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coach. This was very sad, and for the moment I deplored the ill-luck which had brought me to so savage a country. Such and such like are the incidents which make an Englishman in the States unhappy, and rouse his gall against the institutions of the country ;these things and the continued appliance of the irritating ointment of American braggadocio with which his sores are kept open. But though I was badly off on that railway platform, -worse off than I should have been in England, -all that crowd of porters round me were better off than our English porters. They had a “good time” of it. And this, O my English brother who hast travelled through the States and returned disgusted, is the fact throughout. Those men whose familiarity was so disgusting to you are having a good time of it. “They might be a little more civil,” you say, "and yet read and write just as well.” True; but they are arguing in their minds that civility to you will be taken by you for subservience, or for an acknowledgment of superiority, and looking at your habits of life, yours and mine together, I am not quite sure that they are altogether wrong. Have you ever realized to yourself as a fact that the porter who carries your box has not made himself inferior to you by the very act of carrying that box? If not, that is the very lesson which the man wishes to teach you.
If a man can forget his own miseries in his journeyings, and think of the people he comes to see rather than of himself, I think he will find himself driven to admit that education has made life for the million in the Northern States better than life for the million is with us. They have begun at the beginning, and have so managed that every one may learn to read and write, have so managed that almost every one does learn to read and write. With us this cannot now be done. Population had come upon us in masses too thick for management before we had as yet acknowledged that it would be a good thing that these masses should be educated. Prejudices, too, had sprung up, and habits, and strong sectional feelings, all antagonistic to a great national system of education. We are, I suppose, now, doing all that we can do; but comparatively it is little. I think I saw some time since that the cost for gratuitous education, or education in part gratuitous, which had fallen upon the nation had already amounted to the sum of 800,000l.; and I think also that I read in the document which revealed to me this fact, a very strong opinion that Government could not at present go much further. But if this matter were regarded in England as it is regarded in Massachusetts,—or rather, had it from some prosperous beginning been put upon a similar
footing, 800,0001. would not have been esteemed a great expenditure for free education simply in the city of London. In 1857 the public schools of Boston cost 70,0001., and these schools were devoted to a population of about 180,000 souls. Taking the population of London at two-and-a-half millions, the whole sum now devoted to England would, if expended in the metropolis, ma education there even cheaper than it is in Boston. In Boston during 1857 there were above 24,000 pupils at these public schools, giving more than one-eighth of the whole population. But I fear it would not be practicable for us to spend 800,000l. on the gratuitous education of London. Rich as we are, we should not know where to raise the money. In Boston it is raised by a separate tax. It is a thing understood, acknowledged, and made easy by being babitual,-as is our national debt. I do not know that Boston is peculiarly blessed, but I quote the instance as I have a record of its schools before me. At the three high schools in Boston at which the average of pupils is 526, about 131. per head is paid for free education. The average price per annum of a child's schooling throughout these schools in Boston is about 31. per an
To the higher schools any boy or girl may attain without any expense, and the education is probably as good as can be given, and as far advanced. The only question is, whether it is not advanced further than may be necessary. Here, as at New York, I was almost startled by the amount of knowledge around me, and listened, as I might have done, to an examination in theology among young Brahmins. When a young lad explained in my hearing all the properties of the different levers as exemplified by the bones of the human body, I bowed my head before him in unaffected humility. We, at our English schools, never got beyond the use of those bones which he described with such accurate scientific knowledge. In one of the girls' schools they were reading Milton, and when we entered were discussing the nature of the pool in which the Devil is described as wallowing. The question had been raised by one of the girls. A pool, so called, was supposed to contain but a small amount of water, and how could the Devil, being so large, get into it? Then came the origin of the word pool,-from“ palus,” a marsh, as we were told, some dictionary attesting to the fact,--and such a marsh might cover a large expanse. The Palus Mæotis' was then quoted. we went on till Satan's theory of political liberty,
“ Better to reign in hell than serve in heaven,” was thoroughly discussed and understood. These girls of sixteen and seventeen got up one after another and gave their opinions on
the subject,--how far the Devil was right and how far he was manifestly wrong. I was attended by one of the directors or guardians of the schools, and the teacher, I thought, was a little embarrassed by her position. But the girls themselves were as easy in their demeanour as though they were stitching handkerchiefs at home.
It is impossible to refrain from telling all this, and from making a little innocent fun out of the superexcellencies of these schools ; but the total result on my mind was very greatly in their favour. And indeed the testimony came in both ways. Not only was I called on to form an opinion of what the men and women would become from the education which was given to the boys and girls, but also to say what must have been the education of the boys and girls from what I saw of the men and women. Of course it will be understood that I am not here speaking of those I met in society, or of their children, but of the working people,—of that class who find that a gratuitous education for their children is needful, if any considerable amount of education is to be given.
The result is to be seen daily in the whole intercourse of life. The coachman who drives you, the man who mends your window, the boy who brings home your purchases, the girl who stitches your wife's dress,—they all carry with them sure signs of education, and show it in every word they utter.
