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State School Commissioner, for his successful endeavors in securing for our improvement as teachers, the courses of instruction we have enjoyed.
Resolved, That we are under deep obligations to Rev. Joel Mann, Rev. Dr. Hall, and Profs. Russell and Greene, for the valuable lectures with which they have favored us on this occasion.
4. Resolved, That we appreciate the importance of the study of Natural History, in its relations to the moral improvement and the mental refinement of the young, as presented and illustrated by Prof. Jaeger in the interesting and instructive course of lectures delivered by him, during the sessions of this Institute, and that we tender him our warmest thanks for his valuable services in the cause of popular education.
5. Resolved, that these reolutions be printed in the paper of this town, and in Mr. Potter's Educational Magazine.
From the Providence Daily Post.
TEACHERS' INSTITUTE. A Teachers' Institute was held at Bristol, last week, under the direction of Hon. E. R. Potter, which, in many respects, surpassed the profitable meeting held at East Greenwich some weeks ago. Interesting and valuable lectures were delivered by the State Commissioner, on the uses of Institutes ; by Rev. Joel Mann, on Emulation in Schools ; by Rev. Dr. Hall, on Thinking; by Professor Russell, on Elocution ; on the Analysis of Language, and on the best method of improving the quality of instruction in our Schools, by Professor Greene ; and on Natural History, by Professor Jaegar. All the lectures were well received. Those of Professor Jaeger, sixteen in number, were peculiarly interesting and instructive, and were ren. dered still more attractive by sets of fine Zoological and Botanical plates, and a beautiful miniature cabinet of insects with which he illustrated them. The profound learning of Professor J. and the vast fund of information he imparts, drawn from his extensive travels and close observation of nature, impart a charm to the science that none who listen to him can resist. We think it a fortunate circumstance that the services of a gentleman of such rare attainments has been secured to most of the Institutes that have been held in this State for two years past. The practical uses to which he applies this sci. ence, and the moral lessons he constantly draws from it, awakens a regret in the mind of the listener, that the subject has been so extensively neglected. The sauvity of the Professor, and his agreeable method of imparting instruction, make him a universal favorite with teachers. At Bristol, as at Portsmouth, last autumn, a strong enthusiasm was excited by him. We owe many thanks to the State Commissioner for introducing to the acquintance of Rhode Island teachers, a gentleman who has done so much to create a taste for this useful and refining study, and we are glad to learn that his Class Book of Zoology, the best of the kind we have ever seen, has been adopted in many of our best schools and academies. Prof. J. is now, we understand, a permanent resident among us, and we should be glad to see our High School enjoying the benefit of his lectures.
Names of Teachers attending the Institute in Bristol, R. I., June,
GENTLEMEN. James A. Collins, Cranston, Thos. J. Manton, N. Providence, Z. A. Cooke. Centredale,
J. C. Rich, Bristol, N. B. Cooke, Bristol,
E. Rich, Jr., Warren, I. F. Cady, Warren,
P. W. Read, D S. Gushee, Bristol,
John B. Tollman, Pawtucket, William Hunt, Johnston,
A. Judson Ward, Middletown. A. A. Meader, Wickford,
A. Frances Alden, Gwinett co. Ga Harriet E. Norris, Bristol,
Sarah M. Newton, Warren,
Margaret Patten, M. A. Bennett,
P. A. Richmond, Bristol, P. R. Bradford, Warren,
Mary W. Shepard, “
M. D. Wyatt,
From the Christian Inquirer.
MAN AND CIRCUMSTANCE. It is sometimes maintained that circumstances make the man; that the character of the individual, and consequently the destiny of the individual, is the product of influences which have acted upon him from his birth, and before his birth ; that
he is what those influences have made him, and can be no, other; the creature of circumstances in all his developments and all his experiences. Others incline to the opposite view. They contend that man is the maker of himself; that his true character is the "educated will;" that circumstances are plastic, and take what form of blight or blessing we choose to give them, and render what service or disservice we please to extract from them, There is truth in both these views, contradictory as they
It depends on our point of sight and our way of looking, which of the two shall seem to us on the whole the tru." est. If we view man historically, if we look at society in the gross, and trace its successive phases from age to age, we shall be apt to conclude, that man is the product of circumstances. Or we may look at him individually and come to that conclusion, if we view him socially, as related to the world around him, rather than psychologically, as related to the world within. On the other hand, if we look to the moral in man, if we regard hiin as a moral nature, if we consult our own consciousness and the consciousness of others, we shall have to acknowledge that man possesses a power over himself which is stronger than circumstances, and that of all the agencies which make him what he is, his own individuality is the most effective. Both views are true, but not the whole truth. They must be united in one judgment to make the truth complete.
