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the light all the recesses of ignorance, and torn up by the roots the weeds of vice. His is a progress not to be compared with any thing like a march; but it leads to a far more brilliant triumph, and to laurels more imperishable than the destroyer of his species, the scourge of the world, ever won.”

The learned and brilliant Guizot, who regarded his work in the office of Minister of Public Instruction, in the government of France, the noblest and most valuable work of his life, has left us this valuable testimony.

“Universal education is henceforth one of the guarantees of liberty and social stability. As every principle of our government is founded on justice and reason, to diffuse education among the people, to develop their understandings and enlighten their minds, is to strengthen their constitutional government and secure its stability.”

In his Farewell Address, Washington wrote these words of wise counsel:

“Promote, as an object of primary importance, institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge. In proportion as the structure of a government gives force to public opinion, it is essential that public opinion should be enlightened.”

In his Inaugural Message, when first taking the Presidential chair, the elder Adams said:

“The wisdom and generosity of the legislature in making liberal appropriations in money for the benefit of schools, academies and colleges, is an equal honor to them and to their constituents, a proof of their veneration for letters and science, and a portent of great and lasting good to North and South America and to the world. Great is truth—great is liberty—great is humanity—and they must and will prevail.”

Chancellor Kent used this decided language :

“The parent who sends his son into the world uneducated, defrauds the community of a lawful citizen, and bequeaths to it a nuisance."

I shall conclude the citation of opinions with the stirring words of Edward Everett:

"I know not to what we can better liken the strong appetence of the mind for improvement than to a hunger and thirst after knowledge and truth, nor how can we better describe the province of education than to say, it does that for the intellect which is done for the body, when it receives the care and nourishment wbich are necessary for its growth, health and strength.

“From this comparison I think I derive new views of the importance of education. It is now a solemn duty, a tender, sacred trust.

“What! feed a child's body, and let his soul hunger! pamper his limbs and starve his faculties !

“Plant the earth, cover a thousand hills with your droves of cattle, pursue the fish to their hiding places in the sea, and spread out your wheat fields across the plains in order to supply the wants of that body, which will soon be as cold and senseless as their poorest clod, and let the pure spiritual essence within you, with all its glorious capacities for improvement, languish and pine! What! build factories, turn in rivers upon the waterwheels, unchain the imprisoned spirits of steam, to weave a garment for the body, and let the soul remain unadorned and naked!

“What! send out your vessels to the farthest ocean, and make battle with the monsters of the deep, in order to obtain the means of lighting up your dwellings and workshops, and prolonging the hours of labor for the meat that perisheth, and permit that vital spark, which God has kindled, which He has intrusted to our care, to be fanned into a bright and heavenly flame; permit it, I say, to languish and go out !”

It is remarkable that so many good things have been said, and so few things done by our national statesmen in favor of education. If we inquire what has been done by the governments of other countries to support and advance public education, we are compelled to confess with shame that every government in christendom has given a more intelligent and effective support to schools than has our own.

The free cities of Germany organized the earliest school systems after the separation of church and state. The present schools of Hamburg have existed more than 1,000 years. The earliest school codes were framed in the Duchy of Wurtemburg, in 1565, and in the Electorate of Saxony in 1580. Under these codes were established systems of schools, more perfect, it is claimed, than the school system of any State of the American union. Their systems embraced the gymnasium and the university, and were designed, as their laws expressed it, “ to carry youth from the elements to the degree of culture demanded for offices in church and state.”

The educational institutions of Prussia are too well known to need a comment. It is a sufficient index of their aim and high character that a late Prussian school officer said of his official duties :

“I promised God that I would look upon every Prussian peasant-child as a being who could complain of me before God if I did not provide for him the best education as a man and a christian which it was possible for me to provide."

France did not think herself dishonored by learning from a nation which she had lately conquered; for when, in 1831, she began to provide more fully for the education of her people, she sent the philosopher Cousin to Holland and Prussia, to study and report upon the schools of those States. Guizot was made Minister of Public Instruction, and held the office from 1832 to 1837. In 1833 the report of Cousin was published, and the educational system of France was established on the Prussian model.

No portion of his brilliant career reflects more honor upon Guizot than his five years' work for the schools of France. The fruits of his labors were not lost in the revolutions that followed. The present emperor is giving his best efforts to the perfection and maintenance of schools, and is endeavoring to make the profession of the teacher more honorable and desirable than it has been hitherto.

Through the courtesy of the Secretary of State, I have obtained the last annual report of the Minister of Public Instruction in France, which exhibits the present state of education in that empire.

At the last enumeration there were in France, in the colleges and lyceums, 65,832 pupils, in the secondary schools, 200,000, and in the primary or common schools, 4,720,234.

Besides the large amount raised by local taxation, the imperial government appropriated, during the year 1865, 2,349,051 francs for the support of primary schools.

Teaching is one of the regular professions in France, and the government offers prizes, and bestows honors upon the successful instructor of children. During the year 1865, 1,154 prizes were distributed to teachers in primary schools.

An order of honor, and a medal worth 250 francs, is awarded to the best teacher in each commune.