It will of course be understood that this is, in the separate States, a matter of State law; indeed I may go further and say that it is in most of the States a matter of State constitution. It is by no means a matter of Federal constitution. The United States as a nation takes no heed of the education of its people. All that is left to the judgment of the separate States. In most of the thirteen original States provision is made in the written constitution for the general education of the people; but this is not done in all. I find that it was more frequently done in the Northern or Freesoil States than in those which admitted slavery,--as might have been expected. In the constitutions of South Carolina and Virginia I find no allusion to the public provision for education, but in those of North Carolina and Georgia it is enjoined. The forty-first section of the constitution for North Carolina enjoins that schools shall be established by the legislature for the convenient instruction of youth with such salaries, to the masters, paid by the public, as may enable them to instruct at low prices;" showing that the intention here was to assist education, and not provide it altogether gratuitously. I think that provision for public education is enjoined in the constitutions of all the States admitted into the Union since the first federal knot was tied, except in that of Illinois. Vermont was the first so admitted, in 1791, and Vermont declares that “a competent number of schools ought to be maintained in each town for the convenient instruction of youth.”. Ohio was the second, in 1802, and Ohio enjoins that “the general assembly shall make such provisions by taxation or otherwise as, with the income arising from the school trust fund, will secure a thorough and efficient system of common schools throughout the State; but no religious or other sect or sects shall ever have any exclusive right or control of any part of the school funds of this State.” In Indiana, admitted in 1816, it is required that “the general assembly shall provide by law for a general and uniform system of common schools.” Illinois was admitted next, in 1818; but the constitution of Illinois is silent on the subject of education. It enjoins, however, in lieu of this, that no person shall fight a duel or send a challenge! If he do he is not only to be punished, but to be deprived for ever of the power of holding any office of honour or profit in the State. I have no reason, however, for supposing that education is neglected in Illinois, or that duelling has been abolished. In Maine it is demanded that the towns—the whole country is divided into what are called towns -shall make suitable provision at their own expense for the support and maintenance of public schools.
Some of these constitutional enactments are most magniloquently worded, but not always with precise grammatical correctness. That for the famous Bay State of Massachusetts runs as follows: “Wisdom and knowledge, as well as virtue, diffused generally among the body of the people, being necessary for the preservation of their rights and liberties, and as these depend on spreading the opportunities and advantages of education in the various parts of the country, and among the different orders of the people, it shall be the duty of the legislatures and magistrates, in all future periods of this commonwealth, to cherish the interest of literature and the sciences, and of all seminaries of them, especially the University at Cambridge, public schools, and grammar schools in the towns; to encourage private societies and public institutions, by rewards and immunities for the promotion of agriculture, arts, sciences, commerce, trades, manufactures, and a natural history of the country; to countenance and inculcate the principles of humanity and general benevolence, public and private charity, industry and frugality, honesty and punctuality in all their dealings; sincerity, good humour, and all social affections and generous sentiments among
the people." I must confess, that had the words of that little consti
tutional enactment been made known to me before I had seen its practical results, I should not have put much faith in it. Of all the public schools I have ever seen,-by public schools I mean schools for the people at large maintained at public cost,—those of Massachusetts are, I think, the best. But of all the educational
I enactments which I ever read, that of the same State is, I should say, the worst.
In Texas now, of which as a State the people of Massachusetts do not think much, they have done it better. "A general diffusion of knowledge being essential to the preservation of the rights and liberties of the people, it shall be the duty of the legislature of this State to make suitable provision for the support and maintenance of public schools.” So say the Texians; but then the Texians had the advantage of a later experience than any which fell in the way of the constitution-makers of Massachusetts.
There is something of the magniloquence of the French style, of the liberty, equality, and fraternity mode of eloquence in the preambles of most of these constitutions, which, but for their success, would have seemed to have prophesied loudly of failure. Those of New York and Pennsylvania are the least so, and that of Massachusetts by far the most violently magniloquent. They generally commence by thanking God for the present civil and religious liberty of the people, and by declaring that all men are born free and equal. New York and Pennsylvania, however, refrain from any such very general remarks.
I am well aware that all these constitutional enactments are not likely to obtain much credit in England. It is not only that grand phrases fail to convince us, but that they carry to our senses almost an assurance of their own inefficiency. When we hear that a people have declared their intention of being henceforward better than their neighbours, and going upon a new theory that shall lead them direct to a terrestrial paradise, we button up our pockets and lock up our spoons.
And that is what we have done very much as regards the Americans. We have walked with them and talked with them, and bought with them and sold with them; but we have mistrusted them as to their internal habits and modes of life, thinking that their philanthropy was pretentious and that their theories were vague. Many cities in the States are but skeletons of towns, the streets being there, and the houses numbered, but not one house built out of ten that have been so counted up. We have regarded their institutions as we regard those cities, and have been specially willing so to consider them because of the fine language in which they have been paraded before us. They have been regarded as the skeletons of philanthropical systems, to which