opinions, quoted, also, and confirmed by the Physician Extraordinary to
  the Queen in Scotland, and consulting Physician to the King and Queen of
  the Belgians.

  The same eminent author has recorded the following fact, illustrating
  the extent to which the temporary state of the mother, during gestation,
  may influence the _whole future life of the child_. A pregnant woman,
  otherwise healthy, was greatly alarmed and terrified by the threats of
  her husband when in a state of intoxication. She was afterward
  delivered, at the proper time, of a very delicate child, which was so
  much affected by its mother's agitation that, up to the age of eighteen,
  it continued subject to panic terrors, and then became completely

  Many illustrative instances might be quoted from medical writers in this
  and other countries. The author might also refer to cases that have
  fallen under his own observation.

Dr. Caldwell, too, an able and philanthropic advocate of an improved
system of physical, intellectual, and moral education in this country,
is very urgent in enforcing rational care, during the period of
gestation, on the part of every mother who values the future health and
happiness of her offspring. Among other things, he insists on mothers
taking more active exercise in the open air than they usually do. He
also cautions them against allowing a feeling of false delicacy to keep
them confined in their rooms for weeks and months together. At such
times especially the mind ought to be kept free from gloom or anxiety,
and in that state of cheerful activity which results from the proper
exercise of the intellect, and especially of the moral and social

But if seclusion and depression be hurtful to the unborn progeny, surely
thoughtless dissipation and late hours, dancing and waltzing, together
with irritability of temper and peevishness of disposition, can not be
less injurious. Every female that is about to become a mother should
treasure up the remark of that sensible lady, the Margravine of Anspach,
who says, "when a female is likely to become a mother, she ought to be
doubly careful of her temper, and, in particular, to indulge no ideas
that are not cheerful and no sentiments that are not kind. Such is the
connection between the mind and the body, that the features of the face
are moulded commonly into an expression of the internal disposition; and
is it not natural to think that an infant, before it is born, may be
affected by the temper of its mother?" If these things are true--and
they are as well authenticated as any physiological facts are or can
be--then not only _mothers_, but all with whom they associate, and
especially _fathers_, are interested in knowing these important
physiological laws; and they should aim, from the very beginning, so to
observe them as to secure to posterity, physically and mentally, the
full benefits that are connected with cheerful obedience.

_A due supply of properly oxygenated blood_ is another condition upon
which the healthy action of the brain depends. Although it may not be
easy to perceive the effects of slight differences in the quality of the
blood, still, when these differences exist in a considerable degree, the
effects are too obvious to be overlooked. Withdraw entirely the stimulus
of arterial blood, and the brain ceases to act, and sensibility and
consciousness become extinct. When carbonic acid gas is inhaled, the
blood circulating through the lungs does not undergo that process of
oxygenation which is essential to life, as has been explained in a
preceding chapter. As the venous blood in this unchanged state is unfit
to excite or sustain the action of the brain, the mental functions
become impaired, and death speedily ensues, as in the case of a number
of persons breathing a portion of confined air, or inhaling the fumes of
charcoal. On the other hand, if oxygen gas be inhaled instead of common
air, the blood becomes too much oxygenated, and, as a consequence, the
brain is unduly stimulated, and an intensity of action bordering on
inflammation takes place, which also soon terminates in death.

These are extreme cases, I admit; but their consequences are equally
remarkable and fatal. The slighter variations in the state of the blood
produce equally sure, though less palpable effects. Whenever its
vitality is impaired by breathing an atmosphere so vitiated as not to
produce the proper degree of oxygenation, the blood can only afford an
imperfect stimulus to the brain. As a necessary consequence, languor and
inactivity of the mental and nervous functions ensue, and a tendency to
headache, fainting, or hysteria makes its appearance. This is seen every
day in the listlessness and apathy prevalent in crowded and
ill-ventilated school-rooms, and in the headaches and liability to
fainting which are so sure to attack persons of a delicate habit, in the
contaminated atmospheres of crowded theaters, churches, and assemblies
of whatever kind. The same effects, although less strikingly apparent,
are perhaps more permanently felt by the inmates of cotton manufactories
and public hospitals, who are noted for being irritable and sensitive.
The languor and nervous debility consequent on confinement in
ill-ventilated apartments, or in air vitiated by the breath of many
people, are neither more nor less than minor degrees of the process of
poisoning, which was particularly explained in the preceding chapter,
while treating upon the philosophy of respiration.

That it is not real debility which produces these effects, is apparent
from the fact, that egress to the open air almost instantly restores
activity and vigor to both mind and body, unless the exposure has been
very long. There is an interesting but fearful illustration of the truth
of this statement at the 96th page of this work, to which I beg leave to
refer. Where the exposure has been very long continued, more time is of
course required to re-establish the exhausted powers of the brain.
Indeed, we may not, in such cases, hope for complete recovery; for when
persons remain several hours a day in a vitiated atmosphere, for weeks
and months together, both mind and body become permanently diseased. It
is well known to every person who has given attention to the subject,
that hitherto this has been the condition of _public schools_,
generally, in every part of the United States, and throughout the
civilized world. This has, perhaps, tended more than all other causes
combined, to render the profession of teaching disreputable, and to
constitute the very name of schoolmaster, or pedagogue, a hissing and a
by-word. And why is this? I can account for it in but one way. The
school teacher is subject to the _same organic laws as other men_; and,
either on account of the ignorance or parsimony of his employers, he has
been shut up with _their_ children several hours a day, in narrow and
ill-ventilated apartments, where, whatever else they may have done,
their principal business has of necessity been _to poison one another to
death_. And, as if not satisfied with this, when the teacher has ruined
his health in our employment, and become a mere wreck, physically and
mentally, _we despise him_. This is a double injustice, and _is_ adding
insult to injury. And the consequences are hardly less fatal to the
children. The situation of the majority of our schools, when viewed in
connection with the physiological laws already explained, sufficiently
accounts for that irritability, listlessness, and languor which have
been so often observed in both teachers and pupils. Both irritability of
the nervous system and dullness of the intellect are unquestionably the
direct and necessary result of a want of pure air. The vital energies of
the pupils are thus prostrated, and they become not only restless and
_indisposed to study_, but absolutely _incapable of studying_. Their
minds hence wander, and they unavoidably seek relief in mischievous and
disorderly conduct. This doubly provokes the already exasperated
teacher, who can hardly look with complaisance upon good behavior, and
who, from a like cause, is in the same irritable condition of both body
and mind with themselves. He, too, must needs give vent to his irascible
feelings some how. And what way is more natural, under such
circumstances, than to resort to the use of the ferule, the rod, and the
strap! We have already referred to a case, in which formerly fever
constantly prevailed, but where disease disappeared altogether upon the
introduction of _pure air_. Let the same prudential course be adopted in
our schools, in connection with other appropriate means, and we shall
readily see the superiority of the natural stimulus of oxygen over the
artificial sedative of the rod.

_The regular and systematic exercise of the functions of the brain_ is
another condition upon which its healthy action depends. The brain is an
organized part, and is subject to precisely the same laws of exercise
that the other bodily organs are. If it is doomed to inactivity, its
health decays, and the mental operations and feelings, as a necessary
consequence, become dull, feeble, and slow. But let it be duly exercised
after regular intervals of repose, and the mind acquires activity and
strength. Too severe or too protracted exercise of the brain is as great
a violation of the organic law just stated as inactivity is, and is
sometimes productive of the most fearful consequences. By over-tasking
this organ, either in the force or duration of its activity, its
functions become impaired, and irritability and disease take the place
of health and vigor.

So important is the law under consideration, and so essential to the
health of the brain and to the welfare of man, that I deem it advisable
to explain more particularly the consequences of both inadequate and
excessive exercise.

We have seen that by disuse the muscles become emaciated and the bones
soften. The blood-vessels, in like manner, become obliterated, and the
nerves lose their characteristic structure. _The brain is no exception
to this general rule._ Its tone is impaired by permanent inactivity, and
it becomes less fit to manifest the mental powers with readiness and
energy. Nor will this surprise any reflecting person, who considers that
the brain, as a part of the same animal system, is nourished by the same
blood, and regulated by the same vital laws as the muscles, bones,
arteries, and nerves.

It is the withdrawal of the stimulus necessary to the healthy exercise
of the brain, and the consequent weakening and depressing effect
produced upon this organ, that renders solitary confinement so severe a
punishment even to the most daring minds. It is a lower degree of the
same cause that renders continuous seclusion from society so injurious
to both mental and physical health. This explains why persons who are
cut off from social converse by some bodily infirmity so frequently
become discontented and morose, in spite of every resolution to the
contrary. The feelings and faculties of the mind, which had formerly
full play in their intercourse with their fellow-creatures, have no
longer scope for sufficient exercise, and the almost inevitable result
is irritability and weakness in the corresponding parts of the brain.

This fact is strikingly illustrated by reference to the deaf and blind,
who, by the loss of one or more of the senses, are precluded from a full
participation in all the varied sources of interest which their more
favored brethren enjoy without abatement, and in whom irritability,
weakness of mind, and idiocy are known to be much more prevalent than
among other classes of people. "The deaf and dumb," says Andral,
"presents, in intelligence, character, and the development of his
passions, certain modifications, which depend on his state of isolation
in the midst of society. He remains habitually in a state of half
childishness, is very credulous, but, like the savage, remains free from
many of the prejudices acquired in society. In him the tender feelings
are not deep; he appears susceptible neither of strong attachment nor of
lively gratitude; pity moves him feebly; he has little emulation, few
enjoyments, and few desires. This is what is commonly observed in the
deaf and dumb; but the picture is far from being of universal
application; some, more happily endowed, are remarkable for the great
development of their intellectual and moral nature; but others, on the
contrary, remain immersed in complete idiocy."

Andral adds, that we must not infer from this that the deaf and dumb are
therefore constitutionally inferior in mind to other men. "_Their powers
are not developed, because they live isolated from society. Place them,
by some means or other, in relation with their fellow-men, and they will
become their equals._" This is the cause of the rapid brightening up of
both mind and features, which is so often observed in blind or deaf
children when transferred from home to public institutions, and there
taught the means of converse with their fellows.

I have myself witnessed several striking illustrations of the benefits
resulting from mental culture in persons who have lost one or more of
their senses. Among these I would especially instance the American
Asylum at Hartford for the education and instruction of the deaf and
dumb, and the Perkins Institution and Massachusetts Asylum for the
Blind, located at South Boston, to the accomplished principals and
teachers of both of which institutions I would acknowledge my
indebtedness for valuable reports and the information of various kinds
which they obligingly communicated to me at the time of my visits during
the past summer.

Dr. Howe, the accomplished director of the Asylum for the Blind, after
many years of experience and careful observation in this country and in
Europe, expresses the conviction that _the blind, as a class, are
inferior to other persons in mental power and ability_. The opinions put
forth in almost every report of the institutions for the blind in this
country, in almost all books on the subject, and even the doctor's
earlier writings, may be brought to disprove this statement. He is now,
nevertheless, fully convinced that it will be found true. This erroneous
conviction, every where so prevalent, may be accounted for from the fact
that none but intelligent parents of blind children could at first
comprehend the possibility of their being educated, and even _they_
would not think of trying the experiment except upon a child of more
than ordinary ability. As soon, however, as the experiment proved
successful, and institutions for the blind became generally known, the
blind, without distinction--the bright and the backward, the bold and
the timid--resorted to them, which gave an opportunity of judging of the
_whole class_. The result is, that now, while the schools for the blind
present a certain number of children who make more rapid progress in
_intellectual studies_ than the average of seeing children, they also
present a much larger number who are decidedly inferior to them in both
physical and mental vigor.

The loss of one sense makes us exercise the others so constantly and so
effectually as to acquire a power quite unknown to common persons. This
goes far to compensate the blind man who is in the pursuit of knowledge,
and enables him to learn vastly more of _some_ subjects than other men;
but there are capacities of his nature which can never be developed.
Perfect harmony in the exercise and development of his mental faculties
he can never possess, any more than he can exhibit perfect physical
beauty and proportion.

The proposition that the blind, _as a class_, are inferior in mental
power and ability to ordinary persons, has been established beyond a
doubt. Take an equal number of blind and seeing persons, of as nearly
the same age and situation in life as may be, and it has been
established by well authenticated data, that when all the blind have
died, there will still be about half of the seeing ones alive. In other
words, the chance of life among the blind is only about half what it is
among the seeing. The standard of bodily health and vigor, then, being
so much lower among the blind, the inevitable inference is that mental
power and ability will be proportionably less also; for such is the
dependence of the mind upon the body, that there can be no continuance
of mental health and vigor without bodily health and vigor.

It is also true that _the deaf and dumb, as a class, are inferior to
other persons in mental power and ability_. The general reasons for this
are the same as those already given in the case of blind persons, and
need not hence be repeated. The truth of this proposition is established
beyond a doubt by the concurrent testimony of those who have had the
greatest experience with this unfortunate class of persons both in this
country and in Europe. The report of the directors of the American
Asylum for the year 1845 shows that two pupils had died during the year.
One of these had an affection of the lungs which terminated in
consumption, and the disease of the other was dropsy on the brain. In a
third, hereditary consumption was rapidly developing itself. Others,
still, had been subject to more or less of bodily indisposition.

After speaking of the case of a young man in whom _hereditary
consumption_ had been rapidly developed, the following statement is
introduced: "This great destroyer of our race is found extensively in
Europe, as well as in our own country, to be a _common disease among the
deaf and dumb_. It is brought on by scrofula, by fevers, by violent
colds, and by various other causes; and there is often, no doubt, _a
hereditary tendency to it in families connected by blood_". If this is
the effect of the loss of one of the senses upon the _bodily health_,
keeping in view the principle already stated, we shall naturally enough
be led to inquire what the influence is upon the _health of the mind_. A
careful examination of the educational statistics of several states has
convinced me that an unusually large proportion of the deaf and
dumb--and perhaps an equally large proportion of the blind, and
especially those who have remained uneducated and unenlightened--have
been visited with mental derangement, and have _lived and died insane_.

This is easily accounted for. Uneducated persons, who are deprived of
one or more of the senses, are isolated from the world in which they
live. The book of nature is open before them, but they are unable to
peruse it. The simplest operations constantly going on around them are
locked in mystery. They are an enigma to themselves. Even those who are
endowed with inquisitive minds are perplexed with the existing state of
things. They know nothing of the physical organization of the planet we
inhabit, of its political and civil divisions, and of the whole
machinery of human society, and are profoundly ignorant of the past
history and future destiny of the race to which they belong. It is not
remarkable that mind so unnaturally and peculiarly circumstanced--with
its usual inlets of knowledge so obstructed, and deprived of external
objects to act upon--should prey upon itself, and thus superinduce
insanity in its usual forms, and more especially when unaided and
undirected by education.

Keeping the same principle in view, we shall not be surprised to find
that _want of exercise_ of the brain and nervous system, or, in other
words, that inactivity of intellect and feeling, is a very frequent
predisposing cause of every form of nervous disease, even with those who
have not been deprived of any of their senses. For demonstrative
evidence of this position, we have only to look at the numerous victims
to be found among females of the middle and higher ranks, who have no
call to exertion in gaining the means of subsistence, and no objects of
interest on which to exercise their mental faculties, and who
consequently sink into a state of mental sloth and nervous weakness,
which not only deprives them of much enjoyment, but subjects them to
suffering, both of body and mind, from the slightest causes.

In looking abroad upon society, we find innumerable examples of mental
and nervous debility from this cause. When a person of some mental
capacity is confined for a long time to an unvarying round of
employment, which affords neither scope nor stimulus for one half of his
faculties, and, from want of education or society, has no external
resources, his mental powers, for want of exercise to keep up due
vitality in their cerebral organs, become blunted, and his perceptions
slow and dull. Unusual subjects of thought become to him disagreeable
and painful. The intellect and feelings not being provided with
interests external to themselves, must either become inactive and weak,
or work upon themselves and become diseased.

But let the situation of such persons be changed; bring them, for
instance, from the listlessness of retirement to the business and bustle
of a city; give them a variety of imperative employments, and place them
in society so as to supply to their cerebral organs that extent of
exercise which gives health and vivacity of action, and in a few months
the change produced will be surprising. Health, animation, and acuteness
will take the place of former insipidity and dullness. In such
instances, it would be absurd to suppose that it is the _mind itself_
which becomes heavy and feeble, and again revives into energy by these
changes in external circumstances. The effects arise entirely from
changes in the state of the _brain_, and the mental manifestations and
the bodily health have been improved solely by the improvement of its

The evils arising from excessive or ill-timed exercise of the brain, or
any of its parts, are numerous, and equally in accordance with the
ordinary laws of physiology. When we use the eye too long or in too
bright a light, it becomes bloodshot, and the increased action of its
vessels and nerves gives rise to a sensation of fatigue and pain
requiring us to desist. If we turn away and relieve the eye, the
irritation gradually subsides, and the healthy state returns; but if we
continue to look intently, or resume our employment before the eye has
regained its natural state by repose, the irritation at last becomes
permanent, and disease, followed by weakness of sight, or even
blindness, may ensue, as often happens to glass-blowers, smiths, and
others who are obliged to work in an intense light.

Precisely analogous phenomena occur when, from intense mental
excitement, the brain is kept long in a state of excessive activity. The
only difference is, that we can always see what happens in the eye, but
rarely what takes place in the brain. Occasionally, however, cases of
fracture of the skull occur, in which, part of the bone being removed,
we _can see_ the quickened circulation in the vessels of the brain as
easily as in those of the eye. Sir Astley Cooper had a young gentleman
brought to him who had lost a portion of his skull just above the
eyebrow. "On examining the head," says Sir Astley, "I distinctly saw
that the pulsation of the brain was regular and slow; but at this time
he was agitated by some opposition to his wishes, and directly the blood
was sent with increased force to the brain, and the pulsation became
frequent and violent." Sir Astley hence concludes that, in the treatment
of injuries of the brain, if you omit to keep the mind free from
agitation, your other means will be unavailing.

A still more remarkable case is said to have occurred in the hospital of
Montpellier in 1821. The subject of it was a female who had lost a large
portion of her scalp, skull-bone, and dura mater. A corresponding
portion of her brain was consequently bare, and subject to inspection.
When she was in a dreamless sleep, her brain was motionless, and lay
within the cranium; but when her sleep was imperfect, and she was
agitated by dreams, her brain moved and protruded without the cranium.
In vivid dreams the protrusion was considerable; and when she was awake
and engaged in active thought or sprightly conversation, it was still

In alluding to this subject, Dr. Caldwell remarks, that if it were
possible, without doing an injury to other parts, to augment the
constant afflux of healthy arterial blood to the brain, the mental
operations would be invigorated by it. This position is illustrated by
reference to the fact that when a public speaker is flushed and heated
in debate, his mind works more freely and powerfully than at any other
time. And why? Because his brain is in better tune. What has thus
suddenly improved its condition? An increased current of blood into it,
produced by the excitement of its own increased action. That the blood
does, on such occasions, flow more copiously into the brain, no one can
doubt who is at all acquainted with the cerebral sensations which the
orator himself experiences at the time, or who witnesses the unusual
fullness and flush of his countenance, and the dewiness, flashing, and
protrusion of his eye.

Indeed, in many instances, the increased circulation in the brain
attendant on high mental excitement reveals itself by its effects when
least expected, and leaves traces after death which are but too legible.
Many are the instances in which public men have been suddenly arrested
in their career by the inordinate action of the brain induced by
incessant toil, and more numerous still are those whose mental power has
been forever impaired by similar excess.

It is generally known that the eye, when tasked beyond its strength,
becomes insensible to light, and ceases to convey impressions to the
mind. The brain, in like manner, when much exhausted, becomes incapable
of thought, and consciousness is well-nigh lost in a feeling of utter
confusion. At any time in life, excessive and continued mental exertion
is hurtful; but in infancy and early youth, when the structure of the
brain is still immature and delicate, permanent injury is more easily
produced by injudicious treatment than at any subsequent period. In this
respect, the analogy is complete between the brain and the other parts
of the body, as we have already seen exemplified in the injurious
effects of premature exercise of the bones and muscles. Scrofulous and
rickety children are the most usual sufferers in this way. They are
generally remarkable for large heads, great precocity of understanding,
and small, delicate bodies. But in such instances, the great size of the
brain, and the acuteness of the mind, are the results of morbid growth,
and even with the best management, the child passes the first years of
its life constantly on the brink of active disease. Instead, however, of
trying to repress its mental activity, as they should, the fond parents,
misled by the promise of genius, too often excite it still further by
unceasing cultivation and the never-failing stimulus of praise; and
finding its progress, for a time, equal to their warmest wishes, they
look forward with ecstasy to the day when its talents will break forth
and shed a luster on their name. But in exact proportion as the picture
becomes brighter to their fancy, the probability of its becoming
realized becomes less; for the brain, worn out by premature exertion,
either becomes diseased or loses its tone, leaving the mental powers
feeble and depressed for the remainder of life. The expected prodigy is
thus, in the end, easily outstripped in the social race by many whose
dull outset promised him an easy victory.

To him who takes for his guide the necessities of the constitution, it
will be obvious that the modes of treatment commonly resorted to should
in such cases be reversed; and that, instead of straining to the utmost
the already irritable powers of the precocious child, leaving his dull
competitors to ripen at leisure, a systematic attempt ought to be made,
from early infancy, to rouse to action the languid faculties of the
latter, while no pains should be spared to moderate and give tone to the
activity of the former. But instead of this, the prematurely intelligent
child is generally sent to school, and tasked with lessons at an
unusually early age, while the healthy but more backward boy, who
requires to be stimulated, is kept at home in idleness merely on account
of his backwardness. A double error is here committed, and the
consequences to the active-minded boy are not unfrequently the permanent
loss both of health and of his envied superiority of intellect.

In speaking of children of this description, Dr. Brigham, in an
excellent little work on the influence of mental excitement on health,
remarks as follows: "Dangerous forms of scrofulous disease among
children have repeatedly fallen under my observation, for which I could
not account in any other way than by supposing that the brain had been
excited at the expense of the other parts of the system, and at a time
in life when nature is endeavoring to perfect all the organs of the
body; and after the disease commenced, I have seen, with grief, the
influence of the same cause in retarding or preventing recovery. I have
seen several affecting and melancholy instances of children, five or six
years of age, lingering a while with diseases from which those less
gifted readily recover, and at last dying, notwithstanding the utmost
efforts to restore them. During their sickness they constantly
manifested a passion for books and mental excitement, and were admired
for the maturity of their minds. The chance for the recovery of such
precocious children is, in my opinion, small when attacked by disease;
and several medical men have informed me that their own observations had
led them to form the same opinion, and have remarked that, in two cases
of sickness, if one of the patients was a child of superior and
highly-cultivated mental powers, and the other one equally sick, but
whose mind had not been excited by study, they should feel less
confident of the recovery of the former than of the latter. This mental
precocity results from an unnatural development of one organ of the body
at the expense of the constitution."

There can be little doubt but that ignorance on the part of parents and
teachers is the principal cause that leads to the too early and
excessive cultivation of the minds of children, and especially of such
as are precocious and delicate. Hence the necessity of imparting
instruction on this subject to both parents and teachers, and to all
persons who are in any way charged with the care and education of the
young. This necessity becomes the more imperative from the fact that the
cupidity of authors and publishers has led to the preparation of
"children's books," many of which are announced as purposely prepared
"for children from _two_ to _three_ years old!" I might instance
advertisements of "Infant Manuals" of Botany, Geometry, and Astronomy!

In not a few isolated families, but in many neighborhoods, villages, and
cities, in various parts of the country, children _under three years of
age_ are not only required to commit to memory many verses, texts of
Scripture, and stories, but are frequently sent to school for six hours
a day. Few children are kept back later than the age of _four_, unless
they reside a great distance from school, and some not even then. At
home, too, they are induced by all sorts of excitement to learn
additional tasks, or peruse juvenile books and magazines, till the
nervous system becomes enfeebled and the health broken. "I have myself,"
says Dr. Brigham, "seen many children who are supposed to possess almost
miraculous mental powers, experiencing these effects and sinking under
them. Some of them died early, when but six or eight years of age, but
manifested to the last a maturity of understanding, which only
increased the agony of separation. Their minds, like some of the fairest
flowers, were 'no sooner blown than blasted;' others have grown up to
manhood, but with feeble bodies and disordered nervous system, which
subjected them to hypochondriasis, dyspepsy, and all the Protean forms
of nervous disease; others of the class of early prodigies exhibit in
manhood but small mental powers, and are the mere passive instruments of
those who in early life were accounted far their inferiors."

This hot-bed system of education is not confined to the United States,
but is practiced less or more in all civilized countries. Dr. Combe, of
Scotland, gives an account of one of these early prodigies whose fate he
witnessed. The circumstances were exactly such as those above described.
The prematurely developed intellect was admired, and constantly
stimulated by injudicious praise, and by daily exhibition to every
visitor who chanced to call. Entertaining books were thrown in its way,
reading by the fireside encouraged, play and exercise neglected, the
diet allowed to be full and heating, and the appetite pampered by every
delicacy. The results were the speedy deterioration of a weak
constitution, a high degree of nervous sensibility, deranged digestion,
disordered bowels, defective nutrition, and, lastly, _death_, at the
very time when the interest excited by the mental precocity was at its

Such, however, is the ignorance of the majority of parents and teachers
on all physiological subjects, that when one of these infant prodigies
dies from erroneous treatment, it is not unusual to publish a memoir of
his life, that other parents and teachers may see by what means such
transcendent qualities were called forth. Dr. Brigham refers to a memoir
of this kind, in which the history of a child, aged four years and
eleven months, is narrated as approved by "several judicious persons,
ministers and others, all of whom united in the request that it might be
published, and all agreed in the opinion that a knowledge of the manner
in which the child was treated, together with the results, would be
profitable to both parents and children, and a benefit to the cause of
education." This infant philosopher was "taught hymns before he could
speak plainly;" "reasoned with" and constantly instructed until his last
illness, which, "_without any assignable cause_," put on a violent and
unexpected form, and carried him off!

As a _warning to others_ not to force education too soon or too fast,
this case may be truly profitable to both parents and children, and a
benefit to the cause of education; but _as an example to be followed_,
it assuredly can not be too strongly or too loudly condemned. While I
speak thus strongly, I am ready to admit that infant schools in which
physical health and moral training are duly attended to are excellent
institutions, and are particularly advantageous where parents, from want
of leisure or from other causes, are unable to bestow upon their
children that attention which their tender years require.

In youth, too, much mischief is done by the long daily periods of
attendance at school, and the continued application of mind which the
ordinary system of education requires. The law of exercise already more
than once repeated, that _long-sustained action exhausts the vital
powers of an organ_, applies as well to the brain as to the muscles.
Hence the necessity of varying the occupations of the young, and
allowing frequent intervals of active exercise in the open air, instead
of enforcing the continued confinement now so common. This exclusive
attention to mental culture fails, as might be expected, even in its
essential object; for all experience shows that, with a rational
distribution of employment and exercise, a child will make greater
progress in a given period than in double the time employed in
continuous mental exertion. If the human being were made up of nothing
but a brain and nervous system, we might do well to content ourselves
with sedentary pursuits, and to confine our attention entirely to the
mind. But when we learn from observation that we have numerous other
important organs of motion, sanguification, digestion, circulation, and
nutrition, all demanding exercise in the open air, as alike essential to
their own health and to that of the nervous system, it is worse than
folly to shut our eyes to the truth, and to act as if we could, by
denying it, alter the constitution of nature, and thereby escape the
consequences of our own misconduct.

Reason and experience being thus set at naught by both parents and
teachers in the education of their children, young people naturally grow
up with the notion that no such influences as the laws of organization
exist, and that they may follow any course of life which inclination
leads them to prefer without injury to health, provided they avoid what
is called dissipation. It is owing to this ignorance that young men of a
studious or literary habit enter heedlessly upon an amount of mental
exertion, unalleviated by bodily exercise or intervals of repose, which
is quite incompatible with the continued enjoyment of a sound mind in a
sound body. Such, however, is the effect of the total neglect of all
instruction in the laws of the organic frame during early education,
that it becomes almost impossible effectually to warn an ardent student
against the dangers to which he is constantly exposing himself. Nothing
but actual experience will convince him of the truth.

Numerous are the instances in which young men of the first promise have
almost totally disqualified themselves for future useful exertion in
consequence of long-protracted and severe study, who, under a more
rational system of education, might have attained that eminence, the
injudicious pursuit of which has defeated their own most cherished
hopes, and ruined their general health. Such persons might be saved to
themselves and to society by early instruction in the nature and laws of
the animal economy. They mean well, but err from ignorance more than
from headstrong zeal.

I shall conclude this chapter with a few rules relating to mental
exercise, and the development and culture of the mind and brain. It is a
law of the animal economy that two classes of functions can not be
called into vigorous action at the same time without one or the other,
or both, sooner or later sustaining injury. Hence the important rule
never to enter upon continued mental exertion or to rouse deep feeling
immediately after a full meal, otherwise the activity of the brain is
sure to interfere with that of the stomach, and disorder its functions.
Even in a perfectly healthy person, unwelcome news, sudden anxiety, or
mental excitement, occurring after eating, will put an entire stop to
digestion, and cause the stomach to loathe the sight of food. In
accordance with this rule, we learn by experience that the very worst
forms of indigestion and nervous depression are those which arise from
excessive mental application, or turmoil of feeling and distraction of
mind, conjoined with unrestrained indulgence in the pleasures of the
table. In such circumstances, the stomach and brain react upon and
disturb each other, till all the horrors of nervous disease make their
unwelcome appearance, and render life miserable. The tendency to
inactivity and sleep, which besets most animals after a full meal, shows
repose to be, in such circumstances, the evident intention of Nature.
The bad effects of violating this rule, although not in all cases
immediately apparent, will most assuredly be manifest at a period less
or more remote.

Dr. Caldwell, who has devoted much time and talent to the diffusion of
sound physiological information and the general improvement of the race,
and whose opportunities of observation have been very extensive,
expressly states, that dyspepsy and madness prevail more extensively in
the United States than among the people of any other nation. Of the
amount of our dyspeptics, he says, no estimate can be formed; but it is
immense. Whether we inquire in cities, towns, villages, or country
places; among the rich, the poor, or those in moderate circumstances, we
find dyspepsy more or less prevalent throughout the land.

The early part of the day is the best time for severe mental exertion.
Nature has allotted the darkness of night for repose, and for the
restoration by sleep of the exhausted energies of both body and mind. If
study or composition be ardently engaged in toward the close of the day,
and especially at a late hour of the evening, sound and invigorating
sleep may not be expected until the night is far spent, for the
increased action of the brain which always accompanies activity of mind
requires a long time to subside. Persons who practice night study, if
they be at all of an irritable habit of body, will be sleepless for
hours after going to bed, and be tormented perhaps by unpleasant dreams,
which will render their sleep unrefreshing. If this practice be long
continued, the want of refreshing repose will ultimately induce a state
of morbid irritability of the nervous system bordering on insanity. It
is therefore of great advantage to engage in severer studies early in
the day, and to devote the after part of the day and the evening to
less intense application. It will be well to devote a portion of the
evening, and especially the latter part of it, to light reading, music,
or cheerful and amusing conversation. The excitement induced in the
brain by previous study will be soothed by these influences, and will
more readily subside, and sound and refreshing sleep will be much more
likely to follow. This rule is of the utmost importance to those who are
obliged to perform a great amount of mental labor. It is only by
conforming to it, and devoting their mornings to study and their
evenings to relaxation, that many of our most prolific writers have been
enabled to preserve their health. By neglecting this rule, others of the
fairest promise have been cut down in the midst of their usefulness.

Regularity is of great importance in the development and culture of the
moral and intellectual powers, the tendency to resume the same mode of
action at stated times being peculiarly the characteristic of the
nervous system. It is this principle of our nature which promotes the
formation of what are called habits. By repeating any kind of mental
effort every day at the same hour, we at length find ourselves entering
upon it, without premeditation, when the time approaches. In like
manner, by arranging our studies in accordance with this law, and taking
up each regularly in the same order, a natural aptitude is soon
produced, which renders application more easy than it would be were we
to take up the subjects as accident might dictate. The tendency to
periodical and associated activity sometimes becomes so strong, that the
faculties seem to go through their operations almost without conscious
effort, while their facility of action becomes so much increased as
ultimately to give unerring certainty where at first great difficulty
was experienced. It is not so much the soul or abstract principle of
mind which is thus changed, as the organic medium through which mind is
destined to act in the present mode of being.

The necessity of judicious repetition in mental and moral education is,
in fact, too little adverted to, because the principle on which it is
effectual has not hitherto been generally understood. Practice is as
necessary to induce facility of action in the organs of the mind as in
those of motion. The idea or feeling must not only be communicated, but
it must be represented and reproduced in different forms till all the
faculties concerned in understanding it come to work efficiently
together in the conception of it, and until a sufficient impression is
made upon the organ of mind to enable the latter to retain it. Servants
and others are frequently blamed for not doing a thing at regular
intervals when they have been but once told to do so. We learn, however,
from the organic laws, that it is presumptuous to expect the formation
of a habit from a single act, and that we must reproduce the associated
activity of the requisite faculties many times before the result will
certainly follow, just as we must repeat the movement in dancing or
skating many times before we become master of it.

We may understand a new subject by a single perusal, but we can fully
master it only by dwelling upon it again and again. In order to make a
durable impression on the mind, repetition is necessary. It follows,
hence, that in learning a language or science, six successive months of
application will be more effectual in fixing it indelibly in the mind,
and making it a part of the mental furniture, than double or even treble
the time if the lessons are interrupted by long intervals. The too
common practice of beginning a study, and, after pursuing it a little
time, leaving it to be completed at a later period, is unphilosophical
and very injurious. The fatigue of study is thus doubled, and the
success greatly diminished. Studies should not, as a general thing, be
entered upon until the mind is sufficiently mature to understand them
thoroughly, and, when begun, they should not be discontinued until they
are completely mastered. By this means the mind becomes accustomed to
sound and healthy action, which alone can qualify the student for
eminent usefulness in after life. Much of the want of success in the
various departments of industry, and many of the failures that are
constantly occurring among business men, are justly attributable to the
fits of attention and the irregular modes of study they became
habituated to in their school-boy days. Hence the mischief of long
vacations, and the evil of beginning studies before the age at which
they may be understood. Parents and teachers should hence, at an early
period, impress indelibly upon the minds of their children and pupils
the ever true and practical sentiment, that _what is worth doing at all
is worth doing well_. Although, at first, their progress may _seem_ to
be retarded thereby, still, in the end, it will contribute greatly to
accelerate their real advancement, and in after life, whether employed
in literary or business pursuits, will be a means of augmenting their
happiness and increasing their prospect of success in whatever
department of labor they may be engaged.

In physical education most persons seem well aware of the advantages of
repetition. They know, for instance, that if practice in dancing,
fencing, skating, and riding is persevered in for a sufficient length of
time to give the muscles the requisite promptitude and harmony of
action, the power will be ever afterward retained, although rarely
called into use. But if we stop short of this point, we may reiterate
practice by fits and starts without any proportional advancement. The
same principle is equally applicable to the moral and intellectual
powers which operate by means of material organs.

The impossibility of successfully playing the hypocrite for any
considerable length of time, and the necessity of being in private what
we wish to appear in public, spring from the same rule. If we wish to be
ourselves polite, just, kind, and sociable, or to induce others to
become so, we must act habitually under the influence of the
corresponding sentiments, in the domestic circle, in the school-room,
and in every-day life, as well as in the company of strangers and on
great occasions. It is the private and daily practice of individuals
that gives ready activity to the sentiments and marks the real
character. If parents or teachers indulge habitually in vulgarities of
speech and behavior in the family or in the school, and put on
politeness occasionally for the reception and entertainment of
strangers, their true character will shine through the mask which is
intended to conceal it. The habitual association to which the organs and
faculties have been accustomed can not thus be controlled. Parents
hence, in addition to correct personal influence in the family, should
provide for their children teachers whose habits and character are in
all respects what they are willing their children should form. If they
neglect to do this, the utmost they can reasonably expect is that their
children will become what the teacher is.

The principle that repetition is necessary in order to make a durable
impression on the organ of the mind, and thus constitute a mental habit,
explains how natural endowments are modified by external situation. The
extent to which this modification may be carried, and is actually
carried in every community, is much greater than most persons are aware
of. Take a child, for example, of average propensities, sentiments, and
intellect, and place him among a class of people in whom the selfish
faculties are exclusively exercised--a class who regard gain as the end
of life, and look upon cunning and cheating as legitimate means, and who
never express disapprobation or moral indignation against either crime
or selfishness--and his lower faculties, being exclusively exercised,
will increase in strength, while the higher ones, remaining unemployed,
will become enfeebled. A child thus situated will, consequently, not
only act as those around him do, but insensibly grow up resembling them
in disposition and character; for, by the law of repetition, the organs
of the selfish qualities will have acquired proportionally greater
aptitude and vigor, just as do the muscles of the fencer or dancer. But
suppose the same individual placed, _from infancy_, in the society of a
superiorly endowed moral and intellectual people, the moral faculties
will then be habitually excited, and their organs invigorated by
repetition, till a greater aptitude will be induced in them, or, in
other words, till a higher moral character will be formed. The natural
endowments of individuals set limits to these modifications of
character; but where original dispositions and tendencies are not
strongly marked, the range is very wide.

In the cultivation of the brain and mental faculties, each organ should
be exercised directly upon its own appropriate objects, and not merely
roused or addressed through the medium of another organ. When we wish to
teach the graceful and rapid evolutions of fencing, we do not content
ourselves with merely giving directions, but our chief attention is
employed in making the muscles themselves go through the evolutions,
till, by frequent repetition and correction, they acquire the requisite
quickness and precision of action. So, when we wish to teach music, we
do not merely address the understanding and explain the qualities of
sounds. We train the ear to an attentive discrimination of these sounds,
and the hand or the vocal organs, as the case may be, to the
reproduction of the motions which call them into existence. We follow
this plan, because the laws of organization require the direct practice
of the organs concerned, and we feel instinctively that we can succeed
only by obeying these laws. The purely mental faculties are connected
during life with material organs, and are hence subjected to precisely
the same laws. If, therefore, we wish to improve these faculties--the
reasoning powers, for example--we must exercise them regularly in
tracing the cause and relations of things. In like manner, if our aim is
the development of the sentiments of attachment, benevolence, justice,
or respect, we must exercise each of them directly and for its own sake,
otherwise neither it nor its organ will ever acquire promptitude or

It is the brain, or organ of the mind, more than the abstract immaterial
principle itself, that requires cultivation, or can, indeed, receive it
in this life. Education hence operates invariably in subjection to the
laws of organization. In improving the _external_ senses, we admit this
principle readily enough; but when we come to the _internal_ faculties
of thought and feeling, it is either denied or neglected. That the
superior quickness of touch, sight, and hearing, consequent upon
judicious exercise, is referable to increased facility of action in
their appropriate organs, is readily admitted. But when we explain, on
the same principle, the superior development of the reasoning powers, or
the greater warmth of feeling produced by similar exercise in these and
other internal faculties, few are inclined to listen to our proposition,
or allow to it half the weight or attention its importance demands,
although every fact in philosophy and experience concurs in supporting
it. We see the mental powers of feeling and of thought unfolding
themselves in infancy and youth in exact accordance with the progress of
the organization. We see them perverted or suspended by the sudden
inroad of disease. We sometimes observe every previous acquirement
obliterated from the adult mind by fever or by accident, leaving
education to be commenced anew, as if it had never been; and yet, with
all these evidences of the organic influence, the proposition that the
established laws of physiology, as applied to the brain, should be
considered our best and surest guide in education, seems to many a
novelty. Among the numerous treatises on education, there are very few
volumes in which it is even hinted that these laws have the slightest
influence over either intellectual or moral improvement.

As God has given us bones and muscles, and blood-vessels and nerves, for
the purpose of being used, let us not despise the gift, but consent at
once to turn them to account, and to reap health and vigor as the reward
which he has associated with moderate labor. As he has given us lungs to
breathe with and blood to circulate, let us at once and forever abandon
the folly of shutting ourselves up with little intermission, whether
engaged in study or other sedentary occupations, and consent to inhale,
copiously and freely, that wholesome atmosphere which his benevolence
has spread around us in such rich profusion. As he has given us
appetites and organs of digestion, let us profit by his bounty, and earn
their enjoyment by healthful exercise in some department of productive
industry. As he has given us a moral and a social nature, which is
invigorated by activity, and impaired by solitude and restraint, let us
cultivate good feelings, and act toward each other on principles of
kindness, justice, forbearance, and mutual assistance; and as he has
given us intellect, let us exercise it in seeking a knowledge of his
works and of his laws, and in tracing out the relation in which we stand
toward him, toward our fellow-men, and toward the various objects of the
external world. In so doing, we may be well assured we shall find a
reward a thousand times more rich and pure, yea, infinitely more
delightful and enduring, than we can hope to experience in following our
own blind devices, regardless of his will and benevolent intentions
toward us.



    If the eye be obstructed, the ear opens wide its portals, and hears
    your very emotions in the varying tones of your voice; if the ear be
    stopped, the quickened eye will almost read the words as they fall
    from your lips; and if both be close sealed up, the whole body
    becomes like a sensitive plant--the quickened skin perceives the
    very vibrations of the air, and you may even write your thoughts
    upon it, and receive answers from the sentient soul within.--ANNUAL
    REPORT _of the Trustees of the Perkins Institution and Massachusetts
    Asylum for the Blind_, 1841.

He who formed man of the dust of the earth, and breathed into his
nostrils the breath of life, has honored his material organs by
associating them with the immaterial soul. In this life _the senses_
constitute the great conveyances of knowledge to the human mind. It then
becomes not only a legitimate object of inquiry, but one which commends
itself to every human being, and especially to every parent and teacher,
Can these senses be improved by human interference? And if so, how can
that improvement be best effected?

The senses are the interpreters between the material universe without
and the spirit within. Without the celestial machinery of sensation, man
must have ever remained what Adam was before the Almighty breathed into
his form of clay the awakening breath of life. The dormant energies of
the mind can be aroused, and the soul can be put into mysterious
communion with external nature only by the magical power of sensation.

The possession of all the corporeal senses, and their systematic and
judicious culture by all proper appliances, are necessary in order to
place man in such a relation to the material universe and its great
Architect as most fully and successfully to cultivate the varied
capabilities of his nature, and best to subserve the purposes of his
creation. He who is deprived of the healthful exercise of one or more of
his senses, or, possessing them all unimpaired, has neglected their
proper culture, is, from the nature of the case, in a proportionate
degree cut off from a knowledge of God as manifested in his works, and
from that happiness which is the legitimate fruit of such knowledge.

Much light has been thrown upon this subject within a few years by the
judicious labors of that class of practical educators who have devoted
their lives to the amelioration of the condition of persons deprived of
one or more of the senses. It is difficult to conceive the real
condition of the minds of persons thus situated, and especially while
they remain uneducated. He who is deprived of the sense of sight has the
windows of his soul closed, and is effectually shut out from this world
of light and beauty. In like manner, he who is deprived of the sense of
hearing is excluded from the world of music and of speech. What, then,
must be the condition of persons deprived of both of these senses? How
desolate and cheerless! Yet some such there are.

While on a visit to the Asylum for the Blind, in Boston, a few months
ago, I met two of this unfortunate class of persons--Laura Bridgman and
Oliver Caswell. Laura has been several years connected with the

LAURA BRIDGMAN, _the Deaf, Dumb, and Blind Girl_.--So remarkable is the
case of this interesting girl, so full of interest, so replete with
instruction, and in every way so admirably adapted to illustrate the
subject of this chapter, that I proceed to give to my readers a sketch
of the method pursued in her instruction, together with the results
attendant upon it. My information in relation to her is derived from
both personal acquaintance and the reports of her case, though
principally from the latter source.

Laura was born in Hanover, New Hampshire, on the 21st of December, 1829.
She is described as having been a very sprightly and pretty infant.
During the first years of her existence she held her life by the
feeblest tenure, being subject to severe fits, which seemed to rack her
frame almost beyond the power of endurance. At the age of four years her
bodily health seemed restored; but what a situation was hers! The
darkness and silence of the tomb were around her. No mother's smile
called forth her answering smile. No father's voice taught her to
imitate his sounds. To her, brothers and sisters were but forms of
matter which resisted her touch, but which hardly differed from the
furniture of the house save in warmth and in the power of locomotion,
and not even in these respects from the dog and the cat. But the
immortal spirit implanted within her could not die, nor could it be
maimed or mutilated; and, though most of its avenues of communication
with the world were cut off, it began to manifest itself through the
others. As soon as she could walk, she began to explore the room, and
then the house. She thus soon became familiar with the form, density,
weight, and heat of every article she could lay her hands upon. She
followed her mother, and felt of her hands and arms, as she was occupied
about the house, and her disposition to imitate led her to repeat every
thing herself. She even learned to sew a little and to knit.

Her affections, too, began to expand, and seemed to be lavished upon the
members of her family with peculiar force. But the means of
communication with her were very limited. She could be told to go to a
place only by being pushed, or to come to one by a sign of drawing her.
Patting her gently on the head signified approbation, on the back
disapprobation. She showed every disposition to learn, and manifestly
began to use a natural language of her own. She had a sign to express
her idea of each member of the family, as drawing her fingers down each
side of her face to allude to the whiskers of one, twirling her hand
around in imitation of the motion of a spinning-wheel for another, and
so on. But, although Laura received all the aid a kind mother could
bestow, she soon began to give proof of the importance of language in
the development of human character. By the time she was seven years old
the moral effects of her privation began to appear, for there was no way
of controlling her will but by the absolute power of another, and at
this humanity revolts.

At this time, Dr. Samuel G. Howe, the distinguished and successful
director of the asylum, learned of her situation, and hastened to see
her. He found her with a well-formed figure, a strongly-marked
nervous-sanguine temperament, a large and beautifully shaped head, and
the whole system in healthy action. Here seemed a rare opportunity of
trying a plan for the education of a deaf and blind person, which the
doctor had formed on seeing Julia Brace at Hartford. The parents readily
consented to her going to the institution in Boston, where Laura was
received in October, 1837, just before she had completed her eighth
year. For a while she was much bewildered. After waiting about two
weeks, and until she became acquainted with her new locality, and
somewhat familiar with the inmates, the attempt was made to give her a
knowledge of arbitrary signs, by which she could interchange thoughts
with others. One of two methods was to be adopted. Either the language
of signs, on the basis of the natural language she had already commenced
herself, was to be built up, or it remained to teach her the purely
arbitrary language in common use. The former would have been easy, but
very ineffectual. The latter, although very difficult, if accomplished,
would prove vastly superior. It was therefore determined upon.

The _blind_ learn to read by means of raised letters, which they gain a
knowledge of by the sense of feeling. _The ends of the fingers_, resting
upon the raised letters, thus constitute, in part, _the eyes of the
blind_. This, although apparently difficult, becomes comparatively easy
when the blind person possesses the _sense of hearing_, and is thus
enabled to become acquainted with spoken language. On the contrary, the
_deaf_, and consequently _dumb_, are unable to acquire a knowledge of
spoken language so as to use it with any degree of success. In their
education, hence, the _language of signs_, which can be addressed to the
eye, is substituted for spoken language. In communicating with one
another, by means of the _manual alphabet_, they substitute positions
of the hand, which they can both make and see, for letters and words,
which they can neither pronounce nor hear.

To be deprived of either sight or hearing was formerly regarded as an
almost insuperable obstacle in the way of education. Persons deprived of
both these senses have heretofore been considered by high legal
authorities,[23] as well as by public opinion, as occupying, of
necessity, a state of irresponsible and irrecoverable idiocy. By the
education of the remaining senses, however, this formidable and
heretofore insuperable barrier has been overleaped, or, rather, the
obstacle has been met and overcome. The experiment has been successfully
tried, once and again, in our own country. The deaf and blind mute has
not only acquired a knowledge of reading and writing, and of the common
branches of education, but has been enabled successfully to prosecute
the study of natural philosophy, of mental science, and of geometry. The
accomplishment of all this has resulted from the successful cultivation
of the sense of touch or of feeling. The raised letter of the blind has
been used for written language, and the manual language of the mute,
taken by the _finger-eyes_ of the blind, has been successfully
substituted for spoken language.

  [23] A man is not an idiot if he hath any glimmering of reason, so that
  he can tell his parents, his age, or the like matters. But a man who is
  born deaf, dumb, and blind, is looked upon by the law as in the same
  state with an idiot, he being supposed incapable of any understanding,
  as wanting all the senses which furnish the human mind with
  ideas.--_Blackstone's Commentaries_, vol. i., p. 304.

Laura's mind dwelt in darkness and silence. In order, therefore, to
communicate to her a knowledge of the arbitrary language in common use,
it was necessary to combine the methods of instructing the blind and
the deaf. The first experiments in instructing her were made by taking
articles in common use, such as knives, forks, spoons, keys, etc., and
pasting upon them labels with their names printed in _raised letters_.
These she felt of very carefully, and soon, of course, distinguished
that the crooked lines ~_spoon_~ differed as much from the crooked lines
~_key_~, as the spoon differed from the key in form. Small detached
labels, with the same words printed upon them, were then put into her
hands, and she soon observed that they were similar to those pasted on
the articles. She showed her perception of this similarity by laying the
label ~_key_~ upon the key, and the label ~_spoon_~ upon the spoon. When
this was done she was encouraged by the natural sign of
approbation--patting on the head.

The same process was then repeated with all the articles which she could
handle, and she very easily learned to place the proper labels upon
them. After a while, instead of labels, the individual letters were
given to her, on detached bits of paper. These were at first arranged
side by side, so as to spell ~_book_~, ~_key_~, &c. They were then mixed
up, and a sign was made for her to arrange them herself, so as to express
the words ~_book_~, ~_key_~, etc., and she did so.

The process of instruction, hitherto, had been mechanical, and the
success attending it about as great as that in teaching a very knowing
dog a variety of tricks. The poor child sat in mute amazement, and
patiently imitated every thing her teacher did. Presently the truth
began to flash upon her; her intellect began to work; she perceived that
here was a way by which she could herself make up a sign of any thing
that was in her own mind, and show it to another mind, and at once her
countenance lighted up with a human expression! her immortal spirit
eagerly seizing upon a new link of union with other spirits! Dr. Howe
says he could almost fix upon the moment when this truth dawned upon her
mind and spread its light to her countenance. He saw at once that
nothing but patient and persevering, but judicious efforts were needed
in her instruction, and that these would most assuredly be crowned with

It is difficult to form a just conception of the amount of labor
bestowed upon Laura thus far. In communicating with her, spoken language
could not be used, for she was destitute of hearing. Neither are signs
of any use when addressed to the eyes of the blind. When, therefore, it
was said that "a sign was made," we are to understand by it that the
action was performed by her teacher, she feeling of his hands, and then
imitating the motion. The next step in the process of her instruction
was to procure a set of metal types, with the different letters of the
alphabet cast upon their ends; also a board, in which were square holes,
into which she could set the types so that the letters on the end could
alone be felt above the surface. Then, on any article being handed to
her whose name she had learned--a pencil or a watch, for instance--she
would select the component letters and arrange them on her board, and
read them with apparent pleasure.

When she had been exercised in this way for several weeks, and until her
knowledge of words had become considerably extensive, the important step
was taken of teaching her how to represent the different letters by the
position of her fingers, instead of the cumbrous apparatus of the board
and types. This she accomplished speedily and easily, for her intellect
had begun to work in aid of her teacher, and her progress was rapid.

Six months after Laura had left home her mother went to visit her. The
scene of their meeting was full of interest. The mother stood some time
gazing with overflowing eyes upon her unfortunate child, who, all
unconscious of her presence, was playing about the room. Presently Laura
ran against her, and at once began feeling of her hands, examining her
dress, and trying to find out if she knew her; but, not succeeding in
this, she turned away as from a stranger, and the poor woman could not
conceal the pang she felt at finding her beloved child did not know her.
She then gave Laura a string of beads which she used to wear at home.
These were at once recognized by the child, who gave satisfactory
indications that she understood they were from home. The mother now
tried to caress her; but Laura repelled her, preferring to be with her

Other articles from home were then given to Laura, and she began to look
much interested; she examined the stranger much closer, and gave the
doctor to understand she knew they came from Hanover; she now even
endured her mother's caresses, but would leave her with indifference at
the slightest signal. After a while, on the mother taking hold of her
again, a vague idea seemed to flit across Laura's mind that this could
not be a stranger; she therefore felt of her hands very eagerly, while
her countenance assumed an expression of intense interest; she became
very pale, and then suddenly red; hope seemed struggling with doubt and
anxiety, and never were contending emotions more strongly painted upon
the human face. At this moment of painful uncertainty, the mother drew
Laura close to her side, and kissed her fondly, when at once the truth
flashed upon the child, and all distrust and anxiety disappeared from
her face. With an expression of exceeding joy, Laura nestled to the
bosom of her parent, and yielded herself to her fond embraces. After
this the beads were all unheeded, and the playthings which were offered
to her were utterly disregarded. Her playmates, for whom she but a
moment before left the stranger, now vainly strove to pull her from her
mother. The meeting and subsequent parting showed alike the affection,
the intelligence, and the resolution of the child as well as of her

The following facts are drawn from the report made of her case at the
end of the year 1839, after she had been a little more than two years
under instruction. Having mastered the manual alphabet of the deaf
mutes, and having learned to spell readily the names of every thing
within her reach, she was then taught words expressive of positive
qualities, as hardness and softness. This was a very difficult process.
She was next taught those expressions of relation to place which she
could understand. A ring, for example, was taken and placed _on_ a box;
then the words were spelled to her, and she repeated them from
imitation. The ring was afterward placed _on_ a hat, desk, etc. In a
similar manner she learned the use of _in_, _into_, etc. She would
illustrate the use of these and other words as follows: She would spell
~_on_~, and then lay one hand _on_ the other; then she would spell
~_into_~, and inclose one hand _within_ the other.

Laura very easily acquired a knowledge and use of active verbs,
especially those expressive of _tangible action_, as to walk, to run, to
sew, to shake. In acquiring a knowledge of language, she used the words
with which she had become acquainted in a general sense, and according
to the order of _her sense of ideas_. Thus, in asking some one to give
her bread, she would first use the word expressive of the leading idea,
and say, _Bread, give, Laura_. If she wanted water, she would say,
_Water, drink, Laura_.

Having acquired the use of substantives, adjectives, verbs,
prepositions, and conjunctions, it was thought time to make the
experiment of trying to teach her to _write_, and to show her she might
communicate her ideas to persons not in contact with her. It was amusing
to witness the mute amazement with which she submitted to the process;
the docility with which she imitated every motion, and the perseverance
with which she moved her pencil over and over again in the same track,
until she could form the letter. But when at last the idea dawned upon
her that by this mysterious process she could make other people
understand what she thought, her joy was boundless! Never did a child
apply more eagerly and joyfully to any task than she did to this; and in
a few months she could make every letter distinctly, and separate words
from each other.

At this time Laura actually wrote, unaided, a legible letter to her
mother, in which she expressed the idea of her being well, and of her
expectation of going home in a few weeks. It was, indeed, a very rude
and imperfect letter, couched in the language which a prattling infant
would use. Still, it shadowed forth and expressed to her mother the
ideas that were passing in her own mind. She had attained about the same
command of language as common children three years of age. But her power
of expression was, of course, by no means equal to her power of
conception; for she had no words to express many of the perceptions and
sensations which her mind doubtless experienced. In the spring of 1840,
when she had been under instruction about two and a half years,
returning fatigued from her journey home, she complained of a pain in
her side, and on being asked what caused it, she replied as follows:
"Laura did go to see mother, ride did make Laura side ache, horse was
wrong, did not run softly." Her improvement in the use of language was
very rapid, and she soon became, in some respects, quite a critic. When
one of the girls had the mumps, Laura learned the name of the disease;
soon after she had it herself, but she had the swelling only on one
side; and some one saying to her, "You have got the mumps," she replied
quickly, "_No, no; I have mump._"

About this time Laura learned the difference between the present and
past tense of the verb. And here her simplicity rebukes the clumsy
irregularities of our language. She learned _jump, jumped_--_walk,
walked_, etc., until she had an idea of the mode of forming the
imperfect tense of regular verbs; but when she came to the word _see_,
she insisted that it should be _seed_ in the imperfect; and upon going
down to dinner, she asked if it was _eat, eated_; but being told it was
_eat_, ATE, she seemed to try to express the idea that this
transposition of the letters was not only wrong, but ludicrous, for she
laughed heartily. She continued this habit of forming words
analogically. When she had become acquainted with the meaning of the
word restless, she seemed to understand that _less_ at the end of a word
means without, destitute of, or wanting, as rest-less, fruit-less; also
that _ful_ at the end of a word expresses abundance of what is implied
by the primitive, as bliss-ful, play-ful. This is clearly illustrated in
the following expressions. One day, feeling weak, she said, "I am very
strongless." Being told this was not right, she said, "Why, you say
restless when I do not sit still." Then she said, "I am very weakful."

My primary object in referring to Laura has been to illustrate, in a
striking manner, the practicability of the education of the senses to
an extent not heretofore generally known. To such an extent has the
sense of touch been cultivated in her, that her fingers serve as very
good substitutes for both eyes and ears. I will mention one or two
instances which strikingly illustrate the acuteness of Laura's sense of
touch. When I was at the institution a few months ago, she was told a
person was present whom she had never met, and who wished an
introduction to her. She reached her hand, expecting to meet a
_stranger_. By mistake (for her teachers design never to allow her to be
deceived), she took the hand of another gentleman, whom she recognized
immediately, though she had never met him but twice before. She
recognizes her acquaintances in an instant by touching their hands or
their dress, and there are probably hundreds of individuals who, if they
were to stand in a row, and hold out each a hand to her, would be
recognized by that alone. The memory of these sensations is very vivid,
and she will readily recognize a person whom she has once thus touched.
Many cases of this kind have been noticed; such as a person shaking
hands with her, and making a peculiar pressure with one finger, and
repeating this on his second visit, after a lapse of many months, being
instantly known by her. She has been known to recognize persons with
whom she had thus simply shaken hands but once, after a lapse of six
months. But this is hardly more wonderful than that one should be able
to recall impressions made upon the mind through the organ of sight, as
when we recognize a person of whom we have had but one glimpse a year
before; but it shows the exhaustless capacity of those organs which the
Creator has bestowed, as it were, in reserve against accidents, and
which we too commonly allow to lie unused and unvalued.

OLIVER CASWELL.--Had I not devoted so much space to this subject
already, it would be interesting to consider the case of Oliver, who,
like Laura, is deaf, dumb, and blind. His experience is full of
interest, though less striking than that already presented. His progress
in learning language, and in acquiring intellectual knowledge, is
comparatively slow, because he has not that fineness of fiber and that
activity of temperament which enable Laura to struggle so successfully
against the immense disadvantages under which they both labor. Oliver is
a boy of rather unfavorable organization; he had been deaf and blind
from infancy; he received no instruction until he was twelve years old,
and consequently lost the most precious years for learning; he has
nevertheless been taught to express his thoughts both by the finger
language and by writing; he has also become acquainted with the
rudiments of the common branches of education, and is intelligent and
morally responsible. His case proves, therefore, very clearly, that the
success of the attempt made to instruct Laura Bridgman was not owing
solely to her uncommon capacity.

Oliver's natural ability is small, and his acquired knowledge very
limited; but his sense of right and wrong, his obedience to moral
obligations, and his attachment to friends, are very remarkable.[24] He
never willfully violates the rights or injures the feelings of others,
and seldom shows any signs of temper when his own seem to be invaded. He
even bears the teasing of little boys with gentleness and patience. He
is very tractable, and always obeys respectfully the requests of his
teacher. This shows the effect which kind and gentle treatment has had
upon his character, for when he first went to the institution in Boston
he was sometimes very willful, and showed occasional outbursts of temper
which were fearfully violent. "It seems hardly possible," says Dr. Howe,
"that the gentle and affectionate youth, who loves all the household and
is beloved by all in return, should be the same who a few years ago
scratched and bit, like a young savage, those who attempted to control

  [24] I have omitted much in the case of Laura that I should have
  retained but for want of room. The moral qualities of her nature have
  developed themselves most clearly. She is honest to a proverb, having
  never been known to take any thing belonging to another. That she is a
  Christian there can be no doubt. It is said in the report of her case
  for 1846, that "on the last occasion of her manifesting any impatience,
  she said to Miss Wight, her teacher, '_I felt cross, but in a minute I
  thought of Christ, how good and gentle he was, and my bad feelings went

We regard it as a fact fully established that the sense of touch may be
cultivated to a much greater extent than most persons are aware of. The
same remark will apply to the cultivation of all the senses. We shall
consider them separately.

THE SENSE OF TOUCH.--The remarks already made apply chiefly to this
sense. The nerves that supply it proceed from the anterior half of the
spinal cord. This sense is most delicate where there are the greatest
number of nervous filaments, and those of the largest size. The hands,
and especially the fingers, have a most delicate and nice sense of
touch, though the sense is extended over the whole body, in every part
of which it is less or more acute. In this respect, then, this sense is
unlike the others, which are confined to small spaces, as we shall see
when we come to consider them. The action of the sensitive nerves
depends upon the state of the brain, and the condition of the system
generally. In sound and perfect sleep, when the brain is inactive,
ordinary impressions made upon the skin are unobserved. Fear and grief
diminish the impressibility of this tissue, while hope and joy increase
it. The quantity and quality of the blood also influence sensation. If
this vital fluid becomes impure, or its quantity is diminished, the
sensibility of the skin will be impaired thereby. Whatever affects the
general health affects the healthy action of this sense. It is also much
affected by sudden changes in temperature. If the skin is wounded while
under the influence of cold, the pain will be slight. By carrying this
chilling influence too far, the surface becomes entirely destitute of
sensation. This is produced by the contraction of the blood-vessels upon
the surface. On the contrary, when the chilled extremities are suddenly
exposed to heat, the rapid enlargement of the contracted blood-vessels
excites the nerves unduly, which causes the pain experienced on such

The sensibility of the nerves depends much upon the habits of persons.
Suppose two boys go out to play when the thermometer stands at the
freezing point, and that one of them has been accustomed to exercise in
the open air, and to practice daily ablution, while the other one has
been confined most of the time to a warm room, and has been accustomed
to wash only his hands and face. The skin of the former, other things
being equal, will be active and healthy, while that of the latter will
be enfeebled and diseased. The organs of touch diffused over the body at
the surface will be very differently affected in these two boys, and the
perceptions of their minds will be alike dissimilar. One will be roused
to action, and will feel just right for some animating game. Both body
and mind will be elastic and joyous. He will bound like the roe, make
the welkin ring with his merry shout, and return to the bosom of his
family with a gladdened heart, ready to impart and receive pleasure,
while the other boy will be too keenly affected by the contact of the
air, and think it too cold to stay out of doors. He will thrust his
hands into his pockets, and curl himself up like one decrepit with age.
His teeth will chatter and his whole frame tremble. Of course, very
different reflections will be awakened in his mind. He will hurry back
to the fireside, thinking winter a very dismal season, and will be apt
to fret himself and all about him, because of the confinement from which
he has not the resolution to break out.

