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teachers must be employed for the young children, whose services can be of no use on the farm, or at home, during all the warm season of the year. In the winter the older children must come together from a wider circuit of territory, and pursue the more advanced studies by themselves, so that they can acquire habits of intense application, and receive the undivided attention of a well qualified teacher. If their early culture has been properly attended to, in the primary summer schools, so as to have had imparted to them the desire and ability to know more, they will, later in life, come into the winter schools with their hands hardened with honorable toil, their cheeks brown from exposure to the healthful influence of sun and air, their muscles and frame capable of long and patient endurance, and their minds prepared to grapple with the difficulties of knowledge, and gather in the richest harvests. The best minds of New England have been thus nurtured and trained. The most honored names in her present and past history belong to men who have gone alternately from the field in summer, to the school in winter, and later in life, from the plough to the college, or the merchant's desk, or the post of superintendent or master workman in the mill, or the workshop.
The course of instruction in the country schools should be modified. It should deal less with books and more with real objects in nature around,-more with facts and principles which can be illustrated by reference to the actual business of life. The elementary principles of botany, mineralogy, geology, and chemistry, and their connection with practical agriculture, should be taught. A love for nature, to the enjoyment of which all are alike born, without distinction,--an appreciation of the beauty which will be every day above and around them, and a thoughtful observance and consideration of the laws of an incessantly working creation, in co-operation with which they must work, if as farmers they are to work successfully, ought io be cultivated in every child, and especially in every one whose lot is likely to be cast in the country. All these things can be done, without crowding out any thing really valuable, now taught in public schools, provided the ample school attendance of children can be secured, and teachers of the right qualifications employed. Such teachers need not be expensive. The country towns ought to be able to supply the regular demand of their own schools, for this class of teachers. But whatever else may be taught, or omiited, the ability, and the taste for reading, should be communicated in the school, and the means of continuing the habit at home, through the long winter evenings, by convenient access to district or town school libraries, should be furnished. The desire to read can be fostered, and turned into useful channels, by occasional lectures of a practical kind, and especially on subjects which will admit of visible illustration, and experiments. For this purpose, I hope to be able to establish one public library, and to arrange one course of lectures, to be delivered in at least one place, in every town in the State, where a lyceum or a similar course is not already established.
By suitable efforts on the part of public spirited and influential men, the interest which has already manifested itself in the country towns, can be increased, and the improvements already commenced in school-houses, school attendance, and teachers, can be continued, until there shall not be a rural district which is not animated with true intellectual and moral life.
6. Manufacturing Districts.
This State presents the remarkable fact in the distribution of its population among the different departments of labor, that the portion engaged in manufactures and trades, far exceeds that devoted to agricultural pursuits. This population, from its necessary concentration into villages, can receive every advantage arising from the gradation of schools, and the division of labor in instruction. The smaller children can be gathered into infant and primary schools, through the year, in which all the exercises shall be adapted to their unripe faculties, and the entire attention of the teacher can be devoted to their physical comfort,—their manners as well as their intellectual improvement. The older scholars can be assembled for certain portions of the year at least, in large classes, and thus stimulate each other to vigorous effort, and receive the undivided attention of teachers, of the highest order of qualifications. Lyceums and libraries can be readily supported, to quicken the mind, improve the tone and topics of conversation, preserve from hurtful amusements, and gross indulgences, bless the fire-side, and give dignity and increased value to mere muscular labor.
There is a quickness of intelligence, an aptitude for excite ment, an absence of bigoted prejudice for what is old, and a generous liberality in expenditures among a manufacturing population, all of which are favorable to educational improvement. The mind is stimulated by being associated with other minds, It becomes familiar with great operations. It is tasked often to inventive efforts in devising and improving machinery. It is surrounded every moment with striking illustrations of the triumphs of mind over matter. Every thing with which it has to do is an eloquent witness to the value of education, to its splendid pecuniary results, as well as to its power to make material instruments to bend to its will, and to become gigantic forces for good to mankind.
