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The Twelfth Annual Meeting of the National Educational Association commenced its sessions in Boston, Tuesday, August 6th, 1872, in the rooms of the Girls' High School, at 10 o'clock A.M.

The Association was called to order by the President, Hon. E. E. White, of Columbus, Ohio, and was opened with prayer by Rev. A. A. MINER, D.D., President of Tufts College.


The President. I now have the very great pleasure of introducing to the Association the Hon. WILLIAM Gaston, Mayor of Boston.

Mr. Gaston. Ladies and Gentlemen: I recognize with profound respect the devotion to the cause of learning which calls you together to-lay. You have come from far and near to bring to a common storehouse the rich fruits of your varied experience as educators, in order that all may share alike in their benefits and their blessings.

Your vocation, which seeks to educate, and thus to elevate, raises you to a higher and purer atmosphere than that which surrounds the struggles and conflicts, the alternate triumphs and defeats of ordinary life, and inspires you with a devotion to your calling to which but few forms of labor and of duty can furnish a parallel. This high devotion nourished by you, and encouraged and sustained by others, is one of the blessings of the present, and one of the foundations of our hope for the future.

The purpose of your meeting needs no commendation from me. It carries with it its own justification and even praise.

I regret that it is not in my power to aid you in your deliberations. For such a purpose my presence could not have been asked or desired; but I am here in behalf of a city which claims at least to have contributed something to the cause of popular education, to extend to you my warmest greetings and my most cordial welcome.

The President then introduced Rev. Robert C. WATERSTON, Chairman of the Committee of Reception from the School Committee, who said:

Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen:

In behalf of the School-Board of the City of Boston, I extend to you a cordial welcome. You have received words of greeting from His Honor the Mayor; but those who have been appointed especially to have charge of the educational interests of the city, at a late meeting at the City Hall, appointed a committee of five to extend to you their fraternal good-will and most hearty welcome.

In some respects this period of midsummer may be an unfavorable season, for, after the arduous duties of the school-year, many of our teachers, exhausted by their long labors, have sought relaxation at such a distance from the city that they may not have the privilege of being present. I know that you will understand the cause of their absence and be willing to excuse it. Probably, however, before the close of your session you will have the pleasure of being welcomed by many more teachers and members of the School-Board than are now present; certain it is that they will gladly be here if it shall be in their power.

We know that your Association, during its existence of fifteen years, bas held its interesting meetings in many of the great cities of the West. We rejoice that it is now our turn to welcome you, that you assemble this year in Massachusetts, the good old commonwealth that has cherished the principle of public education almost from the very commencement of her existence. Two centuries and a half ago, the first school was established in the City of Boston [1635), and now you are welcomed to this noble structure, which is only one of the many public edifices dedicated to education. We do not feel that we can impart to you greater knowledge, wisdom and skill than you will yourselves bring to us. We feel that from that great breadth of western country, with all its influences of the new civilization, shaking off useless conventionalities, holding, perhaps, wider and more comprehensive views, you bring with you the same sympathy with the great cause of education which our own city and commonwealth have so long cherished. We feel thankful that you have come, with your advanced thought and expansive views, to pour light into our minds, and help us to carry on with renewed vigor the work that is alike dear to

us all.

We, not unfrequently, have had teachers' meetings and associations with us before; but they have been of a different character, chiefly local; we have had meetings frequently of New-England teachers; but here we have a National Association, and we give you a still more hearty welcome, because, although through the veins of many of you may flow New-England blood — and we trust that in the hearts of all is kindled the New-England spirit — we welcome you with a National feeling. We trust we shall hear voices from every state in the great Republic, from beyond the Alleghanies, and beyond the Rocky Mountains; from the South and from the Pacific Coast.

Ladies and gentlemen, it has been my privilege to visit many of the states, partly in the interest of education, and to make reports in a measure afterward to the School-Board of Boston; and I have seen throughout the South and West and on the Pacific Coast, in all those rich and magnificent sections of the country, that the school was honored and that public education was every where considered the foundation of our public welfare. I was thankful to see that so many of those most devoted to the work came from New England. Pardon me if I mention one who is with us today, Mr. Swetr, from California, who,

perhaps more than any other man, has moulded the schools of that state. In attending a convention of teachers in San Francisco, some two years since, I was rejoiced to witness the feeling which pervaded that body. There is a bond of fellowship and even of affection that binds us all together. I feel that I am in the midst of a circle united in a common cause. Witnessing this spirit extending throughout the country, we have new reason for faith in the stability of the Republic. Thank God, now that we are no longer shaken by the convulsions of civil war, we may be more united than ever under one national flag, and may we all be ready to swear by the God of Heaven that we will be alike true to the flag and to the great principles of education, which are the only sure foundations of civil and religious liberty. More precious than the gold of the mines of California, and more priceless than the prolific harvests upon the western prairies, are those supremely important interests which have been placed under your charge. When I look over the lists of those whom you have chosen for your officers, I feel indeed that I am addressing a body representing the intellect and the moral worth of the nation. When I look upon those assembled here and feel what you yourselves are, and the body of teachers associated with you, I am moved to the profoundest respect for this Association; and for the transcendent object which brings you together, and in behalf of the School-Board of this city, I extend to you the most cordial welcome.