The sensibility of the cutaneous nerves in these two cases depends upon
the habits of the persons. If the latter would practice frequent
ablutions, and excite a healthy action in the skin by friction and
exercise, and conform to other laws of health, he would experience all
that gladness of heart, and elasticity of body and mind, which the other
is supposed to enjoy. Hence the advantages resulting from a strict
conformity to the laws of health in this particular as well as in others
that are generally regarded as more important.

The general law that the exercise of a faculty increases its power is
applicable to the senses. We have referred to the blind, who read as
rapidly as seeing persons by passing their fingers over raised letters,
the sense of touch being substituted by them for that of vision. Nor is
the education of this sense useful to the blind merely. It may
frequently be appealed to with great advantage by all who have
cultivated it. The miller, for example, can judge more accurately of the
quality of flour and meal, by passing some between his fingers than by
the exercise of vision. The cloth-dresser, also, by the aid of this
sense, not only marks the nicest shades of texture in examining cloths
of different qualities, but in many instances learns to distinguish
_colors_ by the sense of touch with perhaps greater accuracy than is
common with seeing persons.

THE SENSE OF TASTE.--The sense of taste bears the greatest resemblance
to the sense of feeling. The upper surface of the tongue is the
principal agent in tasting, though the lips, the palate, and the
internal surface of the cheeks participate in this function, as does the
upper part of the oesophagus. The multitude of points called papillæ,
scattered over the upper surface of the tongue, constitute the more
immediate seat of this sense. It is in these sensitive papillæ that the
ramifications of the gustatory or tasting nerves terminate. When fluids
are taken into the mouth, and especially those whose taste is pungent,
these papillæ dilate and erect themselves, and the particular sensation
produced is transmitted to the brain through the medium of the minute
filaments of the gustatory nerves.

In order fully to gratify the taste in eating dry, solid food, it is
necessary that the food be first reduced to a liquid state, or, at
least, that it be thoroughly moistened. Nature has made full provision
for this in furnishing the mouth with salivary glands, whose secretions
are most abundant when engaged in masticating dry, hard substances.
These quickened secretions contribute to gratify the taste and increase
the pleasure of eating, and, at the same time, materially aid in the
important processes of mastication and digestion. Nature, also, with her
accustomed bounty, has furnished man with a great variety of articles
for food. By this means the various tastes of different persons may be
gratified, although, in many instances, those articles of food which are
most agreeable to some persons are extremely disagreeable to others.

Many persons can not eat the most nourishing food, as fruits, butter,
etc., because to them the taste of these articles is disagreeable. But
this is very easily accounted for, as in the mouth the food mixes with
various fluids that differ in different persons, and in the same person
at different times. These fluids, and particularly the saliva, assist in
the formation and change of taste. This accounts not only for the
different tastes of different persons, but also for the varying taste of
the same persons, and for that fickleness of taste which is so common in
sickness, when the fluids of the mouth, in a disordered and deranged
state, mix with the food, and produce the disagreeable taste so often
complained of at such times, and which, moreover, occasionally create a
permanent dislike for food that was previously much relished.

This sense was given to men and animals to guide them in the selection
of their food, and to enable them to guard against the use of articles
that would be injurious if introduced into the stomach. In the inferior
animals, the sense of taste still answers the original design of its
bestowment; but in man, it has been abused and perverted by the use of
artificial stimulants, which have created an acquired taste that, in
most persons, is very detrimental to health. This sense is so modified
by habit, that, not unfrequently, articles which were at first
exceedingly offensive, become, at length, highly agreeable. It is in
this manner that many persons, whose sense of taste has been impaired or
perverted, have formed the disgusting and ruinous habits of smoking and
chewing tobacco, and of using stimulating and intoxicating drinks. But
these pernicious habits, and all similar indulgences, lessen the
sensibility of the gustatory nerve, and ultimately destroy the natural
relish for healthful food and drink. By this means, also, the digestive
powers become disordered, and the general health is materially impaired.
All persons, then, should seek to preserve the natural integrity of
this sense, and to restore it immediately to healthy action when at all
depraved, for upon this depends much of health and longevity, of
happiness and usefulness.

This sense may be rendered very acute by cultivation, as is illustrated
by persons who are accustomed to taste medicines, liquors, teas, etc. It
ought, however, to be chiefly exercised in partaking of those simple
articles of food and drink which are most conducive to health. In its
natural state it prefers these, and if depraved it will soon recover a
healthy tone, if not continually tempted by stimulating substances. This
is beautifully illustrated in thousands of instances all over our
country by persons who were once accustomed to use strong drink, but who
have substituted for it sparkling water, a beverage prepared by God
himself to nourish and invigorate his creatures, and beautify his

THE SENSE OF SMELL.--The sense of taste has received a faithful
companion in that of smell. The beneficent Creator, with that wisdom
which characterizes all his works, has very wisely placed the organ of
this sense just above the mouth, in order that the scent of many things
that are hurtful may warn us from partaking of them before they reach
the mouth. The air-passages of the nose, in which this sense is located,
are lined with a thin skin, called the mucous membrane, which is
continuous with the lining membrane of the parts of the throat and of
the external skin. Upon this membrane the olfactory nerve ramifies. The
odoriferous particles of matter that float in the air come in contact
with these fine and sensitive nerves as the air rushes through the
nostrils, and the impression is conveyed to the brain by the olfactory
nerve. The mucous membrane, upon which this ramifies, is of
considerable extent in man. In the lower animals it is less or more
extensive, according to the degree of acuteness of this sense. This
membrane is full of little glands that are continually giving off thick
mucus, and especially when the membrane is inflamed. There is a small
canal leading from the eyes to the nose, through which a fluid, that
also forms tears, is constantly passing when the passage is clear. It is
the office of this fluid to moisten and thin the mucus of the nose. When
this mucous is too abundant, as in some stages of a cold, and especially
if it becomes dry from the closing of the canal leading from the eyes,
or from any other cause, as fever, the sense of smell will be greatly
impaired, if not entirely suspended. It is, indeed, not unfrequently
permanently injured in this way, and sometimes is irrecoverably lost.

The sensation of smell, it should be borne in mind, is produced by a
kind of odoriferous vapor, very fine and invisible, that flies off from
nearly all bodies. The air which contains this vapor is drawn into the
nose, and is in this way brought into contact with the very delicate
nerves of smell that ramify the membrane which lines the air-passages of
this organ. It is only when the exceedingly small particles of which the
odor of various bodies is composed come in contact with the minute
ramifications of the olfactory nerve that this sensation is produced. In
order to protect these sensitive nerves, as well as to prevent the
introduction into the lungs of injurious substances, the air-passages of
the nose are furnished with hairy appendages, which are less or more
abundant according to the size of these passages. These intercept any
foreign substances that enter the nose, and thus irritate the mucous
membrane, and cause a quick and powerful contraction of the diaphragm,
by which the offending matter is immediately expelled. This phenomenon,
which is called sneezing, depends upon a connection of the olfactory
with the respiratory nerves.

This sense not only comes in to the aid of taste in enabling man and the
lower animals to select proper food, and avoid that which is injurious,
but it also gives us positive and varied pleasure by the inhalation of
agreeable odors, while, at the same time, it enables us to avoid an
infectious atmosphere, and all objects whose odors are offensive and

It is true that man can accustom himself to nearly all kinds of odor,
even to those that at first are very disagreeable. He indeed not
unfrequently so vitiates the sense of smell as actually to prefer those
scents which, to persons who have preserved the integrity of this sense,
are regarded as exceedingly offensive, and even filthy. But why, let me
ask, did the Creator give us the sense of smell? Was it to be thus
perverted? No, indeed: it was, without doubt, that we might enjoy the
refreshing fragrance of flowers and herbs, of food and drink; and also
that we might distinguish between air that is pure and healthful, and
that which is impure and infectious. As most articles of food which are
agreeable to the smell are wholesome, and as those which are
disagreeable are generally unwholesome, so, also, those states of the
atmosphere which are grateful to this sense are salubrious, and those
odors which are pleasant are healthful, while air which is ungrateful
will generally be found injurious to health, as will also all those
odors which are unpleasant to this sense when in a healthful state. He
who has had occasion to enter a crowded court-room, lecture-room,
church, or assembly-room of whatever kind, which has been occupied for a
considerable time without adequate ventilation, can not fail to remember
the unwelcome impression made upon his nasal organs when first he
inhaled the vitiated atmosphere within, though by degrees he might have
become accustomed to it, did he remain, so as ultimately to become
well-nigh insensible to its noisome influence. But let such and all
others be well assured that, however offensive such a fetid atmosphere
may be to the smell, it is equally injurious to the health. And let
those who, having returned from a morning walk or healthful exercise in
a salubrious atmosphere, have had occasion to revisit the small and
unventilated lodging-room in which they spent a restless night without
refreshing sleep, perceive, in the sickening smell, a sufficient cause
for all their pains and aches, and wonder how they survived such a gross
violation of the organic laws.

All of the senses may be improved by education. The sense of smell
constitutes no exception to this rule. Let none be discouraged, then;
for the more we accustom our lungs and nasal organs to pure air, the
more will they require it, and the more readily will they detect the
presence of the least impurity.

This sense becomes very acute in deaf persons, and even more so in the
case of those that are blind. The reason is obvious; for, as they are
led of necessity to rely upon it more than persons who have all the
senses, it becomes thereby developed, and is enabled more accurately to
judge of the properties of whatever is submitted to its scrutiny. Seeing
persons rarely partake of any article of food, and especially of any
thing new, without first smelling it, and blind persons never; for this
is the only means by which they can judge of its wholesomeness or
unwholesomeness without tasting it.

Whatever stupefies the brain, impairs the healthy action of the nerve of
smell, or thickens the membrane that lines the nasal cavities, and thus
diminishes the sensibility of the nerves ramified upon it, injures this
sense. All these effects are produced by the habitual use of snuff,
which, when introduced into the nose, diminishes the sensibility of the
nerves, and thickens the lining membrane. By its use the air-passages
through the nostrils sometimes become completely obstructed. It is on
this account that most habitual snuff-takers are compelled to open their
mouths in order to breathe freely. It has been well said, that if Nature
had intended that the nose should be used as a snuff-hole, she would
doubtless have put it on the other end up.

THE SENSE OF HEARING.--The external ear, although curiously shaped, is
not the most important part of the organ whose function it is to take
cognizance of sounds. In the transmission of sound to the brain, the
vibrations of the air produced by the sonorous body are collected by the
external ear, and conducted through the auditory canal to the drum of
the ear, which is so arranged that it may be relaxed or tightened like
the head of an ordinary drum. That its motion may be free, the air
contained within the drum has free communication with the external air
by an open passage, called the Eustachian tube, leading to the back of
the mouth. This tube is sometimes obstructed by wax, when a degree of
deafness ensues. But when the obstruction is removed in the effort of
sneezing or otherwise, a crack or sudden noise is generally experienced,
accompanied usually with an immediate return of acute hearing.

The ear-drum performs a two-fold office; for while it aids in the
transmission of sound from without to the internal ear, it at the same
time modifies the intensity of sound. This softening of the sound is
effected by the relaxation of a muscle when sounds are so acute as to be
painful; but when listening to low sounds, the drum is rendered tense
by the contraction of this muscle, and the sounds become, by this means,
more audible. The vibrations made on the drum are transmitted by the
tympanum--an irregular bony cavity--to the internal ear, which is filled
with a watery fluid. In this fluid the filaments of the auditory nerve
terminate, which receive and transmit the sound to the brain.

The ear has the power of judging of the direction from which sound
comes, as is strikingly exemplified in the fact that when horses or
mules march in company at night, those in front direct their ears
forward, and those in the rear turn them backward, while those in the
center turn them laterally or across, the whole troop seeming to be
actuated by a feeling to watch the common safety. This is also
illustrated by four or six horse teams, and is a fact with which
coachmen are familiar. It is further illustrated by the dog, and many
other animals. The external ear of man is likewise furnished with
muscles; and savages are said to have the power of moving or directing
their ears at pleasure, like a horse, to catch sounds as they come from
different directions; but few men in civilized life retain this power.

The acuteness of this sense in men and animals, other things being
equal, depends upon the size of the ear. In timid animals, as the hare
and the rabbit, the ear is very large. They are thus apprized of the
approach of an enemy in time to flee to a place of safety.

The ear-trumpet--which is a tube wide at one end, where the sound
enters, and narrow at the other, where the ear is applied--is
constructed on this principle, its sides being so curved that, according
to the law of reflection, all the sound which enters it is brought to a
focus in the narrow end. It thus increases many fold the intensity of a
sound which reaches the ear through it, and enables a person who has
become deaf to common conversation to mix again with pleasure in
society. The concave hand held behind the ear answers in some degree the
purpose of an ear-trumpet.

_The Ear of Dionysius_, in the dungeons of Syracuse, was a notorious
instance of a sound-collecting surface. The roof of the prison was so
formed as to collect the words, and even whispers, of the unhappy
prisoners, and to direct them along a hidden conduit to where the tyrant
sat listening.

Acuteness of hearing requires the healthy action of the brain, and
particularly of that portion of it from which the auditory nerve
proceeds, combined with perfection in the structure and functions of the
different parts of the ear. The best method, then, of retaining and
improving the hearing, is to observe well the general laws of health,
and particularly to avoid every thing that will in the least impair the
structure or healthy action of the parts immediately concerned in the
exercise of this function. Inflammatory fevers, affections of the brain,
and injuries upon the head, are among the more common causes of
imperfect hearing. Hence the impropriety of striking children upon the
head in correcting them, whether in the family or in the school. The
instances are not few in which deafness, and the impairing of the mental
faculties, have resulted from that barbarous practice familiarly known
as "boxing the ears." This inhuman practice is likely to result in
injury to the drum of the ear, either in thickening this membrane, or in
diminishing its vibratory character. Inflammation of the ear-drum,
either acute or chronic, is the common cause of its increased thickness.
How often this is produced by blows, the reader may judge. Diminution of
the vibratory character of the ear-drum may result from an accumulation
of wax upon its outer surface. In such cases chronic inflammation of
the parts is not unfrequently the result of the injudicious practice of
attempting its removal by introducing the heads of pins into the ear.

This wax, it should be known, is designed to subserve an important end;
for the tube leading from the external ear, being, like the nose,
constantly open, is liable to the entrance of foreign bodies, such as
dust, insects, and the like. But, fortunately, it is not left without
the means of defense; for on its inside there are numerous fine
bristles, which, interlacing each other, interpose a barrier to the
entrance of every thing but sound. Moreover, between the roots of these
hairs there are numerous little glands, that secrete a nauseous, bitter
wax, which, by its offensiveness, either deters insects from entering,
or entangles them and prevents their advance in case they do enter. This
wax, then, is very serviceable. But its usefulness does not stop here.
When the ear becomes dry from a deficiency of it, the hearing becomes
imperfect, as also when it is thin and purulent. This wax not
unfrequently becomes hard and obstructs the tube, causing less or more
deafness. But this form of deafness may be easily cured, even though it
has existed for years; for, having softened the accumulations of viscid
wax by dropping animal oil into the ear, they may be removed by the
injection of warm soap-suds, which is an effectual and safe remedy.

The sense of hearing is perhaps as susceptible of cultivation as any of
the senses. The Indian in the forest, who is accustomed to listen to the
approach of his enemies or of his prey, acquires such acuteness of
hearing as to be able to detect sounds that would be inaudible to
persons living amid the din of civilized life. The blind, also, who of
necessity are led to rely more upon this sense than seeing persons,
excel in the acuteness of their hearing. They recognize their
acquaintances by the exercise of this sense as readily as persons
usually do by that of sight, an attainment which very few seeing persons
make, and yet one that is perhaps within the reach of ninety-nine
persons in every hundred. The blind judge with great accuracy the
distance of persons in conversation, of carriages in motion, and of all
sonorous bodies whose vibrations reach their ears. They even estimate
with remarkable correctness the distance and height of buildings by the
reflection or interception of sound. It is in consequence of the
acuteness of this sense, acquired by careful cultivation, that the
blind, as a class, have become so generally and justly distinguished for
their pre-eminence in instrumental music. This enables them also to
cultivate vocal music with more than ordinary success.

The due cultivation of the sense of hearing will contribute vastly to
promote our intellectual and moral well-being. If it be true, as we are
told it is by those who have been engaged in teaching both the deaf and
the blind, that the absence of hearing is even a more formidable
impediment to the communication of knowledge than that of sight, we must
infer that all imperfections of the organ of hearing itself, or in the
manner of using it, must correspondingly lessen the accuracy of the
knowledge we receive through that organ. The meaning of language very
often is conveyed not so much by the words themselves as in the tones of
voice in which the words are uttered. If, therefore, the hearing be
indistinct, or there be no habit formed of careful attention to the
inflections of sound, the impressions received from what we hear must
often be inaccurate. Our speech, too, will be far less agreeable, and be
inefficient, even if it be not positively inarticulate. We owe it to
others, no less than to ourselves, then, to cultivate the powers of the
voice--the common instrument that God has given us for the interchange
of thought, sentiment, and feeling, and which, though so common, is the
most perfect of all instruments for the transmission of sound. Yet how
deplorably is it neglected! how shamefully is it misused! It can be
fully developed and made what it is capable of being only through the
influence of the ear. If this organ be neglected, the voice must needs
be imperfect. And the voices of many persons are through life imperfect
and disagreeable, because they were not carefully trained in early life
to articulate distinctly, much less to utter _musical_ sounds. The
opinion is confidently expressed by those who are best qualified to
decide the matter, that nearly all children might be taught to sing, if
proper attention were paid early enough to the use they make of their
ears and their organs of sound. The careful training of these should be
considered an indispensable part of a school-teacher's as well as of a
parent's duty.

The ear will find appropriate discipline in distinguishing, without aid
from the eye, the causes of various sounds, as the opening of a door,
the shutting of a knife, the dropping of various coins, the moving of
different articles of furniture, etc. It may also find appropriate
exercise in determining the direction from which various sounds proceed;
in recognizing acquaintances by their natural voices, and in detecting
the counterfeit voices of companions; in arranging and classifying the
elementary sounds of the language, and in determining all the different
musical tones; in judging of the genus and species of birds by their
chirping, of the distance and nature of sonorous bodies of various
kinds, etc., etc. These are some of the direct means of improving this
sense: others will suggest themselves to the thoughtful reader.

THE SENSE OF SIGHT.--The sense of sight, which is the most refined and
admirable of all the senses, still remains to be considered. The senses
generally serve as interpreters between the material universe without
and the spirit within. But it is more especially by the sense of sight
that we are enabled to hold converse with the external world. Without it
we should be deprived of a large portion of the pleasures of life not
only, but even of the means of maintaining our existence. It is through
the sense of vision that the wisdom, power, and benevolence of the Deity
are chiefly manifested to us.

I shall describe the apparatus of vision only so far as is necessary in
order to subserve my leading object, which is the preservation and
improvement of this sense, and the means of rendering it tributary to
intellectual and moral culture. The eye, which is the organ of vision,
is an optical instrument of the most perfect construction. It is
surrounded by _coats_, which contain refracting mediums, called
_humors_. There are three coats, called the _sclerotic_, the _choroid_,
and the _retina_; and three humors, called the _aqueous_, the
_crystalline_, and the _vitreous_.

The _sclerotic_ or outer coat, called also the white of the eye, is an
opaque, fibrous membrane. It has almost the firmness of leather,
possesses little sensibility, and is rarely exposed to inflammation or
other diseases. It invests the eye on every side except the front, and
besides maintaining its globular form and preserving its internal and
delicate structure, serves for the attachment of those muscles which
move this organ. The opening in the fore part of this opaque coat is
filled by the transparent _cornea_, which resembles a watch crystal in
shape, and is received into a groove in the front part of the sclerotic
coat in the same manner that a watch-glass is received into its case.
But for this arrangement light could not gain admission to the eye.

The _choroid coat_, which constitutes the second investing membrane of
the eye, is of a dark brown color upon its outer surface, and of a deep
black within. The internal surface of this membrane secretes a dark
substance resembling black paint, upon which the retina is spread out,
and which is of great importance in the function of vision, as it seems
to absorb the rays of light immediately after they have struck upon the
sensible surface of the retina.

The _retina_, which is the third and innermost membrane of the eye, is
the expansion of the optic nerve, and constitutes the immediate seat of
vision. Such is the arrangement of the humors of the eye, and so
perfectly are they adapted to the functions they are called upon to
perform, that in the healthy state of this organ, the light entering the
pupil is so refracted as to paint upon the retina an exact image of the
objects from which it proceeds. The optic nerve, whose expansion forms
the retina, receives this image and transmits it to the mind.

Arnott has well remarked, that "a whole printed sheet of a newspaper may
be represented on the retina on less surface than that of a finger nail;
and yet not only shall every word and letter be separately perceivable,
but even any imperfection of a single letter. Or, more wonderful still,
when at night an eye is turned up to the blue vault of heaven, there is
portrayed on the little concave of the retina the boundless concave of
the sky, with every object in its just proportions. There a moon in
beautiful miniature may be sailing among her white-edged clouds, and
surrounded by a thousand twinkling stars, so that to an animalcule
supposed to be within and near the pupil, the retina might appear
another starry firmament with all its glory."

Besides these three coats, and the cornea which constitutes about one
fifth of the anterior portion of the outer coat, it is necessary to
notice the _iris_, so called from its variety of color in different
persons, and upon which alone the color of the eye depends. The iris is
a circular membrane situated just behind the cornea, and is attached to
one of the coats at its circumference. In its center is a small round
hole, called the _pupil_; and sometimes spoken of familiarly as the
sight of the eye, as no light can enter the eye except through it. The
iris possesses the power of dilating and contracting, so as to admit
more or less light, as it may be needed. This change in the size of the
pupil is effected by two sets of muscular fibers. The first set converge
from the circumference of the iris to the circular margin of the pupil,
and constitute the _radiated muscle_. The outer ends of these fibers are
attached to the sclerotic coat, which is unyielding; hence, when they
contract, the pupil _enlarges_ to receive more light. The other set is
composed of circular fibers, which go round in the iris from the border
to the pupil, and constitute the _orbicular muscle_, the contraction of
which _diminishes_ the size of the pupil. When too much light enters the
eye, the excited and sensitive retina immediately gives warning of the
danger, and the nerves, which are plentifully distributed to the iris,
stimulate the orbicular muscle to contract, and the radiated one to
relax, by which the size of the pupil is lessened. But when the light
which enters the pupil is insufficient to transmit a distinct image of
objects to the brain, the orbicular muscle relaxes, and the radiated one
contracts, so as to enlarge the pupil. The contraction of the pupil is
readily seen when a person passes from a darkened room into a bright
sunlight, or when a light is first brought into a room in the twilight
of evening. Any person may notice this contraction in his own eye by
beholding himself in a glass immediately after passing from a dark to a
well-lighted room. So, also, when a person looks at an object near the
eye, the pupil contracts, but when he looks at an object more remote, it
dilates. The muscles of the iris are somewhat under the control of the
will; for most persons can contract or dilate the pupil, in some degree,
at pleasure. Some persons possess this faculty to a great extent.

The three _humors of the eye_ have been compared to the glasses of a
telescope, and the coats to the tube, which keeps them in their places.
The _aqueous_ humor is situated in the fore part of the eye, and is
divided by the iris into what are called the anterior and posterior
chambers of the eye. The _crystalline_ humor, or lens, is situated
immediately behind the aqueous humor, a short distance back of the
pupil, and is a perfectly transparent double convex lens, closely
resembling in shape the common burning glass. This resemblance does not
stop here; for this lens, like the burning glass, possesses the property
of converging the rays of light which fall upon it, and bringing them to
a focus. When this lens becomes so opaque as to obstruct the passage of
light, either partially or entirely, a person is said to have a
_cataract_. This can be cured only by a surgical operation. The
_vitreous_ humor, situated back of the other two, forms the principal
part of the globe of the eye. It differs from the aqueous in one
important particular. When that is discharged in extracting the
crystalline lens for cataract or otherwise, it will be restored again in
a few hours, and the eye will continue to perform its function. But if
this be discharged by accident, the eye is irrecoverably lost. This,
however, does not often occur; for, as we shall presently see, the eye
is admirably fortified.

The eye is a perfect optical instrument, infinitely surpassing all
specimens of human skill. This is true, view it in what light we may. It
not only possesses the power of so adjusting its parts as to adapt it to
the examination of objects at different distances, and in light of
different degrees of intensity, but we are enabled to direct it at will
to objects above, beneath, or around us.

The various motions of the eye are produced by six little muscles. These
are attached at one extremity to the immovable bones of the orbit, while
at the other extremity they are inserted into the sclerotic coat, four
of them near its junction with the cornea, by broad, thin tendons, which
give to the white of the eye its pearly appearance. These muscles are so
arranged by the matchless skill of the Architect as to enable the
beholder to direct the eye to any object he chooses, and to hold it
there for any length of time that is compatible with the laws by which
muscular exercise should be regulated. By the slight or intense action
of four of these, called the straight muscles, the eye is less or more
compressed, and the relative positions of its humors are by this means
so nicely adjusted as to enable us to view objects near by or at a
distance. The other two are called oblique muscles, one of which, with
its long tendon passing through a cartilaginous loop, acts upon the
principle of the fixed pulley, and turns the eye in a direction contrary
to its own action. When the external muscle becomes too short, the eye
turns out; but if the internal muscle is unduly contracted, the eye
turns inward, toward the nose. One eye is sometimes turned up or down,
but this is of less frequent occurrence.

It would be interesting to notice the protecting organs of the eye,
consisting of the _orbit_, which is a deep bony socket, in which the
eye securely rests; of the _eye-brows_, which are two projecting arches,
covered with hair, and so arranged as to prevent the moisture that
accumulates upon the forehead, in free perspiration, from flowing into
the eye; of the _eye-lids_, which are two movable curtains for the
protection of the eye, and which secrete a fluid that moistens and
lubricates it; of the _lachrymal gland_, with its ducts, which keeps the
eye constantly moist, and whose secretions go on while we wake and when
we sleep, etc., etc.; but the preceding must suffice.

With this brief description of the apparatus of vision, we proceed to
the consideration of the means of preserving and improving this sense,
and of rendering it tributary to intellectual and moral culture.

The rule requiring that _action should alternate with rest_, which has
been so often stated, and which applies to all the organs of both body
and mind, should be especially observed in relation to the eye. This
organ requires exercise, and light is its appropriate stimulus; but
injury is the inevitable consequence of keeping it too constantly
employed, or too intently fixed for a long time on any object. Whenever
the eye is fixed for any length of time upon an object which it
distinguishes with difficulty, it experiences a painful sensation, which
is a sure indication that it has been overtaxed. The sight is also
impaired when the eye is too little used, or when its natural stimulus
is shut out, as is strikingly illustrated in the case of persons
confined in dungeons. A distinguished oculist has said that many men
daily impair or destroy their eyes by immoderate use, and that not a few
have done the same by too little use of them.

The exposure of the eyes to _sudden transitions from weak to strong
light_ is very injurious. This may be regarded as one of the must
prolific causes of weakness of sight. The injury is generally gradual,
it is true, but it is none the less fatal on that account. The immediate
sensation of pain, when a strong light is brought into a dark room,
should be a sufficient warning to avoid such sudden extremes. The iris
dilates and contracts, and thus enlarges or diminishes the size of the
pupil as the light that fails upon the eye is faint or strong; but this
dilation and contraction are not instantaneous. There are numerous
instances on record in which total blindness has resulted from a sudden
transition from darkness to the brilliancy of day. The habit of looking
at a bright light of any kind, and especially of watching flashes of
lightning, which is practiced by many, is exceedingly dangerous. The
practice which many students and others indulge in, of resting their
eyes as the twilight of evening advances, and allowing the pupil to
dilate until it is quite dark, and then suddenly introducing a bright
light, is a palpable violation of this rule, and one that is sure,
sooner or later, sensibly to injure the eyes. The exposure of the eyes
suddenly to a strong light upon waking from sleep, and all sudden
changes of whatever kind from darkness to intense light, should be
carefully avoided by persons who would preserve their sight unimpaired.

The strength of light used should be regulated _according to the powers
of the eye_. This is a general, though a very important rule. Both the
amount and the distribution of light should be such as to produce no
unpleasant sensations. The eye possesses a certain degree of adaptation
to light, according as it is intense or feeble. Some eyes require a
stronger light than others, but all eyes are injured by being used in
light that is too intense or too feeble. Reading by a strong sunlight,
and by moon or star light, may be adduced as illustrations which are
alike painful and injurious.

Too little light is well-nigh as injurious as too much, as he can not
fail to have noticed who has had occasion to travel a difficult road in
a dark night. The injury, in such cases, is two-fold; for while, on the
one hand, the radiated muscle of the iris is unduly contracted for a
length of time, in order sufficiently to enlarge the pupil to render
objects visible, the sensitive retina, on the other hand, is overtaxed
to gain a knowledge of them in too feeble light. The pain which the
strained eye thus experiences is only an indication and a warning to the
individual of the permanent injury he is inflicting upon this delicate

_Rooms should be well and evenly lighted._ The irregular and flickering
light of common lamps and candles is very injurious, and should be
avoided in the study, and in all mechanical pursuits where the eye is
much taxed. The best oculists concur in the opinion that reflected and
concentrated light are highly injurious. Several cases of actual
blindness are recorded as having occurred within a few years from
exposure to concentrated light, and weakness of sight that has unfitted
the individual for usefulness through life has often been thus produced.
The rays of the sun are considered as peculiarly injurious when
reflected from an opposite building or wall, or even when they pass
through a window, and, descending to the floor, are thence reflected to
the eyes. What, then, shall we say of the habit of constructing
school-rooms in such a manner that perhaps a majority of the scholars
are obliged to write and study at desks upon which the direct rays of
the sun shine for a considerable portion of the day unbroken unless it
be by a passing cloud! And yet thousands of school-houses are situated
in such a manner as to create this very necessity all over our country.
At a moderate estimate, the eyes of one hundred thousand children are
taxed in this manner in the schools of the United States every passing
year. A vast amount of discomfort and unhappiness is produced in this
way that might easily be avoided, would parents and teachers take the
trouble. Any exposure of this kind should be immediately obviated,
either by blinds, or by curtains of some soft color. A few newspapers
are much better than nothing. The desks and furniture should be of such
a color that the eye may repose upon them with agreeable sensations.
Nature is clothed with drapery whose color is refreshing to the eye; and
it is false taste, as well as false philosophy, which attempts to dazzle
in order to please it.

_The use of side lights is injurious._ The eye will accommodate itself
to light of different degrees of intensity within a limited range, but
both eyes should be exposed to an equal degree of light. The sympathy
between the eyes is so great, that if the pupil of one eye is dilated by
being kept in the shade, as must, of course, be the case where the light
is on one side, the eye which is exposed can not contract itself
sufficiently for protection, and is almost inevitably injured.

When viewing objects, we should avoid, as far as possible, _all oblique
positions of the eye_. By neglecting this rule, an unnatural and
permanent contraction of the muscle is liable to be produced, as is
illustrated in the numerous instances of strabismus, or cross-eye, which
are every where too common.

_We should accustom the eye to viewing objects at different distances._
The muscles upon which the form of the eye and the size of the pupil
depend are subject to the general laws of muscular action. Their
strength and flexibility, which are increased by healthful exercise, are
impaired by disuse. Hence students who have neglected this rule, and
have accustomed themselves for a long time to view objects near by,
lose the power of adjusting the eye so as to view things at a distance.
As a consequence, they become near-sighted, and put on glasses, when, by
a proper use of the eye, their vision might have been preserved
unimpaired many long years. I know some students upon whom this habit
became so firmly fixed before they were twenty years of age, that they
felt compelled to put on glasses, but who, unwilling to contract so
pernicious a habit in early life, commenced a course of discipline in
accordance with the suggestions here given. By perseverance, their eyes
not only recovered their former healthful action, but became so improved
that they now possess the sense of vision unimpaired not only, but in a
very high state of cultivation.

_Persons become near or long sighted_ as the objects to which they are
accustomed to direct the eye are near or remote. This is illustrated in
the case of students, watch-makers, and engravers, who are accustomed to
examine minute objects near the eye, and, as a consequence, become
near-sighted; and of surveyors, hunters, and sailors, who, being
accustomed to view objects at a distance, become long-sighted. By a
proper discipline of the eye, persons may attain and retain the power of
viewing objects near by and at a distance, as is illustrated in the case
of those gunsmiths who are accustomed to manufacture guns, and to try
them in shooting at a mark at a great distance. The preceding principles
being borne in mind in their various applications. I need, perhaps,
state but one more rule.

He who would secure clear and distinct vision, must observe all those
rules which are necessary to keep the body in health. The sympathy of
the eyes with all the other organs of the body is wonderful and
intimate. There is no other organ whose strength depends so much on the
general vigor of the system. Strict temperance in eating and drinking
may be regarded as an indispensable requisite for the preservation of
healthy eyes. To this may be attributed the clear heads of the ancient
philosophers, who, unlike most students of the present day, exercised
their bodies and limbs as well as their minds. Their works are not the
production of congested brains, for these were not oppressed with blood
belonging to other parts of the body. They studied and thought, and
exercised both body and mind in the open air, and thus observed the laws
of health. But among the multitudes of close students of the present
day, who complain of weakness of the eyes, the misfortune is generally
attributable to an almost total neglect of the first principles of

While we reproach and loathe the man whose eyes are red and weeping with
the effects of intemperate drinking, we cordially pity purblind
students, as in some sense martyrs to the cause of learning. Dr.
Reynolds, a distinguished American oculist, administers a rebuke to such
which we fear is too often merited: "A closer examination of their
history presents a very different result. Our sympathy may grow cool if
we regard them with a physiologic eye. It is a love of the flesh, more
than a love of the spirit, that too often clouds their vision. It is too
much food, crowding with unnecessary blood the tender vessels of the
retina. It is too little exercise, allowing these accumulated fluids to
settle down into fatal congestion. It is positions wholly at variance
with the freedom of the circulation, and various other imprudences,
which are the results of carelessness or unjustifiable ignorance. 'The
day laborer may eat what he will, provided it is wholesome, and his eyes
will not suffer. But let the student, who is called upon to devote not
only his eyes, but his brain, to severe labor, live upon highly
nutritious food, and such as is difficult of digestion, and we shall
soon see how his vision will be impaired, through the vehement and
persevering determination of blood to the head, which such a course must
inevitably occasion.' So speaks Beer, whose extensive opportunities of
observation have perhaps never been exceeded. The daily practice of
every observing oculist is filled with coincident experience."

Among the prevalent habits of students by which the eyes are injured,
the same writer mentions the irritation produced by rubbing them on
awaking in the morning, a practice which has in some cases occasioned
permanent and incurable disease; reading while the body is in a
recumbent position; using the eyes too early after the system has been
affected with serious disease; exercising them too much in the
examination of minute objects; the popular plan of _using green
spectacles_, and _the use of tobacco_.

Light which is sufficient for distinct vision, and which falls over the
shoulder in an oblique direction, from above, upon the book or study
table, is generally regarded, and with great propriety, as best suited
to the eyes. Some oculists prefer to have the light fall over the _left_

The acuteness of this sense and the extent of its cultivation are very
much greater in some individuals and classes of men than in others. This
is a fact that has been remarked by observing persons. Its consequences
should not be overlooked, for they are neither few nor unimportant.
Those persons who have been long accustomed, either by the necessity of
their situation, the example of those about them, or the judicious care
of parents and teachers, to observe attentively the relations of parts,
the symmetry of forms, or the shades of color, have eyes that are
perpetually soliciting their minds to notice some beautiful or grand
perceptions. Wherever they turn, they espy some new, and, therefore,
curious arrangement of the elements of shape, some striking combination
of light and shade, or some delicious peculiarity of coloring. The
multiplicity and variety of their perceptions must and do increase the
number of their thoughts, or give to their thoughts greater compass and
definiteness. Such persons are likely to become poets, or painters, or
sculptors, or architects. At any rate, they will appreciate and enjoy
the productions of others who have devoted themselves to these
delightful arts. And will not such persons be most readily awakened to
descry and adore the power, the skill, and the beneficence of the Great
Architect who reared the stupendous fabric of the universe, who devised
the infinite variety of forms which diversify creation, and whose pencil
has so profusely decked every work with myriads of mingling dyes,
resulting all from a few parent colors? To an unpracticed eye, the
beauties and wonders of creation are all lost. The surface of the earth
is a blank, or, at best, but a confused and misty page. Such an eye
passes over this scene of things, and makes no communication to the mind
that will awaken thought, much less enkindle the spirit of devout
adoration, and fill the soul with love to Him "whose universal love
smiles every where."

Mr. May speaks no less sensibly than eloquently when he says, "I may be
extravagant in my estimation of the importance of the culture of the eye
and the ear, but so it is, that while I have been reading the writings
of the Hebrew Prophets, and of those other gifted bards who communed so
intently with nature and with nature's God, it has seemed to me
impossible that any one could enter fully into all the tenderness,
beauty, and sublimity of their language, or receive into his heart all
its peculiarity of meaning, unless his own eye had been used to trace
the skill of that hand which framed and fashioned every thing that is,
and to descry the delicacy of that pencil which has painted all the
flowers of the field, nor unless his own ear has learned to perceive the
melody and harmony of sounds."

We can discipline the sight directly, and to a very great extent; and we
can have the satisfaction of perceiving the progressive improvement of
the faculty. For this purpose, every school should be furnished with
appropriate apparatus. A set of measures is indispensable. I will
illustrate by an example. For the benefit of the primary department
connected with a seminary of learning that was formerly for several
years under my supervision, I constructed a set of rules for linear
measurement. Their breadth and thickness were uniform, each being an
inch wide and half an inch thick. The set consisted of nine rules, whose
lengths were as follows: four were each one foot long; one, a foot and a
half long; two, two feet; one, two and a half feet; and one, three feet.
Every rule had a small hole bored through each end. I had also a number
of small pins turned just the right size to fit these holes. I have
since submitted to several hundred teachers, in institutes and
elsewhere, my mode of combining and using these measures; and from the
deep interest which a large number of intelligent parents and teachers
in different localities have manifested in the subject, I venture to
refer to it in this connection. I first tried the experiment ten years
ago, with a class of about twenty children from four to seven years of
age. Several of these could not read, and some of them had not learned
the alphabet. The children were first led to observe carefully the
length of these several rules, until they could determine at sight the
length of each. For several of the first lessons some of them would
misjudge. They would, for instance, call a two foot rule one and a half
or two and a half feet long. In such cases their judgments were
immediately corrected by the application of two one foot rules. They
were then led to observe with care, tables, desks, etc., and to estimate
their length, and were afterward permitted to measure them, and discover
the degree of accuracy in their decisions. After obtaining the opinions
of the children in relation to the length or height of an object, I
would measure it myself in the presence of the class. When the class
became a little experienced, we examined the length, breadth, and height
of rooms, of houses, and of churches; and then the distance of objects
less or more remote, correcting or confirming their estimates by the
application of the rule or measure, which gave a permanent interest to
the exercise. By exercising the class in this manner, not to exceed half
an hour a day, they would, at the end of the first quarter, judge of
each other's height, of the height of persons generally, of the length
of various objects, of the size of buildings, and of the dimensions of
yards, gardens, and fields, with greater accuracy than the average of
adult persons, as was tested by actual measurement in some instances
where there was a disagreement in opinion.

By holding these rules in different positions, the children readily
became familiar with the meaning and practical application of the terms
perpendicular, horizontal, and oblique. They would also tell which term
is applicable to the different parts of the stove-pipe; to the different
parts of the furniture of the school-room; to the floor, sides of the
room, roof, etc.; and to all objects with which they were familiar.

But the reader may inquire, what is the use of the holes and the pins?
By pinning two rules together, one resting upon the other, and then
turning one of them around, the class will readily gain a correct idea
of the use of the term _angle_; also of the terms acute angle, right
angle, and obtuse angle. By pinning three of these rules together at
their ends, the children not only _see_, but can _handle_ the simplest
form of geometrical figures. When this figure is _defined_, they are
enabled permanently to possess themselves of the meaning of the word
_triangle_, by the simultaneous exercise of _three senses_. By combining
rules of the same and different lengths, they become familiar with
equilateral, isosceles, scalene, right, and obtuse angled triangles. By
combining, in this way, such a set of rules as I have described, the
child readily becomes familiar with the names and many of the properties
of more than half a score of geometrical figures, with less effort on
the part of the teacher than would be required to teach the child the
names of the same number of letters. These exercises, then, may well
precede the learning of the alphabet, or, at least, proceed
simultaneously with it. By this means the child's interest in the school
is increased; his senses are cultivated; he is enabled better to fix his
attention; he progresses more rapidly and thoroughly in his juvenile
studies, and at the same time lays the foundation for future excellence
in penmanship and drawing, and other useful arts.

The child may also be taught to discriminate the varieties of green in
leaves and other things; of yellow, red, and blue, in flowers and
paints; and to distinguish not only the shades of all the colors, but
their respective proportions in mixtures of two or more. Many persons,
for want of such early culture, have grown to years without the ability
of distinguishing between colors, as others have who have neglected the
culture of the ear without the ability of distinguishing between tunes.

Drawing, whether of maps, the shape of objects, or of landscapes, is
admirably adapted to discipline the sight. Children should be encouraged
carefully to survey and accurately to describe the prominent points of a
landscape, both in nature and in picture. Let them point out the
elevations and depressions; the mowing, the pasture, the wood, and the
tillage land; the trees, the houses, and the streams. Listen to their
accounts of their plays, walks, and journeys, and of any events of which
they have been witnesses. In these and all other exercises of the sight,
children should be encouraged to be strictly accurate; and whenever it
is practicable, the judgment they pronounce and the descriptions they
give should, if erroneous, be corrected by the truth. Children can not
fail to be interested in such exercises; and even where they have been
careless and inaccurate observers, they will soon become more watchful
and exact.

It is by the benign influences of education only that the senses can be
improved. And still their culture has been entirely neglected by perhaps
the majority of parents and teachers, who in other respects have
manifested a commendable degree of interest in this subject. That by
judicious culture the senses may be educated to activity and accuracy,
and be made to send larger and purer streams of knowledge to the soul,
has been unanswerably proved by an accumulation of unquestionable
testimony. Most persons, however, allow the senses to remain uneducated,
except as they may be cultivated by fortuitous circumstances. Eyes have
they, but they see not; ears have they, but they hear not; neither do
they understand. It is not impossible, nor perhaps improbable, that he
who has these two senses properly cultivated will derive more unalloyed
pleasure in spending a brief hour in gazing upon a beautiful landscape,
in examining for the same length of time a simple flower, or in
listening to the sweet melody of the linnet as it warbles its song of
praise, than those who have neglected the cultivation of the senses
experience during their whole lives!

This subject commends itself to all who regard their individual
happiness, or who desire to render their usefulness as extensive as
possible. Upon parents, teachers, and clergymen, who are more
immediately concerned in the correct education of the rising generation,
its claims are imperative. Let them be met, in connection with other
appropriate means now in use and hereafter to be put in requisition, and
our schools can not fail to become increasingly attractive; truancy,
hence, will be less frequent, and the benign influences resulting from
the correct education of the _whole man_ will inspire the benevolent and
philanthropic to renewed and increased efforts to secure the right
education of _all men_, a condition upon which the maximum of human
happiness depends.



    The exaltation of talent, as it is called, above virtue and
    religion, is the curse of the age. Education is now chiefly a
    stimulus to learning, and thus men acquire power without the
    principles which alone make it a good. Talent is worshiped; but if
    divorced from rectitude, it will prove more of a demon than a

    Religion ought to be the basis of education, according to
    often-repeated writings and declamations. The assertion is true.
    Christianity furnishes the true basis for raising up character; but
    the foundation must be laid in a very different manner from that
    which is commonly practiced. * * * We can, indeed, scarcely conceive
    of the purity, the self-denial, and the power that might be given to
    human character by systematic development.--LALOR.

We have now reached a department of our subject of surpassing
importance, for however judiciously physical and intellectual
cultivation may have been conducted, if we make a mistake here, all is
lost. Knowledge is _power_, it is true; but we should bear in mind that
it is potent for evil as well as for good; and that, whether its effects
be good or ill, depends entirely upon the dispositions and sentiments by
which it is impelled and guided. Numerous have been the instances
illustrative of the fact that the greatest scourges of our race are men
of gigantic _cultivated_ intellect. Where knowledge but qualifies its
possessor for inflicting misery, ignorance would indeed be bliss.

I find my views on this important subject so admirably expressed in the
writings of some of the most eminent men of the age, that I feel it both
a privilege and a duty to enforce the sentiments I would inculcate by
the introduction of their testimony.

Dr. Humphrey observes,[25] that "it must strike every one who is capable
of taking a just and comprehensive view of the subject, that the common
idea of a good education--of such an education as every child in the
state ought to receive--is exceedingly narrow and defective. Most men
leave out, or regard as of very little importance, some of the essential
elements. They seem to forget that the child has a _conscience_ and a
_heart_ to be educated as well as an _intellect_. If they do not lay too
much stress on mental culture, which, indeed, is hardly possible, they
lay by far too little upon that which is moral and religious. They
expect to elevate the child to his proper station in society, to make
him wise and happy, an honest man, a virtuous citizen, and a good
patriot, by furnishing him with a comfortable school-house, suitable
class-books, competent teachers, and, if he is poor, paying his quarter
bills, while they greatly underrate, if they do not entirely overlook,
that high moral training, without which knowledge is the power of doing
evil rather than good. It may possibly nurture up a race of intellectual
giants, but, like the sons of Anak, they will be far readier to trample
down the Lord's heritage than to protect and cultivate it.

  [25] In a lecture before the American Institute of Instruction, on the
  Moral and Religious Training of Children.

"Education is not a talismanic word, but an _art_, or rather a
_science_; and, I may add, the most important of all sciences. It is the
right, the proper training of the _whole man_, the thorough and
symmetrical cultivation of all his noble faculties. If he were endowed
with a mere physical nature, he would need, he would _receive_ none but
a physical training. On the other hand, if he were a purely intellectual
being, intellectual culture would comprehend all that could be included
in a perfect education. And were it possible for a moral being to exist
without either body or intellect, there would be nothing but the heart
or affections to educate. But man is a complex, and not a simple being.
He is neither all body, nor all mind, nor all heart. In popular
language, he has three natures, a corporeal, a rational, and a moral.
These three, mysteriously united, are essential to constitute a perfect
man; and as they all begin to expand in very early childhood, the
province of education is to watch, and assist, and shape the
development; to train, and strengthen, and discipline neither of them
alone, but each according to its intrinsic and relative importance.

"When it is said that 'man is a religious being,' we should carefully
inquire in what respects he is so. In a guarded and limited sense the
proposition is undoubtedly true. Terrible as was the shock which his
moral nature received by 'the fall,' it was not wholly buried in the
ruins. Though blackened and crushed to the effacing of that glorious
image in which he was created, his moral susceptibilities were not
destroyed. The capacity of being restored, and of infinite improvement
in knowledge and virtue, was left. In the lowest depths of ignorance and
debasement, the human soul feels that it must have some religion, some
support, some refuge 'when flesh and heart fail.' There is a natural
dread of annihilation, a longing after immortality, a starting back from
the last leap in the dark. Men, if they have not true religion, will
cling to the greatest absurdities as substitutes. Hence the pagan world
is full of idols. Tribes and nations seemingly destitute of all moral
sense, nevertheless have 'gods many and lords many.' If there are any
cold-blooded, incorrigible atheists in the world, you must look for them
not in heathen lands. You must go where the altars of the true God have
been thrown down. In this view, _man is a religious being_. He has a
moral nature. He is susceptible of deep and controlling religious
impressions. He can, at a very early period of life, be made to see and
feel the difference between right and wrong--between good and evil. He
can, while yet a child, be influenced by hope and by fear--by reason, by
persuasion, and by the word of God; and all this shows that religion was
intended to be a prominent part of his education. There can be no
mistake in this. It is plainly the will of God that the moral as well as
the intellectual faculties should be cultivated. Every child, whether in
the family or the school, is to be treated by those who have the care of
him as a moral and accountable being. His religious susceptibilities
invite to the most diligent culture, and virtually enjoin it upon every
teacher. The simple study of man's moral nature, before we open the
Bible, unavoidably leads to the conclusion that any system of popular
education must be extremely defective which does not make special
prevision for this branch of public instruction.

"Even if there had been no fatal lapse of our race--if our children were
not naturally depraved, nor inclined to evil in the slightest degree,
still they would need religious as well as physical and intellectual
guidance and discipline. It is true, the educator's task would be
infinitely easier and pleasanter than it now is, but they would need
instruction. They would enter the world just as ignorant of their
immortal destiny as of letters. They would have every thing to learn
about the being and perfections of God; every thing about his rightful
claims as their Creator, Preserver, and moral Governor; and every thing
touching their duties and relations to their fellow-men. Moreover, there
is every reason to believe that moral and religious training would be
necessary _to strengthen the principle of virtue_ in the rising
generation, and confirm them in habits of obedience and benevolence. As,
notwithstanding their bodies are perfect bodies, and their minds perfect
minds at their creation, no member or faculty being wanting, still they
need all the helps of education; so, if they had a perfectly upright
moral nature, they would need the same helps. There is no more reason to
think, had sin never entered into the world, every child would have
grown up to the 'fullness of the stature of a perfect man' in a
religious sense, without an appropriate education, than that he would
have become a scholar without it. But the little beings that are all the
while springing into life around us to be educated are the sinful
offspring of apostate parents. How deeply depraved, how strongly
inclined to sin from the cradle, this is not the place to inquire. All
agree that they show an early bias in the wrong direction; and that,
left to grow up without moral culture and restraint, the great majority
would go far astray, and become bad members of society. This is
sufficient for our present argument. The evil bias must be counteracted.
For the safety of the state, as well as for their own sakes, all its
children must be brought under the forming and sanative influence of
religious education. No adequate substitute was ever devised, or ever
can be. 'Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he
will not depart from it.' This is divine; and the opposite is equally
true. Train up a child in the way he should _not_ go, or--which comes to
about the same thing--leave him to take the wrong way of his own accord,
and when he is old he will not depart from that. His tread will be
heavier and heavier upon the broad and beaten track. 'Men do not gather
grapes of thorns, nor figs of thistles.' 'Can the Ethiopian change his
skin, or the leopard his spots? Then may those also do good who are
accustomed to do evil.'

"Moral and religious training ought, undoubtedly, to be commenced in
every family much earlier than children are sent to school, and no
parent can throw off upon the schoolmaster the responsibility of
bringing them up in the 'nurture and admonition of the Lord.' He must
himself teach them the good way, and lead them along in it by his own
example. But few parents, however, have the leisure and ability to do
all that is demanded in this vitally essential branch of education. All
are entitled to the aid of their pastors and religious teachers; and
every good shepherd will feel a tender concern for the lambs of his
flock, and will feed them with the sincere milk of the word both in the
sanctuary and at the fireside. But the work should not stop here. There
ought to be a co-operation of good influences in all the seminaries of
learning, and especially in the primary schools. This co-operation would
be necessary if moral and religious household instruction were
universally given, and if all the children of the state regularly
attended public worship, and enjoyed the benefits of catechetical and
Sabbath-school teaching. But those who would banish religion from our
admirable systems of popular education by the plea that it belongs
exclusively to the family and the Church, ought to remember what
multitudes of children this exclusion would deprive of their birth-right
as members of a Christian community. There are tens of thousands in our
own heaven-blessed New England, and hundreds of thousands in these
United States, who receive no religious instruction whatever at home,
and whose parents are connected with no religious denomination. What is
to be done? We can neither compel ignorant and graceless fathers and
mothers to teach their children the fear of the Lord, nor to send them
to any place of worship or Sabbath-school. I ask again, what is to be
done? These neglected children are in the midst of us. Our cities swarm
with them. They are scattered every where over our beautiful hills and
valleys. Grow up they will among our own children, without principle and
without morals, to breathe mildew upon the young virtues which we have
sown in our families, and to prey upon the dearest interests of society,
unless somebody cares for their moral and religious education. And where
shall they receive this education, if not in the school-house? You will
find them there, if in any place of instruction, and multitudes of them
you can reach nowhere else.

"A more Utopian dream never visited the brain of a sensible man than
that which promises to usher in a new golden age by the diffusion and
thoroughness of what is commonly understood by popular education. With
all its funds, and improved school-houses, and able teachers, and
grammars, and maps, and black-boards, such an education is essentially
defective. Without moral principle at bottom to guide and control its
energies, education is a sharp sword in the hands of a practiced and
reckless fencer. I have no hesitation in saying, that if we could have
but one, moral and religious culture is even more important than a
knowledge of letters; and that the former can not be excluded from any
system of popular education without infinite hazard. Happily, the two
are so far from being hostile powers in the common domain, that they are
natural allies, moving on harmoniously in the same right line, and
mutually strengthening each other. The more virtue you can infuse into
the hearts of your pupils, the better they will improve their time, and
the more rapid will be their proficiency in their common studies. The
most successful teachers have found the half hour devoted to moral and
religious instruction more profitable to the scholar than any other half
hour in the day; and there are no teachers who govern their schools with
so much ease as this class. Though punishment is sometimes necessary
where moral influence has done its utmost, the conscience is, in all
ordinary cases, an infinitely better disciplinarian than the rod. When
you can get a school to obey and to study because it is right, and from
a conviction of accountability to God, you have gained a victory which
is worth more than all the penal statutes in the world; but you can
never gain such a victory without laying great stress upon religious
principle in your daily instructions.

"There is, I am aware, in the minds of some warm and respectable friends
of popular education, an objection against incorporating religious
instruction into the system as one of its essential elements. It can
not, they think, be done without bringing in along with it the evils of
sectarianism. If this objection could not be obviated, it would, I
confess, have great weight in my own mind. It supposes that if any
religious instruction is given, the distinctive tenets of some
particular denomination must be inculcated. But is this at all
necessary? Must we either exclude religion altogether from our common
schools, or teach some one of the many creeds which are embraced by as
many different sects in the ecclesiastical calendar? Surely not. There
are certain great moral and religious principles in which all
denominations are agreed; such as the ten commandments, our Savior's
golden rule--every thing, in short, which lies within the whole range of
duty to God and duty to our fellow-men. I should be glad to know what
sectarianism there can be in a schoolmaster's teaching my children the
first and second tables of the moral law; to 'love the Lord their God
with all their heart, and their neighbor as themselves;' in teaching
them to keep the Sabbath holy, to honor their parents, not to swear, nor
drink, nor lie, nor cheat, nor steal, nor covet. Verily, if this is what
any mean by sectarianism, then the more we have of it in our common
schools the better. 'It is a lamentation, and shall be for a
lamentation,' that there is so little of it. I have not the least
hesitation in saying, that no instructor, whether male or female, ought
ever to be employed who is not both able and willing to teach morality
and religion in the manner which I have just alluded to. Were this
faithfully done in all the primary schools of the nation, our civil and
religious liberties, and all our blessed institutions, would be
incomparably safer than they are now. The parent who says, I do not send
my child to school to learn religion, but to be taught reading, and
writing, and grammar, knows not 'what manner of spirit he is of.' It is
very certain, that such a father will teach his children any thing but
religion at home; and is it right that they should be left to grow up as
heathens in a Christian land? If he says to the schoolmaster, I do not
wish you to make my son an Episcopalian, a Baptist, a Presbyterian, or a
Methodist, very well. That is not the schoolmaster's business. He was
not hired to teach sectarianism. But if the parent means to say, I do
not send my child to school to have you teach him to fear God and keep
his commandments, to be temperate, honest, and true, to be a good son
and a good man, then the child is to be pitied for having such a father;
and with good reason might we tremble for all that we hold most dear, if
such remonstrances were to be multiplied and to prevail.

"In this connection I can not refrain from earnestly recommending the
daily reading of the Scriptures, and prayer,[26] in all our schools, as
eminently calculated to exert a powerful moral influence upon the
scholars. It is melancholy to think what swarms of children are growing
up even in Massachusetts--and what multitudes of them in every one of
these United States--who will seldom, if ever, hear the voice of prayer
if they do not hear it in the schools, and to whom the Bible will remain
a sealed book if it be not opened there. I would not insist that _every_
primary teacher should be absolutely required to open or close the
school daily with prayer. Great and good as I think the influence of
such an arrangement would be, it might be impossible, at present, to
find a sufficient number of instructors otherwise well qualified who are
fitted to lead in this exercise. The number, however, I believe is
steadily increasing. It is probably too late for me, but I hope that
some of you, gentlemen, may live to see the time when the voice of
prayer, and of praise too, will be heard in every school-house of the
land. Could I know that this would be the case, it would give me a
confidence in the perpetuity of our civil and religious liberties which
I should exceedingly rejoice to cherish as I pass off from the stage."

  [26] I would not be understood to recommend that any person who does not
  love the Bible, and the doctrines which it inculcates, and who does not
  seek after that purity of heart which it every where enjoins, should
  conduct devotional exercises in school; but I would respectfully inquire
  whether any who do not _delight_ in such exercises, and who do not
  esteem it a _privilege_ to lead the devotions of those under their
  charge, do not lack an _essential_ qualification to teach school. Our
  laws generally require that the school-teacher be, among other things,
  _well qualified in respect to moral character_ TO INSTRUCT _a Primary

It would seem that these patriotic sentiments, enforced by such
persuasive eloquence by this venerable man, can hardly fail to find a
permanent lodgment in every truly American bosom. The great principles
of natural and revealed religion, in which all are agreed, ought to be
inculcated in our common school-books,[27] just as every teacher ought
orally to instill these principles into the minds of his pupils. That
will be a happy day, especially to the children of ignorant and vicious
parents, when they shall learn more of that "fear of the Lord which is
the beginning of knowledge" in the school-house than they have ever yet
done. Nor is it discovered that the practice of teaching morals
according to the Christian code, and using the Bible for that purpose,
the great majority adopting it, is any infringement whatever on the
religious rights and liberty of any individual.

  [27] The day of writing the above, a lady mentioned to me the following
  gratifying illustration of my idea. The subject of it is a little girl
  only five years of age, who has never attended school, but has learned
  to read at home, under her mother's tuition. After reading in the first
  number of one of our excellent series of reading books, the story of
  "the honest boy" who never told a lie, for perhaps the twentieth time,
  the little girl said to her mother, "Mother, I like to read this story,
  for it always makes me feel very happy." Similar instances I have
  witnessed scores of times, in the family and in the school. Teachers may
  almost invariably lead their scholars to admire and copy the examples of
  good children about whom they read, and to dislike and avoid those of
  bad ones. This power over children should always be exercised for good.

The anecdote of the Indian touching this subject may arrest the
attention of some reader who would otherwise peruse these paragraphs
without profit, and fix indelibly in his mind the sentiment I would
inculcate, and I therefore insert it. The Indian inquires of the white
man what religion he professes. The white man replies, "_Not any._"
"_Not any?_" says the Indian, in astonishment; "then you are _just like
my dog_; he's got no religion." We have _men_ enough like the Indian's
dog, without teaching our _children_ to be like him.

The French, in the days of the Revolution, voted God from his throne.
They abolished the Sabbath, and declared that Christianity was a
nullity. They set apart one day in ten, not for religion, but for
idleness and licentiousness. History informs us that the goddess of
Reason, personified by a naked prostitute, was drawn in triumph through
the streets of Paris, and that the municipal officers of the city, and
the members of the National Convention of France, joined publicly in the
impious parade. We need not wonder, then, that even the forms of
religion were destroyed, and that licentiousness and profligacy walked
forth unveiled. How unlike this is the state of things in these United
States! We are professedly a Christian nation. We recognize the
existence of a superior and superintending power in all our

The New World was early sought by a Christian people, that fled from
oppression in order to find a home where they might worship God
unmolested, and bequeath to posterity the same inestimable privilege and
inalienable right. In the days of the Revolution, Washington and his
coadjutors were accustomed to invoke the blessing of the God of battles;
and without His favor, they looked not for victory. In the Congress of
this Great Nation, and in our State Legislatures, we are accustomed to
acknowledge our dependence upon God in employing chaplains with whom we
unite in daily devotions.

The Constitution of the United States requires that all legislative,
executive, and judicial officers in the United States, and in the
several states, shall be bound by oath or affirmation to support the
Constitution. The Constitution of each of the several states requires a
similar oath or affirmation; and some of them further provide that, in
addition to the oath of office, all persons appointed to places of
profit or trust shall, before entering upon the same, subscribe a
declaration of their faith in the Christian religion.

