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of a system which has been found in New York to give increased elevation to morals, additional value to property, and higher respectability and safety to the city.
* The mayor has associated the department of common schools with those of the almshouse and police. There are near and interesting relations existing between these several departments. So intimate indeed are these relations, and so immediate and strong are the reciprocal influences springing out of them, that the more you cherish and sustain the one, the more you relieve the other, and the more liberal and diffusive your system of education, and the more you contribute for its improvement and extension, the less you will have to pay for the maintenance of the other two departments.
The more you subject all to the elevating, refining, and conservative influences of a wholesome, moral, intellectual, and industrial training, the more you relieve your almshouses and police. Extend education, and you diminish pauperism and crime. Increase the number of schools, and you diminish in more than a corresponding degree the number of those who are otherwise to become the recipients of your. charity, or the subjects of your penal code. Between these alternatives you must decide. Can the choice in a civilised and Christian community be either difficult or doubtful, I will not say to the philanthropist merely, but even to the taxpayer?'
The city of New York continues to increase its appropriations for schools; and its progress in the arts, commerce, wealth, and population attest their value.
The splendid library recentiy founded with a bequest of half a million of dollars by Astor, originally a poor German emigrant, will find many readers in New York, and add much to the attraction of the city.
On the southwest, New York borders on Pennsylvania, a rich, central, agricultural State, early settled by the Swedes, Germans, and English Quakers. In 1682 William Penn formed the first constitution of the colony, and incorporated this clause into his frame of government. Wisdom and virtue are qualities which,
because they descend not with worldly inheritances, must be carefully propagated by a virtuous education of youth. Although the value of education was thus recognised by the first lawgiver of the colony, his successors appear to have forgotten the policy enjoined by their ancestors, and paid little regard to it until the year 1831, when the system of popular instruction was established in the State.
At the outset, great difficulties were encountered in the apathy of the German population, and the want of competent teachers. These were increased by the pecuniary embarrassments in which the State was involved by the failure of its banks, and the management of the public works : but gradually these ob
stacles have been surmounted. The State has recovered from its depression, resumed the payment of the interest, and, since 1844, annually appropriates 200,000 dollars in aid of the public schools. The value of normal schools has also been recognised, and several are now established.
The State has been divided into districts, and each is required to assess taxes sufficient, with its proportion of the public fund, to provide instruction for three or four months yearly. We subjoin a condensed table of the population, schools, and school expenses
of the State: Population of the State, 1850
2,311,786 ditto 1840
1,724,033 Number of children registered in schools in 1851
32,544 Average length of short term, 1835
3 mo. 12 d. ditto 1851
5 mo. 1 day Average salaries of male teachers per month
$ 17 .20 ditto female ditto
$10 .15 Number of schools in 1851
8,510 ditto still required
674 Entire expense of schools
8926,447.65 Amount in above items for structures
- $253,741.06 In the brief period of sixteen years the pupils have increased thirteen fold. The term of instruction has been extended nearly fifty per cent., and provision made to qualify a superior class of teachers in normal schools.
Pennsylvania has not only secured its schools, but has ascertained, by its experience, that the most efficacious plan to educate a community is to train the teachers, enabling them to acquire knowledge, and the most improved modes of imparting what they acquire. The whole State is alive to the importance of institutions affording ample means for teachers to learn their duties before attempting to perform them; and those who have questioned the value of such institutions are now their most ardent friends.
The superintendent of the schools, after dilating on the importance of having good teachers, and giving testimony to the value and popularity of the normal schools, submits to the State a plan for an agricultural college, for the gratuitous instruction of the most promising youth, and estimates the annual cost at 45,300 dollars.
Philadelphia, the commercial capital of the State, and the second city in the Union, anticipated the action of the State, but did not commence its common school system until 1818, or open its schools to the whole community until 1836. In the last fifteen years, however, it has laid the foundations deep and wide, and is now making progress in its free schools. No improvement escapes its notice. The form, size, and classification of its schools are subjects of study. The most liberal provision is made for preparing teachers in normal institutions.
Females are very generally employed in the primary and grammar schools, with favourable results. This furnishes a most appropriate occupation for women, besides reducing the cost of tuition. A high school has been formed to receive the élite pupils of the grammar schools, and the qualifications for admissions have been gradually raised, and the studies advanced, until a collegiate education is now given at the public expense, and degrees of bachelors and masters of arts are conferred on the graduates.