Ten years have passed since you placed in your constitution a clause admitting women to membership. Since then you have come together with increase of honor and added inspiration. This fact in your own history suggests to me that after the settlement of Boston a century and a half passed before there were any public schools; and it is a curious circumstance that when the public schools were first opened to girls [1789] it was simply incidental. Owing to the primitive character of the times, it happened that many of the boys were engaged in agriculture and industrial labor in the summer, from April to October; the schools became, on this account, nearly deserted, and, in order to make use of the vacant places that were thus left by the boys, the girls were, by favor, allowed to come in and enjoy the privilege for a season. This custom continued about thirty years. It was not until nearly two hundred years after schools had been publicly established for boys that girls were admitted to all the privileges enjoyed by the other sex. And now in this building in which you have assembled you see one of the magnificent structures built by this city for girls alone. Doubtless, at the end of a hundred years it will be found that there are still other stages of progress that will be looked upon by those of that day as we look upon what has already transpired.

Ladies and gentlemen, you yourselves bring the feast, and yet I confess to you I should feel mortified if, while we open our halls and our schools, and come together to discuss the subject of national education, the good City of Boston did not extend to you some more palpable expression of her hospitality. The School-Board have not themselves the treasury at their disposal. The City Fathers, perhaps wisely fearing that in some things we might be too liberal, retain the purse-strings in their own hands. But we shall do every thing in our power to extend to you every possible hospitality, and I do not for a moment question that the city government, which is always generous, and which knows no object dearer than that of education, will do what will be most honorable to itself and acceptable to all.

Whatever measures are adopted for a social gathering, due notice shall be given before the close of the convention. Once again I extend to each and all a most cordial welcome.

The President then introduced Mr. F. H. UNDERWOOD, a member of the Committee of Reception.

Mr. Underwood. I am very glad, Mr. President, that your association meets in our city; for I am fully aware that Boston is an enigma in the minds of people in various parts of the country. Those who come here for the first time, and those who have merely formed their opinions by hearsay, rarely have favorable impressions. They see that our buildings are solid, gloomy, and made ugly, as though with malice aforethought. Our people, they imagine, are like the houses they dwell in, comfortably sheltered, but peering out through their spectacles, as from close-shut windows, and as cool and forbidding as their granite walls. The Boston man, as he exists in the popular mind,

one who in his own esteem is complete, lacking nothing. He has his furniture, his safe old family coach, and his library. His 'club, his office, the exchange, are all parts of a fixed daily routine. He has his church and his particular pew, and his established theology. His opinions on all subjects are clear and set down, as if in docketed and labeled bundles, and carefully stowed away in their respective pigeon-holes. He has his preacher, his favorite authors, his candidate for President: no doubt or indifference or change in any one of them. His wife has her silks, her diamonds, and her camel’s-hair shawl. She has her proper jewels and apparel for all social uses, and her “set” in which she moves like a planet in its sphere.

Such being the notion of the typical Bostonian, it might be supposed that all his ideas pertaining to education had crystallized (or fossilized) to an equal solidity. But the Boston man, when known, is quite a different person. It is not true that our savans or philosophers spend their lives, like the Hindoo gods, in the contemplation of their own perfections. Although the system of free schools and the idea of universal education originated here, we are very far from thinking that we have arrived at a point where there can be no improvement. Throughout our whole school system, from the venerable university at Cambridge down to our primary schools, there have been recently great and important movements. The new President of Harvard has infused his ideas of the New Education, and has led the way to a thorough reform in all branches of higher instruction. The Latin School has followed, and is now at work upon a programme that makes a change as thorough as though it were a new school. Other schools feel the influence, and are tending to the same path of progress.

So, in stead of coming to a city with fixed opinions on the best methods of teaching, you find a prevalent state of inquiry, and a disposition to look for light from all quarters. We therefore welcome this assembly of instructors, and we assure you that we are as ready to profit by your advice and your experience as the newest town on the frontier. Hoping, further, that you will not find us quite so grim as we have been painted, but will come to know that we are human at heart, only a little unfortunate in manner, perhaps,—and that your session may be pleasant and profitable to all, I bid you once more welcome.

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