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task-master's whip, and the iron yoke of rent and debt; then the education of their children at the public cost; then a measurable exemption from taxation and conscription, in a land where military service, religion, and the other associations of life were voluntary, and not imposed by the State ; and thus, in every turn in life, a new opportunity appeared. Is it any wonder, then, that for such a country, in its hour of peril, its people offered themselves to death, by millions, rather than allow so noble a heritage to be lost to their children?

In such a nation the lot of our Association has been cast, and we have been enabled by one means or another to do our part in its development. Our latest effort, of which mention has been made at the last two annual meetings, has been to promote Social Science instruction in popular assemblies and the places of higher education, and it is on this point that I am specially to report this morning :

[The Secretary here read letters from Miss Coman, Secretary of the Education Department, from Prof. Wodrow Wilson, of Bryn Mawr College, and from others, to show how fast and systematically the work of collegiate instruction in Social Science was developing, and added :]

In this community of states our work as an Association has been done,- and from circumstances in part accidental, done chiefly in a few of the States. Now has come our opportunity to extend it throughout all the States by means of collegiate and popular instruction in social science, which has been spreading through the institutions of learning, in many States not before reached by our efforts.

It is by the introduction of systematic teaching of the social sciences in the lyceums, colleges, and universities of America that the objects of our Association are hereafter to be best promoted. That teaching has been well begun in Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Cornell, the universities of Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin, the colleges for women, Vassar, Smith, Wellesley, Bryn Mawr, etc.; and in many another institution of learning of whichi we here know little more than the name, but which may have organized, since our last report was inade, a better system than any of those that have here been mentioned. For it is ainong the boundless opportunities of our country that a new university -like that at Baltimore, or those which Stanford and Clarke are founding by either ocean that forms our enormous boundary — or, perhaps, some obscure college of the prairie, the bayou, or the forest may suddenly develop a method of instruction that the older institutions can take as their model. Thus our Democracy, which is the most lively vehicle of modern civilization, is vital in every part, and may send up anywhere a shoot that shall become a tree, both of life and of knowledge, whose fruit no man is forbidden to pluck.


ABSTRACT OF COLONEL HIGGINSON'S ADDRESS. Col. T. W. Higginson, Chairman of the Department of Education, opened his brief address by speaking of his long service in former years on school boards and similar organizations, from which he had lately been so much relieved that he was something like the other New England man, of whom his son said, “ Father is a deacon, but he don't do much at it now.” This independent position and his long residence in a university town (Cambridge) without any close connection with Harvard College gave him opportunities for impartial observation of educational questions which might, perhaps, be of some value to the Association. The office of teacher in all its grades, he thought, was still undervalued everywhere, although held in higher estimation than formerly. It is still, ordinarily, a temporary business, rather than a life profession, being taken up, especially by young men, while preparing themselves for some other profession. On two or three points in the present aspect of school questions remarks could be made — mainly on the use of free text-books in the public schools, and on the elective system in colleges and universities. Other topics of equal or greater importance will be treated in the papers following.

The progress of education in the United States, during the past year has been gratifying and full of promise. Not only have the means and appiances for public and private education been more ample than ever before, but the standard of the teacher's profession is constantly rising. That it is not yet up to the level of the other learned professions is evident from the fact that good teachers are constantly leaving the profession to become lawyers or clergymen, while those successful in these last occupations very rarely leave them to become teachers. Nevertheless, there is a marked progress to be seen. In the lower grades of public education, two problems are just now especially before the publicthe introduction of manual instruction and the free supply of text-books. The former question may be very briefly stated. It is necessary to distinguish between manual education and industrial training. In my opinion, the introduction of industrial training would be a great calamity to the public schools, and that of manual education,- that is, the training of the senses with a purely educational purpose - a great benefit. This subject has been amply discussed before the Social Science Association in

other years, and it is not needful to dwell upon it. The other problem - that of the free supply that of the free supply of text-books

text-books - is comparatively new. I have been led to give some attention to it, and am satisfied that the present provision for an absolutely free supply of books, as existing in the State of Massachusetts and elsewhere, has great drawbacks, and should be either carried further or not so far. Massachusetts is, perhaps, the only State which, by law, provides that the school-books in public schools shall be furnished by the city or town without expense to the pupil, ahhough, for several years, cities in different parts of the country had been introducing this practice. There is a minor evil involved in it, and a greater one. It accustoms children, otherwise of neat habits, to use books soiled by previous use on the part of others less careful. The more serious objection is, that the present system tends to deprive all humbler homes of books. As a rule, the farm-house library has heretofore coösisted, almost wholly, of the cast-off school-books of the children, and although some of these have remained unopened, it was more common for them to be read over and over again by the younger children, and even by the parents. The old books on the little corner bookshelf — the arithmetic, the geography, the history,-- became, in a manner, a liberal education to the whole household. An eminent American author, Edward Eggleston, has lately said that his first impulse toward literature came from poring over two old school readers of his mother. The evil of this change is so great that it can only be remedied by the additional step of giving to each child, at the end of the year, the books he has used. If it be said that this would be a step toward socialism, the answer is that it is only the logical consequence of the step already taken, wherever the free supply is adopted.

There are also two leading questions in higher education now pending in our colleges. One of these, the higher education of woinan, is rapidly settling itself, and will be discussed later in the session. The other, the elective system in colleges and universities, is also rapidly settling itself, the whole progress being in the direction of the freer system. In all debates on the subject between representatives of different colleges, it is observable that each speaker goes in favor of the elective system, so far as his own college has tried it, and only distrusts it wherever some other college has gone a little farther beyond the ken of his own observation. Wherever it has been tried most extensively, the feeling in favor of freedom is usually the strongest. As a resident of one of the university towns, where the elective system has been most thoroughly tried (Cambridge, Mass.), I confess to a constantly increasing faith in it. From observing its influence both on teachers and pupils, I am more and more satisfied that it works best when left freest, and that all efforts to limit it by partial interference, such as the attempt to group together certain studies, do more harm than good. The main considerations at the bottom of the whole matter are two very simple ones.

In the first place, no young man makes more blunders in selecting his own electives than his father or teacher would, probably, make for him. In the second place, every man learns something by his own blunders, while nobody gains any wisdom by the blunders made by his parents or teachers. These two considerations I have found conclusive in favor of the widest possible application of the elective system in our colleges.


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