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We would not underrate the value of a memory well charged with facts, but we hold that the culture which teaches him how to use these facts is of far greater importance to the scholar. The ideas furnished by memory are the tools with which the mind is to work. If it is not taught their use and how to use them, of what avail are they ? Then, again, we believe that there is danger of surcharging the memory, with the effect of weakening rather than strengthening the powers of the mind. Let us look for an analogy. What the memory is to the mind, the stomach is to the body. Suppose that the latter be continually supplied with nourishment, no time being permitted for digestion, but an unremitting stuffing down of all sorts of food. Is it at all likely that the body would be nourished and its strength increased by such a process? But is not the practice, so largely prevalent in our country, of requiring, especially in the early years of school training, much memorizing with little thinking, as absurd ? What wonder that the mind becomes puny ! Again we would say that we would not in the least undervalue a good memory. On the contrary, we would say to every one,--cultivate this faculty well. But let discrimination be its prime servant. Let it not be the receptacle of words merely, but compel it to treasure up the thoughts conveyed by the words, so that you can bring them into your service clothed in language of your own, whenever
As reading is the great means of acquiring knowledge and culture, it becomes a matter of importance, how and what we read. Mrs. Sigourney says to young ladies,"All systematic reading should be with a fixed purpose to remember and to profit. Cultivate the retentive power by daily persevering exercise.
I am inclined to think memory capable of indefinite improvement, by a judicious and persevering regimen. Read, therefore, what you desire to remember, with concentrated and undivided attention. Close the book and reflect." This last step is
important, for as the body becomes disordered through the accumulation of undigested food, so will the mind, by a similar regimen. Make memory your servant. Train her to take what you give her, to keep it, and to bring it forth at your bidding. Bacon says,—“ We are of the ruminating kind, and it is not enough to cram ourselves with a load of collections. Unless we chew them over again, they will not give us strength and nourishment.”
But what shall we read, to secure a proper culture ? We should make it a rule rarely to read anything that does not leave us wiser. History is usually to be preferred to fiction, and there are many facts in the history of our race, during the different periods of its development, that seem stranger than the wildest whims that come from the heated brain of the novelist. The history of our country is rich with them, and yet how few of our people are familiar with it
It is owing, no doubt, largely to this ignorance on the part of the mass of our people, that designing demagogues have been enabled to bring our government to the brink of ruin. Had the whole people been taught from infancy the true nature of our government, to understand rightly the principles which form the basis upon which it is built, to comprehend at one broad and generous view the claims and interests of every section of the country and of the whole as made up of sections: in short, had they been taught the character of our noble Constitution, and the saeredness of that pledge which binds every freeman to
preserve, protect and defend it," the troubles that now cause the best and most hopeful among the lovers of their country to tremble, would not have come upon us.
Our youth should be early instructed in all that pertains to the nature of our government, and made familiarly acquainted with all the details of its growth. This knowledge can be acquired only through a famíliar acquaintance with the history of our country. The Constitution which forms the basis of our Union, should become as household words to them. By such culture only, can they be fitted to assume the rank of an American Freeman. Will parents and teachers see to it that they do not let slip the golden opportunity now presented by our country's peril and the consequent interest in all that pertains to its welfare, for arousing in the minds of the young a zeal for knowledge in this regard, that shall know no abatement while life continues ?
The law of the state expressly provides for the study of History in our common sehools, requiring that all teachers be qualified to instruct therein. Few teachers are familiar with the details of the study, and we doubt whether many of our superintendents are qualified to examine them in it. But if there ever was a necessity for the passage of such a law, there is now an imperative ne-' cessity that its provisions be carried into practice.
Next to the study of History as a means of securing the right culture to our youth, we wonld place the works of old writers, that have outlived criticism and have come down to us richly freighted with the wisest thoughts of past generations. If these could supplant the light, shallow-brained literature of the present age, and if our children were so trained as to instinctively seek them instead of the latter, then we should have little fear that right mental culture would be secured to them.
L. SPEECH.---It is usually said by grammarians, that the use of language is to express our wants and desires; but men who know the world hold, and I think with some show of reason, that he who best knows how to keep his necessities private, is the most likely person to have them redressed; and that the true use of speech is not so
d much to express our wants, as to conceal them.- Goldsmith.
SLANDER.—Slander as often comes from vanity, as frona malice.
THE STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION. This organization has been established sufficiently long to attest or disprove the wisdom of the legislative enactment that gave it an existence. We believe, and we think that the majority of the educators and parents in the state will co-incide with us in this belief, that, looking at the results which have followed, no wiser enactment has ever become the law of our commonwealth. Its organization is .simple, reliable and inexpensive. The two highest officers of the state are by statute made members of it, and the remaining three members are appointed by the Executive. The chief expenditure is for the salary of its Secretary, which is not large, considering the nature of his duties and the amount of labor he necessarily performs. Its present Secretary has never shown any delinquency in the discharge of these duties, but, on the contrary, has greatly added to them, much to the interest of the cause of education in the State.
We have always considered the Board with its Secretary a much wiser arrangement than would have been a single State Superintendency. The Board is made directly responsible for all the acts of the Secretary, and is thus required to keep a constant supervision of his labors. In turn he is as directly responsible to them for every
official act of his. Indeed, he is but their servant, acting under their direction and advisement.
Whoever has read the Annual Reports of the Board and its Secretary, and has watched the progress that has been made in the educational field in this State through their instrumentality, can but acknowledge the value of their services to the State. But, in face of all their usefulness and honest discharge of duty, there are those who have sought the abolishment of the Board. An effort to this end has frequently been made during the sessions of the Legislature, and we fear that the enemies to all real
progress will be found renewing their effort this fall, under the plea of retrenchment! They will argue that we should
curtail every possible expense, in order that we may have means to carry on the war. Such a course has been adopted in the South. The late Legislature of Missouri sequestered the school fund of that State and appropriated it to the arming of troops with the aid of which their traitorous Governor hoped to force the State out of the Union. And throughout the whole of Secessiа, the schools have suffered more, if possible, than any other interest. But should it be so with us who pride ourselves upon
the' institutions established by our Pilgrim ancestors ? Surely not, if we call to mind the fact that the establishment of a school was one of their first steps towards laying that foundation which underlies our present prosperity. Next to the inculcation of religion they regarded the culture of the intellect as the great means of securing political free. dom. Shall we, then, suffer ourselves to forget this great fundamental truth, and prove our degeneracy by neglecting in the least the great interests of Education?
If our Legislature would retrench anywhere, let it do so by holding a short session. Let its time be devoted to such legislation as is absolutely necessary to the continuance of the State government, and to keep it in its po. sition as one of the foremost defenders of the integrity of our national government. But for the sake of our future prosperity, let no blow be struck at our school system, which under the judicious management of the present Board is proving itself to be one of the best and most liberal in the civilized world.
L. THE CAT AND KITTENS.--I have been watching family of kittens, engaged in their exquisitely graceful play. Near them lay their mother, stretched at her length upon the flagging, taking her morning nap, and warming herself in the sun. She had eaten her breakfast, (provided by no care of her own, but at my expense,) had seen her little family fed, and having nothing further to attend to, had gone off into a doze. What a blessed freedom from care! Think of a family of four children, with no frocks to be made for them, no bair to brush, no shoes to provide,