1. There is truth in the view that circumstances make the man. How else shall we account for the differences which characterize humanity in different ages and climes? Look at the phenomenon of race. See how differently human nature manifests itself in the Caucasian, the 'Tartar, the Malay, and the African. Yet all these partake of one nature. The fundamental properties of each are shared by all. Why is it that only one of these races has made any considerable
progress in civilization, while in the others, society has remained stationary for thousands of years? Why is it that the highest culture has been attained by vast numbers of the one, and by scarcely a solitary individual in the rest? Why have not the Negro and the Malay attained the same eminence and made equal progress in art and science with the European ? Why but because the circumstances of race, the physical, intellectual, and social qualities and tendencies which distinguish one race from another, have been more powerful in the mass, than genius or will ? Why is it that the aborigines who inhabited this continent for unknown ages prior to the settlement of it by Europeans, have left scarcely a vestige of their existence on the soil? It was a wilde.iness in their hands, and
would have remained a wilderness forever. See what a different aspect the country assumes since the white man took possession of it! Here are the same rivers, the same lakes and harbors, the same soil which the Indian knew and named. See what has been made of these means by a different race ! These rivers, which once rolled idly to the main, have been made to drive the busy wheel, and to bear the wealth of the inland to the distant seaboard; these harbors are converted into floating forests; these lakes are made the highways of trafic; this soil has disclosed mineral treasures more precious than gold. Here all the circumstances are the same but the single circumstance of race. But in that one circumstance of the race, how many forces, qualities, influences, are included!
Then look at the influence of climate and locality on the intellectual and moral nature. Genius, the highest power and the highest wisdom, have their geographical limits; they are found in some latitudes, and are not found in others. A narrow strip of earth's surface, not exceeding forty degrees of north latitude, includes all the great men that have appeared in the word's history. And among nations lying within these latitudes, belonging to the same auspicious race, what differences, what inequalities, according as government or religion, topographical features or ancestral example, a little more heat or a little more cold, have moulded the mind and cast the lot! How unlike the New Englander and the Turk; how different the European of the north and the European of the south; and how generally the character and condition of either of these regions is determined by historic and climatic peculiarities!
But the power of circumstance is best seen when we pass from races and nations to the individuals; when we consider the influence on the individual of family, of early training, and of physical organization. The influence of family! How inevitably it acts on the child at that plastic period when the soul is sensible to every impression, and when every thing that comes into contact with it makes its mark! Who will predict for the child of the ignorant and the dissolute the same destiny which he predicts for the child of the virtuous and intelligent! Or who will predict for the child of the pauper the same destiny which he predicts for the child of the affluent ? A more powerful agent still is physical organization. Who can say how deeply that agency enters into the life of the soul; how a peculiar conformation of the body may color and mould the man? Other influences, unknown and incalculable, come in for their share in the formation of every character, and the casting of every lot. Every circumstance and accident to which human nature is subject, will have its influence; how great, or how little, none can say ; but some influence it will have, for good or for evil. The child that is born this day has been foreshaped in part by influences, which have acted before his birth, and is destined to be still further shaped and kneaded by all the agencies that fall within his sphere. Could we know the influences that will act upon him for the first ten years of his life, we might predict what manner of man he shall be.
2. Turn we now to the opposite view. Allowing all that has been said of the power of circumstance in moulding the character and destiny, it is nevertheless true that there is in every individual an agency more powerful than circumstance, and more influential in the life of the man. We must not confound the historical or phenomenal man with the real and spiritual. It is true that race, country, custom, law, give their complexion to the outward man. And by the outward man we mean not only the person, but the man in action, the man of society. But the inward, spiritual man is independent of these. It is true that the highest culture is attainable only under certain conditions, but it is also true that this culture is only the coating, not the man. This does not diminish the importance of external influences, and the efforts made by individuals and society, in the way of legislation and education, to direct those influences. But let it be understood that they affect only the social man; man's character and fortune as a member of society, and not his innermost condition as a spirit. The apparent condition of man is the product of circumstances, of society; the inner condition never. That is the product of his individuality, of the deep interior self which the world knows not, which, it may be, he himself knows not and can never fully comprehend, but which constitutes the life of his life, his earliest past, his immediate present, his future extending through ceaseless time. The character which the world sees and judges is not this self; it may be very different. But this self is the true character unfolding itself forever out of the unfathomable heart. This self is the true destiny, involving the real fortunes of the soul. Allowing then to circumstance and external conditions all that can be justly claimed for them, there is yet, we maintain, in the bosom of every man a force mightier than all these ; and no power which is brought to bear upon
him from without can ever countervail his proper self. If on that side which he presents to the world he is made up of innumerable influences, on the inner side he is an individual still. There is more of his own in him than of all other men.
We are something more than circumstance has made us, whether better or worse. And whatever circum