In this high school are employed ten professors and two assistants. Five hundred and five students are on the register. The course is four years, and instruction is given in the classics, French, Spanish and the higher mathematics, logic, elocution, and philosophy in all its branches; chemistry, navigation and phonetics ; and all who enter are obliged to pass a severe examination in reading, writing, grammar, arithmetic, geography,
, algebra, and geometry. The principal reporters of Congress are phonographic reporters from this institution. We subjoin, in tabular form, a brief view of the state of education in Philadelphia :
1850. Population of Philadelphia
228,691 408,766 Number of schoolhouses
60 ditto teachers
928 ditto scholars
19,000 48,000 Expenditures for schools
$ 190,000 $336,000 The rapid growth of the State and its metropolis in manufactures, commerce, buildings, population and the useful arts, show that education has not checked their career; while the popular feeling which has been awakened in its behalf where apathy formerly prevailed, attests its beneficial influence.
We have thus cited three of the leading States, and three of the principal cities of the Union, to illustrate what progress the United States have made, and are still making, in education. But let it not be supposed that the subject is disregarded in other sections of the Union ; although in some of the southern States, where the population is sparse and slavery exists, less zeal is evinced. Even there the influence of the leading States is widely felt, and a spirit of inquiry and rivalry is awakened.
In Richmond and New Orleans measures are in progress to improve their system of free schools. In most of the western and south-western States, large reservations of land have been made by Congress for the purposes of education, which will soon be, or already are, productive. The remote city of St. Louis, in the border State of Missouri, appropriates yearly 100,000 dollars to the public schools,-a sum greater in proportion than the disbursement of New York ; and even in Texas, where a few years since the bowie-knife and revolver were used to settle all difficult questions, the Journal of Commerce apprises us that schools exist in every county, and nearly 200 churches are in progress. So many States are now embarked in education, and such is the current in its favour, that none can resist the force of public opinion. The school rises in the forest, and is but the precursor of the spire and belfry of the village church. Religion, it it may not guide, is a close attendant upon the schools of America.
On the western frontier of the Union on the bank of the Mississippi lies the frontier State of Iowa, one of the youngest members of the confederacy. The adventurous settlers have but just built their cabins and marked out their shire towns and villages, but they have carried with them the love for learning; and on those prairies where the Indian but yesterday figured in the war-dance, or chased the buffalo, the philosopher now plans a system of moral and intellectual culture.
A superintendent of schools has already been appointed, and education provided for by an organic law. The central government here, with wise liberality, reserved for education a million and a half acres of land, valued at two to three millions of dollars. A portion is already productive. Public provision has been made for the instruction of the deaf and dumb. A treatise by Mr. Barnard on school architecture is circulated at the public expense. Three colleges have been founded. Two normal schools have been instituted; district schools have been commenced; the old theory that the parent and schoolmaster were responsible for the education of the child has been exploded, and the State is held responsible for the education of its youth.
Such are the state and prospects of education on the very verge of the wilderness, more than 1200 miles from tide water, in a State which numbered but 43,000 people in 1840, and but 192,000 souls by the late census.
After this glance at particular states and cities, the reader will not be surprised at the results which we condense from Mitchell into the following summary. The returns embrace States containing more than two-thirds of the inhabitants of the Union. The others have not yet published their retums:
Number of children in States making returns of educational age
3,723,756 Number of children attending public schools in same
2,967,741 Annual expenditure on public schools ditto
$7,086,693 Number of students in colleges, law, and medical schools
18,260 Number of volumes in public libraries of the United States
3,954,375 ditto college libraries
846,455 Amount of public school funds beside land
$ 17,957,652 Population of the United States, 1850
23,256,972 Estimated population, December, 1852
26,000,000 The zeal for education in the United States has passed their borders, already animates Upper Canada, and is gradually penetrating the provinces of Lower Canada and Nova Scotia. Normal schools have been for some time in progress in Upper Canada, and will soon find countenance in the other provinces. The comparative progress of these colonies may be inferred from the annexed table : Canada, West, 1849, population
803,566 children in public schools
151,891 paid for salaries
$330,720 East population
768,344 children in public schools
73,551 public grant
$50,772 Nova Scotia population
300,000 children in public schools
30,631 annual expense for same
$ 136,286 While the upper province of Canada readily adopts the school which has borrowed from the improved system of Ireland, the French inhabitants of the lower province cling more tenaciously to their ancient usages and habits. Railways, however, are fast invading the provinces, and will soon bring them in contact with their more mercurial neighbours, and obliterate their prejudices.
Our glance at education in the Transatlantic States'leads us to some important results. We glean from it, not only the facts that more than 3,000,000 of pupils attend the public free schools and that large funds are accumulating for the purposes of education, but we deduce more interesting conclusions. It is obvious that the system of public instruction has taken firm hold of the public mind, and is eminently popular and progressive; that it is pervading the entire country, and assuming a higher tone and character.
There is a determination in America to unite the thinking head with the working hand, and to elicit all the talent of the