In our Penitentiaries even, we employ chaplains for the social, moral,
and religious improvement of criminals confined within them; for our
object is, not merely to _deter others_ from vice by the punishment of
offenders, but, if possible, _to reform the offenders themselves_, and,
bringing them back to virtue, make them useful members both of Christian
and of civil society. Should we not, then, recognize God in our common
schools--the primary training-places of our country's youth--by reading
His word, and familiarizing the juvenile mind of the nation with the
precepts of the Great Teacher, whose code of morals is acknowledged,
even by infidels, to be infinitely superior to any of human origin? And
should we not humbly invoke His aid in our efforts to learn and to do
his will? and His blessing to attend those efforts? A Paul may plant,
and Apollos water; but God giveth the increase.

The instruction in our common schools, I repeat, should be Christian,
but not sectarian. There is sufficient common ground which all true
believers in Christianity agree in, to effect an incalculable amount of
good, if honestly and faithfully taught. Which of the various religious
sects in our country would take exceptions to the inculcation of the
following sentiments, and kindred ones expressed in every part of the

"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy
soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.
And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as
thyself." "As ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them
likewise." "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to
them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and
persecute you."

If there is a single instance in which a sect of professing Christians
would take exceptions to the inculcation of these and kindred sentiments
in all the schools of our land, I have yet to learn it. On the contrary,
I have received and accepted invitations from scores of clergymen,
representing not less than eight different denominations, to address
their congregations on the subject of "Moral and Religious Education in
Common Schools;" and, having expressed the sentiments herein advocated,
I have, in every instance, received letters of approval and
encouragement; and their hearty prayers and active co-operation have
confirmed me in the belief that they are ready and willing to "work
together" upon this common platform, in advancing the interests of this
glorious cause.

I have spoken of the Christian religion as the most important branch of
a common school education. The cultivation of the intellectual faculties
alone constitutes no sufficient guaranty that the subject of it will
become either a virtuous man, a good neighbor, or a useful citizen. But
where physical education has been properly attended to, if we combine
with the cultivation of the intellectual faculties of a child a good
moral and religious education, we have the highest and most
unquestionable authority for believing that, in after life, he will "do
justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God."

"The Bible, in several expressive texts," says Dr. Stowe,[28] "gives
emphatic utterance to the true principle of all right education. For
example, 'The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and a
knowledge of the Holy is understanding.' Religion must be the basis of
all right education; and an education without religion is an education
for perdition. Religion, in its most general sense, is the union of the
soul to its Creator; a union of sympathy, originating in affection, and
guided by intelligence. The word is derived from the Latin terms _re_
and _ligo_, and signifies to _tie again_, or _reunite_. The soul,
sundered from God by sin, by grace is _reunited_ to Him; and this is

  [28] In a lecture before the American Institute of Instruction, on the
  Religious Element in Education.

I might present many and substantial reasons why instruction in the
principles of religion should be given in our common schools and in all
our institutions of learning, and why those heaven-given principles
should be exemplified wherever taught.

_The nature of the human mind requires it_, as is clearly shown by the
writer last quoted. "The mind is created, and God is its creator. Every
mind is conscious to itself that it is not self-existent or independent,
but that its existence is a derived one, and its condition one of
entire, uniform, unceasing dependence. This feeling is as truly a part
of the essential constitution of the mind as the desire for food is of
the body, and it never can be totally suppressed. If it ever seems to be
annihilated, it is only for a very brief interval; and any man who would
persist in affirming himself to be self-existent and independent, would
be universally regarded as insane. The sympathy which attracts the sexes
toward each other is not more universal nor generally stronger than that
inward want which makes the whole human race feel the need of God; and,
indeed, the feelings are, in many respects, so analogous to each other,
that all ancient mysteries of mythology, and the Bible itself, have
selected this sympathy as the most expressive, the most unvarying symbol
of the relation between the soul and God.

"Till men can be taught to live and be healthy and strong without food;
till some way is discovered in which the social state can be perpetuated
and made happy, with a total separation of the sexes; till the time
arrives when these things can be done, we can not expect to relieve the
human mind from having some kind of religious faith. This being the
fact, a system of education which excludes attention from this part of
the mental constitution is as essentially incomplete as a system of
military tactics that has no reference to fighting battles; a system of
mechanics which teaches nothing respecting machinery; a system of
agriculture that has nothing to do with planting and harvesting; a
system of astronomy which never alludes to the stars; a system of
politics which gives no intimation on government; or any thing else
which professes to be a system, and leaves out the very element most
essential to its existence. The history of all ages, of all nations, and
of all communities is a continued illustration of this truth. Where did
the nation ever exist untouched either by religion or superstition?
which never had either a theology or a mythology? When you find a nation
that exists without food of some sort, then you may find a nation that
subsists without religion of some sort; and never, _never_ before. How
unphilosophical, how absurd it is, then, to pretend that a system of
education may be complete, and yet make no provision for this part of
the mental constitution! It is one of the grossest fooleries which the
wickedness of man has ever led him to commit. But it is not only
unphilosophical and foolish, it is also exceedingly mischievous; for
where religion is withheld, the mind inevitably falls to superstition,
as certainly as when wholesome food is withheld the sufferer will seek
to satisfy his cravings with the first deleterious substance which
comes within his reach. The only remedy against superstition is sound
religious instruction. The want exists in the soul. It is no factitious,
no accidental or temporary want, but an essential part of our nature. It
is an urgent, imperious want; it must and will seek the means of
satisfaction, and if a healthful supply be withheld, a noxious one will
be substituted."

THE BIBLE IN SCHOOLS.--Having taken the liberty of recommending the
devotional reading of the Scriptures in all the public schools as
eminently calculated to make them what they ought to be--nurseries of
morality and religion as well as of good learning--I am now prepared to
express the strong conviction, to adopt the language of Dr. Humphrey,
"_that the Bible ought to be used in every primary school as a
class-book_. I am not ignorant of the objections which even some good
men are wont to urge against its introduction. The Bible, it is said, is
too sacred a volume to be put on a level with common school-books, and
to be thumbed over and thrown about by dirty hands. This objection
supposes that if the Bible is made a school-book, it must needs be put
into such rude hands; and that it can not be daily read in the classes
without diminishing the reverence with which it ought to be regarded as
the book of God. But I would have it used chiefly by the older scholars,
who, if the teachers are not in the fault, will rarely deface it. A few
words now and then, reminding them of its sacred contents, will be
sufficient to protect it from rough and vulgar usage.

"The objection that making the Bible a common school-book would detract
from its sacredness in the eyes of the children, and thus blunt rather
than quicken their moral susceptibilities, is plausible; but it will
not, I am confident, bear the test of examination and experience. What
were the Scriptures given us for, if not to be read by the old and the
young, the high and the low? Is the common use of any good thing which a
kind Providence intended for all, calculated to make men underrate it?
The best of Heaven's gifts, it is true, are _liable_ to be perverted and
abused; but ought this to deter us from using them thankfully and
properly? We, the descendants of the Puritans, are so far from regarding
the Bible as too sacred for common use, that, however we may differ
among ourselves in other respects, we cordially unite in efforts to put
the sacred treasure in the hands of all the people. It is one of our
cardinal principles, as Protestants, that the more they read the
Scriptures the better. Are we right or are we wrong here? Let us bring
the question to the test of experience. Who are the most moral and
well-principled class in the community? those who have been accustomed
from childhood to read the Bible, till it has become the most familiar
of all books, or those who read it but little? Of two schools, of equal
advantages in other respects, which is best regulated and most easily
governed? which has most of the fear of God in it, the deepest reverence
for his word, that where the Bible is read or from which it is excluded?
It is easy for ingenious men to reason plausibly, and tell us that such
and such injurious effects _must_ follow from making sacred things too
familiar to the youthful mind; but who ever heard of such effects
following from the use of the Bible as a school-book? It will be time
enough to listen to this objection when a solitary example can be
adduced to sustain it.

"How do all other men out of the Protestant communion, Papists,
Mohammedans, Jews, and Gentiles, reason and act in the education of
their children? Do they discard their sacred books from the schools as
too holy for common and familiar use? No. They understand the influence
of such reading far too well, and are too strongly attached to their
respective religions to exclude it. The Romanists, indeed, forbid the
use of the Scriptures to the common people; but the Missal and the
Breviary, which they hold to be quite as sacred, are their most familiar
school-books. A large portion of the children's time is taken up with
reading the lessons and reciting the prayers; and what are the effects?
Do they become disgusted with the Missal and Breviary by this daily
familiarity? We all know the contrary. The very opposite effect is
produced. It is astonishing to see with what tenacity children thus
educated cling to the superstitions and absurdities of their fathers;
and it is because their religion is wrought into the very texture of
their minds, in the schools as well as in the churches. Go to Turkey, to
Persia, to all the lands scorched and blighted by the fiery train of the
Crescent, and what school-books will you find but portions of the Koran?
Pass to Hindostan, and there you will find the Vedas and Shasters
wherever any thing like popular education is attempted. Enter the great
empire of China, and, according to the best information we can obtain,
their sacred books are the school-books of that vast and teeming
population. Inquire among the Jews, wherever in their various
dispersions they have established schools, and what will you find but
the Law and the Prophets, the Targums and the Talmud.

"Now when and where did ever Protestant children grow up with a greater
reverence for the Bible, a stronger attachment to their religion, than
Jewish, Mohammedan, and Pagan children cherish for their school-books,
to the study of which they are almost exclusively confined, in every
stage of their education? It is opposing theory, then, to great and
undeniable facts, to say that using the Christian Scriptures in this
manner would detract from their sacredness in the eyes of our children.
If this is ever the case, it must be where the teacher himself is a
Gallio, and lacks those moral qualifications which are essential to his
profession. Another objection which is sometimes brought against the use
of the Bible is, that considerable portions of it--though all true, and
important as a part of our great religious charter--are not suitable for
common and promiscuous reading. My answer is, we do not suppose that any
instructor would take all his classes through the whole Bible, from
Genesis to Revelation. The genealogical tables, and some other things,
he would omit of course, but would always find lessons enough to which
the most fastidious could make no objection.

"The way is now prepared to take an affirmative attitude, and offer some
reasons in favor of using the Bible as a school-book. In the first
place, _it is the cheapest school-book in the world_. It furnishes more
reading for _fifty cents_ than can be obtained in common school-books
for _two dollars_. This difference of cost is, to the poor, an important
consideration. With large families on their hands, they often find it
extremely difficult to meet the demands of teachers and committees for
new books. Were the Scriptures generally introduced, they would take the
place of many other reading-books which parents are now obliged to
purchase at four-fold expense. This would be a cogent argument on the
score of economy, even if the popular school-books of this year were
sure of maintaining their ground the next. But so busy is the press in
bringing forward new claimants to public favor, that they rapidly
supplant each other, and thus the burden is greatly increased.

"In the next place, _the Bible furnishes a far greater variety of the
finest reading-lessons than any other book whatever_. This is a point to
which my attention has been turned for many years, and the conviction
grows upon me continually. There is no book in which children a little
advanced beyond the simplest monosyllabic lessons will learn to read
faster, or more readily catch the proprieties of inflection, emphasis,
and cadence, than the Bible. I would by no means put it into the hands
of a child to spell out and blunder over the chapters before he has read
any thing else. The word of God ought not to be so used by mere
beginners. But it contains lessons adapted to all classes of learners,
after the first and simplest stage. Let any teacher who has never made
the trial put a young class into the first chapter of John, and he will
be surprised to find how easy the reading is, and with what pleasure and
manifest improvement they may be carried through the whole Gospel; and
as few are too young to read with advantage in the Bible, so none are
too old. It is known to every body, that the very best reading lessons
in our most popular school-books for the higher classes are taken from
the Scriptures. Just open the Sacred Volume with reference to this
single point, and turn over its thousand pages. As a history, to
interest, instruct, and improve the youthful mind, what other book in
the world can compare with it? Where else will you find such exquisitely
finished pieces of biography? such poetry? such genuine and lofty
eloquence? such rich and varied specimens of tenderness, pathos, beauty,
and sublimity? I regret that I have not room for a few quotations. I can
only refer, in very general terms, to the history of the creation; of
Joseph and the forty years' wandering in the wilderness; to the book of
Job; to the Psalms of David; to Isaiah; to the Gospels; and to the
visions of John in the Isle of Patmos.

"Now if the primary qualities of a good school-book are to teach the art
of reading, and to communicate instruction upon the most interesting and
important subjects, I have no hesitation in saying that the Bible stands
pre-eminently above every other. If I were again to become a primary
instructor, or to teach the art of reading in any higher seminary than
the common school-house, I would take the Bible in preference to any
twenty 'Orators' or 'English Readers' that I have ever seen. Indeed, I
would scarcely want any other. Milton and Shakspeare I would not reject,
but I would do very well without them, for they are both surpassed by
Isaiah and John. Let enlightened teachers, and members of any of the
learned professions, read over aloud, in their best manner, such
portions of Scripture as they may easily select, and see if they have
ever found any thing better fitted to bring out and discipline the
voice, and to express all the emotions in which the soul of true
eloquence is bodied forth. Why do the masters of oratory, who charm
great audiences with their recitations, take so many of their themes
from the Bible? The reason is obvious. They can find none so well suited
to their purpose. And why should not the common schools, in which are
nurtured so many of the future orators, and rulers, and teachers of the
land, have the advantage of the best of all reading-lessons? Moreover,
since so much of the sense of Scripture depends upon the manner in which
it is read, why should not the thousands of children be taught the art
in school, who will never learn it at home? The more I study the Bible,
the more does it appear to me to excel all other reading-books. You may
go on improving indefinitely, without ever making yourself a perfect
scriptural reader, just as you might, with all the help you can command,
spend your whole life in the study of any one of its great truths
without exhausting it. Let it not be said that we have but few
instructors who are capable of entering into the spirit of the Sacred
Volume, so as to teach their scholars to read it with propriety. Then
let more be educated. It ought to be one of the daily exercises in our
Normal Schools, and other seminaries for raising up competent teachers,
to qualify them for this branch of instruction."

I remark again, that were the Bible made a school-book throughout the
commonwealth and throughout the land, _an amount of scriptural knowledge
would be insensibly treasured up, which would be of inestimable value in
after life_. Every observing teacher must have been surprised to find
how much the dullest scholar will learn by the ear, without seeming to
pay any attention to what others are reading or reciting. The boy that
sits half the time upon his little bench nodding or playing with his
shoe-strings, will, in the course of a winter, commit whole pages and
chapters to memory from the books he hears read, when you can hardly
beat any thing into him by dint of the most diligent instruction.
Indeed, I have sometimes thought that children in our common schools
learn more by the ear, without any effort, than by the study of their
own class-books; and I am quite sure this is the case with the most of
the younger scholars. Let any book be read for a series of years in the
same school, and half of the children will know most of it by heart.
Wherever there are free schools--and the free school system is now
becoming extensively adopted in every part of the United States--the
great mass of the children are kept at school from four or five years of
age, to nine or ten, through the year; and in the winter season, from
nine or ten to fifteen or sixteen. The average of time thus devoted to
their education is from eight to ten years. Now let the Bible be read
daily as a class-book during all this time, in every school, and how
much of it will, without effort, and without interfering in the least
with other studies, be committed to memory. And who can estimate the
value of such an acquisition? What pure morality; what maxims of supreme
wisdom for guidance along the slippery paths of youth, and onward
through every stage of life; what bright examples of early piety, and of
its glorious rewards, even in the present world; what sublime
revelations of the being and perfections of God; what incentives to love
and serve him, and to discharge with fidelity all the duties which we
owe to our fellow-men! and all these enforced by the highest sanctions
of future accountability. Let any man tell, if he can, how much all this
store of divine knowledge, thus insensibly acquired, would be worth to
the millions of children who are growing up in these United States of
America. They might not be at all sensible of its value at the time, but
how happily and safely would it contribute to shape their future
opinions and characters, both as men and as citizens.

Another cogent reason for using the Bible as a common school-book is,
that _it is the firmest basis, and, indeed, the only sure basis of our
free institutions, and, as such, ought to be familiar to all the
children in the state from their earliest years_. While it recognizes
the existence of civil governments, and enjoins obedience to magistrates
as ministers of God for the good of the people, it regards all men as
free and equal, the children of one common Father, and entitled to the
same civil and religious privileges. I do not believe that any people
could ever be enslaved who should be thoroughly and universally educated
in the principles of the Bible.

It was no less truly than eloquently said by Daniel Webster, in his
Bunker Hill address, that "the American colonists brought with them from
the Old World a full portion of all the riches of the past in science
and art, and in morals, religion, and literature. The _Bible_ came with
them. And it is not to be doubted that to the _free_ and _universal_ use
of the Bible it is to be ascribed that in that age men were much
indebted for right views of civil liberty. The Bible is a book of faith
and a book of doctrine; but it is also a book which teaches man his
individual responsibility, his own dignity, and equality with his

These sentiments of the great American statesman are worthy to be
engraved in golden capitals upon the monument under whose shade they
were uttered! Yes, it was the free and universal use of the Bible which
made our Puritan fathers what they were; and it is because, in these
degenerate times, multitudes of children will be taught to read it
nowhere else, that I am so anxious to have it read as a school-book. One
other, and the only additional reason which I shall suggest, is that, as
the Bible is _infinitely the best_, so it is the only decidedly
_religious book_ which can be introduced into our popular systems of
early education. So jealous are the different sects and denominations of
each other, that it would be hardly possible to write or compile a
religious school-book with which all would be satisfied. But here is a
book prepared to our hands, which we all receive as the inspired record
of our faith, and as containing the purest morality that has ever been
taught in this lower world. Episcopalians can not object to it, because
they believe it teaches the doctrines and polity of their own church;
and this is just what they want. Neither Congregationalists,
Presbyterians, Baptists, Methodists, Universalists, nor any other
denomination, can object to it for the same reason. Every denomination
believes, so far as it differs from the rest, that the Bible is on its
side, and, of course, that the more it is read by all, the better.

For me to object to having the Bible read as a common school-book on
account of any doctrine which those who differ from me suppose it to
teach, would be virtually to confess that I had not full confidence in
my own creed, and was afraid it would not bear a scriptural test. It
seems to me an infinite advantage, for which we are bound devoutly to
thank the Author of all good, that he has given us a religious book of
incomparable excellence, which we may fearlessly put into the hands of
all the children in the state, with the assurance that it is able to
make them "wise unto salvation," and will certainly make them better
children, better friends, and better members of society, so far as it
influences them at all. But some persons who highly approve of daily
scriptural reading in common schools are in favor of using _selections_
rather than the whole Bible. I should certainly prefer this, provided
the selections are judiciously made, to excluding the Scriptures
altogether; but I think there are weighty and obvious reasons why the
_whole_ Bible should be taken rather than a part. The whole is cheaper
than half would be in a separate volume; and when the whole is
introduced, "without note or comment," there can be no possible ground
for sectarian jealousy.

Doctors of divinity not only, but the most eminent statesmen in the
country, hold the views here presented. The bold and noble stand taken
by the Legislature of New York more than ten years ago (1838), has
revived the hopes and infused fresh courage into the minds of those who
believe that the safety and welfare of our country are essentially
dependent on the prevalence of a "_religious_ morality and a _moral_
religion." The representatives of this great state, whose system of
education is becoming increasingly an object of imitation in all the
rest, at one and the same session doubled the amount of the public money
for the purpose of improving the education given in the common
schools--which, to the praise of that state, be it said, are _now
free_--and in reply to the petition of sundry persons, praying that all
religious exercises and the use of the Bible might be prohibited in the
public schools, decided by a vote of _one hundred and twenty-one_ to
ONE! that the request of the petitioners be not granted. For the purpose
of corroborating the doctrines of this volume, I will introduce a
paragraph from the report of the Hon. Daniel D. Barnard on the occasion
referred to, which was sustained by the noble, unequivocal, and almost
unanimous testimony of the representatives of the most powerful member
of the American states.

"Moral instruction is quite as important to the object had in view in
popular education as intellectual instruction; it is indispensable to
that object. But, to make instruction effective, it should be given
according to the best code of morals known to the country and the age;
and that code, it is universally conceded, is contained in the Bible.
Hence the Bible, as containing that code, so far from being arbitrarily
excluded from our schools, ought to be in common use in them. Keeping
all the while in view the object of popular education, the fitting of
the people by _moral_ as well as by _intellectual_ discipline for
self-government, no one can doubt that any system of instruction which
overlooks the training and informing of the moral faculties must be
wretchedly and fatally defective. Crime and intellectual cultivation
merely, so far from being dissociated in history and statistics, are
unhappily old acquaintances and tried friends. To neglect the moral
powers in education is to educate not quite half the man. To cultivate
the intellect only is to unhinge the mind and destroy the essential
balance of the mental powers; it is to light up a recess only the better
to see how dark it is. And if this is all that is done in popular
education, then nothing, literally nothing, is done toward establishing
popular virtue and forming a moral people."

This is but a specimen of an invaluable document, which does honor to
the heart and head of him who penned it, and to the Legislature of the
commonwealth by which it was adopted by almost unparalleled unanimity.

The Hon. Samuel Young, the eminently distinguished superintendent of
common schools in the same state, in a report made in 1843, inculcates
sentiments which so well accord with my own views of the importance of
weaving scriptural reading into the very warp and woof of popular
education, that I gladly add his testimony. "I regard the New Testament
as in all respects a suitable book to be daily read in our common
schools, and I earnestly recommend its general introduction for this
purpose. As a mere reading-book, intended to convey a practical
knowledge of the English language, it is one of the best text-books in
use; but this, although of great use to the pupils, is of minor
importance when the moral influences of the book are duly considered.
Education consists of something more than mere instruction. It is that
training and discipline of all the faculties of the mind which shall
symmetrically and harmoniously develop the future man for usefulness and
for happiness in sustaining the various relations of life. It must be
based upon knowledge and virtue; and its gradual advancement must be
strictly subordinated to those cardinal and elementary principles of
morality, which are nowhere so distinctly and beautifully inculcated as
in that book from whence we all derive our common faith. The nursery and
family fireside may accomplish much; the institutions of religion may
exert a pervading influence; but what is commenced in the hallowed
sanctuary of the domestic circle, and periodically inculcated at the
altar, must be daily and hourly recognized in the common schools, that
it may exert an ever-present influence, enter into and form a part of
every act of life, and become thoroughly incorporated with the rapidly
expanding character. The same incomparable standard of moral virtue and
excellence, which is expounded from the pulpit and the altar, and which
is daily held up to the admiration and imitation of the family circle,
should also be reverently kept before the mind and the heart in the
daily exercises of the school."

I will add the testimony of another whom we all delight to honor. Never
were sentiments uttered more worthy to be remembered and repeated
through all generations, than those which fell from the Father of his
Country in his Farewell Address to the American people. "Of all the
dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and
morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the
tribute of patriotism who should labor to subvert these great pillars of
human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens.
The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and
cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with
private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked. Where is the
security for property, for reputation, for life, if a sense of religious
obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation
in courts of justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition
that _morality_ can be maintained _without religion_. Whatever may be
conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar
structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national
morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principles." How noble,
how elevated, how just these parting words.

Washington was an enlightened Christian patriot, as well as a great
general and a wise statesman. The oracles which he consulted in all his
perils, and in the perils of his country, were the oracles of God.[29]
No one of the fathers of the Revolution knew better than he did that
religion rests upon the Bible as its main pillar, and that as a
knowledge and belief of the Bible are essential to true religion, so
they are to private and public morality. I can not doubt, says the
venerable President of Amherst College, that could the greatest among
the great men of his day add a codicil to his invaluable legacy, it
would be, "Teach your children early to read and love the Bible. Teach
them to read it in your families; teach them in your schools; teach them
everywhere, that the first moral lesson indelibly enstamped upon their
hearts may be to 'fear God and keep his commandments.' 'The fear of the
Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.'"

  [29] John Quincy Adams, during his long and eventful life, was
  accustomed to read daily portions of the Scriptures in several

How few are aware of what the Bible has done for mankind, and still less
of what it is destined to accomplish. "Quench its light, and you blot
out the brightest luminary from these lower heavens. You bring back
'chaos and old night' to reign over the earth, and leave man, with all
his immortal energies and aspirations, to 'wander in the blackness of
darkness forever.' It was by constantly reading it that our Puritan
fathers imbibed that unconquerable love of civil and religious liberty
which sustained them through all the 'perils of the sea and perils of
the wilderness.' It was from the Bible they drew those free and admired
principles of civil government that were so much in advance of the age
in which they lived. It was this book by which they 'resolved to go till
they could find some better rule.'"

The Bible has built all our churches, and colleges, and school-houses;
it has built our hospitals and retreats for the insane, the deaf, and
the blind; it has built the House of Refuge, the Sailors' Home, and the
Home for the Friendless. To it we are indebted for our homes, for our
property, and for all the safeguards of our domestic relations and
happiness. It is under its broad shield that we lie down in safety,
without bolts or bars to protect us. It has given us our free
constitutions of civil government, and with them all the statutes and
ordinances of a great and independent people, whose territory extends
from the Atlantic to the Pacific. It is the industry, sobriety, and
enterprise, which nothing but the Bible could ever inspire and sustain,
that have dug our canals, and built our thousand factories, and "clothed
the hills with flocks, and covered over the valleys with corn;" that
have laid down our railways and established telegraph lines, bringing
the East into the neighborhood of the West, and enabling the North to
hold converse with the South. The Bible has directly and indirectly done
all this for us, and infinitely more. Let not, then, the book which has
given to us sweet homes, and happy families, and systems of public
instruction, and has thus constituted us a great and prosperous
people--the book which diminishes our sorrows and multiplies our joys,
and gives to those who obey its precepts a "hope big with
immortality"--let not this book be excluded from the common schools of
our country. In the name of patriotism, of philanthropy, and of our
common Christianity, let me, in behalf of the millions of youth in our
country who will otherwise remain ignorant of it, ask that, whatever
else be excluded from our schools, there be retained in them this Book
of books, the BIBLE.



    Education, as the means of improving the mural and intellectual
    faculties, is, under all circumstances, a subject of the most
    imposing consideration. To rescue man from that state of degradation
    to which he is doomed unless redeemed by education; to unfold his
    physical, intellectual, and moral powers, and to fit him for those
    high destinies which his Creator has prepared for him, can not fail
    to excite the most ardent sensibility of the philosopher and
    philanthropist. A comparison of the savage that roams through the
    forest with the enlightened inhabitant of a civilized country would
    be a brief but impressive representation of the momentous importance
    of education.--_Report of School Commissioners, New York_, 1812.

He who has carefully perused the preceding chapters of this work is
already aware that we regard the subject of popular education as one of
paramount importance. The object of devoting a chapter to the special
consideration of this subject at this time is, if possible, to remove
from the mind any remaining doubts in relation to it. The reader will
bear in mind that we regard education as having reference to the _whole
man_--the body, the mind, and the heart; and that its object, and, when
rightly directed, its effect, is to make him a complete creature after
his kind. To his frame it should give vigor, activity, and beauty; to
his intellect, power and thoughtfulness; and to his heart, virtue and

We shall be the better prepared to appreciate the importance and
necessity of a judicious system of training and instruction if we
consider that, in its absence, every individual will be educated by
circumstances. Let it be borne in mind, then, that all the children in
every community will be educated somewhere and somehow; and that it
devolves upon citizens and parents to determine whether the children of
the present generation shall receive their training in the
_school-house_ or in the _streets_; and if in the former, whether in
good or poor schools.

In the discharge of my official duties in this state, I had occasion to
visit two counties in 1846 in which there were no organized common
schools.[30] They were not, however, without places of instruction, for
in the shire town of each of those counties there were a billiard-room,
bar-rooms, and bowling-alleys. I was forcibly impressed with the remark
of an Indian chief residing in one of those counties. As he was passing
along the streets one day, he discovered a second bowling-alley in
process of erection. He paused, and, surveying it attentively, remarked
to those at work upon it as follows: "You have here another long
building going up rapidly; and," he added, "_is this the place where our
children are to be educated?_" Such keen and well-merited rebuke rarely
falls from human lips. Those two bowling-alleys, with their
bars--indispensable appendages--were thronged from six o'clock in the
morning until past midnight, six days in the week. They were, moreover,
the very places where many of the youth of that village were receiving
their education. And who were their teachers? Idlers, tipplers,
gamblers, profane persons, Sabbath-breakers. Mark well this truth: _as
is the teacher, so will be the school_. Those pupils will graduate, it
may be, at our poor-houses, at our county jails, or at the state
penitentiary. These debasing and corrupting appendages of civilization
spent not all their influence upon the white man; and this is what gave
pungency to the withering satire of the chief. They were at once working
the ruin of the red man and of his pale neighbor.

  [30] Common schools have since been organized in both of those counties.

The rudest nations or individuals can not be said to be wholly without
education. Even the wildest savage is taught by his superiors not only
the best mode of procuring food and shelter known to his race, but also
the most adroit manner of defending himself and destroying his enemy.
But we use the term in a higher, broader, and more capacious sense, as
having reference to the whole man, and the whole duration of his being.
A volume might be filled in stating and illustrating the advantages of
education. We have only space to state and elucidate a few propositions.
We remark, then, first, that


     Ignorance is one principal cause of the want of virtue, and of the
     immoralities which abound in the world. Were we to take a survey of
     the moral state of the world as delineated in the history of
     nations, or as depicted by modern voyagers and travelers, we should
     find abundant illustration of the truth of this remark. We should
     find, in almost every instance, that ignorance of the character of
     the true God, and false conceptions of the nature of the worship
     and service he requires, have led, not only to the most obscene
     practices and immoral abominations, but to the perpetration of the
     most horrid cruelties.--DR. DICK.

The evils of ignorance are not few in number nor small in magnitude. The
whole history of the world justifies the statement that ignorant and
uncultivated mind is prone to sensuality and cruelty. In what countries,
let me ask, are the people most given to the lowest forms of animal
gratification, and most regardless of the lives and happiness of others?
Is it not in pagan lands, over which moral and intellectual darkness
broods, and where men are vile without shame, and cruel without remorse?
And if from pagan we pass to Christian countries, we shall find that
those in which education is least prevalent are the very ones in which
there is the most immorality, and the greatest indifference to the
sufferings of animated and sentient beings. Spain--in which, until
recently, there was but one newspaper printed, and in which only about
one in thirty five of the people are instructed in schools--has a
population about equal to that of England and Wales. Popular education
in the latter countries, although much behind several of the other
European states, is still greatly in advance of what it is in Spain, and
there is an equally marked difference in the state of morals in the
people of these countries. In England and Wales the whole number of
convictions for murder in the year eighteen hundred and twenty-six was
_thirteen_, and the number convicted for wounding, etc., with intent to
kill, was _fourteen_; while in Spain, the number convicted during the
same year was, for murder, _twelve hundred and thirty-three_! and for
maiming with intent to kill, _seventeen hundred and seventy-three_! or a
more than one hundred fold greater number than in the former countries.
Facts like these speak volumes in favor of the elevating influences of
popular education, while they show most conclusively the low and
degraded condition to which people will sink in countries in which
education is neglected.

Spain affords an apt illustration of the truth of the statement just
made, that ignorant and uncultivated people are prone to sensuality and
cruelty. Scenes of cruelty and blood constitute the favorite amusement
of the Spaniards, their greatest delight being in bull-fights. An
eye-witness describes the manner in which they conduct themselves during
these appalling scenes in the following language. "The intense interest
which they feel in this game is visible throughout, and often loudly
expressed. An astounding shout always accompanies a critical moment.
Whether it be the _bull_ or _man_ who is in danger, their joy is
excessive; but their greatest sympathy is given to the feats of the
BULL! If the picador receives the bull gallantly and forces him to
retreat, or if the matadore courageously faces and wounds the bull, they
applaud these acts of science and valor; but if the bull overthrow the
horse and his rider, or if the matadore miss his aim and the bull seems
ready to gore him, their delight knows no bounds. And it is certainly a
fine spectacle to see thousands of spectators rise simultaneously, as
they always do when the interest is intense. The greatest and most
crowded theater in Europe presents nothing half so imposing as this. But
how barbarous, how brutal is the whole exhibition! Could an English
audience witness the scenes that are repeated every week in Madrid, a
universal burst of '_shame_!' would follow the spectacle of a horse
gored and bleeding, and actually treading upon his own entrails while he
gallops round the arena. Even the appearance of the goaded bull could
not be borne, panting, covered with wounds and blood, lacerated by
darts, and yet brave and resolute to the end.

"The spectacle continued two hours and a half, and during that time
there were seven bulls killed and six horses. When the last bull was
dispatched, the people immediately rushed into the arena, and the
carcass was dragged out amid the most deafening shouts."--_Spain in
1830_, vol. i., p. 191.

The same writer, after describing another fight, in which one bull had
killed three horses and one man, and remained master of the arena,
remarks, that "this was a time to observe the character of the people.
When the unfortunate picador was killed, in place of a general
exclamation of horror and loud expressions of pity, the universal cry
was 'Que es bravo ese toro! ('Ah, the admirable bull!') The whole scene
produced the most unbounded delight; the greater the horror, the greater
was the shouting, and the more vehement the expressions of satisfaction.
I did not perceive a single female avert her head or betray the
slightest symptom of wounded feeling."--Vol. i., p. 195.

A correct system of public instruction develops a character widely
different from that here brought to light. Instead of a love for vicious
excitement, it cultivates a taste for simple and innocent pleasures, and
gives to its subjects a command over their passions, and a disposition
habitually to control them. It acquaints them with their duty, and
enables them to find their highest pleasure in its discharge. They order
their pursuits and choose their employments with reference to their own
advantage, it is true; but still, a higher, and the controlling motive
with them is, the promotion of the best good of the community in which
they live. In short, their supreme desire is to co-operate with the
beneficent Creator in advancing the permanent interests of the whole
human family; in themselves obeying, and leading others to obey, all the
laws which God has ordained for the government and well-being of his

Education, we said, dissipates the evils of ignorance. But in this
country we hardly know what popular ignorance is. The most illiterate
among us have derived many and inestimable advantages from our systems
of public instruction. Occasionally persons are found among us who can
neither read nor write. But even such persons insensibly imbibe ideas
and moral influences from the more cultivated society about them which,
in countries less favored, are denied to multitudes. Individuals who
have had no early advantages for learning, who have never even entered a
school-house, but have grown up amid a generally intelligent population,
trained by the institutions established by our fathers, have in many
instances acquired a mental character and influence which, but for these
fortuitous circumstances, they could not have attained. The very
excellence of our systems of education in many states of the Union, and
the vital and pervading influence of the schools upon the public mind,
reaching as they do, and improving even those that remain ignorant of
letters, do not allow us to see the full extent of our obligation to
them. This remark applies to all civilized countries where any systems
of general education are adopted, but perhaps not to so great an extent
in any other country as in our own.

The evils which flow from ignorance are deplorable enough in the case of
individuals, although, as we have seen, the disastrous consequences are
limited in the case of those who live surrounded by an intelligent
community. But the general ignorance of large numbers and entire classes
of men, unreached by the elevating influence of the educated, acting
under the unchastened stimulus of the passions, and excited by the
various causes of discontent which are constantly occurring in the
progress of human affairs, is not unfrequently productive of scenes, the
contemplation of which makes humanity shudder. The following extract
from a foreign journal affords a pertinent illustration of the evils
which flow from popular ignorance. It relates to the outrages committed
by the peasantry in a part of Hungary in consequence of the ravages of
the cholera in that region.

"The suspicion that the cholera was caused by poisoning the wells was
universal among the peasantry of the counties of Zips and Zemplin, and
every one was fully convinced of its truth. The first commotion arose in
Klucknow, where, it is said, some peasants died in consequence of taking
the preservatives; whether by an immoderate use of medicine, or whether
they thought they were to take chloride of lime internally, is not
known. This story, with a sudden and violent breaking out of the cholera
at Klucknow, led the peasants to a notion of the poisoning of the wells,
which spread like lightning. In the sequel, in the attack of the estate
of Count Czaki, a servant of the chief bailiff was on the point of being
murdered, when, to save his life, he offered to disclose something
important. He said that he received from his master two pounds of
poisonous powder, with orders to throw it into the wells, and, with an
ax over his head, took oath publicly, in the church, to the truth of his
statement. These statements, and the fact that the peasants, when they
forcibly entered the houses of the land-owners, every where found
chloride of lime, which they took for the poisonous powder, confirmed
their suspicions, and drove the people to madness. In this state of
excitement, they committed the most appalling excesses. Thus, for
instance, when a detachment of thirty soldiers, headed by an ensign,
attempted to restore order in Klucknow, the peasants, who were ten times
their number, fell upon them; the soldiers were released, but the ensign
was bound, tortured with scissors and knives, then beheaded, and his
head fixed on a pike as a trophy. A civil officer in company with the
military was drowned, his carriage broken, and, chloride of lime being
found in the carriage, one of the inmates was compelled to eat it till
he vomited blood, which again confirmed the notion of poison. On the
attack of the house of the lord at Klucknow, the countess saved her life
by piteous entreaties: but the chief bailiff, in whose house chloride of
lime was unhappily found, was killed, together with his son, a little
daughter, a clerk, a maid, and two students who boarded with him. So the
bands went from village to village; wherever a nobleman or a physician
was found, death was his lot; and in a short time it was known that the
high constable of the county of Zemplin, and several counts, nobles, and
parish priests, had been murdered. A clergyman was hanged because he
refused to take an oath that he had thrown poison into a well; the eyes
of a countess were put out, and innocent children cut to pieces. Count
Czaki, having first ascertained that his family was safe, fled from his
estate at the risk of his life; but he was stopped at Kirtchtrauf,
pelted with stones, and wounded all over, torn from his horse, and only
saved by a worthy merchant who fell on him, crying, 'Now I have got the
rascal.' He drew the count into a neighboring convent, where his wounds
were dressed, and a refuge afforded him. His secretary was struck from
his horse with an ax, but saved in a similar manner, and in the evening
conveyed with his master to Leutschau."[31]

  [31] Quoted from an address delivered in Boston by Edward Everett.

A little knowledge on the part of the peasantry would have prevented
these horrible scenes. Had they learned even the elements of physiology
and chemistry, they would have known that cleanliness is essential to
health at all times, and that during the prevalence of a malignant
epidemic it is doubly needful. They would have known, also, that
chloride of lime is not a medicine to be taken internally, but that it
is very useful for disinfecting offensive apartments, and that its
tendency, when properly used, would be to counteract the cause of the
disease which they so much dreaded.

Among all nations, and in all ages of the world, ignorance has not only
debarred mankind from many exquisite and sublime enjoyments, but has
created innumerable unfounded alarms, which greatly increase the sum of
human misery. In the early ages of the world, a total eclipse of the sun
or of the moon was regarded with the utmost consternation, as if some
unusual catastrophe had been about to befall the universe. Believing
that the moon in an eclipse was sickening or dying, through the
influence of enchanters, the trembling spectators had recourse to the
ringing of bells, the sounding of trumpets, the beating of brazen
vessels, and to loud and horrid exclamations, in order to break the
enchantment, and to drown the muttering of witches, that the moon might
not hear them. Nor are such foolish opinions and customs yet banished
from the world.

Comets, too, with their blazing tails, were long regarded, and still are
by many, as harbingers of divine vengeance, presaging famines and
inundations, or the downfall of princes and the destruction of empires.
The northern lights have been frequently gazed at with similar
apprehensions, whole provinces having been thrown into consternation by
the fantastic coruscations of these lambent meteors. Some pretend to see
in these harmless lights armies mixing in fierce encounter and fields
streaming with blood, while others behold states overthrown,
earthquakes, inundations, pestilences, and the most dreadful calamities.
Because some one or other of these calamities formerly happened soon
after the appearance of a comet or the blaze of an aurora, therefore
they are considered either as the causes or the prognostics of such

Popular ignorance has given rise to the practice of _judicial
astrology_; an art which, with all its foolish notions so fatal to the
peace of mankind, has been practiced in every period of time. Under a
belief that the characters and the fates of men are dependent on the
various aspects of the stars and conjunctions of the planets, the most
unfounded apprehensions, as well as the most delusive hopes, have been
excited by the professors of this fallacious science. Such impositions
on the credulity of mankind are founded on the grossest absurdity and
the most palpable ignorance of the nature of things; still, in the midst
of the light of science which the present century has shed upon the
world, the astrologer meets with a rich support[32] even in the
metropolis of Great Britain; and soothsayers, if not astrologers, get
great gain by their craft in various portions of the United States. The
extensive annual sale of hundreds of thousands of copies of almanacs
that abound in astrological predictions in the United Stales and in
Great Britain, and the extent to which they are consulted, affords a
striking proof of the belief which is still attached to the doctrines of
this fallacious science, and of the ignorance and credulity from which
such a belief proceeds.

  [32] See Appendix to Dick's Improvement of Society, p. 338.

Shooting stars, fiery meteors, lunar rainbows, and other atmospherical
phenomena, have likewise been considered by some as ominous of impending
calamities, but they are regarded in a very different light by
scientific observers. The most sublime phenomenon of shooting stars of
which the world has furnished any record was witnessed throughout the
United States on the morning of the 13th of November, 1833. This
astonishing exhibition covered no inconsiderable portion of the earth's
surface. The first appearance was every where that of fire-works of the
most imposing grandeur, covering the entire vault of heaven with myriads
of fire-balls resembling sky-rockets; but the most brilliant sky-rockets
and fire-works of art bear less relation to the splendors of this
celestial exhibition than the twinkling of the most tiny star to the
broad glare of the noonday sun. Their coruscations were bright,
gleaming, and incessant, and they fell thick as the flakes in the early
snows of December. The whole heavens seemed in motion, and suggested to
some the awful grandeur of the image employed in the Apocalypse upon the
opening of the sixth seal, when "the stars of heaven fell unto the
earth, even as a fig-tree casteth her untimely figs when she is shaken
of a mighty wind."

While these scenes of grandeur were viewed with unspeakable delight by
enlightened scientific observers, the ignorant and superstitious were
overpowered with horror and dismay. The description which a gentleman of
South Carolina gave of the effect produced by this phenomenon upon his
ignorant blacks will apply well to many hardly better informed white
persons. "I was suddenly awakened," said he, "by the most distressing
cries that ever fell upon my ears. Shrieks of horror and cries of mercy
I could hear from most of the negroes of three plantations, amounting in
all to about six or eight hundred. While earnestly listening for the
cause, I heard a faint voice near the door calling my name: I arose,
and, taking my sword, stood at the door. At this moment I heard the same
voice still beseeching me to rise and saying, 'O! my God, the world is
on fire!' I then opened the door, and it is difficult to say which
excited me most, the awfulness of the scene or the distressed cries of
the negroes. Upward of one hundred lay prostrate on the ground, some
speechless, and some with the bitterest cries, but most with their
hands raised, imploring God to save the world and them. The scene was
truly awful, for never did rain fall much thicker than the meteors fell
toward the earth; east, west, north, and south, it was the same."

Those harmless meteors, the _ignes fatui_, which hover above moist and
fenny places in the night-time, emitting a glimmering light, have been
regarded by the ignorant as malicious spirits endeavoring to deceive the
bewildered traveler and lead him to destruction. The plaintive note of
the mourning dove, the ticking noise of the little insect called the
death-watch, the howling of a dog in the night-time, the meeting of a
bitch with whelps, or a snake lying in the road, the breaking of a
looking-glass, and even the falling of salt from the table, and the
curling of a fiber of wick in a burning candle, together with many other
equally harmless incidents, have been regarded with apprehensions of
terror, being considered as unfailing signs of impending disasters or of
approaching death.

Dr. Dick remarks, that in the Highlands of Scotland--and it should be
borne in mind that the Scotch are, as a nation, better instructed, and
more moral and religious in their habits, than any other people in
Europe--the motions and appearances of the clouds were, not long ago,
considered ominous of disastrous events. On the evening before new
year's day, if a black cloud appeared in any part of the horizon, it was
thought to prognosticate a plague, a famine, or the death of some great
man in that part of the country over which it seemed to hang; and in
order to ascertain the place threatened by the omen, the motions of the
clouds were often watched through the whole night. In the same country,
the inhabitants regard certain days as _unlucky_, or ominous of bad
fortune. The day of the week on which the third of May falls is deemed
unlucky throughout the year.

With a very slight change, a part of this description would apply well
to our own country, even up to the present time. How many thousands of
days are lost annually in the United States in consequence of
superstitious fears in relation to setting out upon a journey, entering
upon a new pursuit of any kind, or even beginning to plant or plow on
Friday, the unlucky day of the Americans. How many persons have had
misfortunes attend them all their lives because they were born, or
christened, or married on Friday! How many houses have been burned
because they were begun, raised, or moved into on Friday! How many
steamboats and vessels have been burned or wrecked because they were
launched or sailed on Friday! And yet, strange as it may seem, this is
the very day on which Columbus set sail on a voyage that resulted in the
discovery of the New World.

Many people, and in some instances whole communities, always commence
plowing, sowing, and reaping on Tuesday, though by this rule the most
favorable weather for these purposes is frequently lost. Others, again,
will not, on any account, perform certain kinds of labor on Friday. The
age of the moon is also much attended to in many parts of the world.
Among the vulgar Highlanders, an opinion prevails, that if a house takes
fire while the moon is in the decrease, the family will from that time
decline in its circumstances and sink into poverty. In this country,
equally unfounded and ridiculous opinions are entertained. Passing by
the more commonly received opinions that if swine are killed in the old
of the moon, the pork will shrink in the pot; that seed sown at this
time will be less likely to do well, etc., etc., I will mention one or
two instances of opinions which, although equally well founded, are
less commonly received, and which may therefore more forcibly impress
the popular mind. A few years ago, I spent some months in a neighboring
state, in a community where the belief was commonly entertained that
shingles should not be laid nor stakes driven in the old of the moon,
because the former would be more likely to warp, and the latter to be
thrown by the frost. The same and kindred opinions are extensively held
in various portions of the United States.

These are a few, and but a very few, of the superstitious notions and
vain fears by which the great majority of the human race, in every age
and country, have been enslaved, as he who will take the pains to peruse
Dr. Dick's admirable treatise on the improvement of society by the
diffusion of knowledge can not fail to be convinced. That such absurd
notions should ever have prevailed is a most grating and humiliating
thought, when we consider the noble faculties with which man is endowed.
That they still prevail to a great extent, even in our own country, is a
striking proof that as yet we are, as a people, but just emerging from
the gloom of intellectual darkness. The prevalence of such opinions is
to be regretted, not only on account of the groundless alarms they
create, but chiefly on account of the false ideas they inspire with
regard to the nature of the Supreme Ruler of the universe, and of his
arrangements in the government of the world. He whose mind is
enlightened with true science perceives throughout all nature the most
striking evidences of benevolent design, and rejoices in the benignity
of the Great Parent of the universe, discovering nothing in the
arrangements of the Creator, in any department of his works, which has a
direct tendency to produce pain to any intelligent or sensitive being.
The superstitious man, on the contrary, contemplates the sky, the air,
the waters, and the earth as filled with malicious beings, ever ready to
haunt him with terror or to plot his destruction. The former
contemplates the Deity directing the movements of the material world by
fixed and invariable laws, which none but himself can counteract or
suspend. The latter views these movements as continually liable to be
controlled by capricious and malignant beings to gratify the most
trivial passions. How very different, of course, must be their
conceptions and feelings respecting the attributes and government of the
Supreme Being! While the one views him as the infinitely wise and
benevolent Father, whose paternal care and goodness inspire confidence
and affection, the other must regard him, in a certain degree, as a
capricious being, and offer up his adorations under the influence of

These and like notions have also an evident tendency to habituate the
mind to false principles and processes of reasoning which unfit it for
legitimate conclusions in its researches after truth. They manifestly
chain down the understanding, and unfit it for the appreciation of those
noble and enlarged views which revelation and modern science exhibit of
the order, extent, and economy of the universe. It is lamentable to
reflect that so many thousands of beings endowed with the faculty of
reason, who can not by any means be persuaded of the motion of the
earth, and the distances and magnitudes of the heavenly bodies, should
swallow, without the least hesitation, opinions ten thousand times more
improbable. Notwithstanding the mathematical certainty of the truth of
the Copernican system of astronomy, I have never yet become extensively
acquainted with any community in which I have not found many persons
professing a respectable degree of intelligence, and even official
members of orthodox churches, who entirely discredit its sublime
teachings; and yet some of these very persons find little difficulty in
believing that an old woman can transform herself into a hare, and wing
her way through the air on a broomstick. What contracted notions such
persons must have of the almightiness of the Deity, and of the infinite
depth of meaning of the following and like passages of Scripture: The
heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth his handy
work. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth
knowledge.--_Ps._ xix., 1-2.

It has been already remarked, that the whole history of the world
justifies the statement that ignorant and uncultivated mind is prone to
sensuality and cruelty. Spain and Hungary were referred to in
illustration. We are now prepared to remark, what is worse still, that
where such superstitious notions as we have been considering are held,
even by persons who are somewhat educated, they almost invariably lead
to the perpetration of deeds of cruelty and injustice. Many of the
barbarities committed in pagan countries, both in their religious
worship and their civil polity, and most of the cruelties inflicted on
the victims of the Romish Inquisition, have flowed from this source.[33]
Nor are the annals of Great Britain and the United States deficient in
examples of this kind. About the commencement of the last century, the
belief in witchcraft, which was almost universal throughout Christendom,
was held in both of these countries. The laws of England, which admitted
its existence and punished it with death, were adopted by the Puritans
of New England, and in less than twenty years from the founding of the
colony, one individual was tried and executed for the supposed crime.
Half a century later the delusion broke out in Salem. A minister, whose
daughter and niece were subject to convulsions accompanied by
extraordinary symptoms, supposing they were bewitched, cast his
suspicions on an Indian woman who lived in the house, and who was
whipped until she confessed herself a witch; and the truth of the
confession, although obtained in this way, was not doubted. During the
same year more than fifty persons were terrified into the confession of
witchcraft, twenty of whom were put to death. Neither age, sex, nor
station afforded any safeguard against a charge for this supposed crime.
Women and children not only were its victims, but magistrates were
condemned, and a clergyman of the highest respectability was among the
executed. So late as 1722 a woman was burned for witchcraft in Scotland,
which was among the last executions in that country.

  [33] In the Duchy of Lorraine, nine hundred females were delivered over
  to the flames for being _witches_, by one inquisitor alone. Under this
  accusation, it is reckoned that upward of _thirty thousand women_ have
  perished by the hands of the Inquisition.--Quoted by Dr. Dick from
  "_Inquisition Unmasked_."

It appears that these superstitious notions, so far from being innocent
and harmless speculations, lead to the most deplorable results; they
ought, therefore, to be undermined and thoroughly eradicated by all
persons who wish to promote the happiness and well-being of general
society. This duty is especially incumbent upon parents and teachers,
and can be effected only by rendering correct early education universal.
Ignorance of the laws and economy of nature is the one great source of
these absurd opinions. They have not only no foundation in nature or
experience, but are directly opposed to both. In proportion, then, as we
advance in our researches into Nature's economy and laws, shall we
perceive their futility and absurdity. As in other cases, take away the
cause, and the effect will be removed.

_Education will dissipate all these evils._ It is true that an
acquaintance with a number of dead languages, with Roman and Grecian
antiquities, with the subtleties of metaphysics, with pagan mythology,
and with politics and poetry, may coexist with these superstitions, as
was true in the case of the late Dr. Samuel Johnson, who believed in
ghosts and in the _second sight_. However important in other respects
these departments of an extensive and varied education may be, they do
not form an effectual barrier against the admission of superstitious
opinions. In order to do this, the mind must be directed to the study of
the material universe, to contemplate the various appearances it
presents, and to mark well the uniform results of those invariable laws
by which it is governed. In particular, the attention should be directed
to those discoveries which have been made by philosophers in the
different departments of nature and art during the last two centuries.
For this purpose, the study of natural history, as recording the various
facts respecting the atmosphere, the waters, the earth, and animated
beings, combined with the study of natural philosophy and astronomy, as
explaining the causes of the phenomena of nature, will have a happy
tendency to eradicate from the mind superstitious and false notions, and
at the same time will present to view objects of delightful
contemplation. Let a person be once thoroughly convinced that nature is
uniform in her operations, and governed by regular laws impressed by an
all-wise and benevolent Being, and he will soon be inspired with
confidence, and will not easily be alarmed at any occasional phenomena
which at first sight might appear as exceptions to the general rule.

Let persons be taught, for example, that eclipses are occasioned merely
by the shadow of one opaque body falling upon another; that they are
the necessary result of the inclination of the moon's orbit to that of
the earth; that, if these orbits were in the same plane, there would be
an eclipse of the sun and of the moon every month, the former occurring
at the change, and the latter at the full of the moon; that the times
when they do actually take place depend on the new or full moon
happening at or near the points of intersection of the orbits of the
earth and moon, and that other planets which have moons experience
eclipses of a similar nature. Let them also be taught that the _comets_
are regular bodies belonging to our system, which finish their
revolutions and appear and disappear in stated periods of time; that the
northern lights, though seldom seen in southern climes, are frequent in
the regions of the North, and supply the inhabitants with light in the
absence of the sun, and have probably a relation to the magnetic and
electric fluids; that the _ignes fatui_ are harmless lights, formed by
the ignition of a certain species of gas produced in the soils above
which they hover; and that the notes of the death-watch, so far from
being presages of death, are ascertained to be the notes of _love_ and
presages of hymeneal intercourse among these little insects.

Let rational information of this kind be imparted to people generally,
and they will learn to contemplate nature with tranquillity and
composure. A more beneficial effect than this will at the same time be
produced, for those very objects which were formerly beheld with alarm
will now be converted into sources of enjoyment, and be contemplated
with emotions of delight.

To remove the groundless apprehensions which arise from the fear of
invisible and incorporeal beings, let persons be instructed in the
various optical illusions to which we are subject, arising from the
intervention of fogs, and the indistinctness of vision in the
night-time, which makes us frequently mistake a bush that is near us for
a large tree at a distance, and let them be taught that under the
influence of these illusions a timid imagination will transform the
indistinct image of a cow or a horse into a terrific phantom of a
monstrous size. Let them also be taught, by a selection of
well-authenticated facts, the powerful influence of the imagination in
creating ideal forms, especially when under the dominion of fear; the
effects produced by the workings of conscience when harassed by guilt;
let them be taught the effects produced by lively dreams, by strong
doses of opium, by drunkenness, hysteric passions, madness, and other
disorders that affect the mind. Let the experiments of optics, and the
striking phenomena produced by electricity, galvanism, magnetism, and
the different gases, be exhibited to their view, together with details
of the results which have been produced by various mechanical
contrivances. In fine, let their attention be directed to the foolish,
whimsical, and extravagant notions attributed to apparitions, and to
their inconsistency with the wise and benevolent arrangements of the
Governor of the universe.

There is no rational foundation for entertaining any doubts but that,
could such instructions as I have suggested be universally given, the
effect would be the banishment of superstitions of the nature
contemplated from among mankind; _for they have uniformly produced this
effect on every mind which has been thus enlightened_. Where is the man
to be found whose mind is enlightened by the doctrines and discoveries
of modern science, and who yet remains the slave of superstitious
notions and vain fears? Of all the philosophers of America and Europe,
is there one who is alarmed at an eclipse, at a comet, at an _ignis
fatuus_, or at the notes of a death-watch? or who postpones his
experiments on account of what is called an unlucky day? Who ever heard
of a specter appearing to such a person, dragging him from bed at the
dead hour of midnight, to wander through the forest, trembling with
fear? Such beings appear only to the ignorant and illiterate, at least
to those who are unacquainted with natural science, and we never hear of
their appearing to any who did not previously believe in their
existence. But should philosophers be freed from such terrific visions,
if substantial knowledge has not the power of banishing them from the
mind? Why should supernatural beings feel so shy in conversing with men
of science? These would, indeed, be the fittest persons to whom they
might impart their secrets, and communicate information respecting the
invisible world; but it never falls to their lot to be favored with such
visits. It may therefore be concluded that the diffusion of useful
knowledge among mankind would infallibly dissipate those groundless
fears which have banished much of happiness from the human family, and
particularly among the lower orders of society.[34]

  [34] Dr. Dick, to whom I have frequently referred, and whose writings I
  have freely consulted, expresses in a note a sentiment in which I fully
  concur. "It would be unfair," says he, "to infer, from any expression
  here used, that the author denies the possibility of supernatural
  visions and appearances. We are assured from the records of sacred
  history that beings of an order superior to the human race have 'at
  sundry times and in divers manners' made their appearance to men. But
  there is the most marked difference between vulgar apparitions and the
  celestial messengers to which the records of revelation refer. They
  appeared not to old women and clowns, but to patriarchs, prophets, and
  apostles. They appeared not to frighten the timid and to create
  unnecessary alarm, but to declare 'tidings of great joy.' They appeared
  not to reveal such paltry secrets as the place where a pot of gold or
  silver is concealed, or where a lost ring may be found, but to
  communicate intelligence worthy of a God to reveal, and of the utmost
  importance for man to receive. In these and many other respects, there
  is the most striking contrast between popular ghosts and the
  supernatural communications and appearances recorded in Scripture."

I might, perhaps, safely dismiss this subject, and proceed to the
consideration of other topics; but, before doing so, it may be well to
state that many of the views here presented, and all that come within
the range of the subjects discussed by him, are fully sustained by Dr.
Lardner, whose popular lectures on science and art have been so well
received both in Europe and America. His publishers justly remark, that
"probably no public lecturer ever continued, for the same length of
time, to collect around him so numerous audiences." The author himself
states, in the preface to his Lectures,[35] that from November, 1841,
when he commenced his public lectures in the lecture-room of Clinton
Hall, in New York, to the close of the year 1844, when he concluded his
public labors in this country, he "visited every considerable city and
town of the Union, from Boston to New Orleans, and from New York to St.
Louis. Most of the principal cities were twice visited, and several
courses were given in Boston, New York, and Philadelphia. Nor did the
appetite for this species of intellectual entertainment appear to flag
by repetition."

  [35] In two large volumes, published by Greeley and McElrath, New York.

I can not forbear making a few quotations from the preface to the work
under consideration, which are creditable to the comparative
intelligence of the American people, and show the avidity with which
they seek instruction and useful knowledge. Dr. Lardner observes, that
"it was usual on each evening to deliver from two to four of the essays
which compose the contents of the present volumes, and the duration of
the entertainment was from two to three hours. On every occasion the
most profound interest was evinced on the part of the audience, and the
most unremitting and silent attention was given. These assemblies
consisted of persons of both sexes, of every age, from the elder classes
of pupils in the schools to their grandfathers and grandmothers.
Frequently the audiences amounted to twelve hundred, and sometimes, as
at the Philadelphia Museum, they exceeded two thousand. Nor was the
manifestation of this interest confined, as might be imagined, to the
northern Atlantic cities, where education is known to be attended to,
and where, as in New England, the diffusion of useful knowledge is
regarded as a paramount duty of the state. The same crowded assemblies
were collected, for a long succession of nights, in the largest theaters
of each of the southern and western cities; in the Charleston Theater;
the Mobile Theater; the St. Charles Theater, New Orleans; the Vicksburg
and Jackson Theaters, Mississippi; the St. Louis Theater, Missouri; and
in the theaters of Cincinnati, Pittsburg, and other western and central

"It can not be denied that such facts are symptomatic of a very
remarkable condition of the public mind, more especially among a people
who are admitted to be, more than any other nation, engrossed by
money-getting and by the more material pursuits of life. The less
pretension to eloquence and the attractive graces of oratory the
lecturer can offer, the more surprising is the result, and the more
creditable to the intelligence of the American people. It is certain
that a similar intellectual entertainment, clogged, as it necessarily
was, with a pecuniary condition of admission, would fail to attract an
audience even in the most polished and enlightened cities of Europe."

While these statements are highly creditable to the American people,
the lectures themselves contain paragraphs which show that the popular
mind even in our own country is not sufficiently enlightened to
eradicate the superstitions just considered.

THE MOON AND THE WEATHER.--Dr. Lardner, in a lecture on the moon, in
answer to the question, Does the moon influence the weather? says,[36]
It is asserted, first, that at the epochs of new and full moon, and at
the quarters, there is generally a change of weather; and, secondly,
that the phases of the moon, or, in other words, the relative position
of the moon and sun in regard to the earth, is the cause of these
changes. Now these and kindred opinions are very extensively held in
this country. But the doctor refers to meteorological tables,
constructed in various countries after the most extensive and careful
observation, and the result is that no correspondence exists between the
condition of the weather and the phases of the moon. He hence, after a
full examination, comes to the conclusion that "_the condition of the
weather as to change, or in any other respect, has, as a matter of fact,
no correspondence whatever with the lunar phases_."

  [36] See Lectures on Science and Art, vol. i., p. 315.

In another lecture on the moon and the weather, the following decisive
opinion is expressed: "From all that has been stated, it follows then,
conclusively, that the popular notions concerning the influence of the
lunar phases on the weather have no foundation in the theory, and no
correspondence with observed facts."[37]

  [37] Ibid., p. 419-420.

TIME FOR FELLING TIMBER.--In another lecture on lunar influences, Dr.
Lardner observes that "there is an opinion generally entertained that
timber should be felled only during the decline of the moon; for if it
be cut down during its increase, it will not be of a good or durable
quality. This impression prevails in various countries. It is acted upon
in England, and is made the ground of legislation in France. _The forest
laws of the latter country interdict the cutting of timber during the
increase of the moon._ In the extensive forests of Germany, the same
opinion is entertained and acted upon, with the most undoubting
confidence in its truth. Sauer, a superintendent of some of these
districts, assigns what he believes to be its physical cause. According
to him, the increase of the moon causes the sap to ascend in the timber,
and, on the other hand, the decrease of the moon causes it to descend.
If the timber, therefore, be cut during the decrease of the moon, it
will be cut in a dry state, the sap having retired, and the wood,
therefore, will be compact, solid, and durable. But if it be cut during
the increase of the moon, it will be felled with the sap in it, and will
therefore be more spongy, more easily attacked by worms, more difficult
to season, and more readily split and warped by changes of temperature.