After a long and faithful service in his profession, the teacher is retired on half pay, and, if broken down in health, is pensioned for life. In 1865, there were 4,245 teachers on the pension list of France. The Minister says in his report: “ The statesmen of France have determined to show that the country knows how to honor those who serve her even in obscurity.”

Since 1862, 10,243 libraries for the use of common schools have been established, and they now contain 1,117,352 volumes, more than a third of which have been furnished by the imperial government. Half a million text-books are furnished for the use of children who are too poor to buy them. It is the policy of France to afford the means of education to every child in the empire.

When we compare the conduct of other governments with our own, we can not accuse ourselves so much of illiberality, as of reckless folly in the application of our liberality to the support of schools.

. No government has expended so much to so little purpose. To fourteen States alone we have given, for the support of schools, 83,000 square miles of land ; or an amount of territory nearly equal to two


such States as Ohio. But how has this bountiful appropriation been applied? This chapter in our history has never been written. No member of this House or the Senate; no executive officer of the government now knows, and no man ever did know, what disposition has been made of this immense bounty. This bill requires the Commissioner of Education to report to Congress what lands have been given to schools, and how the proceeds have been applied. If we are not willing to follow the example of our fathers in giving, let us, at least, perpetuate the record of their liberality, and preserve its beneficent results.

Mr. Speaker: I have thus hurriedly and imperfectly exhibited the magnitude of the interests involved in the education of American youth; the peculiar condition of affairs which demand at this time, an increase of our educational forces; the failure of a majority of the States to establish school systems; the long struggles through which others have passed in achieving success, and the humiliating contrast between the action of our government, and those of other nations in reference to education; but I can not close without referring to the bearing of this measure upon the peculiar work of this Congress.

When the history of the XXXIX Congress is written, it will be recorded that two great purposes inspired it, and made their impress upon all its efforts, viz: to build up free States on the ruins of slavery, and to extend to every inhabitant of the United States the rights and privileges of citizenship.

Before the divine Architect builded order out of chaos, He said, “ let there be light.” Shall we commit the fatal mistake of building up free States without expelling the darkness in which slavery shrouded them? Shall we enlarge the boundaries of citizenship and make no provision to increase the intelligence of the citizen?

I share most fully in the aspirations of this Congress, and give my most cordial support to its policy; but I believe its work will prove a disastrous failure unless it makes the schoolmaster its ally, and aids him in preparing the children of the United States to perfect the work now begun.

The stork is a sacred bird in Holland, and is protected by public law, because it destroys those insects which would undermine the dikes and let the sea again overwhelm the rich fields of the Netherlands. Shall this government do nothing to foster and strengthen those educational agencies which alone can shield the coming generation from ignorance and vice, and make it the impregnable bulwark of liberty and law ?

I know that this measure presents few attractions to those whose chief work is to watch the political movements that relate only to nominating conventions and elections. The mere politician will see in it nothing valuable, for the millions of children to be benefited by it, can give him no votes. But I appeal to those who care more for the future safety and glory of this nation than for any mere temporary advantage, to aid in giving to education the public recognition and active support of the Federal government.

The final action of the House on the bill was not reached till the 19th of June, when the question being taken by yeas and nays, it was passed by a vote of 80 yeas to 44 nays, with the following title and provisions

AN ACT TO ESTABLISH A DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That there shall be established, at the city of Washington, a Department of Education for the purpose of collecting such statistics and facts as shall show the condition and progress of education in the several States and Territories, and of diffusing such information respecting the organization and management of schools and school systems, ang methods of teaching, as shall aid the people of the United States in the establishment and maintenance of efficient school systems, and otherwise promote the cause of education throughout the country.

SEC. 2. And be it further enacted, That there shall be appointed by the I resident, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, a Commissioner of Education, who shall be intrusted with the management of the department herein established, and who shall receive a salary of four thousand dollars per annum, and who shall have authority to appoint one chief clerk of his department, who shall receive a salary of two thousand dollars per annum, one clerk who shall receive a salary of eighteen hundred dollars per annum, and one clerk who shall receive a salary of sixteen hundred dollars per annum, which said clerks shall be subject to the appointing and removing power of the Commissioner of Education.

Sec. 3. And be it further enacted, That it shall be the duty of the Commissioner of Education to present annually to Congress a report embodying the results of his investigations and labors, together with a statement of such facts and recommendations as will, in his judgment, subserve the purpose for which this department is established. In the first report made by the Commissioner of Education under this act there shall be presented a statement of the several grants of land made by Congress to promote education, and the manner in which these several trusts have been managed, the amount of funds arising therefrom, and the annual proceeds of the same, as far as the same can be deterinined.

SEC. 4. And be it further enacted, That the Commissioner of Public Buildings is hereby authorized and directed to furnish proper offices for the use of the department berein established.

The Bill, in the Senate, was referred to the Standing Committee on the Judiciary, who recommended its passage without amendment; and, after a debate on the 26th of Feb., 1867, on a motion to substitute Bureau for Department, was passed without division on the 1st of March, and signed by the President on the 2d. On the 11th of March, Henry BARNARD was nominated by President Johnson, on the 16th was confirmed by the unanimous vote of the Senate, and on the 17th entered on the duties of Commissioner of Education.


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