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the part of the several States, in reference to the subject of popular education; and would bring to its aid the united efforts of the whole people—thus it would seem, that much might be gained by. the introduction of a national school, which offers to extend the same facilities_holds out the same inducements, and, in short, dispenses the same general blessing to every part and portion of the Union.
Should it be regarded as essential to remodel the existing system of education, and to adapt it more readily to the genius and structure of our republican government, building its foundation upon the rock of patriotism, and supporting the superstructure by the united. patronage of the several States, could we now, unite upon a plan better suited to the objects here contemplated ?
These several considerations. I will not stop to discuss in detail, neither will. I swell the list, by adding others perhaps equally important. It will be necessary here, only to recur in a succinct manner to the subject, that the attention of the citizen' may be drawn to it, and its importance duly considered. Such a plan of common school educatiou promises to accomplish more for the nation than can be attained by, her prowess, or the power of her
A plan for a National University has been repeatedly recommended by some of the first statesmen in our country, and I recollect having
had the high gratification of listening to an-able address, by Dr. Caldwell, upon
that subject, before one of the societies of the Miami University in the year 1832. He discoursed with much ability on the importaňt and beneficial influence which a national institution would exert on the American citizen, His address has been doubtless read with interest by the advocates of popular schools in the western portion of our country at least; and I may safely venture the assertion that the cogent arguments of Doctor Caldwell, in favor of a national institution for the instruction of the higher branches of learning, may be applied equally, nay, with even greater force, to the subject of a national school for the education of professional teachers, to conduct upon à uniform basis our common schools. The influence and a advantages of a national university must be necessarily circumscribed within limited channels. Its advantages could not be extended alike to the sons of the poor and the wealthy. Only a part of the many could expect to participate in the blessings which such an institution might offer; and in this particular, it might be found to fall short of the means of a general diffusion of knowledge amongst the great mass of our citizens. From a system of common schools, permanently founded and scientifically regulated, we have still much more to hope for. Like the showers of a bountiful Providence, the influence of our popular schools must be felt alike by every grade and condition of our population. The ennobling
influence of knowledge must pervade the whole mass of intellect; and the institutions of our country acquire additional security in the universal intelligence, virtue and patriotism of the American people.
[Here Mr: Vance went on to speak at some length upon the subject of the difficulties suggested by some, in founding and sustaining Normal schools, by State enterprise exclusively; and more particularly in relation to the subject, in so far as it related to the present inability of our own State to do so ;-this part of his address having been extemporaneous, and no copy of it since forwarded, we are unable to give it here.]
He then proceeded as follows—
We live in an age of improvement. An eloquent writer has said, that “the tendency of human affairs proclaim a glorious revolution coming on. All signs indicate the bursting forth of a brighter day; a day to be made signal by the breaking down of old and corrupt systems--the falling of fetters—the dethronement of despotism, and the emancipation of man's imprisoned powers.” Let the energies of this nation be identified with this onward movement. We should not expect always to shelter ourselves from internal danger under the influence of our commerce, our national improvements, or our unparalleled success in the accumulation of national or individual wealth. The day will come when a greater share of circumspection will be necessary to sustain us as a free and independent people. History teaches us that civil discords increase and grow more dangerous and alarming as the population multiplies, and the inducements to industry are weakened by the discouraging inadequacy of its rewards. In such a state of popu-, lation, intelligence and learning will ever maintain a fearful
predominance over ignorance. The wealth of nations thus constituted, will surely and rapidly glide into particular channels, and civil dissensions and bloody strife but too surely follow. I need not instance the fate of the ancient republics. The bright luminary that signalized for centuries the progress of civil liberty in the old world, has long since sunk into darkness-We hope not forever. Intelligence in its onward flight may yet illumine these ancient hills, and the republics of antiquity may yet be restored to celebrate the epoch of their former glory.
In conclusion, we will offer a few observations in reference to the practicability of founding and sustaining a national school for the education of Teachers.
The Military Academy at West Point was established under the patronage of the General Government, at a time when the resources of the nation and the existence of a large public debt, left but little hope of succor, save by à direct resort to a burthensome system of taxation upon the people. At that time, however, the importance of this institution was foreseen and felt, perhaps more sensibly felt, than the necessity of its continuance at the present day. The nation under all its embarrassments, and through all its difficulties, experiments and trials, sustains, and still continues to sustain it, as an institution promising strength and defence to the country. Recently our public debt has been paid. Our national resources have been augmented ; and we still have the cheering promise of the continuance of our national prosperity to a degree which will be unequalled by any other government in the world. Our public lands which are alike the property of every citizen, bid fair to throw into the treasury a surplus, which will justify the most liberal appropriations to the objects of national strength
and happiness. The period has therefore arrived, which will justify * a resort to the measure contemplated. Far better is it that mil
lions should be spent upon an object which promises the spread of intelligence—the union of these States, and the improvement of the morals of mankind, than that hundreds should be appropriated to the quelling of factions in our midst. The poverty of the government can no longer be urged against the speedy action of the nation upon a measure of policy, which interests so deeply every portion of the people. We should hurry onward in the noble enterprise, “which seeks as its highest aim to spread the bloom and beauty of paradise over earth's darkness and desolation.”