"Admitting for a moment the reality of this supposition concerning the
motion of the sap, it would follow that the proper time for felling the
timber would be _the new moon_, that being the epoch at which the
descent of the sap would have been made, and the ascent not yet
commenced. But can there be imagined, in the whole range of natural
science, a physical relation more extraordinary and unaccountable than
this supposed correspondence between the movement of the sap and the
phases of the moon? Assuredly theory affords not the slightest
countenance to such a supposition; but let us inquire as to the fact
whether it be really the case that the quality of timber depends upon
the state of the moon at the time it is felled.

"M. Duhamel Monceau, a celebrated French agriculturist, has made direct
and positive experiments for the purpose of testing this question, and
has clearly and conclusively shown that the qualities of timber felled
in different parts of the lunar month are the same. M. Duhamel felled a
great many trees of the same age, growing from the same soil, and
exposed to the same aspect, and never found any difference in the
quality of the timber, when he compared those which were felled in the
decline of the moon with those which were felled during its increase: in
general, they have afforded timber of the same quality. He adds,
however, that by a circumstance which was doubtless fortuitous, a slight
difference was manifested in favor of timber which had been felled
between the new and full moon, _contrary to popular opinion_."

SUPPOSED LUNAR INFLUENCES.--It is an aphorism received by all gardeners
and agriculturists in Europe, remarks the same author, that vegetables,
plants, and trees, which are expected to flourish and grow with vigor,
should be planted, grafted, and pruned during the increase of the moon.
This opinion, however, he thinks is altogether erroneous; for the
experiments and observations of several French agriculturists have
clearly established the fact that the increase or decrease of the moon
has no appreciable influence on the phenomena of vegetation.

This erroneous prejudice prevails also on the American continent. A
French author states that, in Brazil, cultivators plant during the
_decline_ of the moon all vegetables whose _roots_ are used as food, and
that, on the contrary, they plant during the _increasing_ moon the
sugar-cane, maize, rice, beans, etc., and those which bear the food upon
their _stocks_ and _branches_. Experiments, however, were made and
reported by M. de Chauvalon, at Martinique, on vegetables of both
kinds, planted at different times in the lunar month, and no
appreciable difference in their qualities was discovered.

There are some traces of a principle adopted by the South American
agronomes (farmers), according to which they treat the two classes of
plants distinguished by the production of fruit on their roots or on
their branches differently; but there are none in the European
aphorisms. The directions of Pliny are still more specific: he
prescribes the time of the full moon for sowing beans, and that of the
new moon for lentils. "Truly," says M. Arago, "we have need of a robust
faith to admit, without proof, that the moon, at the distance of two
hundred and forty thousand miles, shall, in one position, act
advantageously upon the vegetation of _beans_, and that in the opposite
position, and at the same distance, she shall be propitious to

Dr. Lardner gives numerous and extended illustrations of the supposed
influence of the moon on the growth of grain, on wine-making,[38] on the
color of the complexion, on putrefaction, on the size of shell-fish, on
the quantity of marrow in the bones of animals, on the number of births,
on mental derangement, and other human maladies, etc., etc.

  [38] On this subject the prevailing opinions in different countries
  disagree, as they do also on some of the others.

The influence on the phenomena of human maladies imputed to the moon is
very ancient. Hippocrates had so strong a faith in the influence of
celestial objects upon animated beings, that he expressly recommends no
physician to be trusted who is ignorant of astronomy. Galen, following
Hippocrates, maintained the same opinion, especially of the influence of
the moon. The critical days, or _crises_, were the seventh, fourteenth,
and twenty-first of the disease, corresponding to the intervals between
the moon's principal phases. While the doctrine of alchemists
prevailed, the human body was considered as a microcosm, or an epitome
of the universe, the heart representing the sun, and the brain the moon.
The planets had each his proper influence: Jupiter presided over the
lungs, Saturn over the spleen, Venus over the kidneys, and Mercury over
the organs of generation. The term _lunacy_, which still designates
unsoundness of mind, is a relic of these grotesque notions, and is
defined by Dr. Webster as "a species of insanity or madness, formerly
supposed to be influenced by the moon, or periodical in the month." But
even this term may now be said, in some degree, to be banished from the
nomenclature of medicine; it has, however, taken refuge in that
receptacle of all antiquated absurdities of phraseology--the
law--lunatic being still the term for the subject who is incapable of
managing his own affairs.

Sanctorius, whose name is celebrated in physics for the invention of the
thermometer, held it as a principle that a healthy man gained two
pounds' weight at the beginning of every lunar month, which he lost
toward its completion. This opinion appears to have been founded on
experiments made upon himself, and affords another instance of a
fortuitous coincidence hastily generalized.

For all the progress that has been made in this country toward the
removal from the popular mind of the numerous corrupting and debasing
absurdities which have hitherto enslaved it, we are indebted to our
enlightened and chastened systems of popular education; and to these,
and to these only, may we confidently look for entire freedom from the


    Education has a power of ministering to our personal and material
    wants beyond all other agencies, whether excellence of climate,
    spontaneity of production, mineral resources, or mines of silver and
    gold. Every wise parent, every wise community, desiring the
    prosperity of its children even in the most worldly sense, will
    spare no pains in giving them a generous education.--HORACE MANN.

    The best educated are always the best paid.--_Foreign Report._

The desirableness of education is manifest, view it in what light we
may, and whether as affecting individuals or communities. We have
already seen that education, and that alone, will dissipate the evils of
ignorance. We now propose to discuss the equally tenable proposition
that education increases the productiveness of labor.

That knowledge is power has become a proverb. If it be asked why the
labor of a man is more valuable than the same amount of physical effort
put forth by a brute, the ready answer is, It is because man combines
_intelligence_ with his labor. A single yoke of oxen will do more in one
day at plowing than forty men; yet the oxen may be had for fifty cents a
day, while each of the men can earn a dollar. Physical exertion in this
case, combined with ordinary skill, is eighty times more valuable than
the same amount of brute force. The strength of the ox is of no account
without some one to guide and apply it, while the power of man is guided
by intelligence within.

In proportion as man's intelligence increases is his labor more
valuable. A small compensation is the reward of mere physical power,
while skill, combined with a moderate amount of strength, commands high
wages. The labor of an ignorant man is scarcely more valuable than the
same amount of brute force; but the services of an intelligent,
skillful person are a hundred fold more productive. I will pause and
illustrate, for I wish to have every person who arises from the perusal
of these pages do so with the fullest conviction that mental culture is
of the highest importance even in the ordinary departments of human
industry. It is, indeed, hardly less important for the man of business,
the farmer, or the mechanic, than for statesmen, legislators, and
members of the so-called learned professions.

An intelligent farmer of my acquaintance having a piece of greensward to
break up, and having three work-horses, determined to employ them all.
He hence, possessing some mechanical skill, himself constructed a
three-horse whipple-tree, by means of which he advantageously combined
the strength of his horses. A less intelligent neighbor, pleased with
the novel appearance of three horses working abreast, resolved to try
the experiment himself. But not possessing the skill requisite to
construct such a whipple-tree, he waited till his better-informed and
more expert neighbor had got through with his, and then, borrowing it,
tried the experiment with his own team. Early one morning, and full of
expectation, aided by his two sons and a hired man, he harnessed his
three horses to the plow. But one of them, for the first time, refused
to draw. After several fruitless attempts to make the team work as first
harnessed, the relative position of the horses was changed, when, lo!
although _this_ horse would draw as formerly, one of the others would
not. By and by another change was made, and the third horse, in turn,
refused to draw. The farmer could not understand it, nor his sons, nor
his hired man. His three horses, for the first time, were each fickle in
turn. And, what was most surprising, they would all work in either of
two positions, but in the third none of them would draw. The honest
farmer thought the age of witchcraft had not yet passed. At the
conclusion of the forenoon he gave up the undertaking in disgust, and,
carrying the whipple-tree home, told the story of his unsuccessful and
vexatious experiment.

"And how did you harness the horses to the whipple-tree?" inquired the
more intelligent farmer. "Why, one at the short end, and two at the long
end, where there is the most room for them, to be sure!" was the frank

The power at the short end, I need not say, should be twice that at the
long end; whereas he had it reversed. One horse drew against two with a
double purchase. He then would have to draw twice as much as both of
them, or four times as much as one of them. The fickleness of the
horses, then, instead of being the result of _witchcraft_, as he was
inclined to believe, was chargeable solely to the _ignorance_ of their
hardly more intelligent master. A knowledge of the first principles of
mechanics, or, in the absence of this, an ordinary degree of active,
available common sense, would teach the proper use of such a
whipple-tree. For want of this knowledge, the farmer suffered much
chagrin, lost the time of four men, and did great injury to his team.

After mentioning this circumstance on a certain occasion, a gentleman
present gave a parallel case, that occurred under his immediate
observation. His neighbor had a yoke of oxen, one of which was large,
strong, and beautiful. One day, as the neighbor was passing the
residence of the gentleman, the latter remarked to him, "You have one
very fine-looking ox." "Yes," replied the neighbor, with apparent
satisfaction, "and a bonny fellow he is too. He can carry the _long end
of the yoke, and grow fat under it_." Here, again, the weaker ox had to
tax his strength doubly on account of the advantage which the ignorance
of his kind master had unintentionally given to his superior

A farmer, or laborer of any kind, who possesses a knowledge of the
merest elements of science, and is accustomed to think and investigate,
can not only work more advantageously with his team, but he can do more
work himself, and do it easier too, than his neighbor of superior
physical strength, though of inferior mental capacity. The correctness
of this statement may be satisfactorily proved and amply illustrated in
loading timber, in moving buildings, in plowing, and in almost every
kind of work done on a farm or among men, either on land or at sea. The
ignorant man will spend more time in running after help to do a supposed
difficult job, than it will require for a skillful one to do it alone.
This is true in carpentry, and in all of the mechanic arts. Increase the
practical and available education of the laborer, and you enable him to
do more work, and better work too, than his less informed associate. The
following is a striking illustration.

A practical teacher employed some mechanics to build him a barn. The day
after the frame was raised, the teacher discovered that it needed to be
turned a few inches upon its foundation, to range properly with other
buildings. While the mechanics went in several directions to procure
what they regarded as necessary help, the teacher, who was familiar with
the various combinations of the lever, effected the work alone, and
before their return! Other equally striking illustrations might be

But education increases the productiveness of labor in a wider and more
extended sense. By its omnipotent influence, man is enabled to lay the
elements under tribute. The water and the wind, by its mysterious
power, are made to propel his machinery for various purposes. The utmost
skill of the untutored savage enables him to construct a rude canoe
which two can carry upon their shoulders by land, which is barely
capable of plying upon our rivers and coasting our inland seas, and
which can be propelled only by human muscles, but the _educated man_
erects a magnificent vessel, a floating palace, and, spreading his
canvas to the breeze, aided by the mariner's compass, can traverse
unknown seas in safety. To such perfection has he attained in the
science and art of navigation, that he contends successfully with wind
and tide, and makes headway against both, even when he depends upon the
former for his motive power. Yes, education enables man even to tax the
gentle breeze to urge a proud ship, heavily laden, up an inclined plane,
thousands of miles, against the current of a mighty river.

I can not, perhaps, so satisfactorily establish the proposition which I
am now endeavoring to elucidate, nor so well maintain the universality
of its application, as by referring to the writings of the most
indefatigable and successful laborer in the department of popular
education of which our country can boast. I refer to the Hon. Horace
Mann,[39] who, a few years ago, in his official capacity, opened a
correspondence, and availed himself of all opportunities to hold
personal interviews with many of the most practical, sagacious, and
intelligent business men in our country, who for many years had had
large numbers of persons in their employment. His object was to
ascertain the difference in the productive ability, where natural
capacities were equal, between the educated and the uneducated; between
a man or a woman whose mind has been awakened to thought, and supplied
with the rudiments of knowledge by a good common school education, and
one whose faculties have never been developed, or aided in emerging from
their original darkness and torpor by such a privilege. For this purpose
he conferred and corresponded with manufacturers of all kinds--with
machinists, engineers, rail-road contractors, officers in the army,
etc.; classes which have means of determining the effects of education
on individuals equal in their natural abilities that other classes do
not possess.

  [39] Late Secretary of the Massachusetts Board of Education. Reference
  is here especially made to his Fifth Annual Report, bearing date January
  1, 1842, from which, with his consent, what follows under this head has
  been substantially drawn.

A farmer hiring a laborer for one season who has received a good common
school education, and the ensuing season hiring another who has not
enjoyed this advantage, although he may be personally convinced of the
relative value or profitableness of their services, yet he will rarely
have any exact data or tests to refer to by which he can measure the
superiority of the former over the latter. They do not work side by
side, so that he can institute a comparison between the amounts of labor
they perform. They may cultivate different fields, where the ease of
tillage or the fertility of the soils may be different. They may rear
crops under the influence of different seasons, so that he can not
discriminate between what is referable to the bounty of nature and what
to superiority in judgment or skill.

Similar difficulties exist in estimating the amount and value of female
labor in the household. And as to the mechanic also--the carpenter, the
mason, the blacksmith, the tool-maker of any kind--there are a thousand
circumstances, which we call accidental, that mingle their influence in
giving quality and durability to their work, and prevent us from making
a precise estimate of the relative value of any two men's handicraft.
Individual differences, too, in regard to a single article or a single
days' work, may be too minute to be noticed or appreciated, while the
aggregate of these differences at the end of a few years may make all
the difference between a poor man and a rich one. No observing man can
have failed to notice the difference between two workmen, one of whom,
to use a proverbial expression, always "hits the nail on the head,"
while the other loses half his strength and destroys half his nails by
the awkwardness of his blows; but perhaps few men have thought of the
difference in the results of two such men's labor at the end of twenty

But when hundreds of men or women work side by side in the same factory,
at the same machinery, in making the same fabrics, and, by a fixed rule
of the establishment, labor the same number of hours each day; and when,
also, the products of each operative can be counted in number, weighed
by the pound, or measured by the yard or cubic foot, then it is
perfectly practicable to determine, with arithmetical exactness, the
productions of one individual and class as compared with those of
another individual and class.

So, where there are different kinds of labor, some simple, others
complicated, and of course requiring different degrees of intelligence
and skill, it is easy to observe what class of persons rise from a lower
to a higher grade of employment.

This, too, is not to be forgotten, that in a manufacturing or mechanical
establishment, or among a set of hands engaged in filling up a valley or
cutting down a hill, where scores of people are working together, the
absurd and adventitious distinctions of society do not intrude. The
capitalist and his agents are looking for the greatest amount of labor
or the largest income in money from their investments, and they do not
promote a dunce to a station where he will destroy raw material or
slacken industry because of his name, or birth, or family connections.
The obscurest and humblest person has a fair field for competition. That
he proves himself capable of earning more money for his employers is a
testimonial better than a diploma from all the colleges.

Now many of the most intelligent and valuable men in the community, in
compliance with Mr. Mann's request, examined their books for a series of
years, and ascertained both the quality and the amount of work performed
by persons in their employment, and the result of the investigation is a
most astonishing superiority in productive power on the part of the
educated over the uneducated laborer. The hand is found to be another
hand when guided by an intelligent mind. Processes are performed not
only more rapidly, but better, when faculties which have been exercised
in early life furnish their assistance. Individuals who, without the aid
of knowledge, would have been condemned to perpetual inferiority of
condition, and subjected to all the evils of want and poverty, rise to
competence and independence by the uplifting power of education. In
great establishments, and among large bodies of laboring men, where all
services are rated according to their pecuniary value; where there are
no extrinsic circumstances to bind a man down to a fixed position after
he has shown a capacity to rise above it; where, indeed, men pass by
each other, ascending or descending in their grades of labor just as
easily and certainly as particles of water of different degrees of
temperature glide by each other--under such circumstances it is found,
as an almost invariable fact, other things being equal, that those who
have been blessed with a good common school education rise to a higher
and a higher point in the kinds of labor performed, and also in the rate
of wages received, while the ignorant sink like dregs, and are always
found at the bottom.

James K. Mills, Esq., of Boston, who has been connected with a house
that has had for the last ten years the principal direction of
cotton-mills, machine shops, and calico-printing works, in which are
constantly employed about three thousand persons, and whose opinions of
the effects of a common school education upon a manufacturing population
are the result of personal observation and inquiries, and are confined
to the testimony of the overseers and agents who are brought into
immediate contact with the operatives, expresses the conviction that the
rudiments of a common school education are essential to the attainment
of skill and expertness as laborers, or to consideration and respect in
the civil and social relations of life; that very few who have not
enjoyed the advantages of a common school education ever rise above the
lowest class of operatives, and that the labor of this class, when it is
employed in manufacturing operations which require even a very moderate
degree of manual or mental dexterity, is unproductive; that a large
majority of the overseers and others employed in situations which
require a high degree of skill in particular branches--which oftentimes
require a good general knowledge of business, and _always_ an
unexceptionable moral character--have made their way up from the
condition of common laborers, with no other advantage over a large
proportion of those they have left behind than that derived from a
better education.

A statement made from the books of one of the manufacturing companies
will show the relative number of the two classes, and the earnings of
each; and this mill, we are assured, may be taken as a fair index of all
the others. The average number of operatives employed for the last three
years is twelve hundred. Of this number there are forty-five unable to
write their names, or about three and three fourths per cent. The
average of women's wages, in the departments requiring the most skill,
is two dollars and fifty cents per week, exclusive of board. The average
wages of the lowest departments is one dollar and twenty-five cents per

Of the forty-five who are unable to write, twenty-nine, or about two
thirds, are employed in the lowest department. The difference between
the wages earned by the forty-five and the average wages of an equal
number of the better-educated class is about twenty-seven per cent. in
favor of the latter. The difference between the wages earned by
twenty-nine of the lowest class and the same number in the higher is
sixty-six per cent. Of seventeen persons filling the most responsible
stations in the mills, ten have grown up in the establishment from
common laborers or apprentices.

This statement does not include an importation of sixty-three persons
from Manchester, in England, in 1839. Among these persons there was
scarcely one who could read or write; and although a part of them had
been accustomed to work in cotton-mills, yet, either from incapacity or
idleness, they were unable to earn sufficient to pay for their
subsistence, and at the expiration of a few weeks not more than half a
dozen remained in the employment of the company.

In some of the print-works a large proportion of the operatives are
foreigners. Those who are employed in the branches which require a
considerable degree of skill are as well educated as our people in
similar situations. But the common laborers, as a class, are without any
education, and their average earnings are about two thirds only of those
of _our_ lowest classes, although the prices paid to each are the same
for the same amount of work.

Among the men and boys employed in the machine shops, the want of
education is quite rare. Mr. Mills does not know an instance of a person
so employed who is unable to read and write; and many have a good common
school education. To this, he thinks, may be attributed the fact that a
large proportion of persons who fill the higher and more responsible
situations come from this class of workmen. From these statements the
reader will be able to form some estimate, in dollars and cents, at
least, of the advantages of even a little education to the operative;
and _there is not the least doubt_, says the same authority, that the
_employer is equally benefited_. He has the security for his property
that intelligence, good morals, and a just appreciation of the
regulations of his establishment always afford. His machinery and mills,
which constitute a large part of his capital, are in the hands of
persons who, by their skill, are enabled to use them to their utmost
capacity, and to prevent any unnecessary depreciation.

Each operative in a cotton-mill, according to the estimate of Mr. Mills,
may be supposed to represent from one thousand to twelve hundred dollars
of the capital invested in the mill and its machinery. It is only from
the most diligent and economical use of this capital that the proprietor
can expect a profit. A fraction less than one half of the cost of
manufacturing common cotton goods when a mill is in full operation, is
made up of charges which are permanent. If the product is reduced in
the ratio of the capacity of the two classes of operatives mentioned in
this statement, it will be seen that the cost will be increased in a
compound ratio. Mr. Mills expresses the opinion "that the best
cotton-mill in New England, with such operatives only as the forty-five
mentioned above, who are unable to write their names, would never yield
the proprietor a profit; that the machinery would be soon worn out, and
he would be left, in a short time, with a population no better than that
which is represented by the importation from England. I can not imagine
any situation in life," he continues, "where the want of a common school
education would be more severely felt, or be attended with worse
consequences, than in manufacturing villages; nor, on the other hand, is
there any where such advantages can be improved with greater benefit to
all parties. There is more excitement and activity in the minds of
people living in masses, and if this expends itself in any of the
thousand vicious indulgences with which they are sure to be tempted, the
road to destruction is traveled over with a speed exactly corresponding
to the power employed."

H. Bartlett, Esq., of Lowell, who has been engaged ten years in
manufacturing, and has had the constant charge of from four hundred to
nine hundred persons during that time, has come in contact with a very
great variety of character and disposition, and has seen mind applied to
production in the mechanic and manufacturing arts possessing different
degrees of intelligence, from gross ignorance to a high degree of
cultivation, and he has no hesitation in affirming that he finds the
best educated to be the most profitable help. _Even those females who
merely tend machinery give a result somewhat in proportion to the
advantages enjoyed in early life for education_, those who have a good
common school education giving, as a class, invariably a better
production than those brought up in ignorance.

In regard to the domestic and social habits of persons in his employ,
the same gentleman adds, "I have never considered mere knowledge,
valuable as it is to the laborer, as the only advantage derived from a
good common school education. I have uniformly found the better
educated, as a class, possessing a higher and better state of morals,
more orderly and respectful in their deportment, and more ready to
comply with the wholesome and necessary regulations of an establishment.
And in times of agitation, on account of some change in regulations or
wages, I have always looked to the most intelligent, best educated, and
the most moral for support, and have seldom been disappointed; for,
while they are the last to submit to imposition, they _reason_, and if
your requirements are reasonable, they will generally acquiesce, and
exert a salutary influence upon their associates. But the ignorant and
uneducated I have generally found the most turbulent and troublesome,
acting under the influence of excited passion and jealousy.

"The former appear to have an interest in sustaining good order, while
the latter seem more reckless of consequences. And, to my mind, all this
is perfectly natural. The better educated have more and stronger
attachments binding them to the place where they are. They are generally
neater in their persons, dress, and houses; surrounded with more
comforts, with fewer of 'the ills flesh is heir to.' In short, I have
found the educated, as a class, more cheerful and contented, devoting a
portion of their leisure time to reading and intellectual pursuits, more
with their families, and less in scenes of dissipation. The good effect
of all this is seen in the more orderly and comfortable appearance of
the whole household, but nowhere more strikingly than in the children. A
mother who has a good common school education will rarely suffer her
children to grow up in ignorance. As I have said, this class of persons
are more quiet, more orderly, and, I may add, more regular in their
attendance upon public worship, and more punctual in the performance of
all their duties."

Mr. Bartlett thinks it would be very difficult, if not impossible, for a
young man, who has not an education equal to a good common school
education, to rise from grade to grade until he should obtain the berth
of an overseer, and that, in making promotions, as a general thing, it
would be unnecessary to make inquiry as to the education of the young
men from whom you would select. Very seldom indeed, he says, would an
uneducated young man rise to "_a better place and better pay_. Young men
who expect to resort to manufacturing establishments for employment, can
not prize too highly a good education. _It will give them standing among
their associates, and be the means of promotion among their employers._"

The final remark of this gentleman, in a lengthy letter, showing the
advantages of education in a pecuniary, social, and moral point of view,
is, that "_those who possess the greatest share in the stock of worldly
goods are deeply interested in this subject, as one of mere insurance_;
that the most effectual way of making insurance on their property would
be _to contribute from it enough to sustain an efficient system of
common school education, thereby educating the whole mass of mind, and
constituting it a police more effectual than peace officers and
prisons_." By so doing he thinks they would bestow a benefaction upon
those who, from the accident of birth or parentage, are subjected to the
privations and temptations of poverty, and would do much to remove the
prejudice and to strengthen the bands of union between the different and
extreme portions of society. He very justly regards it a wise provision
of Providence which connects so intimately, and, as he thinks, so
indissolubly, the greatest good of the many with the highest interest of
the few; or, in other words, which unites into one brotherhood all the
members of the community, and in the existing partnership connects
inseparably the interests of Labor and Capital.[40]

  [40] The New York Free School State Convention, held in Syracuse the
  10th and 11th of July inst. (1850), _unanimously_ adopted an Address to
  the People of the State, written by Horace Greeley, in which the
  following passage occurs, inculcating the same sentiment: "Property is
  deeply interested in the Education of All. There is no farm, no bank, no
  mill, no shop--unless it be a grog-shop--which is not more valuable and
  more profitable to its owner if located among a well-educated than if
  surrounded by an ignorant population. _Simply as a matter of interest,
  we hold it to be the duty of Property to itself to provide Education for

John Clark, Esq., of Lowell, who has had under his superintendence for
eight years about fifteen hundred persons of both sexes, gives
concurrent testimony. He has found, with very few exceptions, the best
educated among his hands to be the most capable, intelligent, energetic,
industrious, economical, and moral, and that they produce the best work,
and the most of it, with the least injury to the machinery. They are, in
short, in all respects the most useful, profitable, and the safest
operatives; and as a class, they are more thrifty, and more apt to
accumulate property for themselves. "I am very sure," he remarks, "that
neither men of property nor society at large have any thing to fear from
a more general diffusion of knowledge, nor from the extension and
improvement of our system of common schools. On our pay-roll for the
last month are borne the names of twelve hundred and twenty-nine female
operatives, forty of whom receipted for their pay by 'making their
mark.' Twenty-six of these have been employed in job work; that is, they
are paid according to the quantity of work turned off from their
machines. The average pay of these twenty-six falls eighteen and one
half per cent. below the general average of those engaged in the same

"Again: we have in our mills about one hundred and fifty females who
have at some time been engaged in _teaching schools_. Many of them teach
during the summer months, and work in the mills in winter. The average
wages of these ex-teachers I find to be seventeen and three fourths per
cent. _above the general average of our mills, and about forty per cent.
above the twenty-six who can not write their names_. It may be said they
are generally employed in the higher departments, where the pay is
better. This is true; but this again may be, in most cases, fairly
attributed to their better education, which brings us to the same
result. If I had included in my calculations the remaining fourteen of
the forty, who were mostly sweepers and scrubbers, and who are paid by
the day, the contrast would have been still more striking; but, having
no well-educated females in this department with whom to compare them, I
have omitted them altogether. In arriving at the above results, I have
considered the _net wages_ merely, the price of board being in all cases
the same. I do not consider these results as either extraordinary or
surprising, but as a part only of the legitimate and proper fruits of a
better cultivation, and fuller development of the intellectual and moral

Mr. Mann gives the entire letters from which I have so freely drawn, and
also introduces into his report extracts from a letter of Jonathan
Crane, Esq., who has been for many years a large rail-road contractor,
and has had several thousand men in his employment. The testimony of
this gentleman is corroborative of that already presented. Testimony
similar to the preceding might be introduced from the proprietors and
superintendents of the principal manufacturing establishments in America
not only, but from every part of the civilized world. Before concluding
this chapter, I shall, for another purpose, refer to statements made by
extensive manufacturers in England and Switzerland.

These are no more than a fair specimen of a mass of facts which Mr. Mann
obtained from the most authentic sources. They seem to prove
incontestably that education is not only a moral renovator, and a
multiplier of intellectual power, but that it is also the most prolific
parent of material riches. It has a right, therefore, not only to be
included in the grand inventory of a nation's resources, but to be
placed at the very head of that inventory. It is not only the most
honest and honorable, but the surest means of amassing property.
Considering education, then, as a producer of wealth, it follows that
the more educated a people are, the more will they abound in all those
conveniences, comforts, and satisfactions which money will buy; and,
other things being equal, _the increase of competency and the decline of
pauperism will be measurable on this scale_.

EDUCATION AND AGRICULTURE.--The healthful and praiseworthy employment of
agriculture requires knowledge for its successful prosecution. In this
department of industry we are in perpetual contact with the forces of
nature. We are constantly dependent upon them for the pecuniary returns
and profits of our investments, and hence the necessity of knowing what
those forces are, and under what circumstances they will operate most
efficiently, and will most bountifully reward our original outlay of
money and time.

Our country yields a great variety of agricultural productions, and this
brings into requisition all that chemical and experimental knowledge
which pertains to the rotation of crops and the enrichment of soils. If
rotation be disregarded, the repeated demands upon the same soil to
produce the same crop will exhaust it of the elements on which that
particular crop will best thrive. If the chemical ingredients and
affinities of the soil are not understood, an attempt may be made to
reenforce it by substances with which it is already surcharged, instead
of renovating it with those of which it has been exhausted by previous
growths. But for these arrangements and adaptations knowledge is the
grand desideratum, and the addition of a new fact to a farmer's mind
will often increase the amount of his harvests more than the addition of
acres to his estate.

Why is it that, if we except Egypt, all the remaining territory of
Africa, containing nearly ten millions of square miles, with a soil most
of which is incomparably more fertile by nature, produces less for the
sustenance of man and beast than England, whose territory is only fifty
thousand square miles? In the latter country, knowledge has been a
substitute for a genial climate and an exuberant soil; while in the
former, it is hardly a figurative expression to say that all the
maternal kindness of nature, powerful and benignant as she is, has been
repulsed by the ignorance of her children. Doubtless industry as well as
knowledge is indispensable to productiveness; but knowledge must precede
industry, or the latter will work to so little effect as to become
discouraged, and to relapse into the slothfulness of savage life. This
is illustrated by the condition of the inhabitants of Lower California,
as described by an intelligent friend of the author, who left this
country a year ago. He says this is a "most beautiful country, with the
finest climate in the world. But its inhabitants, who are principally
Spaniards and Indians, are in a state of semi-barbarism, and
consequently its resources are, to a certain extent, undeveloped. The
land, which is generally level and of the richest quality, is divided
into ranchos or plantations, the largest of which are twenty miles
square, and feed twenty or thirty thousand head of wild cattle, with
horses and mules in proportion. But these are all. The arts are in the
lowest state imaginable. Their houses are mere pens, without pen floors;
their plows are pointed logs; their yokes are straight sticks, which
they tie to the horns of their oxen; and every implement of industry
shows an equal want of ingenuity and enterprise. They are too indolent
to raise much grain, though the soil will yield, I am told, eighty
bushels of wheat to an acre; consequently, wheat is sold to the
immigrants at three dollars per bushel, while the finest beef cattle in
the world bring from eight to ten dollars per head. Butter, cheese, and
even milk, you can not obtain at all, for they are too lazy to tame
their cows. A few Americans, who own large ranchos, have American plows,
and are doing better than the rest. Many ranchos have been abandoned,
and their owners have gone to the mines. This state of things the
energetic Anglo-Saxon will soon change. The immigration for the next few
years will be immense, and the whole community will yield to American
customs. The large ranchos will be cut up into farms, and their products
will supply the wants of a dense population. Property will rapidly
change hands, and it will be easy for the shrewd Yankee to reap the
benefit of the change."

But, without further exposition, it may be remarked generally, that the
spread of intelligence, through the instrumentality of good books, and
the cultivation in our children of the faculties of observing,
comparing, and reasoning, through the medium of good schools, would add
millions to the agricultural products of nearly every state of the
Union, without imposing upon the husbandman an additional hour of labor.

EDUCATION AND THE USEFUL ARTS.--For the successful prosecution among us
of the manufacturing and mechanic arts, if not for their very existence,
there must be not only the exactness of science, but also exactness or
skill in the application of scientific principles throughout the whole
processes, either of constructing machinery, or of transforming raw
materials into finished fabrics. This ability to make exact and skillful
applications of science to an unlimited variety of materials, and
especially to the subtile but most energetic agencies of nature, is one
of the latest attainments of the human mind. It is remarkable that
astronomy, sculpture, painting, poetry, oratory, and even ethical
philosophy, had made great progress thousands of years before the era of
the manufacturing and mechanic arts. This era, indeed, has but just
commenced; and already the abundance, and, what is of far greater
importance, the _universality_ of the personal, domestic, and social
comforts it has created, constitute one of the most important epochs in
the history of civilization.

The cultivation of these arts is conferring a thousand daily
accommodations and pleasures upon the laborer in his cottage, which,
only two or three centuries ago, were luxuries in the palace of the
monarch. Through circumstances incident to the introduction of all
economical improvements, there has hitherto been great inequality in the
distribution of their advantages; but their general tendency is greatly
to ameliorate the condition of the mass of mankind. It has been
estimated that the products of machinery in Great Britain, with a
population of eighteen millions, is equal to the labor of hundreds of
millions of human hands. This vast gain is effected without the conquest
or partitioning of the territory of any neighboring nation, and without
rapine or the confiscation of property already accumulated by others. It
is an absolute creation of wealth--that is, of those articles,
commodities, and improvements which we appraise and set down as of a
certain moneyed value alike in the inventory of a deceased man's estate
and in the grand valuation of a nation's capital. These contributions to
human welfare have been derived from knowledge; from knowing how to
employ those natural agencies which from the beginning of the race had
existed, but had lain dormant or run uselessly away. For mechanical
purposes, what is wind, or water, or the force of steam worth, until the
ingenuity of man comes in, and places the wind-wheel, the water-wheel,
or the piston _between_ these mighty agents and the work he wishes them
to perform? But after the intervention of machinery, how powerful they
become for all purposes of utility! In a word, these great improvements,
which distinguish our age from all preceding ages, have been obtained
from Nature by addressing her in the language of Science and Art, the
only language she understands, yet one of such all-pervading efficacy
that she never refuses to comply to the letter with all petitions for
wealth or physical power, if they are preferred to her in that dialect.

Now it is easy to show, from reasoning, from history, and from
experience, that an early awakening of the mind is a prerequisite to
success in the useful arts. But it must be an awakening to thought, not
to feeling merely. In the first place, a clearness of perception must be
acquired, or the power of taking a correct mental transcript, copy, or
image of whatever is seen This, however, though indispensable, is by no
means sufficient.

_The talent of improving upon the labors of others_ requires not only
the capability of receiving an exact mental copy or imprint of all the
objects of sense or reasoning; it also requires the power of reviving or
reproducing at will all the impressions or ideas before obtained, and
the power of changing their collocations, of re-arranging them into new
forms, and of adding something to or removing something from the
original perceptions, in order to make a more perfect plan or model. If
a ship-wright, for instance, would improve upon all existing specimens
of naval architecture, he would first examine as great a number of ships
as possible; this done, he would revive the image which each had
imprinted upon his mind, and, with all the fleets which he had inspected
present to his imagination, he would compare each individual vessel with
all others, make a selection of one part from one, and of another part
from another, apply his own knowledge of the laws of moving and of
resisting forces to all, and thus create, in his own mind, the complex
idea or model of a ship more perfect than any of those he had seen.

_Now every recitation in a school, if rightly conducted, is a step
toward the attainment of this wonderful power._ With a course of studies
judiciously arranged and diligently pursued through the years of
minority, all the great phenomena of external nature, and the most
important productions in all the useful arts, together with the
principles on which they are evolved or fashioned, would be successively
brought before the understanding of the pupil. He would thus become
familiar with the substances of the material world, and with their
manifold properties and uses; and he would learn the laws,
comparatively few, by which results infinitely diversified are produced.
When such a student goes out into life, he carries, as it were, a plan
or model of the world in his own mind. He can not, therefore, pass,
either blindly or with the stupid gaze of the brute creation, by the
great objects and processes of nature; but he has an intelligent
discernment of their several existences and relations, and their
adaptation to the uses of mankind. Neither can he fasten his eye upon
any workmanship or contrivance of man without asking two questions:
first, How is it? and, secondly, How can it be improved?

Hence it is that all the processes of nature and the contrivances of art
are so many lessons or communications to an instructed man; but an
uninstructed one walks in the midst of them like a blind man among
colors, or a deaf man among sounds. The Romans carried their aqueducts
from hill-top to hill-top, on lofty arches erected at immense
expenditure of time and money. One idea--that is, a knowledge of the law
of the equilibrium of fluids; a knowledge of the fact that water in a
tube will rise to the level of the fountain--would have enabled a
_single individual_ to do with ease what, _without that knowledge_, it
required the _wealth of an empire to accomplish_.

It is in ways similar to this--that is, by accomplishing greater results
with less means; by creating products at once cheaper, better, and by
more expeditious methods; and by doing a vast variety of things
otherwise impossible--that the cultivation of mind may be truly said to
yield the highest pecuniary requital.

_Intelligence is the great money-maker, not by extortion_, but by
PRODUCTION. There are ten thousand things in every department of life
which, if done in season, can be done in a minute, but which, if not
seasonably done, will require hours, perhaps days or weeks for their
performance. An awakened mind will see and seize the critical juncture;
the perceptions of the sluggish one will come too late, if they come at

A general culture of the faculties, also, gives versatility of talent,
so that, if the customary business of the laborer is superseded by
improvements, he can readily betake himself to another kind of
employment. But an uncultivated mind is like an automaton, which can do
only the thing for which its wheels or springs were made. Brute force
expends itself unproductively. It is ignorant of the manner in which
Nature works, and hence it can not avail itself of her mighty agencies.
Often, indeed, it attempts to oppose Nature. It throws itself across the
track where her resistless car is moving. But knowledge enables its
possessor to employ her agencies in his own service, and he thereby
obtains an amount of power, without fee or reward, which thousands of
slaves could not give.

Every man who consumes a single article in whose production or
transportation the power of steam is used, has it delivered to him
cheaper than he could otherwise have obtained it. Every man who can
avail himself of this power in traveling, can perform the business of
three days in one, and so far add two hundred per cent. to the length of
his life as a business man. What innumerable millions has the invention
of the cotton-gin, by Whitney, added, and will continue to add, to the
wealth of the world! a part of which is already realized, but vastly the
greater part of which is yet to be received, as each successive day
draws for an installment which would exhaust the treasury of a nation.
The instructed and talented man enters the rich domains of Nature not as
an _intruder_, but, as it were, a PROPRIETOR, and makes her riches his

Why is it that, so far as the United States are concerned, four fifths
of all the improvements, inventions, and discoveries in regard to
machinery, to agricultural implements, to superior models in
ship-building, and to the manufacture of those refined instruments on
which accuracy in scientific observations depends, have originated in
New England? I believe no adequate reason can be assigned but the early
awakening and training of the power of thought in her children.
Improvements, inventions, and discoveries have been made in other states
of the Union to an extent commensurate with the progress they have made
in perfecting their systems of public instruction, and these
improvements will ever keep pace with the attentions which a people
bestow upon their common schools.

Mr. Mann remarks that, in conversing with a gentleman who had possessed
most extensive opportunities for acquaintance with men of different
countries and of all degrees of intellectual development, he observed
that he could employ a common immigrant or a slave, and, if he chose,
could direct him to shovel a heap of sand from one spot to another, and
then back into its former place, and so to and fro through the day; but,
added he, neither love nor money would prevail on a New Englander to
prosecute a piece of work of which he did not see the utility.

There is scarcely any kind of labor, however simple, pertaining to the
farm, to the work-shop, or to domestic employments, and whether
performed by male or female, which can be so well done without knowledge
in the workman or domestic as with it. It is impossible for an overseer
or employer at all times to supply mind to the laborer. In giving
directions for the shortest series or train of operations, something
will be omitted or misunderstood; and without intelligence in the
workman, the omission or mistake will be repeated in the execution.

It is a fact of universal notoriety, that the manufacturing population
of England, as a class, work for half, or less than half the wages of
our own. The cost of machinery there, also, is about half as much as the
cost of the same articles with us; while our capital, when loaned,
produces nearly double the rate of English interest; yet against these
grand adverse circumstances our manufacturers, with a small per centage
of tariff, successfully compete with English capitalists in many
branches of manufacturing business. No explanation can be given of this
extraordinary fact which does not take into the account the difference
of education between the operatives in the two countries.

One of our most careful and successful manufacturers remarks that, on
substituting in one of his cotton-mills a better for a poorer educated
class of operatives, he was enabled to add twelve or fifteen per cent.
to the speed of his machinery, without any increase of damage or danger
from the acceleration. How direct and demonstrative the bearing which
facts like this have upon the wisdom of our laws respecting the
education of children in manufacturing establishments.[41]

  [41] In Connecticut the statutes provide "that no child under the age
  of fifteen years shall be employed to labor in any manufacturing
  establishment, or in any other business in the state, unless such child
  shall have attended some public or private day school where instruction
  is given by a teacher qualified to instruct in orthography, reading,
  writing, English grammar, geography, and arithmetic, at least three
  months of the twelve months next preceding any and every year in which
  such child shall be so employed. And the owner, agent, or superintendent
  of any manufacturing establishment who shall employ any child in such
  establishment contrary to the provisions of this act, shall forfeit and
  pay for each offense a penalty of twenty-five dollars to the treasurer
  of the state." In Massachusetts the forfeiture is fifty dollars. Similar
  provisions exist in other American, and in several European states.

The number of females in the State of Massachusetts engaged in the
various manufactures of cotton, straw-platting, etc., has been estimated
at forty thousand, and the annual value of their labor at one hundred
dollars each on an average, or four millions of dollars for the whole.
From the facts stated in the letters of Messrs. Mills and Clark above
cited, it appears there is a difference of not less than fifty per cent.
between the earnings of the least educated and of the best educated
operatives--between those who make their marks instead of writing their
names, and those who have been acceptably employed in school-keeping.
Now suppose the whole forty thousand females engaged in the various
kinds of manufactures in that commonwealth to be degraded to the level
of the lowest class, it would follow that their aggregate earnings would
fall at once to two millions of dollars. But, on the other hand, suppose
them all to be elevated by mental cultivation to the rank of the
highest, and their earnings would rise to the sum of six millions of
dollars annually.

There can be no doubt but that education, or the want of it, affects the
pecuniary value of female labor in the ordinary domestic employments of
the sex not less than in manufactures. If, then, the females of the
thirty states of the Union be estimated at eight millions--and the
number sustaining the relations of daughters, wives, and mothers must
exceed the supposition--the effect of giving them all an education equal
to the best would at once raise their earnings, annually, two hundred
millions of dollars! But this is the lowest sense in which we can
estimate the value of education, even in the sterner sex. This sum, vast
as it may seem, is as dross to gold when compared with the refining and
elevating influence which eight millions of educated females would exert
upon the domestic and social institutions of our country, in uplifting
our national character and improving the condition of the race.

Not more than thirty years ago it was uncommon for a glazier's
apprentice, even after having served an apprenticeship of seven years,
to be able to cut glass with a diamond without spending much time and
destroying much of the glass upon which he worked. But the invention of
a simple tool has put it into the power of the merest tyro in the trade
to cut glass with facility, and without loss. A man who had a _mind_, as
well as _fingers_, observed that there was one direction in which the
diamond was almost incapable of abrasion or wearing by use. The tool not
only steadies the diamond, but fastens it in that direction.

The operation of tanning leather consists in exposing a hide to the
action of a chemical ingredient, called tannin, for a length of time
sufficient to allow every particle of the hide to become saturated with
the solution. In making the best leather, the hides used to lay in the
pit for six, twelve, or eighteen months, and sometimes for two years, the
tanner being obliged to wait all this time for a return of his capital.
By the modern process, the hides are placed in a close pit, with a
solution of the tannin matter, and the air being exhausted, the liquid
penetrates through every pore and fiber of the skin, and the whole
process is completed in a few days.

The bleaching of cloth, which used to be effected in the open air, and
in exposed situations where temptation to theft was offered, and in
England hundreds and probably thousands of men have yielded and
forfeited their lives, is now performed in an unexposed situation, and
in a manner so expeditious, that cloth is bleached as much more rapidly
than it formerly was as hides are tanned.

It is stated by Lord Brougham, in his beautiful Discourse on the
Advantages of Science, that the inventor of the new mode of refining
sugar made more money in a shorter time, and with less risk and trouble,
than perhaps was ever realized from any previous invention.

Intelligence also _prevents loss_ as well as _makes profits_. How much
time and money have been squandered in repeated attempts to invent
machinery, after a principle had been once tested and had failed through
some defect inherent and natural, and therefore insuperable! Within
thirty years not less than five patents have been taken out, in England
and the United States, for a certain construction of paddle-wheels for a
steamboat, which construction was tested and condemned as early as
1810.[42] A case once came within my own knowledge, says Mr. Mann, of a
person who spent a fortune in mining for coal, when a work on geology,
which would have cost but a dollar, and might have been read in a week,
would have informed him that the stratum where he began to excavate
belonged to a formation lower down in the natural series than coal ever
is, or, according to the constitution of things, ever can be found. He
therefore worked into a stratum which must have been formed before a
particle of coal, or even a tree, or a vegetable existed on the planet.
Numerous similar and equally striking illustrations might be cited, but
this is not necessary.

  [42] This statement was made eight years ago. More such patents may have
  been taken out within this time.

These are a few specimens, on familiar subjects, taken almost at random,
for the purpose of showing the inherent superiority of any association
or community, whether small or great, where _mind_ is a member of the
partnership. What is true of the above-mentioned cases is true of the
whole circle of those arts by which human life is sustained and human
existence comforted, elevated, and embellished. Mind has been the
improver, for matter can not improve itself, and improvement has
advanced in proportion to the number and culture of the minds excited to
activity and applied to the work.

_Similar advancements have been effected throughout the whole compass of
human labor and research;_ in the arts of Transportation and Locomotion,
from the employment of the sheep and the goat as beasts of burden, to
the steam-engine and the rail-road car; in the art of Navigation, from
the canoe clinging timidly to the shore, to steam-ships which boldly
traverse the ocean; in Hydraulics, from carrying water by hand in a
vessel or in horizontal aqueducts, to those vast conduits which supply
the demands of a city, and to steam fire-engines which throw a column of
water to the top of the loftiest buildings; in the arts of Spinning and
Rope-making, from the hand distaff to the spinning-frame, and to the
machine which makes cordage or cables of any length, in a space ten feet
square; in Horology or Time-keeping, from the sun-dial and the
water-clock to the watch, and to the chronometer, by which the mariner
is assisted in measuring his longitude, and in saving property and life;
in the extraction, forging, and tempering of Iron and other ores having
malleability to be wrought into all forms and used for all purposes, and
supplying, instead of the stone hatchet or the fish-shell of the savage,
an almost infinite variety of instruments, which have sharpness for
cutting or solidity for striking; in the art of Vitrification or
Glass-making, giving not only a multitude of commodious and ornamental
utensils for the household, but substituting the window for the
unsightly orifice or open casement, and winnowing light and warmth from
the outward and the cold atmosphere; in the arts of Induration by Heat,
from bricks dried in the sun to those which withstand the corrosion of
our climate for centuries or resist the intensity of the furnace; in the
arts of Illumination, from the torch cut from the fir or pine tree to
the brilliant gas-light which gives almost a solar splendor to the
nocturnal darkness of our cities; in the arts of Heating and
Ventilation, which at once supply warmth for comfort and pure air for
health; in the art of Building, from the hollowed trunk of a tree or the
roof-shaped cabin, to those commodious and lightsome dwellings which
betoken the taste and competence of our villages and cities; in the art
of Copying or Printing, from the toilsome process of hand-copying, where
the transcription of a single book was the labor of months or years, and
sometimes almost of a life, to the power printing-press, which throws
off sixty printed sheets in a minute; in the art of Paper-making, from
the preparation of the inner bark of a tree, cleft off and dried at
immense labor, to machinery from which there jets out an unbroken stream
of paper with the velocity and continuousness of a current of water; in
the art of Painting, from the use of the crayon, and artificial colors
imperfectly blended, requiring whole days to present an incomplete
picture, to the production, as by enchantment, of perfect likenesses in
nature's own penciling, executed in a few seconds; in the art of
Telegraphing, from communicating information by signs which may be seen
from one station to another, to conveying intelligence to any given
distance with the velocity of lightning; and, in addition to all these,
in the arts of Moulding and Casting, of Designing and Engraving, of
Preserving materials and of Changing their color, of Dividing and
Uniting them, etc., etc., an ample catalogue, whose very names and
processes would fill volumes.

Now, for the perfecting of all these operations, from the tedious and
bungling process to the rapid and elegant; for the change of an almost
infinite variety of crude and worthless materials into useful and
beautiful fabrics, _mind_ has been the agent. Succeeding generations
have outstripped their predecessors just in proportion to the
superiority of their mental cultivation. When we compare different
people or different generations with each other, the diversity is so
great that all must behold it. But there is the same kind of difference
between contemporaries, fellow-townsmen, and fellow-laborers. Though the
uninstructed man works side by side with the intelligent, yet the mental
difference between them places them in the same relation to each other
that a _past age_ bears to the _present_. If the ignorant man knows no
more respecting any particular art or branch of business than was
generally known during the last century, _he belongs to the last
century_, and he must consent to be outstripped by those who have the
light and knowledge of the present. Though they are engaged in the same
kind of work, though they are supplied with the same tools or implements
for carrying it on, yet, so long as one has only an _arm_, but the other
has an arm and a MIND, their products will come out stamped and labeled
all over with marks of contrast; inferiority and superiority, both as to
quantity and quality, will be legibly written on their respective

It is related by travelers among savage tribes that when, by the aid of
an ingeniously devised instrument or apparatus, they have performed some
skillful manual operation, the savages have purloined from them the
instrument they had used, supposing there was some magic in the
apparatus itself, by which the seeming miracle had been performed; but,
as they could not steal _the art of the operator_ with the instrument
which he employed, the theft was fruitless. Any person who expects to
effect with less education what another is enabled to do with more,
ought not to smile at the delusion of the savage or the simplicity of
his reasoning.

On a cursory inspection of the great works of art--the steam-engine, the
printing-press, the power-loom, the mill, the iron foundery, the ship,
the telescope, etc., etc.--we are apt to look upon them as having sprung
into sudden existence, and reached their present state of perfection by
one, or, at most, by a few mighty efforts of creative genius. We do not
reflect that they have required the lapse of centuries and the
successive application of thousands of minds for the attainment of their
present excellence; that they have advanced from a less to a more
perfect form by steps and gradations almost as imperceptible as the
growth by which an infant expands to the stature of a man; and that, as
later discoverers and inventors had first to go over the ground of their
predecessors, so must future discoverers and inventors first master the
attainments of the present age before they will be prepared to make
those new achievements which are to carry still further onward the
stupendous work of improvement.


    Education is to be regarded as one of the most important means of
    eradicating the germs of pauperism from the rising generation, and
    of securing in the minds and in the morals of the people the best
    protection for the institutions of society.--DR. JAMES PHILLIPS KAY,
    _Assistant Poor-Law Commissioner, and Secretary to the Committee of
    Council on Education_.[43]

    The different countries of the world, if arranged according to the
    state of education in them, will be found to be arranged also
    according to WEALTH, MORALS, and GENERAL HAPPINESS; at the same
    Fred. Hill, London_.

That education increases the productiveness of labor has been already
conclusively established. It has also been incidentally shown that mere
knowledge, valuable as it is to the laborer, is not the only advantage
derived from a good common school education, but that the better
educated, as a class, possess a higher and better state of morals, and
are more orderly and respectful in their deportment than the
uninstructed; and that for those who possess the greatest share in the
stock of worldly goods, the most effectual way of making insurance on
their property would be, to contribute from it enough to sustain an
efficient system of common school education, thereby educating the whole
mass of mind, and constituting it a police more effective than peace
officers or prisons. If, then, _poverty is at once a cause and an effect
of crime_, as is stated by a late writer,[44] who has made an extended
survey of the relative state of instruction and social welfare in the
leading nations of the world, it is directly inferable that education
will, and, from the nature of the case, _must_ act in a compound ratio
in diminishing both pauperism and crime.

  [43] Quoted from the Report to the Secretary of State for the Home
  Department, on the Training of Pauper Children, London, 1841.

  [44] Fred. Hill, author of National Education, whose testimony is quoted
  at the head of this article.

This proposition is not received by a few individuals merely in
comparatively unimportant communities: it is one which is generally
adopted by enlightened practical educators and by liberal-minded
capitalists of both hemispheres. The views of several of our principal
American manufacturers have been already presented. Let us now direct
our attention to the testimony of enlightened and liberal-minded
capitalists residing in some of the transatlantic states.

William Fairbrain, Esq., the sole proprietor of a manufactory in
Manchester, and part owner of another establishment in London, and who
has between eleven and twelve hundred persons in his employ, remarks in
relation to the habits of the educated and uneducated as follows: There
is no doubt that the educated are more sober and less dissipated than
the uneducated. During the hours of recreation, the younger portion of
the educated workmen indulge more in reading and mental pleasures; they
attend more at reading-rooms, and avail themselves of the facilities
afforded by libraries, by scientific lectures, and by lyceums. The older
of the more educated workmen spend their time chiefly with their
families, reading and walking out with them. The time of the uneducated
classes is spent very differently, _and chiefly in the grosser sensual
indulgences_. Mr. Fairbrain has given his own time as president of a
lyceum for the use of the working classes, which furnishes the means of
instruction in arithmetic, mathematics, drawing, and mensuration, and by
lectures. In these institutions liberal provision is very properly made,
not only for the occupation of the leisure hours of the laborers
themselves, and for their intellectual and social improvement, but for
that of their wives and families, in order "to make the home
comfortable, and to minister to the household recreation and amusement:
this is a point of view in which the education of the wives of laboring
men is really of very great importance, that they may be rational
companions for men."[45]

  [45] See evidence taken by Edwin Chadwick, Esq., Secretary to the
  Poor-Law Commissioners, a quotation from whose report heads this

Albert G. Escher, Esq., one of the firm of Escher, Wyss, and Co., of
Zurich, Switzerland, remarks as follows: We employ from six to eight
hundred men in our machine-making establishment at Zurich: we also
employ about two hundred men in our cotton-mills there, and about five
hundred men in our cotton manufactories in the Tyrol and in Italy. I
have occasionally had the control of from five to six hundred men
engaged in engineering operations as builders, masons, etc., and men of
the class called navigators in England.

After giving a list of the different countries from which his laborers
are drawn, classifying the workmen of various nations "in respect to
such natural intelligence as may be distinguished from any intelligence
imparted by the labors of the schoolmaster," and remarking in relation
to the influence of education upon the value of labor--where his
testimony corroborates that of manufacturers in New England, already
quoted--the same gentleman makes a statement which is applicable to the
subject under consideration.

"_The better educated workmen, we find, are distinguished by superior
moral habits in every respect._ In the first place, they are entirely
sober; they are discreet in their enjoyments, which are of a more
rational and refined kind; they are more refined themselves, and they
have a taste for much better society, which they approach respectfully,
and consequently find much readier admittance to it; they cultivate
music; they read; they enjoy the pleasures of scenery, and make parties
for excursions into the country; they are economical, and their economy
extends beyond their own purse to the stock of their master; they are
consequently honest and trustworthy."

Scotland affords a very striking illustration of the power of education
in diminishing pauperism and crime, and in improving the morals and
increasing the wealth of a country. Indeed, it would be difficult to
find another instance in the history of nations of a country which has
made such rapid progress in the diminution of crime, the increase of
public wealth, and the diffusion of comforts, as Scotland. And this
gratifying change--this remarkable instance of progress in the scale of
being, has been concurrent with increased and increasing attention to
the education of the people.

At the beginning of the last century, Scotland swarmed with gipsies and
other vagabonds, who lived chiefly by stealing, and who often committed
violent robberies and murders. Of these pests to society it was
estimated that there were not less than two hundred thousand. Besides
these, there were the more gentlemanly, though less tolerable robbers,
such as the notorious Rob Roy, who made no more ado about seizing
another man's cattle than a grazier does of driving from market a drove
of oxen for which he has paid every shilling demanded.

But now, the laying aside of a sum sufficient for the education of his
children is an object which a Scotchman seldom loses sight of, both when
he thinks of marrying and settling in life, and at every future period;
and it is to this habit, handed down from father to son, that the Scotch
owe their morality. One of their own writers says, "we have scarcely
any rural population who are not perfectly aware of the importance of
education, and not willing to make sacrifices to secure it to their

Having seen something of the excellence of education in improving the
social and moral habits of a community, and in banishing pauperism and
crime from among those who become the happy subjects of its uplifting
power, let us, for the purpose of becoming more alive to its importance,
consider the condition of a people where the masses are not brought
under its benign influence.

Spain, which has been already referred to in illustration of the evils
of ignorance, affords a striking illustration for our present purpose.
Until after the lapse of one third of the present century, there was but
ONE newspaper published in this country! "Yes, one miserable government
gazette was the sole channel through which twelve or fourteen millions
of people, spread over a vast territory, were to be supplied with
information on the momentous affairs of their own country, and of the
whole external world."--_National Education_, vol. ii., p. 136.

"The most authentic return of the number of children receiving education
in Spain was made in the year 1803, and it is believed that but little
change has taken place since that time. According to the returns, the
number of children receiving education, exclusive of those brought up in
convents and monasteries, was only one in every three hundred and
forty-six of the population! M. Jonnés estimates the population at about
fourteen millions and a half, and assuming, as he does, that about the
same fraction of the population is receiving education as in 1803, he
estimates the present number of children in school in the whole of Spain
at not more than about forty-three thousand; and, pursuing his
calculations, he shows that, if his data be correct, not more than one
child in thirty-five ever goes to school. He further states that the
children thus favored are exclusively from the middle and upper
classes."[46]--_National Education_, vol. ii., p. 130-1.

  [46] The writer would here remark, in reference to extracts made from
  various authors, that, for the sake of abridging, he has often, as in
  this case, left out parts of a paragraph, but never so as to modify the
  meaning. Some ideas, not connected with the subject in hand, are
  omitted, but none are changed.

How far the education given to the favored few is of a practical and
useful kind, may be conjectured from the following extract from M.
Jonnés's work. After speaking of the many libraries, schools, colleges,
and universities, the creation of past times, but which still exist, he
remarks, that "these institutions were intended for a state of society
which had nothing in common with that of the present day. The kind of
instruction afforded in them, confined as it is to prayer, church
discipline, and the dogmas of theology, has no connection with the
interests and wants of the existing generation.

"What every enlightened man in Spain has long called for is a national,
popular, gratuitous education, extending to all classes, as well in the
towns as in the rural districts. Up to the present time, the people have
received no other instruction than that offered by the clergy, which has
had scarcely any other object than the performance of religious

In addition to what has been already stated, it may be remarked, that
even with those who know how to read, "books and study are almost out of
the question, because, unless in the principal cities, public libraries
are nowhere to be found, and private libraries are luxuries that few

If education is conducive to virtue, and ignorance fosters crime, what
must be the social and moral state of a country in which ignorance is so
prevalent! "The amount of crime in Spain is appalling. We have before us
a return of convictions for the year 1826, from which we shall make some
extracts. Our reason for taking this year is simply because we are
unable to procure any return for a later one. The number of convictions
for murder in England and Wales in the year 1826 was thirteen, and the
number convicted of wounding, etc., with intent to kill, was fourteen.
These numbers are lamentably large. That the horrible crime of murder
should ever be perpetrated is a most melancholy fact; and that so many
as thirteen murders should be committed in one year must fill the mind
of every moral man and lover of his country with grief and shame. But
great as this number is absolutely, it sinks into insignificance when
compared with the number of murders perpetrated in Spain; for in that
unhappy country, in the single year of 1826, the number of convictions
for murder reached the frightful height of TWELVE HUNDRED AND
THIRTY-THREE! in addition to which, there were seventeen hundred and
seventy-three convictions on charges of maiming with intent to kill, and
sixteen hundred and twenty persons were convicted of robbery under
aggravated circumstances. We doubt not for an instant THIS MASS OF CRIME
IS THE OFFSPRING OF IGNORANCE."--_National Education_, vol. ii., p. 144.

It has been well remarked that the truest proofs of a good government
are just laws, and that the best evidence of a well-organized government
is to be found in the strict execution of these laws. "Judging the
Spanish government by these tests, it will appear the worst and weakest
government that ever held together. Justice of no kind has any
existence; there is the most lamentable insecurity of person and
property; redress is never certain, because both judgment and the
execution of the laws are left to men so inadequately paid that they
must depend for their subsistence upon bribery. Nothing is so difficult
as to bring a man to trial who has any thing in his purse, except to
bring him to execution: this, unless in Madrid and Catalonia, is
impossible, for _money will always buy indemnity_.

"I can state, upon certain information received in Madrid, that the
principal Spanish diligences pay black mail to the banditti for their
protection. This arrangement was at first entered into with some
difficulty; and from a gentleman who was present at the interview
between the person employed to negotiate on behalf of the diligences and
the representative of the banditti, I learned a few particulars. The
diligences in question were those between Madrid and Seville, and the
sum offered for their protection was not objected to, but another
difficulty was started. 'I have nothing to say against the terms you
offer,' said the negotiator for the banditti, 'and I will at once insure
you against being molested by robbers of consequence! but as for the
_small fry_, I can not be responsible! we respect the engagements
entered into by each other, _but there is nothing like honor among the
petty thieves_.' The proprietors of the diligences, however, were
satisfied with the assurance of protection against the great robbers,
and the treaty was concluded; but not long afterward one of the coaches
was stopped and rifled by the petty thieves: this led to an arrangement
which has ever since proved effectual; one of the chiefs accompanies the
coach on its journey, and overawes, by his name and reputation, the
robbers of inferior degree."--_Spain in_ 1830, vol. i., p. 2.

A volume might be filled with similar testimony, showing the great
insecurity of person and property in various parts of this unhappy
country. Even "a woman who dares prosecute the murderer of her husband
speedily receives a private intimation that effectually silences her;
and it has not been uncommon for money to be put into the hands of an
escrivano[47] previous to the commission of a murder, in order to insure
the services and protection of a person so necessary to one who
meditates crime."

  [47] The _escrivanos_, who figure so largely in Spain, are the
  representatives of the lowest class of attorneys. Nothing can be done
  without them, and they are not unfrequently almost the sole authority in
  a place capable of reading and writing. Notwithstanding the miserable
  state of the rural districts, they contrive to make money, and many of
  them rise from this humble office to much higher places in the state.
  Their wretched appointments are, consequently, objects of competition. I
  witnessed the execution of one at Seville by accidentally entering the
  Plaza, where the Capuchins were bawling out the last words for his
  repetition, announcing to the crowd that they had done their duty, and
  he died in the true faith. He had been superseded in some village in the
  vicinity, and assassinated his rival.--_Cook's Sketches in Spain_, vol.
  i., p. 197.