These facilities for mental improvement, both among the young and the adult population, in a manufacturing village, may become causes of moral degeneracy, and are often accompanied by circumstances which operate with fearful energy to corrupt and destroy. The mind is stimulated to an unnatural activity. The passions crave excessive and dangerous excitements. The moral principles are hindered from a strong and full development, or are broken down by a sudden onset of temptation. The young are crowded together in the family, the school, the mill, and the streets, and too often become the means of mutual corruption. Their many hours of labor, and long confinement in the close atmosphere of the factory, away from the varied sights of nature, during the week, waste away their physical energy, and is made the excuse for spending so much of the evenings as are at their disposal, in artificial excitements, and their Sabbaths in the fields, or in carriage excursions. The charm, seclusion, and refinement of a pleasant home, are often denied them in their hours of rest and relaxation. Their dwellings are crowded together, with apartments few and small, too often badly lighted, and badly ventilated, comfortless within, and looking out upon a street without a tree, or upon grounds devoid of the cheerful green, which nature is so eager every where to throw about her as her graceful drapery. Their homes have seldom any yards enclosed, to repel the rudeness of the passer by, or to invite the healthy and humanizing cultivation of flowers, shrubbery, and vegetables. Females are prevented by their early occupation in the mills, from learning needle work, and from acquiring those habits of forethought, neatness and order, without which, they cannot, when they grow up to womanhood, and have the charge of families of their own, make their own homes the abodes of economy, thrift and comfort. Many of the young people engaged in the mills, are living away from their family homes, and do not feel the restraints from vicious courses which a respect for the good opinion of relatives and friends exerts. Facilities for corruption and vice abound, and the swiftness with which such corruption of principle and character ripens to ruin, is fearfully rapid. The admixture of people from different nations, and the constantly fluctuating state of society, are additional causes of evil, and impediments to any regular plan of improvement. To these vari. ous causes of deterioration, to which a manufacturing population are exposed, it must also be added, that the facilities for a proper classification of the schools, and the establishment of permanent schools, at least for the young children, are not improved,--that in all but five of the factory villages in the State, there is but one public school for children of all ages, in every stage of proficiency, and in irregular attendance, and that this school is open as a public school only so long as the school money will employ the teacher, and this period on an average is less than four months in the year,—and that in but three is there a lyceum, or provision for a regular course of lectures in the
winter. In most of these villages there are Sabbath schools, and to some extent, provision of some kind is made for other religious instruction.
That the manufacturing population are so pure, refined, and educated as they unquestionably are, considering the many unfavorable circumstances of their position, and the causes which are constantly at work to deteriorate and corrupt, is owing to the fact, that the original population of these villages came from the country, and that a large portion of the yearly increase is drawn from this source of supply, bringing with them the fixed habits, the strong family attachments, and elevated domestic education, which have ever characterized the country homes of New Eng. land. The first generation of this population has passed, or is passing away. What is to be the character of the second and the third ?-not trained to the same extent, and soon not trained to any appreciable extent, in the country, but in the crowded village, and under all these exciting influences? It is for the friends of education to decide to decide speedily, and act with energy ; and to bring out all the capacities and influences for good which exist in their midst, just in proportion as those influ. ences for evil gather and increase. Let this be done, and these villages may become not only the workshops of America, and the prolific sources of wealth and physical comfort to Rhode Island, but radiant points of intelleciual and moral light,—the ornament, strength and glory of the State.
1. Convenient and attractive school edifices should be erected. This is already done to a considerable extent. But there are more than fifty manufacturing districts, where there are either no buildings appropriated exclusively to the schools,or else these buildings are not sufficiently large and convenient for the number of pupils who do attend, much less for the number which should attend, for portions of the year at least.
School-houses in manufacturing districts should be provided with halls for popular lectures, and rooms for a library, collections in natural history, evening classes, reading circles, and even gatherings for conversation, unless these objects are provided for in a separate building.
2. The schools should be kept open during the year, and at least two grades of schools should be established. Special attention should be given to the primary schools. It is here that the great strength of educational influence for such a population can be bestowed with the best hope of success. It is here that children can be taken early, and when children are precocious, they must be taken at the earliest opportunity, if the seeds of good are to be planted before the seeds of evil begin to germinate. Here the defects of their domestic and social
training, can in a measure be supplied. Here by kindness, patience, order, and the elevating influences of music, joyous groups may enjoy the sunshine of a happy childhood at school, and be bound to respectability and virtue, by ties which they will not willingly break. These schools, made, as they can be made by female teachers of the requisite tact and qualification, the loved and happy resorts of the young, devoted in a great measure to the cultivation of the manners, personal habits, and morals of the pupils, may be regarded as the most efficient instrumentality to save and elevate the children from the corrupting influences of constant association, when that association is not under the supervision of parents or teachers, and to prepare them for institutions of higher instruction.
3. The course of instruction in these schools, both in primary and higher grade, should be framed and conducted, to some extent, in reference lo the future social and practical wants of the pupils. It should cultivate a taste for music, drawing and other kindred pursuits, not only for their practical utility, but for their refining and elevating influences on the character, and as sources of innocent and rational amusement after toil, in every period of life, and in every station in society. Drawing, especially, should be commenced in the primary school, and continued with those who show a decided tact and aptitude for its highest attainments, to the latest opportunity which the pub. lic school can give. It is the best study to educate the eye to habits of quick and accurate observation,—the mind to a ready power of attention, discrimination, and reasoning,--and the hand to dexterous and rapid execution. It cultivates a taste for the beauties of nature and art, and fills the soul with forms and images of loveliness and grandeur which the eye has studied, and the hand has traced. It is the best language of form ;-by a few strokes of the pen or pencil, a better idea of a building, a piece of mechanism, or any production of art, can be given, than by any number of words, however felicitously used. It may be introduced as an amusement in the infant and primary schools,—may be made to illustrate and aid in the acquisition of almost every study in the higher schools, and is indispensable to the highest success in many departments of labor in manufacturing and mechanical business. I am assured by a gentleman familiar with the business, that in the calico printing establishments of this State, more than sixty thousand dollars are expended annually upon different de partments of labor, to success in which the art of drawing is indispensable. And this class of workmen employed cannot acquire the requisite skill and intelligence, in any practical schools of the arts among ourselves. If 'Rhode Island is to compete successfully with other countries in those productions