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as visitors, came to view the school, they found every thing going on so correctly that they were almost ready to report that the presence of the master was not essential to the order of the school : they were so much pleased with the boy that they gave him a handsome silver watch, with a suitable inscription; some time afterwards J. Lancaster, in order to promote the extension of the school at Bristol, lectured in the Theatre Royal, where, at the request of the committee, he related this boy's diligence and merit, and presented him with his watch amidst the loud acclamations of the audience.
Schools on this excellent plan, worthy indeed of the fostering patronage of a King, have been established in a great number of places; it is our intention in the future numbers of the Philanthropist to give some account of them under the distinct heads of the different counties in which they are situated. We cannot however quit this subject without stating that the education of females has also been much attended to by the indefatigable author of the “Improvements in Education;" no impediment existed in adapting his plans to girls as well as to boys; but in that indispensable part of female in. struction needle-work, considerable difficulties always presented themselves ; but we are happy to state, that at length they are surmounted, and that the system is madle applicable to the instruction of large numbers of girls in needle-work, with the same facility as in reading and writing.
By the aid of some female relatives, J. Lancaster has lately brought this very necessary part of instruction to a state of perfection; and he will speedily prepare accounts of the plan for publication. Every school for girls in the kingdom may be benefited by this system, which only requires good plain common sense, and a little instruction at the original school to qualify any person to practice it.
In our next we hope to lay before the public a plan for training school mistresses, which will afford the opportunity of introducing the new improvements into girls' schools at a very moderate expense. On this plan, mati rials sufficient to teach needle-work to 500,000 girls may be purchased for a very trifle ; and as one mistress will be able to teach needlework to 500 girls as easily as one master can teach reading to 500 boys, we sincerely hope that the benevolence of the public will speedily be turned to the education of females in the same degree as to boys. The mistress will be merely the inspector of the work, not the teacher of it; the act of teaching being so easy, that it may be delegated to any child in the
school, who herself will be greatly improved by the employment. Another advantage of this system is, that every girl will be taught to cut out common garments for family use, as well as to make them ; even in this, the time of the mistress will not be consumed, nor will there be any expensive waste of materials.
To the mother of a family in the lower ranks of life, this knowledge is of the greatest consequence, because circumstances render it necessary to observe the utmost economy in all domestic concerns, and in no part more than in a knowledge of the most proper manner of cutting out a quantity of linen to make her children's garments. To conclude, we trust the time is fast approaching when by the universal adoption of these excellent improvements in education, the youth of both sexes will be enabled to acquire those babits of morality and industry which lead to a life of virtue and religion: this is the species of reformation which we ardently desire, and to which we trust our unremitted attention will ever be directed.
Extract from an American Paper, entitled the Albany
Register, dated Tuesday, January 16, 1810.
THE ADDRESS ON OPENING THE ENLARGED FREE-SCHOOL
AT NEW YORK.
MR. DE WITT CLINTON'S ADDRESS, The address of the Hon. De Witt CLINTON, which occupies so large a por
tion of our columns, is replete with interesting matter to the friends of humanity. Mr. Clinton speaks as he feels and this address may be taken as evidence of the benevolence of his heart, as well as the soundness of his head. It breathes the spirit of patriotism, as well as of benevolence, and will constitute an honourable record of the author's labours to assuage the pangs of orphanage, to patronize genius, and give to his country the benefit of those powers of mind which might otherwise be lost to the world for the want of cultivation. We cannot but wish the utmost success to Mr. Clinton, and the gentlemen connected with him, in so laudable an enterprize as that of extending the benefits by improving the system of education.
THE ADDRESS. On an occasion so interesting to this institution, when it is about to assume a more respectable shape, and to acquire a spacious and perminent habitation; it is no more than a becoming mark of attention to its patrons, benefactors, and friends, assembled for the first time in this place, to delineate its origin, its progrees, and its present situation. The station which I occupy in this associa
tion, and the request of my much respected colleagues, have devolved this task upon me-a task which I should perform with unmingled pleasure, if my avocations had afforded me time to execute it with fidelity: and I trust, that the bumble objects of your bounty, presented this day to your view, will not detract from the solemnity of the occasion-" Ibat ambition will not mock our useful toil, nur grandeur hear with a disdainful smile the simple annals of the poor.”
