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it certainly doesno necessity is imposed upon us to abandon the whole system, but rather to adhere to it in spite of its imperfections. The fact that so little religion is taught in these institutions is a great public calamity; but the calamity would probably be much greater if there were no institutions in which to teach anything. In some localities, however, the condition of the schools may be such as to render it impossible for Christians to support them. Let all be fully persuaded in their own mind.

And here a remark may be made about the importance of exerting more Christian influence in the oversight of the common schools. The school system will undoubtedly degenerate still more if Christians as a body, or ministers as a class, cease from taking an active interest in its management.

The friends of the public schools may lawfully urge the use of the Scriptures, as the text-book common to every Church. Christianity is incorporated into the customs of the people ; it is acknowledged in our halls of legislation, in our courts of justice, and in our public and social usages. A great many of the State schools might admit

, the reading and the studying of the Scriptures, with proper exertions on the part of Christians. The tendency, unfortunately, is the other way; and the question of the versions is becoming more and more difficult to manage. But Christians and patriots should, at this crisis, rally with new vigour and perseverance, in order to do all that can be lawfully done to keep the Word of God in daily contact with the youth of the land.

2d. Another part of the policy of the Church is to resist the Papal invasion of the State treasury for the propagation of Romanism. Free toleration being granted to all sects, special sectarian support by law is a favour inconsistent with equal rights. The Papal claim to a per capita share of the educational taxes is unjust, both in its general principle and in its particular application; for it is well known that the Papists contribute to the general fund the merest fraction, so that they aim at nothing more nor less than to grasp Protestant funds to maintain the Romish perversions of Scripture. If any one of the States gives to any one sect particular privileges in education, every other sect has the right to demand the same privileges. But no sect, except the Papal, is intent upon obtaining the public moneys everywhere. In New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Maryland, and other States, the Man of Sin seems to have organized a simultaneous movement to secure a proportion of State funds for sectarian purposes, a demand anti-republican and illegal in its abstract form, as well as unjust in its basis of apportionment. Presbyterians will unite with Christians of every name, and with all lovers of their country, in opposing a measure so inconsistent with the civil, religious, and social privileges of the country.

3d. It accords with our true policy to encourage religious schools

and academies under private teachers, where circumstances favour their establishment. It would, however, be manifestly unwise and incongruous to leave a work like public education solely to individual activity. Even the distribution of tracts and books calls for a public system of colportage. Religious education is the last thing to be committed altogether to private superintendence, however desirable unquestionably to enlist its supplemental aid. There are many places where denominational institutions cannot be so well sustained as private ones. Private Christian enterprise has opportunities of great usefulness in this and in all departments of benevolence.

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4th. This leads to the last remark, that it is the policy of the Presbyterian Church to sustain institutions of learning under her own care. The right of the Church to educate cannot be questioned. The schools, academies, and colleges, reared by our own authority, are upon a religious foundation, suited to supply our own denominational wants, and adapted to promote the public good. Hundreds of youth have already been converted, under God, through their instrumentality, and many been brought into the ministry of reconciliation. The advantages of thorough religious nurture concur with other considerations of duty, in urging us to uphold all institutions which God, in his providence, may give us the opportunity of establishing. Our array of parochial schools, small though it be,far too small—is training up a goodly number of sons and daughters for the highest purposes of life and immortality. Our academies are unfurling their banners at the North, and the South, and the East, and the West, and summoning strong companies of youth to prepare to do their part in the army of the living God. Our colleges adopt the ancient approved course of classical learning, thorough discipline, and religious instruction, and should be sustained on the most ample basis of financial endowment and ecclesiastical patronage. Our theological seminaries, the schools of the prophets, partake largely of the affections and prayers of the Church; and whether established at Bethel, or Jericho, or Gilgal, or Ramah, should possess the confidence of all the tribes, from Dan to Beersheba, and from the seacoast to the farthest borders of the land. In thus rallying around our own institutions, we are true to the faith and practice of our fathers; are loyal to our Church covenants, whilst our attachment to the State is undiminished; we are in a condition to avail ourselves of whatever opportunities of further progress in all the departments of education Providence may offer, and are doing a work which no man has any right to complain of, and which, we trust, our God will graciously approve and bless. The aim of the Church is the salvation of her children. She jeopards immortal interests by surrendering education exclusively to the State. Religious training is emphatically her own domain. In the language of an eminent living father of our Church, “So far as human instrumentality is concerned,

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the resources of the world are found in the Church of God. Her scriptures and her ministry, her Sabbaths and her ordinances, her religious training of the young, and her prayers, her bounty, her example, and her self-denying efforts and courage, are the hope of benighted and lost men." "If circumstances connected with the

. existing condition of society render expedient co-operation with the educational movements of the State, it is still, emphatically, the duty of the Church to foster her own schools, academies, and colleges. Religious truth must be assiduously inculcated into the minds of the young. We must openly, faithfully proclaim “God's sayings, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children: that the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children: that they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments.”

CORTLANDT VAN RENSSELAER,

Corresponding Secretary. PHILADELPHIA, May, 1853.

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ARTICLE VII.

A LETTER ON PUBLIC INSTRUCTION IN SOUTH

CAROLINA.*

*

BY THE REV. JAMES H. THORNWELL, D.D., PRESIDENT OF THE SOUTH CAROLINA

COLLEGE.