_Spain abounds in poverty._ Ignorance conduces to crime, which, as we
have seen, is at once a cause and an effect of poverty. In view of what
has already been said of the ignorance and immorality of the Spaniards,
one would readily enough infer that poverty exists among them to a
deplorable extent, and it is even so. In this country "every thing,
indeed, appears to have conspired to paralyze industry, and to render of
no avail the natural fertility of the soil. The havoc of war; the
plunder committed by organized and powerful bodies of robbers; the
rapacity of government and of its army of officers; the exclusion of
foreign goods, and the consequent shutting up of the foreign market; the
ignorance of the people as to the best modes of agriculture; and, last
of all, the want of capital--all these combine to produce squalid
poverty in a land which ought to," and, with a good system of popular
education, most assuredly would, "ABOUND IN WEALTH."

Scotland and Spain have been referred to, not to bring out a few facts
in history merely, but to illustrate an important truth. Where a good
system of popular education is well administered in a country, and, as a
consequence, intelligence, industry, and morality become universal among
its citizens, they will eventually become a wealthy, and a
highly-prosperous and happy community, even though they derive their
subsistence from a naturally unfruitful soil; but, on the contrary,
where popular education is neglected in a commonwealth, and its future
citizens, as a consequence, grow up in ignorance, idleness, and vice,
squalid poverty and flagrant crime will become prevalent throughout a
wretched and degenerate community, that is scarcely able to gain a mere
subsistence from a naturally productive soil.

In further confirmation of the truth of the proposition that education
diminishes crime, I will introduce the following statistics, gleaned
from various official documents respecting prisons. According to returns
to the British Parliament, the commitments for crimes in an average of
nine years in proportion to population are as follows: In Manchester,
the most infidel city in the nation, 1 in 140; in London, 1 in 800; in
all Ireland, 1 in 1600; and in Scotland, celebrated for learning and
religion, 1 in 20,000!

The Rev. Dr. Forde, for many years the Ordinate of Newgate, London,
represents _ignorance_ as the first great cause, and _idleness_ as the
second, of all the crimes committed by the inmates of that celebrated
prison. Sir Richard Phillips, sheriff of London, says that, on the
memorial addressed to the sheriffs by 152 criminals in the same
institution, 25 only signed their names in a fair hand, 26 in an
illegible scrawl, and that 101, two thirds of the entire number, were
_marksmen_, signing with a cross. Few of the prisoners could read with
facility; more than half of them could not read at all; the most of them
thought books were useless, and were totally ignorant of the nature,
object, and end of religion.

The Rev. Mr. Clay, chaplain to the House of Correction in Lancashire,
represents that out of 1129 persons committed, 554 could not read; 222
were barely capable of reading; 38 only could read well; and only 8, or
1 in 141, could read and write well. One half of the 1129 prisoners were
quite ignorant of the simplest truths; 37 of these, 1 in 20 of the
entire number, were occasional readers of the Bible; and only _one_ out
of this large number was familiar with the Holy Scriptures and
conversant with the principles of religion. Among the 516 represented as
entirely ignorant, 125 were incapable of repeating the Lord's Prayer.

In the New York State Prisons, as examined a few years ago, more than
three fourths of the convicts had either received no education or a very
imperfect one. Out of 842 at Sing Sing, 289 could not read or write, and
only 42--less than 1 in 20--had received a good common school education.
Auburn prison presents similar statistics. Out of 228 prisoners, only 59
could read, write, and cipher, and 60 could do neither.

The chaplain of the Ohio penitentiary remarks that not only in the
prison of that state, but in others, depraved appetites and corrupt
habits, which have led to the commission of crime, are usually found
with the ignorant, uninformed, and duller part of mankind. Of 276 at one
time in that institution, nearly all were below mediocrity, and 175 are
represented as grossly ignorant, and, in point of education, scarcely
capable of transacting the ordinary business of life.

The preceding, it is believed, is no more than a fair specimen of the
criminal statistics of this country and of the civilized world. I will
conclude this dark catalogue by introducing a statement in relation to
education and crime in a state which, according to the last general
census, contained fewer persons in proportion to the whole population
who were unable to read and write than any other state in the Union.
From this statement it appears that as a people become more generally
intelligent and moral, a greater proportion of their criminals will be
found among the ignorant and neglected classes.

The chaplain of the Connecticut State Prison states that, out of 190
prisoners, not one was liberally educated, or a member of either of the
learned professions. Of the whole number, 109 were natives of
Connecticut; and of these, many of them could not understand the
plainest sentences which they read, and their moral culture had been
more neglected than their intellectual. From the investigations of this
officer, it appears that out of every 100 prisoners only two could be
found who could read, write, and were temperate, and only four who could
read, write, and followed any regular trade.

It is evident, then, that while education increases the wealth and
general happiness of a community, the want of it will reduce a people to
a state of poverty and wretchedness; or, to repeat a sentiment placed at
the head of this article, the different countries of the world, if
arranged according to the state of education in them, will be found to
be arranged also according to wealth, morals, and general happiness; at
the same time, the condition of the people, and the extent of crime and
violence among them, follow a like order.

I might appropriately add under this head that a proper attention to the
subject of education would greatly diminish the number of _fatal
accidents_; that it would save _many lives_, prevent much of _idiocy_
and _insanity_, and a multitude of evils that ordinarily result from
ignorance of the organic laws.

FATAL ACCIDENTS.--He who understands the laws of motion knows that a man
jumping from a carriage at speed is in great danger of falling after his
feet reach the ground, for his body has the same forward velocity as if
he had been running with the speed of the carriage, and unless he
continues to advance his feet as in running to support his advancing
body, he must as certainly be dashed to the ground as a runner whose
feet are suddenly arrested. If, then, there is danger in leaping from a
carriage in motion, how much greater is the hazard in jumping from a
rail-road car under full headway. And yet many do this, jumping off
side-wise, so that it is impossible to advance; and some even jump in
the opposite direction from the motion of the car, which increases the
already imminent hazard. From statistics recently collected, it appears
that the great majority of accidents on the rail-roads of this country
have happened in this way, a want of practical conformity to this one
law of motion being the prevailing cause of fatality along these
thoroughfares. This is but a specimen of the fatal accidents that are
continually occurring in the every-day transactions of life, which might
be prevented as easily as this by the practical application of a single
scientific principle.

LOSS OF LIFE.--In a single hospital at Dublin, during four years, 2944
children out of 7650, about 40 in 100, died within a fortnight after
their birth. Dr. Clark, the attending physician, suspecting a want of
pure air to be the cause, provided for the ventilation of all the
apartments; and by means of pipes six inches in diameter, introduced
into every room a current of fresh, pure air, which is essential to
vitality, and allowed that which was vitiated by respiration to escape.
The consequence was, that during the three succeeding years only 165 out
of 4243 children died within the first two weeks, or less than 4 in 100.
As there was no other known cause of improvement in the health of these
children, it may be justly inferred that, during the four years first
mentioned, 2650 children, nine tenths of the whole number, had perished
for want of pure air.

It has been estimated that about 40 in every 100 of the deaths annually
occurring in Great Britain and the United States are of children under
five years of age. To avoid every possibility of exaggeration, we will
place the number in this country at 30 in 100. At this rate we lose
about 200,000 children under five years of age every year. Now, if nine
tenths of the mortality among infants in the Dublin Hospital were caused
by breathing bad air, we may reasonably infer that at least one half of
the deaths in the United States of children under the age of five years
proceed from the same fatal cause. And those who have noticed what pains
are taken by excessively careful mothers[48] and ignorant nurses to
exclude from the lungs of infants the "free, pure, unadulterated air of
heaven," and, by means of many thicknesses of enveloping shawls and
blankets, require them to re-respire portions at least of their own
breath, until it becomes a virulent and deadly poison, will think with
me that this is a low estimate, and wonder that the swaddling-cloths of
more infants do not become their winding-sheets. But, even according to
this estimate, 100,000 children in the United States annually fall
victims to the ignorance of their fond mothers. Many thousands more are
subsequently sacrificed in consequence of occupying small and
unventilated bed-rooms and school-rooms, which, by a practical knowledge
of the principles of physiology, might be saved. Perhaps as many more
become sufferers for life from the same cause, for a thousand forms of
disease, as it manifests itself in every stage of life, either owe their
existence or their severity to breathing bad air. These, then, who drag
out a miserable existence in consequence of this cruel treatment, are to
be more pitied than those who fall its ready victims.

  [48] It would seem that the great majority of "educated mothers" do not
  realize the necessity of supplying pure air to the new-born child.
  Before birth, the blood of the fetus is purified in the maternal lungs;
  after birth, in the lungs of the child, if at all; and for this purpose
  pure air is necessary.

If so many thousand deaths occur annually in the United States from this
one cause, in addition to the vast amount of misery which is entailed
upon the wretched survivors, how many hundred thousand precious lives
might be saved, and what untold wretchedness might be prevented, by a
strict conformity to those physiological laws of our being which might
and should be generally taught in the common schools of the land.

EDUCATION AND IDIOCY.[49]--The education of idiots has hitherto been
regarded as paradoxical, and still is by the mass of mankind; but that
it is possible to improve the condition of this most wretched and
helpless class of persons none need longer doubt. The experiment has
succeeded in both Europe and America. Massachusetts has the honor of
taking the lead in this country; and it is meet that it should be so,
for she has long, like a wise parent, been accustomed to care for all
her children. She had most readily and generously seconded the efforts
of humane men for the relief of the insane, the deaf mutes, and the
blind, and made provision for their care and instruction. She extended
her maternal love to the _bodies_ of those who were in hopeless idiocy,
but as for _minds_, they seemed to have none; they were, therefore, kept
out of sight of the public as much as possible until the year 1846, when
a board of commissioners were appointed "to inquire into the condition
of the idiots of the commonwealth, to ascertain their number, and
whether any thing can be done in their behalf."

  [49] The statements under this head are drawn from Dr. Howe's Report on
  Idiocy, made in February last, and communicated by the governor to the
  Legislature of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The author visited the
  Institution in South Boston during the past summer, and derived much
  information on the subject from personal observation and inquiry.

In their report the commissioners say that, "by diligent and careful
inquiries in nearly one hundred towns in different parts of the state,
we have ascertained the existence and examined the condition of _five
hundred and seventy-five_ human beings who are condemned to hopeless
idiocy, who are considered and treated as idiots by their neighbors, and
left to their own brutishness. They are also idiotic in a legal sense;
that is, they are regarded as incapable of entering into contracts, and
are irresponsible for their actions."

The commissioners conclude that, "if the other parts of the state
contain the same proportion of idiots to their whole population, the
total number in the commonwealth is between _fourteen and fifteen
hundred_!" Now if we make the same estimate in proportion to the entire
population, it will appear that in the United States there are upward of
_thirty-five thousand_ persons in the most wretched and helpless
condition of idiocy.

In view of the great number of idiots in the commonwealth, the
commissioners say, "it appeared to us certain that the existence of so
many idiots in every generation must be the consequence of some
violation of the _natural laws_; that where there was so much suffering
there must have been sin. We resolved, therefore, to seek for the
_sources_ of the evil, as well as to gauge the depth and extent of the

Some of the causes of idiocy are set forth in the report, two of which
are as follows: first, _the low condition of the physical organization_
of one or both parents, induced often by _intemperance_; second, _the
intermarriage of relatives_.

The report states that out of 420 cases of congenital idiocy which were
examined, some information was gained respecting the condition of the
progenitors of 359. Now in all these cases, save only four, it was found
that one or the other, or both, of the immediate progenitors of the
unfortunate sufferer had in some way widely departed from the normal
condition of health, and violated the natural laws. That is to say, one
or the other, or both of them, had been very unhealthy or scrofulous; or
hereditarily predisposed to affections of the brain, causing occasional
insanity; or had intermarried with blood relatives; or had been
intemperate; or had been guilty of sensual excesses which impair the

  [50] The subject of hereditary transmission of diseased tendency is of
  vast importance, but it is a difficult one to treat, because a squeamish
  delicacy makes people avoid it; but if ever the race is to be relieved
  of a tithe of the bodily ills which flesh is now heir to, it must be by
  a clear understanding of, and a willing obedience to, the law which
  makes the parents the blessing or the curse of the children; the givers
  of strength, and vigor, and beauty, or the dispensers of debility, and
  disease, and deformity. It is by the lever of enlightened parental love,
  more than by any other power, that mankind is to be raised to the
  highest attainable point of bodily perfection.--DR. S. G. HOWE.

INTEMPERANCE AND IDIOCY.--Out of the three hundred and fifty-nine
idiots, the condition of whose progenitors was ascertained, _ninety-nine
were the children of drunkards_. But this does not tell the whole story
by any means. By drunkard is meant a person who is a notorious and
habitual sot. Many persons who are habitually intemperate do not get
this name _even now_; much less would they have done so twenty-five or
thirty years ago. By a pretty careful inquiry, with an especial view of
ascertaining the number of idiots of the lowest class whose parents were
known to be _temperate_ persons, it is found that _not one quarter_ can
be so considered.

From the pretty uniform action of a physiological law, which is now
becoming well understood, it appears that idiots, fools, and simpletons,
either in the first or second generation, are common among the progeny
of intemperate persons, and may be considered as an effect of the
_habitual_ use of alcohol, even in moderate quantities. If, moreover,
one considers how many children of intemperate parents there are who,
without being idiots, are deficient in bodily and mental energy, and
predisposed by their very organization to have cravings for alcoholic
stimulants, it will be seen what an immense burden the drinkers of one
generation throw upon the succeeding one.

IDIOCY AND THE MARRIAGE OF RELATIVES.--Out of the three hundred and
fifty-nine cases of congenital idiocy already referred to, in which the
parentage was ascertained, "seventeen were _known_ to be the children of
parents nearly related by blood; but, as many of these cases were
adults, it was impossible to ascertain, in some cases, whether their
parents, who were dead, were related or not before marriage. From some
collateral evidence, we conclude that at least three more cases should
be added to the seventeen. This would show that more than one twentieth
of the idiots examined are offspring of the marriage of relations. Now,
as marriages between near relations are by no means in the ratio of one
to twenty, nor even, perhaps, as one to a thousand to the marriages
between persons not related, it follows that the proportion of idiotic
progeny is vastly greater in the former than in the latter case. Then it
should be considered that idiocy is only _one_ form in which Nature
manifests that she has been offended by such intermarriages. It is
probable that blindness, deafness, imbecility, and other infirmities,
are more likely to be the lot of the children of parents related by
blood than of others. The probability, therefore, of unhealthy or infirm
issue from such marriages becomes fearfully great, and the existence of
the law against them is made out as clearly as though it were written on
tables of stone.

"The statistics of the seventeen families, the heads of which, being
blood relatives, intermarried, tells a fearful tale. Most of the parents
were intemperate or scrofulous; some were both the one and the other; of
course, there were other causes to increase chances of infirm offspring
besides that of the intermarriage. There were born unto them ninety-five
children, of whom forty-four were idiotic, twelve others were scrofulous
and puny, one was deaf, and one was a dwarf! In some cases, all the
children were either idiotic, or very scrofulous and puny. In one family
of eight children, five were idiotic."

CONDITION OF IDIOTS.--From what has been said of the character of
parents to whom are born the greatest proportion of this most wretched
and helpless class of persons, their condition and treatment might be
inferred. To rear healthy children properly, a knowledge of the
principles of physiology and mental science is essentially necessary.
This knowledge is still more important in the treatment of idiots. Dr.
Howe is of the opinion that it requires a rarer and higher kind of
talent to teach an idiot than a youth of superior talent. When the time
comes that schools for idiots are established all over the country, he
thinks "it will be found more difficult to get good teachers for them
than to get good professors for our colleges."

After excepting five or six alms-houses in which the idiots are treated
both kindly and wisely, the commissioners say, "the general condition of
those at the public charge is most deplorable. They are filthy,
gluttonous, lazy, and given up to abominations of various kinds. They
not only do not improve, but they sink deeper and deeper into bodily
depravity and mental degradation. Bad, however, as is the condition of
the idiots who are at public charge, and gross as is the ignorance of
those who take the charge of them about their real wants and
capabilities, we are constrained to say that the condition of those in
private houses is, generally speaking, still worse, and the ignorance of
the relatives and friends who support them is still more profound."

This is not to be wondered at when we consider that idiots are generally
born of a very poor stock--of persons who are subject to some disorders
of the brain, or who are themselves scrofulous and puny to the last
degree. Such persons are, generally, very feeble in intellect, poor in
purse, and intemperate in habits. A great many of them are hardly able
to take care of themselves. They are unfit to teach or train common
children; how much less to take the charge of idiots, whose education is
the most difficult of all!

The commissioners ascertained, mainly by personal observation, the
condition of three hundred and fifty-five idiotic persons who are not
town or state paupers. Of these there may be, at the most, five who are
treated very judiciously; who are taught by wise and discreet persons,
and whose faculties and capabilities are developed to their fullest
extent; but the remaining three hundred and fifty are generally "in a
most deplorable condition as it respects their bodily, mental, and moral

  [51] One would hardly be credited if he should put down half the
  instances of gross ignorance manifested by parents in this enlightened
  community [the State of Massachusetts] in the treatment of idiotic
  children. Sometimes they find that the children seem to comprehend what
  they hear, but soon forget it; hence they conclude that the brain is
  soft, and can not retain impressions, and then they cover the head with
  cold poultices of oak-bark in order to tan or harden the fibers. Others,
  finding that it is exceedingly difficult to make any impression upon the
  mind, conclude that the brain is too hard, and they torture the poor
  child with hot and _softening_ poultices of bread and milk; or they
  plaster tar over the whole skull, and keep it on for a long time. _These
  are innocent applications compared with some, which doubtless render
  weak-minded children perfectly idiotic._--DR. S. G. HOWE.

  What a striking illustration have we here of the necessity of diffusing
  correct physiological information more widely among the masses than has
  yet been done even in enlightened Massachusetts!

The commissioners come to the unquestionable conclusion in their report
that "nothing can afford a stronger argument in favor of an institution
for the proper training and teaching of idiots, and the dissemination of
information upon the subject, than the striking difference manifested in
the condition of the few children who are properly cared for and
judiciously treated, and those who are neglected or abused. There are
cases in our community of youths who are idiotic from birth, but who,
under proper care and training, have become cleanly in person, quiet in
deportment, industrious in habits, and who would almost pass in society
for persons of common intelligence; and yet their natural capacity was
no greater than that of others, who, from ignorance or neglect of their
parents, have become filthy, gluttonous, lazy, vicious, depraved, and
are rapidly sinking into driveling idiocy. This fact alone should be
enough to encourage the state to take measures at once for the
establishment of a school or institution for teaching or training
idiots, if it were but a matter of experiment."

Massachusetts is the only state in the Union that as yet has attempted
to do any thing for the education and training of this hitherto
neglected class of persons. The result of the first year's experiment
has been most gratifying and encouraging. Of the whole number received,
there was not one who was in a situation where any great improvement in
his condition was probable, or hardly possible; they were growing worse
in habits, and more confirmed in their idiocy. But the process of
deterioration in the pupils has been entirely stopped, and that of
improvement has commenced; and though a year is a very short time in the
instruction of such persons, yet its effects are manifest in all of
them. They have improved in personal appearance and habits, in general
health, in vigor, and in activity of body. Some of them can control
their appetites in a considerable degree; they sit at the table with
their teachers, and feed themselves decently. Almost all of them have
improved in the understanding and the use of speech. Some of them have
made considerable progress in the knowledge of language; they can select
words printed on slips of paper, and a few can read simple sentences.
But, what is most important, THEY HAVE MADE A START FORWARD.

"There is ground for confidence that the reasonable hopes of the friends
of the experiment will be satisfied. All that they promised has been
accomplished, so far as was possible in the period of a year. It has
been demonstrated that idiots are CAPABLE OF IMPROVEMENT, and that they
can be raised from a state of _low degradation_ to a HIGHER CONDITION.
How far they can be elevated, and to what extent they may be educated,
can only be shown by the experience of the future. The result of the
past year's trial, however, gives confidence that each succeeding year
will show even more progress than any preceding one."

EDUCATION AND INSANITY.--It is well established that a defective and
faulty education through the period of infancy and childhood is one of
the most prolific causes of insanity. Such an education, or rather
miseducation, causes a predisposition in many, and excites one where it
already exists, which ultimately renders the animal propensities of our
nature uncontrollable. Appetites indulged and perverted, passions
unrestrained, propensities rendered vigorous by indulgence, and
subjected to no salutary restraint, bring persons into a condition in
which both moral and physical causes easily operate to produce insanity,
if they do not produce it themselves.

We must look to well-directed systems of popular education, having for
their object physical improvement, no less than mental and moral
culture, to relieve us from many of the evils which "flesh is heir to,"
and nothing can so effectually secure us from this most formidable
disease (as well as from others not less appalling) as that system of
instruction which teaches us how to preserve the normal condition of the
body and the mind; to fortify the one against the catalogue of physical
causes which every where assail us, and to elevate the other above the
influence of the trials and disappointments of life, so that the host of
moral causes which affect the brain, through the medium of the mind,
shall be inoperative and harmless.

Those first principles of physical education which teach us how to
avoid disease are all-important to all liable to insanity from
hereditary predisposition. The physical health must be attended to, and
the training of the faculties of the mind be such as to counteract the
over-active propensities of our nature--correcting the bias of the mind
to wrong currents and to too great activity by bringing into action the
antagonizing powers, and thus giving a sound body and a well-balanced
mind. Neglect of this early training entails evils upon the young which
are felt in all after life.

These positions are stated and amplified in the able reports of Dr. S.
B. Woodward, superintendent of the State Lunatic Asylum, Worcester,
Mass., to which the reader is referred. They are also corroborated by
persons who have had the care of the insane in other institutions. In
the eighteenth annual report of the physician and superintendent of the
Connecticut Retreat for the Insane, Dr. Brigham says, "a knowledge of
the nature of the disease would frequently lead to its prevention.
Insanity, in most cases, arises from undue excitement and labor of the
brain; for even if a predisposition to it is inherited, an exciting
cause is essential to its development. Hence every thing likely to cause
great excitement of the brain, especially in early life, should be

"The records of cases at this institution and my own observation justify
me in saying that the neglect of moral discipline, the too great
indulgence of the passions and emotions in early life, together with the
excessive and premature exercise of the mental powers, are among the
most frequent causes that predispose to insanity. But these causes are
in no other way operative in producing insanity than by unduly exciting
the brain. By neglect of moral discipline, a character is formed subject
to violent passions, and to extreme emotions and anxiety from the
unavoidable evils and disappointments of life, and thus the brain, by
being often and violently agitated, becomes diseased; and by too early
exercising and prematurely developing the mental powers, this organ is
rendered more susceptible and liable to disease.

"I am confident there is too much mental labor imposed upon youth at our
schools and colleges. There have been several admissions of young ladies
at this institution direct from boarding-schools, and of young men from
college, where they had studied excessively. Should such intense
exertion of the mind in youth not lead to insanity or immediate disease,
it predisposes to dyspepsy, hysteria, hypochondriasis, and affections
allied to insanity, and which are often its precursors. Should that
portion of the community who now act most wisely in obtaining a
knowledge of the functions of the digestive organs, and in carefully
guarding them from undue excitation, be equally regardful of the brain,
they would do a very great service to society, and, in my opinion, do
much toward arresting the alarming increase of insanity, and all
disorders of the nervous system."[52]

  [52] In the education of many, very many, I fear, the same mistake is
  made as in the case of Lord Dudley, thus described in a late number of
  the London Quarterly Review: "The irritable susceptibility of the brain
  was stimulated at the expense of bodily power and health. His foolish
  tutors took a pride in his precocious progress, which they ought to have
  kept back. They watered the forced plant with the blood of life; they
  encouraged the violation of Nature's laws, which are not to be broken in
  vain; they infringed the condition of conjoint moral and physical
  existence; they imprisoned him in a vicious circle, where the overworked
  brain injured the stomach, which reacted to the injury of the brain.
  They watched the slightest deviation from the rules of logic, and
  neglected those of dietetics, to which the former are a farce. They
  thought of no exercises but Latin; they gave him a Gradus instead of a
  cricket-bat, until his mind became too keen for its mortal coil, and the
  foundation was laid for ill health, derangement of stomach, moral
  pusillanimity, irresolution, lowness of spirits, and all the Protean
  miseries of nervous disorders, by which his after life was haunted, and
  which are sadly depicted in almost every letter before us."


                               What is a man
    If his chief good and market of his time
    Be but to sleep and feed? a beast, no more.
    Sure He that made us with such large discourse,
    Looking before and after, gave us not
    That capability and godlike reason
    To rust in us unused.--SHAKSPEARE.

    All the happiness of man is derived from discovering, applying, or
    obeying the laws of his Creator; and all his misery is the result of
    ignorance or disobedience.--DR. WAYLAND.

If the doctrines taught and the sentiments inculcated in the preceding
chapters of this work, but more especially in the preceding sections of
this chapter, are true; if it is established that education dissipates
the evils of ignorance; that it increases the productiveness of labor;
that it diminishes pauperism and crime--if all this is true, it may seem
a work of supererogation to attempt the establishment of the proposition
that education increases human happiness. I admit this seeming
impropriety; for that the proposition is true may be legitimately
inferred from what has gone before. But I wish to amplify and extend
this thought, and to show that education has, if possible, still higher
claims upon our attention than have yet been presented; that it not only
has the power of removing physical and moral evils, and of multiplying
and augmenting personal and social enjoyments, but that, when rightly
understood, it constitutes our chief good; that to it, and to it only,
we may safely look for man's highest and enduring joys, and for the
permanent elevation of the race.

MAN IN IGNORANCE.--That we may be the better prepared to appreciate the
advantages of education, and its usefulness as a means of increasing
human happiness, let us consider the state and the enjoyments of the man
whose mind is shrouded in ignorance. He grows up to manhood like a
vegetable, or like one of the lower animals that are fed and nourished
for the slaughter. He exerts his physical powers because such exertion
is necessary for his subsistence. Were it otherwise, we should most
frequently find him dozing over the fire with a gaze as dull and stupid
as his ox, regardless of every thing but the gratification of his
appetites. He has, perhaps, been taught the art of reading, but has
never applied it to the acquisition of knowledge. His views are chiefly
confined to the objects immediately around him, and to the daily
avocations in which he is employed. His knowledge of society is
circumscribed within the limits of his neighborhood, and his views of
the world are confined within the range of the country in which he
resides, or of the blue hills which skirt his horizon.

Of the aspect of the globe in other countries, of the various tribes
with which these are peopled, of the seas and rivers, continents and
islands, which diversify the landscape of the earth, of the numerous
orders of animated beings which people the ocean, the atmosphere, and
the land, of the revolutions of nations, and the events which have taken
place in the history of the world, he has almost as little conception as
have the animals which range the forest.

In regard to the boundless regions that lie beyond him in the firmament,
and the bodies that roll there in magnificent grandeur, he has the most
confused and inaccurate ideas; indeed, he seldom troubles himself with
inquiries in relation to such subjects. Whether the stars are great or
small, whether they are near us or at a distance, and whether they move
or stand still, are to him matters of trivial importance. If the sun
gives him light by day and the moon by night, and the clouds distil
their watery treasures upon his parched fields, he is contented, and
leaves all such inquiries and investigations to those who have leisure
and inclination to engage in them. He views the canopy of heaven as
merely a ceiling to our earthly habitation, and the starry orbs as only
so many luminous tapers to diversify its aspect, and to afford a
glimmering light to the benighted traveler.

Such a person has no idea of the manner in which the understanding may
be enlightened and expanded by education; he has no relish for
intellectual pursuits, and no conception of the pleasures they afford;
and he sets no value on knowledge but in so far as it may increase his
riches and his sensual gratifications. He has no desire for making
improvements in his trade or domestic arrangements, and gives no
countenance to those useful inventions and public improvements which are
devised by others. He sets himself against every innovation, whether
religious, political, mechanical, or agricultural, and is determined to
abide by the "good old customs" of his forefathers, even though they
compel him to carry his grist to mill in one end of a bag, with a stone
in the other to balance it. Were it dependent upon him, the moral world
would stand still, as the material world was supposed to in former
times; all useful inventions would cease; existing evils would never be
remedied; ignorance and superstition would universally prevail; the
human mind would be arrested in its progress to perfection, and man
would never arrive at the true dignity of his intellectual nature.

It is evident that such an individual--and the world contains thousands
and millions of such characters--can never have his mind elevated to
those sublime objects and contemplations which enrapture the man of
science, nor feel those pure and exquisite pleasures which cultivated
minds so frequently experience; nor can he form those lofty and
expansive conceptions of the Deity which the grandeur and magnificence
of his works are calculated to inspire. He is left as a prey to all
those foolish notions and vain alarms which are engendered by ignorance
and superstition; and he swallows, without the least hesitation, all the
absurdities and childish tales respecting witches, hobgoblins, specters,
and apparitions, which have been handed down to him by his forefathers.

While the ignorant man thus gorges his mind with fooleries and
absurdities, he spurns at the discoveries of science as impositions on
the credulity of mankind, and contrary to reason and common sense. That
the sun is a million of times larger than the earth; that light flies
from his body at the rate of a hundred thousand miles in the hundredth
part of a second; and that the earth is whirling round its axis from day
to day with a velocity of a thousand miles every hour, are regarded by
him as notions far more improbable and extravagant than the story of the
"Wonderful Lamp," and all the other tales of the "Arabian Night's
Entertainments." In his hours of leisure from his daily avocations, his
thoughts either run wild among the most groveling objects, or sink into
sensuality and inanity; and solitude and retirement present no charms to
his vacant mind.

While human beings are thus immersed in ignorance, destitute of rational
ideas and of a solid substratum of thought, they can never experience
those pleasures and enjoyments which flow from the exercise of the
understanding, and which correspond to the dignity of a rational and
immortal nature.

AN ENLIGHTENED MIND.--On the other hand, the man whose mind is
irradiated with the light of substantial science has views, and
feelings, and exquisite enjoyments to which the former is an entire
stranger. In consequence of the numerous and multifarious ideas he has
acquired, he is introduced, as it were, into a new world, where he is
entertained with scenes, objects, and movements, of which the mind
enveloped in ignorance can form no conception. He can trace back the
stream of time to its commencement, and, gliding along its downward
course, can survey the most memorable events which have happened in
every part of its progress, from the primeval ages to the present day;
the rise of empires, the fall of kings, the revolutions of nations, the
battles of warriors, and the important events which have followed in
their train; the progress of civilization, and of the arts and sciences;
the judgments which have been inflicted on wicked nations, the dawnings
of Divine mercy toward our fallen race, the manifestation of the Son of
God in our nature, the physical changes and revolutions which have taken
place in the constitution of our globe; in short, the whole of the
leading events in the chain of divine dispensation, from the beginning
of the world to the period in which we live.

With his mental eye the enlightened man can survey the terraqueous globe
in all its variety of aspects; he can contemplate the continents,
islands, and oceans which surround its exterior; the numerous rivers by
which it is indented; the lofty ranges of mountains which diversify its
surface; its winding caverns; its forests, lakes, and sandy deserts; its
whirlpools, boiling springs, and glaciers; its sulphurous mountains,
bituminous lakes, and the states and empires into which it is
distributed; the tides and currents of the ocean; the icebergs of the
polar regions, and the verdant scenes of the torrid zone.

Sitting at his fireside during the blasts of winter, the enlightened man
can survey the numerous tribes of mankind scattered over the various
climates of the earth, and entertain himself with views of their
manners, customs, religion, laws, trade, manufactures, marriage
ceremonies, civil and ecclesiastical governments, arts, sciences,
cities, towns, and villages, and the animals peculiar to every region.
In his rural walks he can not only appreciate the beneficence of Nature,
and the beauties and harmonies of the vegetable kingdom in their
exterior aspect, but he can also penetrate into the hidden processes
which are going on in the roots, trunks, and leaves of plants and
flowers, and contemplate the numerous vessels through which the sap is
flowing from their roots through the trunks and branches; the millions
of pores through which their odoriferous effluvia exhale; their fine and
delicate texture; their microscopical beauties; their orders, genera,
and species, and their uses in the economy of nature.

Even when shrouded in darkness and in solitude, where other minds could
find no enjoyment, the man of knowledge can entertain himself with the
most sublime contemplations. He can trace the huge earth we inhabit
flying through the depths of space, carrying along with it its vast
population, at the rate of sixty thousand miles every hour, and, by the
inclination of its axis, bringing about the alternate succession of
summer and winter, of seed-time and harvest. By the aid of his telescope
he can transport himself toward the moon, and survey the circular
plains, the deep caverns, the conical hills, the lofty peaks, and the
rugged and romantic mountain scenery which diversify the surface of this
orb of night.

By the help of the same instrument he can range through the planetary
system, wing his way through the regions of space along with the
swiftest orbs, and trace many of the physical aspects and revolutions
which have a relation to distant worlds. He can transport himself to the
planet Saturn, and behold a stupendous ring six hundred thousand miles
in circumference, revolving in majestic grandeur every ten hours around
a globe nine hundred times larger than the earth, while seven moons
larger than ours, along with an innumerable host of stars, display their
radiance to adorn the firmament of that magnificent world. He can wing
his flight through the still more distant regions of the universe,
leaving the sun and all his planets behind him, till they appear like a
scarcely discernible speck in creation, and contemplate thousands and
millions of stars and starry systems beyond the range of the unassisted
eye, and wander among the suns and worlds dispersed throughout the
boundless dimensions of space.

In his imagination he can fill up those blanks which astronomy has never
directly explored, and conceive thousands of systems and ten thousands
of worlds beyond all that is visible by the optic tube, stretching out
to infinity on every hand, peopled with intelligences of various orders,
and all under the superintendence and government of the "King Eternal,
Immortal, and Invisible," whose power is omnipotent, and the limit of
his dominions past finding out.

It is evident that a mind capable of such excursions and contemplations
as I have now supposed must experience enjoyments infinitely superior to
those of the individual whose soul is enveloped in intellectual
darkness. If substantial happiness is chiefly situated in the mind; if
it depends on the multiplicity of objects which lie within the range of
its contemplation; if it is augmented by the view of scenes of beauty
and sublimity, and displays of infinite intelligence and power; if it is
connected with tranquillity of mind, which generally accompanies
intellectual pursuits, and the subjugation of the pleasures of sense to
the dictates of reason, the enlightened mind must enjoy gratifications
as far superior to those of the ignorant as man is superior in station
and capacity to the worms of the dust.

In order to illustrate this topic a little further, I shall select a few
facts and deductions in relation to science, which demonstrate the
interesting nature and delightful tendency of scientific pursuits.

There are several recorded instances of the powerful effect which the
study of astronomy has produced upon the human mind. Dr. Rittenhouse, of
Pennsylvania, after he had calculated the transit of Venus, which was to
happen June 3d, 1769, was appointed, at Philadelphia, with others, to
repair to the township of Norriston, and there to observe this planet
until its passage over the sun's disc should verify the correctness of
his calculations. This occurrence had never been witnessed but twice
before by an inhabitant of our earth, and was never to be again seen by
any person then living. A phenomenon so rare, and so important in its
bearings upon astronomical science, was, indeed, well calculated to
agitate the soul of one so alive as he was to the great truths of
nature. The day arrived, and there was no cloud on the horizon. The
observers, in silence and trembling anxiety, awaited for the predicted
moment of observation to arrive. It came, and in the instant of contact,
an emotion of joy so powerful was excited in the bosom of Dr.
Rittenhouse that he fainted.

Sir Isaac Newton, after he had advanced so far in his mathematical
proof of one of his great astronomical doctrines as to see that the
result was to be triumphant, was so affected in view of the momentous
truth he was about to demonstrate that he was unable to proceed, and
begged one of his companions in study to relieve him, and carry out the
calculation. These are striking illustrations, and the effect is perhaps
heightened from their connection with a most sublime science, all of
whose conclusions stand in open contradiction with those of superficial
and vulgar observation.

But the discovery and contemplation of truths in philosophy, chemistry,
and the mathematics have, in numerous instances, awakened kindred
emotions. The enlightened man sees in every thing he beholds upon the
surface of the earth, whether animal or vegetable, and in the very
elements themselves, no less than when contemplating the wonders of
astronomy, instances innumerable illustrative of the wisdom and
beneficence of the Architect, all of which has a direct tendency to
increase his happiness. In the invisible atmosphere which surrounds him,
where other minds discern nothing but an immense blank, he beholds an
assemblage of wonders, and a striking scene of divine wisdom and
omnipotence. He views this invisible agent not only as a _material_, but
as a _compound_ substance, composed of two opposite principles, the one
the source of flame and animal life, and the other destructive to both.
He perceives the atmosphere as the agent under the Almighty which
produces the germination and growth of plants, and all the beauties of
the vegetable creation; which preserves water in a liquid state,
supports fire and flame, and produces animal heat; which sustains the
clouds, and gives buoyancy to the feathered tribes; which is the cause
of winds, the vehicle of smells, the medium of sounds, the source of all
the pleasures we derive from the harmonies of music, the cause of the
universal light and splendor which is diffused around us, and of the
advantages we derive from the morning and evening twilight. He
contemplates it as the prime mover in a variety of machines, as
impelling ships across the ocean, raising balloons to the region of the
clouds, blowing our furnaces, raising water from the deepest pits,
extinguishing fires, and performing a thousand other beneficent
agencies, without which our globe would cease to be habitable. No one
can doubt that all these views and contemplations have a direct tendency
to enlarge the capacity of the mind, to stimulate its faculties, and to
produce rational enjoyment.

But there is another view of this subject which is perhaps still more
impressive. The atmosphere, it has been stated, is a compound substance.
A knowledge of its elementary principles, which chemistry teaches,
introduces its possessor to a new world of happiness. The adaptation of
air to respiration, and the influence of a change in the nature or
proportion of its elements upon health and longevity, have already been
considered.[53] We have seen that carbonic acid, the vitiating product
of respiration, although immediately fatal to animals, constitutes the
very life of vegetation; that in the growth of plants the vitiated air
is purified and fitted again for the sustenance of animal life; and
that, by a beneficent provision of the Creator, animals and vegetables
are thus perpetually interchanging kindly offices. It will suffice for
our present purpose simply to remind the reader that the atmosphere is
composed of the two gases, oxygen and nitrogen, united in the ratio of
one to four by volume. Oxygen is a supporter of combustion, nitrogen is
not. Increase the proportion of oxygen in the air, and the same
substances burn with increased brilliancy; but diminish the proportion
gradually, and they will burn more and more dimly until they become
extinct. Iron and steel, as well as wood and the ordinary combustibles,
will burn with great brilliancy in pure oxygen.

  [53] See Chapter IV., especially from the 89th page to the 105th.

Water, I may add, is composed of the two gases, oxygen and hydrogen. The
former, as we have seen, is a supporter of combustion, and the latter is
one of the most combustible substances known. These two gases are nearly
two thousand times more voluminous than their equivalent of water, and,
when ignited, they _combine with explosive energy_. If, then, the
Creator were to decompose the atmosphere that surrounds the earth to the
height of forty-five miles, and the water that rests upon its surface,
either or both of them, the oxygen, being specifically heavier than the
nitrogen or hydrogen, would settle immediately upon the earth, and,
coming in contact with fires here and there, its whole surface would, in
an instant of time, be enveloped in one general conflagration, and "the
day of the Lord," spoken of in the Scriptures, "in which the heavens
shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with
fervent heat, the earth also, and the things therein shall be burned
up," would be speedily ushered in. He who understands the first
principles of chemical science can not fail to perceive how readily (and
in perfect accordance with laws well understood) such a general
conflagration would take place were the great Architect simply to
resolve these two elements--air and water--into their constituent parts.
How full of meaning to such a one are the words of the Psalmist, _The
heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth his

One more illustration must suffice. All fluids, except water, contract
in volume as they become colder to the point of congelation. But the
point of greatest density in water is about eight degrees above
freezing. As the temperature of ALL fluids _increases_ above this point,
their volume increases. As the temperature of all fluids, with the
single exception of WATER, _decreases_, the volume decreases down to the
freezing point. Water increases in density as it becomes colder until it
reaches the temperature of forty degrees--eight degrees above the
freezing point--when it begins to expand. This only exception to the
general law of fluids is of greater importance in the economy of nature
than most persons are conscious of. As the cold season advances in the
temperate and frigid zones, the water in our lakes and rivers is reduced
to the temperature of forty degrees; but at this point, by a beneficent
provision of an All-wise Providence, the upper substratum becomes
specifically lighter, and is converted into a covering of ice, which,
resting upon the water beneath, protects it from freezing. Moreover,
when water is converted into ice, one hundred and forty degrees of heat
are given out, a part of which, entering into the water below, retards
the further formation of ice.[54]

  [54] I may here add, that exactly the _reverse_ is true in the _melting_
  of snow and ice. It requires as much heat to convert these solids into
  fluids, without at all increasing their temperature, as it does to raise
  the temperature of water from the freezing point, one hundred and forty
  degrees, or from thirty-two to one hundred and seventy-two degrees, as
  indicated by the thermometer. This principle is of vast importance to
  the world, and particularly to the inhabitants of cold countries, where
  the ground is covered with snow and ice a part or the whole of the year.
  The transition from the cold of winter to the heat of summer, in some of
  the northern climates, takes place within a few days. In these climates,
  also, there are vast accumulations of snow and ice, which, but for this
  principle, would be converted into water as soon as the temperature of
  the atmosphere becomes above thirty-two degrees, which would produce a
  flood sufficient to inundate and destroy the whole country. But the
  uniform action of this law renders the melting of snow gradual, and no
  such accident ensues.

  A similar law is observed in the conversion of _water_ into _vapor_,
  which is of great use in enabling us to cool apartments by sprinkling
  floors or hanging up moistened cloths. The heat of even a whole city is
  in like manner greatly moderated by frequently sprinkling the streets.
  It is on this account that gentle showers in hot weather are so cooling
  and refreshing.

If water, like other fluids, continued to increase in density to the
freezing point, the cold air of winter would rob the water of our lakes
and rivers of its heat, until the whole was reduced to the temperature
of thirty-two degrees; when, but for the circumstance to which we have
just alluded, it would be immediately converted into a solid mass of ice
from top to bottom, causing instant death to every animal living in it.
The lower strata of such a mass of ice would never again become

This is a striking proof of the beneficence and design of the Creator in
forming water with such an exception to the ordinary laws of nature, and
a knowledge of it can hardly fail to exert a most salutary, elevating,
and ennobling influence on the mind of its possessor. The field of human
happiness, then, with the virtuous, seems to enlarge in proportion as a
knowledge of the works and laws of the beneficent Creator is extended.
There is little ground for doubt as to what is GOD'S WILL in relation to
the universal education of the family of man, when he has connected with
the exercise of mind in the study of his works superior enjoyments and
heavenly aspirations.

The various propositions stated and elucidated in this chapter, we
think, are as fully established as any moral truths need be, and, we
doubt not, they commend themselves to the judgment and conscience of all
who have carefully perused the preceding pages, if, indeed, they had not
been duly considered and adopted before. If, then, a system of
universal education, judiciously administered, would dissipate the evils
of ignorance, which are legion; if it would greatly increase the
productiveness of labor; if it would diminish--not to say
exterminate--pauperism and crime; if it would prevent the great majority
of fatal accidents that are constantly occurring in every community; if
it would save the lives of a hundred thousand children in the United
States every year, and as many more puny survivors from dragging out a
miserable existence in consequence of being the offspring of ignorant or
vicious parents; if it would prevent so much of idiocy, and would
humanize those who are born _idiots only_, but have hitherto been
permitted, nay, doomed to _die_ BRUTES; if it would prevent so much
insanity, and would save to society and their family and friends,
"clothed and in their right mind," multitudes of every generation who
now dwell in mental darkness and gloom; if it would increase the sum
total of human happiness in proportion to its excellence, and the number
of persons who are brought under its benign influence and uplifting
power; if it would do all this--and that this is its legitimate tendency
there can be no doubt--it would seem that no enlightened community could
be found in any country, and especially that there can be no state in
this Union, that would not at once resolve upon maintaining a system of
universal education by opening the doors of _improved free schools_ to
all her sons and daughters, and, if need be, employing agents, vigilant
and active, "to go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to
come in." If this is not done, thousands and tens of thousands of every
generation will continue to lead cheerless lives, and will go down to
their graves like the brute that perisheth, without knowing that He who
gave to man life has also, in his goodness, which knows no bounds,
provided that in the proper exercise of his faculties man shall find an
inexhaustible source of happiness.[55]

  [55] In the annual report of the Trustees of the New England Institution
  for the Education of the Blind for the year 1834, this beautiful passage
  occurs: "The expression of one of the pupils, '_that she had never
  known, before she began to learn, that it was a happiness to be alive_,'
  may be applied to many."



    In proportion as the structure of a government gives force to public
    opinion, it is essential that public opinion should be

    I do not hesitate to affirm not only that a knowledge of the true
    principles of government is important and useful to Americans, but
    that it is absolutely indispensable to carry on the government of
    their choice, and to transmit it to their posterity.--JUDGE STORY.

Every succeeding section of the last chapter went to show more and more
clearly that, in proportion as the benign influences of a correct
education are diffused among and enjoyed by the members of any
community, will existing evils of every kind be diminished, and
blessings be increased in number and degree. The subject of popular
education, then, claims, and should receive, the sympathy and active
support of every philanthropist and Christian, without regard to country
or clime. We come now to consider a topic in which every patriot, and
especially every true American, as such, must feel a lively interest.

Every citizen of our wide-spread country should be fully persuaded that
the education of the people is the only permanent basis of national
_prosperity_ not only, but of national SAFETY. This, in theory, is now
conceded, and the importance of education is very generally admitted
among men, especially in our own country. It is evident, however, that
the conviction of its importance is not so deeply inwrought into the
mind of society as it ought to be, for it does not manifest itself with
all the power of earnest feeling in behalf of education which the
subject, in view of its acknowledged weightiness, justly demands.

The objects and advantages of education heretofore considered apply
equally to men of every nation and clime, under whatever form of
government they may chance to dwell. It is otherwise in regard to the
political necessity of popular education. Here a particular training is
required to fit men for the government under which they are to live. In
despotic governments, the object of popular education is to make good
_subjects_, while upon us devolves the higher responsibility of so
educating the people that they may become not only good _subjects_, but
good SOVEREIGNS--all power originating in and returning to the
_sovereign people_.

Only seventy-four years ago, our fathers of the ever-memorable
Revolution pledged "fortune, life, and sacred honor" to establish the
independence of these United States. Under the fostering care of
republican institutions, the tide of population rolled rapidly inland,
crossing the Alleganies, sweeping over the vast Valley of the
Mississippi, nor resting in its onward course until it settled on the
waters of the Columbia and the shores of the Pacific. Previous to the
Revolutionary war, the English settlements were confined to the Atlantic
coast; now the tide of immigration seems to be to the shores of the
Pacific, where states are multiplying and cities springing up as by
magic. In a little more than half a century, the states of the Union
have increased in number from thirteen to thirty, and in population in
a ratio hitherto unprecedented, from three millions to twenty-five
millions of souls.

We stand in the same relation to posterity that our ancestors do to us.
Each generation has duties of its own to perform; and our duties, though
widely different from those of our forefathers, are not less important
in their character or less binding in their obligations. It was their
duty to found or establish our institutions, and nobly did they perform
it. It is our especial and appropriate duty to perfect and perpetuate
the institutions we have received at their hands. The boon they would
bequeath to the latest posterity can never reach and bless them except
through our instrumentality. Upon each present generation rest the duty
and the obligation of educating and qualifying for usefulness that which
immediately succeeds, upon which, in turn, will devolve a like
responsibility. Each succeeding generation will, in the main, be what
the preceding has made it. From this responsible agency there is, there
can be, no escape.

Trusts, responsibilities, and interests, vaster in amount and more
sacred in character than have ever, in the providence of God, been
committed to any people, are now intrusted to us. The great experiment
of the capacity of man for self-government is being tried anew--an
experiment which, wherever it has been tried, has failed, through an
incapacity in the people to enjoy liberty without abusing it. We are, I
doubt not, now educating the very generation during whose lifetime this
great question will be decided. The present generation will, to a great
extent, be responsible for the result, whatever it may be. We are,
therefore, called upon, as American citizens and Christian
philanthropists, to do all that in us lies to secure to this experiment
a successful issue; to make _this_ the leading nation of the earth, and
a model worthy of imitation by all others. Never before this has a
nation been planted with so hopeful an opportunity for becoming the
universal benefactor of the race.

If for the next fifty years the population of these American States
shall continue to increase as during the last fifty, we shall exceed a
hundred millions; and in a century, allowing the same ratio of increase,
the population will equal that of the Old World. Here, then, is a
continent to be filled with innumerable millions of human beings, who
may be happy through our wisdom, but who must be miserable through our
folly. We may disregard such considerations, but we can not escape the
tremendous responsibilities rolling in upon us in view of the relations
we sustain to the past and the future. We delight to honor, in _words_,
those heroes and martyrs from whom we have received the rich boon of
civil and religious liberty. Let us then, in _deeds_, imitate the
examples we profess to admire, and contribute our full quota, as
individuals and as a generation, toward perfecting and perpetuating the
institutions we have received, that they may be enjoyed by those
countless millions who are to succeed us in this broad empire.

"In this exigency," to adopt the language of an enlightened practical
educator and eminent statesman, "we need far more of wisdom and
rectitude than we possess. Preparations for our present condition have
been so long neglected, that we now have a double duty to perform. We
have not only to propitiate to our aid a host of good spirits, but we
have to exorcise a host of evil ones. Every aspect of our affairs,
public and private, demonstrates that we need, for their successful
management, a vast accession to the common stock of intelligence and
virtue. But intelligence and virtue are the product of cultivation and
training. They do not spring up spontaneously. We need, therefore,
unexampled alacrity and energy in the application of all those
influences and means which promise the surest and readiest returns of
wisdom and probity, both public and private.

"When the Declaration of Independence was carried into effect, and the
Constitution of the United States was adopted, the civil and political
relations of the generation then living, and of all succeeding ones,
were changed. Men were no longer the same men, but were clothed with new
rights and responsibilities. Up to that period, so far as government was
concerned, they might have been ignorant; indeed, it has generally been
held that where a man's only duty is obedience, it is better that he
should be ignorant; for why should a beast of burden be endowed with the
sensibilities of a man! Up to that period, so far as government was
concerned, a man might have been unprincipled and flagitious. He had no
access to the statute-book to alter or repeal its provisions, so as to
screen his own violations of the moral law from punishment, or to
legalize the impoverishment and ruin of his fellow-beings. But with the
new institutions, there came new relations, and an immense accession of
powers. New trusts of inappreciable value were devolved upon the old
agents and upon their successors, irrevocably.

"With the change in the organic structure of our government, there
should have been corresponding changes in all public measures and
institutions. For every dollar given by the wealthy or by the state to
colleges to cultivate the higher branches of knowledge, a hundred should
have been given for primary education. For every acre of land bestowed
upon an academy, a province should have been granted to common schools.
Select schools for select children should have been discarded, and
_universal education_ should have joined hands with _universal

  [56] From "an Oration delivered before the Authorities of the City of
  Boston, July 4th, 1842, by Horace Mann, Secretary of the Massachusetts
  Board of Education."

In the simplest form of civil government, there must exist a
legislative, a judicial, and an executive department. But no expression
of the national will in a system of laws can be sufficiently definite to
supersede the necessity of a perpetual succession of Legislatures to
supply defects, and to meet emergencies as they arise. However
well-informed men may be, and however pure the motives by which they are
actuated, all experience hath shown that subjects will come up for
consideration that will strike different minds in a variety of forms.
This, in a popular government, gives rise to opposing parties. Every
man, then, in casting his vote for members of the Legislature, needs to
understand what important questions will be likely to come before that
branch of the government for settlement, to have examined them in their
various bearings, and to have deliberately made up his opinion in
relation to the interests involved, in order to vote understandingly;
otherwise he will be as likely to oppose as to promote, not only the
welfare of the state, but his own most cherished interests.

The same remark that has been made in relation to the legislative
department will apply to both the judicial and executive, and to the
general government as well as to the several state governments. When the
appointed day arrives for deciding the various questions of state and
national policy which divide men into opposing parties, there can be no
delay. These various and conflicting questions must be decided, whether
much or little preparation has been made, or none at all. And, what is
most extraordinary, each voter helps to decide every question which
agitates the community as much by not voting as by voting. If the
question is so vast or so complicated that any one has not time to
examine and make up his mind in relation to it, or if any one is too
conscientious to act from conjecture in cases of magnitude, and
therefore stays from the polls, another, who has no scruples about
acting ignorantly, or from caprice, or malevolence, votes, and, in the
absence of the former, decides the question against the right.

However simple our government may be in theory, it has proved, in
practice, the most complex government on earth. More questions for
legislative interposition, and for judicial exposition and construction,
have already arisen under it, ten to one, than have arisen during the
same length of time under any other form of government in Christendom.
We are a Union of thirty states; a great nation composed of thirty
separate nations; and even beyond these, the confederacy is responsible
for the fate of vast territories, with their increasing population, and
of numerous Indian tribes. Among the component states, there is the
greatest variety of customs, institutions, and religions. Then we have
the deeper inbred differences of language and ancestry among us, our
population being made up of the lineage of all nations. Our industrial
pursuits, also, are various; and, with a great natural diversity of soil
and climate, they must always continue to be so. Moreover, across the
very center of our territory a line is drawn, on one side of which all
labor is voluntary, while on the opposite side a system of involuntary
servitude prevails.

If, then, general intelligence and popular virtue are necessary for the
successful administration of even the simplest forms of government, and
if these qualities are required in a higher and still higher degree in
proportion to the complexity of a government, then are both intelligence
and virtue necessary in this government to an extent indefinitely beyond
what has ever been required in any other. And especially is this true
when we consider that our government is representative as it regards the
people, and federative as it regards the states; and that, in this
respect, it has no precedent on the file of nations. We hence require a
double portion of general intelligence and practical wisdom. But men are
not born in the possession of these requisites to self-government,
neither are they necessarily developed in the growth from infancy to
manhood. They are the product of cultivation and training, and can be
secured only through good schools opened to and enjoyed by all our
youth. The stability of this government requires that universal
education should precede universal suffrage.

Under a free government, the intelligence of the people, coupled with
their virtue, will be found to be a sure index to a nation's prosperity,
and to the individual and social well-being of all who enjoy its
protection. God is a being of infinite wisdom and goodness, and no part
of his government can be successfully administered except upon the
principles of knowledge and virtue. The success that attends a nation of
freemen will depend upon the extent to which these are cultivated, and
the universality of their dissemination in the body politic. While the
cultivation of these will increase the safety of the government, their
neglect will hasten its downfall.

Judge Story, in a lecture upon the importance of the science of
government as a branch of popular education, has well remarked, that
"it is not to rulers and statesman alone that the science of government
is important and useful. It is equally indispensable for every American
citizen, to enable him to exercise his own rights, to protect his own
interests, and to secure the public liberties and the just operations of
public authority. A republic, by the very constitution of its
government, requires, on the part of the people, more vigilance and
constant exertion than any other form of government. The American
Republic, above all others, demands from every citizen unceasing
vigilance and exertion, since we have deliberately dispensed with every
guard against danger or ruin except the intelligence and virtue of the
people themselves. It is founded on the basis that the people have
wisdom enough to frame their own system of government, and public spirit
enough to preserve it; that they can not be cheated out of their
liberties, and they will not submit to have them taken from them by
force. We have silently assumed the fundamental truth that, as it never
can be the interest of the majority of the people to prostrate their own
political equality and happiness, so they never can be seduced by
flattery or corruption, by the intrigues of faction or the arts of
ambition, to adopt any measures which shall subvert them. _If this
confidence in ourselves is justified_--and who among Americans does not
feel a pride in endeavoring to maintain it?--_let us never forget that
it can be justified only by a watchfulness and zeal in proportion to our
confidence_. Let us never forget that we must prove ourselves wiser,
better, and purer than any other nation ever has yet been, if we are to
count upon success. Every other republic has fallen by the discords and
treachery of its own citizens. It has been said by one of our own
departed statesmen, himself a devout admirer of popular government,
that power is perpetually stealing from the many to the few."

The institutions of a republic are endangered by the ignorance of the
masses on the one hand, and by intelligent, but unprincipled and vicious
aspirants to office and places of emolument on the other. Where these
two classes coexist to any considerable extent, the safety of the
republic is jeoparded; for they have a strong sympathy with each other,
and it is the constant policy of the latter to increase the number of
the former. They arouse their passions and stimulate their appetites,
and then lead them in a way they know not. A barrel of whisky, or even
of hard cider, with a "hurrah!" will control ten to one more of this
class of voters than will the soundest arguments of enlightened and
honorable statesmen. And yet one of these votes thus procured, when
deposited in the ballot-box, counts the same as the vote of a Washington
or a Franklin!

There is one remedy, and but one, for this alarming state of things,
which prevails to a less or greater extent in almost every community.
That remedy is simple. It consists in the establishment of schools for
the education of the whole people. These schools, however, should be of
a more perfect character than the majority of those which have hitherto
existed. In them the principles of morality should be copiously
intermingled with the principles of science. Cases of conscience should
alternate with lessons in the rudiments. The rule requiring us to do to
others as we would that they should do unto us, should be made as
familiar as the multiplication table, and our youth should become as
familiar with the practical application of the one as of the other. The
lives of great and good men should be held up for admiration and
example, and especially the life and character of Jesus Christ, as the
sublimest pattern of benevolence, of purity, and of self-sacrifice ever
exhibited to mortals. In every course of studies, all the practical and
preceptive parts of the Gospel should be sacredly inculcated, and all
dogmatical theology and sectarianism sacredly excluded. In no school
should the Bible be opened to reveal the sword of the polemic, but to
unloose the dove of peace.

In connection with the preceding, and in addition to the branches now
commonly taught in our schools, the study of _politics_, which has been
beautifully defined as _the art of making a people happy_, should be
generally introduced. "I am not aware," says an eminent jurist,[57]
"that there are any solid objections which can be urged against
introducing the science of government into our common schools as a
branch of popular education. If it should be said that it will have a
tendency to introduce party creeds and party dogmas into our schools,
the true answer is, that the principles of government should be there
taught, and not the creeds or dogmas of any party. The principles of the
Constitution under which we live; the principles upon which republics
generally are founded, by which they are sustained, and through which
they must be saved; the principles of public policy, by which national
prosperity is secured, and national ruin averted--these certainly are
not party creeds or party dogmas, but are fit to be taught at all times
and on all occasions, if any thing which belongs to human life and our
own condition is fit to be taught. If we wait until we can guard
ourselves against every possible chance of abuse before we introduce any
system of instruction, we shall wait until the current of time has
flowed into the ocean of eternity. There is nothing which ever has been
or ever can be taught without some chance of abuse; nay, without some
absolute abuse. Even religion itself, our truest and our only lasting
hope and consolation, has not escaped the common infirmity of our
nature. If it never had been taught until it could be taught with the
purity, simplicity, and energy of the apostolic age, we ourselves,
instead of being blessed with the bright and balmy influences of
Christianity, should now have been groping our way in the darkness of
heathenism, or left to perish in the cold and cheerless labyrinths of

  [57] Joseph Story, before the American Institute of Instruction.

Lord Brougham, one of the most powerful advocates of popular education
in our day, has made the following remarks, which can not be more fitly
addressed to any people than to the citizens of the American States. "A
sound system of government," says this transatlantic writer, "requires
the people to read and inform themselves upon political subjects; else
they are the prey of every quack, every impostor, and every agitator who
may practice his trade in the country. If they do not read; if they do
not learn; if they do not digest by discussion and reflection what they
have read and learned; if they do not qualify themselves to form
opinions for themselves, other men will form opinions for them, not
according to the truth and the interests of the people, but according to
their own individual and selfish interest, which may, and most probably
will, be contrary to that of the people at large."

Two very important inquiries here naturally suggest themselves to us:
they are, first, whether there is at present in this country a degree of
intelligence sufficient for the wise administration of its affairs; and
secondly, whether existing provisions for the education of our country's
youth are adequate to the wants of a great and free people, who are
endeavoring to demonstrate to the world that great problem of
nations--the capability of man for self-government. We judge of the
literary attainments of the citizens of a state or of a nation, _as a
whole_, by comparing all the individual members thereof with a given
standard, and of their arrangements for educating the rising generation
by the character of their schools, and the proportion of the population
that receive instruction in them. Let us test the existing standard of
education in various states of this Union in both of these respects.

DEGREE OF POPULAR INTELLIGENCE.--According to the census of 1840,[58]
the total population of the United States was, in round numbers,
seventeen millions. Of this number, five hundred and fifty thousand were
whites over twenty years of age, who could not read and write. The
proportion varies in different states, from one in five hundred and
eighty-nine in Connecticut, to one in eleven in North Carolina.

  [58] The census for 1850 is now being taken. Whether its results will
  tell more favorably upon the general interests of education in the
  United States than those of the last census, remains to be seen. Some of
  the states during the last ten years have done nobly; others have
  evidently retrograded. We have also a tide of foreign immigration
  pouring in upon us hitherto unprecedented, averaging a thousand a day
  for the past year, all of whom need to be Americanized.

If we exclude, in the estimate, all colored persons, and whites under
twenty years of age, the proportion will stand thus: in the United
States, one to every twelve is unable to read and write. The proportion
varies in the different states, from one in two hundred and ninety-four
in Connecticut, which stands the highest, to one in three in North
Carolina, which stands the lowest. In Tennessee the proportion is one in
four. In Kentucky, Virginia, Georgia, South Carolina, and Arkansas,
each, one in five. In Delaware and Alabama, each, one in six. In
Indiana, one in seven. In Illinois and Wisconsin, each, one in eight.