In casting a view over the civilized world, we find an universal accordance in opinion, on the benefits of education, but the practical exposition of this opinion, exhibits a deplorable contrast. While magnificent colleges and universities are erected, and endowed, and dedicated to literalure, we behold few liberal appropriations for diffusing the blessings of knowledge ainong all descriptions of people. The fundamental error of Europe has been, to confine the light of knowledge to the wealthy and the great, while the humble and the de. pressed have been as sedulously excluded from its participation, as the wretched criminal, immured in a dungeon, is from the light of Heaven. This cardinal mistake is not only to be found in the institutions of the old world, and in the condition of its inhabitants, but it is to be seen in inost of the books which have been written on the subject of education.—The celebrated Locke, whose treatises on government and the human understanding, have covered him with immortal glory, devoted the powers of his mighty intellect, to the eluci. dation of education --but in the very threshold of his book, we discover this radical error; his treatise is professedly intended for the children of gentlemen. “ If those of that rank, (says he) are by their education once set right, they will quickly bring all the rest in order,” and he appears to consider the educa. tion of other children as of little importance. The consequence of this mon. strous heresy, has been, that ignorance, the prolific pareat of every crime and vice, has predominated over the great body of the people, and a coriespondent moral debasement has prevailed. “ dlan differs inore froin man, than man from beast,” says a writer, once celebrated. This remark, however generally false, will certainly apply with great force to man in a state of high mental cultivation, and man in a state of extreme ignorance.
This view of human nature is indeed calculated to excite the most painful feelings, and it entirely originates from the predominating error which I have exposed. To this source, must the crimes and the calamities of the old world be principally imputed. Ignorance is the cause as well as the effect of bad governments, and without the cultivation of our rational powers, we can entertain no just ideas of the obligations of morality or the excellencies of reli. gion. Although England is justly renowned for its cultivation of the arts and sciences, and although the poor rates of that country exceed five millions sterļing per aunum, yet (1 adopt the words of an eminent British writer) “ There is no Protestant country where the education of the poor has been so grossly and infamously neglected as in England." If one tenth part of that sum had been applied to the education of the poor, the blessings of order, knowledge and innocence would have been diffused among them, the evil would have been attacked at the fountain head, and a total revolution would have taken place in the habits and lives of the people, favourable to the cause of industry, good morals, good order, and rational religion.
More just and rational views have been entertained on this subject in the United States.-In New England the greatest attention has been invariably given to this important object. In Connecticut, particularly, the towns are divided into school districts, which are supported at least three-fourths of the year from the public treasury, and from a fund created for that purpose. The result of the beneficial arrangement is obvious and striking.-Our eastern brethren are a well informed and moral people. In those states, it is as uncommon to find a poor pan who cannot read and write, as it is rare to see one ia Europe who can,
Pennsylvania has followed the noble example of New England. On the 4th of April lasi, a law was passed in that state, entitled “ An Act to provide for the Education of the Poor gratis.” The expense of educating them is made a county charge, and the county commissiouers are directed to carry the law into execution.
New York has proceeded in the same career, but on a different, and perhaps a more eligible plan. For a few years back, a fuud has been accumulating with great celerity, solemnly appropriated to the support of common schools. This fund consists at present of near 400,000 collars in Bank stock, mortgages and bonds; and produces an annual interest of upwards of 24,000 dollars The capital will be augmented by the accumulating interest, and the sale of 366,000 acres of land. When the interest on the whole amounts to 50,000 dollars, it will be in a state of distribution. It is highly probable that the whole fund will in a few years, amount to twelve hundred and fifty thousand dollars, yielding a yearly income of 75,000 dollars. If population is taken as the ratio of distribution, the quota of this city will amouni tn 7,500 dollars, a sum amply sufficient on tbe plan of our establishment, if judiciously applied, to accommodate all our poor with a gratuitous education.
On a comparison of the plan of this state with that of Pennsylvania, it will probably be found that we are entitled to the palm of superior excellence. Our capital is already created, and nothing more is requisite than a judicious distribution-whereas the expenses of school establishments in that state, is to be satisfied by annual burdens. The people are therefore interested against a faithful execution of the plan, because the less that is applied to education, the less they will have to pay in taxation. Abuses and perversions will of cource arise and multiply in the administration of the public bounty: and the laws of that state being liable to alteration or repeal, her system has not that permanency and stability to which ours can lay claim. It is true that our Legislature may divert this fund, but it would justly be considered a violation of public faith, and a measure of a very violent character. As long as the public sentiment is correct in this respect, we have no reason to apprehend that any Legislature will be hardy enough to encounter the odium of their constituents, and the indignation of posterity ;-and we tave every reason to believe, that this great fund, established for sinking vice and ignorance, will never be diverted or destroyed, but that it will remain unimpaired, and in full force and vigour to the latest posterity, as an illustrious establishment, erected by the benevolence of the state, for the propagation of knowledge, and the diffusion of virtue among the people.