South CAROLINA COLLEGE, November, 1853. To His EXCELLENCY GOVERNOR MANNING :

I ask the favour of presenting to your Excellency a few reflections upon the subject of public instruction in South Carolina. As I feel that I am addressing one whose interest and zeal in the prosperity of letters will induce him to weigh with candour, to estimate with charity, and even to invest with disproportionate value, the crudest hints which spring from the desire to increase the educational facilities of the State, I shall dismiss all apprehensions of being suspected of an officious intrusion upon your notice. You are the man above all others, to whom the head of this Institution should look with confidence, to give fresh impulse to the general cause of education; and you will excuse me for saying, that if the suggestions which shall fall from me, or the maturer recommendations which shall come from yourself, shall terminate auspiciously to the wishes of us both, there will be

* This letter was addressed to his Excellency GOVERNOR MANNING, in 1853, when Dr. Thornwell was President of the South Carolina College. Although we differ from the eminent writer, in his views on Denominational Education, it gives us great pleasure to republish the letter, as an important public document which deserves a place in a “PRESBYTERIAN EDUCATION REPOSITORY.”

furnished a beautiful instance of Providential retribution, in connecting the name of the first conspicuous benefactor of the South Carolina College with the establishment of an adequate system of common schools. A proud distinction in itself to be the friend and patron of learning, the honour is increased in your case, in that it has been pre-eminently your care, in its higher and lower culture, to dispense its blessings to the poor. Apart from fellowship with God, there cannot be a sveeter satisfaction than that which arises from the consciousness of being a father to the fatherless; and if the ends, which I know are dear to your heart, can only be achieved, every indigent child in the State, looking upon you as its real father, may address you in the modest and glowing terms which the genius of Milton has canonized, as fit expressions of gratitude for the

noblest of all gifts :
At tibi, chare pater, postquam non æqua merenti
Posse referre datur, nec dona rependere factis,
Sit memorasse satis, repetitaque munera grato

Percensere animo, fidæque reponere menti. I am not insensible to the dangers and difficulties which attend the discussion of this subject. It is so seductive to the fancy, that the temptation is almost irresistible to indulge in schemes and visionary projects. In the effort to realize the conception of a perfect education, we are apt to forget that there is no such thing as absolute perfection in the matter, that all excellence is relative, and that the highest recommendation of any plan is that it is at once practicable, and adjusted to the wants and condition of those for whom it is provided. A system of public instruction, like the form of government, must spring from the manners, maxims, habits, and associations of the people. It must penetrate their character, constitute an element of their national existence, be a portion of themselves, if it would not be suspected as an alien, or distrusted as a spy. The success of the Prussian scheme is ascribed by Cousin, to the circumstance, that it existed in the manners and customs of the country before it was enacted into law. It was not a foreign graft, but the natural offshoot of popular opinion and practice. It is an easy thing to construct a theory, when nothing is to be done but to trace the coherences and dependencies of thought; but it is not so easy to make thought correspond to reality, or to devise a plan which shall overlook none of the difficulties and obstructions in the way of successful application. In the suggestions which I have to offer, I shall endeavour to keep steadily in view the real wants of the citizens of this Commonwealth, and, avoiding all crotchets and metaphysical abstractions, shall aim exclusively at what experience, or the nature of the case, demonstrates to be practicable. I have no new principles to ventilate, but I shall think myself happy if I can succeed in setting in a clearer light, or vindicating from prejudice and misconstruction, the principles which have already been embodied in our laws. It is, perhaps, not generally known that the legislation of South Carolina contemplates a scheme of public instruction as perfect in its conception of the end, as it is defective in its provision of the means. The order, too, in which the attention of the Legislature has been turned to the various branches of the subject, though not the most popular or the most obvious, is precisely the order of their relative importance. It began where it ought to have begun, but unfortunately stopped where it ought not to have stopped. To defend what it has already done, and stimulate it to repentance for what it has not done, is the principal motive of this communication.

Permit me in pursuance of this design, to direct the attention of your Excellency to the nature, operation, and defects of the system among us. This system consists of the South Carolina College, es

. tablished in 1801, of the Free Schools, established in 1811, and of the Arsenal and Citadel Academies, which have crept into existence by the connivance, without any statute, of the Legislature, defining their end and aim. This series of institutions is evidently adjusted without, perhaps, any conscious purpose of doing so, to the three-fold division of education, in so far as it depends upon instruction, into liberal, elementary, and professional. The College is to furnish the means of liberal, the Free Schools, of elementary, and the Arsenal and Citadel Academies, of that department of professional education which looks to the arts of practical life, especially those of the soldier. For the liberal or learned professions, those of law, physic, and divinity, no provision has been made. The College undertakes to give the same kind of instruction which is given by the Faculty of Arts and Philosophy in the Universities of Europe. Our Military Academies, with a slight change in their organization, might be converted into scientific schools ; and free schools were, or were designed to be, substantially the same as the elementary and grammar schools of England. The scheme, as here developed, though far from fulfilling the logical requirements of a complete system of public instruction, is amply sufficient, if adequately carried out, to meet the real wants of our people. The kind and degree of education, for which there is any serious or extensive demand, is what is provided for. To make the system logically complete, there would have to be a succession of institutions, individually perfect, and yet harmoniously cooperating to a general result, which, taking the man at the very dawn of his powers, shall be able to carry him up to the highest point of their expansion, and fit him for any employment in which intelligence and thought are the conditions of success. It should supply the means to every individual in the community, of becoming trained and prepared for his own peculiar destiny; it should overlook no class; it should neglect no pursuit. It may be doubted whether a scheme so comprehensive in its plan is desirable—it is quite certain that it is not practicable. The Legislature has done wisely in confining its arrangements to liberal and elementary education. It has aimed, by a preliminary discipline, to put the indi

. vidual in a condition to educate himself for the business of his life,

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