On the brighter end of the scale, next to Connecticut, in which the
proportion is one in two hundred and ninety-four, is New Hampshire, in
which the proportion is one in one hundred and fifty-nine. In
Massachusetts it is one in ninety. In Maine, one in seventy-two. In
Vermont, one in sixty-three. Next in order comes Michigan, in which the
proportion is one in thirty-nine.[59]

  [59] According to the last census, there were twenty states below
  Michigan, and only five above her. But even this estimate, favorable as
  it is in the scale of states, does not allow Michigan an opportunity to
  appear in her true light, for it is well known that a great proportion
  of the illiterate population of this state is confined to a few
  counties. In Mackinaw and Chippewa counties there is one white person
  over twenty years of age to every five of the entire population that is
  unable to read and write. In Ottawa, one in fourteen; in Cass, one in
  twenty-two; in Wayne and Saginaw, each, one in thirty-six. On the other
  hand, there were eight organized counties in the state in which,
  according to the census referred to, there was not a single white
  inhabitant over twenty years of age that was unable to read and write.
  It is an interesting fact, at least to persons residing in the
  Northwest, that in Ohio also (on the Western Reserve) there were seven
  such counties, making fifteen in these two states, while in all New
  England there were but two--Franklin in Massachusetts, and Essex in

But these statements in relation to the number of persons in the United
States who are unable to read and write, although they give the fearful
aggregate of _five hundred and fifty thousand_ over twenty years of age
who are destitute of these qualifications, it is believed, fail to
discover much of gross ignorance that is cherished in various portions
of the country; for there is no state in the Union, nor any section of a
single state, where men do not wish to be accounted able to read and
write. The deputy marshals who took the census received their
compensation by the head, and not by the day, for the work done. They
therefore traveled from house to house, making the shortest practicable
stay at each. More was required of them than could be thoroughly and
accurately performed in the time allowed. Their informants were
subjected to no test. In the absence of the heads of families, whose
information would have been more reliable, the bare word of persons over
sixteen years of age was accredited. It is, moreover, well known, that
no inconsiderable number of persons gave false information when inquired
of by the deputies. From these and other reasons, it is believed that
numerous and important errors exist in the census; and this opinion is
corroborated by a mass of unquestionable testimony, of which I will
introduce a specimen.

The annual message of Governor Campbell, of Virginia, to the Legislature
of that state, the year immediately preceding that in which the census
was taken, clearly shows that the capacity to read and write in persons
over twenty years of age was greatly over-estimated in that state.
Governor Campbell, after stating that the importance of an efficient
system of education, embracing in its comprehensive and benevolent
design the whole people, can not be too frequently recurred to, goes on
to remark as follows:

"The statements furnished by the clerks of five city and borough courts,
and ninety-three of the county courts, in reply to the inquiries
addressed to them, ascertain that, of all those who applied for marriage
licenses, a large number were unable to write their names. The years
selected for this inquiry were those of =1817=, =1827=, and =1837=. The
statements show that the applicants for marriage licenses for =1817=
amounted to =4682=, of whom =1127= were unable to write; =5048= in
=1827=, of whom the number unable to write was =1166=; and in =1837= the
applicants were =4614=, and of these the number of =1047= were unable to
write their names. From which it appears there still exists a
deplorable extent of ignorance, and that, in truth, it is hardly less
than it was twenty years ago, when the school fund was created. The
statements, it will be remembered, are partial, not embracing quite all
the counties, and are, moreover, confined to one sex. The education of
females, it is to be feared, is in a condition of much greater neglect.

"There are now in the state two hundred thousand children between the
ages of five and fifteen. Forty thousand of them are reported to be poor
children, and of them only one half to be attending schools. It may be
safely assumed that, of those possessing property adequate to the
expenses of a plain education, a large number are growing up in
ignorance, for want of schools within convenient distances. Of those at
school, many derive little or no instruction, owing to the incapacity of
the teachers, as well as to their culpable negligence and inattention.
Thus the number likely to remain uneducated, and to grow up without just
perceptions of their duties, religious, social, and political, is really
of appalling magnitude, and such as to appeal with affecting earnestness
to a parental Legislature."

If there shall appear any want of agreement between these statements and
the returns made by the deputy marshals, no one need be in doubt in
relation to which has the strongest claims for credence. These
statements were communicated by the governor of a proud state to the
Legislature in his annual message. Unlike the statistics collected by
the marshals, each case was subjected to an infallible test; for no man
who could make a scrawl in the similitude of his name would submit to
the mortification of making his mark, and leaving it on record in a
written application for a marriage license. The requisition was made
upon the officers of the courts, and the evidence, which was of a
documentary or judicial character, is the highest known to the law. The
result was, that almost one fourth of all the men applying for marriage
licenses--more than thirty-three hundred in three years--were unable to
write their names! And Governor Campbell clearly intimates an opinion
that "the education of females is in a condition of much greater

In round numbers, the free white population of Virginia over twenty
years of age is three hundred and thirty thousand. One fourth of this
number is eighty-two and a half thousand, which, according to the
evidence presented by Governor Campbell, is the lowest possible limit at
which the minimum of adults unable to read and write can be stated. But
the census number is less than fifty-nine thousand, making a difference
of nearly twenty-four thousand, or more than forty per cent.

There are several states of about the same rank as Virginia in the
educational scale. Kentucky, Tennessee, and North Carolina sink even
below her. The last-named state, with a free white population over
twenty years of age of less than 210,000, has the appalling number, even
according to the census, of 56,609 who are unable to read and write. In
other words, forty-two hundred more than one fourth of the whole free
population over twenty years of age are, in the educational scale,
absolutely _below zero_.

Now if to the five hundred and fifty thousand free white population in
the United States over the age of twenty years who are unable to read
and write, as shown by the census, we add forty per cent. for its
under-estimates, as facts require us to do in the case of Virginia, it
would increase the total to seven hundred and seventy thousand. Suppose
one fourth of these only are voters--that is, deduct one half for
females, and allow that one half of the male moiety is made up of
persons either between twenty and twenty-one years of age, or of those
who are unnaturalized, which is a most liberal allowance when we
consider where the great mass of ignorance belongs, and that the number
of ignorant immigrants is much less at the South than at the North--and
we have =192,500= voters in the United States who are unable to read and

Now, at the presidential election for the same year that the census was
taken, when, to use the graphic language of another, "every voter not
absolutely in his winding sheet was carried to the polls, when the
harvest field was so thoroughly swept that neither stubble nor tares
were left for the gleaner," the majority for the successful candidate
was =146,081=, more than =46,000= less than the estimated number of
legal voters at that time in the United States unable to read and write.
At this election a larger majority of the electoral votes was given for
the successful candidate than was ever given to any other President of
the United States, with the exception of Mr. Monroe in =1820=, against
whom there was but one vote. General Harrison's popular majority, also,
was undoubtedly the largest by which any President of the United States
has ever been elected, with the exception above mentioned of Mr. Monroe,
and perhaps that of General Washington at his second election. And yet
this majority, large as it was, was more than 46,000 less than the
estimated number of our legal voters who, in the educational scale, are
absolutely below zero.

And then it should be borne in mind that hundreds of thousands who are
barely able to read and write may never have acquired "a knowledge of
the true principles of government," which, in the language of Judge
Story, at the head of this chapter, "is not only important and useful
to Americans, but is absolutely indispensable to carry on the government
of their choice, and to transmit it to posterity." It should also be
borne in mind that popular virtue is not less essential to the stability
of a free government than is general intelligence. Nay, more; if the
liberties of this republic are more endangered by any one class of
people than by all others, that class consists of intelligent but
unprincipled political aspirants. The connection between ignorance and
vice has already been referred to, and is well known among intelligent
men; but by none so well, it may be, as by the unprincipled aspirant,
who, by pandering to the vicious appetites of the ignorant and the vile,
and then by base flattery pronouncing them "highly intelligent,
enlightened, and civilized," take advantage of their very want of
qualification "to manufacture political capital." These are they to whom
Lord Brougham refers when he says, "other men will form opinions for
them, not according to truth and the interests of the people, but
according to their own individual and selfish interest, which may, and
most probably will, be contrary to that of the people at large." We can
not, then, avoid coming to the unwelcome and dread conclusion that there
is not at present in this country a sufficient degree of intelligence
and virtue for the wise, or even the safe administration of its affairs.
It remains to consider whether existing provisions for the education of
our country's youth are adequate to the wants of the American people.

EXISTING PROVISIONS FOR EDUCATION.--Of the seventeen millions of persons
in the United States, according to the last census, =3,726,080=--one in
five of the entire population--were free white children between the ages
of five and fifteen years. This is the lowest estimate I have ever known
made of the ages between which children should regularly attend school.
The ages usually stated between which children generally should attend
school at least ten months during the year, are from four to sixteen, or
from four to eighteen years, and sometimes from four to twenty or
twenty-one years.

But what is the actual attendance upon the primary and common schools of
the country? It is only =1,845,244=, or, to vary the expression and give
it more definiteness, the total number of children in attendance upon
all our schools, any part of the year, is twenty thousand less than one
half of the free-born white children in the United States between the
ages of five and fifteen years! And then it should be borne in mind that
the same general motives which would lead to an under-statement in
regard to the number of persons unable to read and write, would lead to
an over-statement in regard to the number of those attending school. The
educational statistics of some of the states, made out by competent and
faithful school officers, show that the whole number of scholars that
attended school any part of the time during the school year 1840-41--the
year the census was taken--was several thousand less than the number
according to the census.[60]

  [60] In Massachusetts, according to a statement made by the Secretary of
  the Board of Education, the whole number of scholars who were in all the
  public schools any part of the school year 1840-41 was but 155,041, and
  the average attendance was, in the winter, 116,398, and in the summer,
  96,802; while the number given in the census is 158,351, which is
  greater by 3310 than the entire number that attended school _any part of
  the year_, according to the returns, and 55,751 more than the average
  attendance for half of the year.

If we were to embrace in the estimate the whole number of students in
attendance at the universities, colleges, academies, and seminaries of
learning of every grade, it would not materially vary the result, for
all these taken together are less than one tenth part of the number in
attendance upon the common schools. That the number of children
attending schools of any grade is less than might be inferred from the
foregoing statements, will be apparent when we consider the following

In the United States, taken together as a whole, only one person in ten
of the population attends any school whatever any part of the year. Now
it is well known that a large number of children under five years of age
attend school in many parts of the country, and a much greater number
that are over fifteen years of age. I have already said that the entire
number of children in attendance upon all our schools is twenty thousand
less than one half of the entire number of free-born white children in
the United States between the ages of five and fifteen years. This
leaves two millions of children uninstructed. We shall have a more just
view of the scantiness of our provisions for adequate national education
if to this number, appalling as it is, we add the total number of those
attending under five and over fifteen in various portions of the

Again: no one supposes that in any part of the Union adequate provisions
are made for the education of the rising generation, even in a single
state. But in the New England states, and in New York and Michigan, one
fourth part of the entire population attend school some part of the
year. This is twice and a half the general average throughout the Union,
and more than five times the average attendance in the majority of the
remaining states.

In round numbers, the proportion of the entire population that attend
school in the different states of the Union is, according to the census,
in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont, each, one in three. In
Michigan,[61] Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York, the proportion
is one in four. In Rhode Island, it is one in five. In Ohio and New
Jersey, each, one in six. In Pennsylvania, one in eight. In no other
state is the proportion more than one in ten, while in ten states it is
less than one in twenty-five.

  [61] In determining the proportion for this state, the census for 1845
  and the school returns for that year were the data used. In the other
  states I have been obliged to use the census returns of 1840.

In fixing this proportion, the nearest whole number has been used. In no
state is the proportion in attendance upon the schools as high as one in
three. Michigan heads the states in which the proportion is one in four.
In this state the proportion is somewhat greater than one in four; it
is, however, nearer this than one in three. In the other states the
proportion is less than one in four. The states are all arranged
according to the size of the fraction, there being less difference in
the attendance in Vermont and Michigan than in the latter state and New

At the time the last census was taken, Michigan had recently been
admitted into the Union, and the state government being but just
organized, the school system had only gone partially into operation.
According to the census of =1840=, the proportion in attendance upon the
schools of this state was only one in seven. During the interval from
=1840= to =1845=, at which time the census of this state was again
taken, the population had increased from two hundred and twelve thousand
to upward of three hundred thousand, showing an increase of about fifty
per cent.; the number of primary schools had increased from less than
ten thousand to more than twenty thousand, making an increase of more
than one hundred per cent.; and the attendance upon these schools had
advanced from thirty thousand to seventy-six thousand, giving the very
remarkable increase of one hundred and fifty per cent. in five years,
when, as already stated, the proportion in attendance upon the common
schools was more than one in four of the entire population. And during
the next two years the number of children in attendance upon the schools
increased from seventy-six thousand to one hundred and eight thousand,
showing an advance of more than forty per cent. from 1845 to 1847.

It is gratifying to know that this important interest, which underlies
all others, is receiving increased attention in various portions of the
United States. Among the most striking illustrations that I have noticed
of these indications of national improvement, I will instance two.[62]
The following interesting items of fact are gleaned from an address by
the superintendent before the public schools of New Orleans, February
22d, 1850--a most befitting day for a school celebration. These
statistics strike us more forcibly when we consider that they relate to
the metropolis of the South, and to the capital of a state in which,
according to the last census, only one person in one hundred received
instruction in the primary and common schools of the state. The public
schools of the second municipality of New Orleans were established in
1842, comprising at that time less than three hundred pupils. Now the
constant attendance is upward of three thousand--ten times what it was
eight years ago. But even this increase, large as it may seem, is not
sufficient to constitute the proportion in attendance upon the schools
of the state even one in fifty of the entire population.

  [62] My information is derived from the "Southern Journal of Education"
  for May, 1850--a monthly for the promotion of popular intelligence,
  published from Knoxville, Tenn.--Samuel A. Jewett, Editor and Publisher.
  This journal is ably conducted, and has now reached its third volume.
  This certainly is a very encouraging omen, especially when we consider
  that it has so long survived in a state where, according to the last
  census, only one in thirty-three of the entire population attended
  school. May it long continue to do good service in this important cause.

Kentucky furnishes the other indication of improvement which I propose
to notice. In this state, according to the last census, only one in
thirty-three of the entire population attended the common schools during
any part of the year. The number of children at the present time in that
commonwealth, as reported by the second auditor, between the ages of
five and sixteen, leaving out the colored children, is one hundred and
ninety-three thousand. The number provided with schools, as reported in
1847, was twenty-one thousand; in 1848, thirty-three thousand; and in
1849, eighty-seven thousand; showing a clear advance in two years of
sixty-six thousand.[63] But, with all this improvement, one hundred and
five thousand children do not derive any personal benefit from the
public school system. In other words, eighteen thousand more children in
this state are still growing up without instruction than as yet attend
the schools. And the utter inadequacy of the common school privileges of
even these will be apparent when it is understood that in the great
majority of the districts more than nine tenths of the schools are
taught but three months during the year.

  [63] This improvement well illustrates the advantages resulting to the
  state from the able and faithful supervision of her public schools. A
  correspondent of the Baltimore American speaks of the Annual Report of
  DR. ROBERT BRECKENRIDGE, Superintendent of Public Instruction, to the
  General Assembly of Kentucky, as follows: "It is the most important
  document which has been submitted to that body during the present
  session, and reflects great credit upon the energy, fidelity, and
  comprehensive aims of the superintendent in the discharge of his high
  duties. It is now but two years since Dr. Breckenridge was appointed to
  the office, and the great service he has rendered to the cause of
  popular education in the state is strikingly exhibited in the contrast
  between the present condition of the common schools, and that in which
  he found them when he received his appointment from the Board of

We have as yet only considered the great destitution of schools of _any
kind_, in which the moiety of the children that attend school at all
receive instruction, and the fact that very many of these are kept open
but three months during the year.[64] The inadequacy of existing
provisions for the proper education of the rising generation will be
more strikingly apparent when we consider the incompetency of, I may
perhaps safely say, the majority of persons who are put in charge of the
public schools of the country. It is readily conceded that, in those
states where education has received most attention, there are many
teachers who are thoroughly furnished unto all good works. But it is far
otherwise with the majority of teachers even in the more favored states.
The testimony of Governor Campbell already quoted, will apply to the
teachers of many other states. After speaking of the large number of
children in Virginia that "are growing up in ignorance for want of
schools within convenient distances," he remarks, that "of those at
school, many derive little or no instruction, owing to the incapacity of
the teachers, as well as to their culpable negligence and inattention."

  [64] Even in Massachusetts the average length of time the schools of the
  state continue is less than eight months, and the average continuance in
  several of the counties is only five months. The average attendance upon
  the schools for the time they are kept open is sixty-two per cent. of
  the number between the ages of four and sixteen years; but in some
  instances only twenty-six per cent. of the children in a town--about one
  fourth of the number within the school ages--attend school.

President Caldwell, of the University of North Carolina, in a series of
letters on popular education, addressed to the people of that state a
few years ago, proposes a plan for the improvement of common education.
The first and greatest existing evil which he specifies is the want of
qualified teachers. Any one who "knows how to read, and write, and
cipher," it is said, is regarded as fit to be a "schoolmaster."

"Is a man," remarks President Caldwell, "constitutionally and habitually
indolent, a burden upon all from whom he can extract a support? Then
there is one way of shaking him off; let us make him a schoolmaster! To
teach a school is, in the opinion of many, little else than sitting
still and doing nothing. Has any man wasted all his property, or ended
in debt by indiscretion and misconduct? The business of school-keeping
stands wide open for his reception; and here he sinks to the bottom, for
want of capacity to support himself. Has any one ruined himself, and
done all he could to corrupt others by dissipation, drinking, seduction,
and a course of irregularities? Nay, has he returned from a prison,
after an ignominious atonement for some violation of the laws? He is
destitute of character, and can not be _trusted_; but presently he opens
a school, and the children are seen flocking to it; for, if he is
_willing_ to act in that capacity--we shall all admit that he can read,
write, and cipher to the square root--he will make an excellent
schoolmaster. In short, it is no matter what the man is, or what his
manners or principles; if he has escaped with his life from the penal
code, we have the satisfaction to think that he can still have credit as
a schoolmaster."

The Georgia convention of teachers, in a published address, after
speaking of the importance of giving a more extended education to our
youth _as citizens_, and giving an outline of a liberal system of
popular education, go on to remark as follows: "Alas! how far should we
be elevated above our present level if all of them were thus
enlightened! But how many sons and daughters of free-born Americans are
unable to read their native language! How many go to the polls who are
unable to read the very charter of their liberties! How many, by their
votes, elect men to legislate upon their dearest interests, while they
themselves are unable to read even the proceedings of those legislators
whom they have empowered to act for them!"

In accounting for this lamentable state of things, the committee of the
Convention say, "We seem to forget that first principles are, in
education, all-important principles; that primary schools are the places
where these principles are to be established, and where such direction
will, in all probability, be given to the minds of our children as will
decide their future character in life. Hence the idle, and the profane,
and the drunken, and the ignorant are employed to impart to our children
the first elements of knowledge--are set before them as examples of what
literature and science can accomplish! And hence the profession of
schoolmaster, which should be the most honorable, is but too often a
term of reproach."

That other most unwelcome and dread conclusion, _that existing
provisions for popular education in the United Slates are inadequate to
the requirements of a free people_, is, then, in view of all these
facts, unavoidably forced upon us.

In the name of Christian philanthropy, in the name of patriotism, then,
I inquire whether there is any ground for hope that our free
institutions may be transmitted unimpaired to posterity. "With the
heroes, and sages, and martyrs of the Revolution," to adopt the language
of another, "I believe in the capability of man for self-government, my
whole soul thereto most joyously assenting. Nay, if there be any heresy
among men, or blasphemy against God, at which the philosopher might be
allowed to forget his equanimity, and the Christian his charity, it is
the heresy and the blasphemy of believing and avowing that the
infinitely good and all-wise Author of the universe persists in creating
and sustaining a race of beings who, by a law of their nature, are
forever doomed to suffer all the atrocities and agonies of
misgovernment, either from the hands of others or from their own. The
doctrine of the inherent and necessary disability of mankind for
self-government should be regarded not simply with denial, but with
abhorrence; not with disproof only, but with execration. To sweep so
foul a creed from the precincts of truth, and utterly to consume it,
rhetoric should become a whirlwind, and logic fire. Indeed, I have never
known a man who desired the establishment of monarchical and
aristocratical institutions among us, who had not a mental reservation
that, in such case, he and his family should belong to the privileged

"Still, if asked the broad question whether man is capable of
self-government, I must answer it conditionally. If by man, in the
inquiry, is meant the Fejee Islanders; or the convicts at Botany Bay; or
the people of Mexico and of some of the South American Republics, so
called; or those as a class, in our own country, who can neither read
nor write; or those who can read and write, and who possess talents and
an education by force of which they get treasury, or post-office, or
bank appointments, and then abscond with all the money they can steal, I
answer unhesitatingly that _man_, or rather _such men_, are not fit for

"But if, on the other hand, the inquiry be whether mankind are not
endowed with those germs of intelligence and those susceptibilities of
goodness by which, under a perfectly practicable system of cultivation
and training, they are able to avoid the evils of despotism and anarchy,
and also of those frequent changes in national policy which are but one
remove from anarchy, and to hold steadfastly on their way in an endless
career of improvement, then, in the full rapture of that joy and triumph
which springs from a belief in the goodness of God and the progressive
happiness of man, I answer, THEY ARE ABLE."

                 *       *       *       *       *


    The first duty of government, and the surest evidence of good
    government, is the encouragement of education. A general diffusion
    of knowledge is the precursor and protector of republican
    institutions; and in it we must confide, as the conservative power
    that will watch our liberties, and guard against fraud, intrigue,
    corruption, and violence.--DE WITT CLINTON's _Message to the New
    York Legislature_, 1826.

    If good is to be done, we must bring our minds, as soon as possible,
    to the confession of the truth, that the education of the people, to
    be effectual, must here, as elsewhere, to a great extent, be the
    work of the state; and that an expense, of which all should feel the
    necessity, and all will share the benefit, must, in a just
    proportion, be borne by all.--JOHN DUER.

The _desirableness_ of national or universal education is now generally
admitted in all enlightened communities; but there are some who,
honestly no doubt, question its _practicability_. If they provide for
the education of their own children, they claim that they have done all
that duty or interest requires them to do. They even aver that there is
absolute injustice in compelling them to contribute toward the education
of the children of others. Now these very persons, when called upon
annually by the tax-gatherer to contribute their proportion for the
support of paupers--made so by idleness, intemperance, and other vices,
which, as we have already seen, result from ignorance--do so cheerfully
and ungrudgingly, and without complaining that they support themselves
and their families, and that neither duty nor interest requires them to
aid in the maintenance of indigent persons in the community.

_The Poor Laws of our country_, in the case of adults who are unable to
support themselves, require merely their maintenance. But with reference
to their _children_, more, from the very nature of the case, is needed.
Their situation imperatively demands not only a sustenance, but an
education that shall enable them in future years to provide for
themselves. The same humane reasons which lead civilized communities to
provide for the maintenance of indigent adults by legal enactments, bear
even more strongly in the case of their children. These require
sustenance in common with their parents. But their wants, their
necessities, stop not here; neither does the well-being of society with
reference to them. Both alike require that such children, in common with
all others, be so trained as to be enabled not only to provide for
themselves when they arrive at mature years, but as shall be necessary
to qualify them for the discharge of the duties of citizenship. Then,
instead of taxing society for a support, as their parents now do, they
will contribute to the elevation of all around, even more largely than
society has contributed to their elevation.

Let the necessary provision be made for the education of the children of
the poor, in common with all others, and successive generations of the
sons of men will steadily progress in knowledge and virtue, and in all
that has a tendency to elevate and ennoble human kind. But let their
education be neglected, and their rank in society will of necessity be
lower, when compared with the better educated and more favored classes,
than it would have been only two or three centuries ago, even since the
invention of the art of printing in 1440. The reasons are evident. Until
after the invention of printing and the multiplication of books, all
ranks were, in relation to education, nearly upon a level. But, in the
language of the adage, "Knowledge is power;" and, since "knowledge has
been increased," those who possess it are elevated, relatively and
absolutely, while those who remain in the ignorance of former
generations, although their absolute condition in the scale of being is
unchanged, occupy, nevertheless, relatively, a lower place in society
than they would have done had they lived in the midst of the Dark Ages.

Wherever improved free schools have been maintained, not only are the
_children_ of the poor in attendance upon them elevated in the scale of
intellectual, social, and moral being, but, through their irresistible
influence, their degraded and besotted _parents_ have been reformed and
become law-abiding subjects, when all other means had failed to reach
and influence them. Of the truth of this statement I am well persuaded
from my own observation. I have also in my possession an abundance of
unquestionable testimony to this effect, gathered in cities, towns, and
villages which have become celebrated for the maintenance of a high
order of public schools. The public, then, on many accounts, are more
interested in the right education of poor children than in the
preservation of their lives! The latter is carefully provided for. But
if this only is done; if their bodies are fed and clothed, without
providing for the sustenance of their minds; if we provide for their
wants as helpless young animals merely, but neglect to provide for their
necessities as spiritual and immortal beings, the probabilities are that
such children will become a pest to society, while, in providing for
their proper education, we are sure of making them good citizens, of
constituting them a blessing to the world that now is, and of
brightening their prospects for a blessed immortality in that which is
to come.

Bishop Butler, in a sermon preached in Christ Church, London, on charity
schools, May 9th, 1745, recognizes the principle that the property of
the state should educate the children of the state. "Formerly," says he,
"not only the _education_ of poor children, but also their
_maintenance_, with that of the other poor, were left to voluntary
charities. But great changes of different sorts happening over the
nation, and charity becoming more cold, or the poor more numerous, it
was found necessary to make some legal provision for them. This might,
much more properly than charity schools, be called a new scheme;[65]
for, without question, the education of poor children was all along
taken care of by voluntary charities, more or less, but obliging us by
law to maintain the poor was new in the reign of Queen Elizabeth. Yet,
because a change of circumstances made it necessary, its novelty was no
reason against it. Now, in that legal provision for the maintenance of
the poor, poor children must doubtless have had a part in common with
grown people. But this could never be sufficient for children, because
their case always requires more than mere maintenance; it requires that
they be educated in some proper manner. Wherever there are poor who want
to be maintained by charity, there must be poor children, who, besides
this, want to be educated by charity; and whenever there began to be
need of _legal_ provision for the _maintenance_ of the poor, there must
immediately have been need also of some _particular_ legal provision in
behalf of poor children for their _education_, this not being included
in what we call their maintenance."

  [65] Bishop Butler is here answering the objections of some "people who
  speak of charity schools as a new-invented scheme, and therefore to be
  looked upon with suspicion; whereas it is no otherwise new than as the
  occasion for it is so."

Not only is it the duty of society to provide _food_ for the _minds_ as
well as sustenance for the bodies of poor children, but their pecuniary
interests equally require it; for, as Butler remarks, "if they are not
trained up in the way they should go, they will certainly be trained up
in the way they should not go, and in all probability will persevere in
it, and become miserable themselves and mischievous to society, which,
in event, is worse, upon account of both, than if they had been exposed
to perish in their infancy."

I have already shown, by unquestionable testimony, that persons who
possess the greatest share in the stock of worldly goods are deeply
interested in the subject of popular education, as one of _mere
insurance_; "that the most effectual way of making insurance upon their
property would be to contribute from it enough to sustain an efficient
system of common school education, thereby educating the whole mass of
mind, and constituting it a police more effective than peace officers or
prisons." I might elucidate this subject by illustrations.

It has been estimated that a quarter of a million of dollars has been
expended in the county of Philadelphia since 1836 for the suppression of
riots occurring within its limits, and in damages occasioned by their
outrages and violence, to say nothing of personal injuries and deaths
arising from the same cause. Now it will be readily conceded by most
persons that half of this sum judiciously expended in organizing and
supporting a sufficient police, and in giving the leaders and gangs
engaged in those riots an early and suitable education, whereby they
would have been taught to think, and feel, and act as rational, moral,
and accountable beings, would have prevented the commission of such
crimes, together with the sufferings and losses resulting therefrom, and
the reproach thus brought upon public and individual character.

Again: The whole number of paupers relieved or supported by public
charity in the single state of New York, in the year 1849, according to
an authentic statement now before me, was, in round numbers, one hundred
thousand, and the entire expense of their support during the year was
eight hundred and seven thousand dollars, a sum exceeding by three
hundred and forty thousand dollars the amount paid on rate-bills for
teacher's wages for educating the seven hundred thousand children of
that great state! Of fifty thousand of these paupers, the _causes_ of
whose destitution have been ascertained, nearly _twenty thousand_ are
attributable, directly or indirectly, to intemperance, profligacy,
licentiousness, and crime! Had even half the amount that is now expended
from year to year in their support been judiciously bestowed upon their
early mental and moral culture, who can question that, instead of now
being a tax upon the communities in which they reside, and a burden to
themselves and a grief to their friends, they would not only have
provided for their own maintenance, but would have contributed their due
proportion to increase the general prosperity of the state.

Great as is her poor-tax, New York contributes annually an immensely
greater sum for the support of her criminal police; for the erection of
court-houses, and jails, and penitentiaries, and houses of correction;
for the arrest, trial, conviction, and punishment of criminals, and for
their support in prison and at the various landing-places on their way
to the gallows and to a premature and ignominious death. Now, had one
half of the money which this state has expended in these two ways been
judiciously bestowed in the early education of these unfortunate
persons, who can question that the poor and criminal taxes of that state
would have been reduced to less than one tenth of what they now are, to
say nothing of the fountains of tears that would be thus dried up, and
of the untold happiness that would be enjoyed by persons who, in every
generation, lead cheerless lives and die ignoble deaths.

Lest some persons may labor under an erroneous impression in relation to
this subject, I will give the statistics of education and crime in New
York, as derived from official reports, for the last few years. Of 1122
persons--the whole number reported by the sheriffs of the different
counties of the state as under conviction and punishment for crime
during the year 1847--22 only had a common education, 10 only had a
tolerably good education, and only 6 were _well_ educated. Of the 1345
criminals so returned in the several counties of the state for the year
1848, 23 only had a common school education, 13 only had a tolerably
good education, and only 10 were considered well educated! The returns
for other years give like results. Had the whole eleven or thirteen
hundred of these convicts been _well educated_ instead of only _six_ or
_ten_--and the moral and religious education of even these was
defective--how many of them would society be called upon to support in
prisons and penitentiaries? In all probability, as we shall hereafter, I
hope, be able to show, NOT ONE. And what is true of the city and county
of Philadelphia and of the State of New York, will apply to other
cities, counties, and states of this Union.

Once more, and finally: Education, as we have already seen, enables men
to subdue their passions, and to improve themselves in the exercise of
all the social virtues. Especially have we seen that the educated
portions of community, whose moral culture has been duly attended to,
are _habitually temperate_, while the appetite of the uncultivated for
intoxicating drinks is stronger, and their power of resistance less. Cut
off from the sources of enjoyment which are ever open to those whose
minds and hearts are cultivated, no wonder they seek for happiness in
the gratification of appetite! No wonder that forty thousand of the
citizens of the United States annually die drunkards, when we consider
that this is only one in twenty of the number who are unable to read and

The Hon. Edward Everett has expressed the opinion that the expenses of
the manufacture and traffic of intoxicating drinks in the United States
exceed annually _one hundred and fifty millions of dollars_. General
Cary, in alluding to this statement, says, "This, it is believed, is but
an approximation to the cost of these trades to the people. This
estimate does not include the money paid by consumers, which is worse
than thrown away. An English writer, well versed in statistics, and
having access to the most reliable sources of information, says that
'the strong drinks consumed in England alone cost nearly _four hundred
millions of dollars annually_.' The expenditure for these sources of all
evil in the United States must be equal, at least, to that of
England."[66] Now _one half of this sum would maintain a system of
common schools in every state of this Union equal in expense and
efficiency to that of Massachusetts or New York_.

  [66] See Tract on "The Liquor Manufacture and Traffic," prepared by
  request of the National Division of the Sons of Temperance, by S. F.
  Cary, Most Worthy Patriarch.

But I need not extend these observations. Enough, I trust, has been said
to show that every thing connected with the good of man and the welfare
of the race depends upon the attention we bestow in perfecting our
systems of public instruction and rendering their blessings universal. I
will therefore close what I have to say upon this topic with a summary
of the conclusions we have arrived at in the progress of the last two

We have seen that a good system of common school education--one that is
sufficiently comprehensive to embrace all our country's youth in its
benevolent design--would free us as a people from a host of evils
growing out of popular ignorance; that it would increase the
productiveness of labor, as the schools advance in excellence,
indefinitely; that it would save to society, in diminishing the number
of paupers and criminals, a vast amount of means absorbed in the support
of the former, and in bringing the latter to justice, a tax which upon
every present generation is more than sufficient for the education of
the next succeeding one; that it would prevent the great majority of
fatal accidents that are now depopulating communities wherever ignorance
prevails; that, by imparting a knowledge of the organic laws, the
observance of which is essential to health and happiness, it would save
the lives of a hundred thousand children in the United States every
year, and that by promoting longevity, in connection with the advantages
already enumerated, it would tend more than all other means of state
policy to increase at once the wealth and the population of our country;
that its legitimate tendency would be to diminish, from generation to
generation, not only drunkenness and sensuality in all its Protean
forms, but idiocy and insanity, which result from a violation of the
laws of our being, which are the laws of God; that it would, in
innumerable ways, tend to diminish the sufferings and mitigate the woes
incident to human life, while it would acquaint man with the will of the
benevolent Creator, and lead him to cherish an habitual desire to yield
obedience thereto; and that it is the only possible means of perfecting
and perpetuating the inestimable boon of civil and religious liberty to
the latest generations, and thus securing to the race the maximum of
human happiness. Yes, a system of popular education adequate to the
requirements of the states of this Union will do all this. None, then,
it would seem, can fail to see that true state policy requires the
maintenance of improved free schools, good enough for the best, and
cheap enough for the poorest, which are a necessary means of universal



    I would recommend that each state should raise a school fund
    sufficient for the entire support of the schools; that a suitable
    school-house and apparatus, with a convenient dwelling-house for the
    teacher, be furnished by the state for each district; and that every
    school-house be supplied with a well-qualified teacher, who shall
    receive from the state a suitable compensation.--JOHN DUER.

    Let there be an educational department of the government, and let
    its details be managed by proper officers, accountable to the
    representatives of the people.--DR. HAWKS.

We have already considered the nature of education, which has reference
to the whole man and to the whole duration of his being. We have seen
its importance to individuals and families, to neighborhoods and
communities, to states and nations, and that in proportion as it
receives attention in any community, will that community become
prosperous and happy. We may then very properly inquire after the means
to be put in requisition in order to render the blessings of education
universal among us. To the consideration of this subject we shall devote
the remainder of this work. My first remark is, that

_A correct public opinion should be formed._ In the language of Bishop
Potter, "Our people have absolutely the control over the whole subject
of education, not only as it respects their own families, but, to a
great extent, in schools and seminaries of learning. If, then, the
people were fully awake to its importance and true nature, we should
soon have a perfect system, and we should witness results from it for
which we now look in vain."

The formation of a correct public opinion is of the utmost importance,
for the primary cause of all the defects complained of in education, and
the source of all the evils that afflict the community in consequence of
its neglect, is _popular indifference_. From this we have more to fear
than from all other causes combined. Opposition elicits discussion; and
discussion, judiciously conducted, evolves truth; and educational truths
brought clearly before the mind of any community will ultimately induce
right action. Men may at first be influenced by a comparatively low
class of motives, but one which they can appreciate. As they witness the
beneficial effects of reform, their motives will gradually become more
elevated, and their efforts at improvement more constant; but no
important advance can be made without popular enlightenment.

When the majority of the individuals that compose any community come to
value education as they ought; when they duly estimate its importance in
the various points of view already considered, then will their public
servants take more pains to co-operate with them in rendering its
blessings universal. Good laws are important as a means of improving our
systems of public instruction; but good laws, unsustained by a correct
public opinion, will be of no avail. Before any considerable advance can
be made either in improving our schools or in causing the attendance
upon them to become more general, a good common education--one that
shall give us sound minds in sound bodies; one that bestows much
attention upon intellectual culture, but more upon the culture of the
heart--must come to be ranked among the _necessaries of life_.

_Conventions of the friends of education_ have already done much to
correct popular errors in relation to this subject, and have contributed
largely to the formation of sound and rational views in relation to its
importance in the communities where they have been held. In many
instances, however, they have been composed too exclusively of teachers.
These should, indeed, be in attendance; but to increase the usefulness
of such conventions, and heighten the effect they may be made to produce
upon the popular mind, there should also be in attendance members of the
several learned professions, statesmen, capitalists, and all the leading
minds of the communities in which they are held. In some portions of the
country this is now the case, but such instances, I regret to say, are
not yet very common among us.

_Fourth of July common school celebrations_ have, within the past few
years, become quite common in several states of the Union. This seems
peculiarly appropriate, being a practical recognition of the importance
of primary schools and universal education in a civil and political
point of view. One of the most befitting celebrations of this day which
I have ever known was held in Boston eight years ago, when an oration
was delivered before the authorities of that city by the Secretary of
the Massachusetts Board of Education. The theme of the orator was the
importance of national or universal education in a free government as
the interest which underlies all others, and as constituting the only
means of perfecting and perpetuating to the latest generations the
institutions we have received from our fathers, and "a demonstration
that our existing means for the promotion of intelligence and virtue are
wholly inadequate to the support of a republican government." Such
celebrations should be held in every state of this Union, at every
recurring anniversary of our national independence, until there can not
be found a single individual in all our borders who does not know both
his duties and his privileges as a freeman, and who has not virtue
enough faithfully to perform the one and temperately to enjoy the other.
This, indeed, seems to be in keeping with that most impressive passage
of the celebrated Ordinance of the American Congress, adopted July 13th,

_The twenty-second of February_ has also been observed, to some extent,
in several of the states, by holding such celebrations. Nothing can be
more appropriate than these efforts to arouse the popular mind to
renewed efforts to improve the common schools of the land, when we
consider the import of that portion of the Farewell Address of him, the
anniversary of whose birth we celebrate, which relates to popular
education. "Promote, as an object of primary importance, institutions
for the general diffusion of knowledge." There can be no doubt that
WASHINGTON here refers to the maintenance and improvement of common
schools as the means of universal education.

The necessity of improving our common schools and of opening wide their
doors to all our youth should not only be the theme at school
celebrations, at educational conventions, and on the occasion of our
national anniversaries, but it should be frequently presented by the
civilian and the divine, as well as by the legislator and the
journalist, until men generally well understand the importance of
education, and are willing to make any sacrifices that may be necessary
to secure its advantages to their own children not only, but to all our

PROVISIONS FOR THE SUPPORT OF SCHOOLS.--The provisions which have been
made for the support of schools may be reduced to three kinds: first, by
means of funds; second, by taxation; third, by a combination of both of
these methods.

Connecticut, which has a school fund of more than two millions of
dollars, long ago adopted the first plan named. But the inefficiency of
her system of public instruction, until within a few years, is
proverbial, and affords conclusive evidence that a large school fund is
of little or no avail in the absence of a correct public opinion and a
due appreciation of the importance of education. The improvements in the
schools of that state during the last few years are not in consequence
of any increase in her school fund, but because the importance of the
subject has been so frequently and impressively presented before the
public mind, by means of lectures, public discussions, educational
tracts, school journals, and in various other ways, as to overcome that
popular indifference which had well-nigh precluded all advance. The late
improvements in that state have taken place in spite of the school fund
rather than because of any aid derived from it. Dr. Wayland has
expressed the opinion that school "funds are valuable as a _condiment_,
not as an _aliment_; and that they should never be so large as to render
any considerable degree of personal effort on the part of the parent
unnecessary." This is true only when a fund is so far relied upon as to
slacken personal effort for the improvement of the schools, and to
induce parental and popular indifference in relation to them.

The second plan is by taxation, and Massachusetts furnishes an example
of it. In most of the counties of this state there are small local
funds, the avails of which are added to the amount raised by tax for the
support of schools. There are also still less amounts appropriated from
the income of the surplus revenue for the purpose of increasing the
educational advantages of the children; not to be subtracted from, but
to be added to, what the towns would otherwise grant. We may, then,
consider the school fund of this state as embracing the entire taxable
property of the state, from which such a sum is annually raised by tax
as is necessary for the support of the schools. In Vermont, New
Hampshire, and Maine, the schools are supported essentially as in
Massachusetts, the difference being chiefly in the mode of taxation.

Dr. Wayland, in a letter written some years ago, makes the following
remark in relation to the support of schools: "The best legislative
provision with which I am acquainted is that of Maine. They have no fund
whatever, but oblige every district to raise for education a sum
proportioned to the number of its inhabitants or its property. If a town
or a district neglects to do this, it is liable to a fine."

In those states whose systems of public instruction are best
administered--which have the best schools, and the greatest proportion
of the population in attendance upon them--the schools are generally
supported almost entirely by a direct tax, the great principle that THE
practically recognized. It not only appears, then, that large funds are
not required for the successful administration of systems of public
instruction, but that actually the best schools, and those which are
doing most for the correct education of the rising generation, may be
found in those states that are destitute of funds, and whose public
schools are supported by a direct tax upon the property of the state.

The third plan of supporting schools is a combination of both of the
others. New York until within the last year,[67] Rhode Island, and
Michigan may be cited as examples of this plan. Where this plan has been
adopted, the districts or townships have generally been required to
raise by tax an amount equal to or greater than what has been received
from the school fund. Where the expense of supporting the schools has
exceeded the whole fund derived from both sources, the balance of the
expense has generally been made up by a rate-bill, parents who are able
being required to pay in proportion to the number of days their children
have attended school. This feature is objectionable even where provision
is made for the children of poor parents to attend without charge, for
it offers a pecuniary inducement, although the schools be nearly free,
to withdraw scholars from attendance upon them for the slightest causes.
This plan has obtained very generally in the states northwest of the
Ohio River, which have received from the General Confederacy a grant of
one section, or six hundred and forty acres of land in each township
for the support of schools. In some of these states the additional tax
is already sufficient, when joined with the avails of the school fund,
to render the schools entirely free. If one plan is superior to both of
the others, this is, perhaps, entitled to the pre-eminence. The school
fund lessens the amount which it is necessary to raise by a direct tax;
and still the sum which is levied in this way has a tendency to beget
and maintain a lively interest on the part of capitalists in the
administration of the educational department, and in the maintenance and
improvement of the public schools.

  [67] A year ago the schools of New York were made entirely free by law.
  See the foot-note on the 267th page of this work.

Without a correct public opinion and a due appreciation of the
importance of education, either of the three systems named, or any other
which may be adopted for the support of schools, will, and, from the
very nature of the case, must, be inadequate to meet the necessities of
a free people. But let the public be alive to the advantages of
education, and rank it first among the necessaries of life, and almost
any system will be attended with eminent success. If, then, one system
is superior to all others, it is that which is best calculated to beget
in the popular mind a realizing sense of the necessity of educating all
our youth in good schools. If this can be done in a state which has a
large school fund, without diminishing the interest of the people in
education, or relaxing their efforts to maintain improved schools, then
may such a fund prove serviceable, as it will lessen the general tax.
But if the citizens of any state can not be brought to realize the
importance of maintaining an elevated standard of common school
education, and of rendering its blessings universal, without defraying
the whole expense by a direct tax, then will a school fund prove to them
a curse, and not a blessing.

Where there is a will there is a way, says the adage. Mr. Duer, as
quoted at the head of this chapter, says, "I would recommend that each
state should raise a fund sufficient for the entire support of the
schools; that a suitable school-house and apparatus, with a convenient
dwelling-house for the teacher, be furnished by the state for each
district; and that every school-house be supplied with a well-qualified
teacher, who shall receive from the state a suitable compensation." In
this recommendation I fully concur. But with me it is immaterial whether
the state raises a separate fund, set apart exclusively for the purposes
of education, or regards the entire taxable property of the
commonwealth, personal and real, as a general fund from which there
shall be drawn annually a sufficient per centage to provide for
universal education in free schools. This only do I insist upon, that
the people be brought so fully to realize the advantages of a good
common education as to place it high on the list of indispensables; then
will they provide for rendering its blessings universal. The mode of
doing this in any one state may, in view of the peculiar circumstances
of a people, be different from that which it would be most advantageous
ordinarily to adopt. If there is no other sure way of meeting the
expense of common schools, and of begetting and maintaining a deep and
abiding interest in popular education, then let the property of the
state be regarded as a common fund from which there shall be annually
drawn a sum sufficient for the maintenance of improved free schools, in
which every child may receive a generous education, as this is the
interest first in importance to individuals and families, to
neighborhoods and communities, to states and nations.

_The state should maintain an Educational Department._ The magnitude of
the interests involved renders this of the utmost importance. At the
head of this department in every state there should be a minister of
public instruction--whether he is called school superintendent, school
commissioner, secretary of the board of education, or superintendent of
public instruction--and he should be allowed time to make himself
familiar with all the leading writers on the subject of education, in
whatever age or language their works may have been written. Such an
officer can not in any other way become qualified for the proper
discharge of the duties which pertain to his profession. He should also
be allowed time to acquaint himself with the current literature
belonging to his department as it emanates from the press; to examine
new school-books, and new kinds of school apparatus which claim to
possess advantages, that he may be prepared to give to school teachers,
school committee-men, and others whose opportunities for examination and
investigation are less extended, and many of whom must be inexperienced,
such advice as shall enable them judiciously to expend their means for
their personal improvement or the improvement of their schools. He
should likewise have time and opportunity to become so conversant with
the practical operations of different school systems as to be qualified
to give such suggestions in official reports as may be of service to the
Legislature in perfecting their own, and to subordinate officers in its
successful administration. All this would be necessary were we only to
consult the pecuniary interests of the state in the judicious
expenditure of the means which are annually devoted to the support of
common schools. Of how much greater importance is it that there should
be such an officer in every state, and that he should enjoy every
possible means for increasing his usefulness, when we consider that the
successful bestowment of his labors will contribute greatly to increase
individual and social happiness, and the general prosperity of the state
in all coming generations.

In the further consideration of the means of rendering the blessings of
education universal, we shall introduce leading topics in the order in
which they naturally suggest themselves.

                  *       *       *       *       *


    A school ought to be a noble asylum, to which children will come,
    and in which they will remain with pleasure; to which their parents
    will send them with good will.--COUSIN.

    If there is one house in the district more pleasantly located, more
    comfortably constructed, better warmed, more inviting in its general
    appearance, and more elevating in its influence than any other, that
    house should be the school-house.--_Michigan School Report_, 1847.

In considering the means of improving our schools, the place where our
country's youth receive their first instruction, and where nineteen
twentieths of them complete their scholastic training, claims early
attention. It is, then, proper to consider the condition of this class
of edifices, as they have almost universally been in every part of the
United States until within a few years past, and as they now generally
are out of those states in which public attention has of late been more
especially directed to improvements in education; for, before any people
will attempt a reform in this particular, they must see and feel the
need of it. Even in the more favored states, comparatively few in
number, the improvements in school architecture have been confined
mostly to a few localities, and are far from being adequate to the
necessities of the case. Did space allow, I would present statements
made by school officers in their reports from various states of the
Union: for, however wide the differences may be in common usage, in
other respects there has heretofore been a striking sameness in the
appearance of school-houses in every part of the country.

CONDITION OF SCHOOL-HOUSES.--In remarking upon the condition of this
class of edifices, as they have heretofore been constructed, and as they
are now almost universally found wherever public sentiment has not been
earnestly, perseveringly, and judiciously called to their improvement, I
will present a few extracts from the official reports of Massachusetts
and New York, where greater pains have been taken to ascertain existing
defects in schools, with a view to providing the necessary remedies,
than in any other two states of this Union.

_School-houses in Massachusetts._--The Secretary of the Board of
Education of this state, in his report for 1846, remarks in reference to
the condition of school-houses in the commonwealth as follows: "For
years the condition of this class of edifices throughout the state,
taken as a whole, had been growing worse and worse. Time and decay were
always doing their work, while only here and there, with wide spaces
between, was any notice taken of their silent ravages; and, in still
fewer instances, were these ravages repaired. Hence, notwithstanding the
improved condition of all other classes of buildings, general
dilapidation was the fate of these. Industry, and the increasing
pecuniary ability which it creates, had given comfort, neatness, and
even elegance to private dwellings. Public spirit had erected commodious
and costly churches. Counties, though largely taxed, had yet
uncomplainingly paid for handsome and spacious court-houses and public
offices. Humanity had been at work, and had made generous and noble
provision for the pauper, the blind, the deaf and dumb, the insane.
Even jails and houses of correction--the receptacles of felons and other
offenders against the laws of God and man--had in many instances been
transformed, by the more enlightened spirit of the age, into comfortable
and healthful residences. The Genius of Architecture, as if she had made
provision for all mankind, extended her sheltering care over the brute
creation. Better stables were provided for cattle; better folds for
sheep; and even the unclean beasts felt the improving hand of reform.
But, in the mean while, the school-houses, to which the children should
have been wooed by every attraction, were suffered to go where age and
the elements would carry them.

"In 1837, not one third of the public school-houses in Massachusetts
would have been considered tenantable by any decent family out of the
poor-house or in it. As an inducement to neatness and decency, children
were sent to a house whose walls and floors were indeed painted, but
they were painted all too thickly by smoke and filth; whose benches and
doors were covered with carved work, but they were the gross and obscene
carvings of impure hands; whose vestibule, after the Oriental fashion,
was converted into a veranda, but the metamorphosis which changed its
architectural style consisted in laying it bare of its outer covering.
The modesty and chastity of the sexes, at their tenderest age, were to
be cultivated and cherished in places which oftentimes were as destitute
of all suitable accommodation as a camp or a caravan. The brain was to
be worked amid gases that stupefied it. The virtues of generosity and
forbearance were to be acquired where sharp discomfort and pain tempt
each one to seize more than his own share of relief, and thus to
strengthen every selfish propensity.

"At the time referred to, the school-houses in Massachusetts were an
opprobrium to the state; and if there be any one who thinks this
expression too strong, he may satisfy himself of its correctness by
inspecting some of the few specimens of them which still remain.

"The earliest effort at reform was directed to this class of buildings.
By presenting the idea of taxation, this measure encountered the
opposition of one of the strongest passions of the age. Not only the
sordid and avaricious, but even those whose virtue of frugality, by the
force of habit, had been imperceptibly sliding into the vice of
parsimony, felt the alarm. Men of fortune without children, and men who
had reared a family of children and borne the expenses of their
education, fancied they saw something of injustice in being called to
pay for the education of others, and too often their fancies started
into specters of all imaginable oppression and wrong.

"During the five years immediately succeeding the report made by the
Board of Education to the Legislature on the subject of school-houses,
the sums expended for the erection and repair of this class of buildings
fell but little short of _seven hundred thousand dollars_. Since that
time, from the best information obtained, I suppose the sum expended on
this one item to be about _one hundred and fifty thousand dollars
annually_. Every year adds some new improvement to the construction and
arrangement of these edifices.

"In regard to this great change in school-houses--it would hardly be too
much to call it a _revolution_--the school committees have done an
excellent work, or, rather, they have begun it; it is not yet done.
Their annual reports, read in open town meeting, or printed and
circulated among the inhabitants, afterward embodied in the Abstracts
and distributed to the members of the government, to all town and
school committees, have enlightened and convinced the state."

_School-houses in New York._--About ten years ago, special visitors were
appointed by the superintendent of common schools in each of the
counties of this state, who were requested to visit and inspect the
schools, and to report minutely in regard to their state and prospects.
The most respectable citizens, without distinction of party, were
selected to discharge this duty; and the result of their labors is
contained in two reports, made, the one in April, 1840, the other in
February, 1841. "It may be remarked, generally," say the visitors of one
of the oldest and most affluent towns of the southeastern section of the
state, "that the school-houses are built in the old style, are too small
to be convenient, and, with one exception, too near the public roads,
having generally no other play-ground."--_Report_, 1840, p. 47.

Say the visitors of another large and wealthy town in the central part
of the state, "Out of twenty schools visited, ten of the school-houses
were in bad repair, and many of them not worth repairing. In none were
any means provided for the ventilation of the room. In many of the
districts, the school-rooms are too small for the number of scholars.
The location of the school-houses is generally pleasant. There are,
however, but few instances where play-grounds are attached, and their
condition as to privies is very bad. The arrangement of seats and desks
is generally very bad, and inconvenient to both scholars and teachers;
most of them are without backs."--_Report_, 1840, p. 28.

In another large and populous town in the northwestern part of the
state, it appears from the report of the visitors that only _five_ out
of twenty-two school-houses are respectable or comfortable; none have
any proper means of ventilation; eight of them are built of logs, and
but one of them has a privy.

According to the report from another county, where the evils already
enumerated exist, "There is, in general, too little attention to having
good and dry wood provided, or a _good supply of any_; or to have a
wood-house or shelter to keep it from the storm." This neglect is very
common. Another neglect, noticed by many of the visitors, is "the cold
and comfortless state in which the children find the school-room, owing
to the late hour at which the fire is first made in the morning."

Three years later--and after the appointment of county superintendents
in each of the counties of that state, who collected statistics with
great care--the Hon. Samuel Young, then state superintendent, after
making a minute statement of the number of school-houses constructed of
stone, brick, wood, and logs; of their condition as to repair; of the
destitution of privies, suitable play-grounds, etc., remarked as

"But 544 out of 9368 houses visited contained more than one room; 7313
were destitute of any suitable play-ground; nearly 6000 were unfurnished
with convenient seats and desks; nearly 8000 destitute of the proper
facilities for ventilation; _and upward of 6000 without a privy of any
sort_; while, of the remainder, but about 1000 were provided with
privies containing different apartments for male and female pupils! And
it is in these miserable abodes of accumulated dirt and filth, deprived
of wholesome air, or exposed, without adequate protection, to the
assaults of the elements; with no facilities for necessary exercise or
relaxation; no convenience for prosecuting their studies; crowded
together on benches not admitting of a moment's rest in any position,
and debarred the possibility of yielding to the ordinary calls of nature
without violent inroads upon modesty and shame, that upward of _two
hundred thousand children_, scattered over various parts of the state,
are compelled to spend an average period of eight months during each
year of their pupilage! Here the first lessons of human life, the
incipient principles of morality, and the rules of social intercourse
are to be impressed upon the plastic mind. The boy is here to receive
the model of his permanent character, and to imbibe the elements of his
future career; and here the instinctive delicacy of the young female,
one of the characteristic ornaments of the sex, is to be expanded into
maturity by precept and example! Is it strange, under such
circumstances, that an early and invincible repugnance to the
acquisition of knowledge is imbibed by the youthful mind? that the
school-house is regarded with unconcealed aversion and disgust, and that
parents who have any desire to preserve the health and the morals of
their children exclude them from the district school, and provide
instruction for them elsewhere?"

A volume might be filled with similar testimony; but one more quotation
from another state must suffice. After noticing the common evils already
referred to, the superintendent remarks as follows:[68] "But this notice
of _ordinary_ deficiencies does not cover the whole ground of error in
regard to the situation of school-houses. In some cases they are brought
into close connection with positive nuisances. In a case which has
fallen under the superintendent's own personal observation, one side of
the school-house forms part of the fence of a hog-yard, into which,
during the summer, the calves of an extensive dairy establishment have
been thrown from time to time (disgusting and revolting spectacle!), to
be rent and devoured before the eyes of teacher and pupils, except such
portions of the mutilated and mangled carcasses as were left by the
animals to go to decay, as they lay exposed to the sun and storm. It is
true, the windows on the side of the building adjoining the yard were
generally observed to be closed, in order to shut out the almost
insupportable stench which arose from the decomposing remains. But this
closure of the windows could, in no great degree, 'abate the nuisance;'
for not a breath of air could enter the house from any direction but it
must come saturated with the disgusting and sickening odor that loaded
the atmosphere around. It needs no professional learning to tell the
deleterious influence upon health which must be exerted by such an
agency, operating for continuous hours."

  [68] First Annual Report of the State Superintendent (Hon. Horace Eaton)
  of Common Schools, made to the Legislature of Vermont, October, 1846.

If such evils as have been considered have existed so generally, and
still prevail to an alarming extent, even in the states where education
has received the most attention, what need must there be for the
dissemination of information on this vitally important subject,
especially in those states where education has heretofore received less
attention! In remarking further upon this subject, I shall consider
several leading particulars in the order they naturally suggest
themselves. I will, then, commence with the

LOCATION OF SCHOOL-HOUSES.--In comparatively few instances school-houses
are favorably located, being situated on dry, hard ground, in a retired
though central part of the district, in the midst of a natural or
artificial grove. But they are almost universally badly located; exposed
to the noise, dust, and danger of the highway; unattractive, if not
absolutely repulsive in their external appearance, and built at the
least possible expense of material and labor. They are generally on one
corner of public roads, and sometimes adjacent to a cooper's shop, or
between a blacksmith's shop and a saw-mill. They are not unfrequently
placed on an acute angle, where a road forks, and sometimes in turning
that angle, the travel is chiefly behind the school-house, leaving it on
a small triangle bounded on all sides by public roads.

Occasionally the school-house is situated on a low and worthless piece
of ground, with a sluggish stream of water in its vicinity, which
sometimes even passes under the house. The comfort, and health even, of
children are thus sacrificed to the parsimony of their parents. Scholars
very generally step from the school-house directly into the highway.
Indeed, school-houses are frequently situated one half in the highway
and the other half in the adjacent field, as though they were unfit for
either. This is the case even in some of the principal villages of all
the states I have ever visited, or from which I have read full reports
on the subject.

Strange as it may seem, school-houses are sometimes situated _in the
middle of the highway_, a portion of the travel being on each side of
them. When the scholars are engaged in their recreations, they are
exposed to bleak winds and the inclemency of the weather one portion of
the year, and to the scorching rays of the meridian sun another portion.
Moreover, their recreations must be conducted in the street, or they
trespass upon their neighbors' premises. We pursue a very different
policy in locating a church, a court-house, or a dwelling; and should we
not pursue an equally wise and liberal policy in locating the _district

In the states generally northwest of the River Ohio, six hundred and
forty acres of land in every township are appropriated to the support
of common schools. Suppose there are ten school districts in a township,
this would allow sixty-four acres to every district. It would seem that
when the general government has appropriated _sixty-four acres_ to
create a fund for the encouragement of the schools of a township, that
each district might set apart _one acre_ as a site for a school-house.
Once more: school districts usually contain not less than twenty-five
hundred acres of land. Is it, then, asking too much to set apart _one
acre_ as a site for a school-house, in which the _minds_ of the children
of the district shall be cultivated, when _twenty-four hundred and
ninety-nine_ acres are appropriated to feeding and clothing their

I would respectfully suggest, and even _urge_ the propriety of locating
the school-house on a piece of firm ground of liberal dimensions, and of
inclosing the same with a suitable fence. The location should be dry,
quiet, and pleasant, and in every respect healthy. The vicinity of
places of idle and dissipated resort should by all means be avoided;
and, if possible, the site of the school-house should overlook a
delightful country, and be surrounded by picturesque scenery. The school
yard, at least, should be inclosed not only, but set out with shade
trees, unless provided with those of Nature's own planting. It should
also be ornamented with beautiful shrubbery, and be made the park of the
neighborhood--the pleasantest place for resort within the boundaries of
the district. This would contribute largely to the formation of a
correct taste on the part of both children and parents. It would also
tend to the formation of virtuous habits and the cultivation of
self-respect; for the scholars would then enjoy their pastime in a
pleasant and healthful yard, where they have a _right_ to be, and need
no longer be hunted as _trespassers_ upon their neighbors' premises, as
they now too frequently are.

SIZE AND CONSTRUCTION.--In treating upon the philosophy of respiration
at the 92d page of this work, it was stated that, exclusive of entry and
closets, where they are furnished with these appendages, school-houses
are not usually larger than twenty by twenty-four feet on the ground,
and seven feet in height. The average attendance in houses of these
dimensions was estimated at forty-five scholars in the winter. It was
also stated that the medium quantity of air that enters the lungs at
each inspiration is thirty-six cubic inches, and that respiration is
repeated once in three seconds, or twenty times a minute. Now, to say
nothing of the inconvenience which so many persons must experience in
occupying a house of so narrow dimensions, and making no allowance for
the space taken up by desks, furniture, and the scholars themselves, a
simple arithmetical computation will show any one that such a room will
not contain a sufficient amount of air for the support of life three
hours. But I will here simply refer the reader to the fourth chapter of
this work, and will not repeat what was there said.

In determining the size of school-houses, due regard should be had to
several particulars. There should be a separate entry or lobby for each
sex, which Mr. Barnard, in his School Architecture,[69] very justly says
should be furnished with a scraper, mat, hooks or shelves--both are
needed--sink, basin, and towels. A separate entry thus furnished will
prevent much confusion, rudeness, and impropriety, and promote the
health, refinement, and orderly habits of the children.

  [69] "School Architecture," or Contributions to the Improvement of
  School-houses in the United States, by Henry Barnard, Commissioner of
  Public Schools in Rhode Island, p. 383. This excellent treatise embodies
  a mass of most valuable information in relation to school-houses and
  apparatus. It contains the plans of a great number of the best
  school-houses in various portions of the United States, and should be
  consulted by every committee before determining upon a plan for the
  construction of a valuable school-house.

The principal room of the school-house, and each such room where there
are several departments, should be large enough to allow each occupant a
suitable quantity of pure air, which should be at least twice the common
amount, or not less than one hundred and fifty cubic feet. There should
also be one or more rooms for recitation, apparatus, library, etc.,
according to the size of the school and the number of scholars to be

Every school-room should be so constructed that each scholar may pass to
and from his seat without disturbing or in the least incommoding any
other one. A house thus arranged will enable the teacher to pass at all
times to any part of the room, and to approach each scholar in his seat
whenever it may be desirable to do so for purposes of instruction or
otherwise. Such an arrangement is of the utmost importance; and without
the fulfillment of this condition, no teacher can most advantageously
superintend the affairs of a whole school, and especially of a large

In determining the details of construction and arrangement for a
school-house, due regard must be had to the varying circumstances of
country and city, as well as to the number of scholars that may be
expected in attendance, the number of teachers to be employed, and the
different grades of schools that may be established in a community.