A number of benevolent persons had seen with concern. the increasing vices of this city, arising in a great degree from the neglected education of the poor. Great cities are at all times the nurseries and hot-beds of crimes. Bad men from all quarters repair there in order to obtain the benefit of concealment, and to enjoy in a superior degree the advantages of rapine and fraud. And the dreadful examples of vice, which are presented to youth, and the alluring forms in which it is arrayed, connected with a spirit of exti avagance and luxury, the never failing attendant of great wealth and extensive business, cannot fail of augmenting the mass of moral depravity.-" In London,” says a distinguished writer on its police, "above twenty thousand individuals rise every morning without knowing how, or by what means they are to be supported through the passing day, and in many instances even where they are to lodge the following night. There can be no doubt, but that hundreds are in the same situation in this city, prowling about our streets for prey, the victims of intemperance, the slaves of idleness, and ready to give into any vice, rather than to cultivate industry aud good order. How can it be expected that persons so careless of themselves, will pay any attention to their children? The mendicant parent bequeaths his squalid poverty to his offspring, and the hardened thief transmits a legacy of infamy to his unfortunate and depraved descendants. Instances have occurred of little children, who have been arraigned at the bar of our criminal.
caurts, who have been derelict and ahandoned, without a hand to protect, or a voice to guide them through life. – When interrogated as to their connections, they have replied, that they were without home and without friends. In this state of turpitude and idleness, leading livis of roving mendicancy and pelly, depredations, they existed a burden and disgrace to the community.
True it is, that Charity Schools were established in this City entitled to eminent praise, but they were attached to particular sects, and did not embrace children of different persuasions. Add to this, that some denominations were not provided with those establishments, and that children, the most in want of instruction, were necessarily excluded from the benefit of education by the ire religion of their parents.
After a full view of the case, those persons of whom I have spoken, agreed that the evil must be corrected at its source, and that education was the sovereign prescription. Under this impression, they petitioned the Legislature, who, agreeably to their application, passed a law on the 9th of April 1805, entitled An Act to incorporate the Society instituted in the City of New York for the establishment of a Free School, for the education of poor children, who do not belong to, or are not provided for by, any religious society.”—Thirteen Trustees were elected under this Act on the first Monday of the ensuing May, with power to manage the affairs of the corporation. On convening together, they found that they had undertaken a great task, and encountered an impor. tant responsibility; without funds, without teachers, without a house in which to instruct, and without a system of instruction; and that their only reliance must be on their own industry, on the liberality of the public, on the bounty of the constituted authorities, and the smiles of the Almighty Dispenser of all good.
In the year 1798, an obscure man of the name of Joseph Lancaster, possessed of an original genius and a most sagacious mind, and animated by a sublime benevolence, devoted himself to the education of the poor of Great Britain. Wherever he turned his eyes, he saw the deplorable state to which they were reduced by the prevalence of ignorance and vice. He first planted his standard of charity in the city of London, where it was calculated that forty thousand children were left as desiitute of instruction as the savages of the desert. And he proceeded by degrees, to form and perfect a system, which is, in education, what the most finished machines for abridging labour and er. pense are in the mechanic arts.
It comprehends reading, writing, arithmetic, and the knowledge of the holy scriptures. – It arrives at its object with the least possible trouble and at the least possible expense. Its distinguishing characters are, economy, facility and expedition, and its peculiar improvements are cheapness, activity, order and emulation. It is impossible on this occasion to give a detailed view of the system. For this I refer you to a publication entitled “ Improvements in Edu. cation, &c. by Joseph Lancaster,” and for its practical exposition, I beg you to look at the operations of this seminary. Reading, in all its process, from the alphabet upwards, is taught at the same time with writing, commencing with sand, proceeding to the slate, and from thence to the copy-book. And io bore row a most just and striking remark, “ The beauty of the system is, that nothing is trusted to the boy himself-he does not only repeat the lesson before a superior, but be learns before a superior.” —Solitary study does not exist in the establishment. The children are taught in company. Constant habits of ata tention and vigilance are formed, and an ardent spirit of emulation is kept continually alive. Instruction is performed through the instrumentality of the Scholars. The school is divided into classes of ten, and a chief, denominated a Monitor, is appointed over each class, who exercises a didactic and supervisional authority. The discipline of the school is enforced by shame, rather than by the infliction of pain. --The punishments are varied with circumstances, and a judicious distribution of rewards, calculated to engage the infant mind in the VOL. I.