I do not deem it in place here, to point out the method by which the proposed plan may be consummated; this should be the work, not of one, but of many. My principal object has been to call your attention to the subject, so that if approved and found worthy of consideration and support, that measures might at a convenient season be taken to call a convention of the nation, or in some other appropriate way to lay the foundation of a system of popular education, which promises an abandonment of the sword, the spear, and all the insignia of war;” and to substitute in their stead," the brighter picture on which are sketched the conquest of truth and the progress of man's redemption."
THE ADVANTAGES OF A DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH
LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE IN COLLEGES.
- BY B. P. AYDELOTT, D. D.
PRESIDENT OF WOODWARD COLLEGE, CINCINNATI.
THERE is not, we believe, in any of our Colleges, nor in those of the mother country, a department of English Language and Literature. One we have known projected, but it was never efficiently prosecuted, and has since, we believe, come to naught.
We are aware of the existence of Professorships of Rhetoric, and Belles Lettres; but these are either too narrow, and do not cover the whole ground, or they are made, in actual operation, so comprehensive, by the addition of Logic, or History, or Moral, Intellectual, or Political Philosophy, or all of these, as to reduce the subject of English Language and Literature to comparative insignificance.
But before proceeding further, it is proper to explain clearly and fully what we mean by a department of English Language and Literature. Let it then, we say, be as extensive as the most liberal but just interpretation of the terms will admit. But to be particular,—let it embrace the origin and structure of our language, its progress, its means and modes of growth, its peculiarities, the signification of its words and their various shades of difference, it's correct and graceful utterance in reading and speaking, and its various kinds of style with the several advantages and beauties of each as exhibited in the sacred desk, in the Senate, and at the bar, in conversation and epistolary writing, in the different kinds of history, in controversy, and philosophic discussion, in the grave and light essay, and in poetry in all its varieties. It should comprehend, in a word, the history, grammar, and criticism of the language.
Such a department might therefore properly be termed the Professorship of ENGLISH PHILOLOGY.
Let the student, while faithfully pursuing the different subjects embraced in this course, bè required to write much and variously, till he can turn with ease from the light and epistolary-to the grave and argumentative, and exhibit a like freedom in rhetorical and narrative composition.
Having now explained what we think ought to constitute the department of English Language and Literature, we propose in this discourse to show some of the ADVANTAGES WHICH WE BELIEVE WOULD RESULT FROM ITS ESTABLISHMENT AND FAITHFUL PROSECUTION IN OUR COLLEGES GENERALLY.
I. Would it not greatly tend to improve and fix our language?
The student in this department would, of course, make himself master not only of the grammar of our tongue, but of general or philosophical grammar. He would go also to the classic pages of Milton, Dryden, Taylor, Barrow, Addison, Pope, and, above all, to our noble version of the Bible, and there drink deeply into the fountains of pure English style. The sources of our tongue, its genius, its changes, its peculiar excellencies and defects, its vast capabilities would thus be spread before him.
Such study, deep and persevering, combined with diligent practice in the different species of composition, must give him a mastery of the subject, which no other training could confer. And with these high advantages, would not taste, and gratitude, and a laudable ambition constrain him to labor to remove the defects, and to cultivate all the excellencies of the language ?
When, then, our educated men have generally passed through such a .course as this, we may reasonably expect to behold our mother tongue attain to that improvement and stability which the venerable patriarchs of our literature desired to see, but died without the sight. It is not a few men of learning and taste, here and there, that can perfect and fix a nation's language. There must be the combined efforts of multitudes of various talents and pursuits, all contributing their offerings to this common treasury.
But is it not a fact that our brightest students are too often deplorably ignorant here? They will consume the midnight oil over the pages of Lucretius and Livy, of Homer and Demosthenes; and concentrate every power of thought upon the demonstrations of Mathematics; and search with avidity into every department of the physical sciences ; whilst attention to their own language is nearly confined to the drudgery of the first form, and only renewed in those few moments of leisure, and with that superficial haste which the other subjects of College class will now permit.
It ought not, therefore, to surprise us to find so many works of