COUNTRY DISTRICTS.--In country districts, as they have long been
situated, and still generally are, aside from separate entries and
clothes-rooms for the sexes, there will only be needed one principal
school-room, with a smaller room for recitations, apparatus, and other
purposes. In arranging and fitting up this room, reference must be had
to the requirements of the district; for this one room is to be occupied
by children of all ages, for summer and winter schools, and for the
secular, but more especially for the religious meetings of the
neighborhood. But in its construction primary reference should be had to
the convenience of the scholars in school, for it will be used by them
more, ten to one, than for all other purposes. Every child, then, even
the youngest in school, should be furnished with a seat and desk, at
which he may sit with ease and comfort. The seats should each be
furnished with a back, and their height should be such as to allow the
children to rest their feet comfortably upon the floor. The necessity of
this will be apparent by referring to what has been said on the laws of
health in the third chapter of this work, at the 68th and following

No one, then, can fail to see the advantages that would result to a
densely-settled community from a union of two or more districts for the
purpose of maintaining in each a school for the younger children, and of
establishing in the central part of the associated districts a school of
a higher grade for the older and more advanced children of all the
districts thus united. If four districts should be united in this way,
they might erect a central house, C, for the larger and more advanced
scholars, and four smaller ones, P P P P, for the younger children. The
central school might be taught by a male teacher, with female
assistants, if needed; but the primary schools, with this arrangement,
could be more economically and successfully instructed by females. In
several of the states legal provisions are already made for such a
consolidation of districts. This would invite a more perfect
classification of scholars, and would allow the central school-house to
be so constructed, and to have the seats and desks of such a height as
to be convenient for the larger grade of scholars, and still be
comfortable for other purposes for which it might occasionally be
necessary to occupy it. Such an arrangement, while it would obviate the
almost insuperable difficulties which stand in the way of proper
classification and the thorough government and instruction of schools,
would at the same time offer greater inducements to the erection of more
comfortable and attractive school-houses.

 |      |      |
 |   P  |   P  |
 |      |      |
 |   P  |   P  |

CITIES AND VILLAGES.--The plan suggested in the last paragraph may be
perfected in cities and villages. For this purpose, where neither the
distance nor the number of scholars is too great, some prefer to have
all the schools of a district or corporation conducted under the same
roof. However this may be, as there will be other places for public
meetings of various kinds, each room should be appropriated to a
particular department, and be fitted up exclusively for the
accommodation of the grade of scholars that are to occupy it. In cities,
and even in villages with a population of three or four thousand, it is
desirable to establish at least three grades of schools, viz., first,
the primary, for the smallest children; second, the intermediate, for
those more advanced; and, third, a central high school, for scholars
that have passed through the primary and intermediate schools. While
this arrangement is favorable to the better classification of the
scholars of a village or city, and holds out an inducement to those of
the lowest and middle grade of schools to perfect themselves in the
various branches of study that are pursued in them respectively as the
condition upon which they are permitted to enter a higher grade, it
also allows a more perfect adjustment of the seats and desks to the
various requirements of the children in their passage through the grade
of schools.

NEW YORK FREE ACADEMY.--In the public schools of the city of New York,
two hundred in number, six hundred teachers are employed, and one
hundred thousand children annually receive instruction. The Free
Academy, which is a public school of the highest grade, and which is
represented in our frontispiece, was established by the Board of
Education in 1847. The expense of the building, without the furniture,
was $46,000, and the annual expense for the salaries of professors and
teachers is about $10,000. Out of twenty-four thousand votes cast,
twenty thousand were for the establishment of this institution, in which
essentially a complete collegiate education may be obtained. No students
are admitted to it who have not attended the public schools of the city
for at least one full year, nor these until they have undergone a
thorough examination and proved themselves worthy. Its influence is not
confined to the one hundred or one hundred and fifty scholars who may
graduate from it annually, but leaches and stimulates the six hundred
teachers, and the hundred thousand children whom they instruct, and thus
elevates the common schools of the city _in reality_ not only, but
places them much more favorably before the public than they otherwise
could be.

Smaller cities, and especially villages with a population of but a few
thousand, can not, of course, maintain so extended a system of public
schools; but they can accomplish essentially the same thing more
perfectly, though on a smaller scale. For the benefit of districts in
the country and in villages, I will here insert a few plans of

[Illustration: _Plan of a School-house for fifty-six Scholars._

Size, 30 by 40 feet.

Scale, 10 feet to the inch.]

    D D, doors. E E, entries lighted over outer doors, one for the boys
    and the other for the girls. T, teacher's platform and desk. R L,
    room for recitation, library, and apparatus, which may be entered by
    a single door, as represented in the plan, or by two, as in the
    following plan. S S, stoves with air-tubes beneath. K K, aisles four
    feet wide--the remaining aisles are each two feet wide. _c v_,
    chimneys and ventilators. I I, recitation seats. B B, black-board,
    made by giving the wall a colored hard finish. G H, seats and desks,
    four feet in length, constructed as represented on the next page.
    The seat and desk may be made together, and instead of being
    fastened permanently to the floor, attached in front by a strap
    hinge, which will admit of their being turned forward while sweeping
    under and behind them.

[Illustration: _Primary and Intermediate Department, on first floor._

Size, 36 by 64 feet.

Scale, 12 feet to the inch.]

    A, entrance for boys to the High School. C, entrance for girls to
    the High School. P, entrance for boys to the Primary and
    Intermediate Departments. Q, entrance for girls to the same. D D,
    doors. W W, windows. T, teacher's platform and desk. G H, desk and
    seat for two scholars, a section of which is represented at X, in
    the Primary Department. I I, recitation seats. B B, black-boards. S
    S, stoves, with air-tubes beneath. _c v_, chimney and ventilator. R,
    room for recitation library, apparatus, and other purposes.

[Illustration: _High School, or Third Department, on second floor._]

    A, entrance for the boys, through the entry below. C, entrance for
    the girls. G H, desk and seat: aisles from two to three feet wide. D
    D, doors. W W, windows. S S, stoves. _c v_, chimney and ventilator.
    T, teacher's platform. R, recitation-room. I I, recitation seats in
    principal room. B B, black-board: as a substitute for the common
    painted board, a portion of the wall, covered with hard finish, may
    be painted black; or, what is better, the hard finish itself may be
    colored before it is put on, by mixing with it lamp-black, wet up
    with alcohol or sour beer.

VENTILATION OF SCHOOL-HOUSES.--We have already seen that in a
school-room occupied by forty-five persons, thirty-two thousand four
hundred cubic inches of air impart their entire vitality to support
animal life _the first minute_, and, mingling with the atmosphere of the
room, proportionably deteriorate the whole mass; that the air of crowded
school-rooms thus soon becomes entirely unfit for respiration, and that,
as the necessary result, the health of both teacher and scholars is
endangered; that the scholars gradually lose both the desire and the
ability to study, and become more inclined to be disorderly, while the
teacher becomes continually more unfit either to teach or govern. Hence
the necessity of frequent and thorough ventilation.

The ordinary facilities for ventilating school-rooms consist in opening
a door and raising the lower sash of the windows. The only ventilation
which has been practiced in the great majority of schools has been
entirely accidental, and has consisted in opening and closing the outer
door as the scholars enter and pass out of the school-house, before
school, during the recesses, and at noon. Ventilation, as such, I may
safely say, has not, until within a few years, been practiced in one
school in fifty; nor is it at the present time in many parts of the
country. It is true, the door has at times been set open a few minutes,
and the windows have been occasionally raised, but the object has been
either to let the smoke pass out of the room, or to cool it when it has
become too warm, not to ventilate it.

Ventilation by opening a door or raising the windows is imperfect, and
frequently injurious. A more effectual and safer method of ventilation
consists in lowering the upper sash of the window. In very cold or
stormy weather, a ventilator in the ceiling may be opened, so as to
allow the vitiated air to escape into the attic, in which case there
should be a free communication between the attic and the outer air by
means of a lattice in the gable, or otherwise. A ventilator may also be
constructed in connection with the chimney, by carrying up a partition
in the middle, one half of the chimney being used for a smoke flue, and
the other half for a ventilator.

But it is often asked, Why is it not just as well to raise the lower
sash of the windows as to lower the upper one? In reply I would say,
first, lowering the upper sash is _a more effectual method of
ventilation_. In a room which is warmed and occupied in cold weather,
the warmer and more vitiated portions of the air rise to the upper part
of the room, while that which is colder and purer descends. The reason
for this may not be readily conceived, especially when we consider that
carbonic acid, the vitiating product of respiration, is specifically
heavier than common air. Three considerations, however, will make it
apparent. 1. Gases of different specific gravity mix uniformly, under
favorable circumstances. 2. The carbonic acid which is exhaled from the
lungs at about blood heat is hence rarefied, and specifically lighter
than the air in the room, which inclines it to ascend. 3. The ingress of
cold and heavier air from without is chiefly through apertures near the
base of the room. Raising the lower sash of the windows allows a portion
of the purer air of the room to pass off, while the more vitiated air
above is retained. Lowering the upper sash allows the impure air above
to escape, while the purer air below remains unchanged.

Lowering the upper sash is also the _safer method of ventilation_. It
not only allows the impure air more readily to escape, but provides also
for the more uniform diffusion of the pure air from without, which
takes its place through the upper part of the room. The renovated air
will gradually settle upon the heads of the scholars, giving them a
purer air to breathe, while the comfort of the body and lower
extremities will remain undisturbed. This is as it should be; for warm
feet and cool heads contribute alike to physical comfort and clearness
of mind. Raising the lower sash of the windows endangers the health of
scholars, exposing those who sit near them to colds, catarrhs, etc.
Indeed, when it is very cold or stormy, it is unsafe to ventilate by
lowering the upper sash of the windows. At such times, provision should
be made for the escape of impure air at the upper part of the room, and
for the introduction of pure air at the lower part, as will be shown
while treating upon the means of warming.

MEANS OF WARMING.--Next in importance to pure air in a school-room is
the maintenance of an even temperature. This is an indispensable
condition of health, comfort, and successful labor. It is one, however,
that is very generally disregarded; or, perhaps I should say, one that
is not often enjoyed. School-houses are generally warmed by means of
stoves, some of which are in a good condition, and supplied with dry,
seasoned wood. The instances, however, in which such facilities for
warming exist, are comparatively few. It is much more common to see
cracked and broken stoves, the doors without either hinges or latch,
with rusty pipe of various sizes. Green wood, also, and that which is
old and partially decayed, either drenched with rain or covered with
snow during inclement weather, is much more frequently used for fuel
than sound, seasoned wood, protected from the weather by a suitable
wood-house. With this state of things, it is exceedingly difficult to
kindle a fire, which burns poorly, at best, when built. Fires, moreover,
are frequently built so late, that the house does not become
comfortably warm at the time appointed for commencing school. These
neglects are the fruitful source of much discomfort and disorder. The
temperature is fluctuating; the room is filled with smoke a considerable
part of the time, especially in stormy weather; and the school is liable
to frequent interruptions, in fastening together and tying up
stove-pipe, etc., etc.

This may seem a little like exaggeration. I know full well there are
many noble exceptions. But in a large majority of instances some of
these inconveniences exist; and the most of them coexist much more
frequently than persons generally are aware of. I speak from the
personal observation of several thousand schools in different states,
and from reliable information in relation to the subject from various
portions of the country. I have myself many times heard trustees and
patrons, who have visited their school with me for the first time in
several years, say, "We ought to have some dry wood to kindle with; I
didn't know as it was so smoky: we must get some new pipe; really, our
stove is getting dangerous," etc. And some of the boys have relieved the
embarrassment of their parents by saying, "It don't smoke near so bad
to-day as it does sometimes!"

The principal reason why the stoves in our school-houses are so cracked
and broken, and why the pipes are so rusty and open, lies in the
circumstance that green wood, or that which is partially decayed and
saturated with moisture, is used for fuel, instead of good seasoned
wood, protected from the inclemency of the weather by a suitable
wood-house. There are at least three reasons why this is poor policy.
1. It takes double the amount of wood. A considerable portion of the
otherwise sensible heat becomes latent, in the conversion of ice, snow,
and moisture into steam. 2. The steam thus generated cracks the stove
and rusts the pipe, so that they will not last one half as long as
though dry wood from a wood-house were used. 3. It is impossible to
preserve an even temperature. Sometimes it is too cold, and at other
times it is too warm; and this, with such means of warming, is
unavoidable. Scores of teachers have informed me that, in order to keep
their fires from going out, it was necessary to have their stoves
constantly full of wood, and even to lay wood upon the stove, that a
portion of it might be seasoning while the rest was burning. Aside from
the inconvenience of a fluctuating temperature, this is an unseemly and
filthy practice, and one that generates very offensive and injurious

Again: I have frequently heard the following and similar remarks: "The
use of stoves in our school-houses is a great evil;" "Stoves are
unhealthy in our school-houses, or in any other houses," etc. This idea
being somewhat prevalent, and stoves being generally used in our
school-houses, their influence upon health becomes a proper subject for

Combustion, whether in a stove or fire-place, consists in a chemical
union of the _oxygen gas_ of the atmosphere with _carbon_, the
combustible part of the wood or coal used for fuel. Carbonic acid, the
vitiating product of combustion, does not, however, ordinarily
deteriorate the atmosphere of the room, but, mingling with the smoke,
escapes through the stove-pipe or chimney.

The stove, in point of economy, is far superior to the open fire-place
as ordinarily constructed. When the latter is used, it has been
estimated that nine tenths of the heat evolved ascends the chimney, and
only one tenth, or, according to Rumford and Franklin, only one
fifteenth, is radiated from the front of the fire into the room.
Four-fold more fuel is required to warm a room by a fire-place than when
a stove is used. Oxygen is, of course, consumed in a like proportion,
and hence, when the open fire-place is used, there is necessarily a
four-fold greater ingress of cold air to supply combustion than where a
stove is employed.

And, what is of still greater importance, when a fire-place is used, it
is impossible to preserve so uniform a temperature throughout the room
as when a stove is employed. When a fire-place is used, the cold air is
constantly rushing through every crevice at one end of the room to
supply combustion at the other end. Hence the scholars in one part of
the room suffer from cold, while those in the opposite part are
oppressed with heat. The stove may be set in a central part of the room,
whence the heat will radiate, not in one direction merely, but in all
directions. In addition to this, as we have already seen, only one
fourth as much air is required to sustain combustion, on both of which
accounts a much more even and uniform temperature can be maintained
throughout a room where a stove is used than where a fire-place is

But whence, then, has arisen the prevailing opinion that stoves are
unhealthy? There are two sources of mischief, either of which furnishes
a sufficient foundation for this popular fallacy. The first has already
been referred to, and consists simply in the almost total neglect of
proper ventilation. The other lies in the circumstance that school-rooms
are generally kept too warm. In addition to the inconvenience of too
high a temperature, the aqueous vapor existing in the atmosphere in its
natural and healthful state is dispersed, and the air of the room
becomes too dry. The evil being seen, the remedy is apparent. Reduce the
temperature of the room to its proper point, and supply the deficiency
of aqueous vapor by an evaporating dish partially filled with pure
water. If this is not done, the dry and over-heated air, which is highly
absorbent of moisture in every thing with which it comes in contact, not
only creates a disagreeable sensation of dryness on the surface of the
body, but in passing over the delicate membrane of the throat, creates a
tickling, induces a cough, and lays the foundation for pulmonary
disease, especially when ventilation is neglected. The water in the
evaporating dish should be frequently changed, and kept free from dirt
and other impurities. Care also should be taken not to create more
moisture than the air naturally contains, otherwise the effect will be
positively injurious.

The evil complained of is attributable mainly to the maintenance of a
too high temperature. Were a thermometer placed in many of our
school-rooms--and a school-house should never be without one in every
occupied apartment--instead of indicating a suitable temperature, say
sixty-two or sixty-five degrees, or even a summer temperature, it would
not unfrequently rise above blood heat. The system is thus not only
enfeebled and deranged by breathing an infectious atmosphere, but the
debility thence arising is considerably increased in consequence of too
high a temperature. The two causes combined eminently predispose the
system to disease. The change from inhaling a fluid poison at blood
heat, to inhaling the purer air without at the freezing point or below,
is greater than the system can bear with impunity.

A uniform temperature, which is highly important, can be more easily and
more effectually maintained where a stove is employed, furnished with a
damper, and supplied with dry, hard wood, than where a fire-place is
used. In the former case the draft may be regulated, in the latter it
can not be. A great amount of air enters into combustion even where a
stove is used. A greater quantity enters into the combustion where a
fire-place is used, in proportion to the increased amount of wood
consumed. Much of the heated air, also, where an open fire-place is
used, mingling with the smoke, passes off through the chimney, and its
place is supplied by an ingress of cold air at the more distant portions
of the room. There is hence not only a great waste of fuel, but a
sacrifice of comfort, health, and life.

But even where a stove is used there is a constant ingress of cold air
through cracks and defects in the floor, doors, windows, and walls,
which causes it to be colder in the outer portions of the room than in
the central portions and about the stove. The evil is the same in kind
as that already referred to in speaking of fire-places, but less in
degree. This evil, however, may be almost entirely obviated by a very
simple arrangement, which will also do much to render ventilation at
once more effectual and safe, especially in very cold and inclement
weather. The arrangement is as follows:

Immediately beneath the floor--and in case the school-house is two
stories high, between the ceiling and the floor above--insert a tube
from four to six inches in diameter, according to the size of the rooms,
the outer end communicating with the external air by means of an orifice
in the under-pinning or wall of the house, and the other, by means of an
angle, passing upward through the floor beneath the stove. This part of
the tube should be furnished with a register, so as to admit much or
little air, as may be desirable. This simple arrangement will reverse
the ordinary currents of air in a school-room. The cold air, instead of
entering at the crevices in the outer part of the room, where it is
coldest, enters directly beneath the stove, where it is warmest. It thus
moderates the heat immediately about the stove, and being warmed as it
enters, and mingling with the heated air, establishes currents toward
the walls, and gradually finds its way out at the numerous crevices
through which the cold air previously entered. If these are not
sufficient for the purpose, several ventilators should be provided in
distant parts of the room, as already suggested. This simple
arrangement, then, provides for the more even dissemination of heat
through all parts of the room, and thus secures a more uniform
temperature, and, at the same time, provides a purer air for
respiration, contributes greatly to the comfort and health of the
scholars, and fulfills several important conditions which are essential
to the most successful prosecution of their studies, and to the
maintenance and improvement of social and moral, as well as intellectual
and physical health.

By inclosing the stove on three sides in a case of sheet iron, leaving a
space of two or three inches between the case and the stove for an air
chamber, the air will become more perfectly warmed before entering the
room at the top of the case. The best mode, however, of warming and
ventilating large school-houses is by pure air heated in a furnace
placed in the basement. The whole house can in this way be warmed
without any inconvenience to the school from maintaining the fires, on
account of either noise, dust, or smoke. But as this mode of warming can
not be advantageously adopted except in very large schools, it will not
often be found desirable out of cities and large villages.

LIBRARY AND APPARATUS.--I have already said that every school-house
should have a room for recitations, library, and apparatus. In country
districts where but one teacher is employed in a school, it will perhaps
generally be found convenient to conduct the majority of the recitations
in the principal school-room. But even where this practice obtains,
there is still urgent necessity for a room for a library, apparatus, and
other purposes.

Several of the states have carried into successful operation the noble
system of District Libraries. These, in the single state of New York,
already contain nearly two millions of volumes. In some of the new
states the system of Township Libraries has been adopted, which, on some
accounts, is better adapted to a sparse population with limited means.
These, in the State of Michigan, already contain one hundred thousand
volumes. The director of each school district draws from the township
library every three months the number of books his district is entitled
to. These, for the time being, constitute the district library, and each
citizen in the township is thus allowed the use of all the books in the
township library.

Now, whichever of these systems is adopted, the school-house is the
appropriate depository of the library. There are many reasons for this.
It is central. It is the property of the district. During term-time it
is visited daily by members from perhaps every family in the district.
There may, and should be, a time fixed, at least once a week, when the
library will be open, the librarian or his assistant being in
attendance, at which time books may be returned and drawn anew. For this
purpose, and on all accounts, no place can be so appropriate and free
from objection as the school-house. The library may also be opened one
or more evenings in the week, and especially during the winter, when
evenings are long, as a district reading-room. Moreover, should a
District Lyceum be established, the use of a well-selected library,
which will always be at hand, and of appropriate apparatus for the
illustration of scientific lectures, will contribute greatly to increase
both the popularity and the usefulness of the institution.

With such an arrangement, the children of the district would most
assuredly be much more benefited by the instructions they would receive.
The school would also possess many attractions for adults of both sexes,
and by the co-operation of the wise and the good, its refining,
purifying, and regenerating influences may be brought effectually to
bear upon every family and every individual within the boundaries of the
district. Then will the idea of Cousin be realized, who says, "A school
ought to be a noble asylum, to which children will come, and in which
they will remain with pleasure; to which their parents will send them
with good will;" and, I will add, one whose uplifting influence both
children and parents will constantly feel.

Such a room as I have described will also be found important for various
other purposes, as a commodious place for retirement in case of sudden
indisposition, a place where a teacher may see a patron or a friend in
private, should it be at any time desirable, or a parent his child. It
would also be of great service in giving the teacher an opportunity to
see scholars in private, for various purposes, as well as in affording a
convenient room for scholars to retire to, with the permission of the
teacher, for mutual instruction.

That able and judicious advocate of popular enlightenment, and eminently
successful school officer, the Honorable Henry Barnard, does not
over-estimate the importance of district libraries. In speaking of the
benefits they confer upon a community, he says, "Wherever such libraries
have existed, especially in connection with the advantages of superior
schools and an educated ministry, they have called forth talent and
virtue, which would otherwise have been buried in poverty and ignorance,
to elevate, bless, and purify society. The establishment of a library in
every school-house will bring the mighty instrument of good books to act
more directly and more broadly on the entire population of a state than
it has ever yet done; for it will open the fountains of knowledge,
without money and without price, to the humble and the elevated, the
poor and the rich."

APPURTENANCES TO SCHOOL-HOUSES.--There are, perhaps, in the majority of
school-houses, a pail for water, a cup, a broom, and a chair for the
teacher. Some one or more of these are frequently wanting. I need hardly
say, every school-house should be supplied with them all. In addition to
these, every school-house should be furnished with the following
articles: 1. An evaporating dish for the stove, which should be supplied
with clean pure water. 2. A thermometer, by which the temperature of the
room may be regulated. 3. A clock, by which the time of beginning and
closing school, and conducting all its exercises, may be governed. 4. A
shovel and tongs. 5. An ash-pail and an ash-house. For want of these,
much filth is frequently suffered to accumulate in and about the
school-house, and not unfrequently the house itself takes fire and burns
down. 6. A wood-house, well supplied with seasoned wood. 7. A well, with
provisions not only for drinking, but for the cleanliness of pupils. 8.
And last, though not least, in this connection, two privies, in the rear
of the school-house, separated by a high close fence, one for the boys
and the other for the girls. For want of these indispensable appendages
of civilization, the delicacy of children is frequently offended, and
their morals corrupted. Nay, more, the unnatural detention of the
_fæces_, when nature calls for an evacuation, is frequently the
foundation for chronic diseases, and the principal cause of permanent
ill health, resulting not unfrequently in premature death. The
accommodations in this respect provided by a district in a country
village of the Northwest, whose schools have become celebrated, are none
too ample. Two octagonal privies are provided--one for each sex--each of
which has seven apartments. These are cleansed every two weeks,
regularly, and oftener, if necessary.

Mr. Barnard, in treating upon the external arrangements of
school-houses, has the following sensible remarks: "The building should
not only be located on a dry, healthy, and pleasant site, but be
surrounded by a yard, of never less than half an acre, protected by a
neat and substantial inclosure. This yard should be large enough in
front for all to occupy in common for recreation and sport, and planted
with oaks, elms, maples, and other shady trees, tastefully arranged in
groups and around the sides. In the rear of the building, it should be
divided by a high and close fence, and one portion, appropriately fitted
up, should be assigned exclusively for the use of boys, and the other
for girls. Over this entire arrangement the most perfect neatness,
seclusion, order, and propriety should be enforced, and every thing
calculated to defile the mind, or wound the delicacy or the modesty of
the most sensitive, should receive attention in private, and be made a
matter of parental advice and co-operation.

"In cities and populous districts, particular attention should be paid
to the play-ground, as connected with the physical education of
children. In the best-conducted schools, the play-ground is now regarded
as the _uncovered_ school-room, where the real dispositions and habits
of the pupils are more palpably developed, and can be more wisely
trained, than under the restraint of an ordinary school-room. These
grounds are provided with circular swings, and are large enough for
various athletic games. To protect the children in their sports in
inclement weather, in some places, the school-house is built on piers;
in others, the basement story is properly fitted up, and thrown open as
a play-ground."

A good and substantial room, well fitted up, and properly warmed in cold
weather, in which children may conduct their sports, under the
supervision of a teacher or monitor, is of the utmost importance; and
especially is this true of all schools for small children. Such a room
is, indeed, for these, hardly less important than the school-room. Among
other things, it should be supplied with dumb-bells,[70] see-saws,
weights and measures of various kinds, etc., etc. These are important
for both boys and girls; but, as they are uncommon, it may be well to
suggest the proper mode of using them, and the advantages they confer.

  [70] Dumb-bells are usually made of cast iron, and sometimes of
  bell-metal, of the shape indicated by the figure, and should weigh from
  two to ten pounds each, according to the strength of the person using
  them. [Illustration]

_Dumb-bells_ may be used, in connection with the sports enumerated in
the third chapter, for developing and strengthening the chest and
improving the health. I would refer any who question the fitness of such
exercises to what has been said on the subject at the 77th and following
pages, and especially to the testimony of Dr. Caldwell there introduced.

_See-saws_, in addition to the benefits that result from the exercise,
are attractive, and may be rendered highly instructive. For this
purpose, the plank or board used should be well hung and properly
balanced. The distance from the fulcrum or point of support should be
accurately graduated, and marked in feet and inches. Then, knowing the
weight of one scholar, the weights of all the others may be ascertained
by their relative distances from the fulcrum when they exactly balance.
These interesting experiments may be tried by any child as soon as he
understands the ground rules of arithmetic, and the simple fact that,
for two children to balance, the product of the weight of one multiplied
into his distance from the fulcrum will exactly equal the product of the
weight of the other into his distance from the fulcrum. Such simple
experiments, when thus mingled with sports, and made interesting to
young children, serve the double purpose of attaching them to the
school, and of fixing in their minds the habit of observation and
experiment, and of understanding the why and wherefore, which will be of
incalculable service to them all the way through life.

_Weights and measures_ serve the same general purpose, and may be
rendered well-nigh as useful as slates and black-boards. Thousands of
children recite every year the table, "four gills make a pint, two pints
make a quart, four quarts make a gallon," etc., month in and month out,
without any distinct idea of what constitutes a gill or a quart, or even
knowing which of the two is the greater. But let these measures be once
introduced into the experimental play-room, and let the child, under the
supervision of the teacher or monitor, actually _see_ that four gills
make a pint, etc., and he will learn the table with ten-fold greater
pleasure than he otherwise would, and in one tenth the time.

The same general remark will apply to the other tables of weight and
measure, to experimental philosophy, and to nearly every branch of study
pursued in the common schools of our country. I have but one other
general remark to make on this subject, and that is in relation to the

INFLUENCE OF SCHOOL-HOUSES.--Cicero observes that the face of a man will
be tinged by the sun, for whatever purpose he walks abroad; so, by daily
associations, the minds of all persons are influenced, and their
characters permanently affected, by scenes with which they are familiar;
and especially is this true during the impressive periods of childhood
and youth. Many persons seem to think that schoolmasters and
school-mistresses do all the teaching in our schools. But it is not so.
Fellow-students, neighbors, and citizens teach by precept and by
example; and especially do _school-houses teach_. And oh! what lessons
of degradation, pollution, and ruin they sometimes impart! as he can not
fail to be convinced who remembers the testimony already introduced in
relation to their condition.

I have seen the fond parent accompany his lovely child of four summers
to the school the first day of its attendance. The child had seen
pictures of school-houses in books. Pictures, if not always pretty,
usually please children. It was so in this case. The child, anxious to
go to school, talked of the school-house on the way. There arrived, the
parent passed his innocent little one into the care of the teacher, with
a few remarks, and was about to retire, when the child, clinging to him,
said, pathetically and energetically, "Pa! pa!! I don't want to stay in
this ugly old house; I am afraid it will fall down on me: I want to go
home to our own pretty parlor." But the parent, breaking away from his
child, leaves it in tears, with a sad heart. How cruel to do such
violence to the tender feelings of innocent children! And how baneful
the influence! The school, instead of being a comfortable, pleasant,
and delightful place, as it should be, is to the child positively
offensive, and the school-house a dreary prison. "Just as the twig is
bent, the tree's inclined." The child learns to hate school, to hate
instruction, and all that is good. He soon becomes the practiced truant.
In a few years he arrives at manhood; but, instead of being a blessing
to his family and a useful member of society, he too frequently drags
out a wretched life, in ignorance and penury, dividing it between the
poor-house and jail, and terminating it, peradventure, upon the gallows.

It needs the pen of a ready writer duly to portray the influence of
neglected school-houses. Parents seem to have forgotten that, _while men
sleep, the enemy comes and sows tares_; that if good school-houses do
not _elevate_, neglected ones will _pollute_ their children. I have
already alluded, in the language of others, to the representations of
vulgarity and obscenity that meet the eye in every direction. But I am
constrained to add, that, during the intermissions, and before school,
"certain lewd fellows of the baser sort" sometimes lecture in the
hearing of the school generally, boys and girls, large and small,
illustrating their subject by these vulgar delineations.

But why are these things so? And how may they be remedied? Different
persons will answer these questions variously. But when we bear in mind
that, in architectural appearance, school-houses have very generally
more resembled barns, sheds for cattle, or mechanic shops, than Temples
of Science; that windows are broken; that benches are mutilated; that
desks are cut up; that wood is unprovided; that out-buildings are
neglected; that obscene images and vulgar delineations meet the eye
within and without; that, in fine, their very appearance is so
contemptible, that scholars feel themselves degraded in being obliged
to occupy them; when we bear in mind all these things, and then consider
that the impressive minds of children are necessarily and permanently
affected by scenes with which they become familiar, we can not wonder
that they yield themselves to such influences, and consent to increase
their degradation by multiplying the abominations with which they are
surrounded. And especially shall we cease to wonder at the existence of
these things, when we consider that scholars are very often unfurnished
with suitable employment; that the younger scholars are frequently urged
on by the example and influence of the older ones; and that teachers are
sometimes employed who are so far lost to shame as to countenance these
disgusting and corrupting practices by engaging in them themselves!

A knowledge of the cause suggests the remedy. Let, then, the
school-house be commodious and cleanly; inviting in its appearance, and
elevating in its influence. Let every member of the school, at all
times, be furnished with entertaining and profitable employment. Let the
corrupting influence of bad example be at once and forever removed. And,
finally, let the services of a well-qualified teacher, of good morals,
correct example, and who is scrupulously watchful, be invariably

But if the mean appearance of our school-houses is one reason why they
are so defaced, it may be asked, why do not our _churches_, which are
frequently among the most elegant specimens of architecture, escape the
pollution? The reason is evident. The foul _habit_ is contracted in the
unseemly school-house, and it becomes so established that it is very
difficult to suspend its exercise even in the Temple of God. Were our
school-houses, in point of neatness and architecture, equal to our
churches, the evil in question would soon become less prevalent, and,
with judicious supervision, we might safely predict its early

I would not suggest that too much pains are taken to make our churches
pleasant and comfortable, but I do protest that there is a great and
unwise disproportion in the appearance of our churches and
school-houses. It is frequently the case in villages and country
neighborhoods, that the expense of the former is from fifty to eighty
times the value of the latter. The _appearance_ of our school-houses is
an important consideration. If we would cultivate the _beastly_
propensities of our youth, we have but to provide them places of
instruction resembling the _hovels_ which our cattle occupy, and the
work is well begun. On the contrary, if we would take into the account
the whole duration of our being, and the cultivation and right
development of the nobler faculties of our nature, while the animal
propensities are allowed to remain in a quiescent state, and _adapt
means to ends_, our school-houses should be pleasant and tasteful. Every
thing offensive should be separated from them, and no pains should be
spared to give them an inviting aspect and an elevating influence.

It is easier to make children good than to reform wicked men. It is
cheaper to construct commodious school-houses, with pleasant yards and
suitable appurtenances, than to erect numerous jails and extensive
prisons. George B. Emerson, in a lecture on moral education, speaks to
the point. "In regard to the lower animal propensities," says he, "the
only safe principle is, that nothing should be allowed which has a
tendency, directly or indirectly, to excite them. In many places there
prevails an alarming and criminal indifference upon this point. It is
one toward which the attention of the teacher should be carefully
directed. No sound should be suffered from the lips; no word, or
figure, or mark should be allowed to reach the eyes, to deface the wall
of the house or out-house, which could give offense to the most
sensitive delicacy. This is the teacher's business. He must not be
indifferent to it. He has no right to neglect it. He can not transfer it
to another. He, and he only, is responsible.[71] It is impossible to be
over-scrupulous in this matter. And the committee should see that the
teacher does his duty; otherwise all his lessons in duty are of no
avail, and the school, instead of being a source of purity, delicacy,
and refinement, becomes a fountain of corruption, throwing out
poisonous waters, and rendering the moral influence more pestiferous
than that fabled fountain of old, over which no creature of heaven could
fly and escape death."

  [71] I would by no means free parents from responsibility in this
  matter. They, if any class, may be said to be "alone responsible;" but,
  in fact, all who are intrusted with the care of children share in the
  responsibility. _Secret vice_, in the opinion of those who have had
  occasion to remark the extent to which it is practiced, from colleges
  and the higher seminaries of learning down to the common school, and
  even in the nursery before the child is sent to school, prevails to an
  alarming extent. It is often the principal, and, in many instances, the
  sole cause of a host of evils that are commonly attributed to hard
  study, among which are impaired nutrition, and general lassitude and
  weakness, especially of the loins and back; loss of memory, dullness of
  apprehension, and both indisposition and incapacity for study;
  dizziness, affections of the eyes, headaches, etc., etc. Secret vice in
  childhood and youth is also a fruitful source of _social vice_ later in
  life, and of excesses even within the pale of wedlock, ruinous alike to
  the parties themselves and to their offspring. Licentiousness in some of
  its forms, as we have frequently had occasion to see, from the highest
  testimony introduced into the text in various passages, in addition to
  the evils here referred to, sometimes leads to the most driveling
  idiocy, and to insanity in its worst forms. All, then, who have the
  charge of children, and especially parents and teachers, should exercise
  a rational familiarity with them on this delicate but important subject.
  They should give them timely counsel in relation to the temptations to
  which they may be exposed, apprise them of the evils that follow in the
  train of disobedience, and endeavor, by kindly advice and friendly
  admonition, to infix in their minds a delicate sense of honor, an
  abhorrence for this whole class of vice, and a determination never to
  entertain a thought of indulging the appetite for sex except within the
  pale of wedlock, and in accordance with God's own appointment.

In conclusion, on this subject, I would say, if there is one house in
the district more pleasantly located, more comfortably constructed,
better warmed, and more inviting in its general appearance, and more
elevating in its influence than any other, that house should be the

                  *       *       *       *       *


    All the provisions heretofore described would be of none effect if
    we took no pains to procure for the public school thus constituted
    an able master, and worthy of the high vocation of instructing the
    people. It can not be too often repeated, that it is the master that
    makes the school.--GUIZOT.

    Society can never feel the power of education until it calls into
    exercise a class of effective educators.--LALOR.

    One of the surest signs of the regeneration of society will be the
    elevation of the art of teaching to the highest rank in the

We come next to the consideration of _school teachers_; for, in order to
have good schools, we want not merely good school-houses. These, as
already seen, are of the utmost importance; but, to insure success, _we
must have good teachers in those houses_. And here, were I addressing
myself exclusively to the members of this profession, it would be
appropriate to dwell in detail upon the requisite qualifications of
teachers. But this would be foreign from my present design.[72]

  [72] Among the many excellent works already before the public, I would
  name the following, which the practical teacher may profitably consult:
  by Henry Dunn; THE TEACHER, by Jacob Abbott; THE TEACHER'S MANUAL, by
  Thomas H. Palmer; THE TEACHER TAUGHT, by Emerson Davis; SLATE AND
  Fowle; THE TRUE RELATION OF THE SEXES, by John Ware. These are also
  useful to parents. A more extended list, with tables of contents, may be
  found in Barnard's School Architecture, p. 279 to 288.

It has not been my intention in any thing I have yet said, nor will it
be in any thing I may hereafter urge, to overlook the importance of
domestic education. Napoleon once said to an accomplished French lady
that the old systems of education were good for nothing, and inquired
what was wanting for the proper training of young persons in France.
With keen discernment and great truth, she replied, in one
word--Mothers. This reply forcibly impressed the emperor, and he
exclaimed, "Behold an entire system of education! You must make
_mothers_ that know how to train their children." I may add, we want
mothers not only, but _fathers_ too, qualified for the great work of
training their offspring aright; for parents are readily admitted to be
the natural educators of their children. But the literary training of
children has always been accomplished chiefly by delegation; and not
only the literary, but, to a great extent, the moral and religious.

This course has been adopted on account of the situation of families;
many parents being unable to teach their children themselves, and others
lacking the necessary leisure to carry forward a systematic and thorough
course of instruction. This course is dictated by policy; for the
children of a whole neighborhood may be better taught, and at less
expense, in good schools, than in their respective families. This course
has also been adopted as a matter of necessity; for the greatness of
the work of education requires, in order to carry it forward
successfully, that it should be studied as a profession. The teacher
then engages jointly with the parent in the work of education, and with
him shares its toils, its responsibilities, and its delights.

From the greatness of the teacher's work, as we have already considered
it--training, as he should, his youthful charge for respectability,
usefulness, and happiness in this life, and for everlasting felicity in
that which is to come--we may infer what should be his qualifications.
And we remark, in the general, that the business of

_School teaching should rank among the learned professions._ The teacher
should well understand the nature of the subjects of education, as
physical, intellectual, and moral beings. The education of children can
not safely be intrusted to persons who are not practically acquainted
with human physiology, and with mental science as based thereon. The
most serious physical evils frequently result from allowing incompetent
persons to exercise the functions of this high and responsible vocation.

In addition to a thorough knowledge of all the branches in which a
teacher is expected to give instruction, and an acquaintance with those
collateral branches that have a bearing upon them, the instructor of
youth should possess the rare attainment of _aptness to teach_. It will
be of little avail if the teacher has become familiar with all wisdom,
unless he can readily communicate instruction to others. Paul, in
speaking of the qualifications of bishops, says, among other things,
they should be "apt to teach." This attainment is no less important for
schoolmasters than for bishops. It is especially important that the
teacher should be well acquainted with intellectual philosophy and moral
science. This is necessary, in order to enable him to judge correctly
of character, and to teach, and govern, and train his charge aright. But
these attainments can never be made until teaching is elevated to the
rank of a profession.

The lawyer is required to devote a series of years to a regular course
of classical study and professional reading before he can find
employment in a case in which a few dollars only are pending. With this
we find no fault. But it should not be forgotten that the teacher's
calling is as much more important than the ordinary exercise of the
legal profession, as the imperishable riches of mind are more valuable
than the corruptible treasures of earth.

We seek out from among us men of sound discretion and good report to
enact laws for the government of the state and nation. And with this,
too, we find no fault. It is right and proper that we should do so. But
it should be borne in mind that it is the teacher's high prerogative not
only so to instruct and train the rising generation that they shall
rightly understand law, but to infix in their minds the principles of
justice and equity, the attainment of which is the high aim of
legislation. While our legislators enact laws for the government of the
people, the well-qualified and faithful schoolmaster prepares those
under his charge to govern themselves. Without the teacher's
conservative influence, under the best legislation, the great mass of
the people will be lawless; while the tendency of his labors is to
qualify the rising generation, who constitute our future freemen and our
country's hope, to render an enlightened, a cheerful, and a ready
obedience to the high claims of civil law. The well-qualified, faithful
teacher, then, becomes the right arm of the legislator.

The physician is required to become thoroughly acquainted with the
anatomy and physiology of the human body; in a word, to become
acquainted with "the house I live in;" to understand the diseases to
which we are subject, and their proper treatment, before he is allowed
to extract a tooth, to open a vein, or administer the simplest medicine.
Nor with this do we find fault, for we justly prize the body. It is the
habitation of the immortal mind. When in health, it is the mind's
servant, and ready to do its biddings; but darken its windows by
disease, and it becomes the mind's prison-house. But while the
physician, whom we honor and love, is required to make these attainments
before he is permitted _even to repair_ "the house I live in," should
not he who teaches the MASTER of the house be entitled to a respectable
rank in society?

It is common, in the various branches of the Church universal, for men
who feel themselves called of God to preach the Gospel to obtain a
collegiate education, and then devote several years to professional
study, before exercising the functions of the sacred office; and this
has been required by popular opinion. And heretofore, I may add, the
efforts of the minister have been directed chiefly to the _reformation
of adults_ whose early training has been imperfectly attended to, and to
the building up of a religious character where no correct early
foundation has been laid, when the time and energies of a people upon
whom labor is bestowed are devoted chiefly to absorbing secular
pursuits. The competent and faithful teacher, on the contrary, enters
upon the discharge of his duties under circumstances widely different,
and with infinitely better prospects of success. Jesus said, _Suffer the
little children to come unto me, and forbid them not; for of such is the
kingdom of God_. These are they upon whom the teacher is called to
bestow labor. He remembers that Solomon the wise has said, _Train up a
child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart
from it_; and he confidently expects that, with proper parental
co-operation, if he faithfully discharges his duty, and directs his
efforts in accordance with the will of the Great Teacher, his youthful
charge, when arrived at the years of accountability, and in all future
life, will be like "the child Samuel, who grew on, and was in favor both
with the Lord and also with men." No wonder, then, that Channing should
say, "One of the surest signs of the regeneration of society will be
_the elevation of teaching to the highest rank in the community_."

The clerical profession can never equal that of the teacher in moral
sublimity and prospective usefulness until religious teachers come to
direct their attention chiefly to the correct early education of the
young in the Sabbath-schools, but more especially in the common schools
of our country. Then, and not till then, will it be entitled to the

Should any teacher, in view of the immense responsibilities of his
calling, be disposed to inquire, as all well may, _Who is sufficient for
these things?_ we would say to him, in the language of Wirt, "Let your
motto be _Perseverando vinces_--by perseverance thou wilt overcome.
Practice upon it, and you will be convinced of its value by the
distinguished pre-eminence to which it will lead you." Especially will
this be true in case the anxious teacher faithfully complies with the
Divine direction, _If any man lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that
giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given

Parents and citizens generally should be impressed with the truth of the
maxim, "As is the teacher, so will be the school." They should desire
for their own children, and for all others, teachers whose
intellectual, social, and moral habits are, in all respects, what they
are willing their children should form. They should, at least, be well
apprised of this fact: If the teacher is not, in these respects, what
they would have their children become, their children will be likely to
become _what the teacher is_.

There is a story of a German schoolmaster, which shows the low notions
that may be entertained of education. Stouber, the predecessor of
Oberlin, the pastor of Waldbach, on his arrival at the place, desired to
be shown to the principal school-house. He was conducted into a
miserable cottage, where a number of children were crowded together,
without any occupation. He inquired for the master. "There he is," said
one, as soon as silence could be obtained, pointing to a withered old
man, who lay on a little bed in one corner. "Are you the master, my
friend?" asked Stouber. "Yes, sir." "And what do you teach the
children?" "Nothing, sir." "Nothing! how is that?" "Because," replied
the old man, "I know nothing myself." "Why, then, were you appointed the
schoolmaster?" "Why, sir, I had been taking care of the Waldbach pigs a
number of years, and when I got too old and infirm for that employment,
they sent me here to take care of the children."

This anecdote may evince a degree of stupidity not to be met with in
this country. We are, however, very far from being as careful in the
selection of teachers as we ought to be. Unworthy teachers frequently
find employment. I refer not to teachers whose literary qualifications
are insufficient, although, as we have already seen, there are quite too
many such. I refer now more particularly to those who are disqualified
for the office because of moral obliquity.

Teachers are sometimes employed who are habitual Sabbath breakers; who
are accustomed to the use of vulgar and profane language; who frequent
the gambling table; who habitually use tobacco, in several of its forms,
and that in the school-house! nay, more, who even teach the despicable
habit to their children during school hours! Several emperors have
prohibited the use of this filthy weed in their respective kingdoms,
under the severest penalties. The pope has made a bull to excommunicate
all those who use tobacco in the churches. One of the most numerous of
the Protestant sects once prohibited the use of tobacco in their
society; but so strong is this filthy habit, especially when formed in
early life, that this society has backslidden and given up this
excellent rule.

Since writing the above, I have noticed an article headed "Tobacco-using
Ministers," which has appeared in several highly-reputable and
widely-circulating periodicals, from which it appears that a large
annual conference of divines of the same order, among other resolutions,
have adopted one recommending "that the ministers refrain from the use
of tobacco in all its forms, especially in the house of worship."

In commenting upon this action, a religious paper observes, that "by
'tobacco in all its forms' we suppose is meant chewing, smoking, and
snuffing. But can it be possible that a minister, whose duty it is to
recommend purity, and whose example should be cleanliness, can need
conference resolutions to dissuade him from a practice so filthy and
disgusting? And do they even carry this inconsistency into the 'house of
worship?' So it seems!" But such is the severity of the strictures in
the article referred to, that, although just, I forbear inserting them.

It has been suggested that, while Robinson Crusoe was alone on his
island, he may have had a right to smoke, snuff, or chew; but that, when
his man Friday came, "a decent regard for the opinions of mankind"--as
the Declaration of Independence has it--should have debarred him at once
from further indulgence.

One who has enjoyed large opportunities of observing, and who is
scrupulous to a proverb, has remarked, that "the ministerial profession
is probably the most offending in this particular. The Scriptures have
much to say about keeping the _body_ pure. Had tobacco been known to the
Hebrews, who can doubt that it would have been among the articles
prohibited by the Levitical law? St. Paul beseeches the Romans, by the
mercies of God, to present their _bodies_ 'a living sacrifice, holy and
acceptable.' To the Corinthians he says, 'Know ye not that ye are the
temple of God, and that the spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man
defile the temple of God, him will God destroy; for the temple of God is
holy, _which temple ye are_.' He commands them to glorify God in their
_body_ as well as in their spirit; for 'know ye not,' says he, 'that
your _body_ is the temple of the Holy Ghost? What sort of a 'temple of
the Holy Ghost' is he, every atom and molecule of whose physical system
is saturated and stenched with the vile fetor of tobacco; whose every
vesicle is distended by its foul gases; whose brain and marrow are
begrimed and blackened with its sooty vapors and effluxions; all whose
pores jet forth its malignant stream like so many hydrants; whose
prayers are breathed out, not with a _sweet_, but with a _foul_-smelling
savor; who baptizes infants with a hand which itself needs literal
baptism and purification as by fire; and who carries to the bed-side of
the dying an odor which, if the 'immaterial essence' could be infected
by any earthly virus, would subject the departed soul to quarantine
before it could enter the gates of heaven?"[73]

  [73] A female teacher in the Bay State, in 1847, addressed the following
  inquiry through the columns of the Massachusetts Common School Journal:

  "I have been laboring for the last year in a large school, and have
  endeavored, according to the best of my ability, to inculcate habits of
  neatness among the pupils, especially to break them of the filthy habit
  of spitting upon the floor. I have often told them _gentlemen_ never do
  it. But at a recent visit of the committee, an individual, who has been
  elected by the town to superintend the educational interests of the
  rising generation, _spit_ the dirty juice of his _tobacco_ quid upon the
  floor of my school-room with apparent self-complacency.

  "Shall I say to the children that this person is _not_ a _gentleman_,
  and thus destroy his influence? or shall I pass it over in silence, and
  thus leave them to draw the natural inference that all I have said on
  the subject is only a woman's whim?"

  Mr. Mann, the editor, gave a full reply through the Journal, from which
  I have here quoted part of a paragraph. He closes by offering a prize of
  the "eternal gratitude of all decent men" to the discoverer of a remedy
  or antidote for the evil.

"Touch not, taste not, handle not," is the only safe rule in relation to
all vicious practices; and especially is it true of this habit, which we
can not call _beastly_, for there is not a _natural_ beast in creation
that indulges in it. I therefore congratulate my countrymen in view of
the prospect before us of ultimately being freed from this disgusting
and filthy habit, for the Board of Education in some of our cities have
already wisely adopted the rule of employing no teachers who use tobacco
in any form. Let this rule become universal among us, and the next
generation will be comparatively free from the use of that repulsive
weed, which only one of all created beings takes to naturally. Wherever
else the filthy practice may be allowed, it ought never to be permitted
in a house consecrated to the sacred work of educating the rising
generation. And just look at the immense expenditure in this country
for the support of this pernicious habit. It is said, on good authority,
that for _smoking_ merely we pay annually a tax of ten millions of
dollars, which is a much greater sum than is paid to the teachers of all
the public schools in the United States.

But to return: teachers are sometimes employed who are addicted to
inebriety; who are notorious libertines, and unblushingly boast of the
number of their victims. But I will not extend this dark catalogue.
Comment is unnecessary. My fellow-countrymen, who have carefully perused
and properly weighed the preceding considerations, I doubt not, will
concur with me in the opinion that there is no station in life--no, not
excepting even the clerical office, that, in order to be well filled, so
much demands purity of heart, simplicity of life, Christian courtesy,
and every thing that will ennoble man, and beautify and give dignity to
the human character, as that of the primary school-teacher. He
influences his pupils in the formation of habits and character, by
precept, it is true, but chiefly by example. His example, then, should
be such, that, if strictly followed by his pupils, it will lead them
aright in all things, astray in nothing. It should be his chief concern
to allure to brighter worlds on high, and himself lead the way. Then,
and not till then, will he be prepared to magnify and fill his office.

But, it may be said, we have not a sufficiency of well-qualified
teachers, according to this standard, to take the charge of all, or of
any considerable part of our schools. This is very readily admitted.
Some such, however, there are. These should be employed. Their influence
will be felt by others. The present generation of teachers may be much
improved by means of teachers' associations and teachers' institutes. By
the establishment of normal schools, or teachers' seminaries, a higher
grade of teachers may be trained up and qualified to take the charge of
the next generation of scholars. These institutions have been
established in several of the European states, in New England and New
York, and more recently in Michigan, by the several State Legislatures,
and to some extent in other states. "Those seminaries for training
masters," says Lord Brougham, "are an invaluable gift to mankind, and
lead to the indefinite improvement of education." In remarking upon
their advantages, the same high authority says, "These training
seminaries would not only teach the masters the branches of learning and
science they are now deficient in, but would teach them what they know
far less--the didactic art--the mode of imparting the knowledge which
they have or may acquire; the best mode of training and dealing with
children in all that regards both temper, capacity, and habits, and the
means of stirring them to exertion, and controlling their aberrations."

_Normal schools are essential_ to the complete success of any system of
popular education. The necessity for their establishment can not fail to
be apparent to any one at all competent to judge, when he considers the
early age at which young persons of both sexes generally enter upon the
business of school-teaching--or, perhaps I may more appropriately say,
of "keeping" school; for the majority of them can hardly be regarded as
competent to _teach_.

For the purpose of being more specific, and of impressing, if possible,
upon the mind of the reader, the necessity of professional instruction,
the author trusts he will be pardoned for introducing a few paragraphs
from a report made nine years ago as county superintendent of common
schools in the State of New York and which was printed at that time in
the Assembly documents of that state. The author, at the time referred
to, exercised a general supervision over more than twenty thousand
children, aided in the examination of the teachers of twenty large
townships, and visited and inspected their schools. Nine years'
additional experience--four of which have been devoted to the
supervision of the schools of a large state, and a considerable portion
of the remaining time to the visitation of schools in different
states--has convinced him that the condition of common schools, and the
qualifications of teachers in those states of the Union where increased
attention has not been bestowed upon the subject within a few years
past, are not in advance of what they were at that time in the county
referred to. The paragraphs introduced are included within brackets.

[LITERARY QUALIFICATIONS.--Some of the teachers possess a very limited
knowledge of the branches usually taught in our common schools. This is
true even of a portion of those who have bestowed considerable attention
upon some of the higher branches of study. There is in our common
schools, and indeed in our higher schools, an undue anxiety to advance
rapidly. A score of persons may be heard speaking of the number of their
recitations, of their rapid progress, and perhaps of skipping
difficulties, while hardly _one_ will speak of progressing
_understandingly_, and comprehending _every principle_ as he proceeds.
When students speak of their progress in study, their first qualifying
word should be _thorough_, after which, if they please, they may add

The following circumstances, that have occurred in classes of both
ladies and gentlemen who have presented themselves for examination as
candidates for teaching, illustrate the nature and extent of the evil. I
have more than once received, in answer to the question "What is
language?" the following reply: "Language is an _unlimited sense_." I
have met with some experienced teachers, holding two or three town
certificates, who did not know one half of the marks and pauses used in
writing. They could, indeed, generally recite the answers in the
spelling-book with some degree of accuracy; but when the marks have been
pointed out, and their names and use have been asked, teachers _in
service_ have sometimes mistaken the note of _interrogation_ for a
_parenthesis_, and made other as gross errors. In answer to the question
"What is arithmetic?" I have several times received the following reply:
"It is the _art of science_," etc. Sometimes this constitutes the entire
reply. In one instance _four fifths_ of the class united in this answer.
The terms sum, remainder, product, and quotient are frequently applied
indiscriminately in the four ground rules of arithmetic. There are,
hence, three chances for them to be used erroneously where there is one
chance for them to be correctly applied. The following expressions are
common: _Add_ up and set down the _remainder_; _subtract_ and set down
the _quotient_; _multiply_ and write down the _sum_; _divide_ and write
down the _product_, etc.: never so much as thinking that sum belongs to
addition; remainder, to subtraction; product, to multiplication; and
quotient, to division. In attending the examination of such teachers,
any person of discernment will soon become satisfied that with them
"language is an unlimited sense;" that "arithmetic is the art _of_
science;" and that grammar, too, is "the art of science;" for the same
answer has been given to the question, "What is grammar?" I introduce
these things, not for the purpose of ridiculing any portion of our
teachers, but to exemplify the extent of the evil under consideration.

The majority of teachers manifest a tolerable familiarity with the
branches usually taught in our common schools. They have not, however,
generally studied more than one author on the same subject.

A portion of our teachers, it gives me pleasure to add, are not only
superior scholars in the common English branches, but they have made
respectable attainments in philosophy, astronomy, chemistry, algebra,
Latin, etc. All of these branches are successfully taught in a few of
our schools.

SCHOOL GOVERNMENT.--There is, perhaps, as wide a difference in the
administration of government in our common schools as in any other
particular connected with them. Good government requires the healthful
exercise of a rare combination of good qualities. But this can not
reasonably be expected in inexperienced youth, who, instead of being
guided by enlightened moral sentiment, have not only never subjected
_themselves_ to government, but are totally unacquainted with the
principles upon which it should be administered. About one third of our
schools are tolerably well governed. A portion of them are under a wise
and parental supervision, the government being uniformly mild, and at
the same time efficient. But indecision, rashness, and inefficiency are
far more common. Sometimes teachers resolve to have no whispering,
leaving seats, asking questions, etc., among any of the scholars, and
severely punish every detected offender. Soon a portion of the patrons
justly manifest dissatisfaction. Then all attempts to govern the school
are unwisely given up. Many teachers thus rashly fly from one extreme of
government to the other, without stopping to test the "golden mean," or
even appearing to bestow a single thought upon the subject.

Again: the feelings of the teacher have been outraged by having
frequently witnessed severity, and even cruelty, in government; and, in
studiously avoiding them, he has inadvertently adopted a lax government,
if government it may be called. The latter may be the more amiable
extreme, but it is hardly the less fatal. I have heard scholars say in
the presence of such a teacher, "We have a good teacher, who gives us
all the good advice we need, and then lets us do as we please;" and then
I have witnessed whispering, talking, chewing gum and throwing it about
the house, passing from seat to seat, playing with tops and whirls,
tossing wads of wet paper about the house and to the ceiling, cutting
images upon the desks, imitating the practice of botanic physicians,
exhibiting and passing from one to another roots and herbs, and
discoursing upon their properties, chasing mice about the house, and in
some instances slaying them, and practicing sundry other antics too
numerous to be mentioned. Good advice was freely given, but it was
disregarded with impunity.

Government in school, as elsewhere, should be mild but efficient. The
teacher should speak kindly, but with authority. Every request should
meet with a ready compliance. The scholars will not only fear to disobey
such a teacher, but will, at the same time, respect, and even love him.
This is not only good theory, but is susceptible of being reduced to
practice. It is, indeed, exemplified in many of our schools, as a visit
to them will clearly manifest. I know of no one thing in school
government more mischievous in its tendency than the habit of speaking
several times without being obeyed.

MODE OF INSTRUCTION.--In some schools the instruction is thorough and
systematic. In them the scholars generally learn _principles_, and
understand, and are able to explain, all that they pass over. But this
is the case in comparatively few schools. Scholars generally are poorly
instructed, and understand very imperfectly what they profess to have
learned. I will give a few illustrations:

_First._ Scholars are frequently introduced to the twenty-six letters of
the alphabet four times a day for several weeks in succession, without
making a single acquaintance. They occasionally become so familiar with
their names and order as to repeat them down and back, as well without
the book as with it, before learning a single letter.

This method of instruction is as unphilosophical as it is unsuccessful.
Were I to be introduced to twenty-six strangers, and were my introducer
to pronounce their names in rapid succession down and back, giving me
merely an opportunity of pronouncing them after him, I should hardly
expect to form a _single acquaintance with twenty-six introductions_.
But were he to introduce me to one, and give me an opportunity of
shaking hands with him, of conversing with him, of observing his
features, etc.; and were he then to introduce me to another, in like
manner, with the privilege of shaking hands again with the first, before
my introduction to the third; and were he thus to introduce me to them
all successively, I might form _twenty-six acquaintances with one

The application is readily made. Introduce the abecedarian to but _one_
letter at first. Describe it to him familiarly. Fix its contour
distinctly in his mind. Compare it with things with which he is
acquainted, if it will admit of such comparison. It might be well to
make the letter upon a slate or black-board. When he shall have become
acquainted with _one_ letter so as to know it any where, introduce him
to another. After he becomes acquainted with the second, let him again
point out the first. As he learns new letters, he will thus retain a
knowledge of those he has previously learned. It is immaterial where we
commence, provided two conditions are fulfilled. It would be well to
have the first letters as simple in their construction, and as easily
described, as possible. It would be well, also, to have them so selected
as to combine and form simple words, with which the child is familiar.
He will thus become encouraged in his first efforts.

Suppose we commence with O, and tell the child that it is _round_; that
it is shaped like the _button_ on his coat, or like a _penny_, which
might be shown to him. After the child has become somewhat familiar with
its _shape_ and _name_, suppose we inquire what there was on the
breakfast table shaped like O. It may be necessary to name a few
articles, as knives, forks, spoons, plates. Before there is time to
proceed further, the child, in nine cases out of ten, will say, "The
_plates_ look like O." Suppose we next take X, which may be represented
by crossing the fore-fingers, or two little sticks. We can now teach the
child that these two letters, combined, spell _ox_. We might then tell
him a familiar story about _oxen_; that we put a _yoke_ on them; that
they draw the cart, etc.; and that _cart-wheels_ are _great_ O's.
Suppose we take B next. We might tell the child that it is a straight
line with two bows on the right side of it, and that it is shaped some
like the _ox-yoke_. We might then instruct him that these three letters,
B, O, and X, combined, spell _box_; that its top and sides are
rectangles, and that its ends are squares, if they are so. The child has
now learned three letters, two words, and a score of ideas. He,
moreover, likes to go to school. Any other method in which children
would be equally interested might be pursued instead of this, which is
only introduced as a _specimen_ of the manner in which the alphabet has
been successfully taught.[74] Better methods may be devised.

  [74] Since these suggestions were first given to the public, several
  excellent books for children have been published, constructed on a
  similar plan to that here recommended. It will generally be found
  advantageous to teach the vowels first, and then to teach such
  consonants as combine with the _long sound_ of the vowel; as, for
  example, first o; then g, h, l, n, and s, when the child can read go,
  ho, lo, no, and so. After this, e may be learned, and then b, m, and s,
  when the child can read be, bee, me, and see. Then these may be combined
  as see me; lo, see me; see me ho; lo, see me ho, etc. The idea is, that
  every letter and combination of letters be used as fast they are

_Second._ The Roman notation table is sometimes taught after the same
manner. After spelling, I have heard the teacher say to the class, One
I.? to which the scholar at the head would reply, one; and the exercise
would continue through the class, as follows: two I.'s? two; three I.'s?
three; IV.? four; and so on, to two X.'s? twenty; three X.'s?
twenty-one. No, says the teacher, _thirty_. Thus corrected, the class
went through the entire table, without making another mistake. The
thought occurred to me that they did not _know_ their lesson, though
they had _recited_ it, making but _one_ mistake. With the permission of
the teacher, I inquired of the class, "What does IV. stand for?" None of
them could tell. I then inquired, "What do VII. stand for?" They all
shook their heads. I next inquired, "What does IX. stand for?" and the
teacher remarked, "_They have just got it learnt the other way; they
ha'n't learnt it that way yet._" They had all learned to _count_; they
hence recited correctly to twenty; and when told that three X.'s stand
for _thirty_ instead of _twenty-one_, they passed on readily to forty,
fifty, sixty, etc., without making another mistake. And this, too, is
but a _specimen_ of the evil.

In teaching this table, the child should be instructed, in the
beginning, that there are but seven letters used, by which all numbers
may be represented; that when standing alone, I. represents _one_; V.,
_five_; X., _ten_; L., _fifty_; C, _one hundred_; D., _five hundred_;
and M., _one thousand_. The child should next be taught that, as often
as a letter is repeated, so many times its _value_ is repeated; thus, X.
represents _ten_; two X.'s, _twenty_; three X.'s, _thirty_, etc.; that
when a letter representing a _less_ number is placed _after_ one
representing a _greater_, its value is to be _added_; thus, VII.
represent _seven_; LX., _sixty_, etc.; that when a letter representing a
_less_ number is placed _before_ one representing a _greater_, its value
is to be _subtracted_; thus, IV. represents _four_; IX., _nine_; XL.,
_forty_, etc. When the child understands what is here presented, he has
the key to the whole matter. He is acquainted with the principle upon
which the tables are constructed, and a little practice will enable him
to apply it, as well to what is _not_ in the table as to what _is_ in
it. I have known scholars study that table faithfully _four months_, and
then have but an imperfect knowledge of what was _in the book_. I have
known others who, with _one hour's_ study, after _five minutes'_
instruction in the principles here laid down, understood the table
perfectly, and could recite it, without making a single mistake, even
before they had studied the whole of it _once over_.

_Third._ The manner in which _reading_ is generally taught is hardly
superior to the modes of instruction already considered. In many
instances, commendable effort is made to secure correct pronunciation,
and a proper observance of the inflections and pauses. But there is a
great lack in _understanding_ what is read. When visiting schools, with
the permission of the teacher, I usually interrogate reading classes
with reference to the meaning of what they have read. Occasionally I
receive answers that give satisfactory evidences of correct instruction.
Generally, however, the scholars have no distinct idea concerning the
author's meaning. They, astonished, sometimes say, "I didn't know as the
_meaning_ has any thing to do with reading; I try to pronounce the words
right, and mind the stops." Teachers sometimes say their scholars are
poor readers, and it takes all their attention to pronounce their words
correctly. They therefore do not wish to have them _try_ to _understand_
what they read, thinking it would be a hinderance to them. They
occasionally justify themselves in the course they pursue, saying, "I
don't have time to question my classes on their reading, nor hardly time
to look over and correct mistakes." At the same time they will read
three or four times around, twice a day or oftener. The idea prevails
extensively, judging from the practice of teachers, that the value of
their services depends upon the extent of the various exercises of the
school. If the classes can read several times around, twice a day, and
spell two or three pages, teachers frequently think they have done well,
even though one half of the mistakes in reading are uncorrected, and one
fourth or more of the words in the spelling lessons are misspelled, to
say nothing of understanding what is read. The majority of schools might
be very much improved by conducting them upon the principle that "what
is worth doing at all is worth doing well." I am fully satisfied that it
is incomparably better for classes to read _once_ around, _once_ a day,
and _understand_ what they read, than to read _four_ times around,
_four_ times a day, _without understanding_ their lessons. Scholars
should, indeed, never be allowed to read what is beyond their
comprehension; and great pains should be taken to see that they actually
understand every lesson, and every book read. The early formation of
such a habit will be of incalculable value in after life.

I will introduce one extract from my note-book by way of illustration.
The reader will please observe that it relates to neither a back
district nor an inexperienced teacher.

"This is one of the oldest and most important districts in town. The
school is taught by an experienced and highly-reputable teacher. The
first class in the English Reader read the section entitled '_The
Journey of a Day; a Picture of Human Life_.' Obidah had been
contemplating the beauties of nature, visiting cascades, viewing
prospects, etc., and in these amusements the hours passed away
uncounted, till 'day vanished from before him, and a sudden tempest
gathered around his head;' when, it is said, 'he beheld through the
brambles the _glimmer of a taper_.' I inquired of the class, 'What is a
taper?' No one replied. I added, 'It is either the sun, a light, a
house, or a man,' whereupon one replied, 'the sun;' another, 'a house;'
another still, 'a house;' and still another, 'a man.' I next inquired,
'What does glimmer mean?' No reply being given, I added, 'It either
means a light, the shadow, the top, or the bottom.' They then replied
successively as follows: 'Top, shadow, bottom,' which would give their
several ideas of the phrase, 'the glimmer of a taper,' as follows: The
shadow of a house. The top of a man. The bottom of the sun, etc. It
should be borne in mind, the class had just read that this 'taper' was
discovered after 'day had vanished from sight.'"

This example is selected from among more than a hundred, scores of which
are more striking illustrations than the one introduced, which is
selected because it occurred in the first class of an important school,
taught by an experienced and highly-reputable teacher.

The habit of reading without understanding originates mainly in the
circumstance that the books put into the hands of children are to them
uninteresting. The style and matter are often above their comprehension.
It is impossible, for example, for children at an early age to
understand the English Reader, a work which frequently constitutes their
only reading-book (at least in school) when but seven years of age. The
English Reader is an _excellent book_, and would grace the library of
any gentleman. But it requires a better knowledge of language, and more
maturity of mind than is often possessed by children ten years old, to
understand it, and to be interested in its perusal. Hence its use
induces the habit of "pronouncing the words and minding the stops," with
hardly a single successful effort to arrive at the idea of the author.
To this early-formed habit may be traced the prevailing indifference,
and, in some instances, _aversion_ to reading, manifested not only in
childhood, but in after life.

The matter and style of the reading-book should be adapted to the
capacity and taste of the learner. The teacher should see that it is
well understood, and then it can hardly prove uninteresting, or be
otherwise than well read. Children should read less in school than they
ordinarily do, and greater pains should be taken to have them understand
every sentence, and word even, of what they do read. They will thus
become more interested in their reading, and read much more extensively,
not only while young, but in after life, and with incomparably more

_Fourth._ I have heard several classes in geography bound states and
counties with a considerable degree of accuracy, when none of them could
point to the north, south, east, or west. Indeed, a portion of them were
not aware that these terms relate to the four cardinal points of the
compass. Still more: some of them say that "geography is a description
of the earth," but they do not know as they ever _saw_ the earth. They
have no idea that _they live upon it_. Scholars in grammar frequently
think that the only object of the study is to enable them to recite the
definitions and rules, and to _parse_. They do not look for any
assistance in thinking, speaking, or writing correctly, neither do they
expect any aid therefrom in understanding what they read.

Classes in arithmetic not unfrequently think the principal object in
pursuing that science is to be able to _do the sums_ according to the
rule, and perhaps to _prove_ them. Propose to them a practical question
for solution, and their reply is, "That isn't in the arithmetic." Some
one more courageous may say, "If you'll tell me what rule it is in, I'll
try it!" Practical questions should be added by the teacher, till the
class can readily apply the principles of each rule to the ordinary
transactions of business in which they are requisite. Generally, in
grammar, arithmetic, and elsewhere, there is too much inquiry,
_comparatively_, after the _how_, and too little after the _why_.]

Now if these paragraphs, descriptive of the condition of common schools
and the qualifications of teachers at the commencement of the
educational reform in New York, are applicable to those states of the
Union whose provisions for general education are not equal to what hers
then were, nothing can be plainer than that there exists an imperative
demand for the establishment of normal schools in every part of the
Union. Massachusetts has three; but her provisions in this respect are
not adequate to her necessities.

Union schools, and systems of graded schools in cities and villages,
should possess a normal characteristic; that is, young men and women who
have the requisite natural and acquired ability should be employed as
assistants in the lower departments, and should sustain essentially the
relation of _apprenticed teachers_, to be promoted or discontinued
according as they shall prove themselves worthy or otherwise. In the
public schools of the city of New York there are about two hundred
teachers of this description. These and all the less experienced
teachers meet at a stated time every week for the purpose of receiving
normal instruction from a committee of teachers whose instructions are
adapted to their wants. A similar feature has been adopted in other
cities, and in many villages, and should become universal among us.

In connection with the suggestions I have just introduced from a former
report, I wish to say, I know of no reform which is more needed in our
schools than that of rendering instruction at once _thorough_ and
_practical_. The suggestion in the note on the 428th page, in relation
to teaching the alphabet, will admit of general application. As fast as
principles are learned, they should be applied. Practical questions for
the exercise of the student should be interspersed with the lessons in
all our text-books, when the nature of the subject will admit of it.
When these are not given by the author, they should be supplied by the

I will illustrate by an example. Several years ago a teacher had the
charge of a class in natural philosophy. There were no questions in the
text-book used for the exercise of the student, as here recommended. In
treating upon the hydraulic press, the author said, in relation to the
force to be obtained by its use, "If a pressure of two tons be given to
a piston, the diameter of which is only a quarter of an inch, the force
transmitted to the other piston, if three feet in diameter, would be
upward of forty thousand tons." The teacher inquired of the class, How
much upward of forty thousand tons would the pressure be? Not one in a
large class was prepared to answer the question. Some of the scholars
laughed outright at the idea of asking such a question. After a few
familiar remarks by the teacher, the class was dismissed. This question,
however, constituted a part of their review lesson. The next day found
it solved by every member of the class. Several of the scholars said to
the teacher that they had derived more practical information in relation
to natural philosophy from the solution of this one question, than they
had previously acquired in studying it several quarters.

In treating upon the velocity of falling bodies, such questions as the
following might be asked: Suppose a body in a vacuum falls sixteen feet
the first second, how far will it fall the first three seconds? How far
will it fall the next three seconds? How much further will it fall
during the ninth second than in the fifth? If this paragraph should be
read by any teacher or student of natural philosophy who has not been
accustomed thus to apply principles, the author would suggest that it
may be found pleasant and perhaps profitable to pause and solve these
questions before reading further.

The importance of reducing immediately to practice every thing that is
learned, is no less essential in moral and religious education than in
physical or intellectual. Indeed, any thing short of this is jeoparding
one's dearest interests; for "to him that knoweth to do good and doeth
it not, to him it is sin." The practical educator should bear in mind
that man is susceptible of progression in his moral and religious nature
as well as in his physical and intellectual. "Cease to do evil; learn to
do well," is the Divine command. He who does only the former has but a
negative goodness. The practice of the latter is essential to the
healthful condition of the soul. It is important that we seek earnestly
to be "cleansed from secret faults." Without this, our progress in
excellence will at best be slow. While "the way of the wicked is as
darkness, and they stumble at they know not what," it is nevertheless
true that "the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth
more and more unto the perfect day."

Understanding what we do of the nature of man, the subject of education,
and knowing that "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom," and
that the Great Teacher, who "taught as one having authority," hath said,
"Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness," can we regard
it any thing less than consummate folly to enter upon the work of
education in the open neglect of these precepts? Should we not rather
cheerfully comply with them, and do what we can to encourage all
teachers, and all who receive instruction, to regard this law of
progression, so that, while their physical and intellectual natures are
being cultivated and developed, they may not remain "babes" in the
practice of morality and the Christian virtues, but "grow in grace and
in the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ?"

We can not expect the student will excel his teacher, if indeed he
equals him, in merely intellectual pursuits; much less can we reasonably
look for superior attainments in morals and religion. If, then, the
teacher would secure the most perfect obedience of his scholars from the
highest motives, he must show them that he himself cheerfully and
habitually complies, in heart and in life, with all the precepts of the
Great Teacher, with whom is lodged all authority, and from whom he
derives his. When the members of a school become convinced that their
teacher habitually asks wisdom of the Supreme Educator, whose will he
aims constantly to do, they will feel almost irresistibly urged to yield
obedience to the precepts of Christianity, and, with suitable
encouragement, will take upon themselves the easy yoke of Christ.[75]

  [75] In a former chapter, the necessity of moral and religious education
  was dwelt upon at length. The importance of the Scriptures as a
  text-book, containing as they do the only perfect code of morals known
  to man, and the objections sometimes urged against their use, were duly
  considered. I wish here simply to add, that their exclusion from our
  schools would be even more sectarian than their perverted use; for the
  atheistical plan, which forbids the entrance of the Bible into
  multitudes of our schools, under the pretense of excluding sectarianism,
  shuts out Christianity, and establishes the influence of _a single
  sect_, that would dethrone the Creator, and break up every bond of
  social order.

Even common arithmetic, when well taught, and illustrated by judiciously
constructed examples, may be made not only more practical than it has
usually been heretofore, but while the student is becoming acquainted
with the science of numbers, it may be rendered an efficient
instrumentality in showing the advantages of knowledge and virtue, and
the expense and burden to the community of ignorance and crime, thus
promoting the great work of moral culture, as is beautifully illustrated
by the following examples, selected from a recent treatise on that

"In the town of Bury, England, with an estimated population of
twenty-five thousand, the expenditure for beer and spirits, in the year
1836, was estimated at £54,190. If this was 24 per cent. of the entire
loss, resulting from the waste of money, ill health, loss of labor, and
the other evils attendant upon intoxication, what was the average loss
from intemperance, for each man, woman, and child in the place,
estimating the pound sterling at $4.80. Ans. $43,332."

This one example may do more, in many instances, toward establishing
young men who may be engaged in its solution in habits of total
abstinence, than a score of lectures on temperance, or as many lessons
on domestic or political economy. The following, also, may more
effectually check existing abuses of some of the laws of health and
longevity than a month's study of physiology and moral science: "It has
been estimated that a man, in a properly ventilated room, can work
twelve hours a day with no greater inconvenience than would be
occasioned by ten hours' work in a room badly ventilated; and that,
where there is proper ventilation, a man may gain ten years' good labor
on account of unimpaired health. According to this estimate, what is the
loss in thirty years to each individual in a badly-ventilated work-shop,
valuing the labor at ten cents per hour? Ans. $5008." What an
astonishing result! Five thousand and eight dollars moneyed loss to each
individual who respires impure air, estimating labor at but ten cents an

Now suppose this loss occurs only in the case of the eight hundred
thousand voters in the United States who are unable to read and
write--and it must accrue to a much greater number of persons--and _one
fourth of the annual loss would be sufficient to maintain an efficient
system of common schools in every state of the Union the entire year_.

It has sometimes been said, even by individuals occupying high stations
in society, that persons of the second or third order of intellect make
the best school-teachers. But in the light of what has been said, this
statement needs but be made to prove its fallacy. In order properly to
fill the teachers' office, we need men and women of the first order of
intellect, brought to a high state of cultivation. A well-qualified and
faithful school-teacher earns, and of right ought to receive, a salary
equal to that paid to the clergyman, or received by the members of the
other learned professions. He who can teach a good school can ordinarily
engage with proportionate success in more lucrative pursuits. So true is
this remark, that scarcely a man can be found that has attained to any
considerable eminence as a teacher, who has not been repeatedly
solicited, and perhaps strongly _tempted_, to relinquish teaching and
engage in pursuits less laborious and more profitable. Many yield to
this temptation, and hence much of the best talent has been attracted to
the other professions. School committees, however, can generally secure
the services of teachers of any grade of qualifications they desire,
upon the simple condition of offering an adequate remuneration.

We have said, as is the teacher so will be the school. We might add, as
are the wages, so ordinarily is the teacher. Let it be understood that
in any township, county, or state, a high order of teachers is called
for, and that an adequate remuneration will be given, and the demand
will be supplied. Well-qualified teachers will be called in from abroad
until competent ones can be trained up at home. Here, as in other
departments of labor, as is the demand, so will be the supply.

The best means which citizens can employ to give character and stability
to the vocation of the teacher is to select competent and worthy
individuals to take the charge of their schools, and then pay them so
liberally that they can have no pecuniary inducement to change their
employment. Let this be generally done, and teaching will soon be
raised, in public estimation, to the rank of a learned profession; and
the _fourth learned profession_--the vocation of the practical
educator--will be taken up for life by as great a proportion of men and
women eminent for talent, cultivation, and moral worth, as either of the
other three professions have ever been able to boast.

                   *       *       *       *       *


    Schools should be kept open at least ten full months during the
    year; in other words, _the entire year_, with the usual quarterly or
    semi-annual vacations.--_Michigan School Report._

It is not enough that good school-houses be provided and well-qualified
teachers be employed. Our schools should be kept open a sufficient
length of time during the year to make their influence strongly and most
favorably felt. The work of instruction, while it is going forward,
should be the business of both teachers and scholars. If children are
habituated to industry, to close application, to hard study, and to good
personal, social, and moral habits during the period of their attendance
upon school, these habits will be favorably felt in after life, in the
development of characters whose possessors will be at once respectable
and useful members of society, and a blessing to the age in which they
live. On the contrary, if children are allowed to attend an indifferent
school three months during the year, to work three months, to play three
months, and are permitted to spend the remaining three months in
idleness, the influence of this course will be felt, and it will be
likely to give character to their future lives.

Under such circumstances, the good, if any, that children will receive
while attending an indifferent school one fourth of the year, will be
more than counterbalanced by the evil influences that surround them
during the half of the year they devote to play and idleness. We can not
reasonably expect that children brought up under such unfavorable and
distracting influences will become even respectable members of society,
much less that they will be a blessing to the generation in which they

In villages and densely-settled neighborhoods schools should be kept
open at least ten full months during the year; in other words, _the
entire year_, with the usual quarterly or semi-annual vacations; and, if
possible, they should not, under any circumstances, be continued less
than eight months. And, I may add, the same teacher should be retained
in the charge of a school, wherever practicable, from year to year. The
teacher occupies, for the time being, the place of the parent. But what
kind of government and discipline should we expect in a family where a
new step-father or step-mother is introduced and invested with parental
authority every six months, and where the children are left in orphanage
half of the year! Much more may we inquire, what kind of instruction and
educational training may we reasonably expect in a large school whose
wants are no better provided for! A school-teacher should be selected
with as great care as the minister of the parish; and when selected, the
services of the one should be continued as uninterruptedly and
permanently as those of the other. Then will be beautifully illustrated
this interesting truth: It is easier, cheaper, and pleasanter
incomparably, and infinitely more effectual, rightly to train the rising
generation, than it is to reform men grown old in sin.

Lalor, in his prize essay on education, published ten years ago in
London, has recorded a kindred sentiment in this very beautiful and
highly-expressive language: "The schoolmaster alone, going forth with
the power of intelligence and a moral purpose among the infant minds of
the community, can stop the flood of vice and crime at its source, by
repressing in childhood those wild passions which are its springs. Nay,
often will the mature mind, hard as adamant against the terrors of the
law and the contempt of society, be softened to tears of penitence by
the innocence of its educated child speaking unconscious reproof."

                *       *       *       *       *


    The plan of this nation was not, and is not, to see how many
    _individuals_ we can raise up who shall be distinguished, but to see
    how high, by free schools and free institutions, we can raise the
    _great mass_ of population.--REV. JOHN TODD.

    I promised God that I would look upon every Prussian peasant child
    as a being who could complain of me before God if I did not provide
    for him the best education, as a man and a Christian, which it was
    possible for me to provide.--SCHOOL-COUNSELOR DINTER.

Good school-houses maybe built, well-qualified teachers may be employed,
and schools may be kept open the entire year, but all this will not
secure the correct education of the people, unless those schools are
_patronized_; patronized, not by a few persons, not by one half, or
three fourths even of a community, but by the _whole community_. As was
said in a former chapter, there is no safety but in the education of the
masses. A few vile persons will taint and infect a whole neighborhood.
In the graphic language of the Scriptures, _One sinner destroyeth much

The better portions of the community every where provide for the
education of their children. If they are not instructed at home, they
are sent to good schools, public or private, where their education is
well looked after. Unfortunately, those children whose education is most
neglected at home are the very ones, usually, that are sent least to
school, and when at all, to the poorest schools.

But how shall the evil in question be remedied? How shall we secure the
attendance of children generally at the schools, provided good ones are
established? In the first place, diligent effort should be made to
arouse the public mind to an appreciation of the importance and
necessity of universal attendance. This will go far toward remedying the
evil. It should be made every where unpopular, and be regarded as
dishonorable in a member of our social compact, and unworthy of a
citizen of a free state, to bring up a child without giving him such an
education as shall fit him for the discharge of the duties of an
American citizen.

But there is a portion of almost every community who feel hardly able to
allow their children the necessary time to pursue an extended course of
common school education, and who are really unable to clothe them
properly, furnish them with useful books, and pay their tuition. This
class, although comparatively small, is not unimportant. The legal
provisions made for such children vary in different states. Wherever the
free school principle is adopted, their tuition is of course provided
for. This provision in some instances extends further. The statutes of
Michigan relating to primary schools make it the duty of the district
board to exempt from the payment of teachers' wages not only, but from
providing fuel for the use of the district, all such persons residing
therein as in their opinion ought to be exempted, and to admit the
children of such persons to the school free of charge not only, but the
district board is authorized to purchase, _at the expense of the
district_, such books as may be necessary for the use of children thus
admitted by them to the district school. The entire expense incurred for
tuition, fuel, and books, in such cases, is assumed by the district, and
paid by a tax levied upon the property thereof.

We have now arrived at an interesting crisis. We have exhausted the
legal provision, generous as it is, and yet the blessing of universal
education is not secured to those who will succeed us. Good schools may
every where be established, in which the wealthy, and those in
comfortable circumstances, may educate their children. Provision--yes,
generous provision, though but just--has been made to meet the expense
of tuition and books for the children of indigent parents. Still, they
may not sufficiently appreciate an education to send their children; or,
if this be not so, they may keep them at home from motives of delicacy,
being unable to clothe them decently. How shall such cases be met? How
shall we actually bring such children into the peaceable possession and
enjoyment of a good common school education, that rich legacy which
noble-minded legislators have bequeathed to them, and which is the
inalienable right of every son and daughter of this republic?

Legislation has already, in many of the states, done much--perhaps all
that can be reasonably expected, at least, until a good common education
shall be better appreciated by the community at large, and be ranked, as
it ought to be, among the _necessaries of life_. The work, then, must be
consummated chiefly by the united and well-directed efforts of
benevolent and philanthropic individuals.

_Benevolent females_--and especially Christian mothers, who have long
been pre-eminently distinguished for their successful efforts in
protecting the innocent, administering to the wants of the necessitous,
and reclaiming the wanderer from the paths of vice--have felt the claims
of this innocent and unoffending portion of the community, and have, in
some instances, organized themselves into associations to meet those

Benevolent and Christian females can doubtless accomplish more, by
visiting the poor and needy in their respective school districts, and
making known unto them their privileges, and encouraging and assisting
them, if need be, to avail themselves of these privileges, than by the
same expenditure of time and means in any other way. They have long and
very generally been accustomed to clothe the children of the destitute,
and accompany them to the Sunday-school, and there teach them those
things which pertain to their present and everlasting well-being, and
have thus accomplished incalculable good; but by co-operating with the
civil authorities in securing the attendance of every child in their
respective districts at the _improved common school_, they can hardly
fail to accomplish vastly more.

Several associations have been formed for this noble purpose, and many
children who, but for their fostering care, would have remained at their
cheerless homes, have, by this labor of love, been sought out, properly
cared for, and led to the common school, that fountain of intellectual
life, and of social and moral culture, which is alike open to all.
Gentlemen should everywhere encourage the formation of such
associations, and, when formed, should offer every facility in their
power to increase their usefulness. Clergymen might help forward such
benevolent labors, where they are entered upon, by preaching
occasionally from that good text, _Help those women._

But there are two classes of our fellow-citizens--perhaps I should say
fellow-beings--who, notwithstanding the abundant legal provisions to
which I have referred, and the utmost that the benevolent and
philanthropic can accomplish by voluntary effort, will utterly refuse to
give their children such an education as we have been contemplating.
These are, first, men in comfortable circumstances, who have so much
blindness of mind, and such an utter disregard for the welfare of their
offspring, as to deprive them of the advantages of even a common school
education; and, secondly, those who have such an obduracy of heart as
absolutely to refuse to allow their children to attend school, and who,
although the abundant provisions of the law are made known unto them, in
meekness and love, by "man's guardian angel," prove utterly

Such persons are unworthy to sustain the parental relation, and the
safety of the community requires that the forfeiture be claimed, and
that the right of control be transferred from such unnatural parents to
the civil authorities; for, as Kent says, "A parent who sends his son
into the world uneducated, and without skill in any art or science, does
a great injury to mankind as well as to his own family, for he defrauds
the community of a useful citizen, and bequeaths to it a nuisance." How
true is it that "the mobs, the riots, the burnings, the lynchings
perpetrated by the _men_ of the present day, are perpetrated because of
their vicious or defective education when _children_! We see and feel
the havoc and the ravage of their tiger passions now, when they are full
grown, but it was years ago that they were whelped and suckled."

In the very expressive language of Macaulay, the right to HANG includes
the right to EDUCATE. This is not a strange nor a new idea. It long ago
entered into civil codes in the Old World not only, but in the New. In
Prussia, when a parent refuses, without satisfactory excuse, to send his
child to school the time required by law, he is cited before the court,
tried, and, if he refuses compliance, the child is taken from him and
sent to _school_, and the father to _prison_.

Similar laws were enacted and _enforced_ by our New England fathers
more than two hundred years ago, which history informs us were attended
with the most beneficial results.[76] Although their descendants of the
present generation should blush for their degeneracy, still we should be
encouraged from an increasing disposition of late to return to these
salutary restraints and needful checks upon ignorance and crime. Said
the Honorable Josiah Quincy, Jr., late mayor of the city of Boston, in
his inaugural address, "I hold that the state has a right to compel
parents to take advantage of the means of educating their children. If
it can punish them for crime, it should surely have the power of
preventing them from committing it, by giving them the habits and the
education that are the surest safeguards." Similar sentiments have been
recently promulgated by the heads of the school departments of several
states in their official reports, and by governors in their annual
messages; and we have much reason for believing that the time is not
distant when an enlightened public sentiment shall demand the
re-enactment of these most salutary laws of our ancestors.

  [76] The following paragraph is from the Massachusetts Colony Laws of
  1642; "Forasmuch as the good education of children is of singular behoof
  and benefit to any commonwealth, and whereas many parents and masters
  are too indolent and negligent of their duty in that kind, it is ordered
  that the select-men of every town in the several precincts and quarters,
  where they dwell, shall have a vigilant eye over their brethren and
  neighbors, to see, first, that none of them shall suffer so much
  barbarism in any of their families as not to teach, by themselves or
  others, their children and apprentices so much learning as may enable
  them perfectly to read the English tongue, and knowledge of the capital
  laws, upon penalty of _twenty shillings_ for each neglect therein."

COMPULSORY ATTENDANCE UPON SCHOOL.--Since the preceding paragraphs were
prepared for the printer, the author has received the statutes and
resolves of the Massachusetts Legislature of 1850, relating to
education, which recognize the principle here contended for. Each of
the several cities and towns in that commonwealth is "authorized and
empowered to make all needful provisions and arrangements concerning
habitual truants, and children not attending school, without any regular
and lawful occupation, growing up in ignorance, between the ages of six
and fifteen years; and, also, all such ordinances and by-laws respecting
such children as shall be deemed most conducive to their welfare and the
good order of such city or town; and there shall be annexed to such
ordinances suitable penalties, not exceeding, for any one breach, a fine
of twenty dollars."

It is made the duty of the "several cities and towns availing themselves
of the provisions of this act, to appoint, at the annual meetings of
said towns, or annually by the mayor and aldermen of said cities, three
or more persons, who alone shall be authorized to make the complaints,
in every case of violation of said ordinances or by-laws, to the justice
of the peace, or other judicial officer, who, by said ordinances, shall
have jurisdiction in the matter, which persons thus appointed shall
alone have authority to carry into execution the judgments of said
justices of the peace, or other judicial officer."

It is further provided that "the said justices of the peace, or other
judicial officer, shall, in all cases, at their discretion, in place of
the fine aforesaid, be authorized to order children proved before them
to be growing up in truancy, and without the benefit of the education
provided for them by law, to be placed, for such periods of time as they
may judge expedient, in such institution of instruction, or house of
reformation, or other suitable situation, as may be assigned or provided
for the purpose in each city or town availing itself of the powers
herein granted."

This principle has been incorporated into several municipal codes.
Children in the city of Boston, under sixteen years of age, whose
"parents are dead, or, if living, do, from vice, or any other cause,
neglect to provide suitable employment for, or to exercise salutary
control over" them, may be sent by the court to the house of
reformation. By the late act, establishing the State Reform School, male
convicts under sixteen years of age may be sent to this school from any
part of the commonwealth, to be there "instructed in piety and morality,
and in such branches of useful knowledge as shall be adapted to their
age and capacity." The inmates may be bound out; but, in executing this
part of their duty, the trustees "shall have scrupulous regard to the
religious and moral character of those to whom they are bound, to the
end that they may secure to the boys the benefit of a good example, and
wholesome instruction, and the sure means of improvement in virtue and
knowledge, and thus the opportunity of becoming intelligent, moral,
useful, and happy citizens of the commonwealth."

The Massachusetts State Reform School is designed to be a "school for
the instruction, reformation, and employment of juvenile offenders." Any
boy under sixteen years of age, "convicted of any offense punishable by
imprisonment other than for life," may be sentenced to this school. Here
he may be kept during the term of his sentence; or he may be bound out
as an apprentice; or, in case he proves incorrigible, he may be sent to
prison, as he would originally have been but for the existence of this

The buildings erected are sufficiently large for three hundred boys.
Attached to the establishment is a large farm, the cost of all which,
when the buildings are completed and furnished, and the farm stocked and
provided with agricultural implements, it is estimated will be about
one hundred thousand dollars. A citizen of that state has given
twenty-two thousand five hundred dollars to this institution, partly to
defray past expenses and partly to form a fund for its future benefit.

"In visiting this noble institution, one can not but think how closely
it resembles, in spirit and in purpose, the mission of Him who came to
seek and to save that which was lost; and yet, in traversing its
spacious halls and corridors, the echo of each footfall seems to say
that one tenth part of its cost would have done more in the way of
prevention than its whole amount can accomplish in the way of
reclaiming, and would, besides, have saved a thousand pangs that have
torn parental hearts, and a thousand more wounds in the hearts of the
children themselves, which no human power can ever wholly heal. When
will the state learn that it is better to spend its units for prevention
than tens and hundreds for remedy? How long must the state, like those
same unfortunate children, suffer the punishment of THEIR existence
before IT will be reformed?"

Kindred institutions have existed in several of our principal cities for
a quarter of a century, among which are the House of Reformation for
Juvenile Delinquents in New York, the House of Refuge in Philadelphia,
and the House of Reformation in Boston. Considering the degradation of
their parents, the absence of correct early instruction, and the
corrupting influences to which the children sent to these institutions
have been exposed, becoming generally _criminals_ before any effort has
been made by the humane for their correct educational training, one may
well wonder at the success which has crowned the efforts that have been
put forth in their behalf, for the greater part of them _are effectually
and permanently reformed_. This, however, only shows more clearly the
power of education, and the advantages that may be derived from the
establishment and maintenance of improved common schools throughout our

_But how are these reforms effected?_ The means are simple, and are
slightly different from those already described for the correct training
of unoffending children. Take, for instance, the House of Reformation in
the City of New York. In the first place, they have a good school-house,
embracing nearly all the modern improvements. The yard and play-ground
are of ample dimensions, and are inclosed by a substantial fence. This
constitutes a barrier beyond which the children, once within, can not
pass. But the clean gravel-walks, the beautiful shade-trees, the green
grass-plats, the sparkling fountains, the ornamental flower-garden, all
conspire to render the place delightful. It is, indeed, a prison in one
sense, but the children seem hardly to know it. Then, again,
well-qualified teachers and superintendents are employed. The spirit
which actuates them is that of love. By proving themselves the friends
of the children, the children become their friends, and are hence easily
governed, considering their former neglect. Being well instructed, they
love study, and generally make commendable progress. Their habits are
regular, and they are constantly employed. A portion of the day is
devoted to study; another portion to industrial pursuits; and still
another to recreation and amusements. Strict obedience is required. This
may be yielded at first from restraint, but ultimately from love. The
love of kind and faithful teachers, the love of approving consciences,
the love of right, the love of God, separately and conjointly influence
them, until they can say ultimately of a truth, "_The love of Christ
constraineth us._"

Their industrial habits are of incalculable benefit to them. They all
learn some trade, and acquire the habits and the skill requisite to
constitute them producers, and thus practically conform to this
fundamental law, "_that if any man would not work, neither should he
eat_." The other conditions that have been stated as essential to
success are also complied with, the scholars being kept under the
influence of good teachers, and of the same teachers from year to year,
during their continuance in the institution.

The well-qualified and eminently successful teacher who has long been
connected with the Refuge in New York, in a late report says, "The
habits of industry which the children here acquire will be of
incalculable benefit to them through life. Yet we look upon the School
Department as the greatest of all the means employed to save our
youthful charge from ignorance and vice. As it is the mind and the heart
that are mostly depraved, so we must act mostly upon the mind and the
heart to eradicate this depravity.

"The education here is a _moral_ education. We do endeavor, it is true,
by all the powers we possess, to impress upon the mind the great
importance of a good education; and not only to _impress_ it upon the
mind, but to assist the mind to act, that it may obtain it. But our
principal aim is to fan into life the almost dying spark of virtue, and
kindle anew the moral feelings, that they may glow with fresh ardor, and
shine forth again in the beauty of innocence. Our object is not to store
the memory with facts, but to elevate the soul; not to think for the
children, but to teach them to think for themselves; to describe the
road, and put them in the way; never to hint what they have been, nor
what they are, but to point them continually to what they may be.

"_We feel assured that our labor will not be lost._ Judging the future
from the past, we are sanguine in our belief that our toils have left an
impress upon the mind which time can not efface. Scarcely a week passes
but our hearts are cheered and animated, and our eyes are gladdened at
the sight of those whom we taught in by-gone years, who bid no fairer
then to cheer us than those with whom we labor now. Yet they are
saved--saved to themselves; saved to society; saved to their
friends--who, but for this Refuge, would have poisoned the moral
atmosphere of our land, and breathed around them more deadly effluvia
than that of the fabled Upas."

The success which has attended well-directed efforts for the reformation
of juvenile delinquents, and _evening free schools_ for the education of
adults of all ages whose early education has been neglected, ought to
inspire the friends of human improvement with increased confidence in
the redeeming power of a correct early education, such as every state in
this Union may provide for all her children. When this confidence is
begotten, and when a good common education comes to be generally
regarded as the birth-right of every child in the community, then may
the friends of free institutions and of indefinite human advancement
look for the more speedy realization of their long-cherished hopes. For
one generation the community must be doubly taxed--once in the
reformation of juvenile delinquents, and in the education of ignorant
adults in evening schools, and again in the correct training of all our
children in improved schools. This done, each succeeding generation will
come upon the stage under more favorable circumstances than the
preceding, and each present generation will be better prepared to
educate that which is to follow, to the end of time.


    If all our schools were under the charge of teachers possessing what
    I regard as the right intellectual and moral qualifications, and if
    all the children of the community were brought under the influence
    of these schools for ten months in the year, I think that the work
    of training up THE WHOLE COMMUNITY to intelligence and virtue would
    soon be accomplished, as completely as any human end can be obtained
    by human means.--REV. JACOB ABBOTT.

I might here introduce a vast amount of incontrovertible evidence to
show that, if the attendance of all the children in any commonwealth
could be secured at such improved common schools as we have been
contemplating for ten months during the year, from the age of four to
that of sixteen years, they would prove competent to the removal of
ninety-nine one hundredths of the evils with which society is now
infested in one generation, and that they would ultimately redeem the
state from social vices and crimes.

The Hon. Horace Mann, late Secretary of the Massachusetts Board of
Education, issued a circular in 1847, in which he raised the question
now under consideration. This circular was sent out to a large number of
the most experienced and reputable teachers in the Northern and Middle
States, all of whom were pleased to reply to it. Each reply corroborates
the position here stated; and, taken together _as a whole_, they are
entitled to implicit credence. The whole correspondence is too
voluminous to be here exhibited; I can not, however, forbear introducing
a few illustrative passages.

Says Mr. Page, the late lamented principal of the New York State Normal
School, "Could I be connected with a school furnished with all the
appliances you name; where all the children should be constant
attendants upon my instruction for a succession of years; where all my
fellow-teachers should be such as you suppose; and where all the
favorable influences described in your circular should surround me and
cheer me, even with my moderate abilities as a teacher, I should
scarcely expect, after the first generation submitted to the experiment,
to fail _in a single case_ to secure the results you have named."

Mr. Solomon Adams, of Boston, who has been engaged in the profession of
teaching twenty-four years, remarks as follows: "Permit me to say that,
in very many cases, after laboring long with individuals almost against
hope, and sometimes in a manner, too, which I can now see was not always
wise, I have never had a case which has not resulted in some good degree
according to my wishes. The many kind and voluntary testimonials given
years afterward by persons who remembered that they were once my
way-ward pupils, are among the pleasantest and most cheering incidents
of my life. So uniform have been the results, when I have had a fair
trial and time enough, that I have unhesitatingly adopted the motto,
_Never despair._ Parents and teachers are apt to look for too speedy
results from the labors of the latter. The moral nature, like the
intellectual and physical, is long and slow in reaching the full
maturity of its strength. I was told a few years since by a person who
knew the history of nearly all my pupils for the first five years of my
labor, that not one of them had ever brought reproach upon himself or
mortification upon friends by a bad life. I can not now look over the
whole of my pupils, and find one who had been with me long enough to
receive a decided impression, whose life is not honorable and useful. I
find them in all the learned professions and in the various mechanical
arts. I find my female pupils scattered as teachers through half the
states of the Union, and as the wives and assistants of Christian
missionaries in every quarter of the globe.

"So far, therefore, as my own experience goes, so far as my knowledge of
the experience of others extends, so far as the statistics of crime
throw any light upon the subject, I confidently expect that ninety-nine
in a hundred, and I think even more, with such means of education as you
have supposed, and with such Divine favor as we are authorized to
expect, would become good members of society, the supporters of order,
and law, and truth, and justice, and all righteousness."

The Rev. Jacob Abbott, who has been engaged in the practical duties of
teaching for about ten years in the cities of Boston and New York, and
who has had under his care about eight hundred pupils of both sexes, and
of all ages from four to twenty-five, has expressed in a long letter the
sentiment placed at the head of this section. "If all our schools were
under the charge of teachers possessing what I regard as the right
intellectual and moral qualifications, and if all the children of the
community were brought under the influence of these schools for ten
months in the year, I think the work of training up THE WHOLE COMMUNITY
to intelligence and virtue would soon be accomplished as completely as
any human end can be obtained by human means."

Mr. Roger S. Howard, of Vermont, who has been engaged in teaching about
twenty years, remarks, among other things, as follows: "Judging from
what I have seen and do know, if the conditions you have mentioned were
strictly complied with; if the attendance of the scholars could be as
universal, constant, and long-continued as you have stated; if the
teachers were men and women of those high intellectual and moral
qualities--apt to teach, and devoted to their work, and favored with
that blessing which the word and providence of God teach us always to
expect upon our honest, earnest, and well-directed efforts in so good a
cause--on these conditions and under these circumstances, I do not
hesitate to express the opinion that the failures need not be--would not
be one per cent."

Miss Catharine E. Beecher, of Brattleboro, Vermont, who has been engaged
directly and personally as a teacher about fifteen years, in Hartford,
Connecticut, and Cincinnati, Ohio, and who has had the charge of not
less than a thousand pupils from every state in the Union, after stating
these and other considerations, remarks as follows: "I will now suppose
that it could be so arranged that, in a given place, containing from ten
to fifteen thousand inhabitants, in any part of the country where I ever
resided, _all_ the children at the age of four shall be placed six hours
a day, for twelve years, under the care of teachers having the same
views that I have, and having received that course of training for their
office that any state in this Union can secure to the teachers of its
children. Let it be so arranged that all these children shall remain
till sixteen under these teachers, and also that they shall spend their
lives in this city, and I have no hesitation in saying I do not believe
that _one_, no, NOT A SINGLE ONE, would fail of proving a respectable
and prosperous member of society; nay, more, I believe every one would,
at the close of life, find admission into the world of endless peace and
love. I say this solemnly, deliberately, and with the full belief that I
am upheld by such imperfect experimental trials as I have made, or seen
made by others; but, more than this, that I am sustained by the
authority of Heaven, which sets forth this grand palladium of
education, '_Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is
old he will not depart from it._

"This sacred maxim surely sets the Divine _imprimatur_ to the doctrine
that _all_ children _can_ be trained up in the way they should go, and
that, when so trained, they will not depart from it. Nor does it imply
that education _alone_ will secure eternal life without supernatural
assistance; but it points to the true method of securing this
indispensable aid.

"In this view of the case, I can command no language strong enough to
express my infinite longings that my countrymen, who, as legislators,
have the control of the institutions, the laws, and the wealth of our
_physically_ prosperous nation, should be brought to see that they now
have in their hands the power of securing to _every_ child in the coming
generation a life of virtue and usefulness here, and an eternity of
perfected bliss hereafter. How, then, can I express, or imagine, the
awful responsibility which rests upon them, and which hereafter they
must bear before the great Judge of nations, if they suffer the present
state of things to go on, bearing, as it does, thousands and hundreds of
thousands of helpless children in our country to hopeless and
irretrievable ruin!"

Testimony similar to the preceding might be multiplied to almost any
extent. Enough, however, I trust, has been said to remove any doubts in
relation to the redeeming power of education which the reader may have
previously entertained. Universal education, we have seen, constitutes
the most effectual and the only sure means of securing to individuals
and communities, to states and nations, exemption from all avoidable
evils of whatever kind, and the possession of a competency of this
world's goods, with the ability and disposition so to enjoy them as most
to augment human happiness. Yes, education, and nothing short of it,
will dissipate the evils of ignorance; it will greatly increase the
productiveness of labor, and make men more moral, industrious, and
skillful, and thus diminish pauperism and crime, while at the same time
it will indefinitely augment the sum total of human happiness. By
diminishing the number of fatal accidents that are constantly occurring
in every community, and securing to the rising generation such judicious
physical and moral treatment as shall give them sound minds in sound
bodies, it will lay an unfailing foundation for general prosperity, will
greatly promote longevity, and will thus, in both of these and in many
other ways, do more to increase the population, wealth, and universal
well-being of the thirty states of this Union than all other means of
state policy combined.

At the late Peace Convention at Paris to consider the practicability and
necessity of a Congress of Nations to adjust national differences,
composed of about fifteen hundred members, picked men from every
Christian nation, VICTOR HUGO, the President of the Convention, on
taking the chair, made an address that was received with great applause,
in which the following passages occur:

"A day will come when men will no longer bear arms one against the
other; when appeals will no longer be made to war, but to civilization!
The time will come when the cannon will be exhibited as an old
instrument of torture, and wonder expressed how such a thing could have
been used. A day, I say, will come when the United States of America and
the United States of Europe will be seen extending to each other the
hand of fellowship across the ocean, and when we shall have the
happiness of seeing every where the majestic radiation of universal

That such a time will come, every heart that glows with Christian
benevolence must earnestly desire and fervently pray. But we can not
hope to attain the end without the use of the necessary means. So
glorious a result as this, that has become an object of universal desire
throughout Christendom, must follow when the conditions upon which it
depends are complied with. What these are there can be little room for
doubt. Let, then, every friend of Universal Peace seek it in the use of
the appropriate means--_Universal Education_.

The same remark will apply to every form of Christian benevolence and
universal philanthropy; for, as has been well remarked, in universal
education, every "follower of God and friend of human kind" will find
the only sure means of carrying forward that particular reform to which
he is devoted. In whatever department of philanthropy he may be engaged,
he will find that department to be only a segment of the great circle of
beneficence of which _Universal Education_ is the center and
circumference; and that he can most successfully promote the permanent
advancement of his most cherished interest in securing the establishment
of, and attendance upon, IMPROVED SCHOOLS FREE TO ALL.


 Abbott, Rev. J., on the redeeming power of common schools, page 456.

 Abdominal Supporters, their use considered, 109.

 Academy, New York Free, 386.

 Accidents, cause and prevention of, 298.

 Adams, John Q., accustomed to the daily reading of the Scriptures, 222.

 Adams, Solomon, on the redeeming power of common schools, 455.

 Agriculture requires education for its successful prosecution, 269.

 Air, want of, causes death, 85.
   Necessary to purify the blood, 89.
   What composed of, 89.
   Quantity respired, 91, 93.
   How changed in respiration, 86, 89.
   Once respired will not sustain life, 91.
   Importance of to health, 98.
   Abundance of for man's use, 99.
   How freed from impurities, 100.
   Estimated loss of money and life from breathing impure, 299, 438.
   An excellent medicine, 108.

 Alcott, Dr., on breathing bad air, 103.

 Alphabet, how taught, 426.
   A better method, 426-427.

 Anecdote of the Indian, 203, 225.
   Of Laura Bridgman, 157-159.
   Of Dr. Franklin, 103.
   Of a practical teacher, 256.
   Of a German schoolmaster, 416.
   Of a farmer plowing with three horses, 254.

 Apoplexy, how caused, 90, 92.
   Death by, 90, 93.

 Apparatus and Library, 398.
   May be useful to adults, 399, 400.

 Appurtenances to school-houses, 401.

 Arithmetic, often poorly taught, 433.
   Its morals, 437.

 Arts, the useful, require education, 272.
   Improvements made in the, 280, 282.
   How improvements are to be made in the, 285.

 Astrology believed in, to what extent, 234.

 Atmospheric impurities, 100, 101.
   May be detected, 104.

 Barnard, Hon. Henry, School Architecture by, 380.
   Testimony of, in relation to school libraries, 400.
   In relation to the external arrangements of school-houses, 402.

 Bartlett, H., testimony of in relation to the productiveness of labor,

 Bathing, the importance of, 59.
   The luxury of, 59.
   The benefits of, 60, 62.
   The time for, 61, 62.
   A preservative of health, 63.
   A good exercise, 80.

 Beecher, Miss Catharine E., quoted, 457.

 Benevolent females, means of usefulness of, 444.

 Bible, its use in schools, 209.
   Vote on, in the New York Legislature, 219.
   What it has done for mankind, 222.

 Black Hole in Calcutta referred to, 96, 97.

 Blindness, hereditary, 36.
   How caused in schools, 182.
   Blind persons inferior, 124.
   Injured by inaction, 127.
   How taught, 150.

 Blood, circulation of the, 82.

 Bones, how injured, 68.
   Lengthened by habit, 72.

 Books furnished at the expense of the district, 443.

 Boxing the ears injurious, 171.

 Brain, the seat of the mind, 113.
   Its functions the highest in the animal economy, 113.
   Conditions of its healthy action, 114, 118, 121.
   How affected by bad air, 118.
   Requires exercise, 121.
   Seclusion injurious to, 122.
   Want of exercise of the, a cause of disease, 127.
   Effects of excessive activity of the, 128, 129.
   In childhood, 130-135.
   Rules for the exercise of the, 135, 137, 140, 143.

 Breath known to take fire, 86.

 Bull Fights an amusement in Spain, 228.

 California, state of agriculture and the arts in, 270.

 Capital punishment and compulsory attendance upon school, 446, 449.

 Carriage of the body important, 71.

 Celebrations, common school, recommended, 364.

 Character, how affected by associations, 142, 143, 405.

 Chest, how developed, 69, 79, 105, 106.
   Should not be compressed, 88.

 Children, seats for, 69.
   How deformed, 69.
   Should not be confined too long, 77.
   Rational treatment of, 77.

 Chylification, the process and necessity of, 50.

 Chymification, the second important step in digestion, 49.

 Circulation of the blood, 81.
   Two circulations, 83.

 Clark, John, testimony of, in relation to education and labor, 267.

 Cleanliness a virtue, 60.

 Clergymen, their relation to the primary schools, 414, 442.
   A text for, 445.

 Clothing, office of, 64.
   Necessity of airing and changing, 65.

 Cold, how to prevent taking, 108.

 Combe, Dr., on bathing, 63.

 Confinement injurious to children, 77.

 Conflagration, general, how it may be produced, 320, 321.

 Consumption, hereditary, 87.
   How death caused by, 84.
   How prevented, 80, 106.
   Common among the deaf and dumb, 126.

 Conventions, educational, recommended, 364.

 Costiveness, effects of, 53.
   How prevented, 54.

 Crime diminished by education, 286.
   Statistics of, 295.
   Expense of, 358.

 Deaf and dumb, why inferior to other persons, 125.

 Deafness, cause and cure of, 172.

 Digestion, process of, 48.

 Diseases, hereditary, 41, 114, 126.
   Caused by mental inactivity, 127.

 District libraries, 399, 400.

 District lyceum, how rendered useful, 400.

 Drawing an exercise in schools, 191.

 Drunkenness becomes constitutional, 41, 42.

 Dumb-bells, their use recommended, 105, 403.

 Ears, how injured, 171.

 Eclipses, a source of alarm to the ignorant and superstitious, 233.

 Education, in what it consists, 13.
   Not finished in schools, 18.
   Should have reference to man's future existence, 19.
   Not limited to man's physical powers, 24.
   Not limited to his intellectual powers, 25.
   Not limited to his moral powers, 26.
   Physically considered, 28.
   Intellectual and moral, 111.
   Of the five senses, 146.
   Necessity of moral and religious, 193.
   The importance of, 225.
   It dissipates the evils of ignorance, 226, 242.
   It increases the productiveness of labor, 253.
   Necessary for females, 268, 279.
   It diminishes pauperism and crime, 286.
   It improves the moral habits, 287, 288.
   It increases human happiness, 311, 315.
   Degree of, in the United States, 337.
   Existing provisions for, 343.
   The means of rendering its blessings universal, 362.

 Educational department, the state should maintain an, 370.

 Emerson, George B., quoted, 408.

 Epidemics arrested by ventilation, 101.

 Evacuation, importance of, to the preservation of health, 53.

 Evening schools for adults, 453.

 Exercise, effects of, 74.
   When not to be taken, 75.
   Other laws of, 77.
   Should be taken regularly, 78.

 Experiment on breathing air, 91.
   In visiting a school, 96.
   In plowing with three horses, 254.

 Eye, description of the, 175.
   Its sympathy with the other bodily organs, 184.
   Rational care of the, 180-192.
   See _Sight_.

 Factories, labor in, requires education to render it productive, 261-269.
   School teachers employed in, 268.

 Failures in business accounted for in certain cases, 140, 141.

 Farming requires knowledge, 269.
   Illustrative anecdote, 254.
   In California, 270.

 Females, benevolent and Christian, their relation to the primary school,
   442, 444, 445.

 Fortune-telling practiced in Great Britain and in the United States, 234.

 Fracture of the skull, cases of, referred to, 129.

 France infidel--the United States Christian, 204.

 Franklin's Methusalem, 103.

 Free Academy, New York, 386.

 Freezing of water, law of, illustrates the beneficence of God, 221-223.

 French ladies, posture of, 71.

 Friday and other _unlucky_ days, 236-238.

 Funds for the support of schools, 366.
   When useful, 369.

 General conflagration may be produced by the decomposition of air or
   water, 321.

 Geography, how taught in many schools, 432.

 Gestation, state of the mother during, affects the health and happiness
   of the offspring, 116, 117.

 Grain, influence of the moon on the growth of, 250.

 Greeley, Horace, extract from Address of, on free schools, 267.

 Habits, mental and physical, how formed, 140.

 Happiness increased by education, 311.

 Health, laws of, 44-81.

 Hearing, the sense of, 169.
   How improved, 171.
   How injured, 171.
   Cultivation of, 172-174.

 Hereditary diseases, 41, 115.

 Hot-bed system of education, 130-135.

 House of Refuge for juvenile delinquents, 450-458.

 Howard, Roger S., on the redeeming power of common schools, 456.

 Howe, Dr. Samuel G., on the importance of physical education, 36.

 Humphrey, Dr., on moral and religious training, 194.

 Hypocrisy, why unsuccessful, 142.

 Idiocy, extent of, 301. Causes of, 302, 303, 409.

 Idiots, who are, in law, 151.
   Condition of, 304.
   May be educated, 300, 307.

 Ignorance, its effects considered, 230.
   Of the correct treatment of children, 133.
   Man in a state of, 311.

 Indians never have consumption, 109.
   Anecdote of an, 203, 225.

 Indigestion caused by mental anxiety, 137.

 Inhaling tubes, their use considered, 109, 110.

 Insanity, how caused, 126, 138, 308, 409.

 Instruction, modes of, extensively practiced, 425.

 Insurance of property, the best modes of, 266, 267.

 Intellectual education, its nature, 111.

 Intemperance, hereditary, 41, 42.
   A cause of idiocy, 302.
   Expense of, in this country, 358, 360.
   See _Breath_.

 Intermarriages, influence of, on posterity, 115.

 Irritability of teachers accounted for, 120.

 Juvenile delinquents, provisions for, 449, 450.

 Knowledge essential to prosperity in agriculture, 269.
   Required in the useful arts, 272.
   See _Education_.

 Labor, education increases the productiveness of, 253.
   During rapid growth often injurious, 68.
   Of females in factories and in the domestic employments of the sex,
   268, 279.

 Ladies in France, consequences of their erect posture, 71.

 Lardner, Dr., on popular fallacies, 246, 248.

 Laura Bridgman, the deaf, dumb, and blind girl, 148.

 Library and apparatus, 398. Township and district libraries, 399.

 Life, extensive loss of, how caused, 298.

 Lunacy, origin and signification of, 251, 252.

 Lunar influences considered, 250.

 Lungs strengthened by reading aloud and singing, 79, 80.
   Blood changed in the, 85.
   Exhalations from the, 86.
   Absorption in the, 87.
   Diseases of the, hereditary, 87.
   Exercise of the, a means of preventing disease, 105.
   When they should not be exercised, 107.

 Lyceums in districts, how rendered popular and useful, 400.

 Mann, Hon. Horace, referred to and quoted, 257, 328.

 Manufactories, to be productive, require educated workmen, 261-269.
   Education of children employed in, 278.

 Marriage of relatives a cause of consumption, 126.
   A cause of idiocy, 303, 304.

 Mastication, importance of, to digestion, 48.

 Masturbation, 409.
   See _Secret Vice_.

 Meals, proper time for partaking of, 55.

 Measures, a system of, for schools, 188, 404.

 Mills, James K., testimony of, in relation to education and labor, 261.

 Mind, laws of, 111, 112.
   See _Brain_.

 Moral education, its nature, 111.
   Necessity of, 193.
   Want of, a cause of insanity, 309.
   Should be pursued practically, 435.

 Moon, its influence on the weather, 248.

 Mortality, cause and extent of, among infants, 298-300.

 Muscles, how they act, 72.
   Of the eye, 179.
   See _Exercise_.

 Music, vocal, a branch of education in Germany, 80.

 National education, political necessity of, 325.
   Degree of, in this country, 337.
   Provisions for, 343.
   Practicability of, 353.
   The means of, 362-460.

 Natural philosophy, the mode of teaching, 434.

 Navigation among the ignorant and educated, 250.

 Nerves, sensibility of the, 161, 162.
   See _Brain_.

 New York, Free Academy, 386.
   Public Schools in, 386, 434.

 Normal Schools, necessity for, 421-440.

 Oliver Caswell, the deaf, dumb, and blind boy, 159.

 Onanism, 409.
   See _Secret Vice_.

 Page, D. P., on the redeeming power of common schools, 454.

 Parents, the natural educators of their children, 411.
   Vicious, sometimes reformed by school children, 441.

 Pauperism, diminished by education, 286.
   Extent of, in New York, 358.
   Expense of maintaining, 358.

 Peace convention at Paris referred to, 459.

 Petulancy in teachers and others accounted for, 94, 120.

 Physical education, importance of, 28.
   A preventive of disease, 34.
   The only correct basis for intellectual and moral, 32, 111.

 Physician, his office and that of the clergyman compared, 34.
   How he may be most useful in his profession, 34, 35.

 Physiology, made by law a study in common schools, 61.
   Lectures upon, by school teachers, 61.

 Play-rooms, important for small children, 403.

 Politics, definition of, 335.
   Should be a school study, 335.

 Politeness should be habitual, 142.

 Popular intelligence, degree of, in the United States, 337.
   Existing provisions for, 343.

 Poverty, extent of in Spain, 294.
   How diminished, 253, 286.

 Precocity of scrofulous and rickety children, 130.
   How they should be treated, 131, 132, 133.

 Pregnancy, the state of the mother during, influences the character of
   the child, 116, 117.

 Punishments, certain kinds injurious, 77, 171.
   See _Capital Punishment_.

 Purblind students, suggestions for, 185.

 Quincy, Hon. Josiah, Jr., on compulsory attendance upon school, 447.

 Reading aloud a healthful exercise, 79.
   How reading is frequently taught, 429.
   A better way, 430.

 Reading-room in connection with the school-house, 399.

 Recesses in schools should be frequent, 77.

 Reform school.
   See _State Reform School_.

 Regularity, in bodily exercise, 78.
   In mental exercise, 139.

 Relatives, consequences of the marriage of, 126, 303.

 Religion defined, 207.
   Of some kind unavoidable, 207.

 Religious education, the necessity for, 193.
   Should be reduced to practice, 435.

 Respiration, philosophy of, 81.

 Rickety children injured by study, 130.

 Riots, expense of, in Philadelphia, 357.

 Roman notation table, how taught, 428.
   A better way, 429.

 Rush, Dr., on the use of tobacco, 67.

 School funds, their utility considered, 366-369.

 School-houses, their common size, 92.
   Good ones should be provided, 372.
   The condition of, 373.
   The location of, 379.
   Size and construction of, 382.
   For country districts, 383.
   For cities and villages, 385.
   Plans for, 387-389.
   Ventilation of, 390.
   Means of warming, 392.
   Appurtenances to, 401.
   Influence of, 405.

 Schools, the support of, 366.
   The redeeming power of, 454.
   Should continue through the year, 440.
   Every child should attend, 442.
   Compulsory attendance upon, 447.

 Scrofulous children injured by study, 130.
   Proper treatment of, 131, 132.

 Seclusion from society injurious to both body and mind, 122.

 Secret vice, how increased, 405.
   How remedied, 407.
   Causes idiocy, insanity, and other evils, 409.

 See-saws, how rendered interesting and useful, 403.

 Senses, education of the, 146.
   Loss of the, impairs the health, 124, 125.
   Loss of the, causes insanity, 126.
   General law concerning the, 162.
   Their cultivation increases human happiness, 191.

 Shooting stars a source of terror to the ignorant, 234.

 Shoulder braces, their use considered, 109, 110.

 Sickness in school accounted for, 94, 95, 96, 119.

 Sight, the sense of, 175.
   Influence of tobacco and spectacles on the, 186.
   How injured, and how preserved and improved, 180-186.
   How persons become near or long sighted, 183, 184.
   How the sight may be disciplined, 188.

 Skin, functions of the, 55.
   Cleanliness of, important, 59.

 Skull, cases of fracture of the, 129.

 Smell, the sense of, 165.
   Its uses, 167.
   How injured, 168.

 Snuff, its influence upon the sense of smell, 169.

 Spectacles, the use of, often injurious, 186.

 Sports, what kinds most advantageous, 79.

 State Reform School in Massachusetts, 449.

 Statistics of education in the United States, 337-351.

 Stooping, how induced, 70.
   Habitual, to be avoided, 70.

 Study, best time for, 138.
   See _Brain_.

 Sulphureted hydrogen gas poisonous, 102.

 Summary of important principles, 145, 286, 323, 361.
   Of improvements in the arts, 282.

 Taste, the sense of, its uses and abuses, 163-165.

 Teachers, why their health fails, 94-96.
   Employed in factories, 268.
   Their relation to the school, 410-440.
   Books for, 410.
   Tobacco used by, 417.
   Indulge in other evil practices, 417-420.
   Who make the best, 438.
   Qualifications of, 340, 350, 417, 420, 422.
   Institutes for, 420.

 Teaching, should be ranked among the learned professions, 412, 439.
   Compared with the practice of law, 413.
   With the business of legislation, 413.
   With the practice of medicine, 414.
   With the clerical profession, 414.

 Teeth, their relation to health, 65.
   How to preserve them, 65.
   Acids injurious to them, 66.
   Tobacco not a preservative of, 66.

 Timber, time for felling, 248.

 Tobacco, its use tends to drunkenness, 67.
   It impairs the sight, 186.
   Used by teachers, 417.
   Used by ministers, 417, 418.
   A lady's inquiry concerning the use of, 419.
   The use of, expensive, 420.

 Touch, sense of, 160.
   How improved, 161.

 Township libraries instead of district libraries, 399.

 Truancy, legal provisions concerning, 447-450.

 Union or graded schools, 384.
   They should possess a normal characteristic, 433.

 United States, the, a Christian nation, 204. See _France_.

 Universal education. See _Education_, _National Education_, and _Free

 Unlucky days in Scotland, 236.
   In the United States, 237.

 Vaccination, how effected, 59.

 Ventilation, necessity of, 91-99.
   Of clothing, 57, 64.
   Means of, 390, 397.

 Vocal gymnastics, influence of, 107.

 Vocal music useful as an exercise, 80.
   Dr. Rush's testimony quoted, 80.
   Should be introduced into all our schools, 107.

 Walking, not the best exercise, 78.
   How rendered most beneficial, 78.

 Washington, quotation from Farewell Address of, 221.

 Waste, the cause of, 44.
   The repair of, 47.

 Water, the freezing of, illustrates the beneficence of God, 321-323.

 Watson, Rev. James V., on the providence of God, 62.

 Weather, does the moon influence the, 248.

 Weights and measures for school apparatus, 404. See _Measures_.

 Witchcraft in England and New England, 240.

 Young, the Hon. Samuel, on the use of the Bible in schools, 220.


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 Principles, and designed to aid in the right Education of Youth,
 Physically, Intellectually, and Morally. 18mo, Muslin, 45 cents.

 Russell's Juvenile Speaker,
 Comprising elementary Rules and Exercises in Declamation,
 with a Selection of Pieces for Practice. 12mo, Muslin, 60 cents;
 half Bound, 70 cents.

 Mill's Logic, Ratiocinative and Inductive.
 Being a connected View of the Principles of Evidence and
 Methods of Scientific Investigation. 8vo, Muslin, $2 00.

 Cicero's Three Dialogues on the Orator.
 Translated into English by W. GUTHRIE. Revised and corrected,
 with Notes. 18mo, Muslin, 45 cents.

 Nott's Counsels to Young Men,
 On the Formation of Character, and the Principles which lead to
 Success and Happiness in Life. 18mo, Muslin, 50 cents.

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